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February 14, 2018

In a scientific first, doctors were able to enable a transgender woman to breastfeed her child, The Guardian reported Wednesday. A report in the journal Transgender Health published last month detailed the first documented case of "induced lactation in a transgender woman," The Guardian explained.

Doctors were successfully able to spur lactation in the 30-year-old woman through a combination of hormones, chest stimulation, and a drug traditionally used to treat nausea. The woman, who was not identified in the report, had been on hormone therapy for six years, The Guardian said.

The doctors used a method commonly employed to induce lactation in cisgender women who had not been pregnant but who still want to breastfeed. They gradually increased the woman's doses of estradiol and progesterone — female hormones that were already included in the woman's hormone therapy — and used a breast milk pump to physically stimulate her chest. The final ingredient was a drug called domperidone, an anti-nausea medication that commonly causes lactation as a side effect.

The breakthrough could give hope to transgender women everywhere who hope to one day breastfeed their own children, the doctors said. Read more at The Guardian. Shivani Ishwar

4:12 p.m.

We regret to inform you that the following is true:

Former Texas congressman and failed Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke performed in an objectively bad cover band throughout 2003 and 2004. The band wore incredibly tight white onesies and sheep masks at performances. O'Rourke even tried to swing a New Zealand accent when singing. And unfortunately, it's all on video now widely available thanks to Mother Jones.

While O'Rourke was battling Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for his seat, the state's GOP reminded everyone that the Democrat was in a punk band in his youth and was also very cool. But a decade after that band broke up, O'Rourke and some friends started a punk rock cover band called The Sheeps. The ungrammatical group pretended it was "a very famous band from New Zealand" that wore masks because it "didn't want people to know our true identities," the band's bassist tells Mother Jones. Anyhow, it's pretty obvious that O'Rourke is on the right in the video below.

O'Rourke was a fully grown adult in the above video, seeing as he'd already "started a web design company and taken tentative steps toward a career in local politics," Mother Jones says. Luckily, he proved a bit more talented at the latter careers, and The Sheeps faded as quickly as they began. Still, there are more videos of similar performances curated at Mother Jones, if you're into that sort of thing. Kathryn Krawczyk

3:24 p.m.

Hulu is lowering the price of its basic plan just a week after Netflix raised the price of theirs.

Hulu said Wednesday that the price of its cheapest plan would be reduced from $7.99 per month to $5.99 per month, The Verge reports. This is the Hulu plan with commercials; getting rid of ads will still cost $11.99. The streaming service is, however, raising the price of one of its plans: the live TV package, which will now cost $44.99 rather than $39.99. These changes will be implemented at the end of February.

Like Hulu, Netflix's cheapest plan used to be $7.99, but that will soon go up to $8.99, meaning a basic Hulu account will now cost $3 less per month than a basic Netflix account. The key difference, though, is that no Netflix plan includes advertisements. These are just the latest shots Hulu has fired at Netflix after previously dropping a documentary about Fyre Festival days before Netflix was able to release its own.

As The Verge notes, changes are likely to come to Hulu in the coming year, as Disney is set to take majority ownership over the platform. Disney currently owns a 30 percent stake in the company, as does Fox — Disney will take over those shares once the company finalizes its purchase of Fox. Disney also plans to introduce the new streaming service Disney+ in late 2019. Brendan Morrow

2:57 p.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) officially will not allow President Trump to deliver the State of the Union address on the House floor next week.

In a letter to Trump on Wednesday, Pelosi said that she will not permit a vote on a resolution allowing Trump to speak before both chambers of Congress until the government is re-opened. This response came shortly after Trump said he was still planning to speak in the House on Jan. 29.

Pelosi last week had requested that a new date be selected for the State of the Union, but she didn't formally disinvite Trump, which she has the power to do by not allowing a vote to approve the speech. But now that Trump has brushed aside her request, Pelosi has pulled the trigger and called the event off, saying she previously invited him to speak on Jan. 29 because "there was no thought that the government would still be shut down."

Trump had reportedly been considering speaking in a different location next week should Pelosi disinvite him, possibly at a rally. He said Wednesday in response to Pelosi's statement that he is "not surprised" and that it's "really a shame what's happening with the Democrats," CNN reports. Brendan Morrow

2:22 p.m.

President Trump has officially recognized Venezuela's opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, as the country's legitimate interim president.

Guaidó, leader of Venezuela's National Assembly, on Wednesday declared himself interim president over Nicolás Maduro, who has been in power since 2013. Maduro was re-elected in 2018 in a disputed election, which sparked protests and was decried as illegitimate. Maduro was sworn in for another term on Jan. 10, but the National Assembly called him an illegitimate president and said that his office is therefore vacant, reports The New York Times. The body then invoked an amendment in Venezuela's constitution to allow Guaidó to take power.

The United States previously sided with the anti-Maduro protesters, with Vice President Mike Pence earlier this week calling Maduro a "dictator with no legitimate claim to power," The Washington Post reports. Trump in his statement recognizing Guaidó, per The Guardian, reiterates this sentiment, saying the National Assembly is the "only legitimate branch of government duly elected by the Venezuelan people." Guaidó will now move toward holding new elections. Brendan Morrow

2:04 p.m.

Michael Cohen's congressional tell-all won't come as soon as we'd thought.

President Trump's former fixer long ago left his ex-boss' side, providing hours of testimony to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into the Trump campaign's potential involvement with Russian election interference. Cohen was scheduled to publicly testify about Trump to Congress on Feb. 7, but revealed Wednesday he'd postpone that appearance due to "ongoing threats against his family from President Trump" and Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

In a statement from Cohen's lawyer Lanny Davis, Cohen confirmed his "continued cooperation with ongoing investigations," presumably including Mueller's. But he also said he had to "put his family and their safety first" and put his House Oversight Committee hearing on hold indefinitely.

Cohen is probably best known for paying porn star Stormy Daniels to conceal her story of an affair with Trump, as well as reportedly handling the Trump Organization's plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. He's since fallen out of Trump's good graces and landed a three-year jail sentence for lying to Congress about the Moscow discussions and financial crimes. Cohen promised in his December sentencing to "state publicly all he knows about Mr. Trump" after the Mueller investigation concluded, and reportedly planned to "say things that will give you chills" in his February testimony. Kathryn Krawczyk

1:50 p.m.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) says it's "wrong" that billionaires exist in a country where there's extreme poverty. Unsurprisingly, one massive gathering of international billionaires isn't thrilled.

Ocasio-Cortez is among a wave of progressives proposing big changes to fight economic inequality, notably mentioning a "60 or 70 percent" marginal tax rate on America's top earners. That proposal has drawn harsh criticism from conservatives, and got similar feedback when posed to the super-rich gathered in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum on Wednesday.

First to tackle the tax plan was Michael Dell, founder and CEO of his namesake tech company with a $28.6 billion net worth.

But Scott Minerd, investment head for Guggenheim Partners, called the freshman Democrat's proposal "scary" in an interview with CNBC. What some call a liberal fantasy is "going to gain more momentum" by the 2020 presidential election, Minerd said, adding there's "very real" possibility it'll become a real policy.

Anand Giridharadas, an author who's known for progressive economic ideas like Ocasio-Cortez's, got a laugh from former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair for suggesting rich elites "broke the modern world." Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates suggested those same ideas were reminiscent of "communism." And when all was Davosed and done, Ocasio-Cortez fired back with her signature Twitter sass. Kathryn Krawczyk

1:44 p.m.

Former vice president and potential Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden gave a paid speech at a Michigan college last October in which he praised Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who was then in the midst of a tight re-election battle — and Biden's remarks, subsequently used in the Republican's messaging, may have helped boost Upton to a narrow victory over his Democratic challenger, The New York Times reports.

In the speech, delivered for a $200,000 fee at Lake Michigan College, Biden described Upton — a long-serving congressman and coauthor of a 2017 bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act — as "one of the finest guys I've ever worked with." Biden, whose eldest son, Beau, died of brain cancer in 2015, also called Upton "the reason we're going to beat cancer," ostensibly for his work to fund cancer research. Both statements soon appeared in pro-Upton mailers, and Upton referred to the praise in a debate with his opponent, Matt Longjohn.

When asked about Biden's decision to effectively endorse a Republican candidate at the height of the midterms race, a spokesman told the Times that Biden "believes to his core that you can disagree politically on a lot and still work together in good faith on issues of common cause — like funding cancer research." Longjohn, meanwhile, said he was dismayed that Biden "[clapped] Mr. Upton on the back in an establishment political way" — and that when his campaign reached out to Biden for an explanation, "there was nothing but silence." Jacob Lambert

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