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Barack Obama broke the internet after tweeting Biden a #BidenMeme

Guys, we are living in weird times, and as much as we want to say Twitter is dying, it’s proving to be a meaningful social media that we still can’t get away from. I mean, if you told me that Lavar Ball and Donald Trump were going to be in a Twitter war in 2017, I would have told you that you were crazy.

>> Read more trending news

Well, let’s focus on the good part of Twitter, mainly Barack Obama’s Twitter.

Now we always know Barry O will Tweet exactly what America needs to hear; he is a master at that. Now some may need to take a class from him, but that is especially true today.

Today is Joe Biden’s birthday, and what better way to say HBD than a Tweet, right? Well we all love some great #BidenMemes, and Obama really came through on this one.

Now it’s only been a few hours since Barack made a funny but it already has over 177,000 retweets. It’s safe to say everyone lost their minds a little bit…

This comes after the weekend where Chance The Rapper and the SNL crew sung “Bring Back Barack” and made us all wish for four more years. Well at least we have some funny tweets to hold us over until Michelle…

These are the best gift cards of the 2017 holiday season

With the holiday season in full swing, many are relying on gift cards to make shopping a little simpler. But which ones are the best?

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WalletHub recently conducted some research to find out, and iTunes, Starbucks and Walmart were the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 picks, respectively.

The personal finance site determined its results by comparing the 50 most popular options across five major categories: how popular the cards are; how much of a discount you can get when you buy them; how much you can sell them for; how much people like the retailer; and shipping fees. 

The reason iTunes, Starbucks and Walmart came out on top was their free shipping and high popularity score. All three also had high resale values. 

» RELATED: Black Friday 2017: Best Buy ad deals on laptops, TVs and more just leaked

Here’s snapshot of the best three gift cards. 

iTunes

Popularity ranking: 4

Shipping fee: $0

Average buyer discount: 5.15 percent

Average resale value of $100 gift card: $77.75

Retailer rating out of 5: 3.03 

Starbucks

Popularity ranking: 6

Shipping fee: $0

Average buyer discount: 7.74 percent

Average resale value of $100 gift card: $76.27

Retailer rating out of 5: 2.57 

Walmart

Popularity ranking: 3

Shipping fee: $0

Average buyer discount: 2.00 percent

Average resale value of $100 gift card: $84.92

Retailer rating out of 5: 2.13

Overall, Amazon was the most popular, Dunkin Donuts offered the best average buyer discount at 24.83 percent and Netflix had the highest average resale price at $86.11.

Curious about the other findings? Take a look at the top 10 gift cards below and read the full report here

Top 10 gift cards

1. iTunes

2. Starbucks

3. Walmart

4. Victoria’s Secret

5. Target

6. Amazon

7. Best Buy

8. Chipotle

9. Fandango

10. Sephora 

7 tips for buying the best artificial Christmas tree this season

If you are dreaming of a lovely, needle-free Christmas tree, you are in luck.

>> Read more trending news

Gone are the days of stiff, flimsy, plastic trees. Artificial trees are now more realistic than ever before, and they are growing in popularity.

In fact, about 80 percent of homes will opt for an artificial tree compared to only 20 percent of Americans going for a real, live tree, according to the American Christmas Tree Association (ACTA).

So how do you find the most authentic tree and get the most bang for your buck? Here are seven tips for buying a quality faux tree from Jen Sypeck, an Atlanta based trend expert and product development consultant with more than 20 years of experience working with Home Depot, Home Decorators Collection and Pottery Barn.

Ask yourself: does the tree look realistic?

Does the tree look full? Look at both the tips and branches. If you are looking at a tree in a store, note that sometimes the trees might not be fully fluffed. So if you find a tree that is not to your fullness liking, play around with a few branches to see if, with a little care, you are able to achieve the full look you are going for. Needles made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride) look more realistic than those made from plastic, while needles made from PE (polyethylene) are even more life-like.

Making an investment. Just as fake trees can be found in all sizes, they can also be found in all price ranges. The quality of the tree and additional accents will affect the pricing. And there is a vast range depending on size, features and quality. Example, a 7 feet tall, prelighted PVC tree can range from $99-$1,500. Regardless of budget there is a faux tree out there for you. Depending on your budget, try to invest in the “showcase” tree in the house. In other words, if you are setting up multiple trees throughout your house and need to scale back the budget, spend less on the trees not front and center.

Determine your style. Going with a faux tree gives you lots of options. Are you looking for a traditional just-cut-from-the-farm tree, a snow swept tree, or a glamorous, bold metallic tree, there is a tree to fit your personal decorating style.

Determine the size. You need to consider the clearance for a comfortable walkway in the room where tree will be set up. In addition to the walkway clearance, you also need to be aware of the ceiling height. (Sypeck likes to have at least a 1 foot of space between the top of a tree and the ceiling, and if you have a tree topper you’ll need to factor that into height equation as well) The good news is sky is the limit with faux trees — they come in all shapes and sizes.

To prelight or not? It’s a yes for Sypeck. The time during the holidays is precious and seems to always be on the fast forward mode so any chance to simplify and get some time back, she says go for it. Technology has even made its mark on trees. If you want to go back and forth each year on white lights and multi-color lights, don’t fret, there are now trees that have dual lights so you don’t even have to choose one over the other.

If you choose a prelighted fake tree, look for one that is labeled “continuous on” or “with burn-out protection.” This means that if a single bulb on the strand burns out, the rest of the lights stay on.

Other things to consider…

Check the wires. Sypeck always wants wires from the lights and the trunk to be hidden (invisible) making it one of her top considerations on her faux tree buying checklist.

Will it hold the ornaments?

Feel the sturdiness of the tips and branches to ensure they will hold the weight of your ornaments.

Chicago police officer creates safe haven where children can go after school, weekends

Officer Jennifer Maddox sees and hears violence day in and day out. She recently decided that instead of just reacting after the fact, she was going to do something to prevent it too.

Maddox now provides a safe haven for kids in the Parkway Gardens apartment complex in Woodlawn, Illinois, WFLD reported.

>> Read more trending news

In a small, cramped basement, down a short set of stairs, something miraculous is happening. Forty children in kindergarten through sixth grade who live in subsidized housing projects are taking part in a program called Future Ties.

“I discovered that there wasn’t any safe spaces or any spaces for the young people to go after school or on the weekends,” said Maddox, a 21-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department.

With a small budget plus money out of her own pocket, Maddox uses volunteers and paid staff to provide homework help, activities, meals and even meditation after school, five days a week.

“We know there is a lot of crime and violence that happens in the area. And so the kids know when they come here, this is a safe space for them to come after school,” Maddox said.

Maddox is now one of 10 finalists for CNN’s “Heroes of 2017” award. She says if she wins the award -- and the $100,000 that comes with it -- she’ll put the money back into the program, which has a waiting list right now of more than 40 children.

“To try to expand and make it bigger so that we can do more programming for the youth and the teens year-round, ‘cause we really need it,” Maddox said.

See more at WFLD and CNN

3 elephants forced onto Georgia interstate during tractor-trailer fire

Three African elephants were forced onto the interstate near the Georgia-Tennessee border Monday morning after a tractor-trailer carrying the animals caught fire, the Chattanooga Fire Department said in a Facebook post.

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Firefighters responded to the fire on Interstate 24 East about 2 a.m., officials said.

“The owners got the elephants safely out of the trailer and gave them some hay to munch on while firefighters put the fire out,” the post read.

Officials have not said who owned the animals, which were headed to Sarasota, Florida.

The elephants are just the latest animals to find their way onto Georgia highways in the past few months.

Suzy, a 6-year-old Bengal tiger, was shot and killed after roaming a Henry County neighborhood and attacking a dog, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. The tiger, who was owned by a former Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus presenter, escaped from a transport truck carrying 14 other big cats from Florida to Tennessee.

Federal authorities will investigate whether charges should be filed against circus parent company Feld Entertainment and its owner.

Russian mega-yacht owned by Putin friend docks in Port of Palm Beach

Days before President Donald Trump flies into town for Thanksgiving, one of the world’s most expensive yachts, owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, sailed into the Port of Palm Beach Friday afternoon.

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But Abramovich’s spokesman said the billionaire isn’t aboard — the ship’s just in town for scheduled maintenance.

The 533-foot Eclipse, valued at $400 million to $500 million, comes equipped with a pool, helipad, submarine and room for a crew of 92, according to marine websites. It made its way past the Bahamas and docked at 1:15 p.m, taking the slip normally reserved for the Grand Celebration, a cruise ship on hurricane-relief duty in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

Originally booked to stay through Dec. 5, the Eclipse might have to leave Dec. 1, as it is being followed by the 644-foot World, billed as “the largest private residential ship on the planet,” which is scheduled to arrive that day.

>> Related: Port of Palm Beach helps fill demand of mega yachts

Where will the Eclipse go?

The MarineTraffic app had it headed south on the Intracoastal Waterway, toward downtown West Palm Beach. Or at least it did — that flight plan vanished from the app on Saturday. Maybe they found out, as we were told, a ship that big would run aground in the Waterway.

Note to Transportation Security Administration: In any event, that route would have put a Russian submarine within a mile or so of the winter White House.

Forbes lists Abramovich’s net worth at $9.5 billion, the world’s 139th-richest person, with major holdings in steel, nickel and oil companies, as well as Britain’s Chelsea soccer team.

>> Related: President Trump expected to spend Thanksgiving at Mar-a-Lago

Bloomberg Politics has reported that presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner has met Abramovich one-on-one and with their wives on a number of occasions.We’re told they haven’t been in touch since a charity dinner in 2014, though.

Read more here.

Keeping the kids happy in the car on long road trip

With the holidays fast approaching, ‘tis the season to think about the upcoming family festivities -- and how you’re going to get there. AAA estimates that even more families will be piling in their cars and hitting the road this Thanksgiving. As families start to map out their holiday travel plans, whether traveling to Grandma’s house or a favorite vacation spot, FamilyFun magazine and AAA conducted a travel survey of 400 parents and kids with some surprising and humorous findings:

 Keeping kids entertained is as important as filling up the tank

· What do parents say they always do before heading out on a road trip? Naturally, filling up the car with gas tops the list (90 percent) but so does packing snacks for their kids (90 percent) and packing electronics to keep kids busy (76 percent). Clearly, keeping those back seat travelers happy is a priority for moms and dads — ranking higher than such options as cleaning the windshield, checking the tires and even getting a hotel reservation. 

>> Read more trending news

Kids envision the car of the future to include an Xbox, mini-fridges and trampolines

· Almost half (44 percent) of kids surveyed said sitting still in a car for long trips is the worst part of the trip. In order to liven up the back seat, kids were asked what they would include in the “car of the future,” and their responses pointed to entertainment and space needs. Kids would include flat-screen TVs, Xboxes, PS4s and mini-fridges filled with snacks in their self-designed car. “It would have a spot for a trampoline so I wouldn’t have to sit forever,” wrote one child. “A dance floor with microphone,” said another, as well as “lots of room, so my younger brother couldn’t reach me.”

Technology rules in the back seat, but it’s not what kids like best about road trips

· Over half (63 percent) of kids surveyed said they’d bring an e-device, such as a tablet, laptop or smartphone, to make sure a road trip is fun. But while tech may be a top boredom-buster, it’s ultimately not what makes a trip fun. Kids said the best part of a road trip is actually “spending time with their family” and “getting to see new places.”

Boys choose music while girls choose creativity

· Keeping kids entertained is a top concern for parents, but it’s important to know your audience and what will fend off the back seat blues. The survey revealed that boys are more likely to want to bring their iPod or music player on a road trip, while girls are more likely to want to bring a stuffed animal, a book and drawing or craft supplies. 

Here are some tips for spending lots of time in the car:

 Backseat Fun & Games:

· License Plate Lingo – See who can be the first player to make a sentence out of the letters on a license plate ahead of you. For example, if the plate is LH5-2VF, you might shout, “Let’s have vacation fun!” The weirder the sentence, the better.

· Geography Go-Round – Start with any place in the world -- Kansas, for example. The next person has to think of a place that begins with the last letter of “Kansas,” such as “South Africa.” Whoever goes next needs a place that starts with an “A”. You can use a place only once per game, and it has to be a real place.

Kids Fun Travel Kit:

Easy Games – Bring along a three-ring binder filled with clear plastic sleeves containing blank sheets of paper and simple games such as hangman and tic-tac-toe. Use dry-erase markers; kids can doodle and play, then wipe the sleeves clean and play again.Goody Bags – For longer drives, consider bringing surprise goody bags to hand out at noteworthy intervals like passing a state border. Label each bag with the name of the milestone and inside have a snack, coloring page or even a special privilege coupon (e.g. you can pick the music we listen to for the next 15 minutes).For more tips and information:

FamilyFun and AAA have also developed a Holiday Road Trips booklet of 20 handy ideas, including everything from driving safety and pack-along essentials to games that will keep your crew entertained. To download the full FamilyFun & AAA Holiday Road Trips booklet, visit http://bit.ly/1ubBHKJ.

Paris Hilton says she and Britney Spears invented the selfie -- and she's got pics as proof

In her 2015 book “Selfish” -- which was literally just a compilation of selfies -- Kim Kardashian-West made the rather audacious claim that she was participating in the trend way before it was cool, and seemed to imply that she was responsible for it.

>> Read more trending news

“I took pictures of myself with digital cameras when I was in junior high and high school, and I just got hooked,” she wrote. “I was always obsessed with selfies.”

Fast forward to November 2017, and someone else is disputing Kardashian-West’s claim. That someone is Paris Hilton, the hotel heiress for whom Kardashian-West used to be a stylist.

>> Related: Kim Kardashian reveals sex of third child on 'Ellen'

“11 years ago today, Me (and) Britney invented the selfie,” Hilton wrote in a tweet with a photo of herself and pop-star Britney Spears.

It’s a bold claim, and it’s unclear if Hilton was serious or joking, but internet users responded nonetheless.

Man shot, killed in Indiana deer hunting accident

Authorities are investigating after an Indiana man was found dead Sunday in what officials characterized as an accident during a deer hunting trip in Harrison County.

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Members of 58-year-old Thomas Zimmerman’s party found him unresponsive Sunday night as they were hunting on private property near Elizabeth, officials with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources said in a news release. Indiana conservation officers were called around 6:40 p.m.

Investigators said Zimmerman, of Borden, was in an elevated, ladder-type tree stand. Authorities used a rope and pulley system to lower Zimmerman from the tree stand.

“Zimmerman died due to a close-range gunshot wound to the head,” Indiana Department of Natural Resources officials said. “No foul play is suspected.”

Additional information on the circumstances surrounding the accident was not immediately available. Authorities said Monday that they are awaiting the results of toxicology and other tests.

Is your doctor taking your blood pressure all wrong? Experts say probably

One of the first things you do when you visit the doctor’s office is get your blood pressure measured. A blood pressure reading can tell you a lot about your current health and whether or not you’re at high risk for stroke, heart attack, kidney failure or heart failure.

>> Read more trending news

But chances are, your health care provider isn’t even taking your blood pressure the right way.

That’s according to Paul Whelton, a cardiovascular specialist at the Tulane University School of Public Health, who told NPR that there are several rules medical professionals are supposed to follow and they aren’t taking enough care to do so.

>> Related: Half of US adults now have high blood pressure, based on new guidelines

For example, Whelton said, you’re supposed to sit in silence for five minutes before having your blood pressure measured.

You’re also not supposed to exercise or have caffeine within 30 minutes of your test.

Those are just a couple of the commonly undervalued rules that can lead to inaccurate blood pressure readings.

And small inaccuracies in blood pressure measurement can have major consequences.

>> Related: 7 ways to lower your blood pressure without medication

“It has been predicted that the consequences of an untreated 5 mm Hg of excessive systolic blood pressure would be a 25 percent increase over current levels of fatal strokes and fatal myocardial infarctions for these individuals,” Dr. Joel Handler of Kaiser Permanente wrote in a 2009 study about the importance of an accurate blood pressure measurement.

Overestimating blood pressure readings can also lead to inappropriate treatment, exposing patients to “adverse drug effects, the psychological effects of misdiagnosis, and unnecessary cost,” Handler wrote.

>> Related: Do heart stents even work? New study finds they fail to ease chest pain

To address the issue of inaccurate readings, Whelton and his colleagues rolled out a checklist for medical professionals to follow when taking a patient’s blood pressure.

Here are the do’s and don’ts from a patient’s persepctive, Welton told NPR:

Before the test:

Do empty your bladder before having your blood pressure taken.

Don’t exercise, smoke or consume caffeine within 30 minutes of your test

>> Related: Suffer from hypertension? Sauna baths could help reduce it, study suggests

During the test:

Do sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground, your legs uncrossed with your back supported and without talking, for at least five minutes before your test.

Do roll up your sleeves so the blood pressure cuff rests on your skin and not your clothing.

Don’t have your blood pressure taken while sitting or lying on the exam table.

Don’t let your arm dangle or rest in your lap during the blood pressure reading.

After the test:

If your blood pressure seems high, do get a reading in both arms.

The next time you come in,do get a reading in the arm that showed the higher blood pressure.

Read more here.

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