Over Valentine´s Day weekend in 2003, a group of Italian thieves broke into a massive vault in the heart of Antwerp, Belgium´s diamond district and got away with an estimated $500 million worth of precious stones and diamonds. While the rest of the city was busy celebrating romance and love, these tenacious men peeled open safe deposit box after safe deposit box, leaving excess treasure on the ground like it was garbage. When the security guard came to unlock the vault door on Monday morning, he found it already opened and the vault floor littered
Former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson used her old New Jersey state government email account to supplement the account that she operated under the alias “Richard Windsor,” which a watchdog group suggests was another attempt to avoid transparency laws. “It was no longer an account anyone would think to search under any open records request because there was no defensible reason it still should be in operation,” the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Chris Horner said in a statement today. “In other words, like the ‘Richard Windsor’ account, it looks like she assumed
When it comes to rude people silence really is golden according to a new study. People who completely ignore those who are rude and offensive were found more mentally healthy than those who engage with them say researchers at Baruch College at City University of New York. In a study using nearly 120 people, the researchers asked people to engage in conversation with someone instructed to intentionally act highly likeable or highly offensive. The participants were then taken to another room to complete a second assignment which provided a score of their performance when finished.
Under a measure advancing in the Texas Capitol, local police officers could be convicted of a crime for enforcing any new federal gun control laws. Rep. Steve Toth, a newly elected Republican from the Woodlands, said his proposal would prevent officers from carrying out any future federal orders to confiscate assault rifles and ammunition magazines. "There´s a federal law, there´s a 30-round magazine right in front of you - what do I do?" Toth said in an interview. The measure known as the Firearm Protection Act "answers that question in spades," he said.
A large explosion has struck the Syrian capital Damascus sending smoke billowing across the capital´s skyline. Police and witnesses said it was a car bomb which went off near headquarters of the ruling Baath party. State media are blaming "terrorists" for the explosion, which they say caused casualties. Ambulances rushed to the scene in the central Mazraa neighbourhood and surrounding roads are reported to have been closed off to traffic. Those wounded included four children, state TV reportedly said. The violence comes as the opposition Syrian National Coalition is due to begin a two-day meeting in Egypt to discuss
Since being sued by fantasy Nobel Laureate and global warm-monger Michael E Mann for mocking his hockey stick, I’ve taken a greater than usual interest in the conformity enforcers of the settled-science crowd. So I was interested to read this tidbit from Roger Pielke, Jr, professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado. He’s no climate “denier”, merely a little bit too independent-minded for the movement’s tastes. Hence: Five days ago I critiqued a shoddy paper by Brysse et al. 2013 which appeared in the journal Global Environmental Change. Today I received notice
President Obama has a very carefully crafted public image, and he’s willing to shut out his friends in the press to maintain it. Over a long Presidents Day weekend, Mr. Obama hit the links for the 114th, 115th and 116th time in a little more than four years. He bunked at the Floridian National Golf Club in Palm Beach, an exclusive gated golf community, and the traveling White House reporters were not allowed to get any closer than a seat in a bus parked just inside the gate, with an unobstructed view of a humble maintenance shed.
For years, if you went to the corner of 71st and Yates, you’d see a shrine, of sorts. Spanning three enormous window panels were life-sized photos — one of Sandi Jackson and one of Jesse Jackson Jr., an American flag in the backdrop, besides dozens of campaign signs covering adjacent windows. This was ground zero of the joint campaign offices for the once politically powerful couple, a constant reminder to the community that the Jackson name, and all the clout that went with it, was part of this neighborhood. Go down just one block, on either side of the street,
This week, a cutting-edge security firm in Virginia, Mandiant, reported that it had traced major cyber-attacks on 140 US and other Western targets back not merely to China but to a specific Shanghai high-rise belonging to Chinese military intelligence. Mandiant did splendid detective work at the unclassified level. (Snip)It’s not that we can’t fight back. We have stunning, close-held capabilities to respond with punishing cyber-strikes of our own. We have the intelligence. We have the targets. But the order never comes.
"Where are all the customers?" asks an internal Walmart email published by Bloomberg last week. "And where´s their money?" Another email states "In case you haven´t seen a sales report these days, February [month to date] sales are a total disaster . . . the worst start to a month I have seen in my ~7 years with the company." Brad Plumer notes that Walmart sales are often a bellwether for the rest of the economy. Should we be freaking out? I´m all for a modified limited freakout. To be sure, Walmart is likely to be disproportionately affected
I can’t say I was surprised when I read, via a Drudge link, that John Kerry made his first foreign policy speech as secretary of State on the heavyweight scientific subject of climate change (the perils thereof, of course). But I did have a chuckle, remembering that sometime during or after the 2004 presidential campaign it was revealed that Kerry did even more poorly at Yale than the supposedly dopey George W. Bush. In fact, the former Massachusetts senator received four “Ds” in his freshman year, including one in geology. Many of us will recall that geology,
James Taranto found news of a hearing this week that I missed, in which Democratic lawmakers grilled Gary Cohen, head of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight about Obamacare’s mounting problems. It’s like a David Brooks column about Obama, but in hearing form. Behold your moral and intellectual betters discover all the exact same things you’ve known for four years: “Baucus questioned how well the online health insurance marketplaces would interact with what he called ‘archaic’ computer systems at Social Security and the Internal Revenue Service,” Kaiser reports. My, that is a good question.
CHICAGO -- Residents in this swath of sprawling Chicago neighborhoods and suburbs have brimmed with loyalty to Jesse Jackson Jr. over the past 17 years, giving him an enthusiastic majority each election - even after questionable links to ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, reports of an extramarital affair and a bizarre five-month medical leave. But the former congressman´s guilty plea to charges that he lived off and lavishly spent campaign money for personal use - on everything from toilet paper to mink capes - has turned the tide.
The ailing leader reportedly returned to Caracas from Cuba on Monday, but his plane landed before dawn, with no TV coverage, and the public has not seen or heard from him—prompting some opponents to challenge him to step up, and others to spin conspiracy theories.
Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges he accepted more than $200,000 in bribes plus free trips and other gratuities in exchange for helping contractors secure millions of dollars in work for the city. U.S. Magistrate Sally Shushan set Nagin´s bond at $100,000 during his arraignment on charges that include bribery, wire fraud and filing false tax returns. She also set a preliminary trial date of April 29. The charges against Nagin are the product of a City Hall corruption investigation that already has resulted in guilty pleas by two former city officials and
The US Postal Service is to launch a clothing and accessories range just days after revealing it was ending Saturday deliveries in a bid to stem losses of $40m (£26.1m) a day. The cash-strapped agency, which delivers almost 40pc of the world´s mail, has signed an agreement with fashion group Wahconah to create a ´Rain, Heat & Snow´ brand. "This agreement will put the Postal Service on the cutting edge of functional fashion," corporate licensing manager Steven Mills said in a statement on Tuesday. “The main focus will be to produce [clothing] using technology to create ‘smart apparel’ also
Late night host Jay Leno had a good punch line back in November when speculation was mounting that John Kerry might be the next Secretary of Defense. “Apparently this is part of America’s new defense strategy to bore our enemies to death,” quipped Leno. His second joke of the evening was even better: “the economy is so bad, MSNBC had to lay off 300 Obama spokesmen.” His third though was probably the best: “the economy is so bad, President Obama sent Susan Rice out to defend it.” (hat tip: The Daily Slog) Kerry has ended up in Foggy Bottom
Ashley Judd´s attempts to become America´s next Meg Ryan didn´t turn out as expected. The starlet´s next move could take her away from the silver screen and deposit her inside the Beltway. Actress Ashley Judd privately met with officials at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in Washington earlier this week, as she continues to weigh whether to mount a Senate run against Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, according to two sources familiar with the session.... The meeting indicates that the Hollywood movie star and eighth-generation Kentuckian is still seriously weighing a political foray after spending the past several years
John Payne puts on his best smile as he greets customers at Bob´s Diner in Bainbridge, N.Y. Most of his regulars are retired. The younger residents, he says, have long since moved away to find jobs in places like the Carolinas. Since the big manufacturers moved out of Bainbridge, there´s not much opportunity here. "It´s not a thriving community unfortunately," Payne told Fox News. "Years ago it was, but now it´s quite a depressed community. [Snip] While his community is on hard times, business with Pennsylvania is booming. "We´re presently working six, seven days a week
The U.S. Department of Justice soon will have another tough decision to make about Lance Armstrong. Should it join forces with a confessed cheater — Floyd Landis — to pursue the vast fortunes of his former cheating teammate? Or should it move on from cycling´s vicious cycle ? After nearly three years of consideration, that´s the bottom line now as the government decides what to do with a civil fraud lawsuit filed by Landis against Armstrong in 2010. A decision could come this week. And the stakes could exceed $90 million.
Eight more states have joined a lawsuit against part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform act, arguing that the act undermines their financial stability. A judge for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia Tuesday accepted the plaintiffs’ motion to amend the complaint to include the eight new states. The new states are Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Texas, and West Virginia. They join Michigan, Oklahoma, and South Carolina, which launched the suit in September 2012. “Dodd-Frank … gives the federal government the power to pick winners and losers,
White House spokesman Jay Carney backed away Wednesday from his boss’ apocalyptic claims of imminent mass-layoffs if Congress does not stop the scheduled budget sequester by raising taxes. “Republicans in Congress face a simple choice,” President Barack Obama claimed yesterday. “Are they willing to compromise … or would they rather put hundreds of thousands of jobs and our entire economy at risk just to protect a few special interest tax loopholes that benefit only the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations?” he said Feb. 19. But pressed today by reporters about if the sequester would for immediately
There are two ways you might have heard of Dr. Ben Carson. If you´re a doctor or follow medicine, you might know of his great success -- the youngest head of a major division at Johns Hopkins, one of America´s medical meccas; the first surgeon to successfully separate conjoined twins, back in 1987; a Presidential Medal of Freedom winner late in George W. Bush´s term. He was also mentioned on The Wire. Or if you´ve tuned in to Fox News or clicked onto National Review Online in the last week, you´ve probably heard his
The White House is detailing plans the President Obama first announced in his State of the Union address to direct tens of billions of federal dollars to rebuilding roads and bridges across the country. As part of a new $50 billion infrastructure stimulus proposal, Mr. Obama is initiating a “fix-it-first” policy aimed at cutting review and permitting timelines for federal construction projects for highways, bridges, railways and ports. Most of the funding, which is subject to congressional approval, would be directed to work on the highways, bridges, transit systems and airports “most in need of repair,”
The Navy plans to shut down four of its active aircraft carriers in one of the worst-case scenarios presented to Congress by the service since the debate on budget cuts heated up this winter. The Navy previously announced a delay in deploying the carrier USS Harry Truman to the Middle East, plus a stop in the refueling and overhauling of the nuclear-powered USS Abraham Lincoln and a delay in repairing the USS Theodore Roosevelt. In an 11-page briefing sent to Congress and obtained by The Washington Times, the Navy said it will be forced to “shut down at various intervals”