President Obama´s pitch for a military strike in Syria looked so politically clueless that he left supporters and foes alike scratching their heads: What was he thinking? For some, the answer was obvious. Because every conspiracy theory ever concocted about the President — from him being a secret Muslim agent sent from Kenya to take over the government to gay-sex-and-cocaine binges in the backseats of limousines — all make perfect sense if you simply accept the foundational supposition that Obama hates America. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Sunday, Norman Podhoretz argued that Syria showed the swift collapse of
The US will drop its insistence that a UN resolution on Syria must be backed by military force, officials say, after strong objections from Russia. US and Russian diplomats say the two sides are edging closer to a deal on Syria´s chemical arsenal, as talks in Geneva enter a third day. They are thrashing out the technical details of the disarmament process. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says a UN report will "overwhelmingly" confirm that poison gas was used last month. He made no comment on who was to blame for the 21 August attack in eastern Damascus.
The man who helped write a brutal obituary for his mother that went viral online says he has no regrets and sang Ding Dong the Witch is Dead when he heard she had died. Patrick Reddick and his sister Katherine Reddick, a teacher, co-wrote the scathing obit outing their late mother Marianne Johnson-Reddick, who they said was an “evil and violent” child abuser who made their lives a living hell. The obituary, published in the Reno Gazette-Journal on Sept 10, quickly went viral around the world. Reddick told the MailOnline he smiled and felt overwhelming relief when he learned his
US rapper Kanye West has been charged with battery and attempted theft over a fight with a photographer at Los Angeles Airport in July. Paparazzo Daniel Ramos sued Mr West after the singer apparently punched him and threw his camera to the ground. Lawyers for the international music star said he had only been trying to prevent the photographer from taking his picture. If found guilty, he faces a maximum penalty of six months in prison. Prosecutors refused to press more serious felony charges because the alleged victim sustained only minor injuries. [Snip] The altercation took place on 19 July
In the era of “warmonger” Republicans in the White House, the Toronto International Film Festival would have been fertile ground for bold, outspoken “dissent” from actors against war in the Middle East. You’d expect the same agitation, but this time coupled with a dash of betrayal, when President Obama was on the brink of missile attacks in Syria. Instead, the Hollywood Reporter found nothing there but an icy pile of “no comments” from more than a dozen celebs, including Susan Sarandon, Josh Brolin, Penn Jillette and Tim Robbins. For divorced Sarandon and Robbins, left-wing rabble-rousing against the Pentagon was too reminiscent of
WASHINGTON — Low-income workers on union health plans are not eligible for the same federal subsidies available to those who buy insurance in the new state health care marketplaces, the White House said Friday. The decision is a disappointment for labor unions, coming shortly after top union officials met for more than an hour with President Barack Obama to press their case that subsidies could be extended to union-sponsored plans. Labor leaders have complained for months that without the subsidies, the Affordable Care Act would drive up the cost of some union plans, leading employers to drop coverage and jeopardizing
Lost in a busy news week dominated by Syria, Putin, Obama’s bungling, and the 9/11 anniversary was an important federal court ruling on September 10, resulting in a victory so that the motto “In God We Trust” can remain on all U.S. currency. The Associated Press reported: A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit seeking removal of the words “In God We Trust” from U.S. coins and currency. Atheist groups and individuals argued that the national motto conveys a religious message that violates separation of church and state and puts them in a position of spreading a religious message when
Lower than it was after Watergate, lower than it was at the nadir of Bush’s job approval collapse. Obama promised he’d bring change, and he delivered: Americans in the same survey also expressed historically low levels of confidence in the federal government’s ability to handle domestic problems, with 42% reporting a great deal or a fair amount of confidence. This is one point below the previous low of 43% in 2011. Americans’ confidence in the federal government on domestic problems, as was true for international issues, peaked in the October post-9/11 poll, when 77% expressed confidence. Confidence then trended downward throughout the 2000s,
Members of the Washington establishment were quick to denounce Vladimir Putin’s op ed article in Thursday’s New York Times questioning the legitimacy and legality of a U.S. attack on Syria. The White House quickly dismissed his column as “irrelevant” and a sideshow to the real issues at stake. The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said that Putin’s column made him want to “vomit.” (Snip)There is an unspoken sub-text at play here: what President Putin said in his column is pretty much what American liberals and leftists have been saying about the United States since the 1960s.
For the past week, Sen. David Vitter has antagonized Democrats by insisting on a vote that would strip lawmakers of a valuable health care subsidy they have enjoyed for years. But now, Senate Democrats are showing Vitter two can play at this game, hitting the Louisiana Republican, who was once embroiled in a prostitution scandal, where it hurts. Here’s how it all started: In August, the federal government announced that it would continue to contribute to the health care coverage of members of Congress and their staff. Had the government not stepped in, the health care premiums of lawmakers and their aides would
BEIRUT -- He is rarely photographed or even quoted in Syria´s media. Wrapped in that blanket of secrecy, President Bashar Assad´s younger brother has been vital to the family´s survival in power. Maher Assad commands the elite troops that protect the Syrian capital from rebels on its outskirts and is widely believed to have helped orchestrate the regime´s fierce campaign to put down the uprising, now well into its third year. He has also gained a reputation for brutality among opposition activists. His role underlines the family core of the Assad regime, though he is a stark contrast to his brothers. His
WASHINGTON -- After 2 1/2 years of civil war in Syria, President Barack Obama´s larger policy is in disarray even as his administration, with help from Russia, averted a military showdown for the time being. In an address to the American people, Obama said he was working with U.S. allies to "provide humanitarian support, to help the moderate opposition and to shape a political settlement" for ending a conflict that has killed more than 100,000 people and made refugees of millions more. That simple message belies a hodgepodge of often contradicting goals and strategies unlikely to be resolved by the
WASHINGTON – Elizabeth O’Bagy, a pro-Syrian opposition analyst whose credibility has come under fire, might have even more explaining to do – as court documents show she once vouched for a rebel group whose website displayed extremist and anti-American images. Among the pictures was one showing a burning U.S. Capitol. (Snip)O’Bagy discussed the rebel group in question in a June 19, 2013 signed affidavit filed in the case of American Eric Harroun, who was indicted for fighting alongside the terror group al-Nusra in Syria. O’Bagy’s signed declaration, which included a breakdown of rebel groups and their varying degrees of affiliation to Al Qaeda-linked terrorists Link repaired by Staff.
You can’t spot Voyager 1 as it leaves the solar system’s heliosphere, but the National Radio Astronomy Observatory can, and did it just for kicks. Well maybe not for kicks, but scientists were interested in how well their array of 10 radio telescopes, stretching from Hawaii to St. Croix, Virgin Islands, could plot the spacecraft, which is more than 11 billion miles from Earth. Usually, those instruments home in on the faint radio signals from quasars, black holes and the like. They also routinely track NASA´s Cassini spacecraft, out around Saturn. But in February and again in June, scientists trained the instruments
Floodwaters cascaded downstream from the Colorado Rockies on Friday, spilling normally scenic mountain rivers and creeks over their banks and forcing thousands more evacuations in water-logged communities beset by days of steady rain. The relentless rush of water from higher ground turned whole towns into muddy swamps and threatened to strand hikers and some rural residents into the weekend. In at least one community, pressure from the descending water caused sewer grates to erupt into huge black geysers. All the while, rain continued to fall, causing flooding across a wide rugged area stretching from Denver to Fort Collins.
The Voyager-1 spacecraft has become the first manmade object to leave the Solar System. Scientists say the probe´s instruments indicate it has moved beyond the bubble of hot gas from our Sun and is now moving in the space between the stars. Launched in 1977, Voyager was sent initially to study the outer planets, but then just kept on going. Today, the veteran Nasa mission is almost 19 billion km (12 billion miles) from home. This distance is so vast that it takes 17 hours now for a radio signal sent from Voyager to reach receivers here on Earth.
A plant-hopping insect has joints that work like interlocking gears, a new study reports, the first known instance of coglike wheels in nature. “We always think of gears in our cars or bikes,” said an author of the study, Malcolm Burrows, a zoologist at the University of Cambridge. “We don’t see them to be present in animals.” (Snip)Its coglike joints were first described in the 1950s, but it was only with advanced high-speed video that the scientists were able to prove how the joints worked.
LAKE FOREST, ILL. — While the golf world was buzzing over Jim Furyk´s 59 in Friday´s second round of the BMW Championship at Conway Farms Golf Club, Tiger Woods was fuming. The world No. 1´s up-and-down day ended on a sour note in the scoring trailer when he learned he would be penalized two strokes for moving his ball before hitting his third shot on the first hole. Woods, who made double-bogey 6 on the first after hitting two poor chip shots, pulled out his eraser and changed it to a quadruple-bogey 8 before signing his card. His score was changed
WASHINGTON—Lawrence Summers´s prospects of becoming chairman of the Federal Reserve next year dimmed Friday, as an important Senate Democrat signaled that he would vote against the Harvard economist, should President Barack Obama nominate him to lead the central bank. Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, considered a political centrist, joins at least three other Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee who are expected to vote against Mr. Summers if he is nominated. The mounting opposition to Mr. Summers suggests his potential path to Senate confirmation is narrowing quickly. His nomination would need Republican support to advance from the banking committee to
A brewing financial crisis is forcing NPR to make one of the largest staff reductions in its history — at a time when the radio and digital news organization had seemed to be on the upswing. Washington-based NPR disclosed a buyout plan Friday that it hopes will reduce its 840-member payroll by about 10 percent over the next year. NPR said the buyout is necessary to close a persistent deficit, projected at $6 million in its upcoming fiscal year. Until Friday’s news, NPR had escaped many of the worst effects of the Great Recession and the digital revolution that has
One of the most persistent claims in the climate debate is that global warming leads to more extreme weather. Green groups and even such respectable outlets as Scientific American declare that “extreme weather is a product of climate change.” And the meme seems irresistible as a political shortcut to action. President Obama has explicitly linked a warming climate to “more extreme droughts, floods, wildfires and hurricanes.” The White House warned this summer of “increasingly frequent and severe extreme weather events that come with climate change.” Yet this is not supported by science. “General statements about extremes are almost nowhere to
GENEVA — The Obama administration will not press for U.N. authorization to use force against Syria if it reneges on any agreement to give up its chemical weapons, senior administration officials said Friday. The Russians have made clear in talks here between Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Secretary of State John F. Kerry that the negotiations cannot proceed under the threat of a U.N. resolution authorizing a military strike. Russia also wants assurances that a resolution will not refer Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to the International Criminal Court for possible war-crimes prosecution. President Obama has said that the unilateral U.S.
A Taliban attack on a U.S. consulate in the early morning hours Friday initially highlighted longstanding fears in Congress of an accelerated withdrawal while President Obama insists that the war in the Afghanistan be ended by his hand. Local reports of damage in Herat and the response, though, raise questions about just how much diplomatic security has been improved in the wake of the four deaths at Benghazi a year ago. The feared repeat of a 9/11 Benghazi attack came two days after the anniversary when attackers deployed car bombs in an SUV and minivan at the gates to the
A gang of squatters have been accused of making their neighbours lives ´a living hell´ for four years - but can´t be evicted because of a legal loophole. The squatters, believed to be eastern European, keep locals up all night by playing bongo drums and dump piles of rubbish in their street in Streatham, south London. But police have been left powerless to boot them out because the building is classed as commercial property. New laws introduced last year which allow squatters to be jailed for six months only cover residential properties. Angry locals have branded powers to evict squatters
City funding for the anti-violence group CeaseFire Illinois has run out, putting employees out of work in two gang-infested communities on the South and West sides. The one-year, $1 million contract was the first of its kind when it was forged last summer as Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy looked for unorthodox solutions as the number of homicides last year exceeded 500 for the first time in four years. The group operates in several other communities across the city primarily through state funding and will continue that work. CeaseFire, which tries to mediate gang conflicts to
Monster shrimp, some up to the length of a man´s forearm, are invading U.S. waters. Asian tiger shrimp have spread from North Carolina to Texas along the U.S. coast, but no one seems to know how they ended up in the U.S. in the first place. They are originally natives to Indo-Pacific, Asian, and Australian waters. The shrimp may have escaped aquaculture facilities in the U.S. or Caribbean, or maybe even drifted in on ocean currents from the Caribbean or even as far away as west Africa. The shrimp first showed up in 1988, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric