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Archive for September 23rd, 2014

Where’s Waldo? Brawling with Soccer Fans

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 23rd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Where’s Waldo? Brawling with Soccer Fans
A group of drunken Man United soccer fans brawled with a group of drunken stag party attendees dressed like “Where’s Waldo?” in Manchester, England. Security video shows the men yelling at each other in a transit station as conveyors take them in opposite directions. A Waldo pushes a Man U supporter, then the groups meet between the walkways and begin to fight. Five men were found guilty of affray — a charge in England for fighting in public. The soccer fans had visited several pubs after the game, while the Waldos had been drinking since 10 a.m. on the Yorkshire Ale Trail.


Ukraine: Cease-fire being upheld on both sides

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 23rd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Ukraine: Cease-fire being upheld on both sides
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — A cease-fire in east Ukraine is being upheld by both government troops and Russia-backed rebels, a senior Ukrainian official said Tuesday, in a first step toward enforcing a truce that has been riddled by repeated violations since it was imposed earlier this month.

Depleted Steelers sign linebacker James Harrison
PITTSBURGH (AP) — So much for James Harrison’s retirement.

Wife of hostage held in Syria receives life plea
LONDON (AP) — The wife of a British aid worker held hostage in Syria by the Islamic State group has received an audio message from him pleading for his life.


Obama on U.S. airstrikes in Syria: “We will not tolerate safe havens for terrorists”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 23rd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Obama on U.S. airstrikes in Syria: “We will not tolerate safe havens for terrorists”
The president spoke the morning after the United States began carrying out its first airstrikes in Syria against ISIS and the Khorasan group.


How Fox News Turned Ben Carson Into A Likely Presidential Candidate

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 23rd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

How Fox News Turned Ben Carson Into A Likely Presidential Candidate

Fox News contributor Ben Carson now claims that he will likely run for president in 2016, capping off a more than year-long campaign by the network to promote his political ambitions. Carson’s potential run continues the seemingly never-ending series of Republicans who have used Fox as a jumping off point for runs for office.

During a September 22 appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, Carson told Hewitt that the “likelihood is strong” he will throw his hat in the ring for the Republican nomination in 2016, “unless the American people indicate in November that they like big government intervention in every part of their lives.”

While Carson has repeatedly discussed the idea of running in recent months — often in response to questions about the multi-million dollar “Draft Ben Carson” movement — his comments to Hewitt seem like the strongest indication that he will seek the nomination. (Hewitt concluded based on the interview that it was “Pretty clear he will be running for president.”)

Carson’s assertion that he will likely run once again raises questions about Fox News’ ongoing unethical arrangement with contributors that are planning bids for office. The network has repeatedly given its contributors a megaphone (and a paycheck) while they openly discuss future political plans, only severing their contracts once the employee-candidates file official paperwork.

It’s created a situation where it encourages the network’s stable of future candidates to delay a formal announcement while continuing to benefit from Fox News’ prominent platform, which can amount to millions of dollars of what is essentially free advertising. This ethically shady setup has previously been criticized by current Fox News media reporter Howard Kurtz, who wrote for the Daily Beast in 2011, “The longer candidates stay in the Fox camp, the longer they can utilize the platform of the country’s top-rated cable news channel–and pad their bank accounts to boot.”

And while Carson considers a run, Fox News is happy to help stoke the speculation. Fox News and other conservative media are responsible in large part for helping catapult Carson from a career as a renowned neurosurgeon into his current incarnation as a political bombthrower — with a penchant for spouting nonsense — following a 2013 speech he gave attacking President Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast.

Shortly after that speech, he quickly became a media star, with Fox News figures quickly latching onto the idea he should run for president. The day after he delivered his speech, Sean Hannity hosted Carson on his Fox News show, asked him if he would ever run for president, then announced, “I would vote for you in a heartbeat.” The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed titled “Ben Carson for President.” A week later, one of Fox’s news programs dedicated a segment to one of the day’s “top stories,” which was the “buzz” that Carson should run for office.

Following several more months of network personalities fawning over Carson, Fox News inevitably announced that it had hired him in October 2013. Since then, Fox News and Carson have continued to work together to build his political brand and promote the idea that he is a viable presidential contender.


Obama Hails Mideast Allies as Strikes in Syria Begin

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 23rd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Obama Hails Mideast Allies as Strikes in Syria Begin
Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics
President Obama on Tuesday began a new and uncharted phase of his governance as a wartime leader, waging an offensive against terrorists with partners from Middle Eastern nations. Hours after the United States, assisted by five Arab nations, conducted airstrikes inside Syria, the president saluted bipartisan congressional backers and warned the American people that terrorists with the Islamic State and an al-Qaeda-affiliate group pose near-term threats. “There will be challenges ahead,” he said at the end of a brief statement at the White House before departing for events in New…

Is It Ever OK To Spank?
Mona Charen, RealClearPolitics
The image of Adrian Peterson’s son’s legs has ignited a welcome cultural conversation. This is unusual. Most of these contrived “conversations” are efforts to take one headline and shoehorn it into a narrative that liberals want to advance, usually about race and racism. Those “conversations” are never truthful. But the discussion of a 4-year-old boy’s wounds has elicited some brutally honest commentary. Writing for CNN, Steven Holmes blasted what he regards as excessive tolerance for spanking and child abuse in the black community. He dispatches the “I was whipped and I turned out all right”…

The Larger Problem of Police Shootings; Intramural Fight Dems Don’t Need; Nathan Hale’s Patriotism
Carl M. Cannon, RealClearPolitics
Good morning, it’s Monday, September 22, 2014. Engaging in a forward-looking presidential tradition of recent vintage, Barack Obama today signs the America’s Promise Alliance declaration, encouraging everyone to help the youth of this country reach their potential. The movement began in 1997, under the stewardship of Colin Powell, in Philadelphia. Present at that foundational summit was President Bill Clinton and three former presidents, Gerald R. Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush. Former first lady Nancy Reagan also came, and signed the declaration, on behalf of the 40th…


Cameron to hold talks with Iran

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 23rd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Cameron to hold talks with Iran
David Cameron is to meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani – the first time a UK prime minister has met an Iranian president since the Iran’s revolution in 1979.

Did Miliband get the Downing St job?
Did Ed Miliband pass conference job interview?


Five sleeper races to watch in the House

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 23rd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Five sleeper races to watch in the House
Don’t be surprised if there are still some sleeper races that develop before Election Day.


United Nations General Assembly: Is the United Nations Still Relevant?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 23rd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

United Nations General Assembly: Is the United Nations Still Relevant?
The secretary general has identified Ebola as a priority for the organization.

Philippines Concerned About China, Leader Says
Territorial disputes and mixed messages have been confusing, President Benigno S. Aquino III said.



Man Shot in Attack on Counterterrorism Officers in Australia
The police said early Wednesday that they fatally shot a man after he stabbed two counterterrorism officers in the southern state of Victoria.



Europe’s Anti-Semitism Comes Out of the Shadows
In the wake of the conflict in Gaza, three communities became flash points of violence and began contending with hatred they thought was buried in the past.




The United States Pledges To Give Up Landmines, Just Not Everywhere

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 23rd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

The United States Pledges To Give Up Landmines, Just Not Everywhere

The US is now almost in full compliance with the Mine Ban Treaty. Almost.

The post The United States Pledges To Give Up Landmines, Just Not Everywhere appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Mideast Israel Syria Crisis

CREDIT: AP Images

Some good news on the humanitarian front came this morning as the White House announced that, after years of deliberation, the United States will mostly comply with the Ottawa Convention, which seeks to eradicate the use of anti-personnel landmines (APLs).

The commitment means that the US will destroy its APL stockpiles and pledge not assist or encourage APL use by other states -– with one caveat: none of these commitments will apply to the Korean Peninsula.

The Ottawa Convention, also known as the Mine Ban Treaty, was drafted in 1997 and to date, 162 countries are bound by it. The United States, however, refused to sign the treaty when it was drafted, along with other major powers like Russia and China. Although the United States has not manufactured APLs since the late 1990s, it holds on to a stockpile of 3 million mines and, until this morning, reserved the right to use them. Earlier this year, the U.S. announced that it would officially no longer produce new landmines, allowing its stockpile of self-destructing – or “smart” – landmines in its arsenal to dwindle.

The only thing keeping the United States from fully complying with the Ottawa Convention is its insistence that APLs are crucial to the defense of the 38th parallel that separates the South Korea from North Korea. “Even as we take these further steps, the unique circumstances on the Korean Peninsula and our commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea preclude us from changing our anti-personnel landmine policy there at this time,” National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said in a statement.

Seeking to allay concerns about the U.S.’ defenses overall being weakened, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby put out a statement strongly defending the move. “Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel fully supports the changes to U.S. anti-personnel landmine (APL) policy announced by the president today,” Kirby’s statement read. ”The department will not use anti-personnel landmines outside the Korean Peninsula; will not assist, encourage, or induce others outside the Korean Peninsula to engage in activity prohibited by the Ottawa Convention; and will undertake steps to begin the destruction of APLs not required for the defense of South Korea.”

Critics say that the United States refusal to fully comply with the treaty provides political cover for other countries to continue their use of land mines. “It’s good that the Obama administration is inching toward joining the Mine Ban Treaty, but Korean civilians need protections from these weapons just as much as the people in every other country,” said Steve Goose , arms director at Human Rights Watch and chair of the United States Campaign to Ban Landmines, in a statement. “A geographic exception to the ban is no more acceptable today than when the treaty was negotiated.”

Banning APLs has been at the center of the international humanitarian agenda for decades now. According to a 2008 UN report, landmines kill between 15,000 to 20,000 people every year, continuing to do damage decades after the wars that were their raison d’etre have ended. The Red Cross reports that land mines left over from past wars remain a threat to over 60 states and areas, with Afghanistan, Pakistan, Colombia, and Myanmar being chief among them.

The United States is well aware of the devastating effects that APLs have on past war zones. It is the country that has spent the most — $2.3 billion since 1993– to help affected areas destroy conventional weapons, the White House said, a large part of which went to the destruction of land mines. APLs not only result in death and serious injury, but also less direct social effects, serving as a deterrent agriculture and economic development.

The ultimate goal of the United States, according to State Department Spokesperson Jan Psaki, is to joint the other 162 countries that comply with Ottawa: “In the meantime, we will continue our diligent efforts to pursue solutions that would be compliant with and ultimately allow us to join the Ottawa Convention.” she said in a statement.

The post The United States Pledges To Give Up Landmines, Just Not Everywhere appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Bill Simmons’ Epic Rant Against Roger Goodell

The popular ESPN personality called the NFL commissioner “a liar” over the handling of the Ray Rice case.

The post Bill Simmons’ Epic Rant Against Roger Goodell appeared first on ThinkProgress.

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ESPN’s Bill Simmons, one of the nation’s most prominent sports commentators, emphatically and repeatedly called NFL commissioner Roger Goodell “a liar” on his popular B.S. Report podcast Tuesday, insisting that Goodell knew about the elevator videotape of Ray Rice punching his fiancee prior to it being posted publicly on TMZ. The AP reported that a copy of the videotape was sent to the NFL’s league offices.

“It’s such fucking bullshit. It really is, it’s such fucking bullshit. For him to go on the press conference and pretend otherwise, I was so insulted,” Simmons said. “We know you are lying…”

Simmons seemed to anticipate that his comments could rankle his employer, ESPN, which is an NFL broadcast partner (but has reported that the Ravens knew of the tape shortly after the incident). “I really hope someone calls me or emails me and says I’m in trouble for anything I said about Roger Goodell because if one person says that to me, I’m going public. You leave me alone. The Commissioner is a liar and I get to say that on my podcast.”

Ultimately, whether or not Goodell knew about the videotape is a red herring. What actually occurred in the elevator, regardless of whether it was on tape, was public knowledge. When Goodell suspended Rice for just two games, he already knew that Rice struck his fiancee, rendered her unconscious, and dragged her limp body out of the elevator. Still, as Simmons notes, the NFL and the Ravens’ seem desperate to blame their inaction on their supposed lack of access to the tape rather than their own insensitivity to the seriousness of the context.

The post Bill Simmons’ Epic Rant Against Roger Goodell appeared first on ThinkProgress.


The Fight to Keep Toxic Mining Out of El Salvador

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 23rd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

The Fight to Keep Toxic Mining Out of El Salvador
From: Foreign Policy In Focus

Hundreds of protesters recently gathered at the World Bank to shame a gold-mining firm’s shakedown of one of Central America’s poorest countries.

How the Koch Network Exploited the Veterans Affairs Crisis
From: George Zornick

From the beginning, the Koch brothers were exploiting troubles at VA hospitals to weaken Obamacare and attack Democrats.

As US Bombs ISIS in Syria, Even Some Pro-War Pundits Express Skepticism
From: William Greider

The new war is only a few weeks old, but prominent cheerleaders are already expressing sober second thoughts.