Saturday, January 31, 2015

Statement by President Barack Obama on the Death of Kenji Goto

Well, at least they got the word "terrorist" in there.

Via Politico:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 31, 2015

Statement by the President on the Death of Kenji Goto

The United States condemns the heinous murder of Japanese citizen and journalist
Kenji Goto by the terrorist group ISIL. Through his reporting, Mr. Goto courageously
sought to convey the plight of the Syrian people to the outside world. Our thoughts are
with Mr. Goto’s family and loved ones, and we stand today in solidarity with Prime
Minister Abe and the Japanese people in denouncing this barbaric act. We applaud
Japan’s steadfast commitment to advancing peace and prosperity in the Middle East
and globally, including its generous assistance for innocent people affected by the
conflicts in the region. Standing together with a broad coalition of allies and partners,
the United States will continue taking decisive action to degrade and ultimately destroy
ISIL.
PREVIOUSLY: "Islamic State Beheads Japanese Hostage Kenji Goto."

White House Idiots NOW Worried About Harsh Blow of #ObamaCare Tax on Uninsured

Now they're worried.

Sheesh.

At the New York Times, "White House Seeks to Limit Health Law’s Tax Troubles":
WASHINGTON — Obama administration officials and other supporters of the Affordable Care Act say they worry that the tax-filing season will generate new anger as uninsured consumers learn that they must pay tax penalties and as many people struggle with complex forms needed to justify tax credits they received in 2014 to pay for health insurance.

The White House has already granted some exemptions and is considering more to avoid a political firestorm.

Mark J. Mazur, the assistant Treasury secretary for tax policy, said up to six million taxpayers would have to “pay a fee this year because they made a choice not to obtain health care coverage that they could have afforded.”

But Christine Speidel, a tax lawyer at Vermont Legal Aid, said: “A lot of people do not feel that health insurance plans in the marketplace were affordable to them, even with subsidies. Some went without coverage and will therefore be subject to penalties.”

The penalties, approaching 1 percent of income for some households, are supposed to be paid with income taxes due April 15. In addition, officials said, many people with subsidized coverage purchased through the new public insurance exchanges will need to repay some of the subsidies because they received more than they were entitled to.

More than 6.5 million people had insurance through the exchanges at some point last year, and 85 percent of them qualified for financial assistance, in the form of tax credits, to lower their premiums. Most people chose to have the subsidies paid in advance, based on their projected income for 2014. If their actual income was higher — because they received a raise or found a new job — they will be entitled to a smaller subsidy and must repay the difference, subject to certain limits.

“If the advanced premium tax credit amount is too high, the taxpayer could have an unwelcome surprise and owe money,” said Nina E. Olson, the national taxpayer advocate at the Internal Revenue Service.

Many people awarded insurance subsidies for 2014 did not realize that the amount would be reviewed and recalculated at tax time in 2015.

Consumers are sure to have questions, but cannot expect much help from the tax agency, where officials said customer service had been curtailed because of budget cuts.

The 2015 filing season could be the most difficult in decades, officials said. Ms. Olson said new paperwork resulting from the Affordable Care Act would probably exacerbate problems with customer service, which “has reached unacceptably low levels and is getting worse.”

“The I.R.S. is unlikely to answer even half the telephone calls it receives,” she added. “Taxpayers who manage to get through are expected to wait on hold for 30 minutes on average and considerably longer at peak times.”
Maybe Obama will waive the whole dang thing in time for the 2016 election, heh.

More (via Memeorandum).

Lily Aldridge Super Bowl Party: We get 'like HUNDREDS of chicken wings, chips and salsa, and Coronas...'

That's my kind of woman!

At GQ, "The GQ+A: Model Lily Aldridge on the Hottest Super Bowl of All Time."

Plus, Brian Kilmeade had a sweet interview yesterday at Fox News, "Lily Aldridge talks Victoria's Secret Super Bowl ads."

And at London's Daily Mail, "Behati Prinsloo and Lily Aldridge attend Leather and Laces Super Bowl party."

Islamic State Beheads Japanese Hostage Kenji Goto

Ho hum, here we go again.

We'll see how "tough" the Western response is.

At London's Daily Mail, "'We have an entire army thirsty for your blood': ISIS releases new video appearing to show Jihadi John beheading second Japanese hostage in desert after Tokyo government fails to hand over $200m."

And watch, at Gateway Pundit, "BREAKING!! ISIS BEHEADS JAPANESE HOSTAGE KENJI GOTO (Video— Photos)."

Also, "‘Jihadi John’ Makes No Mention of Fate of Captured Jordanian Pilot."

Simple, Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

Oliver North Slams Obama as 'Acting Like a Petulant Child...'

This is great.

From Megyn Kelly's show last night.

Watch: "Deadly Fighting Between Hezbollah and Israel."

Iran — Unafraid and Undeterred

From Carolyn Glick:
Israel’s reported strike January 18 on a joint Iranian-Hezbollah convoy driving on the Syrian Golan Heights was one of the most strategically significant events to have occurred in Israel’s neighborhood in recent months. Its significance lies both in what it accomplished operationally and what it exposed.

From what's been published to date about the identities of those killed in the strike, it is clear that in one fell swoop the air force decapitated the Iranian and Hezbollah operational command in Syria.

The head of Hezbollah’s operations in Syria, the head of its liaison with Iran, and Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of Hezbollah’s longtime operational commander Imad Mughniyeh who was killed by Israel in Damascus in 2008, were killed. The younger Mughniyeh reportedly served as commander of Hezbollah forces along the Syrian-Israeli border.

According to a report by Brig.-Gen. (res.) Shimon Shapira, a Hezbollah expert from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, the Iranian losses included three generals. Brig.- Gen. Mohammed Alladadi was the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps liaison officer to Hezbollah and to Syrian intelligence. He was also in charge of weapons shipments from Iran to Hezbollah. Gen. Ali Tabatabai was the IRGC commander in the Golan Heights and, according to Shapira, an additional general, known only as Assadi, “was, in all likelihood, the commander of Iranian expeditionary forces in Lebanon.”

The fact that the men were willing to risk exposure by traveling together along the border with Israel indicates how critical the front is for the regime in Tehran. It also indicates that in all likelihood, they were planning an imminent attack against Israel.

According to Ehud Yaari, Channel 2’s Arab Affairs commentator, Iran and Hezbollah seek to widen Hezbollah’s front against Israel from Lebanon to Syria. They wish to establish missile bases on the northern Hermon, and are expanding Hezbollah’s strategic depth from Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley to the outskirts of Damascus.

On Wednesday night, Yaari reported that the Syrian military has ceased to function south of Damascus. In areas not held by the al-Qaida-aligned Nusra Front and other regime opponents, the IRGC and Hezbollah have taken control, using the Syrian militia they have trained since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

The effectiveness of Hezbollah’s control of its expanded front was on display on Wednesday morning. Almost at the same time that Hezbollah forces shot at least five advanced Kornet antitank missiles at an IDF convoy along Mount Dov, killing two soldiers and wounding seven, Hezbollah forces on the Golan shot off mortars at the Hermon area.

While these forces are effective, they are also vulnerable. Yaari noted that today, three-quarters of Hezbollah’s total forces are fighting in Syria. Their twofold task is to defend the Assad regime and to build the Iranian-controlled front against Israel along the Golan Heights. Most of the forces are in known, unfortified, above ground positions, vulnerable to Israeli air strikes...
Keep reading.

And see Jonathan Tobin, at Commentary, "Is Iran Preparing for a Two-Front War Against Israel?"

The Far-Left, Obama-Coddling Media Gives Jeb Bush the 'High School Bully' Treatment

This is the same treatment the Obama-coddlers gave Mitt Romney.

So pathetic.

At Legal Insurrection, "Leave it to the media to get me to defend Jeb Bush." (Via Memeorandum.)

Althouse is not impressed, "The cruelty that is Jeb Bush." And see Ed Morrissey, at Hot Air, "Boston Globe: Hey, Jeb was a bully and pot-smoker in high school!" (at Memeorandum):

 photo bcf91a9e-2feb-4f66-8e98-0be0f72a1730_zpsyzoz8cic.png

In 2012, the national news media that couldn’t be bothered to look up the college records or classmates of a first-term Senate backbencher running for President suddenly found the high-school life of teenage Mitt Romney utterly fascinating. The media painted him as a rich-snob bully, a meme that continued even after the source admitted he was passing along third-hand hearsay, and after the family of the high-school prank victim ripped news outlets for exploiting the story about the now-deceased young man, and called the narrative “factually inaccurate.” Romney ended up in the ridiculous position of being a man in his sixties apologizing for pranks in his teens, but the aftereffects lingered … not coincidentally, during the summer when Team Obama conducted a massive character assassination campaign against the Republican nominee.
Well, Republicans aren't just running against the Democrat nominee. They've got to topple the entire MSM media complex as well.

More of the same, exactly.

Measles Outbreak Fears Plague the Super Bowl

A race against the clock.

At ABC News, "Super Bowl Alert: Race to Contain Measles Outbreak at the Super Bowl."

PREVIOUSLY: "California Measles Outbreak: 107 Cases, Latest in Affluent Far-Left Marin County."

Mitt Romney, Foreseeing Third Defeat, Decides Not to Run in 2016

More on Mitt Romney, at the New York Times, "Support Waning, Romney Decides Against 2016 Bid."

The moneyed power-brokers were bailing out on him. Indeed, they took him at his word he wasn't running again and glommed onto Jeb Bush's emerging campaign.

Again, I think it's good Mitt bowed out, although the prospect of a Bush/Clinton general election battle in 2016 gives me the creeps.

VIDEO: Eddie Elguera, Tony Hawk, and Christian Hosoi, et al., at 'El Gato Classic'

This is phenomenal.

Tony Hawk especially is shredding like it was yesterday. Amazing.



Plus, at Thrasher, "The El Gato Classic."

Santa Monica's 'Vidiots' Movie Rental Store to Close

I'm surprised it's still open, heh.

At LAT, "Vidiots movie rental store in Santa Monica is closing after 30 years":
The shelves at the Vidiots movie rental store are covered with dozens of messages scribbled by filmmakers on the covers of faded VHS and DVD containers. Notes from "Chinatown" writer Robert Towne, reclusive "Thin Red Line" director Terrence Malick and others praise the Santa Monica store's brainy staff and the mammoth film selection that has made it famous among film buffs worldwide.

One message, from Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone, stands out now: "What would life be like without Vidiots?"

Its patrons and fans will soon find out. Vidiots is closing in April after years of struggling to survive the onslaught of Internet rentals, streaming services and online piracy.

Rentals have dropped 24% in the last six months and are down 60% from the store's peak years in the early 2000s, co-owner Cathy Tauber said.

The store tried being a nonprofit, soliciting donations and hosting in-store events with directors. It even auctioned off a lunch with actress Laura Dern and a pitch meeting with an executive producer of the TV series "Homeland" to raise funds.

Tauber said the store also considered launching an online crowdfunding campaign but thought that it wouldn't be a long-term fix.

"We are just bleeding money. We just can't do that anymore," she said. "We didn't want to do something and end up right back where we were in six months."

Video rental stores have been suffering for years after reaching a peak in the late 1990s and early 2000s as DVDs took off, said Mark Fisher, chief executive of the Entertainment Merchants Assn.

There were about 20,000 locations that got at least 50% of their revenue from renting films in 1999 compared with the 3,900 independent and supermarket outlets that rented discs in the U.S. in 2013, he said. An explosion in movie rental kiosks like Redbox, which has more than 35,000 locations in the U.S., has also hurt stores such as Vidiots.

The stores that survive have found ways to supplement their revenue with other retail sales, Fisher said.

One chain in the Midwest, Family Video, owns and develops the land it is on and has actually expanded locations in recent years by integrating a pizza chain into its stores, according to a report from the Entertainment Merchants Assn.

But independent stores like Vidiots have struggled to find a model that works...
Strange.

I saw some lady renting videos out of one of the Redbox machines are Ralph's the other day. Seems like so last century, despite the automation.

More.

Israel Yinon, Renowned Conductor, Dies After Collapsing Onstage in Lucerne, Switzerland

You never know when you're going to go.

In this case, at least he died with his conducting boots on, doing what he loved to do. RIP.

At the Times of Israel, "Renowned Israeli conductor dies on stage during concert," and London's Daily Mail, "Internationally renowned conductor drops dead in front of screaming audience and musicians during a symphony in Switzerland."

Amedy Coulibaly Made GoPro Video of Attack at Hyper Cacher Market in Porte de la Vincennes, France - #ParisAttacks

Jake Tapper reports, at CNN, "French Terrorist Taped Rampage in Kosher Grocery Store with Chest Mounted GoPro."

Friday, January 30, 2015

California Measles Outbreak: 107 Cases, Latest in Affluent Far-Left Marin County

If your child is unvaccinated, not only are you reducing scientific herd immunity, you're putting your child at risk of catastrophic illness or even death.

Leftists are anti-science that way, though. Vile crackpots and Utopian ideologues, frankly.

At LAT, "Measles outbreak grows to 107 cases, latest in Marin County."

PREVIOUSLY: "Affluent Leftists Dominate the Ranks of Anti-Vaxxers, Overwhelmingly Voted for Obama."

Live Audio from Mitt Romney's Call to Supporters

There's a lot of fresh, talented faces in the GOP field. A bid for the nomination was gonna be no Sunday stroll.

It's better Romney's not running, mainly so that the GOP can present a fresh, more diverse face to the electorate in 2016.

Listen to Romney's call to supporters, at CNN, "Romney: It's for the best that I step aside."

Plus, at Hugh Hewitt's, "The Romney Statement: Not Running" (via Memeorandum).

Still more, at Bloomberg (via Memeorandum), "New Iowa Poll: Romney Would Have Faced Many Campaign Hurdles," and "How Mitt Romney Made His Decision Not to Run."

Let's Stick Together

I can't resist, heh.

Some Bryan Ferry:



Super Bowl Tickets Selling for More Than $10,000 on StubHub (VIDEO)

Hey, if you've got the money...

At CBS News This Morning, "Inside StubHub's Super Bowl Ticket Operation."

When Bread Bags Weren't Funny

From Megan McArdle, at Bloomberg:
Last week, in her State of the Union response, Joni Ernst mentioned going to school with bread bags on her feet to protect her shoes. These sorts of remembrances of poor but honest childhoods used to be a staple among politicians -- that's why you've heard so much about Abe Lincoln's beginnings in a log cabin. But the bread bags triggered a lot of hilarity on Twitter, which in turn triggered this powerful meditation from Peggy Noonan on how rich we have become. So rich that we have forgotten things that are well within living memory:

I liked what Ernst said because it was real. And it reminded me of the old days.

There are a lot of Americans, and most of them seem to be on social media, who do not know some essentials about their country, but this is the way it was in America once, only 40 and 50 years ago:
America had less then. Americans had less.

If you were from a family that was barely or not quite getting by, you really had one pair of shoes. If your family was doing OK you had one pair of shoes for school and also a pair of what were called Sunday shoes -- black leather or patent leather shoes. If you were really comfortable you had a pair of shoes for school, Sunday shoes, a pair of play shoes and even boots, which where I spent my childhood (Brooklyn, and Massapequa, Long Island) were called galoshes or rubbers. At a certain point everyone had to have sneakers for gym, but if you didn’t have sneakers you could share a pair with a friend, trading them in the hall before class.

If you had just one pair of shoes, which was the case in my family, you had trouble when it rained or snowed. How to deal with it?

You used the plastic bags that bread came in. Or you used plastic bags that other items came in. Or you used Saran Wrap if you had it, wrapping your shoes and socks in it. Or you let your shoes and socks get all wet, which we also did.
I am a few years younger than Noonan, but I grew up in a very different world -- one where a number of my grammar school classmates were living in public housing or on food stamps, but everyone had more than one pair of shoes. In rural areas, like the one where Joni Ernst grew up, this lingered longer. But all along, Americans got richer and things got cheaper -- especially when global markets opened up. Payless will sell you a pair of child's shoes for $15, which is two hours of work even at minimum wage...
Keep reading.

My dad was born in 1913, in Jim Crow Missouri. He faced a lot of hardship in life, to say nothing of racism. Stories like Joni Ernst's were a staple of the dinner table around my house growing up. Thriftiness wasn't just some noble virtue, it was a way of life. And we weren't bad off at all. My dad drove a Mercedes. It's just once you do things a certain way, you don't change when things get better for you.

And yes, we are an extremely affluent society these days. Even the poorest Americans have access to the kind of basic commodities that the poor of the developing world can only dream about.

Amazing.

'A Muslim allowed a topless Jew to sit on his camel. And we say we can't live side by side?...'

Heh, at Truth Revolt, "Chelsea Handler Goes Topless....Again."

Those Star of David doilies are the best!

Germaine Greer Slams 'Trannies' as 'Delusional' — No 'Such Thing' as 'Transphobia'

Heh, at Kathy Shaidle's, "Germaine Greer calls trannies ‘delusional’ — Plus: 3D printing to create vaginas?":
Greer was uncompromising in her rhetoric, condemning from the beginning of her speech the “pressure on women to be clean, sweet, perfumed and submissive” and later suggested that trans women do not know what it is to “have a big, hairy, smelly vagina”. Greer was robust in her championing of the woman as an autonomous person and was anxious not to be diverted into what she described as “side issues”.
Keep reading.

This was Greer during her appearance at the Cambridge Union Society.

Apparently, the talk didn't go over too well with the trans community.

At the Independent UK, "Germaine Greer 'should not be invited back' to Cambridge University after appearing to deny the existence of transphobia":

Germaine Greer photo Germaine_Greer_28197229_zpsleoaww0e.jpg
Germaine Greer’s views on transwomen have long been the subject of controversy.

In the Nineties, at her Cambridge college of Newnham, the famed feminist attempted to block the appointment of transgender colleague Rachel Padman to a fellowship. Her opposition, she claimed, was not down to her gender identity but instead the method of her appointment to the college.

In 2012, she was glitter-bombed at a book signing in New Zealand by LGBT activist group Queer Avengers for comments she made in a column in 2009. She wrote that transwomen “seem to us ghastly parodies” and claimed the idea of being trans was a “delusion”.

Greer faced similar protests ahead of her address at Cambridge Union Society this week. A counter-event was staged against what one student called Greer’s “hate speech” by student activist group CUSU LGBT+. And it turns out her talk contained as much potentially inflammatory material as they predicted.

Speaking about her Newnham college opposition, the Cambridge Student quoted her as telling the Union: “I didn’t know there was such a thing [as transphobia]. Arachnaphobia, yes. Transphobia, no.”

She went on to suggest that trans women are not women because they do not know what it is like “to have a big, hairy, smelly vagina”.

Elsewhere, she argued that allowing individuals to undergo surgical procedures during transitioning was “unethical” because they “remove healthy tissue and create lifelong dependence on medicine”.

Greer continued that she hoped there would be more opportunities for people to exist within their own orientations and sexualities in the future without reliance on medical assistance.

“To invite Germaine Greer back to speak in Cambridge condones her transmisogny,” CUSU LGBT+ said.

But-Heads! Mindless Leftist Zombies Lurking in the Shadows!

I had to giggle out loud a couple of times.

At Theo Spark's, "Andrew Klavan: Attack of the But-Heads!"

Return of Eliminationist Anti-Semitism in Europe is Return to the Norm

Once again, from the awesome Charles Krauthammer, "Do we really mean ‘never again’?":
Amid the ritual expressions of regret and the pledges of “never again” on Tuesday’s 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, a bitter irony was noted: Anti-Semitism has returned to Europe. With a vengeance.

It has become routine. If the kosher-grocery massacre in Paris hadn’t happened in conjunction with Charlie Hebdo, how much worldwide notice would it have received? As little as did the murder of a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school in Toulouse. As little as did the terror attack that killed four at the Jewish Museum in Brussels.

The rise of European anti-Semitism is, in reality, just a return to the norm. For a millennium, virulent Jew-hatred — persecution, expulsions, massacres — was the norm in Europe until the shame of the Holocaust created a temporary anomaly wherein anti-Semitism became socially unacceptable.

The hiatus is over. Jew-hatred is back, recapitulating the past with impressive zeal. Italians protesting Gaza handed out leaflets calling for a boycott of Jewish merchants. As in the 1930s. A widely popular French comedian has introduced a variant of the Nazi salute. In Berlin, Gaza brought out a mob chanting, “Jew, Jew, cowardly pig, come out and fight alone!” Berlin, mind you.

European anti-Semitism is not a Jewish problem, however. It’s a European problem, a stain, a disease of which Europe is congenitally unable to rid itself.

From the Jewish point of view, European anti-Semitism is a sideshow. The story of European Jewry is over. It died at Auschwitz. Europe’s place as the center and fulcrum of the Jewish world has been inherited by Israel. Not only is it the first independent Jewish commonwealth in 2,000 years. It is, also for the first time in 2,000 years, the largest Jewish community on the planet.

The threat to the Jewish future lies not in Europe but in the Muslim Middle East, today the heart of global anti-Semitism, a veritable factory of anti-Jewish literature, films, blood libels and calls for violence, indeed for another genocide.

The founding charter of Hamas calls not just for the eradication of Israel but for the killing of Jews everywhere. Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah welcomes Jewish emigration to Israel — because it makes the killing easier: “If Jews all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.’’ And, of course, Iran openly declares as its sacred mission the annihilation of Israel...
These are just plain facts, spoken plainly.

Keep reading.

PREVIOUSLY: "Pat Condell: Jews in Europe Report Surge in Anti-Semitism."

VIDEO: Katy Perry Super Bowl Press Conference

Highlights here, via the NFL:



Watch the full clip here, "Katy Perry's Pepsi Super Bowl XLIX Halftime Show Press Conference."

Video Shows Kristiana Coignard Allegedly Wielding Knife Before Killed by Police

It's hard to see anything in the surveillance video, but the woman does lunge at one of the officers, apparently just after she'd pulled a butcher's knife out of her knapsack.

At LAT, "Video shows girl pull knife on Texas police before they shoot her."

And the full police video is here: "Video of Longview Police Department Lobby on night teen was fatally shot by officers." (The kill shot is just after 11:00 minutes. )

Hayat Boumeddiene, Jihad Wife in #ParisAttacks, Fled France with Help of Syria Terror Network

Seriously.

Jihadists literally can flow in and out of Europe like a summer breeze.

At the Wall Street Journal, "Underground Terror Network Said to Benefit Would-Be Jihadists in Europe: Officials Say Wife of Paris Gunman Used Resources to Reach Islamic State Territory in Syria":

Hayat Boumeddiene photo 150112-hayat-boumeddiene-suspect-640p_ce8368d74a6d2ff154319d14c64b9f2a_zpszev1wyar.jpg
PARIS—When a young Frenchwoman showed up early this month at an Islamic State border checkpoint in northern Syria, the extremists controlling that arid expanse were expecting her.

They waved her right through and let her bodyguards accompany her, according to Western counterterrorism officials.

The militants had been told to give Hayat Boumeddiene special treatment by the network of chaperones who had arranged her travel. The reason would soon be clear: The same day she crossed the border, her husband, Amedy Coulibaly, unleashed his terror spree in Paris, and she became the most-wanted woman in France.

No charges have been filed but authorities are eager to question Ms. Boumeddiene. “She is the prize—a high-value asset—because she knows a lot about the preparation of the attack,” said a counterterrorism official.

Her journey from the gritty suburbs of Paris to the Syrian border followed a circuitous route that—much like an underground railroad—allowed her to slip away covertly.

Islamic State’s ability to provide safe harbor to friends and family removes potential obstacles for would-be attackers in the West. They no longer need to be part of a terror group’s rank-and-file to benefit from its resources, according to Western counterterrorism officials and people close to militant networks.

There isn’t any evidence Mr. Coulibaly took orders from Islamic State, although he pledged his allegiance in a video that circulated online after his death.

But he didn’t act in isolation either. Instead, he tapped into a grass-roots network that grew along with al Qaeda and has begun to reconfigure around Islamic State. “It’s a new operating mode. The logic is different,” said Daniel Fellous, a French lawyer specializing in terror cases.

Years before Mr. Coulibaly took to the streets of Paris armed with AK-47s—killing four hostages at a kosher grocery and a policewoman—the people suspected of shepherding his wife to Syria were cutting their teeth on a narrower mission: recruiting and sending French nationals to fight U.S. troops in Afghanistan, according to court documents.

French authorities thought they had dismantled the network.

In July 2014, a French court convicted nine members on charges of assisting an Afghan jihadist network suspected of planning terrorist attacks. Some, however, were released due to time served while awaiting trial. And some group members had logistical expertise that French police now suspect was put to use in helping Mr. Coulibaly.

Phone taps, interrogations and other documents compiled as part of that trial and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal portray a homegrown network that spread tentacles across continents.

It included Yassine Bouzid, who navigated Alpine byways to reach Italy’s Adriatic coast; Zahir Chouket, whose myriad contacts in Turkey could move people through to Afghanistan; and Mohamed Belhoucine, a lanky computer programmer who went by the handle “oussama911.”

During the trial, Mr. Bouzid acknowleged helping militants reach Afghanistan. For a while, he said, he viewed jihad as similar to the brigades of international volunteers during Spain’s civil war in the 1930s, but would have never supported attacks on civilians.

Police recently questioned him in connection to Mr. Coulibaly’s attacks, according to Mr. Fellous, who represents Mr. Bouzid. No charges have been brought against him, Mr. Fellous said.

Mr. Chouket was convicted in absentia and remains on the run. Police updated an existing arrest warrant to include suspicions he was involved in Ms. Boumeddiene’s escape. His legal representation is unknown.

Mr. Belhoucine dropped out of one of France’s top engineering schools because—as he wrote in a letter contained in the court documents—“multidisciplinary teaching doesn’t correspond to my professional ambitions.”

According to the court documents, Mr. Belhoucine fielded emails from Afghanistan, reporting on the status of French militants bearing nicknames like “Call of Duty 4,” based on the warfare videogame. “I was in charge of passing on messages from the men on the front,” he told police...
Still more.

Pitbull-Dachshund Mix

A wiener dog with a bite pounds-per-square-inch that would crush your throat.

Heh.

At Blazing Cat Fur, "‘I Can’t Stop Looking At This Pit Bull-Dachshund Mix’."

Economic Growth Slows to 2.6 Percent in Fourth Quarter

Click through especially for the graph on quarterly GDP since 2000. The fourth quarter of 2008 was almost negative 9 percent. Man, talk about a crash.

Here, "U.S. Economic Growth Slows to 2.6% in Fourth Quarter: GDP Underscores Obstacles Facing Recovery as Troubles Mount Abroad."

Anti-Vaccine Parents Boost Measles Comeback

From the editors, at USA Today:
The outbreak of measles that started at California's Disneyland last month and spread to 10 other states demonstrates how misinformation, misguided celebrities and lax state laws can have tragic consequences.

In the 1960s, measles killed about 450 people a year and disabled many more. By 2000, it was virtually eliminated in the United States, thanks to almost universal use of an effective vaccine. But last year, the U.S. saw 644 cases of measles and now, less than a month into 2015, more than 70 cases have been linked to the Disneyland outbreak.

The numbers might sound small, but they are the outgrowth of a frightening trend, as more parents have fallen under the influence of an anti-vaccine movement. The movement has been fueled by irresponsible celebrities who've spread word of a British study, now thoroughly debunked, that suggested the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine might be linked to autism.

When vaccination rates are very high — as they still are in the U.S. as a whole — everyone is protected by what's known as "herd immunity." It protects the most vulnerable, including a small number of children who for medical reasons should not be vaccinated, infants too young for their first shots, and rare individuals on whom the vaccine doesn't work.

But when individuals selfishly refuse to vaccinate their children, seeking a free ride on the rest of the herd, immunity breaks down and innocents are put at risk...
Selfish indeed.

Selfish, anti-science leftists. See, "Affluent Leftists Dominate the Ranks of Anti-Vaxxers, Overwhelmingly Voted for Obama."

Democrat-Funded Law Firm, the 'Bronx Defenders', Involved in Rap Video Calling for Police to Be Killed

At the Los Angeles Times, "New York City-funded law firm involved in video calling for police to be killed":
Bronx law firm that receives city funding has been linked to a controversial music video that called for police officers to be killed, according to findings made public Thursday.

According to a report released by the New York City Department of Investigation, at least two attorneys with the Bronx Defenders appear in the video, titled “Hands Up,” which contains images of two singers pointing handguns at the head of a man dressed up as a police officer.

One of the artists raps early in the video “for Mike Brown and Sean Bell, a cop gotta get killed,” referring to two police killings involving the Ferguson, Mo. and New York City police departments.

The entire video, which was released by rappers Uncle Murda & Maino in conjunction with the website WorldStar Hip Hop in December, can be viewed here.

Portions of the video were shot at the offices of the Bronx Defenders, a law firm that provides criminal defense attorneys to low-income defendants, and receives roughly $20 million in city funding each year, according to the report.

The law firm is described as a sponsor in the closing credits of the clip. Two attorneys, identified as Kumar Rao and Ryan Napoli, suggested the agency become involved in the video and can be seen in the final cut. A third Bronx Defenders employee was present for the video's filming but was not on camera.

The Department of Investigation, a city government watchdog panel, also accused Bronx Defenders Executive Director Robin Steinberg of failing to adequately discipline the staff members involved in the video. The panel has submitted its findings to New York Mayor Bill De Blasio’s office and the city attorney for review.

“The Bronx Defenders abhors the use of violence against the police under any circumstance. We have always been an organization that is committed to preserving life, dignity and respect for all people,” read a statement posted to the law firm's website on Thursday. “The Bronx Defenders never approved the music video 'Hands Up,' and never saw it before it went online. We deeply regret any involvement with this video.”

Steinberg told city investigators her office did not see a final version of the video before it was released, according to the report. Investigators contend the law firm made no effort to obtain a copy of the video to review before it was released.

Attorneys Rao and Napoli could not be reached for comment.

The report marks the latest in a series of police-related controversies in New York City. In December, a grand jury declined to indict white Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the apparent chokehold death of Eric Garner, a black Staten Island man. The decision set off weeks of protests from thousands who believed Pantaleo should face criminal charges.

Weeks later, New York City police officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot and killed in an ambush by 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who had promised to kill cops as revenge for the deaths of Garner and Brown in a rant on social media that same day.

Patrick Lynch, head of New York City's largest police union, called for the city to immediately stop funding Bronx Defenders on Thursday.

“It is clear that Bronx Defenders, who knowingly participated in this despicable video calling for the murder of police officers, have violated their oath as officers of the court and should be disbarred as a result,” Lynch said in a statement.
This is the Democrat Party ideology in action. Killing cops. "Hands up" has been a lie and a scam the whole time, and leftist disinformation has gotten people killed. This goes all the way up to the Obama administation, according to the Daily Signal:
Bronx Defenders, which received at least $1.5 million from the Obama Justice Department since 2009, says on its website that assistance from Emery’s firm, Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, “makes the work we do possible.”

The Daily Signal first reported the series of federal grants last week...

'Young loving may be oh so mean ... Will I still survive the same old scene...?'

Some Roxy Music:



Kendra Sunderland, Former Oregon State University Student, Arrested After Making Porn Video in Campus Library

Anything goes these days, I guess.

No doubt she has some public exhibitionist streak.

At London's Daily Mail, "Former Oregon State student arrested after making a porn video in campus library."

And at Scallywag, "Pictures: Kendra Sunderland, former Oregon State student arrested after making video in campus library."

Obama's Haphazard Foreign Policy Makes the World More Dangerous

From Peggy Noonan, at WSJ, "America’s Strategy Deficit":

Something is going on here.

On Tuesday retired Gen. James Mattis, former head of U.S. Central Command (2010-13) told the Senate Armed Services Committee of his unhappiness at the current conduct of U.S. foreign policy. He said the U.S. is not “adapting to changed circumstances” in the Mideast and must “come out now from our reactive crouch.” Washington needs a “refreshed national strategy”; the White House needs to stop being consumed by specific, daily occurrences that leave it “reacting” to events as if they were isolated and unconnected. He suggested deep bumbling: “Notifying the enemy in advance of our withdrawal dates” and declaring “certain capabilities” off the table is no way to operate.

Sitting beside him was Gen. Jack Keane, also a respected retired four-star, and a former Army vice chief of staff, who said al Qaeda has “grown fourfold in the last five years” and is “beginning to dominate multiple countries.” He called radical Islam “the major security challenge of our generation” and said we are failing to meet it.

The same day the generals testified, Kimberly Dozier of the Daily Beast reported that Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a retired director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, had told a Washington conference: “You cannot defeat an enemy you do not admit exists.” The audience of military and intelligence professionals applauded. Officials, he continued, are “paralyzed” by the complexity of the problems connected to militant Islam, and so do little, reasoning that “passivity is less likely to provoke our enemies.”

These statements come on the heels of the criticisms from President Obama’s own former secretaries of defense. Robert Gates, in “Duty,” published in January 2014, wrote of a White House-centric foreign policy developed by aides and staffers who are too green or too merely political. One day in a meeting the thought occurred that Mr. Obama “doesn’t trust” the military, “doesn’t believe in his own strategy, and doesn’t consider the war to be his.” That’s pretty damning. Leon Panetta , in his 2014 memoir, “Worthy Fights,” said Mr. Obama ”avoids the battle, complains, and misses opportunities.”

No one thinks this administration is the A Team when it comes to foreign affairs, but this is unprecedented push-back from top military and intelligence players. They are fed up, they’re less afraid, they’re retired, and they’re speaking out. We are going to be seeing more of this kind of criticism, not less...
More.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Pat Condell: Jews in Europe Report Surge in Anti-Semitism

Muslim anti-Semitism, a unique form of hatred.



America's Two-Tiered Economy Reshaping Markets — And Politics

There's been some leftist talk about how with the economy picking up steam Republicans won't have their most potent issue to hammer the depraved Democrats in 2016.

Don't believe it for a second.

The Democrats are the party of the rich new "liberal gentry" class. Especially on the West Coast, in the rich technology sector, wealthy new gentry liberals have been enjoying the benefits of a top-tier economy while giving overwhelmingly to Democrat Party candidates, especially President Obama. Meanwhile, the poverty rate under the Obama administration has skyrocketed to levels not seen in 50 years. And the rolls of Americans dependent of food stamps for their daily food survival is unprecedented in U.S. history.

In short, the affluent have prospered enormously under the Democrats these last few years, while those on the bottom rungs have become increasingly marginalized and dependent of government welfare programs. For those made worse by Democrat failure to expand the economy for all, the idea of an "opportunity society" is a cruel joke.

The GOP presidential field would be wise to adopt Bill Clinton's mantra from 1992: "It's the economy, stupid."

A smart, talented Republican nominee should be able to eviscerate Democrat Party inequality politics, making the case for the expansion of the economy to benefit everyone, not just the rich gentry leftists connected to the far-left, Democrat-insider crony regime.

In any case, at WSJ, "How a Two-Tier Economy Is Reshaping the U.S. Marketplace":
WOODINVILLE, Wash.—Five years ago, Quadrant Homes churned out starter houses in the Seattle area with an average sales price of $269,000 and the marketing slogan, “More House, Less Money.”

But facing a debt-burdened middle class and rising land prices, Quadrant has since exchanged entry-level buyers for customers free of credit worries and ready to splurge. Its new slogan, “Built Your Way,” accompanies homes with vaulted ceilings and gourmet kitchens that last year sold for an average price of $420,000. “We used a lot of market research to tell us that our old model wasn’t going to work,” said Ken Krivanec, Quadrant’s chief executive.

The emergence of a two-tiered U.S. economy, with wealthy households advancing while middle- and lower-income Americans struggle, is reshaping markets for everything from housing to clothing to groceries to beer.

“It’s a tale of two economies,” said Glenn Kelman, chief executive of Redfin, a real-estate brokerage in Seattle that operates in 25 states. “There is a high-end market that is absolutely booming. And then there’s everyone in the middle class. They don’t have much hope of wage growth.”

The recession blew holes in the balance sheets of all U.S. households and ended a decadeslong loosening of credit for middle-class borrowers. Now, credit is tight, and incomes have been flat or falling for all but the top 10th of U.S. income earners between 2010 and 2013, according to the Federal Reserve.

American spending patterns after the recession underscore why many U.S. businesses are reorienting to serve higher-income households, said Barry Cynamon, of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Since 2009, average per household spending among the top 5% of U.S. income earners—adjusting for inflation—climbed 12% through 2012, the most recent data available. Over the same period, spending by all others fell 1% per household, according to Mr. Cynamon, a visiting scholar at the bank’s Center for Household Financial Stability, and Steven Fazzari of Washington University in St. Louis, who published their research findings last year.

The spending rebound following the recession “appears to be largely driven by the consumption at the top,” Mr. Cynamon said. He and Mr. Fazzari found the wealthiest 5% of U.S. households accounted for around 30% of consumer spending in 2012, up from 23% in 1992.

Indeed, such midtier retailers as J.C. Penney , Sears and Target have slumped. “The consumer has not bounced back with the confidence we were all looking for,” Macy’s chief executive Terry Lundgren told investors last fall.

In luxury retail, meanwhile: “Our customers are confident, feel good about the economy in general and their personal balance sheets specifically,” said Karen Katz, chief executive of Neiman Marcus Group Ltd., last month. Reported 2014 revenues of $4.8 billion for the company are up from $3.6 billion in 2009.

Revenue for such luxury hotel chains as St. Regis and Ritz-Carlton rose 35% last year compared with 2008, according to market research firm STR Inc. Revenues at midscale chains such as Best Western and Ramada were down 1%.

On grocery aisles, the recession and its aftermath boosted sales of economy brands. At the high end, Whole Foods Market Inc. reported record sales per gross square foot last year.

“Demand bifurcated,” said Jason Green, chief executive of the Cambridge Group, a growth strategy firm that is part of Nielsen NV. “The familiar stuff my middle-class family had in the pantry, those are under significant pressure.”

In the grocery market’s middle tier, Safeway Inc., the second-largest supermarket chain in the U.S. was purchased last year by the private-equity group that owns Albertsons, the fifth-largest grocery retailer. Company officials said the deal would allow the companies to reduce costs—and lower prices for customers—as they fend off competition from low-price outlets and high-end stores.

In the cold case, sales of premium lagers are up 16% since 2007 after adjusting for inflation, while sales of economy brands grew 8%, according to research firm Euromonitor International. Sales of midprice beers are down 1%.

The trend hit auto makers some years ago, when BMW AG ’s former chief executive Helmut Panke described the U.S. market as an hourglass: lots of demand for budget and luxury brands but little in between.

Steve Bates, general manager of BMW Seattle for the past 12 years, said new-car sales at his dealership were up 25% last year, while used-car sales were flat. The M4 series, a sporty coupe priced from $64,000, has been “selling out as soon as it touches the ground,” he said.

Then there are consumers like Vicki Oliver, 68 years old, of Temecula, Calif. She bought a used Hyundai Sonata last year to replace a wrecked 1995 Ford Explorer. Ms. Oliver and her husband, a real-estate agent, added onto their home two years ago so her daughter and son-in-law, a general contractor, could move in with their family.

“That was a way to make things work in hard times,” Ms. Oliver said. Caribbean cruises and trips to Florida are now memories. “We haven’t done that for years,” she said...
Keep reading.

CNN's Kyra Phillips Discusses How Privileged White Career Women Can Have it All

CNN's Kyra Phillips talks to CNN's Brooke Baldwin, two attractive, successful white women, about conception and fertility for career professionals who're past their prime child-bearing years.

Interestingly, Brooke Baldwin's frozen her eggs (Kyra Phillips calls that putting your "beautiful" eggs "on ice").

Actually, I'm kidding about the "privileged white women" bullshit. I think it's awesome the Ms. Phillips and her husband, former CNN anchor John Roberts (who's now at Fox News) were able to start a family. It's just as I was watching these two women I could imagine deranged Imani ABL (Angry Black Lady) or any untold numbers of unhappy progressive SJW harpies going off about the white privilege of professional women's fertility issues.



Police Say Waze Traffic App Could Put Cops at Mortal Risk

You'd have to be a real asshole to use this Waze app, "notifying Wazers" of cops in your area by "driving social."

No doubt leftists really like the app, since they want cops dead. Indeed, Ismaaiyl Brinsley used Waze to locate the vehicle of the two New York officers he gunned down in cold blood.

You go progs.

At CBS News, "Police say Waze traffic app could put officers at risk."

Also at the Los Angeles Times, "LA police chief goes public with concerns over Google Waze app."

'Staggering' iPhone Demand Helps Lift Apple's Quarterly Profit by 38 Percent

So, Apple's pretty much the top titan of the titans of 21st century industry.

At WSJ, "Profit Hits $18 Billion as 74.5 Million iPhones Are Sold":
Apple Inc. surpassed even the most bullish Wall Street expectations for its holiday quarter with an improbable trifecta: selling more iPhones at higher prices—and earning more on each sale.

The Cupertino, Calif., company said it sold 74.5 million iPhones in the quarter, 46% above a year earlier, while lifting the average selling price of the devices by $50 from the prior year. The total equates to more than 34,000 phones an hour, around the clock.

“Demand for iPhone was staggering,” Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook told analysts. “This volume is hard to comprehend.”

Results were remarkable, even for a company that has increased revenue more than tenfold in the past decade. They recalled the Steve Jobs heyday when iPhone demand routinely topped forecasts. In some ways, the gains are more impressive because Apple today faces many more competitors and because smartphone growth is thought to be slowing.

Consumers snapped up Apple’s two new larger-display phones, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which made their debut in September, after years in which Apple ceded the large smartphone market to rivals. Apple encountered supply shortages for weeks in traditional strongholds like the U.S., as well as faster-growing markets like China.

pple had predicted that the new iPhones would prompt many existing customers to upgrade. Mr. Cook said in an interview that Apple also is luring customers from smartphone manufacturers that use Google Inc. ’s Android operating system.

“We brought on more new people to iPhone than ever before,” Mr. Cook said. “Many of those are switching from Android, and we couldn’t be happier about that.”

Apple posted net of $18.0 billion for its fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 27, up 38% from $13.1 billion in the same period a year earlier. That is more than 435 of the companies in the S&P 500 index each made in total profits since 2009, according to S&P Capital IQ.

Earnings per share rose more sharply, up 48% to $3.06 from a split-adjusted $2.07, because of Apple’s share buyback program. Revenue increased 30% to $74.6 billion from $57.6 billion.

The results soared past analysts’ expectations. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters estimated that Apple would post earnings of $2.60 a share on revenue of $67.7 billion...
More.

Deranged Lefties Want Boehner Tried for Treason for Inviting Netanyahu to Speak to Congress

Some epic afternoon lulz.

At Jammie Wearing Fools.

Chino Residents Rise Up Against Proposed Islamic Mosque

"It's just not right for the neighborhood," says one woman interviewed at the clip.

Heh, Islam's just not right for America, but I must say she's on the right track. I imagine San Bernardino County could do well enough without a growing supply of homegrown Amedy Coulibalys.

At CBS News Los Angeles, "Mosque Plans Get Cold Reception In Chino."

Code Pink Tries to Arrest 91-Year-Old Henry Kissinger for 'War Crimes,' Get Smacked Down by 94-Year-Old George Shultz

John McCain's response is the best, heh.

From Bridget Johnson, at Pajamas Media:

Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) said he would call recess until Capitol Police removed Code Pink from the room.

“I’ve been a member of this committee for many years, and I have never seen anything as disgraceful and outrageous and despicable as the last demonstration that just took place,” McCain said, which led to shout-backs from the protesters.

“You know, you’re going to have to shut up, or I’m going to have you arrested. If we can’t get the Capital Hill Police in here immediately… Get out of here, you low-life scum,” McCain added.

“So Henry, I hope you will — Dr. Kissinger, I hope on behalf of all of the members of this committee on both sides of the aisle — in fact, from all of my colleagues, I’d like to apologize for allowing such disgraceful behavior towards a man who served his country with the greatest distinction. I apologize profusely.”

Homeowners in Poland Borrowed in Swiss Francs, and Now Pay Dearly

Poles borrowed in loans denominated in Swiss francs, but they have to pay back the loans on the local currency, the zloty. With the franc appreciating against the Euro, payments on Polish mortgages are skyrocketing.

And they thought the low rates on the Swiss loans, with a "stable" currency, was such a good deal.

At the New York Times, "Swiss Franc Rises, and Poland’s Mortgages Go With It."

Israel Vows Retaliation After Hezbollah Kills Two IDF Soldiers

At LAT, "Deadly Hezbollah-Israel border clash raises specter of new conflict":


A fresh spasm of violence Wednesday along contested terrain between Israel and Lebanon looks ominously like the scenario that sparked the 2006 war between the two bitter adversaries, raising the prospect of another major conflict in the heart of the Middle East.

Israel acknowledged that a flurry of antitank missiles fired by Hezbollah had killed two of its soldiers and wounded seven, in the Lebanese militant and political movement's most lethal assault on Israeli forces since 2006.

Also killed, apparently by retaliatory Israeli fire into Lebanese territory, was a Spanish peacekeeper serving in the 10,000-strong United Nations force along the “Blue Line” separating Lebanese and Israeli lands.

But though the risk of a larger conflagration prompted international concern, with the U.N. urging all parties to exercise “maximum restraint” to avoid escalation, analysts in both countries said it appeared unlikely that Wednesday's attacks would morph from a limited border incident into a broader conflict.

The 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006 erupted with a Hezbollah ambush on an Israeli patrol that resulted in the deaths of three Israeli soldiers and the capture of two others.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that those responsible for the latest attack will “pay the full price,” citing the Israeli onslaught against the Gaza Strip last summer that claimed the lives of 73 people on the Israeli side, mostly soldiers, and more than 2,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, according to international agencies.

“To those trying to challenge us on our northern border, I suggest looking at what happened not far from here in the Gaza Strip,” said Netanyahu, speaking in Sderot in southern Israel.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who is visiting China, said that Israel must react with “a harsh and disproportionate response” to any fire on its territory.

But analysts generally predicted that this time around Israeli and Hezbollah officials would endeavor to avoid having the incident deteriorate into a 2006-style conflict, an inconclusive war that caused considerable damage and loss of life, especially on the Lebanese side.

Many Israeli observers were doubtful that the nation's leaders, just months after the bloody Gaza conflict and weeks before national elections scheduled for March, would plunge the country into what probably would be a prolonged war with a battle-tested foe much more formidable than Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that rules Gaza.

“Israel must retaliate but in a way that will keep the escalation under control,” Amos Yadlin, a former army intelligence chief, told Israel Radio. “This is not an easy formula, but this is the art of strategic thinking.”

The strike Wednesday was not as lethal as the 2006 Hezbollah assault. That incident also resulted in the deaths of five additional Israeli soldiers in a failed rescue attempt.

The latest attack was widely seen as Hezbollah's calibrated response to a presumed Israeli airstrike in southern Syria on Jan. 18, in which the casualties included six Hezbollah members and an Iranian general, whose presence highlighted the Lebanese group's close ties to Tehran. Among the Hezbollah casualties was the son of Imad Mughniyeh, a storied commander killed in Damascus, Syria, in 2008 in a suspected Israeli car bombing.

After such a humiliating blow, experts said, Hezbollah's leaders felt obliged to strike back in a fashion that was muscular but not unduly provocative...
More.

Marshawn Lynch's Defiance is All About Cynical Self-Promotion?

I don't know.

This Deadspin piece was pretty interesting --- and enlightening, "Marshawn Lynch Already Explained Why He Hates Talking to the Media."

But see Bill Plaschke, at LAT, "Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch's crass act is all about him":\

The most popular man at the Super Bowl walked into media day Tuesday like a prizefighter swaggering toward the ring, fans screaming, reporters staring, smile glistening.

Marshawn Lynch stepped through the crowd, climbed onto a small podium, carefully adjusted a microphone, and began the battle with a warning.

"You can sit here and ask me all the questions you'll want to, I'm going to answer with the same answers, so you all can shoot if you all please," he said.

Then he reared back and knocked the stuffing out of decorum, took 29 questions, gave essentially the same answer for every one, jabbed again and again, reporters rolling their eyes, the crowd at US Airways Center roaring in delight.

"I'm here so I won't get fined," he said.

"I'm just here so I won't get fined," he said.

"Hey, hey, I'm here so I won't get fined," he said.

"I'm just here so I won't get fined, boss," he said.

He would turn his head to face a questioner, then give that answer. He would lean down and cup his ear to better hear a question, then give that answer. Once he even climbed out of his seat to retrieve a reporter's fallen tape recorder, placed it back on the podium, and then gave that answer.

With fans now standing and howling at every similar syllable, Lynch ended the fight with the commanding pronouncement of a referee standing over a prone and helpless body.

"Time!" he shouted as the scoreboard clock ticked off five minutes, at which point he stood up, climbed down, and disappeared behind a barrier even though there were 55 minutes left in the session.

Time, indeed. Money time. Fame time. Me time.

Marshawn Lynch, the Seattle Seahawks running back who does constant battle with the NFL over his refusal to follow league rules and speak to the media, couldn't have choreographed his first act of Super Bowl XLIX any better if he had provided everyone with scripts.

"There's a great deal spoken in his silence," Seattle Coach Pete Carroll said.

Initially, that statement was sold as shyness and fear. But increasingly, it seems that through his tight lips, Lynch is shouting about the value of painting yourself as a rebel to separate yourself from your colorful teammates and cash in on your fleeting fame.

Lynch's refusal to speak during the regular season has cost him $100,000 in fines, and his refusal to speak for all of Tuesday's required interview session could result in another huge penalty. But consider: How much is it worth to be the most popular man at the Super Bowl?...
More.

Social Conservatives Won't Let Republican Candidates Dodge Homosexual Marriage

Seems to me by the time the 2016 campaign kicks off the Supremes will have already announced a constitutional right to homosexual marriage. I mean, what? Social cons want the GOP to push for an amendment to the Constitution? Ain't gonna happen.

At Politico, "The gay marriage litmus test."

Joey Fisher and Stacey Poole

At Zoo Today, "Babes in Bed: Joey Fisher and Stacey Poole Together at Last!"

Plus, earlier at Egotastic!, "Joey Fisher and Stacey Poole Topless Together Nuts Outtakes July."

Popular Oakland Cafe Bans Laptops on Nights and Weekends

It's the Actual Café in Oakland. Maybe this is the beginning of a trend.

At CBS News San Franciso, "Oakland Cafe Bans Laptops on Weekends - And Survives."

Sierra Nevada Red Fox Photographed at Yosemite

Heh.

He's a cute little bugger.

At LAT, "First confirmed sighting of rare fox at Yosemite in nearly 100 years."