Christie Calls Obama A ‘Feckless Weakling,’ Internet Responds With A Brutal Reminder For Him

LAS VEGAS, NV – DECEMBER 15: Republican presidential candidate New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during the CNN Republican presidential debate on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


During CNN’s Republican debate, Chris Christie hoped to pull his dismal poll numbers out of the gutter by attacking President Obama. In typical Christie fashion, he did so in the most disgusting, unpresidential way possible. Thankfully, the internet is here to remind Christie that not only was his attack on Obama pathetic, but he’s also a raging hypocrite.

Christie – who currently polls within the statistical margin of error – suggested he would be a stronger president than Obama because he would be willing to start a world war by shooting down a Russian plane in Syria. For the Republican crowd, war-mongering stood in place of sound foreign policy. Taking things a step further, however, Christie also took a cheap shot at the president.

“Maybe because I’m from New Jersey I have this plain-language hang-up. I would talk to Vladmir Putin a lot, and I’d say listen, Mr. President, there’s a no-fly zone and it applies to you and yes we’d shoot down the planes of Russian pilots if they were stupid enough to think that this president was the same feckless weakling that the president we have in the Oval Office is right now.”

One might think that calling the sitting president a “feckless weakling” would be taboo, even for the Republican crowd, but here we are.

While an attack such as that would be pathetic coming from anyone, the idea that Christie would go there is particularly galling for one obvious reason: Just three years ago, when Christie needed Obama’s help after New Jersey had been devastated by Hurricane Sandy and the Republican Party had turned their backs on the state (including some members sharing the debate stage with him), President Obama came through in a big way. Christie, and the entire state of New Jersey, praised Obama for his leadership.

Here’s how the Washington Post described Christie’s praise of Obama in 2012:

Here’s how the Washington Post described Christie’s praise of Obama in 2012:

But no photo opp in the world can top the praise of a job well done that comes from an affected, outspoken governor from the other party. In comments that perfectly encapsulated not only the severity of the storm but the divisiveness of our national politics and the bluntness of the speaker, New Jersey governor Chris Christie—primetime GOP convention speaker and frequent campaign surrogate for Mitt Romney—heaped praise on Obama’s initial reaction to the storm.

Christie told news outlets that the president’s response had been “outstanding,” said that coordinating with the administration had been “wonderful,” and remarked that “the president has been all over this and he deserves great credit.” He even told Fox News the president had done a “great job for New Jersey.”

Needless to say, not everyone has forgotten Obama’s outstanding actions in the middle of that crisis and the internet let Christie know it.

Many people also noted how astoundingly disrespectful it was to slander the president just because your political campaign is withering on the vine.


It was certainly a surprise to see that on a stage with Donald Trump, Chris Christie managed to come across as the biggest asshole of the night. It’s both impressive and sad at the same time.

Hypocrite Chris Christie Caught Hiding 10,000 Emails From Federal Investigators


attribution: NONE


New Jersey Governor and longshot Republican presidential candidate spent most his time at the last kid’s table debate ripping on Hillary Clinton, raising the specter of the fabricated “email server” scandal to hide his inability to provide answers to a question about raising interest rates, but distracting the audience with tales of how his abrasive and crude personality would somehow defeat the Democratic front-runner and former Secretary of State: “She doesn’t want one minute on that stage with me next September when I’m debating her and prosecuting her for her vision for America.”

Which is all very ironic since it is now Chris Christie who is in hot water – for some very real crimes. You may recall the“Bridgegate” scandal of a few years ago, where Chris Christie used his powers as governor to shut down the busiest bridge in the world in order to punish his constituents for voting against him. Shortly afterward, the Department of Justice opened an investigation to prosecute Christie for his vision of governance, which includes embezzling taxpayer funds and awarding no-bid contracts to family members. The icing on the cake is the fact that just hours after the debate, prosecuting lawyers filed briefs accusing Christie and his cronies of “inappropriately” hiding documents:

Among the hidden documents, the lawyers say, are emails to and from the governor’s personal and work email accounts and a calendar entry from the week when an order was delivered to close lanes at the George Washington Bridge in 2013. All told, Christie’s taxpayer-funded attorneys at the Gibson Dunn law firm have withheld or redacted 9,428 emails and other documents. 

At least 16 of those emails were sent from top Christie aides to former Port Authority appointee David Wildstein, who pleaded guilty in May to felony corruption charges for the politically-motivated lane closures, and Bill Baroni, the former top Port official who has pleaded not guilty in the case. 

While it has been proven again and again that Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server did not constitute any wrongdoing, the case is very different for Mr. Christie. The improper closure of the bridge resulted in massive traffic gridlock, causing the death of a 91-year-old woman (cardiac arrest) in an ambulance and forcing “ambulance attendants to leave their vehicles and respond to an emergency on foot because traffic was so bad.” On top of all this, a recent ethics and integrity study gave the state of New Jersey a grade of D+ and found a plethora of “journalists, advocates and academics [who] have accused the Christie administration of fighting and delaying potentially damaging public records requests and meddling in the affairs of the State Ethics Commission.”

It’s very clear that the corruption in New Jersey stems from the Governor’s office. Chris Christie has no grounds to be accusing anyone of unethical conduct, since his entire governorship has come to be defined by shady practices and politically motivated retribution. Justice is finally coming for Mr. Christie and his associates. His comeuppance is long overdue.

Here are the other allegations filed in the briefs, courtesy of WNYC-NEWS:

*David Wildstein removed Bill Baroni’s (former top Port Authority official) hard drive from the Port Authority offices and took it home with him after he was fired in December 2013, though he left his own family photos at his desk.

*Christie’s former campaign manager, Stepien, passed along at least two emails to Christie from [former Port Authority appointee David Wildstein, who has plead guilty], one concerning the meetings with Fulop, the other regarding the New Jersey Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association’s decision not to endorse Christie for re-election.

*Federal prosecutors have turned over 1.7 million documents in a form that isn’t searchable. The lawyers estimate it would take three attorneys three years to read all the documents in that form.

*Citing the case’s intense media coverage and potentially tainted jury pool, Baroni wants a federal judge to move the trial to another venue. It’s scheduled to begin in April in Newark.

*Critchley, [sacrificial lamb and former deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly]’s attorney, alleges that Christie’s lawyers at the Gibson Dunn firm tried to “destroy” notes of interviews their lawyers did with Christie and other administration officials.

*A lawyer for Phil Kwon, a Port Authority lawyer and one-time Christie nominee to the state Supreme Court, has told federal authorities that he has information related to Bridgegate, according to Critchley.

*Wildstein was apparently cooperating with federal authorities early on in the case in 2014, getting interviewed by investigators at least four times.

*Unlike governors in other states, Christie keeps his meeting calendars secret. But Baroni’s attorney revealed a redacted copy of the governor’s calendar from the week in August 2013 when the “time for some traffic problems” email was sent. It shows a meeting with lobbyist Jeff Michaels, whose brother was a police lieutenant at the Port Authority who allegedly helped Wildstein execute the lane closures. It also shows phone calls with Neil Bush, brother of Jeb and George W. Bush, and Michelle Rhee, the controversial school reform leader.

H/t: DB

Chris Christie Threatens To ‘Go Nuclear’ In The Next GOP Debate


“We may be changing tactics.”

Ignore Chris Christie at your own risk, CNN.

The cable network will host the next Republican debate on Sept. 16, and Christie said — perhaps jokingly — that there could be fireworks if he’s ignored the way he was during last month’s debate on Fox News Channel.

On Monday’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” the New Jersey governor and presidential candidate said that at one point during the debate, 20 questions went by with none directed at him.

“I was waiting for you to talk,” Fallon told him.

“Me too!” said Christie.

So what will be different at the second GOP debate?

Stay tuned on Sept. 16th. We may be changing tactics,” Christie said. “You know, if I get to like 15 questions in a row — count ’em at home — if I get 15 in a row, you’re going to go ‘Uh oh, he’s going to go nuclear now.'”

“That’s what I’m talking about,” Fallon said. “That’s what we want to see!”

Check it out in the clip above.

10 things you need to know today: July 1, 2015

Greek pensioners try to get into a bank in Athens. AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza


1. Greece signals readiness for concessions after defaulting on IMF debt
Greece missed a Tuesday deadline to make a $1.8 billion loan payment to the International Monetary Fund, becoming the first developed country to default on a debt to the IMF. Hours earlier European ministers rejected the Greek government’s request for an extension on its bailout. European finance ministers, who are demanding tax hikes and social spending cuts in exchange for new financing, are meetingWednesday to discuss a new bailout proposal from Greece, after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras signaled he was willing to make most of thebig concessions demanded by creditors.

Source: The Washington Post, The Associated Press

2. U.S. and Cuba to reopen embassies 
The Obama administration announced Tuesday that the U.S. and Cuba have reached a deal to reopen embassies in each other’s capitals. The initiative is the biggest step President Obama can make toward restoring normal ties with America’s neighbor and former Cold War rival. It also is the most decisive move Obama can make on his own. Only Congress can lift the economic embargo against Cuba, which the communist Caribbean nation’s leaders say must be part of any rapprochement.

Source: Los Angeles Times

3. Chris Christie launches bid for GOP presidential nomination
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie formally announced Tuesday that he would run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. “I am now ready to fight for the people of the United States of America,” the straight-talking second-term governor said in the gymnasium of his old high school in Livingston, New Jersey. Christie criticized Congress and President Obama as dysfunctional, and said the country needs his “strong leadership and decisiveness.”

Source: The New York Times

4. Death toll from Indonesia crash reaches 142
The death toll from the crash of an Indonesian military transport plane into a residential neighborhood has risen to 142, a police official saidWednesday. The C-130 Hercules aircraft slammed into a densely populated area on the island of Sumatra and exploded. Authorities said 122 people were on the plane, including 12 crew members. Search crews do not expect to find any survivors. The rest of the victims were on the ground when the plane hit.

Source: Time

5. Iran nuclear talks extended until July 7 as deadline passes
Nuclear talks with Iran have been extended to July 7 as a June 30 deadline passed without a deal. The announcement coincided with the return of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to the talks, boosting hopes that an agreement can be reached to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for world powers lifting economic sanctions against the country. The Obama administration has until July 9 to send any agreement to Congress, which would then have 30 days to review the deal.

Source: ABC News

6. Seventh Southern church burns
A fire on Tuesday destroyed a South Carolina church that was torched by the Ku Klux Klan in 1995. The church, Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in Greeleyville, was the seventh predominantly African-American church to burn since a white gunman shot and killed nine people during a Bible study at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church. Investigators could not immediately say what caused the blaze.

Source: The Post and Courier

7. Oregon law legalizing recreational marijuana takes effect
A law legalizing the smoking and growing of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use took effect in Oregon on Wednesday. Voters approved the measure in November. Pot is expected to become available in shops in the state by next year. Oregon became the latest in a string of states on the West Coast to make recreational marijuana use legal. Alaska and Washington state already have put similar laws into force.

Source: Reuters

8. Misty Copeland becomes first black top-ranked dancer at American Ballet Theater
Misty Copeland, one of the country’s most famous ballerinas, was promoted to become the first African-American female principal dancer ever in the American Ballet Theater. Copeland has been performing with the 75-year-old company for more than 14 years — eight of them as a soloist. Copeland has said becoming the first black woman to be named as a principal dancer at the prestigious company was one of her goals.

Source: The New York Times

9. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner call it quits
After 10 years of marriage, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are calling it quits. “After much thought and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to divorce,” the pair told People in a joint statement. “We go forward with love and friendship for one another and a commitment to co-parenting our children.” The celebrity power couple originally met on the set of 2001’s Pearl Harbor, and became involved two years later when they were costars in 2003’s Daredevil. They have three children together.

Source: People

10. U.S. women beat Germany to advance to World Cup final
The U.S. women’s soccer team upset top-ranked Germany 2-0 on Tuesday to advance to the finals of the World Cup. The U.S. on Sunday will play the winner of a match between England and reigning champion Japan. The U.S. will be making its second appearance in the Women’s World Cup final in four years. Midfielder Carli Lloyd led the U.S. squad with a goal and an assist. “I’ve just been training my tail off for the last 12 years,” Lloyd said after the match. “These are the moments that I live for.”

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Harold Maass

10 things you need to know today: May 2, 2015

Andrew Burton/Getty Images

The Week

1.Freddie Gray’s death ruled a homicide, six officers charged
State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby announced in a Friday press conference that a medical examiner ruled the death of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old man who died of a fatal neck injury while in police custody, a homicide. Mosby said that charges, including misconduct and involuntary manslaughter, are being brought against the six officers involved. Not only did the officers ignore Gray’s “obvious” need for medical assistance, Mosby said, they also had no grounds to arrest him. Mosby added that Gray’s fatal neck injury was the result of his being handcuffed and shackled by his feet, then placed in a Baltimore police wagon without a seatbelt.

Source: The Associated Press

2.Two indicted, Christie ally pleads guilty in connection with Bridgegate scandal
U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced the Bridgegate-related indictments of Bill Baroni, the former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Bridget Anne Kelly, the former deputy chief of staff to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, on Fridayon multiple counts of conspiracy for their involvement in the politically motivated closure of three lanes onto the George Washington Bridge and subsequent coverup in 2013. The indictments came after David Wildstein, Christie’s childhood friend and a former top official at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, pled guilty Friday morning to two counts of conspiracy for his role in the scandal.

Source: The New York Times

3.Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, gives birth to baby girl
Prince George has a little sister, as of 8:34 a.m. (7:34 a.m. GMT) Saturdaymorning. Britain’s Prince William and his wife arrived at St. Mary’s hospital in London early in the morning, and the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to the girl, who has not yet been named, two and a half hours later. Kensington Palace first announced the news via Twitter, adding that both mother and daughter are doing well. The new princess reportedly weighed 8 lbs 3 oz at birth, and she becomes fourth in line to the throne, following Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince George.

Source: Time, The Guardian

4.Nigerian army reports troops have freed hundreds more Boko Haram prisoners
The Nigerian military released a tweet on Thursday declaring that “another set of 234 women and children were rescued,” from Boko Haram militants. The operation in the country’s Sambisa Forest — one of the last Boko Haram strongholds in Nigeria — comes several days after the army reportedly freed around 300 women and children in a separate offensive against the Islamic militants. Outgoing Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has pledged to “hand over a Nigeria completely free of terrorist strongholds,” when he leaves office at the end of May. It is unclear whether any of the hundreds of rescued women are among those who were kidnapped from a school in Chibok last year, sparking international outrage against Boko Haram.

Source: BBC News, The Associated Press

5.DOJ to spend $20 million on police body cameras
Incoming Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced on Friday that the Department of Justice will spend $20 million to provide body cameras to police, mostly in major cities. Of that sum, $17 million will purchase the equipment, while the remaining $3 million will cover training and effectiveness evaluation programs. “Body-worn cameras hold tremendous promise for enhancing transparency, promoting accountability, and advancing public safety for law enforcement officers and the communities they serve,” Lynch said.

Source: NBC News

6.China passes Mexico as No. 1 source of U.S. immigrants
Research presented Friday at the Population Association of America conference revealed that China and India are sending more immigrants to the United States than Mexico. In 2013, 147,000 immigrants came to the U.S. from China, and 129,000 immigrants arrived from India. Meanwhile, 125,000 immigrants came to the U.S. from Mexico, according to data from the Census Bureau. Immigration to the U.S. from China and India has been on the rise for a decade, while immigration from Mexico is declining. Hispanic people are still the largest ethnic minority group in America, but two-thirds of the U.S. Hispanic population was born in the country.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

7.Sexual assault in the U.S. military has reportedly declined in the past two years
The Pentagon released its annual report on sexual assault in the militaryon Friday, and the survey found a 27 percent drop in cases of “unwanted sexual contact” over the last two years. There were 18,900 cases reported in 2014, as compared to 26,000 reported cases in 2012. The report also noted that while the number of assaults has decreased, the number of people reporting the cases actually increased; 6,131 people reported a military sexual assault in 2014, a 70 percent increase from the number of reported cases in 2012. Still, “that’s clearly far, far too many,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said. “The report makes it crystal clear that we have to do more.”

Source: Reuters

8.Stand By Me singer Ben E. King dies at age 76
Ben E. King, the R&B soul singer most famous for the song Stand By Me, died Thursday of natural causes at age 76. Born in North Carolina and raised in Harlem, New York, King started his career with The Drifters, releasing hits such as There Goes My Baby, and Save the Last Dance for Me. But King’s Stand By Me was his biggest hit; it charted nine times on the U.S. Billboard 100, and has been covered by some 400 artists ranging from John Lennon to boxing legend Muhammad Ali.

Source: The Telegraph

9. Iowa governor declares state of emergency due to avian flu outbreak
Governor Terry Branstad announced on Friday that Iowa would enter a state of emergency due to an avian flu outbreak, effective immediately and continuing at least through the end of May. Minnesota and Wisconsin have also declared states of emergency due to the viral outbreak, which does not pose a risk to humans, but is highly contagious among poultry populations. Iowa is the top egg-producing state in the U.S., and officials believe up to one-quarter of the state’s flock — at least 16 million chickens — could be infected and would have to be exterminated.

Source: Reuters

10.Filipino energy officials tell citizens to conserve electricity for Pacquiao fight
Filipino boxing champ Manny Pacquiao is set to take on Floyd Mayweather for the WBC World welterweight title on Saturday night in Las Vegas. An ocean away, his supporters in the Philippines hope their televisions will stay tuned in. Energy officials warned residents on Fridayto disconnect refrigerators, washing machines and air conditioners — “just leave electric fans and TVs on” — in order to duck one of the chronic, hours-long power outages with which the country is too familiar. Pacquiao is a national hero in his native Philippines, and fans are eagerly awaiting this matchup, which has been years in the making and could earn Pacquiao as much as $120 million.

Source: Al Jazeera America

Pity The Poor Multi-Millionaires And Their Waning Political Influence


The Huffington Post

It probably will come as no surprise to any of you to hear the news that most of you are not making it in America. And one way in which the semi-permanent nature of our not-making-it status has deftly revealed itself is the clear alteration to our political system: It no longer really resembles a citizen-driven democracy, but rather a weird oligarchy in which the would-be leaders of the free world have to schlep around, kissing the rings of dotty billionaires, in the hopes that their favor will propel them forward in their political careers.

Of course, for most Americans, clawing their way down the eroding path of middle-class respectability, there isn’t a whole lot of time to pause and stage an aria of self-pitying lamentation. But there is one class of people that apparently do have the luxury of having the time to whine: the not-quite super-rich.

Yes, apparently the political fortunes of the merely astonishingly affluent have taken a nose dive of late, drawing the bottom nine-tenths of the top 1 percent into Thomas Piketty’s “r > g” argybargy along with the rest of us. That is, at least from their perspective. They are deeply sad about their diminished political influence, and they are granting interviews to the commoners. Take for example, Terry Neese, a one-time pretty-big-wheel down on the Bush family Ranger ranch, who now tells The Washington Post that she’s feeling as if her wealth, no longer able to quite stagger the imagination, doesn’t count for much anymore:

At this point in the 2012 presidential race, Terry Neese was in hot demand.

“Gosh, I was hearing from everyone and meeting with everyone,” said Neese, an Oklahoma City entrepreneur and former “Ranger” for President George W. Bush who raised more than $1 million for his reelection.

This year, no potential White House contender has called — not even Bush’s brother, Jeb. As of early Wednesday, the only contacts she had received were e-mails from staffers for two other likely candidates; both went to her spam folder.

Yes, the indignity of downmarket candidates reaching out through staffers, it is not to be endured. Neese, like many former in-demand toffs, has now become the poor, soot-stained matchgirl, face pressed to the window, looking on as the party to which she was once an invitee now gaily spins without her. And that is not hyperbole. As The Washington Post’s Matea Gold and Tom Hamburger explain, at the recent RNC retreat in Boca Raton, would-be presidential candidates passed on flattering the merely very wealthy gathered in attendance, making for the event’s version of the VIP room instead:

A number of White House contenders in attendance — including former Texas governor Rick Perry and Govs. Scott Walker (Wis.), Chris Christie (N.J.) and Bobby Jindal (La.) — devoted much of their time to private meetings with high rollers, according to people familiar with their schedules. Bush came to Boca Raton after an afternoon super-PAC fundraiser in Miami.

Then on Sunday, the governors made a pilgrimage to Palm Beach for a private Republican Governors Association fundraiser hosted by billionaire industrialist David Koch at his 30,000-square-foot beachfront mansion.

Welcome to class envy, you guys! Don’t say you weren’t warned. As Annie Lowrey noted in The New York Times last September, recent studies had indicated that while the “total income of the top 1 percent surged nearly 20 percent” in 2012 (as compared to the 1 percent growth experienced by the bottom 99 percent), the incomes of “the very richest, the 0.01 percent, shot up more than 32 percent.” And over at Demos,Joseph Hines elaborated further:

That’s just 16,000 Americans that make over ten million dollars a year. And their dominance is strengthening: the share of income controlled by that tiny group of people jumped over a percentage point from 3.7 percent in 2011 to 4.8 percent in 2012. This is the donor class, the same group of people that donate to political campaigns and determine the structure of the market they have so clearly mastered.

As this new, super-exclusive donor class deepens their connection to the policy-making apparatus, their capacity to consolidate their wealth and influence will no doubt continue, in a pattern of rent-seeking and favor-trading designed to ensure high returns on their capital without having to take any of those knotty “risks” that we used to consider a vital ingredient to productive capitalism.

And as this progresses, more and more of the new over/underclass will start to feel like the heroine of this Washington Post story: “Most of the people I talk to are kind of rolling their eyes and saying, ‘You know, we just don’t count anymore,’” says the once influential Neese.

In other news, a number of people in the East Village of Manhattan, paying rents that are prohibitively high for working-class New Yorkers, had their homes explode yesterday.

THE WEEK: Most Popular Stories This Week: 2-1-2015 to 2-8-2015

Best of The Week


The appalling, incoherent selfishness of Chris Christie’s vaccine ‘choice’


Sacrificing herd immunity infringes others’ rights


The 14 stages of responding to the To Kill a Mockingbird sequel


From shock to awe


Your close-minded disdain for anti-vaxxers isn’t helping anyone


Try to understand where they’re coming from


The Supreme Court challenge against ObamaCare is rapidly falling apart


Do the Affordable Care Act truthers stand a chance?


Scott Walker and the art of winning


Lots of conservative lawmakers abide by their core principles. But most of them lose.


What the 529 savings fiasco reveals about the Obama coalition


This does not bode well for tax reform


The end of Europe? Why Greece’s exit from the euro would have repercussions far beyond economics.


A Grexit would call Europe’s great civilizational project into question


Sen. Thom Tillis: Employees shouldn’t have to wash hands after using the bathroom


The North Carolina senator identified one place where he believes government regulation has overstepped


10 things you need to know today: February 3, 2015

Kayana Szymczak/Getty Images

The Week

1.Second snowstorm hits already snow-covered Northeast
Boston authorities postponed a victory celebration for the New England Patriots after their Super Bowl victory, moving it from Tuesday to Wednesday due to a record breaking winter storm. The second blizzard to hit the Northeast in a week dumped another foot of snow on Boston, which was blanketed with two feet of snow last week, the most snow ever to fall on the city in seven days. The storm has been linked to at least 10 deaths, and forced the cancellation of 2,900 flights in Chicago, Newark, Boston, and New York.

Source: Reuters

2.Paul and Christie criticized for vaccine remarks
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, both potential 2016 GOP presidential candidates, faced criticism from medical experts on Monday after suggesting some child vaccinations should be made voluntary. Paul said some vaccines have caused “profound mental disorders.” Christie said parents need “some measure of choice” although, with a U.S. measles outbreak surpassing 100 cases, a spokesman said Christie believes “there is no question kids should be vaccinated” for measles. CDC director Tom Frieden said not vaccinating endangers other children.

Source: Fox News, The Washington Post

3.Obama sets new rules on NSA data mining
The Obama administration on Tuesday will announce new rules about how U.S. intelligence agencies manage the data they collect. The National Security Agency and other spy agencies will have to delete private information they collect about Americans that has no intelligence value, and do the same for foreigners after five years, The New York Timesreports. Obama will also begin a regular, formal White House assessment of NSA spying on foreign leaders.

Source: The New York Times

4.Obama releases his proposed $4 trillion budget
President Obama on Monday unveiled the specifics of a $4 trillion proposed budget that would roll back blanket spending cuts, raise taxes on wealthy Americans, and extend tax benefits to the middle class. “These proposals will put more money in middle-class pockets, raise wages, and bring more high-paying jobs to America,” Obama said in a statement. The budget covers the 2016 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. The blueprint is largely a symbolic statement of the president’s priorities, as Congress will make significant changes to it over the coming months.

Source: The Associated Press

5.Google reportedly is developing an Uber rival
Google invested $258 million in Uber in August 2013, and put more money in the next year, but now the internet search giant reportedly is preparing to compete with Uber by starting its own ride-hailing service, possibly linked to its driverless car project. A person close to Uber’s board said David Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer and an Uber board member, informed fellow Uber board members of the possibility. Uber leaders reportedly have seen a prototype app being used by Google employees.

Source: Bloomberg

6.Cuba publishes first photos of Fidel Castro since August
Cuba on Monday released the first photos of former president Fidel Castro seen since August. With Cuba’s communist government and the Obama administration attempting to renew diplomatic relations cut off in the Cold War, rumors have surfaced that Castro, 88, was dead or near death. Last week, Cuba released a letter attributed to Castro in which he said he didn’t trust the U.S. but advocated a “peaceful resolution to conflicts.” The photos, published in the official Granma newspaper, showed Castro in a meeting with a youth leader.

Source: The Washington Post

7.Bus firebombing kills seven in Bangladesh
Attackers hit a packed bus with gasoline-bombs in Bangladesh on Tuesday, killing at least seven people and injuring 16 others. The local police chief blamed the bombing on opposition activists, but they denied responsibility. At least 53 people have died in political violence, mostly vehicle firebombings, since the opposition launched a nationwide transportation strike in early January in a bid to force Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to resign.

Source: The Associated Press

8.Suge Knight charged with murder
Former rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight was charged with murder and attempted murder on Monday for allegedly running over two men with his truck, killing one and injuring the other. His $2.2 million bail was revoked because authorities considered him a possible flight risk. Police said Knight argued with the men on the set of Straight Outta Compton, a film about the group N.W.A., and later ran them over. Knight’s lawyer said he accidentally ran over the victims while trying to get away from two men trying to attack him.

Source: Los Angeles Times

9. Charles Manson’s marriage license expires with no wedding
Eighty-year-old mass murderer Charles Manson’s marriage license is set to expire on Thursday without a wedding. Manson and his fiancee, 26-year-old Afton Elaine Burton, missed their last chance to marry over the weekend — weddings are not performed on weekdays at the California prison where Manson is incarcerated. Burton, who uses the nickname Star, intends to get another 90-day license and proceed with the wedding plan, according to a source in contact with her.

Source: The Associated Press

10.Revenge-porn site creator convicted of extortion
A California court on Monday convicted revenge-porn site founder Kevin Bollaert, 28, on identity theft and extortion charges. He faces up to 20 years in prison. Bollaert set up one website,, where women’s former husbands and boyfriends posted nude photos of them, and he established another website,, where victims could pay up to $350 to get the photos taken down. “This is essentially 21st century blackmail,” Deputy Attorney General Tawnya Austin told jurors last week.

Source: NBC 7 San Diego, The Washington Post

Megyn Kelly Speaks Up For Mandatory Vaccination On Fox: ‘Some Things Do Require Big Brother’


Credit: AP

It looks like Fox News can tell the truth at times…

Think Progress

A debate on vaccines has infected the nascent 2016 Republican presidential primary. Rand Paul, for example, said that the right of parents to refuse vaccines is “an issue of freedom.” To bolster his point, he claimed that vaccines can give children “profound mental disorders,” and idea that is completely unsupported by medical literature.

Similarly, Chris Christie framed the vaccination issue as a matter of “parental choice.” (Faced with mounting criticism, Christie later backtracked partially, saying only some vaccines should be optional.)

Monday night on Fox News, Megyn Kelly provided the antidote. Appearing on The O’Reilly Factor, Kelly spoke out forcefully for mandatory vaccines. (O’Reilly agreed.) Speaking directly into the camera, Kelly said, “I want to say on the record, I have three children under the age of six. I vaccinated all of them. On time. As the doctor prescribed. Nothing was delayed.” She noted that the science showing vaccinations are safe and beneficial for children is “very certain today.”

Kelly predicted the issue would continue to play a role in the Republican presidential primary because it had become about “Big Brother.” “On the other hand, some things do require some involvement of Big Brother,” Kelly said.

Kelly may want to have a conversation with her colleague, Sean Hannity. On his program Monday, Hannity said that “parents should have the choice” on whether to vaccinate their children. Hannity featured commentary from Dr. Eric Braverman who told millions of views that “no one” is giving their children the full course of vaccine shots. According to Braverman there is an “overreliance” on vaccines to prevent disease.

The segment featured more medically accurate commentary from Dr. Marc Siegel, who accused Braverman of perpetrating a “bait and switch.” Even Siegel, however, opposed mandatory vaccinations. Braverman concluded the segment by claiming that vaccines “don’t always work” and attributing the measles outbreak in Disneyland to the combination of heat and junk food.

In 2015, there have been more than 100 cases of measles reported in the U.S. across 14 states. The Center For Disease Control is “very concerned” that the country could be on its way to a major measles outbreak. Already, dozens of babies, too young to get vaccinated, have been forced into isolation.

Although Megyn Kelly has a growing reputation of standing up to some of the worst excesses on Fox News, not everyone is impressed.

Mitt Romney Won’t Run in 2016 Presidential Election

Mitt Romney had expressed renewed interest this month in another presidential run, but his flirtation prompted a fierce backlash across Republican circles. Credit Travis Dove for The New York Times

The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, told a group of supporters on Friday that he would not seek his party’s nomination for president in 2016.

Mr. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, shared his decision on a conference call with a small group of advisers.

In a second call to a larger group of supporters, Mr. Romney said, “After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee.”

Mr. Romney said he believed he could win the nomination, but he expressed concern about harming the party’s chances to retake the White House. “I did not want to make it more difficult for someone else to emerge who may have a better chance of becoming the president,” he said.

He added that it was “unlikely” that he would change his mind.

Mr. Romney, who did not take questions and ended the call shortly after reading a prepared statement, said that his family had been gratified by the outpouring of support, but had decided that it was best for the Republican Party to step aside. Mr. Romney said he would have no leadership PAC and no exploratory committee.

By not pursuing a third White House bid, Mr. Romney frees up scores of donors and operatives who had been awaiting his decision, and creates space for other potential center-right candidates such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Mr. Romney, 67, had expressed renewed interest in another presidential run to a group of donors earlier this month, roiling the nascent Republican race. Many of his loyal contributors, staff members and supporters had been reluctant to come out for one of his potential rivals until they knew Mr. Romney’s plans.

But his flirtation had also prompted a fierce backlash across Republican circles, and some of Mr. Romney’s former aides and donors have begun moving on to other candidates.

In a more than four-hour meeting last week, Mr. Romney’s top staff members and trusted advisers from 2012 relayed a sobering reality — they supported Mr. Romney and thought he would be the best president, but they did not necessarily encourage a third run.

One by one, loyal supporters talked about surveying their troops from 2012, and finding that the enthusiasm and support were just not there. Some Iowa precinct leaders were not coming back, and even in New Hampshire — where Mr. Romney had won the primary — the mood was described at best as “cautiously optimistic.” The situation with donors was also going to be an uphill climb.

Word of Mr. Romney’s decision sent waves through the Republican donor world early Friday, as Romney aides began to telegraph the news to donors and other staff members and strategists. Some donors immediately began calling representatives of other potential candidates, such as Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, to discuss offering their support.

Mr. Romney’s announcement started a day of reckoning with his would-be rivals. He is scheduled to have dinner with Mr. Christie on Friday evening, according to two people with knowledge of his schedule, suggesting that Mr. Romney may be considering throwing his support, and that of his own political operation, to Mr. Christie. The two men are friendly, and Mr. Christie, along with Mr. Bush, was a main rival of Mr. Romney for the favor of the Republican establishment.

Mr. Bush offered his own warm words for Mr. Romney in a post on Facebook on Friday morning.

Mitt is a patriot and I join many in hoping his days of serving our nation and our party are not over,” Mr. Bush wrote. “I look forward to working with him.”

At 11 on Thursday night, a blast email was sent from a address, alerting supporters about a conference call on Friday morning.

“Please join me for an update call tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. EST, 8:00 a.m. PST,” wrote Mr. Romney, adding the dial-in information and concluding, “All the best, Mitt.”

In an appearance at Mississippi State University on Wednesday, Mr. Romney sounded themes that could have shaped another campaign. But he also lamented the nature of the political process and offered a dose of barely veiled self-criticism, discussing some of the shortcomings of his 2012 campaign and the lessons he learned from his loss to President Obama.

Mr. Romney’s decision will almost certainly bring an end to his decade-long quest to become president. He lost in the Republican primary in 2008 before becoming his party’s standard-bearer four years later.

Friday’s conference call seemed bittersweet for the Romney family. At one point, Mr. Romney’s wife, Ann, came on the line and thanked the former aides for their steadfast support.

But luck was clearly not with Mr. Romney this time, even as he shared the news with his former staff members on his morning call. Mr. Romney’s voice fell off the line as the connection was suddenly dropped.

H/t: DB