Hillary Clinton

10 things you need to know today: May 20, 2015

(AP Photo)

THE WEEK

1.Takata makes recall largest in U.S. automotive history
Japanese airbag maker Takata announced Tuesday that it was doubling its recalls in the United States to cover 33.8 million vehicles, making it the largest automotive recall in U.S. history. Takata airbag inflaters can explode upon deployment, spraying shrapnel. The airbags have been linked to six deaths and more than 100 injuries. The company made the announcement with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulators. Administrator Mark Rosekind said the safety agency’s goal is “a safe airbag in every vehicle.”

Source: The New York Times

2.Los Angeles council tentatively approves $15 an hour minimum wage
The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday preliminarily approved an ordinance raising the minimum wage in the city to $15 an hour by 2020, up from the current $9 an hour. The vote was 14 to 1. Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle have adopted similar laws, but Los Angeles, if the proposal receives final approval, will be the largest city to mandate such a large wage hike. The L.A. ordinance would affect as many as 800,000 workers, marking a major victory for worker advocates.

Source: Los Angeles Times

3.Judge tells State Department to release Hillary Clinton’s emails faster
A federal judge on Tuesday told the State Department to speed up the schedule for releasing thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails from her time as secretary of state. The State Department had said a day earlier that its review would delay the public release of the 55,000 pages of emails, in bulk, until January 2016. U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras gave the State Department a week to produce a plan for a rolling release of the emails. Clinton, now running for president, said she wants the emails released as soon as possible.

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Politico

4.North Korea claims it can miniaturize nuclear warheads
North Korea said Wednesday that it had developed the technology to miniaturize nuclear warheads so that they would be small enough to be mounted on missiles. A top U.S. military officer had said a day earlier that the rogue communist nation was years away from developing such missiles. Just weeks ago, Pyongyang released photos of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un allegedly observing the testing of a submarine-launched missile that could carry such a warhead. Experts suggested the photos had been doctored.

Source: CNN

5.Malaysia and Indonesia offer to take in migrants
Indonesia and Malaysia agreed Wednesday to temporarily shelter 7,000 migrants stranded at sea. The announcement signaled what could be a breakthrough in a humanitarian crisis that has plagued Southeast Asia for weeks as governments in the region declined to take responsibility for the migrants. Some of the migrants are Bangladeshis fleeing poverty, but most are members of Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority. Under the agreement, the international community must resettle and repatriate the migrants within a year.

Source: The Associated Press

6.House panel backs limit on ex-presidents’ spending
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Tuesdaybacked a proposal to limit spending of taxpayer money on travel and other expenses run up by former presidents who make more than $400,000 a year. The bill for the four living ex-presidents’ pensions and benefits came to $3.5 million last year. George W. Bush’s tab came to $1.3 million last year. Clinton’s was $950,000. Most of the money paid for their offices — Bush’s in Dallas, and Clinton’s in New York. Former presidents can earn millions a year in speaking fees alone; since leaving office, Clinton has reportedly collected $127 million.

Source: Politico

7.Estimated 21,000 gallons of oil leak off the California coast
A ruptured pipeline is estimated to have leaked 21,000 gallons of oil into the ocean off California’s Santa Barbara County coast on Tuesday. U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Andrea Anderson said that by 3:45 p.m., the leak had left a four-mile long sheen of oil along Refugio State Beach in Goleta. The leak was first spotted at noon, and it was stopped by coast guard crews by 3 p.m. The pipeline is operated by Plains All America Pipeline, L.P., and runs along the coast near Highway 101.

Source: Los Angeles Times

8.Regulators accuse cancer charities of “sham”
The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday accused four cancer philanthropies of bilking donors out of $187 million. The FTC called the activities of the charities — the Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services, the Children’s Cancer Fund of America, and the Breast Cancer Society — a “sham.” The accusations cover the period from 2008 to 2012. The charities are all run by James Reynolds Sr., his ex-wife, Rose Perkins, or his son, James Reynolds Jr.

Source: The Washington Post

9. Israel launches, then suspends, plan to segregate West Bank buses
Israel suspended a trial of new rules separating Palestinian and Jewish passengers on buses traveling to the West Bank early Wednesday, hours after introducing them in what was to be a three-month trial. About 500,000 people live in Jewish settlements built since Israel occupied the West Bank and Jerusalem in 1967. Jewish settler groups are calling for segregated travel on security grounds, but human rights groups said the plan was racist. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it “unacceptable.”

Source: BBC News

10.Patriots decide not to challenge team’s Deflategate punishment
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Tuesday said his team would not appeal its punishment for under-inflating balls in last season’s AFC Championship game. The NFL imposed a $1 million fine and docked the team two draft picks. Kraft said sanctions were unfair, but that fighting the punishment them would only extend the Deflategate scandal and hurt the league. Quarterback Tom Brady, who was suspended four games for his involvement, is appealing his punishment with the support of the players’ union.

Source: Yahoo Sports

 

10 things you need to know today: May 19, 2015

(AP Photo, Jerry Larson)

THE WEEK

1.Investigators say fight over parking space ignited deadly Waco biker battle
Police said Monday that a dispute over a restaurant parking space appeared to have touched off the gunfight among rival motorcycle gangs in Waco, Texas. The battle left nine dead. Four of them might have been hit police gunfire, and police braced for possible retaliation by bikers. A judge set bail at $1 million for about 170 bikers arrested and charged with engaging in organized crime related to a capital murder. The gun battle was the latest clash in a feud between the Bandidos and Cossacks gangs.Source: The Dallas Morning News, CNN
2.State Department says it can’t release Clinton emails until early 2016
The State Department said in court documents filed Monday that it wouldneed until January 2016 to review 55,000 pages of emails from Hillary Clinton’s years as secretary of state. Clinton, facing criticism over her use of a private email account, asked the State Department to release her emails. The State Department, responding to a Freedom of Information lawsuit by Vice News, said the volume and sensitive nature of the emails would push the public release of redacted versions into early next year.Source: USA Today, CNN
3.EU authorizes military force to stop migrant smugglers
The European Union on Monday approved using military force against migrant smugglers in the Mediterranean. European leaders have been under increasing pressure to take decisive action to crack down on smugglers ferrying immigrants from North Africa to Europe, often in unsafe, overcrowded boats. At least 1,800 migrants have died trying to make the crossing this year. The EU hopes to destroy the smugglers’ boats before the migrants board.Source: The Washington Post
4.Prince Charles to meet Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams in Ireland
Britain’s Prince Charles plans to shake hands with Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams in Galway, Ireland, on Tuesday. It will be the first meeting between Adams and a member of the British royal family, and the first royal visit with Sinn Féin leaders in the Republic of Ireland. The encounter is the latest part of a push for reconciliation after decades of conflict between Irish republicans and unionists backed by Britain. Charles also will visit the scenic spot where his great uncle Lord Louis Mountbatten was killed by an IRA bomb in 1979.Source: BBC News, The Guardian
5.Mudslide kills 52 in Colombia
A massive mudslide triggered by heavy rains killed at least 52 people in a western Colombian mountain town on Monday. The avalanche of water, mud, and debris roared through town before dawn, when many people were still in bed. “It was rocks and tree trunks everywhere,” construction worker Diego Agudelo told The Associated Press. “The river took out everything in its path,” he said. President Juan Manuel Santos traveled to the area and promised to rebuild the homes of the roughly 500 people affected.Source: The Associated Press
6.U.S. pledges to help Iraq retake Ramadi
The Obama administration promised on Monday that it would help Iraq retake Ramadi from the Islamic State. The U.S. said the city — the provincial capital of Anbar province — was a temporary setback, and that Iraqi forces could take it back with the help of airstrikes by a U.S.-led coalition. Experts, including former U.S. ambassadorial adviser Ali Khedery, said the claim that Ramadi could soon be retaken was not realistic. “Delusional, really, is the better word,” Khedery said.Source: Voice of America, McClatchy
7.U.S. stocks hit record close
The Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 rose to record highs on Monday. Several factors fueled the gains. One was a 1.1 percent rise for Apple shares after billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn, a top 10 Apple shareholder, said the stock was “still dramatically undervalued.” Lukewarm economic data also helped, because it suggested the Federal Reserve might delay hiking interest rates to give the recovery more time. The U.S. gains boosted global stocks early Tuesday.Source: Reuters
8.Jindal announces committee to explore presidential bid
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) on Monday announced he is forming a presidential exploratory committee to weigh a potential 2016 White House run. “If I run, my candidacy will be based on the idea that the American people are ready to try a dramatically different direction,” Jindal said in a statement. A second-term governor, Jindal built a reputation as a staunch conservative with a penchant for symbolically sparring with the Obama administration. Early 2016 polls show him running in the low single digits.Source: Politico, The Associated Press
9. Afghan police officers sentenced over lynching
A judge in Afghanistan on Tuesday sentenced 11 police officers to one year in jail for failing to prevent a Kabul mob from killing a woman falsely accused of burning a Koran. Judge Safiullah Mujadidi freed eight other officers, citing a lack of evidence that they failed to carry out their duties. The same judge sentenced four men to death for the March murder of the 27-year-old woman, named Farkhunda. Her death sparked angry demonstrations.Source: Reuters
10.Cartoonist Luz leaving Charlie Hebdo
Celebrated Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Renald “Luz” Luzier said in an interview published Monday that he would leave the French satirical newspaper in September. Luz drew the cover illustration after Islamist extremists stormed the publication’s Paris offices in January and killed 12 people. The cover portrayed the Prophet Muhammad holding a sign saying, “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie). “Each issue is torture because the others are gone,” he said.Source: France24

~Harold Maass

10 things you need to know today: May 7, 2015

AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

 THE WEEK

1.Britons vote in tight parliamentary election
British voters go to the polls on Thursday to end a bitter six-week battle for control of Parliament. Either Conservative incumbent David Cameron or Labor challenger EdMiliband will emerge from the vote as prime minister. The leading parties have been locked in a tight race for months, suggesting neither will win themajority necessary to rule without coalition partners. “This race is going to be the closest we have ever seen,”Miliband said on the eve of the vote. “It is going to go down to the wire.”Source: Reuters, The Washington Post
2.Baltimore mayor requests civil rights investigation of police department
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on Wednesday asked the Justice Department to open a civil rights investigation into the practices of her city’s police department. The move came following unrest over the death of Freddie Gray, a young black man who suffered a fatal injury in police custody. A Justice Department spokeswoman said that Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who visited the city a day earlier, “is actively considering that option” after speaking with police and community leaders.Source: Baltimore Sun
3.Investigators believe Texas attack was the work of lone wolf, not ISIS
The White House said Wednesday that the attack by two gunmen on a Texas cartoon contest featuring images of the Prophet Muhammad appeared to be the work of “lone wolf” terrorists, although it was too early to be sure. The self-proclaimedIslamic State has claimed credit for the attack, which left the two alleged gunmen dead. Investigators have found nohard evidence ISIS was directly involved. One of the alleged gunmen, Elton Simpson, did exchange Twitter messages with a member of an ISIS affiliate days before the attack.Source: Los Angeles Times
4.Hillary Clinton works with super PAC to compete with GOP fundraising
Hillary Clinton reportedly plans to personally cultivate donors for the top Democratic super PAC, Priorities USA Action. As a declared candidate, Clinton cannot ask donors for more than $5,000 for the super PAC, but under Federal Election Commission rules, she can attend events and talk to the audience. A Clinton campaign official said the move — a first for a declared Democratic candidate — is necessary to compete with GOP rivals who are “outsourcing their entire campaign to super PACs.”Source: The New York Times
5.Netanyahu strikes 11th-hour deal to form coalition
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday struck a deal to form a new coalition government just before a midnight deadline. Nearly two months after winning re-election to a fourth term, Netanyahu announced around 11 p.m.he had cobbled together at least the 61 seats necessary in parliament to form a new government after securing the support of the nationalist Jewish Home party. Netanyahu came from behind to win a tight election in March, and the thin margin complicated the task of forming a new government.Source: The New York Times, Reuters
6.Cluster of tornadoes slams Plains states
At least 50 tornadoes tore through the Plains states on Wednesday, injuring 12 people. No deaths were immediately reported. Tornadoes were spotted in at least three states — Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska. Storms damaged dozens of homes, and caused flash floods in Oklahoma. Students at the University of Oklahoma in Norman had to take cover in dorms as a “large and extremely dangerous” twister was spotted over the city. Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City was evacuated twice as violent storms approached.Source: NBC News, Fox News
7.Chicago approves $5.5 million for torture victims
The Chicago City Council on Wednesday approved a $5.5 million in reparations for victims allegedly tortured by former police Cmdr. JonBurge. City lawmakers gave a standing ovation to some of the victims and their relatives, who were watching from the gallery. One of the aldermen,Proco “Joe” Moreno, said the day was “truly historic,” and Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the move was an essential step in “removing a stain” on the city. Burge and his men allegedly tortured more than 100 people, most of themAfrican Americans, to extract confessions between 1972 and 1991.Source: Chicago Tribune
8.California adopts rules for seawater desalination plants
California water regulators on Wednesday approved rules for permitting seawater desalination projects. The Western Hemisphere’s biggest desalination plant is already under construction in Carlsbad, California. The plant will be able to produce 50 million gallons a day, meeting about 10 percent of San Diego County’s drinking-water demand. More such facilities are being proposed across the state as communities seek ways to supplement drinking water supplies during an historic drought.Source: Reuters
9. L.A. police chief questions officer’s fatal shooting of unarmed homeless man
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said Wednesday that he had seen no evidence justifying the fatal shooting of an unarmed homeless man by a police officer late Tuesday. Beck said he was “very concerned” about the shooting near Venice Beach, but said the investigation was still underway. The union representing officers said it was premature and “completely irresponsible” for Beck to publicly question the officer “without havingall of the facts.”Source: NBC News
10.Report: Patriots QB Tom Brady probably knew about deflategate tampering
An NFL report made public Wednesday concluded that it was “more probable than not” that New England Patriots staffers deliberately deflated footballs contrary to league rules during the 2015 AFC championship game in January. The authors of the 243-page report, which includedinput from lawyers and physics experts, concluded that star Patriots quarterback Tom Brady — but not coach BillBelichick — was probably “at least generally aware” of the alleged cheating. Brady’s dad said he was framed.Source: The New York Times, New York Daily News

SCARBOROUGH’S SAD “APOLOGY”

MSNBC Screen Capture

SALON

Morning Joe’s namesake is a very busy and important man who can’t be bothered to get things right the first time

Last week, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough went on TV and said something false. Reacting to the inflammatory (and often dubious) allegations in Peter Schweizer’s new book, Clinton Cash, Scarborough posited that the government of Algeria made donations to the Clinton Foundation as a way to buy its way off the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. “The Clinton Foundation takes the check, and then just, out of nowhere the State Department then decides, well, they are going to take Algeria off the list,” Scarborough said. As Politifact and (my former employer) Media Matters pointed out, such an arrangement would have been impossible, given that Algeria has never been on the State Department’s list of terrorism sponsors.

So Scarborough was wrong. And today on Morning Joe, he offered a sneering, sarcastic “apology” to Politifact for having the temerity to point out how wrong he was.

I’m struggling to recall an instance in which a pundit has so self-indulgently wallowed in his own arrogance and sense of entitlement. Everyone gets something wrong every now and then, and the proper thing to do when those things happen is to correct the record, apologize, and move on. For Scarborough, though, the act of correction is an assault on the misbegotten pride he feels in hosting a low-rated and unwatchable morning news program.

First things first: Joe Scarborough seems to believe that because he puts on an “ad-libbed” show that lasts many hours, he enjoys some leeway when it comes to just making shit up. “Last week, in the course of this three-hour, ad-libbed show, I suggested Algeria may have been giving unreported donations to the Clinton Foundation in an effort to change their status on the State Department’s terror list.” Here’s a thought: maybe put a little more planning into what you say on cable news every day. “I do a long show that I put little to no forethought into” is not a justification for getting things wrong: it’s an admission that your show’s format is bad and should be changed to minimize these sorts of errors.

Scarborough also faulted Politifact for not noting that before he launched into this made-up nonsense about Algeria, he offered a disclaimer that he didn’t know what he was talking about. “Now, never mind that I prefaced my statement by saying that all the specifics may not be perfectly lined up. These are the realities, after all, of all of us doing a three-hour rolling conversation without teleprompters or scripts, the very things that every other news show in America is chained to but we aren’t. But still I prefaced my remark, but that prefaced remark mattered little to the Clinton arm of Politifact.” Yes, how dare Politifact not do Joe Scarborough the courtesy of highlighting his admission that he was talking out his ass.

Having begged off any sort of responsibility for the things he says on his own program, Scarborough then lashed out at Politifact, claiming that they were just picking nits (which, of course, absolves Scarborough from any blame).

VIDEO

SCARBOROUGH: So Politifact, let me get this straight. The Clinton Foundation was taking the money, hold on, not to get off the terror list. They were throwing them money at the same time they wanted to the State Department to get them off a list for their gross human rights abuses towards women. I hope I’ve cleared that up. Because I’ve got more. Have I cleared that part up? Because I don’t want to get it wrong! And any time Politifact calls me out on a footnote, I promise I’m going to come out here and let you know that instead of talking about the Clinton Foundation getting money to possibly get Algeria off the terror list, it would possibly be to whitewash gross human rights violations against women. I’m glad I got that off my chest.

Politifact actually noted all of that in their correction of Scarborough – they had a whole section of the fact-check headlined “Human rights violations hamper relations.” But this isn’t a dispute over a “footnote,” as Scarborough’s weaselly, sarcastic rebuttal put it. Inclusion on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terror is not a small thing. Once the U.S. government identifies a country as a sponsor of terrorism, they’re immediately subject to a whole host of economic sanctions. If, as Scarborough had posited, the Clinton Foundation had been part of a quid pro quo scheme to let Algeria buy its way off that list and out of those sanctions, that would have been a massive scandal.

But whatever, Scarborough was just “ad-libbing,” so it’s no big deal. It’s not Joe Scarborough’s responsibility to be right the first time; it’s Politifact’s responsibility to cut him as much slack as he needs because “Morning Joe” isn’t about facts, it’s about “conversation.”

And that leads to the most important question: why does “Morning Joe” still exist? Scarborough is clearly very proud of the ad-libbed, thrown-together format that permits him and his pundit pals to make stuff up in a consequence-free environment, but nobody actually watches the show. Its ratings are abysmal, and yet it soldiers on as a monument to Joe Scarborough’s insufferable arrogance.

– 

10 things you need to know today: May 6, 2015

Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

THE WEEK

1.The U.S. investigates ISIS claims it staged Texas attack
Skeptical U.S. investigators are looking into the Islamic State’s claim that it wasbehind the attack at a Texas cartoon contest featuring images mocking Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. The White House said it was too early to say whether ISIS really was involved in what would be its first strike in the U.S. Police shot and killed two men — Elton Simpson and his roommate Nadir Soofi — after they allegedly opened fire, wounding a security guard. A federal law enforcement agent said Simpson was under investigation before the attack.

Source: Reuters, Fox News

2.Mike Huckabee launches second White House bid
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee on Tuesday became the latest in a flurry of candidates to jump into the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Huckabee, a former president of the Arkansas Baptist Convention, made a strong showing in his first White House bid, in 2008. On Tuesday, he jabbed at Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, and GOP rivals such as Senators Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz, saying he would be “funded and fueled not by the billionaires but by working people across America.”

Source: Bloomberg

3.Hillary Clinton backs citizenship path for undocumented immigrants
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday publicly backed establishing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in the United States. “We can’t wait any longer for a path to full and equal citizenship,” she said at a Las Vegas high school. Seeking to draw a contrast between her view and that of rivals in the Republican party, the Democratic frontrunner said, “When they talk about legal status, that is code for second-class status.”

Source: USA Today

4.Investigators say Germanwings co-pilot rehearsed crash
French investigators reported Wednesday that the Germanwings co-pilot suspected of deliberately crashing his airliner in the French Alps had entered crash settings on the plane’s previous flight in what appeared to be a rehearsal for the tragic fatal dive. Andreas Lubitz repeatedly set the altitude dial to 100 feet on a flight to Barcelona that ended normally, French safety agency BEA reported Wednesday. On the return flight to Dusseldorf, he allegedly locked the captain out of the cockpit and crashed, killing himself and 149 others.

Source: NBC News

5.Baltimore officer challenges prosecutor claim that Freddie Gray’s arrest was illegal
One of the six Baltimore police officers charged in Freddie Gray’s death has filed court papers challenging prosecutors’ claim that Gray was falsely arrested. A lawyer for Officer Edward Nero, who has been charged with assault, misconduct, and false imprisonment, said Gray had an illegal knife, and challenged prosecutors to produce it. Baltimore City’s State Attorney Marilyn Mosby filed the charges last week after receiving a police investigative report. She said the knife was legal under state law.

Source: Baltimore Sun

6.French lawmakers back bill likened to U.S. Patriot Act
The lower house of French parliament on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a bill that would broaden the government’s spy powers. The bill, which is expected to easily pass in the Senate, was drafted days after gunmen killed 17 people in separate attacks — including one on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The so-called French Patriot Act would let intelligence agencies tap phones and monitor email accounts without a judge’s permission. Critics say it it is an unnecessary encroachment on liberty.

Source: The New York Times, AFP

7.Four sentenced to death for mob killing in Afghanistan
An Afghan court on Wednesday sentenced four men to death for participating in the March mob killing of a 27-year-old woman named Farkhunda who was wrongly suspected of burning a copy of the Koran. Forty-nine people, including 19 police officers, were tried for their alleged roles in the fatal beating, which caused widespread anger and spurred calls for greater women’s rights in Afghanistan. Eight others were convicted and sentenced to 16 years in prison. Charges were dropped against 18, and the rest will be sentenced Sunday.

Source: The Associated Press

8.California water regulators adopt mandatory conservation rules
California’s State Water Resources Control Board on Tuesday approved the state’s first rules for mandatory water conservation as the state struggles with an historic drought that is entering its fourth year. The emergency regulations require communities to slash water use by as much as 36 percent. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) ordered the cutbacks, which hit urban users hardest while giving broad exemptions to the state’s giant agricultural sector, even though it accounts for 80 percent of the state’s water use.

Source: Reuters

9. Loretta Lynch meets with Freddie Gray’s family and police in Baltimore
Attorney General Loretta Lynch visited Baltimore on Tuesday, saying she was considering a request from City Council President Jack Young for a civil rights investigation into the city’s police department after the death of Freddie Gray. He suffered a fatal spinal injury in police custody. Lynch met with Gray’s family, protesters, city officials, police, and religious leaders. Calm has returned to the city following protests and riots, but Lynch said tensions between residents and police remain.

Source: Politico, The Associated Press

10.Federal government approves ferry service to Cuba
The Obama administration on Tuesday granted licenses to at least four companies to offer ferry service between Florida and Cuba for the first time in more than 50 years. “I’m very excited, because this is a historical event in U.S.-Cuba relations,” said Leonard Moecklin Sr., managing partner of one of the companies, Havana Ferry. The move is part of an effort, announced by President Obama in December, to restore diplomatic relations between the U.S. and its former Cold War antagonist.

Source: Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, The Wall Street Journal

10 things you need to know today: May 5, 2015

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

THE WEEK

1.Texas police identify alleged gunmen killed outside Muhammad cartoon contest
The Islamic State claimed responsibility Tuesday for the attack outside a contest in Texas involving caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, calling the two alleged gunmen “soldiers” and threatening more attacks. Texas authorities identified the men, who were shot dead by police, as Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi. They were roommates in Phoenix, and allegedly drove to the Dallas suburb of Garland armed with assault rifles to attack the event. Simpson was convicted in 2011 of lying to the FBI in a terrorism investigation.Source: CNN, New York Daily News
2.Fiorina enters GOP presidential race, calling Hillary Clinton out of touch
Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina formally launched a campaign for the Republican presidential nomination on Monday. Fiorina got started by criticizing Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton as a member of an out-of-touch political elite that has “disgusted” American voters. Fiorina’s announcement came on the day former neurosurgeon Ben Carson formally joined the GOP field, which already includes senators Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz. Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is expected launch his campaign on Tuesday.Source: The Hill, Reuters
3.New York police officer dies two days after being shot
New York City police officer Brian Moore died on Monday, two days after he was shot in the head by a Queens gunman. Moore, 25, belonged to an elite plainclothes unit. He had pulled up in his unmarked sedan behind a man he and his partner saw adjusting his waistband in a suspicious way. The man wheeled and fired at the car, hitting Moore in the cheek. A suspect, Demetrius Blackwell, was arrested after a search of the neighborhood. Charges against Blackwell are now to be elevated to first-degree murder.Source: The New York Times
4.Hillary Clinton agrees to testify on Benghazi again
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has agreed to testify later this month at a House hearing on the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, one of her lawyers saidMonday. Clinton, now the Democratic presidential frontrunner, has already testified to Congress, but the House Select Committee on Benghazi called her again following revelations about her use of a private email account. The lawyer said there was “no basis, logic, or precedent” for the committee to call her again, but that she would answer its questions.Source: Politico
5.Obama tapping Marine general as next Joint Chiefs chairman
President Obama reportedly plans to announce Tuesday that he is nominating Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr. as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Dunford led the coalition in Afghanistan during a critical transition period in 2013 and 2014. He took over as commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps in October. The quick promotion won’t be the first for the widely respected Dunford. He went from one-star general to four stars in about three years.Source: The Associated Press
6.Small tsunami reported in New Guinea after earthquake
A small tsunami was reported near the South Pacific island of New Guinea on Tuesday after a 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck. The three-foot tsunami was spotted in the harbor of Rabaul, near the powerful quake’s epicenter. The earthquake knocked down power lines, cutting power to people in the Rabaul area, but there were few reports of damage to buildings other than cracks in some walls. No injuries were reported immediately following the quake.Source: The Associated Press
7.French far-right party suspends founder Le Pen
France’s far-right National Front party suspended its founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen, on Tuesday and said it would strip him of his title of honorary chairman for repeating his description of Nazi gas chambers as a mere “detail” of World War II. Le Pen’s daughter, Marine Le Pen, succeeded him as party chief in 2011 and chaired the executive committee that suspended him. The elder Le Pen responded by saying he is “ashamed” his daughter has his name, and hopes she loses her 2017 presidential bid.Source: Reuters
8.Tsarnaev cries as relatives testify on his behalf
Convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev dropped his stoic demeanor for the first time in his trial on Monday, when his aunt took the stand in the penalty phase that will determine whether he gets the death penalty. Tsarnaev, 21, appeared to cry as the mother’s sister, Patimat Suleimanova, sobbed as she took the stand to testify on his behalf. A cousin said Tsarnaev was a “sunny child.” The defense says Tsarnaev’s radicalized older brother, Tamerlan, led him into the attack, which killed three and wounded 270. Prosecutors say the brothers were equal partners.Source: The Christian Science Monitor, The Associated Press
9. Silicon Valley executive David Goldberg reportedly died from gym accident
SurveyMonkey CEO David Goldberg, the husband of Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, died on Friday at a private resort in Mexico from head trauma and blood loss after a gym accident, Mexican officials said Monday. Goldberg, 47, apparently collapsed, then “fell off the treadmill and cracked his head open,” said a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office in Mexico’s Nayarit State, where Goldberg was vacationing with family and friends.Source: The New York Times
10.Royal family announces name of new princess
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have named their new princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, Kensington Palace said Monday. The duke, Prince William, and duchess, Kate Middleton, left the hospital with the baby on Saturdaywithout revealing her name. Princess Charlotte is the fourth in line for the throne, after Prince Charles, Prince William, and her older brother, 21-month-old Prince George. Charlotte is the female form of Charles, the name of two former kings and her grandfather, the Prince of Wales.Source: BBC News

Marco Rubio leads GOP field in new national poll

Andrew Burton/Getty Images

CNN

Sen. Marco Rubio leads all Republican presidential hopefuls in a new poll released Thursday morning, capturing some momentum in the weeks after he became the third major Republican to announce his presidential campaign.

The Florida senator garnered support from 15% of the registered Republicans polled by Quinnipiac University, giving him a slight edge over his mentor Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor who won 13% of the vote in the poll.

Rubio also performed the best of all the potential Republican candidates in hypothetical head-to-head matchups against likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, trailing her by only two percentage points.

The poll — surveying national Republicans and coming nine months before the first votes will be cast in the Iowa caucuses — serves as a signal that Rubio has the potential to make a run at the nomination.

“This is the kind of survey that shoots adrenaline into a campaign,” said Tim Malloy, the assistant director of the poll, in a statement. “Marco Rubio gets strong enough numbers and favorability ratings to look like a legit threat to Hillary Clinton.”

Most early opinion polls have shown Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker leading the Republican field. Walker earns bronze in the new Quinnipiac poll, with 11% of respondents saying they would vote for him. A significant number of Republican primary voters — 14% — said they didn’t know who they planned to support.

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz earned 9% of the vote in the poll, and his Senate colleague from Kentucky, Rand Paul, won 8%. Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tied with 7% support — the rest of the field earned 3% or less. The margin of error for Republicans in the survey is 4.1 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac findings track closely with a CNN/ORC poll issued this week, though Bush beats Rubio by 5 percentage points in that survey.

All GOP candidates in the Quinnipiac poll trail Clinton, but the difference between Rubio and the former secretary of state is the smallest in all one-on-one battles: two percentage points. Paul lost to Clinton in a hypothetical match-up by four points; Christie, Walker and Huckabee by 5; and Cruz and Bush by 7.

In the CNN/ORC poll, the differences between Clinton and her rivals are much wider, with Rubio faring best by keeping the distance to 14 percentage points. CNN/ORC polled all adults, rather than registered voters, and asked the head-to-head questions with different wordings than did Quinnipiac, which could factor into the varied findings.

On the Democratic side in the Quinnipiac survey, Clinton continues to widely pummel the rest of the field. Vice President Joe Biden, who has not said he is running for the presidency, trailed Clinton by 50 percentage points for second place. Yet a majority of those polled say Clinton is not honest and trustworthy, a poorer rating than some of her Republican rivals.

“Yes she is a leader, but can she be trusted? Mixed review for Hillary Clinton on key character traits,” Malloy said.

Quinnipiac surveued 1,354 registered voters on landlines and cell phones — about half of whom are Democrats and half of whom are Republicans — yielding an overall margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

Theodore Schleifer, CNN

GOP Delays Benghazi Report Until 2016 Proving It’s All About Politics, Not Those Who Died

Addicting Info

If only the GOP was this adamant about getting to the bottom of the tragedy on 9/11/01, but wait… that was under Republican leadership, and Bush was instead made a hero. It’s always about politicizing tragedies to their favor. Always.

Republicans have no shame. None whatsoever. When the September 11 attacks happened, on American soil mind you, we were told that we were attacked… because we just were, and Republicans didn’t blame President Bush and his administration – even though they did ignore intelligence that said attacks were imminent.

However, when the attacks on an American embassy in Benghazi, Libya, occurred on 9/11/12, well that was obviously the fault of President Obama and Hillary Clinton. And godammit! Republicans are going to make sure they drag out and politicize the deaths of four Americans as long as they can in an effort to derail Clinton’s attempt at becoming the next President of the United States.

They don’t give a rat’s ass that the father of United States ambassador Christopher Stephens, who perished in the attack in Benghazi, asked that his son’s death not be politicized. Or the fact that 20 committee events and hearings have been held regarding the events on that fateful day, even committees run by House Republicans, debunking theories that there was any wrongdoing on the part of the Obama administration. They will not let the matter rest until they can use it to keep Clinton out of the Oval Office. At least that’s their hope.

Now, the new House Benghazi committee is delaying their supposed “new” report until 2016 — months before the presidential election where Clinton will undoubtedly be the Democratic nominee. And who are they blaming for this delay?? The White House, of course.

The committee spokesman, Jamal Ware, told Bloomberg News in a statement:

“Factors beyond the committee’s control, including witness availability, compliance with documents requests, the granting of security clearances and accreditations—all of which are controlled by the Executive branch—could continue to impact the timing of the inquiry’s conclusion.”

Mmmhmm, yeah. That’s it. Never mind the countless other hearings and investigations that have already happened. This dead horse hasn’t only been kicked, but it’s been sent to the glue factory and is now being used to hold together the last semblance of an argument the Republicans have. It’s pathetic… and it’s continuing to prevent the families of the dead to grieve properly.

Of course, chairman of the U.S. House Select Committee on Benghazi, Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC), denies that this delay has anything to do with the upcoming election, saying:

“Secretary Clinton’s decision to seek the presidency of the United States does not and will not impact the work of the committee.”

Hahahahaha (hold on, need to breathe) hahahahaha! Did he say that with a straight face?

I’m sure it’s just happenstance that the release of the report will magically coincide with the presidential election. Totally.

What will likely happen, because it’s happened with every other Benghazi report, is that the Obama administration will be cleared of any wrongdoing, and this entire charade of an investigation to bury the former Secretary of State will be able to be used to her advantage.

These Republicans are pathetic and morally bankrupt when it comes to politicizing tragedy. It’s clear they don’t care about getting to the bottom of what happened, because that’s already occurred. And if they did, they’d be more focused on going after the people who attacked us, just like with 9/11/01. They only care about hurting Clinton’s chance at the presidency, and that is the God’s honest truth.

AUTHOR:

Fox News Also Responds On Deal With Conservative Writer About Hillary Dirt

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Attribution: none

TPM LiveWire

In a piece on Sunday The New York Times said it, The Washington Post, and Fox News had “exclusive agreements” with Schweizer to “pursue story lines in the book. In a statement to TPM, Fox denied any type of exclusive deal.

Here’s the statement from Fox News executive vice president Michael Clemente:

We have secured the television exclusive to report on the forthcoming book, Clinton Cash, as all major news outlets have done for decades with a multitude of books. There is no exclusive arrangement to ‘pursue story lines’ — we have conducted our own independent research and reporting on the contents of the book. This was the same process we used in securing an advance copy of 13 Hours and Things That Matter, which were both the subject of one-hour FOX News documentaries.

In an email to TPM, NYT Washington bureau chief Carolyn Ryan said “We had access to some material in the book, but we wanted to do our own reporting.”

10 things you need to now today: April 19, 2015

Darren McCollester / Getty Images

The Week

1.Hundreds of migrants feared dead in Mediterranean shipwreck 
An estimated 500 to 700 people went missing on Sunday after a boat ferrying migrants to Italy capsized north of Libya in the Mediterranean Sea. The 65-foot-long fishing boat sent a distress call overnight, but when another vessel approached the migrants huddled to the far side of the ship, causing it to capsize, according to the Italian Coast Guard. Close to 20 ships raced to rescue survivors, pulling 28 people from the water so far. Roughly 900 people are believed to have died this year trying to make the crossing.

Source: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal

2.FBI admits to exaggerating forensic hair evidence for two decades
Almost every examiner in the FBI’s hair analysis unit repeatedly overhyped evidence to aid prosecutors over a two-decade period ending in 2000, according to The Washington Post. The finding comes from an ongoing review of cases conducted by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Innocence Project in conjunction with the federal government. Per the review, 26 of 28 forensic hair analysts overstated evidence in 95 percent of the 268 trials examined so far. The FBI and Justice Department acknowledged the errors, saying in a statement they were “committed to ensuring that affected defendants are notified of past errors and that justice is done in every instance.”

Source: The Washington Post

3.Republican presidential hopefuls woo New Hampshire voters
A slew of declared and potential Republican presidential candidates trekked to New Hampshire this weekend for the two-day Republican Leadership Summit. Close to 20 prospective candidates — ranging from establishment types like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Jeb Bush, to bottom-tier hopefuls like Donald Trump and John Bolton — used their stage time to discuss policy, ding the president, and assail presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. “When Hillary Clinton travels, there’s going to need to be two planes,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said. “One for her and her entourage, and one for her baggage.”

Source: CNN, Politico

4.Poland summons U.S. ambassador over FBI head’s Holocaust remark
Poland on Sunday summoned the U.S. ambassador to protest FBI Director James Comey’s recent comment casting some blame on Poland for the Holocaust. “The murderers and accomplices of Germany, and Poland, and Hungary, and so many, many other places didn’t do something evil,” Comey said in a speech last week, which was then adapted as an opinion piece in The Washington Post. “They convinced themselves it was the right thing to do, the thing they had to do.” Poland’s ambassador to the U.S. called the comment “unacceptable” and a “falsification of history.”

Source: Reuters

5.Senior Revolutionary Guard rejects weapons inspections
A high-ranking member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on Saturdayinsisted weapons inspectors would be barred from visiting military sites under any final nuclear agreement. “Iran will not become a paradise for spies,” Gen. Hossein Salami said. “We will not roll out the red carpet for the enemy,” he added, saying that inspections would amount to Tehran “selling out.” Under a framework agreement reached last month between the U.S., Iran, and five world powers, international inspectors would be granted access to Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Source: The Associated Press

6.Putin walks back anti-U.S. rhetoric
Speaking on Russia’s state-run Rossiya channel on Saturday, President Vladimir Putin admitted that Moscow and Washington have “disagreements,” but that “there is something that unites us, that forces us to work together,” according to Reuters‘ translation of the remarks. “I mean general efforts directed at making the world economy more democratic, measured and balanced, so that the world order is more democratic,” Putin said. “We have a common agenda.” Putin’s comments came two days after he told a Russian phone-in show that the United States wants “not allies, but vassals,” and is behaving like the former Soviet Union in its overreaching foreign policy.

Source: Reuters

7.ISIS claims to kill Ethiopian Christians
The Islamic State on Sunday released a video purporting to show the execution of two groups of captured Ethiopian Christians. The 29-minute video claims to show ISIS affiliates at two separate locations in Libya beheading or shooting to death prisoners, though a death toll was not immediately clear. Though the video has yet to be authenticated, it closely resembled previous ISIS propaganda videos depicting executions.

Source: CBS

8.California water board releases revised drought restrictions
California’s State Water Resources Control Board on Saturday released modified proposed conservation restrictions, adjusting the planned cuts based on water-saving efforts already underway. A former draft divided water suppliers into four tiers; the new framework places them into one of nine tiers — where water usage must be cut by anywhere from 8 percent to 36 percent — to “more equitably allocate” the restrictions. Water suppliers that do not meet their cuts could face fines of up to $10,000 per day. The board is expected to vote on the revised framework proposal in early May.

Source: The New York Times

9. Warriors open NBA playoffs with win
The NBA playoffs tipped off Saturday with the Golden State Warriors, owners of the best record in basketball, holding off the New Orleans Pelicans. Also Saturday, the Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls, and Washington Wizards won the opening games of their first-round series. The playoffs continue Sunday with four more games.

Source: Sports Illustrated

10.Ringo Starr inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Beatles drummer Ringo Starr was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Saturday as a solo artist, making him the fourth and final member of the seminal band enshrined for his solo work. “As all the other drummers say, he just is something so special,” bandmate Paul McCartney said at the induction ceremony. The Hall’s 2015 class also included newcomers Lou Reed, Green Day, and Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, among others.

Source: Rolling Stone