down state news

mod_dbrss2 AJAX RSS Reader poweredbysimplepie
DownState News
Contact Us

In-N-Out Burger

In-N-Out Burger

Look Back at David Redfern’s Classic Beatles Photographs

Look Back at David Redfern’s Classic Beatles Photographs

By Sean Fitz-Gerald

David Redfern — the prolific music photographer who captured snapshots of such monumental artists as the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Duke Ellington, and Nina Simone, among others — has died at the age of 78. NME reports that Redfern, who had cancer, died at his home in France. Throughout a career that began in the '60s, Redfern became an industry fixture, shooting musicians at jazz clubs and on TV shows. On the latter, Redfern snapped many of his now-classic pictures of the Beatles from shows like Thank Your Lucky Stars. In remembrance of the photographer, here are 11 of his shots of the Beatles, taken between 1963 and 1967, in the U.K.

Iran hangs woman for killing her alleged rapist

Iran hangs woman for killing her alleged rapist

 Iran hangs woman for killing her alleged rapist

Reyhaneh Jabbari, 27, had been convicted of murder in the 2007 stabbing death of an Intelligence Ministry worker. The court rejected her assertion that she acted in self-defense.

Rejecting pleas from human rights groups, Iran on Saturday hanged a woman convicted of murdering a man she had said was trying to rape her.

Reyhaneh Jabbari,  27, was hanged at dawn, the official IRNA news agency reported. In a protracted court case, she had been convicted of premeditated murder in the 2007 stabbing death of Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, a former employee of the Intelligence Ministry. The court rejected her assertion that she acted in self-defense.

Jabbari was originally convicted in 2009, but the case was appealed to Iran’s Supreme Court, which upheld the sentence. She could have escaped the death penalty if the slain man’s family had agreed to accept “blood money,” a common Iranian legal practice, but relatives refused. 

Rights groups including Amnesty International had described proceedings against Jabbari as fundamentally flawed, but IRNA cited evidence including Jabbari having allegedly purchased a knife two days before the killing and texted a friend about her plans.

Why environmental groups are backing Republicans

Why environmental groups are backing Republicans

By Jared Gilmour

Hoping to make climate change a bipartisan issue, environmental groups are endorsing Republicans and moderate Democrats in the midterm elections. The strategy is a pragmatic shift for green groups, who have more money and clout in this election than ever before.

Environmental groups are opening their arms to some other unlikely candidates ahead of November’s midterm elections. From pro-Keystone Democrats in the South to moderate Republicans in the Northeast and Midwest, environmental organizations have warmed to moderate politicians they may have overlooked in past cycles.

With more money, resources, and clout than ever before, greens are trying to broaden their sphere of influence, aiming to turn climate change and environmentalism into non-partisan issues in coming elections.

Critics lambast the green movement for moving away from principle. But other observers applaud the pragmatism, and green groups insist it’s necessary for a compromise-driven approach to action on climate change.

Making a reclusive life work.

So You Want a More Solitary Existence

By Marty Nemko, Ph.D.

Making a reclusive life work.

Work. Self-employment is an obvious choice for the reclusive person. However, while there are ways to boost your odds of self-employment success, some people might be wise to be employed by someone else. If so, you still may increase your solitude. For example, ask your boss if you might have a corner cube, telecommute at least part-time, or do more solo work and less of those team projects that often can drive even social people nuts. True, isolates may not build the relationships key to staying well employed but sometimes, that can be mitigated by preempting the problem: Tell boss and coworkers that you prefer solitude and that doesn’t mean you dislike your coworkers. Hopefully, they’ll celebrate that diversity of work style, not just the racial diversity that, these days, every employer implores.

5 Ways to Tell if a Relationship Might Last

5 Ways to Tell if a Relationship Might Last

By Theresa E. DiDonato, Ph.D. 

It's sometimes hard to tell if a new relationship has long-lasting potential. Consider these questions, which can help you figure it out.

#2. Have you met his or her friends, and vice versa? If the person you’re dating is open to a long-term relationship, friends and family typically get involved. This makes sense: People tend to want to integrate significant others into their social networks. Indeed, friend approval may be a key factor in the relationship’s long-term success. Evidence suggests that the more friends know a buddy’s romantic partner, and the more they approve of him or her, the less likely it is that the romantic relationship will end

Coming Out Kinky to Your Doctor

Coming Out Kinky to Your Doctor

As more people embrace their inner kinkster, doctors need to know the details to provide quality health care. This… can be complicated.

Recently, Claire Conrad, 36, found herself trussed up in stirrups—and not in a fun way. Conrad was at the ob-gyn to check to see if, as the Maryland resident likes to put it, “My cervix is trying to kill me.”

She’d had an abnormal pap smear, and was getting a colposcopy to make sure it wasn’t cancer. In the process, Conrad, who asked that her real name not be used, was coming out to her ob-gyn as kinky. It was plain as the purple and black caning marks on her legs.

Conrad, you see, is in an open marriage and enjoys a little submission and a little pain with her sex.

When her doctor blurted out, “Oh! You are bruised,” Conrad figured it could have been worse. Still, she left the appointment with the clear sense that the staff would be gossiping about her after she’d gone. If she ever had a caning session that broke the skin and became infected, she said she’d think twice about going back to her doctor.

“That’s a tough one,” she said. “If I had been injured, I don’t think I would be comfortable with talking to my doctor about it. Even if I did, I don’t know if I would be honest about what happened.”


Before 2013, people interested in bondage and discipline or sado-masochism (BDSM)—that is, getting an erotic thrill from being tied up or tying someone else up, or hurting someone or being hurt by someone—were treated in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), the bible of psychiatric care, as a mental disorder that could then be used in court to remove children from kinkster parents, among other things. Today, the DSM defines BDSM as a kink that only becomes a disorder if it’s causing distress or dysfunction.

The White House’s potent, persistent four-legged weapons

A Secret Service officer is seen with an attack dog outside the White House September 25, 2014 in Washington, DC. US Secret Service raised security after an intruder was able to jump the fence and run into the White House. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKIBRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

(Brendan Smialowski / AFP/Getty Images)

The White House’s potent, persistent four-legged weapons

Juliet Eilperin and David Nakamura

Though bruised in the process, the Secret Service beasts still got the latest fence jumper — and
became canine heroes.

The apprehension of a man who jumped the White House fence Wednesday night and was bitten by a guard dog highlighted one of the Secret Service’s most effective weapons: its canines.

Secret Service agents and K-9 units quickly subdued the latest fence jumper, whom authorities identified as Dominic Adesanya, 23, of Bel Air, Md., after he punched two of the Secret Service dogs, Hurricane and Jordan, authorities say.

The two animals were taken to a veterinarian and treated for minor bruising they suffered during the incident, according to agency spokesman Edwin Donovan, while Adesanya was taken to a hospital with injuries from a dog bite and is now in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

“Both K-9s were cleared for duty by the veterinarian,” Donovan wrote in an e-mail.

Adesanya was charged Thursday with one count of knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds and one count of injuring animals used by law enforcement. Both charges are misdemeanors punishable by up to 1 year in prison.

Adesanya’s rapid apprehension posed a marked contrast to the agency’s handling of Omar J. Gonzalez, a 42-year-old Army veteran who authorities say jumped the White House fence and ran far into the executive mansion through an unlocked front door on Sept. 19. The incident involving Gonzalez, whose arraignment was delayed Tuesday and who is now scheduled to undergo a mental-health evaluation within 30 days, set off a series of embarrassing revelations about the Secret Service and helped lead to the resignation of its then-director, Julia Pierson.

In the case of Gonzalez, the agency’s guard dogs were not released, raising questions about a security breakdown at the White House. Under the Secret Service’s protocols, there was supposed to be an attack dog, a specialized SWAT team and a guard at the front door at the ready if the officer in a guard booth on the North Lawn was unable to reach the intruder.

Peter Max Corvette Collection Headed to Auction

A Set of ‘Vettes, Off to Rehab

Peter Max Corvette Collection Headed to Auction

Members of Corvette forums seethed every time a new photo emerged showing the dust-caked cars in a dim garage. Some wanted Mr. Max to sell the cars or donate the set to a museum. Others didn’t much care who owned the cars: They only wanted to see them — the 1953 example, in particular, one of 300 built that year — restored to their former beauty.

Those people are getting their wish.

Mr. Heller and his cousin Scott Heller, along with Scott’s sons, Adam and Mike, bought the cars from Mr. Max over the summer. They plan to clean, and restore as needed, all 36 before taking them to auction next year. (The Hellers are partners in the venture with Gary Spindler, a New York parking management executive.)

After the decades of neglect, how did the Corvettes’ reversal of fortune come about?

The tale of the set begins in 1989, when the collection came together as the grand prize in a contest sponsored by the VH1 cable music channel. A call to a 900 number, for a $2 fee, was required to enter; more than a million people made the call.

The winner was Dennis Amodeo, a carpenter from Long Island, who flew to California to accept his prize. But before he could bring the cars home to New York, he got a call from Mr. Max, who was interested in using the cars to pursue his vision of a grand art project fusing his bright hippie imagery with the distinctly American iconography of the Corvette. (Imagine, say, a hot-dogs-and-apple-pie Chevy commercial mashed up with the psychedelic interludes from “Laugh-In.”)

Once the cars were delivered to New York, Mr. Max did some preliminary work, taping color test strips in place on several. But he was busy with other projects as well as a legal battle with the Internal Revenue Service that led to a guilty plea for tax fraud.

After a few years of inattention, Mr. Max’s ambitious Corvette project was consigned, like so many others, to the garage. Not just any garage, however; in a city where a single parking space can now fetch up to $1 million, finding room for 36 cars was tough.

And that is where the Hellers came in.

In 2001, Mr. Max needed to move the collection out of a garage on West 40th Street that was being sold. The owner called Scott Heller, who had worked closely with garage operators across the city for years. Mr. Heller found a new home for the cars quickly, in the Flatiron district, and helped supervise the move. They were moved again a few years later, to a garage in the Prospect Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. Finally, in 2010, they made it to Upper Manhattan, where many of the cars now reside in a former Packard dealership.

Scott Heller said that earlier this year he had offered to work with Mr. Max, restoring the cars for sale and splitting the proceeds. Mr. Max rejected the offer, he said. But Mr. Heller said that not long after, he was asked whether he wanted to buy the cars outright.

Not being Corvette experts, the Hellers engaged Mr. Mazzilli to help evaluate the collection and prepare it for sale. Negotiations were swift, and they took possession of the cars in July.

The Hellers declined to say how much they paid.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Max declined to comment on the cars or the sale.

To walk among the ‘Vettes, even in their fallen state, is to experience how a singular American car has evolved over the years.

Dirt encases the cars, suggesting the aftermath of a volcanic eruption. But through the grime you can easily identify their distinctive periods: the ’80s Faceman cars; the louche, hip-heavy ’70s Stingrays; the sharply creased mid-60s cadets; and a handful of varsity lettermen from the ’50s.

Read Article

Liberals Seek Alternative to Hillary Clinton

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks to a crowd during a town-hall meeting at Clarke University, in Dubuque, Iowa, in September.

Liberals Seek Alternative to Hillary Clinton

By Peter Nicholas

Would-Be 2016 Challengers Test the Waters With Democratic Activists, Donors

Searching for an alternative to Hillary Clinton for 2016, some Democratic donors are meeting with potential challengers. Liberal activists are trying to coax Sen. Elizabeth Warren into running. Politicians not named Hillary Clinton are testing their appeal in New Hampshire and Iowa.

As formidable as Mrs. Clinton looks even before declaring herself a candidate, liberals are casting about for a committed populist to run against her in 2016. They see the former secretary of state and senator as too closely aligned with large corporations and question whether she can be counted on to narrow the income gap in America.

They hope to either recruit a candidate able to capture the nomination outright or at least give Mrs. Clinton enough of a scare that she embraces progressive policy goals. Their aim is to make the primary process a debate over the Democratic Party’s direction, rather than an uncontested march by Mrs. Clinton to the nomination.

Guy Saperstein, a Democratic donor and part-owner of the Oakland A’s baseball team, met privately at his home near San Francisco last week with Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont who has long championed liberal causes. Mr. Sanders says he is considering a presidential bid and wants to gauge whether he can raise enough money.

In their conversation, Mr. Saperstein said, he told Mr. Sanders that he couldn’t support him until he is assured Ms. Warren, of Massachusetts, won’t run. But he said he isn’t inclined to give money to Mrs. Clinton in any scenario, saying he is “extremely concerned” about what he called her “closeness to Wall Street.”

Mrs. Clinton and her husband have raised about $1 billion from U.S. companies and industry donors in support of various policy and political goals over the past two decades, a Wall Street Journal analysis has shown. As president, Bill Clinton signed into law a measure that deregulated parts of Wall Street, which critics say contributed to the 2008 financial crisis.

Earlier this past week, Mr. Sanders visited Keene State College in New Hampshire, the first presidential primary state, where he warned students that wealthy conservative interests are bottling up policies that would boost job growth and help struggling families.

Asked about Mrs. Clinton’s ties to Wall Street firms, Mr. Sanders, who normally has stopped short of criticizing her, said: “That’s an issue that Hillary Clinton is going to have to deal with. That is a very fair observation, and I think the American people perceive that.”

Read Article

A comedian walks into the Senate — and there’s no punch line

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) has been on the Hill since 2009. (AP)

A comedian walks into the Senate — and there’s no punch line

Paul Kane

Terrified of making mistakes, political candidates like Sen. Al Franken are tactically turning boredom into a campaign virtue.

This election season has been defined by candidates, Democrats and Republicans alike, who have run campaigns that strategists like to call “disciplined” but voters might call dull. Democrats have relentlessly stuck to a plan that made little mention of President Obama and cited issues — equal pay for female workers, raising the minimum wage, refinancing college loans — that were drawn up by party operatives in Washington. Republicans have rattled off voting percentages showing how often Democrats have sided with Obama and noted their support of his health-care law.

Few races hinge on personality and character; Iowa’s neck-and-neck Senate contest is a rare exception. Most candidates have gone to great pains to avoid gaffes, fearing that any errant or misspoken phrase would quickly make its way around the political universe on the Twitter jet stream.

Flailing candidates in what should have been easily winnable races — Michigan for Democrats, Kansas for Republicans — urgently received new campaign teams sent from party headquarters on Capitol Hill. The common aim: to instill discipline. In both Michigan and Kansas, the races look more favorable for the incumbent party since the SWAT teams were dispatched.

Franken’s effort to avoid making waves is the most dramatic turnaround by a member of the current Senate. He was part of the original cast of “SNL” in 1975, winning Emmys as one of the show’s lead writers. He hosted the irreverent “Weekend Update” segment and played Stuart Smalley, the fictional self-help guru. Frequently battling with NBC’s leaders, he once did a segment on how the network’s ratings were an “unequivocal failure,” leading to his first departure from the show.

On a crisp autumn Saturday, more than 400 young activists were drawn to Carleton College to see the new liberal torchbearer in Congress, Warren.

They cheered warmly for Franken, particularly his invocation of Wellstone, the fiery liberal who was a Carleton professor before launching his successful long-shot for the Senate in 1990. But the crowd roared its approval for Warren, whose challenges to the banking industry have turned her into an icon less than two years into her first term.

Some of the Wellstone disciples there Saturday said they understood Franken’s initial approach to politics but yearned for him to play a bigger role if he wins a second term.

“I’d like to see him take more risk. Go for it, don’t hold back,” Paula Manor, 57, an organic corn farmer from Northfield, said.

Read Article

The Bowling Ebola Doc's Boo

Workers loaded barrels into a truck after taking them from the apartment of Dr. Craig Spencer in Harlem.

Credit John Taggart/European Pressphoto Agency

New York Ebola Patient’s Fiancée Shares His Altruism


Morgan Dixon, due to leave the hospital Saturday and continue her quarantine at the home she shares with Craig Spencer, is said to be a private person who helps people behind the scenes.

Morgan Dixon always had a plan, and it never involved staying in Cincinnati. Even in high school, she thought far beyond her hometown, writing officials in developing countries as part of the school’s Amnesty International club and urging them to stop violating human rights. “You have the world to explore!” her parents wrote next to her picture in her 2002 yearbook. “Enjoy Life!”

So Ms. Dixon explored—China, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Ghana, Burundi. She met her future fiancé, Craig Spencer, in a language immersion course in Henan Province in China in 2006 or 2007. He shared her passion for helping others less fortunate.

So this week, after learning that Dr. Spencer had brought Ebola home to New York from Guinea and after being quarantined herself on Thursday night, Ms. Dixon reacted in an almost predictable way.

“She literally was like, ‘This is amazing, being in a privileged position in a well-resourced country,' ” said a longtime friend, Shalva Wise, who said she spoke to Ms. Dixon by phone on Friday afternoon. “She was also thinking about the folks over there who he left behind.”

On Friday, Ms. Dixon, 30, a development associate at the Hope Program in Brooklyn, which helps homeless and other disadvantaged adults find and keep jobs, found herself in precisely the position she never coveted: the center of attention.

Dr. Spencer tested positive for Ebola on Thursday night after being admitted to the isolation ward at Bellevue Hospital Center earlier that day. Ms. Dixon checked into Bellevue that night and is being quarantined along with two friends who went bowling with Dr. Spencer on Wednesday. All three are to be released on Saturday to be quarantined at their homes, Ms. Wise said.

Ms. Dixon, friends said, is a private person who worked to help people from behind the scenes. Friends described her as “liberal” and “flowing.” She has been a vegetarian for years and she is enough of a fan of thrift stores that she uses “thrift” as a verb, even saying on her Pinterest account that she liked the idea of having her bridesmaids “thrift their own dresses.”

“I would describe her in a nutshell, she’s about as liberal and earthy as you get,” said Christopher Wintrode, 30, who was a class officer along with Ms. Dixon at Beloit College in Beloit, Wis. “I was the head of the Young Republicans group on campus. It was good, I was really conservative, and she was really good at getting me outside of my box. She was about as hippy-dippy as they come.”

Ebola: As the epidemic widens, the disease is mutating.

Pardis Sabeti and Stephen Gire in the Genomics Platform of the Broad Institute of M.I.T. and Harvard, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They have been working to sequence Ebola’s genome and track its mutations.

The Ebola Wars

How genomics research can help contain the outbreak.

By Richard Preston

he most dangerous outbreak of an emerging infectious disease since the appearance of H.I.V., in the early nineteen-eighties, seems to have begun on December 6, 2013, in the village of Meliandou, in Guinea, in West Africa, with the death of a two-year-old boy who was suffering from diarrhea and a fever. We now know that he was infected with Ebola virus. The virus is a parasite that lives, normally, in some as yet unidentified creature in the ecosystems of equatorial Africa. This creature is the natural host of Ebola; it could be a type of fruit bat, or some small animal that lives on the body of a bat—possibly a bloodsucking insect, a tick, or a mite.

Before now, Ebola had caused a number of small, vicious outbreaks in central and eastern Africa. Doctors and other health workers were able to control the outbreaks quickly, and a belief developed in the medical and scientific communities that Ebola was not much of a threat. The virus is spread only through direct contact with blood and bodily fluids, and it didn’t seem to be mutating in any significant way.

After Ebola infected the boy, it went from him to his mother, who died, to his three-year-old sister, who died, and to their grandmother, who died, and then it left the village and began moving through the human population of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Since there is no vaccine against or cure for the disease caused by Ebola virus, the only way to stop it is to break the chains of infection. Health workers must identify people who are infected and isolate them, then monitor everybody with whom those people have come in contact, to make sure the virus doesn’t jump to somebody else and start a new chain. Doctors and other health workers in West Africa have lost track of the chains. Too many people are sick, and more than two hundred medical workers have died. Health authorities in Europe and the United States seem equipped to prevent Ebola from starting uncontrolled chains of infection in those regions, but they worry about what could happen if Ebola got into a city like Lagos, in Nigeria, or Kolkata, in India. The number of people who are currently sick with Ebola is unknown, but almost nine thousand cases, including forty-five hundred deaths, have been reported so far, with the number of cases doubling about every three weeks. The virus seems to have gone far beyond the threshold of outbreak and ignited an epidemic.

The virus is extremely infectious. Experiments suggest that if one particle of Ebola enters a person’s bloodstream it can cause a fatal infection. This may explain why many of the medical workers who came down with Ebola couldn’t remember making any mistakes that might have exposed them. One common route of entry is thought to be the wet membrane on the inner surface of the eyelid, which a person might touch with a contaminated fingertip. The virus is believed to be transmitted, in particular, through contact with sweat and blood, which contain high concentrations of Ebola particles. People with Ebola sweat profusely, and in some instances they have internal hemorrhages, along with effusions of vomit and diarrhea containing blood.

Despite its ferocity in humans, Ebola is a life-form of mysterious simplicity. A particle of Ebola is made of only six structural proteins, locked together to become an object that resembles a strand of cooked spaghetti. An Ebola particle is only around eighty nanometres wide and a thousand nanometres long. If it were the size of a piece of spaghetti, then a human hair would be about twelve feet in diameter and would resemble the trunk of a giant redwood tree.

Once an Ebola particle enters the bloodstream, it drifts until it sticks to a cell. The particle is pulled inside the cell, where it takes control of the cell’s machinery and causes the cell to start making copies of it. Most viruses use the cells of specific tissues to copy themselves. For example, many cold viruses replicate in the sinuses and the throat. Ebola attacks many of the tissues of the body at once, except for the skeletal muscles and the bones. It has a special affinity for the cells lining the blood vessels, particularly in the liver. After about eighteen hours, the infected cell is releasing thousands of new Ebola particles, which sprout from the cell in threads, until the cell has the appearance of a ball of tangled yarn. The particles detach and are carried through the bloodstream, and begin attaching themselves to more cells, everywhere in the body. The infected cells begin spewing out vast numbers of Ebola particles, which infect more cells, until the virus reaches a crescendo of amplification. The infected cells die, which leads to the destruction of tissues throughout the body. This may account for the extreme pain that Ebola victims experience. Multiple organs fail, and the patient goes into a sudden, steep decline that ends in death. In a fatal case, a droplet of blood the size of the “o” in this text could easily contain a hundred million particles of Ebola virus.

Read Article

Thirty-Three-Hit Wonder

Thirty-Three-Hit Wonder

Billy Joel still lives on Long Island, still rules the Garden.

By Nick Paumgarten

Billy Joel sat smoking a cigarillo on a patio overlooking Oyster Bay. He had chosen the seating area under a trellis in front of the house, his house, a brick Tudor colossus set on a rise on the southeastern tip of a peninsula called Centre Island, on Long Island’s North Shore. It was a brilliant cloudless September afternoon. Beethoven on Sonos, cicadas in the trees, pugs at his feet. Out on the water, an oyster dredge circled the seeding beds while baymen raked clams in the flats. Joel surveyed the rising tide. Sixty-five. Semi-retirement. Weeks of idleness, of puttering around his motorcycle shop and futzing with lobster boats, of books and dogs and meals, were about to give way to a microburst of work. His next concert, his first in more than a month, was scheduled to begin in five hours, at Madison Square Garden, and he appeared to be composing himself.

“Actually, I composed myself a long time ago,” he said. He told a joke that involved Mozart erasing something in a mausoleum; the punch line was “I’m decomposing.” He knocked off an ash. Whenever anyone asks him about his pre-show routine, he says, “I walk from the dressing room to the stage. That’s my routine.” Joel has a knack for delivering his own recycled quips and explanations as though they were fresh, a talent related, one would think, to that of singing well-worn hits with sincere-seeming gusto. He often says that the hardest part isn’t turning it on but turning it off: “One minute, I’m Mussolini, up onstage in front of twenty thousand screaming people. And then, a few minutes later, I’m just another schmuck stuck in traffic on the highway.” It’s true: the transition is abrupt, and it has bedevilled rock stars since the advent of the backbeat. But this schmuck is usually looking down on the highway from an altitude of a thousand feet. He commutes to and from his shows by helicopter.

Joel was wearing a black T-shirt tucked into black jeans, black Vans, and an Indian Motorcycle ball cap. The back of his head, where hair might be, was freshly shorn, and his features, which in dark or obscure moods can appear mottled and knotted, were at rest, projecting benevolent bemusement. To prepare for the flight, he’d put on a necklace of good-luck medallions—pendants of various saints. The atavism of Long Island is peculiar. Though Jewish, and an atheist, he had, as a boy in a predominantly Catholic part of Hicksville, attended Mass, and even tried confession. His mother took him and his sister to Protestant services at a local church; he was baptized there. Still, a girl across the street said he’d grow horns, and a neighborhood kid named Vinny told him, “Yo, Joel, you killed Jesus. I’m gonna beat your ass.” Vinny did, repeatedly. Joel took up boxing to defend himself. The nose still shows it.

There was a rumble in the distance. “That’s my guy,” Joel said. “He’s early.” A helicopter zipped in over the oystermen and landed down by the water, at the hem of a great sloping lawn, where Joel had converted the property’s tennis court to a helipad. He’d recently had to resurface it, after Hurricane Sandy. Joel often attempts to inoculate himself with self-mockery. “Oh, my helipad got flooded,” he says, with the lockjaw of Thurston Howell III.

He got up to go. He has the short, wide, halting gait of an old lineman—two fake hips. He called through the screen door leading to the kitchen: “A-Rod!” A-Rod was his girlfriend, Alexis Roderick, from Northport, a thirty-three-year-old former risk manager at Morgan Stanley. They met five years ago at a restaurant in Huntington, where they’d both gone with friends. He introduced himself, got her number, and, when he was done eating, called her on the phone from across the restaurant and asked if she would give him a ride home. “I always try to go out with North Shore girls,” he likes to say. “They usually have a car.” She drove him back to Centre Island. He asked her if she wanted to hear him play. She said no. He played anyway—Rachmaninoff, on the living-room grand, a move he got from “The Seven Year Itch.” She says, “It was like he couldn’t not be ‘Billy Joel’ at that moment.”

“I may have got a little fresh,” he recalls. She drove off that night, but months later they began seeing each other. She moved in with him, and he persuaded her to quit her job on Wall Street. Joel, who refers to his former wives as Ex 1, Ex 2, and Ex 3, says that he is in no hurry to be married again.

The Cool Calm of the Lamborghini Huracn

The Cool Calm of the Lamborghini Huracn

The 2015 Lamborghini Huracán moves a dancer's grace but comes with unexpected danger: other drivers who stare instead of drive.

China’s Nuclear Subs Alter Strategic Balance

China’s Nuclear Subs Alter Strategic Balance

With far-ranging new nuclear subs, China is rattling Asia’s balance of power, challenging the U.S. and risking an undersea contest with echoes of Tom Clancy and the Cold War.

China is expected to pass another milestone this year when it sets a different type of sub to sea—a “boomer,” carrying fully armed nuclear missiles for the first time—says the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence, or ONI.

China is hardly hiding its new boomers. Tourists could clearly see three of them at a base opposite a resort recently in China’s Hainan province. On the beach, rented Jet Skis were accompanied by guides to make sure riders didn’t stray too close.

These boomers’ missiles have the range to hit Hawaii and Alaska from East Asia and the continental U.S. from the mid-Pacific, the ONI says.

“This is a trump card that makes our motherland proud and our adversaries terrified,” China’s navy chief, Adm. Wu Shengli, wrote of the country’s missile-sub fleet in a Communist Party magazine in December. “It is a strategic force symbolizing great-power status and supporting national security.”

To naval commanders from other countries, the Chinese nuclear sub’s nonstop Indian Ocean voyage was especially striking, proving that it has the endurance to reach the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s headquarters in Hawaii.

“They were very clear with respect to messaging,” says Vice Adm. Robert Thomas, a former submariner who commands the U.S. Seventh Fleet, “to say that, ‘We’re a professional navy, we’re a professional submarine force, and we’re global. We’re no longer just a coastal-water submarine force.’ ”

Bill Clinton Says He Had It Worse Than Obama

Toxic Partisanship? Bill Clinton Says He Had It Worse Than Obama

President Obama heads into midterm elections in which he may face crushing losses. He has been spurned by his own party, whose candidates do not even want to be seen with him. The president’s supporters say the toxic atmosphere in Washington has made it impossible for Mr. Obama to succeed.

But there is a counter view being offered by a former Democratic president that as far as personal attacks go, he, Bill Clinton, had it worse. “Nobody’s accused him of murder yet, as far as I know. I mean, it was pretty rough back then,” Mr. Clinton said last month in an interview aired by PBS, when asked about the partisan climate facing Mr. Obama.

Whatever Mr. Clinton’s motivations, his comments, which his former aides frequently refer to when the topic comes up, do not permit Mr. Obama to excuse his legislative setbacks by simply citing hyper-partisanship. As one former White House aide to Mr. Clinton put it: “They impeached our guy.”

The tumult of the Clinton years — including conspiracy theories about the death of Vincent W. Foster Jr., a deputy White House counsel and friend of the Clintons’ from Arkansas who committed suicide in 1993, the investigation into Whitewater, the Monica Lewinsky scandal and impeachment — has come back as Hillary Rodham Clinton inches toward a run for president in 2016.

When asked last month what the single biggest misconception about his presidency was, Mr. Clinton told Charlie Rose on PBS, “I think that most people underappreciate the level of extreme partisanship that took hold in ’94.”

Twenty years later, Mr. Clinton has devoted much of his energy to campaigning for Democrats who do not want to be associated with Mr. Obama. At frequent campaign stops across the country, the former president does not specifically talk about who had it worse, but instead emphasizes that polarization and an inability to work together are the cause of the country’s problems.

“Every place in the world people take the time to work together, good things are happening,” Mr. Clinton said this week at a campaign stop in Hazard, Ky., for the Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes. “Every place in the world where people spend all their time fighting each other and telling everybody how sorry they are, bad things happen.”

If Mr. Clinton does not spell out on the campaign trail how bad things were for him, his Democratic supporters do.

“Everyone looks at Clinton in this hazy glow of, ‘He’s so wonderful,’ ” said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic strategist. “But when he was president, boy, were there a lot of people who went after him in a very personal, some would say dirty, way.”

The Democrats’ Obama Problem
Russell Brand is open minded about conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11

Russell Brand  is open minded about conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11

By Martin Robinson for MailOnline

Russell Brand caused outrage today after he admitted being 'open-minded' about whether the United States was behind the 9/11 attacks and asked: 'Do you trust the American government?'

The comedian, 39, told BBC's Newsnight he believes there is an 'interesting' relationship between the families of former US president George Bush and Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. 

He was pressed by presenter Evan Davis on comments in his new book, Revolution, because in it he describes the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers in New York as 'controlled'.

Brand's decision to give credence to a 9/11 conspiracy led to fury online, with the multi-millionaire, who was married to Katy Perry, branded a 'ranting idiot' who should 'stick to comedy'.

Responding to criticism that Brand was on Newsnight again the BBC, who had nine complaints, said: 'Love him or loathe him Russell Brand has been one of the most eloquent voices articulating the anti-politics mood that all British politicians are currently struggling to engage with'.

Can vegetarianism help to solve NFL's problems with violence?

Ray Rice

Can vegetarianism help to solve NFL's problems with violence?

Nick Cooney

In a league whose players have racked up over 215 arrests for assault, domestic violence, murder, and gun charges since 2000 some are re-defining what it means to be a man.

The controversy that has gripped the NFL over the past two months has centred on the violent actions of a handful of players and the league’s bumbling, almost permissive, response. But away from the spotlight, a second and more compassionate trend has also been on the rise, one that signals a slight cultural shift in the league and in professional sports generally: a growing number of players are swearing off cruelty of any sort by replacing meat and other animal products with mostly vegan meals.

When star Houston Texans running back Arian Foster announced he was ditching animal products shortly before the start of the 2012 season, his decision was met with surprise and concern about how it would impact his performance on the field. Team-mate Brian Cushing even quipped to the media that he had told Foster “If this doesn’t work, I’m going to kick your ass!” Any concerns that he or Texans fans may have had quickly evaporated though, as Foster rushed for a whopping 1,424 yards and a third consecutive Pro Bowl nod.

Veteran tight end Tony Gonzalez, who retired this year after 17 seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Atlanta Falcons, switched to mostly vegetarian foods several years ago after reading the book The China Study by Cornell nutritionist T Colin Campbell. While on his plant-fueled diet Gonzalez smashed over 20 NFL records, including most Pro Bowl selections and most touchdown receptions for a tight end. Gonzalez even launched his own brand of vegan protein powder, a mixture of pea, brown rice, and hemp proteins marketed under his All Pro Science brand.


With little fanfare, a number of other NFL players have also been making a move toward vegan eating. Detroit running back Montell Owens has taken a vegetarian or mostly vegetarian approach since reading The Thrive Diet by triathlete Brendan Brazier four years ago. Recent players including David Carter, Deuce Lutui, and Ricky Williams also turned to vegan or mostlyvegan diets midway through their careers.

NFL cafeterias are changing as well. Gone are the days when teams needed players to scarf down plates of ribs, chicken, and other artery-clogging animal products to stay muscular. The Texans have added high-protein meat-free entrees like black-bean burgers, lentils and quinoa to their players’ menu. Other teams have installed extensive salad bars, nut butters, and whole-wheat pasta alongside traditional meat-heavy offerings .

Most players who have cut out or cut back on meat have done so to boost their health and their level of play. “That bad stuff that we eat, it goes into your body and it stays there,” says Foster, explaining why he replaced chicken, fish and other meat with staples like rice, vegetables and oatmeal. “To me, it’s radical we have heart disease and 12-year-old kids with diabetes.”

Owens credits his mostly vegetarian diet with helping speed up his recovery time after injuries. “[It] improved my performance on and off the field … You’re able to take more energy from plant-based sources than animal-based sources.” Gonzalez too has pointed out that his best year ever came after cutting out meat. “I have more energy, better focus, and more endurance. I don’t get tired. I hardly ever come out of the game. And I’m strong as ever.”

Foley Family to White House: You Saved Bergdahl. Why Not Our Son?


Foley Family to White House: You Saved Bergdahl. Why Not Our Son?


After the Obama administration bargained for Bowe Bergdahl’s life, the family of ISIS hostage James Foley begged the White House for the same treatment—only to be denied.

The parents of James Foley, the journalist ISIS beheaded in August, learned about the U.S. government’s attempt to rescue him about an hour before the rest of us did.

The grieving parents got word from President Obama himself.

“I told Obama that Jim worked hard to get him elected,” John Foley, James’s father, told The Daily Beast. “He believed till the end his country would come and get them.”

The president, according to John, responded, “Well I should tell you, we did try to save him.” Then Obama stunned John and his wife Diane, informing them of the failed special operations rescue mission from early July.

In the call, Obama explained that this information about the rescue mission was classified. But not for long, it would seem. Foley added, “An hour later he went and told the world.”

White House spokesmen have said that there was never any intention to share with the public details of the failed rescue mission in Syria. Word of the mission began to leak out on August 20, a day after James Foley was beheaded in a gruesome and slickly produced internet video narrated by a man with a thick British accent. White House officials briefed reporters that afternoon on the failed mission.

For the Foleys, it was a tragic ending to an awful ordeal. Since their son first went missing right before Thanksgiving in 2012, Diane Foley, in particular, began a mission to find any way she could to try to get her son back alive. She pressed the White House, the FBI and the State Department for any information she could find on James. Often, she and John would tell the FBI about what they learned from other European hostages who were released this year by ISIS. The response the Foleys received was, for the most part, beyond disappointing—little more than a “pat on the head,” John said.

Two months after the murder of James Foley, his parents are still frustrated with how they were treated by the White House—even as the Foley family works to establish a legacy fund for their son.

Are Hollywood stars allowed to age?

Zellweger with a noticeably different appearance on Oct. 20. (Reuters)

Are Hollywood stars allowed to age?

Ann Hornaday

From Renee Zellweger to “Birdman,” stars feel the burden of our expectations about beauty and aging.

“That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.”

That line from Richard Linklater’s classic 1993 comedy “Dazed and Confused” came back with an ironic vengeance this week, and die-hard fans of the film will know why: It’s spoken by a 20-something stoner named David Wooderson after a cute-looking teenager walks by. Wooderson is played by Matthew McConaughey, and the girl is a young actress named Renee Zellweger.

While McConaughey has been trotting a victory lap of his “McConaissance” the past few days, doing publicity for the upcoming sci-fi blockbuster “Interstellar,” Zellweger experienced a very different kind of publicity: Shortly after walking the red carpet at an event in Hollywood on Monday, photos of her went viral, with commenters speculating that she had undergone plastic surgery, then quickly moving on to how successful or disastrous said procedure was. Within the span of a few hours, it seemed, Zellweger became a one-stop trope for the tyranny of sexism and appearance in Hollywood, where the system is notoriously unforgiving of women who dare to age. As Slate’s smart, observant columnist Amanda Hess aptly noted, “Plastic surgery is fake. So is the Hollywood fantasy where women over 40 just don’t exist.”

Series Is On, and Everybody’s Watching ... Football

Series Is On, and Everybody’s Watching ... Football

World Series 2014: Baseball Is No Longer the Center of Attention in a New Landscape

It may be America’s national pastime, but it has never felt less national.

On Tuesday night, the first game of the 2014 World Series drew just 12.2 million viewers to Fox, making it the lowest-rated Game 1 on record. Game 2 on Wednesday night fared somewhat better, with 12.9 million people tuning in.

For most of the last century, the start of baseball’s World Series — with its red, white and blue bunting and occasional ceremonial first pitch from the president — was always a major event. The opening game of the Fall Classic has provided some of the country’s most enduring sports memories, including Willie Mays’s over-the-shoulder basket catch (1954), Sandy Koufax’s 15-strikeout performance (1963) and Kirk Gibson’s walk-off home run (1988).

But this week, more people watched “NCIS: New Orleans” and “The Big Bang Theory,” and — for that matter — “The Walking Dead,” the cable show about zombies. The audience for “Sunday Night Football,” a regular season game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Denver Broncos, was almost twice that of Games 1 or 2. Even last Saturday night’s college football matchup — Florida State University versus Notre Dame — drew more viewers than either World Series game.

Perhaps the most compelling statement about baseball’s relative standing among American sports fans is this: Last summer’s World Cup match between the United States and Portugal drew 25 million viewers, roughly double that of the World Series opener.

The low ratings highlight a number of trends in the sports and media industries. Above all, perhaps, is the rise of the N.F.L. in the era of 24-hour sports television, and the growing popularity of football fantasy leagues and video games. On a more basic level, potential World Series viewers simply have more options than ever before, both in their ever-expanding cable packages and via online streaming services like Netflix.

These numbers, provided by the Nielsen company, also reflect the fact that baseball is becoming an increasingly local sport. Unlike the N.F.L. and the N.B.A., it derives a vast majority of its revenues not from nationally televised games, but rather from those shown on regional sports networks such as the YES Network in New York and Boston-based NESN.

The modest viewership thus far is partly a function of the matchup: the San Francisco Giants versus the Kansas City Royals. The Royals have one of the smallest TV markets in all of Major League Baseball. They are also pretty much devoid of boldface names, which may give the team added cachet among devotees but limits their appeal among casual fans.

“We are talking about at least one team that doesn’t have much of a national following,” said Neil Pilson, a former president of CBS Sports.

But in 1985, the last time the Royals played for the championship — and won — the games averaged 34.5 million viewers. (That team had George Brett at third base; this one has Mike Moustakas.) World Series ratings have been in a more or less steady decline since then. The last nine years have produced the eight least watched World Series. For stat buffs, the 1978 Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Yankees was the most watched in the last four decades, with an average of more than 44 million viewers.

In some ways, baseball has never been stronger. The game has been free of labor strife for almost 20 years. Teams across the country are playing in new, taxpayer-subsidized stadiums. Attendance is robust, helped by the recent addition of two new wild-card teams to the postseason, which has kept more teams alive deeper into the fall.

A number of franchises have also recently secured lucrative, multiyear deals to have their games carried on local cable networks. The Dodgers, for instance, signed a deal with Time Warner Cable worth up to $8 billion over 25 years. In addition, franchises also share the pooled revenues from nationally televised games. Over the last 20 years, baseball’s annual revenues have grown to about $8 billion from under $2 billion.

Both Fox and M.L.B. emphasized that the audience totals now should include viewers watching in Spanish on the Fox Deportes cable channel. That would add just under 280,000 more viewers to the Game 1 total.

Matt Bourne, an M.L.B. spokesman, noted that another factor in the ratings so far has been the run differential. He said it was the first time since 1937 that the first two games of the World Series were won by five runs or more.

Still, there’s no avoiding the reality that the World Series is not what it used to be.

Read Article

Elizabeth Warren-for-prez hype fails to drum up cash

Elizabeth Warren-for-prez hype fails to drum up cash

Matt Stout, Kimberly Atkins

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is dabbling again with the idea of running for president but that has yet to help funnel cash to the grass-roots group trying to draft the Bay State senator for the 2016 national race.

The Ready for Warren PAC, an early backer of the star of the liberal wing, raised less than $58,000 as of Sept. 30, according to the latest Federal Election Commission filings.

By contrast, the Ready for Hillary PAC for presumed Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton pulled in $2 million in the third quarter of this year, bringing the total receipts to more than 
$10 million, records show.

Despite the apparent lag in financial support for the movement to nudge Warren into the race, the senator spurred speculation that she may consider a presidential run in a People magazine article.

According to the article, Warren “wrinkled her nose” when asked if she was on board with a run at the White House — but then followed with an answer that didn’t shoot it down.

“I don’t think so,” she said in an interview at her Cambridge home that will appear in this week’s issue. “If there’s any lesson I’ve learned in the last five years, it’s don’t be so sure about what lies ahead. There are amazing doors that could open.”

Warren’s answer represented a marked shift from past interviews, when she has flatly said she had no designs to run. Last December, for example, she told reporters she planned to finish her six-year term, which would wrap in 2019.

“I am not running for president,” she said then — and has repeated since.

But yesterday, a spokeswoman said Warren has not changed her mind. “Nothing has changed,” spokeswoman Lacey Rose told the Herald.

The magazine’s story — which included a headline “Elizabeth Warren for Treasury Secretary?” — noted it’s possible she could seek other posts beyond president in the future.

“Right now,” Warren said in the interview posted yesterday, “I’m focused on figuring out what else I can do from this spot” in the Senate.

Hispanics, US citizens and otherwise, join campaigns for close midterm fights.

Arizona immigration rally

Hispanics, US citizens and otherwise, join campaigns for close midterm fights.

Paul Lewis

This year’s midterms are taking place against a backdrop of Latino frustration at dithering candidates over immigration issues.

An estimated 11 million people in America are barred from voting in the midterm elections because of their immigration status. Abel Perez is one of them.

The 24-year-old was recently knocking on doors in the Colorado town of Longmont with a list of 150 Latino residents who, unlike him, are eligible to cast a ballot.

If no one answered the door, Perez left a leaflet warning the resident about the anti-immigrant policies of the Republican Senate candidate, Cory Gardner.

“If I can get them to vote, it is like they are voting for me,” he said.

Perez is not alone. He is among a rapidly growing army of young Latino activists who are canvassing or registering voters before the midterms, even though they themselves do not have a vote.

For the first time, many of these activists can be paid for their efforts because of their enrolment in a program created by the Obama administration that suspends deportations of young people who were brought to the US illegally as children, and gives them a permit to work.

Mi Familia Vota, the largest Latino voter-registration organisation in the country, revealed that about 100 paid staff – roughly one in five of its employees – are enrolled in the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

The administration began receiving applications under the DACA program in August 2012, meaning very few activists were enrolled in time for the last election cycle. They are a political force that didn’t exist in 2012.

“This is my first job,” said Perez, who received his DACA status earlier this year. “Making sure that Cory Gardner doesn’t make it to the Senate.”

The Secret of Success

The Secret of Success

By Galen Guengerich, Ph.D.

Often the most important things in our lives remain hidden in plain sight, obscured by the rush of routine or the pull of progress. Sometimes, the most we can do is simply focus on the next thing, whatever is most urgent. In so doing, we slowly become oblivious to what’s most important.

Does Brainstorming Constrain Creativity?

Does Brainstorming Constrain Creativity?

By E. Paul Zehr, Ph.D.

Effective brainstorming is initially a solo activity that requires reflection, contemplation and the comfort to take risks. It’s not really compatible with group activities and also completely incompatible with modern “crowd sourcing” ideas around intellectual pursuits. Insight isn’t a commodity.

Shaheen: No sense in Obama visiting

Shaheen: No sense in Obama visiting

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is pictured. | AP Photo

Pushed Thursday night on whether she would want President Barack Obama to campaign with her as she seeks a second term, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) said it doesn’t make sense and Obama is “exactly where he needs to be” — in Washington.

“We have a lot going on,” Shaheen said during an hourlong debate with Republican Scott Brown at NH1’s studio in Concord, which was broadcast live on WBIN-TV and was co-sponsored by CNN. “I don’t think it makes sense for the president to come to New Hampshire right now.”

“The fact is he’s busy in Washington. He’s dealing with the Ebola threat; he’s dealing with the threat from ISIS,” said Shaheen, using an acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. “I think he’s exactly where he needs to be.”

Shaheen doesn’t have a shortage of star power coming to New Hampshire for her: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who beat Brown two years ago in Massachusetts, will come up Saturday. Bill Clinton was there for her last week; Hillary Clinton is coming soon.

And whether Obama comes to the Granite State or not — he has no plans to — didn’t change Brown’s strategy at the debate: to tie Shaheen to Obama at every opportunity. A CNN/ORC International poll released earlier in the day showed Obama’s approval rating at just 39 percent among likely voters, with 57 percent disapproving.

That same survey put Shaheen up 2 points, 49 percent to 47 percent, which is well within the margin of error.

The Allure of Radical Islam in Canada

The Allure of Radical Islam in Canada

What's behind the latest surge in political violence, and what Canadians can do about it

By David Frum

“Five years ago we weren’t as worried about domestic terrorism as we are now,” said Richard Fadden. He explained why: In the 1990s and early 2000s, Islamic terrorism was perpetrated by structured organizations with lines of command—groups like al-Qaeda and Somalia’s al-Shabab. But the U.S.-led anti-terrorism coalition had smashed the leadership of these groups, and left behind a motley bunch of autonomous freelancers whose plots were much “harder to get your hands on.” Western intelligence agencies were seeing far fewer large-scale plots like those that did so much damage in New York City, in Washington, in Bali, in Madrid, and in London in the early 2000s, Fadden continued, but they were collecting much more chatter about smaller-scale threats against less predictable targets.

Fadden’s prophecy has been all too tragically vindicated this week. On Monday, a French-Canadian convert to Islam drove his car at two Canadian soldiers in the small city of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, southeast of Montreal. One soldier was killed. The assailant was shot and killed by police after a high-speed car chase. Wednesday brought a spectacular attack on the National War Memorial and Parliament in Ottawa. Again, a soldier was killed, before the assailant himself was reportedly felled by the sergeant-at-arms of the House of Commons. This attacker too was a Canadian-born Muslim convert, the son of a French-Canadian woman and (according to recent press reports) a Libyan man who had emigrated to Canada.

he Saint-Jean hit-and-run driver, Martin Couture-Rouleau, appeared on a list of 90 persons monitored by Canadian police and had been identified as a “high-risk traveler”; He was arrested last summer when he tried to leave the country for the Middle East. Official sources have not said anything about whether Couture-Rouleau and the Ottawa shooter, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, were acquainted or connected in any way. Former Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, however, told The Daily Beast on Wednesday that the two men may have visited the same Internet chat rooms. ISIS has promoted using cars as weapons against Westerners, though it remains unclear whether Couture-Rouleau drew inspiration from the extremist group.

Since 2006, Canadian security has thwarted many localized plots—two in 2013 alone. At a July 1 Canada Day celebration in front of the British Columbia legislature, two Canadian-born converts to Islam intended to detonate homemade pressure-cooker bombs, police charge. Two non-citizens—one Palestinian, one Tunisian—were arrested in April 2013 for allegedly plotting to derail a passenger train.

A lot of energy is wasted debating whether do-it-yourself jihadists should be called “terrorists.” The Obama administration notoriously insisted on describing the Ford Hood shooting of 2009 as an incident of “workplace violence,” not terrorism. The killer at Fort Hood, Major Nidal Malik Hassan, was perceived by colleagues as mentally troubled long before he opened fire, killing 13 and wounding 32 more. Judging by media reports, Zehaf-Bibeau likewise could be described, if one wished to eschew the T-word, as a troubled misfit with a long record of petty criminality. On the other hand, what kind of person would one expect jihadists to recruit from inside a Western society? In countries like Canada, Australia, Britain, and the United States, the call to Islamic holy war often appeals to more marginal people: the thwarted, the troubled, the angry. And yet even so, the Saint-Jean killer—Couture-Rouleau—reportedly had a clean police record and a reasonably stable personal life until his conversion to Islam. He owned a pressure-washing business and lived in a single family home with his father.

If you are alienated, angry, and attracted to violence, radical Islam provides a powerful ideology of justification. If you are lonely and purposeless, it offers redemptive self-sacrifice (one report claims that Couture-Rouleau persuaded “four or five” friends to convert to Islam with him). Until roughly 1960, French-speaking Quebec ranked as one of the most Catholic societies on earth. In the late 1950s, more than 80 percent of French Quebeckers could be found at Mass on Sundays, according to one famous estimate. Then, abruptly, in the short span of years from 1960 to 1980, religion seemed almost to vanish from the province. It’s been aptly said that from the point of view of religious observance, “centuries, not decades” separated the Quebec of the 1980s from the Quebec of the 1950s. Yet the hunger for meaning is always a part of the human spirit. In a different time, Couture-Rouleau might have vanished into a monastery. In the 21st century, he found a different and deadlier path. The alleged would-be British Columbian bombers might likewise have gravitated to Maoism in the 1960s or Nazism in the 1930s. But those ideologies too have lost their hold on the modern mind, leaving radical Islam as the strongest competitor for the credence of those who seek self-fulfillment through mass destruction.

Like other advanced democracies, Canada is a lightly policed society. It is also a society that has imposed on itself extraordinary legal difficulties before dangerous non-citizens can be removed from its territory. One of the two men who allegedly plotted the 2013 train derailment arrived in Canada with his family in 1993 using a fake passport. First, the family sought refugee status on the grounds that they had been victimized by anti-immigrant gangs in Germany, their previous place of residence. When that plea was rejected, most of the family sought and gained residency as stateless Palestinians. The suspected train plotter, Raed Jaser, was denied residency because by the time the courts got around to hearing his case, he’d accumulated a lengthy criminal record. But since neither the United Arab Emirates (where he was born), nor Saudi Arabia (where his mother was born), nor the Palestinian Authority (where his father came from) accepted responsibility for him—in Canada he stayed. He’ll now be staying somewhat longer, and perhaps ultimately as long as Mahmoud Mohammad Issa Mohammad, a Palestinian terrorist who entered Canada in 1987 with false papers and was ultimately deported only after a 26-year legal battle.

Despite its self-image as a peaceable land, Canada has not escaped political violence. In the mid-1960s, Quebec separatists launched an escalating campaign of bombings and attempted kidnappings: 160 violent attacks that killed eight people and wounded dozens more before the terrorists were finally suppressed in 1970-71. In 1985, Sikh terrorists blew up an Air India flight from Montreal to London mid-flight, killing 329 people, 268 of them Canadian citizens, in the worst terrorist atrocity in Canadian history. Canadian soil has been troubled—and Canadian lives lost—as a result of Palestinian terrorism, Tamil terrorism, and domestically inspired violence of the far-left and far-right.

Since 2001, political violence (both plotted and executed) in Canada and against Canadians has overwhelmingly been inspired by the teachings of radical Islam. Our era’s foremost ideology of murder has found a home inside Canada too. Canadian law, Canadian institutions, and the Canadian government must adapt to the threat accordingly. After the shock and sorrow of October 2014, they surely will—as they have so successfully adapted and surmounted much greater threats in generations past.

Krauthammer: Barack Obama, bewildered bystander

Barack Obama, bewildered bystander

The president is upset. Very upset. Frustrated and angry. Seething about the government’s handling of Ebola, said the front-page headline in the New York Times last Saturday.

There’s only one problem with this pose, so obligingly transcribed for him by the Times. It’s his government. He’s president. Has been for six years. Yet Barack Obama reflexively insists on playing the shocked outsider when something goes wrong within his own administration.

The IRS? “It’s inexcusable, and Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it,” he thundered in May 2013 when the story broke of the agency targeting conservative groups. “I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the IRS.”

Except that within nine months, Obama had grown far more tolerant, retroactively declaring this to be a phony scandal without “a smidgen of corruption.”

Obamacare rollout? “Nobody is more frustrated by that than I am,” said an aggrieved Obama about the botching of the central element of his signature legislative achievement. “Nobody is madder than me.”

Veterans Affairs scandal? Presidential chief of staff Denis McDonough explained: “Secretary [Eric] Shinseki said yesterday . . . that he’s mad as hell and the president is madder than hell.” A nice touch — taking anger to the next level.

The president himself declared: “I will not stand for it.” But since the administration itself said the problem was long-standing, indeed predating Obama, this means he had stood for it for 5½ years.

The one scandal where you could credit the president with genuine anger and obliviousness involves the recent breaches of White House Secret Service protection. The Washington Post described the first lady and president as “angry and upset,” and no doubt they were. But the first Secret Service scandal — the hookers of Cartagena — evinced this from the president: “If it turns out that some of the allegations that have been made in the press are confirmed, then of course I’ll be angry.” An innovation in ostentatious distancing: future conditional indignation.


These shows of calculated outrage — and thus distance — are becoming not just unconvincing but unamusing. In our system, the president is both head of state and head of government. Obama seems to enjoy the monarchial parts, but when it comes to the actual business of running government, he shows little interest and even less aptitude.

His principal job, after all, is to administer the government and to get the right people to do it. (That’s why we typically send governors rather than senators to the White House.) That’s called management. Obama had never managed anything before running for the biggest management job on earth. It shows.

What makes the problem even more acute is that Obama represents not just the party of government but a grandiose conception of government as the prime mover of social and economic life. The very theme of his presidency is that government can and should be trusted to do great things. And therefore society should be prepared to hand over large chunks of its operations — from health care (one-sixth of the economy) to carbon regulation down to free contraception — to the central administrative state.

Read Opinion

Jonathan Alter: The Democrats’ Closing Argument Needs to Be J-O-B-S

The Democrats’ Closing Argument Needs to Be J-O-B-S

There’s still time for the Democrats to put GOP opponents on the defensive by saying “I want to rebuild America, and my opponent doesn’t.”

As Democrats mutter privately that their Senate majority is sinking beneath the waves, their leadership has sent out an SOS. It’s all hands on deck, unless those hands belong to the President of the United States. Because only Michigan Rep. Gary Peters among Democratic candidates for the Senate wants Obama in his state campaigning, the challenge of saving the Senate has fallen to another president.

I heard from a Democratic senator this week that influential Democrats are pressuring Bill Clinton to frame a closing argument for the Democrats that focuses on the economy. In his 2012 speech at the Democratic National Convention, Clinton became Obama’s “Secretary for Explaining Stuff” (although the word wasn’t stuff). This is more explicit and humiliating for the incumbent. The president and former president, who once despised each other, are cordial but far from friendly. Now Obama needs his predecessor to help prevent a solid Republican Congress from hassling him all the way to January 20, 2017.

As important as the messenger is here, the message—jobs—is even more so. The Democrats’ inability to stress what voters keep telling them is their biggest concern is perplexing. I understand why the White House has trouble getting credit for improving the economy when wages are stagnant and life is still so hard for so many in the shrinking middle class.  And I get why Democratic candidates don’t want to lash themselves to the economic policies of an unpopular president.

What I can’t fathom is why Democrats don’t pick low-hanging fruit—the jobs issues that poll after poll shows are much more critical to voters than ISIS, Ebola, and the Keystone pipeline, not to mention vaginal probes and whether some candidate voted for Obama. Yes, many Democratic candidates are pushing for a much-needed increase in the minimum wage. But that is of most interest either to hardcore Democrats or to non-voters clinging to the bottom of the economy.

The voters Democrats are in trouble with are white non-college educated blue-collar workers who are often unemployed, and whose friends have crappy jobs in the service sector or mid-level positions in office parks. These mostly male voters—the ones poised to turn the Senate Republican by rejecting anyone with a “D” after their name—don’t care much about the minimum wage, but many of them sure would like a new job.

There’s a particular jobs issue that they respond to and it has a big, boring name: infrastructure. As long as they don’t call it that, Democrats have a chance to win a greater share of these white male voters. At worst, Republicans will hear the argument that their leaders couldn’t care less about rebuilding the country. That might convince even more of them that neither party represents their interests. If these white voters stay home (as millions did in 2012) and blacks vote in high enough numbers (especially in North Carolina and Georgia), the Democrats might yet squeak through.

Read Opinion

Obama moves key Senate races toward GOP

Barack Obama gestures. | AP Photo

Obama moves key Senate races toward GOP


Their bitter 55-minute debate had just ended. Greg Orman walked across the stage, looked Republican Sen. Pat Roberts in the eye, shook his hand and smiled.

“You said, ‘Harry Reid’ 38 freaking times,” Orman, running as an independent, told Roberts, according to a person with direct knowledge of the exchange.

It probably didn’t come as much of a surprise. Since falling back in the polls last month, Roberts has taken every chance to portray Orman as a foot soldier for President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. A similar dynamic is underway in South Dakota: After former Gov. Mike Rounds found himself in a surprisingly tight three-way race earlier this month, Republicans have spent the past 10 days tying his two opponents to national Democrats.

The GOP efforts appear to be working in both races, which have moved back in the party’s direction in recent days after a flurry of speculation that they might be prime pickup opportunities for Democrats.

While Orman could still win in Kansas and South Dakota is still unpredictable, the shifting dynamics underscore how Obama’s deep unpopularity remains the biggest advantage for Senate Republicans — not just in conservative battlegrounds but in swing states as well. Even though Republicans lack an agenda this year or a defining issue to bring voters to the polls, 2014 is at risk of becoming all about Obama — and that could be devastating for Senate Democrats.

“I think Obama being so unpopular is the biggest factor in this election,” said Tom Jensen, a Democratic pollster with the firm Public Policy Polling. “And I think at the end of the day, it may be too much for a lot of the Democratic Senate candidates to overcome.”

Despite his own unpopularity in Kansas, polls show Roberts back in a dead heat with Orman, after trailing the independent in some surveys earlier this month. The senator and his GOP allies have blanketed the airwaves with nearly $3 million in the past two weeks alone, roughly $1 million more than the amount the independent and his allies have shelled out in that time frame.


A CNN-ORC poll out Thursday found Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire up 2 percent against her GOP challenger, Scott Brown, with just 39 percent of voters approving of the president in a state he carried twice. In Colorado, another must-win for Democrats, Sen. Mark Udall has trailed in a series of recent polls, including a USA Today-Suffolk University survey this week that showed him down 7 points against GOP Rep. Cory Gardner, with Obama’s disapproval rating at 57 percent.

And in Iowa, a Quinnipiac poll released Thursday showed state GOP Sen. Joni Ernst maintaining a small lead over Rep. Bruce Braley, up 2 points in a state where a clear majority voters continue to hold an unfavorable view of the president. Though Ernst’s lead was within the margin of error, that has been the case in a series of recent polls.

Read Article

<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>

Results 1 - 31 of 28451
Latest News

In-N-Out Burger

© 2014 Down State News - created by JiaWebDesign web design and development