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In-N-Out Burger

Don’t pardon Mark Wahlberg

Mark Wahlberg at the premiere of “The Gambler” in November.

Don’t pardon Mark Wahlberg

The former assistant attorney general who prosecuted Mark Wahlberg 26 years ago writes “that history should never be erased.” 

 
John Fox and Denver Broncos part ways

John Fox and Denver Broncos part ways

By Jason Marcum

The Denver Broncos and head coach John Fox are parting ways following their upset loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Following the loss to the Colts on Sunday, Fox said he had every intention of coaching the Broncos in 2015, but something has changed in the 24 hours since. Sunday's 24-13 loss marked the second time in three years Denver lost at home as a big favorite coming off a playoff bye.

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‘We are coming': ISIS hacks Defense Department

‘We are coming': ISIS hacks Defense Department

By Geoff Earle

‘We are coming': ISIS hacks Defense Department

As President Obama was making a speech on cybersecurity, ISIS terrorists hacked into the Twitter and YouTube accounts of the Defense Department’s CENTCOM on Monday — even going so far as to post generals’ home addresses and emails while warning, “WE ARE COMING, WATCH YOUR BACK.”

“We won’t stop! We know everything about you, your wives and children,’’ said one posting under a spreadsheet of personal information involving everyone from commanding officers to deputies to liaison specialists at the Pentagon division in charge of the Middle East.

Obama was speaking to a group of students and others at the Federal Trade Commission about identity theft and online privacy issues at the time.

The first enemy tweet appeared around 12:30 p.m. — smack in the middle of Obama’s speech, which he started at 12:11 p.m. and finished at 1:10 p.m.

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How to raise successful children

"I made a lot of sacrifice," Rosemary Tan Lauer said.

How to raise successful children

Lisa Grace Lednicer

Is it done by being strict or having an interesting life? Parents lucky enough to know discuss how they did it.

"My friends tell me I was very strict. I don’t really think I was that strict. Oh, I expected my children to be home when they were supposed to be home, and I expected my children to do well in school, and I expected my children to be courteous, I expected them to work in the summer and make money, but I didn’t expect them to do their laundry. I did it. I remember reading an article about, “Don’t freak out when your children leave their bathroom towels on the floor.” Because you see a wet towel on the floor, and they’ve just looked in the mirror and wondered if they’ve deserved to live, because they’re going through that adolescent time. Which is more important? The worthiness to live or the wet towel?"

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President Obama’s "appalling display of the criminal justice mindset"

Thousands of people gather at Republique square in Paris, France, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. Thousands of people began filling France’s iconic Republique plaza, and world leaders converged on Paris in a rally of defiance and sorrow on Sunday to honor the 17 victims of three days of bloodshed that left France on alert for more violence. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

The fallout from Islamic extremist attacks on France

France, as its Prime Minister Manuel Valls aptly put it, is at “war against terrorism, against jihadism, against radical Islamism, against everything that is intended to break fraternity, liberty, solidarity.” Unfortunately, it is not clear everyone has gotten the message.

In an appalling display of the criminal justice mindset that still dominates President Obama’s worldview, he sent already-resigned but not-yet-replaced Attorney General Eric Holder to France (who didn’t even bother to attend the public gathering). Upward of a million turned out in Paris and demonstrations sprang up around the country in displays of national solidarity. England sent Prime Minister David Cameron and Germany sent Chancellor Angela Merkel. Israel sent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Even the Palestinian Authority (disingenuously, perhaps, but then hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue, right?) sent its president, Mahmoud Abbas. The U.S. sent Holder. Like Inspector Clouseau, he was on the case (!) — as if there is a discrete homicide at issue here — but couldn’t find his way to the mass demonstration. (Our ambassador to France attended, it is reported.)

Let’s consider what occurred. A NATO ally was attacked. “In Article 5 the NATO nations ‘agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all,’” John Yoo explains. “It should not matter that the attacks came at the hands of a terrorist groups, rather than a state. We considered Article 5 triggered by the September 11 attacks and our European allies ultimately assisted us in our campaign in Afghanistan. France could ask other NATO countries for assistance to seek out and destroy al Qaeda in Yemen and other countries to prevent future attacks.” But, of course, France is unlikely to do that. (Benjamin Wittes, an expert on the law of war, dryly notes, “This would conflict with the whole European way of seeing terrorism.”)

The blitz on France should remind us, however, that this is precisely how we began in 2001 when the U.S. president, not so long ago, understood war had been launched against the United States. Article 5 of NATO was invoked after Sept. 11, 2001, setting the framework for European participation in the Afghanistan war. The French attacks should halt the rush to repeal the authorization for use of military force, although it should be updated and expanded to cover additional groups. Yoo argues that “the Paris attacks show, once again, how foolish the Obama administration — and others like Senator Rand Paul — have been in the last year in toying with the idea of supporting repeal and replacement of the AUMF.” He adds, “The rise of ISIS and the Paris attacks demonstrate that the U.S. should be redoubling, rather than retreating, in our fight against al Qaeda and other extremist Islamic groups.”

In a sense, that war — the war Valls recognized — against al-Qaeda but also jihadism — continues to this day, making a mockery of the idea that Obama “ended” wars. It is revealing that recently the administration was considering repealing the AUMF against al-Qaeda because, after all, we were winding down operations in Afghanistan. For six years, the administration has evidenced a complete misunderstanding of the enemy we are facing. Having no high-level representative at the unity march was the perfect exclamation point on the administration’s policy of self-delusion and exemplified Obama’s retreat from the world. We are not leading; we are not even following.

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Jack Nicholson: 'I fear dying alone'

Jack Nicholson fears dying alone because women don't trust him thanks to his reputation as a lothario

'I fear dying alone'

Jack Nicholson says his reputation as a philanderer means women don't trust him anymore

He once said he used to feel irresistible to women - and his impressive list of lovers suggests he had a point.

But Jack Nicholson admits he fears dying alone because he can no longer captivate the ladies like he did in younger years.

The 77-year-old says women do not trust him anymore thanks to his reputation as 'Jack the Jumper' - a reference to his well-known philandering.  

In comments published by U.S. magazine Closer, he said he would love 'one last romance' but said he was 'not very realistic' about that happening.

He said he didn't believe that relationships are 'fixed things' because humans are 'necessarily complex and confused beings'.

He added: 'We don't always do the right thing, say the right thing and behave the way we always want to behave.'

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Publisher's Note: We don't think he will be alone. We believe Meryl Streep"s husband will be there.

 
Police commissioner kills himself after meeting relatives of Charlie Hebdo victim

French police commissioner Helric Fredou has reportedly taken his own life after meeting the relatives of a victim murdered in the Charlie Hebdo massacre

French police commissioner 'shot himself dead in his office after meeting relatives of a Charlie Hebdo victim'

By Steve Hopkins for MailOnline

A French police commissioner has reportedly taken his own life after meeting the relatives of a victim murdered in the Charlie Hebdo massacre. 

Helric Fredou, 45, shot himself in his office on Wednesday night in Limoges, a city in central France. according to France 3. 

Commissioner Fredou began his career as a police office in 1997 and had been the deputy director of the regional police since 2012.

Colleagues told France 3 he was 'depressed' and overworked and said he was single and had no children.

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Chargers hint strongly at litigation to keep Rams out of L.A.

Chargers hint strongly at litigation to keep Rams out of L.A.

Posted by Mike Florio

grenade

Last Monday, Rams owner Stan Kroenke broke years of silence regarding the future of his franchise by saying that he’ll be building a stadium in L.A.  Which means he’ll be moving the Rams there.  If he can.

The Chargers believe Kroenke shouldn’t be allowed to move the Rams to L.A.  They haven’t reiterated that position publicly since last Monday, but someone from the organization has said so privately.

“The Rams voluntarily left the Los Angeles and Orange County markets, and some owners may question whether they deserve to return — especially if it means that the stadium situations of the two California teams remain unresolved,” an unnamed team official told Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal.

That won’t matter if Kroenke eventually can get 24 total votes supporting a move.  Or whether he decides to defy his partners and move without the NFL’s blessing, sparking a potential legal challenge to the obvious antitrust implications that arise when few as nine distinct businesses try to restrict the activities of another separate business.

“The Chargers are continuing to work hard to find a solution in San Diego, but the team also has a close eye on developments in L.A.,” the unnamed team official said.  “It would be irresponsible for the Chargers not to be taking every possible step to protect the future of the franchise.”

“Every possible step” potentially encompasses a wide variety of strategies and tactics.  And litigation could be inevitable.

The unnamed Chargers official also “went there” regarding the potential impact of a legal battle over relocation on the currently-embattled league office.

“A move by the Rams would generate significant political and legal controversy for an NFL Commissioner [Roger Goodell] who is already bedraggled and besieged on various fronts,” the unnamed Chargers official said.

Whether a threat or a promise, the Chargers have made it clear that they won’t go quietly if the Rams are permitted to go back to L.A.  And that once the pin is pulled, the shrapnel could fly all the way to 345 Park Avenue.

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Obama's Optics Problem on Display With Paris No-Show

Obama's Optics Problem on Display With Paris No-Show

Sometimes the most important thing is simply showing up.

By George E. Condon Jr.

Twenty-three-year-old 2nd Lt. Emiciades Alcon was nervous as he stood in line at an Army mobile kitchen in the middle of the Saudi desert on Thanksgiving Day 1990. The man standing in line next to him waiting for a slice of turkey was none other than the commander in chief who had ordered the troops into the desert, President George H.W. Bush. When the young officer haltingly thanked him for "showing up here in the desert and showing your support," the president's response was surprising: "That's what Woody Allen said: 90 percent of life is showing up."

Bush might not have been elegant in the way he responded. But he understood the lesson learned before him by so many other presidents—it matters when a president of the United States shows up somewhere; it sends an important message. Too many leaders only relish the parts of the job that involve mastering the details of governance and setting a policy direction. But presidents forget the symbolic "showing up" part of the office at their peril.

Today, President Obama is the latest to absorb this lesson. The president is facing withering criticism on both sides of the Atlantic for his decision—inexplicable to many and inadequately explained by the White House—to stay at home Sunday when so many other world leaders flew to Paris to demonstrate global solidarity with the French in the wake of last week's terrorist attack that left this key U.S. ally shaken. More than 40 world leaders were there, from Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East. They locked arms and marched resolutely down the Place de la Concorde. Israel and the Palestinian Authority were there. Russia sent a top official from Moscow.

But neither Obama, who was in Washington, nor Vice President Joe Biden, who was in Delaware, was there. Nor was Secretary of State John Kerry, who was in India. Attorney General Eric Holder was in Paris, but was not seen at the outdoor rally, leaving the top U.S. representative there U.S. Ambassador to France Jane Hartley, who is known primarily for her success bundling campaign contributions for candidate Barack Obama. It was a decision roundly criticized both at home and abroad, and it undercut the strong statements of solidarity offered last week by the president.

For Obama, it is only the latest sign that he still has not mastered the symbolic powers of his office.

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Split Wide From N.F.L., the College Game Is No Minor League

Split Wide From N.F.L., the College Game Is No Minor League

By

On Monday evening, Oregon will face Ohio State in the first College Football Playoff championship game.

The Ducks, with their high-octane spread offense, annihilated Florida State in one semifinal. In the other, the Buckeyes, behind a quarterback making his second start, upset Alabama.

Those are impressive victories. But if big-time college football’s inaugural tournament does anything, it should be to disabuse us of the silly notion that the competitive games we’re watching are semipro football.

Highly commercialized? Yes.

Semiprofessional? Not close.

This time of year, we are able to watch the best college teams and the best of the N.F.L. side by side, and it has become apparent that college football has evolved into a sport distinct from the N.F.L.

Oregon, with its quirky formations and trick plays, reflects the growing divide between what we see on college Saturdays and what we see on N.F.L. Sundays.

“I think there’s certain things that don’t translate,” Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer said Saturday. “It’s a much different game.”

Spread offenses like Oregon’s use their best athlete at quarterback and rely on having more talented players than the opposition, much like the wishbone and option offenses of generations past. Those college game plans are designed to attack individual weak links. There are not so many vulnerable spots to attack in the N.F.L.

“It’s an all-star game in the N.F.L.,” Meyer said. “Every best player from every team is playing in the N.F.L., and they’re mature guys. We’ve got the 17-, 18-, 19-year-olds.”

He added: “They get to pick their players, and if they don’t like them, they cut them. We don’t cut players. We recruit them, and we’ve got them.”

Critics of big-time intercollegiate athletics often refer to college football — derisively — as merely a minor league for the pros. That is no longer accurate, if it ever was.

College football is no more of a minor league than, say, the universities’ schools of journalism, engineering or music are. We can argue at another time whether football should occupy the same space on campus as those disciplines, but for now, it does. The critical point is that a coach is less concerned with preparing athletes for the next level than he is with molding them to fit a system that helps him win games, keep his job and, eventually, move on to a position with a more prestigious program.

Coaches are taking care of their own needs first and leaving it to N.F.L. teams to retrain the players; colleges’ role as a feeder system has become almost incidental.

“We’ve got to train you to win games in our system,” said Tom Herman, Ohio State’s offensive coordinator.

Herman, who will take over as the University of Houston’s head coach for next season, added: “Our system totally prepares you to play in the N.F.L., but you have to face it: Either you’re good enough, or you’re not good enough. The N.F.L. takes the best players in the world and pays them a whole lot of money to do a job, and none of that is predicated on what kind of system you ran in college.”

The widening gap in philosophies, however, means that players’ adjustment to the N.F.L. could take longer — especially for spread-offense quarterbacks and the offensive linemen who, in many systems, almost exclusively pass block.

Meyer, Ohio State’s coach, developed quarterback Alex Smith while they were at Utah, and Smith, the top pick in the 2005 N.F.L. draft, has become a serviceable professional. But at Florida, Meyer also coached Tim Tebow and Chris Leak, quarterbacks who were great for Meyer’s system but not much else.

Cardale Jones, the Ohio State quarterback who started the Alabama game and will start against Oregon, is big, strong and capable of throwing a football 80 yards. He is a perfect fit for the Buckeyes’ offense. But will he be a fit for an N.F.L. team? And if he isn’t, is that Meyer’s problem?

“We have a job to do, and that’s to develop players and win games at this level,” Meyer said.

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Barack Obama’s French kiss-off

President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks about the France newspaper attack, Friday, Jan. 9, 2015, at Pellissippi State Community College. The president said he is hopeful that the immediate threat posed by terrorists in Paris has been now resolved. He says the situation remains fluid and that the French government continues to face the threat of terrorism.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Barack Obama’s French kiss-off

The president's decision to skip the Paris march raises eyebrows.

By Edward-Isaac Dovere

Barack Obama n’est pas Charlie — or at least, he wasn’t this weekend.

Don’t look for the president or vice president among the photos of 44 heads of state who locked arms and marched down Boulevard Voltaire in Paris. Nor did they join a companion march the French Embassy organized in Washington on Sunday afternoon.

Indeed, Obama’s public reactions to the attacks in Paris last week have been muted. His initial response Wednesday to the killing of 12 people at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper offices was delivered as he sat calmly in an armchair in the Oval Office speaking about the “cowardly” acts and defending freedom of the press. Two days later, as a gunman took hostages and went on to kill four people in a kosher grocery, Obama took a few seconds away from a community college proposal rollout in Tennessee because he said with events unfolding, “I wanted to make sure to comment on them” — but neither then nor afterward specifically condemned that attack.

Obama wasn’t far from the march in D.C. on Sunday that wended silently along six blocks from the Newseum to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. Instead, he spent the chilly afternoon a few blocks away at the White House, with no public schedule, no outings.

Joe Biden was back home in Wilmington, Delaware. Neither they nor any high-level administration official attended either event.

France’s top diplomat in the U.S. tried, diplomatically, to make the best of it.

“Thank you to Victoria Nuland, assistant secretary at the Department of State, who has represented the U.S. Authorities at the demonstration in DC. A friend,” Ambassador Gérard Araud tweeted Sunday evening, as criticism of the administration mounted.

...............................

“It’s stunning, truly stunning,” said Aaron David Miller, who among other responsibilities during his time at the State Department under both Republican and Democratic administrations, helped deliberate over which officials to send to which events. “It’s a poster child for tone deafness.”

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LA-area stadium developers expect $100M in public paybacks

LA-area stadium developers expect $100M in public paybacks

The developers behind a sprawling sports and housing complex in the Los Angeles suburbs - whose centerpiece stadium could become home for an NFL team - expect to recoup up to $100 million in local tax dollars in the first five years of operation, an Associated Press review has found.

When the proposal was unveiled last week, Christopher Meany, a senior executive with the joint venture designing and financing the project, emphasized that ''there will be no public dollars, no taxpayer dollars, used for this project.''

While the plan does not include any upfront tax money to build the 298-acre community of homes, offices and entertainment venues, a 187-page outline released by developers includes provisions for multimillion-dollar public paybacks to them over time from tax dollars generated by the project, which would cover costs ranging from installing street lights and fire hydrants to running shuttle buses and providing police security on game days.

The documents submitted to officials in Inglewood, where the stadium would be built, say that if annual tax revenue to the city from the completed project exceeds $25 million as expected, the developers, including a company controlled by the owner of the St. Louis Rams, would be entitled to reimbursements for funds they invested in streets, sewers, parks and other projects deemed dedicated to the public.

Chicago-based sports finance consultant Marc Ganis said claiming no tax money would be used in the project is ''hyper-spin'' and could damage the project's credibility.

''It's not an outright lie ... but there will be people who think it is,'' Ganis said. ''They might be prospective tax dollars, and it might make sense for Inglewood to contribute them to the project, but they are tax dollars.''

........................

The proposal envisions a domed, 80,000-seat stadium rising on the site of a defunct horse track and would also include a 6,000-seat performance venue and parking. It's the latest in a string of stadium proposals in the Los Angeles area since the Rams and the Oakland Raiders abandoned Southern California after the 1994 season.

According to the plan, developers could be reimbursed an estimated $50 million to $60 million for building the structural backbone of the site: sidewalks and road work, landscaping, water mains and utility lines. Meany said in a statement that those costs are expected to be paid back within the first few years from tax revenue generated by the project, and they represent a fraction of the overall investment.

Additionally, the records say developers can be reimbursed by the city for costs on event days for police, emergency medical crews and shuttle bus services from off-site parking. They estimate that could tally $8 million annually, or $40 million for a five-year period.

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Special forces officer reveals deli jihadist was shot 40 times

Amedy Coulibaly killed four at a Paris deli on Friday and was killed by police commandos in a hail of bullets

Special forces officer reveals deli jihadist was shot 40 times

… and they were spurred on after working 50 hours straight by the thought of avenging colleague shot in the street 

By Ted Thornhill for MailOnline

French armed officers have revealed that they cut down the jihadi gunman who killed four hostages at a Paris supermarket in a hail of over 40 bullets.

The special forces team said they worked 50 straight hours before they launched their assault on Friday, fatigue diminished by the thought of avenging their colleague Ahmed Merabet.

He was killed in cold blood two days earlier during an attack by brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Eye-witness footage of the execution caused revulsion around the world.

The team placed explosives at the entrance to blast their way in, as Coulibaly had placed shopping trolleys across it.

But in the end the fanatic attacked them first. He fired his Kalachnikov at the police team, retreated back in to the supermarket, then came at them again.

Police had wanted to take him alive, but it was clear that this was a suicide mission for Coulibaly.

Marc said: ‘In front of us we had a man, ultra precise, well trained, who knew how to work his AK47. Then he threw himself at us.’

He described the counter-attack by the police as being ‘like a bomb going off’.

The description of the siege by members of the special forces team came as pictures emerged of shoppers hiding in a freezer during the stand-off.

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Cyberbullying: From the Playground to "Insta"

Cyberbullying

By Elias Aboujaoude, M.D.

As bullying has moved from the school bus to the social network, new challenges, including a worrisome link with suicidality, have emerged. A non-sensationalistic, evidence-based approach is needed to confront what has become a clear public health problem.

Cyberbullying is frequently associated with psychological distress. Cybervictims tend to have increased rates of depression, anxiety and insomnia, whereas cyberbullies are more likely to have problems with outward aggression, hyperactivity and substance use. A major concern is the increased risk of suicide, considered stronger than in traditional bullying. Bully-victims—individuals who are attacked and transition to become cyberbullies or vice versa—seem to have more accompanying symptoms and more behavioral problems than those who are only victims or only bullies.

 
Governor-Elect Laments the Californication of Texas

Governor-Elect Laments the Californication of Texas

Is the Lone Star State going soft? Greg Abbott certainly thinks so.

By Josh Harkinson

Local fracking bans. Laws outlawing plastic bags. Strict tree-cutting ordinances

. Another day in California? Nope. Welcome to life in urban Texas, where Democratic-controlled city councils are enacting powerful consumer and environmental protections—much to the chagrin of the state's leading conservatives. "Texas is being California-ized, and you might not even be noticing it," Gov.-elect Greg Abbott complained last week at a meeting of the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation. "We're forming a patchwork quilt of bans and rules and regulations that is eroding the Texas model."

This, he added, is a nasty "form of collectivism" that could "turn the Texas miracle into the California nightmare."

Though California has long been a conservative bête noire, Abbott's comments highlight a rising fear among Texas Republicans. More than half of all Texans now live in 10 large urban counties that are growing much faster than the state as a whole. Their voters tend to be more liberal than other Texans, a trend that's accelerating as minorities, young people, and out-of-staters settle there, lured by cosmopolitan neighborhoods and good jobs. According to a 2012 analysis by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News, 70 percent of Democratic gains in Texas since 2000 have come from the four counties that encompass Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin. All of them voted for Barack Obama in 2012.

In a state known for caring more about hot-button social issues than consumer or environmental protections, it should come as no surprise that urbanites would turn to their city councils to tackle quality-of-life issues the state prefers to ignore. The fracking ban enacted this November in Denton, a college town near Dallas in the gas-rich Barnett Shale formation, is a case in point: It might have never passed had residents felt the state was doing enough to protect them. "It says the industry can't come in and do whatever they want to do to people," Cathy McMullen, the head of the Denton Drilling Awareness Group, told the Washington Post. "They can't drill a well 300 feet from a park anymore. They can't flare 200 feet from a child's bedroom anymore."

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Rick Santorum Still Exists

Rick Santorum Attacks Fellow 2016 Candidates in Effort to Remind Us He Exists

By

Rick Santorum has a problem: How do you get people talking about your potential 2016 campaign when you don't have multiple former presidents in your family or a few dozen top GOP donors pressuring you to run? The answer, apparently, is to launch a deeply ironic attack against the presidential front-runners in your own party. In an interview with the New York Times, the two-term Pennsylvania senator who lost his seat in 2006, lashed out at freshman senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio. "Do we really want someone with this little experience?" Santorum asked. "And the only experience they have basically — not Rubio, but Cruz and Paul because I don’t think Rubio is going to go — is bomb throwing? Do we really want somebody who’s a bomb thrower, with no track record of any accomplishments?"

He also attacked Mike Huckabee, his toughest competition for the Christian conservative vote.

.....................

The best part of the whole thing (aside from the prospect of a Santorum/Christie/Paul shouting match during the debates): Last week Santorum told Bloomberg Politics that while he hasn't changed his views on any issue, he hopes to run as a uniter. "There are issues out there in America that unite us, and one of the things I'm excited about in looking at a campaign in 2016 is having a message that not only unites Republicans but also can bring Democrats along not just during the campaign, but, more importantly, as we see the division in Washington, afterwards," he said.

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Obama's Mistake is No Disgrace

Obama's Mistake is No Disgrace

America doesn't need to march its president in the streets of Paris to prove its resolve.

By Ron Fournier

t would have made a nice picture – President Obama joining more than a million people, including 40-plus presidents and prime ministers, in the streets of Paris for a unity rally and march Sunday. He should have sent Vice President Joe Biden or Secretary of State John Kerry. Attorney General Eric Holder was in Paris already, and could have laced up his walking boots.

It was a mistake – a missed opportunity to remind France and other allies that the United States is committed to a war against terrorism waged by two U.S. president and thousands of U.S. troops since 9/11.

But it wasn't a disgrace.

Just as Obama has a responsibility to recognize and exploit the power of presidential symbolism, his critics must not forget the importance of context. There are bigger things to worry about – and more important failings of the Obama administration – than the delicate feelings of the French.

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Amid criticism, Kerry headed to Paris

Amid criticism, Kerry headed to Paris

By David McCabe

Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to France on Thursday and Friday, amid criticism that the Obama administration did not send a high-level representative to a Sunday solidarity march in Paris responding to two terrorist attacks.

The top diplomat defended the U.S.'s relationship with France at a news conference late Sunday.

"And I want to emphasize that the relationship with France is not about one day or one particular moment," he told reporters while in Gujarat, India. "It's an ongoing, long-time relationship that is deeply, deeply based in the shared values, and particularly the commitment that we share in freedom of expression."

Kerry pushed back on the criticism that the administration hadn't sent an appropriate delegation to the march. More than one million people marched in Paris, according to numerous reports.

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Michael Tomasky: The Right and Wrong Reasons for Outrage

The Right and Wrong Reasons for Outrage

What if the Paris attackers had been Christian or Jewish? Would we all be “Je Suis Charlie”-ing? No, and we must admit it and realize why.

That was an incredibly moving scene in Paris yesterday, the largest civilian mobilization in French history, which is quite a history. We must hope that the humanist (an important word to which we’ll return) solidarity on display there can be sustained. To see so many people from so many religions and non-religions and so many different countries all saying the same thing is an all-too-rare sight in this petulant world.

But a little part of me wondered from time to time if we all really are saying the same thing. Let us suppose that Charlie Hebdo had published a cover showing Jesus and Mary Magdalene and a couple of the disciples besides absorbed in a sexually adventuresome tangle, and a couple of deranged militant Christians had gone in there and mowed the staff down. Or let’s imagine it was Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob similarly depicted, or Moses, and a couple of Jewish religious fundamentalists had committed the slaughter. How would, and should, our reactions be the same, and how would and should they be different?

This is where certain lines and distinctions can be drawn. Everyone left to right would criticize mass murder. We’re all against that. The Christian and Jewish identity organizations would all denounce them. Abe Foxman would put out a reassuring statement. Bill Donohue of the Catholic League...well, actually, based on his dubious response to this tragedy, it would be a little harder to predict how much sleep Donohue might lose over the murder of Christian blasphemers.

But by and large, that’s the easy part. Now come the harder parts. Would we be chanting Je Suis Charlie in ideological unison the way we are now? I think we most certainly would not be. Would conservative Catholics, even those not out there on Donohue’s unique wavelength, link arms with liberals and secularists to defend the right of a blasphemer of Jesus? Would Benjamin Netanyahu, in my Jewish hypothetical, have made a special pilgrimage to Paris to express his solidarity with the dead who had so defamed his faith? I think never in a million years (and by the way, remember that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas did do precisely this by attending Sunday’s March).

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The Missing Pages of the 9/11 Report

september 11 report, missing pages

The Missing Pages of the 9/11 Report

The lead author of the Senate’s report on 9/11 says it’s time to reveal what’s in the 28 pages that were redacted from it, which he says will embarrass the Saudis.

A story that might otherwise have slipped away in a morass of conspiracy theories gained new life Wednesday when former Sen. Bob Graham headlined a press conference on Capitol Hill to press for the release of 28 pages redacted from a Senate report on the 9/11 attacks. And according to Graham, the lead author of the report, the pages “point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as the principal financier” of the 9/11 hijackers.

“This may seem stale to some but it’s as current as the headlines we see today,” Graham said, referring to the terrorist attack on a satirical newspaper in Paris. The pages are being kept under wraps out of concern their disclosure would hurt U.S. national security. But as chairman of the Senate Select Committee that issued the report in 2002, Graham argues the opposite is true, and that the real “threat to national security is non-disclosure.”

Graham said the redacted pages characterize the support network that allowed the 9/11 attacks to occur, and if that network goes unchallenged, it will only flourish. He said that keeping the pages classified is part of “a general pattern of coverup” that for 12 years has kept the American people in the dark. It is “highly improbable” the 19 hijackers acted alone, he said, yet the U.S. government’s position is “to protect the government most responsible for that network of support.”  

The Saudis know what they did, Graham continued, and the U.S. knows what they did, and when the U.S. government takes a position of passivity, or actively shuts down inquiry, that sends a message to the Saudis. “They have continued, maybe accelerated their support for the most extreme form of Islam,” he said, arguing that both al Qaeda and ISIS are “a creation of Saudi Arabia.”

..........................

It all signals that the decades-long bipartisan policy of always keeping the Saudis happy, and never rocking the boat, may be coming to an end. In Sarasota, Florida, a federal judge is reviewing 80,000 pages of documents that relate to a prominent Saudi family and its extensive contacts with three of the hijackers when they attended flight school in Sarasota.

The family abruptly left the U.S. for Saudi Arabia a few days before the attacks, leaving dinner on the table and a brand new car in the driveway “as though they’d been tipped something was going to happen, and they’d better not be in the country,” said Graham. One member of the family is described as a high-level adviser to the Saudi royal family. The FBI initially rebuffed a Freedom of Information request about the case, Graham said, prompting him to observe that the “pervasive pattern of covering up” the Saudi role in 9/11 extends to all U.S. institutions.

When the 800-page Senate report was made public in 2002, Graham recalled that he and Republican Sen. Richard Shelby were “shocked to see an important chapter in the report has been redacted.” All but three Senate Democrats, joined by one Republican and one independent, signed a letter calling on President Bush to declassify the 28-page section detailing the role of foreign governments in bankrolling the 9/11 attackers.

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On right and left, a search for a credible populist message

Both parties agree: Economic mobility will be a defining theme of 2016 campaign

On right and left, a search for a credible populist message

Presidential hopefuls in both parties agree on at least one thing: Economic mobility, and the feeling of many Americans that they are being shut out from the nation’s prosperity, will be a defining theme of the 2016 campaign.

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush last week became the latest Republican to signal a readiness to engage Democrats on what historically has been their turf, putting issues of middle-class wage stagnation, poverty and shared prosperity at the forefront of their political messages.

Bush’s framing of the economic and social challenges facing the country nearly mirrors that of likely Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, as well as other possible contenders on the left. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has written a book on the subject, “American Dreams: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone,” to be published this week, while Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has proposed policies for distressed communities that he sees as “the ticket to the middle class.”

And Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP nominee who was portrayed by Democrats as insensitive to and out of touch with the lives of middle- and working-class Americans, has told friends he considers poverty a topic du jour as he weighs another run in 2016.

“You talk to any pollster, on the Democratic side or the Republican side, they’re in complete agreement on the idea that there has to be an economic populist message,” said Matthew Dowd, a top strategist for former president George W. Bush’s 2000 and 2004 campaigns. “Then it comes down to ‘Are there credible solutions and is there a credible candidate?’ ”

About 45 million Americans live at or below the poverty line, according to last fall’s census estimates, while the median household income in the United States in 2013 was just under $52,000. Adjusted for inflation, the median is 8 percent lower than it was in 2007, the last full year before the recession, and 11 percent below what it was in 2000.

Wage stagnation has been a persistent problem for low- and middle-income workers. “Since the late 1970s, wages for the bottom 70 percent of earners have been essentially stagnant, and between 2009 and 2013, real ­wages fell for the entire bottom 90 percent of the wage distribution,” Lawrence Mishel of the liberal Economic Policy Institute wrote in a paper published this month.

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France to Deploy Thousands of Forces to Protect Jewish Schools and ‘Sensitive Sites’

France to Deploy Thousands of Forces to Protect Jewish Schools and ‘Sensitive Sites’

Seeking to reassure a jittery and unsettled population after last week’s terrorist attacks, the French authorities said on Monday that thousands of police officers and soldiers would be deployed to protect Jewish schools and other “sensitive sites,” in one of the country’s biggest peacetime security operations.

The defense minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said that 10,000 soldiers would be deployed by Tuesday evening, in what he called “the first mobilization on this scale on our territory.”

Mr. Le Drian announced the measures after President François Hollande called an emergency meeting to fashion the government’s response to the attacks. On Sunday, dozens of world leaders joined Mr. Hollande at the front of a march in Paris attended by more than one million people and intended as a show of unity and defiance.

The military deployment reflected France’s readiness to commit its armed forces to resist Islamic militants within and beyond its borders. French aircraft have joined the American-led air campaign against militant forces in Iraq, and roughly 3,000 French soldiers are deployed in Africa in efforts to counter extremist groups in countries including Chad and Mauritania.

In addition to the military deployment, the interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, said on Monday that 4,700 police officers would be posted to guard the country’s 700 Jewish schools and other institutions after three days of bloodletting last week, when three assailants killed 17 people in attacks on targets including a satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, and a kosher supermarket.

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White House criticized for absence at Paris rally

White House criticized for absence at rally

Elise Viebeck 

Attorney General Eric Holder was reportedly replaced by the U.S. ambassador to France.

The Obama administration was criticized on social media Sunday for the lack of high-ranking U.S. officials at the unity rally in Paris, where more than 40 world leaders marched in commemoration of the lives lost to terrorism last week.

The Obama administration was criticized on social media Sunday for the lack of high-ranking U.S. officials at the unity rally in Paris, where more than 40 world leaders marched in commemoration of the lives lost to terrorism last week.

Attorney General Eric Holder was in Paris for talks on combatting terrorism and was scheduled to attend the rally. He was replaced by U.S. Ambassador to France Jane Hartley, according to reports

The absence of top American leaders was felt as countries from around the world sent their own premiers. In addition to French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas all took part in the rally.

The Obama administration emphasized that the U.S. government has been supporting the French this week on a "minute-by-minute basis."

"Attorney General Holder — a Cabinet level official — is representing the United States at the security meetings in Paris today. He is joined by the DHS Deputy Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas. The United States is represented at the march by Ambassador Hartley," a senior administration official told CNN.

"As far as public signs of French solidarity from the U.S. — don't forget several public statements from the president, his call to Hollande and a condolence stop to the French embassy."

Still, the statement did not stop a backlash on Twitter, where hundreds of users and some media personalities lamented the absence of a leader like President Obama, Vice President Biden or Secretary of State John Kerry.

"Embarrassing to the Americans!" tweeted Greta Van Susteren, host of Fox News's "On the Record." "[President] Obama should not have snubbed Paris today — 40+ other world leaders showed up."

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'We are here to support freedom. We will not be beaten'

French President Francois Hollande is surrounded by leaders including Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (left), Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (fourth right), Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (third right) and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel (right)

'We are here to support freedom. We will not be beaten'

More than one million people gathered in Paris today to stage a defiant march alongside world leaders in a moving tribute to the 17 terror victims. 

British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande were among the global leaders and dignitaries taking part in the march.

Meanwhile US Attorney General Eric Holder was is in the city along with other security ministers for talks about the threat posed by Islamist extremism.

The politicians stood arm in arm to lead the march, which was preceded by a declaration from Mr Hollande that 'today, Paris is the capital of the world'. 

Giant letters attached to a statue in the Place de la République spelt out the word ‘Pourquoi?’ (‘Why?’) and small groups sang the national anthem.

As many as 1.5million people flooded Paris for the march today, while 600,000 rallied in towns and cities around France outside of the capital. 

Other noted world leaders in the city included German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko and Italian PM Matteo Renzi.

Thousands of people began filled France's Place de la République as world leaders converged on Paris in a rally of defiance and sorrow today

 
Why Some Other Women Cheat

Why Some Other Women Cheat

By Frances Cohen Praver, Ph.D.

The main reason some women cheat is that their relationships are unsatisfactory. Then there are some other women. It’s not that their marriages are bad; it’s not their partners are bad; it’s not that they are bad. It’s that they want more excitement.

 
Getting Married Makes You Happier? No

Getting Married Makes You Happier? No

By Bella DePaulo, Ph.D.

Heard about the recent research supposedly showing that marrying makes people lastingly happier? It actually showed that in vast swaths of the world, married people are not happier than single people. It also replicated the finding that any increase in happiness among people who get married and stay married is just a short-lived honeymoon effect.

 
David Petraeus: From military rock star to possible prosecution

David Petraeus: From military rock star to possible prosecution   (+video)

By Brad Knickerbocker

David Petraeus, the distinguished US Army general and former CIA director might have been headed for high political office. But an extramarital affair tarnished his reputation, and now federal prosecutors are considering whether to bring criminal charges against him over the handling of classified information.

Distinguished West Point grad with a Princeton PhD. The top US military officer in Iraq and then Afghanistan, where he seemed to turn things around in those two unpopular wars, facilitating a US exit. Appointed head of the CIA when he retired to civilian life. Mentioned as a possible presidential or vice-presidential candidate.

But all of that was overshadowed by scandal when he resigned as CIA director in disgrace in 2012, admitting to an extramarital affair he attributed to “extremely poor judgment.”

According to several news reports, the US Justice Department is considering whether to bring criminal charges against him over the handling of classified information.

Federal investigators have been looking into whether Petraeus improperly shared classified materials with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, the West Point graduate and Army reserve officer with whom he admitted having an affair. FBI agents reportedly found a substantial number of classified documents on Ms. Broadwell's computer and at her home.

According to news reports at the time, Broadwell had become jealous of another woman close to Mr. Petraeus. She sent harassing emails to the other woman, who filed a complaint eventually taken up by the FBI. When agents investigated Broadwell’s email account, they discovered romantic exchanges she had had with Petraeus. Concerned about possible security breaches, agents looked at Petraeus’s personal email account.

There is no reported evidence that intelligence or national security secrets were compromised during the hidden affair. It was via his personal Gmail account – not his secure CIA email – that Petraeus and Broadwell communicated. As a commissioned officer herself, Broadwell had her own security clearance, although she would not have had the “need to know” required for the highest levels of secrecy.

The New York Times reported Friday evening that prosecutors had recommended to US Attorney General Eric Holder that felony charges be brought against Petraeus and that the Attorney General, who plans to leave his position as soon as his successor is confirmed, had been expected to make a decision by the end of last year.

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McCain: Obama has no plan to defeat terrorists

McCain: Obama has no plan to defeat terrorists

By Elise Viebeck

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Sunday accused the Obama administration of being lax in the fight against terrorism, saying the number of threats to the United States are the result of "leading from behind."

Speaking on CNN's "State of the Union," McCain said terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria represent the "largest extremist caliphate in history" and that President Obama has "no strategy to degrade or defeat it."

"ISIS right now is winning," McCain said, referring to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. "We need to go after them. We need to have more boots on the ground. We need a no-fly zone. We need to arm the Free Syrian Army. And we need a coherent strategy that can be presented to the Congress."

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The coming Republican failure on immigration

The coming GOP failure on immigration

The coming Republican failure on immigration

By Byron York

Republicans in Congress are nearly unanimous in opposing President Obama's unilateral executive action on immigration. Nearly all want Congress to overturn the president's edict. But how to do it? Republicans have two basic options, and as the time to act nears, it appears they are preparing to choose the one more likely to fail.

The first option is to pass a brief, simple bill that denies funding for the implementation of Obama's action, as announced last Nov. 20 and as outlined in memoranda from both the Department of Homeland Security and the White House. Such a move would be direct, unambiguous, and would focus specifically on Obama's action, which is what the controversy is about in the first place.

The second option is to begin with a defunding measure but then add other provisions, targeting not just Obama's executive action but also a large chunk of the president's immigration policy going back five years.

The first, simpler, option probably has the greatest likelihood of success. The second is more complex, and each additional component is likely to give some lawmaker — a few moderate Republicans or the Democrats whose votes are needed for passage in the Senate — a reason to vote again the measure.

While nothing is set in stone, it appears the GOP leadership seems to be headed toward the second option. In answering the president's overreach on immigration, Capitol Hill Republicans are engaging in some overreach of their own.

The House Rules Committee has published a list of five amendments to be considered on the immigration question. The key amendment is from Reps. Robert Aderholt of Alabama, Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, and Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania. It's also the most ambitious and most likely to scare off lawmakers wary of going beyond reversing Obama's action of last November.

The Aderholt amendment begins by banning the expenditure of any money for the implementation of "any of the policy changes set forth" in the so-called Morton Memos, referring to a set of memoranda issued by former Immigration and Customs Enforcement chief John Morton. The amendment specifically bans funds for the implementation of policies in four such memos, dated March 2, 2011; June 17, 2011; Nov. 17, 2011; and Dec. 21, 2012. Together, the memos undermined the enforcement of several key immigration laws, basically making it much harder for federal officials to deport immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

After undoing the Morton Memos, the amendment would attack Obama's recent unilateral action. Specifically, it would bar funding for the implementation of any policies set forth in a series of eleven memos released on Nov. 20 and 21 of last year, when the president announced his action.

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Centrist angst over Dems' leftward lurch

Centrists lament Dems' lurch left

Centrist angst over Dems' leftward lurch

By Susan Crabtree  

Reacting to early signs that President Obama and the Democratic rump in Congress is lurching to the Left, centrists are complaining bitterly that the left-wing Elizabeth Warren wing of the party is taking control.

Liberal Democrats say centrist grumbling is sour grapes over their decimation in the midterm election.

Obama cannot discount the shrinking centrist group because they can cross the aisle and hand the new GOP's new Senate majority victories on everything from the Keystone XL oil pipeline and banking reforms, to dismantling Obamacare.

On Friday, 28 Democrats defied Obama and joined Republicans to pass a bill to approve the long-stalled Keystone project despite the president's threat early this week to veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

Afterward, centrists complained that the threat sent the wrong signal the first week of the New Year and they argued that the party would not regain the majority if it cannot be more business-friendly.

“It just basically means what sector of the Democratic Party is he going to be pushing for?” Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, a conservative House Democrat, told the Washington Examiner. “Is it more of the liberal, green side? Or is he willing to at least consider the moderates, the centrists like myself, who believe in energy. Energy is big in my district and it's big in Texas."

One day earlier, three leaders of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition wrote to Obama urging him to think again and negotiate over the bill instead of vetoing it.

“The Blue Dog Coalition stands ready to work with you and congressional leaders to provide stringent oversight of construction and operation of the Keystone XL Pipeline, but we cannot miss this opportunity to create good paying jobs and put America on the path to be less reliant on oil from our foes,” they wrote.

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Holder: French attacks point to threats to United States

Holder: French attacks point to threats to United States

By Elise Viebeck

Attorney General Eric Holder said Sunday that the possibility of a Paris-style terrorist attack in the United States is very real and keeps him "up at night."

"I certainly think that the possibility of such attacks exists in the United States," Holder told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday. "It is something that we worry about all the time. It is something that we meet about all the time."

"What we saw in France over the course of this last week is unfortunately what we're going to have to confront in the future," Holder said in a separate interview with CNN's "State of the Union." "We've seen these kinds of attempts in the United States … This is the nature of the new threat we must confront."

Holder spoke with four of the five Sunday political talk shows from Paris, where he joined world leaders in a march to honor the memory of 17 people in violence by terrorists there this week.

In interviews, the attorney general declined to say whether a breakdown in French intelligence contributed to the attacks and demurred when asked what the United States has learned about the events.

"There will be time for an after-action analysis of exactly what we might have done better," he told NBC's "Meet the Press.”

"The French have been among our best allies, our greatest friends in this fight against global terrorism," he added.

Holder also said that while Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility on Friday, the United States has no "credible information" about the true sponsor of the killings.

The interviews represent one of the most prolonged reactions to the attacks by the Obama administration so far. The violence began last Wednesday when two gunmen stormed satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and killed 12. A Jewish deli came under siege on Friday, resulting in more deaths.

The attacks were perpetrated by three men who some believe to be affiliated with a subgroup of al Qaeda in Yemen.

Eyewitnesses reported that the two gunmen who attacked Charlie Hebdo claimed affiliation with the organization. The third terrorist who attacked the Jewish deli pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in a video released Sunday on social media.

“These individuals were inspired in some way,” Gen. Martin Dempsey, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman said on “Fox NewsSunday.”

“They were probably not self-radicalized on the Internet, which is another way these attacks sometimes occur,” Dempsey added.

“There is pretty clear indication that one of them did in fact receive training in Yemen and that there’s a linkage among them whether it's schools or family relationships. As far as whether it was directed by al Qaeda, I don’t think a linkage has been established.”

Holder said that while there isn't "any question" the United States "decimated core al Qaeda," threats from affiliates and lone wolves still persist. He said monitoring suspects is difficult, but urged Americans to remain calm.

"I think the American people should feel secure," he said on NBC, saying the United States is not considering a rollback of surveillance.

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