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In-N-Out Burger



In-N-Out Burger

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.

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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.

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Obama moves key Senate races toward GOP

Barack Obama gestures. | AP Photo

Obama moves key Senate races toward GOP

By MANU RAJU

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.

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Democratic senators dismiss Obama as 'not relevant'

Weak: Senators in the Democratic Party are shunning President Obama (left) as he dashes from crisis to crisis – including a widely panned Ebola response now being helmed by party operative Ron Klain (on couch)

Democratic senators dismiss Obama as 'not relevant'

By David Martosko, Us Political Editor for MailOnline

Is Obama a 'strong leader?' North Carolina Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan responded: 'Certainly there are issues that I certainly think ... um, no'

Bill Clinton told a Kentucky crowd not to give a Republican 'a six-year job for a two-year protest' against the sitting president.

The White House is struggling to assert President Barack Obama's relevance as drowning Democrats have had to decide between defending him and throwing him under their campaign buses.

Several liberals in tough re-election fights have opted, Peter-like, to deny him three times before Election Day's cock can crow. 

Mark Begich, Alaska's embattled Senate Democrat, put his finger on what his party's bigger names are grappling with, saying that while he voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012,'that's irrelevant. The president's not relevant. He's gone in two years.'

First choice, Bubba: Former President Bill Clinton (center) became part of Kentucky Senate hopeful Alison Grimes' selfie on Tuesday, before telling Kentuckians not to give Republican Mitch McConnell 6 more years in the Senate because of anger toward a president with 2-years left in office

Asked on the MNSBC 'Morning Joe' program if voters who support Democratic congressional candidates on Nov. 4 will be symbolically backing the president, Wasserman Schultz insisted he's is not an Election Day issue.

'Barack Obama was on the ballot in 2012 and 2008,' she said. 

True enough, but his policies are on the ballot. Just ask Obama himself.

The president ensured his relevance, at least in the cutthroat Senate campaigns that will determine who runs Congress in 2015 and 2016, by insisting during an Oct. 2 speech that his 'policies are on the ballot' in November, 'every single one of them.'

David Axelrod, Obama's longtime political savant, told NBC's program 'Meet the Press' days later that inserting that language 'was a mistake.'

'I wouldn't put that line there,' Axelrod said.

With that one rhetorical flourish near the end of an otherwise uninspiring economic speech at Northwestern University, the president made the elections, in part, about himself.

And with Obama's approval numbers hovering just below 40 per cent – and dipping to a disastrous 33 per cent in Begich's Alaska – that turn doesn't bode well for his party.

 
Donald Trump Blames Obama for NYC Ebola Case, Calls for His Resignation

Donald Trump Blames Obama for NYC Ebola Case, Calls for His Resignation

By Margaret Hartmann

After New York City doctor Craig Spencer tested positive for Ebola on Thursday evening, many amateur epidemiologists took to Twitter to condemn the Doctors Without Borders physician who volunteered to care for Ebola patients in Guinea. Meanwhile, Nick Muzin, deputy chief of staff to Senator Ted Cruz, suggested the White House was to blame, tweeting, "Before Obamacare, there had never been a confirmed case of Ebola in the U.S." After much mockery, he called the deleted tweet a "bad joke," but in a Twitter rant Donald Trump suggested Muzin didn't go far enough. "If this doctor, who so recklessly flew into New York from West Africa,has Ebola,then Obama should apologize to the American people & resign!" he declared.

 
Monica's Bombshell

In her own words: Monica Lewinsky, 41, delivered a speech about bullying in the digital age at Forbes' Under 30 Summit in which she also relived the interrogation

Monica's Bombshell

FBI interrogators threatened to throw Monica Lewinsky and her mother in jail if she didn't wear a wire against Clinton

Monica Lewinsky's claims that she was mistreated by FBI agents and lawyers as they tried to make her testify against then-President Bill Clinton have been backed by a never-before-seen government report.

Lewinsky, who attained global notoriety for her affair with Clinton while working as a White House intern in 1998, had long claimed agents tried to bully her into wearing a wire against Clinton after news of her romance with the world's most powerful man blew up.

Her voice cracked as she relived the encounter before a large crowd of millennials at Forbes' Under 30 Summit in Philadelphia on Monday morning during her first public speaking engagement in more than 12 years. 

Claim to fame: Lewinsky, pictured left next to Bill Clinton during her time as a White House intern, became a household name after her affair with the president  was leaked to the press in 1998

She told how the 12-hour interrogation began in the food court of Pentagon City shopping mall, in Washington DC, before moving on to the adjoining Ritz-Carlton Hotel after she was tricked into going there by Linda Tripp - the colleague who had been secretly recording conversations with the young intern. 

Lewinsky, now 41, maintained that the agents and lawyers, working for Kenneth W. Starr's Office of Independent Counsel, mistreated her, even threatening her and her mother with criminal prosecution if she did not bend to their will.

'It was just like you see in the movies,' she said. 'Imagine, one minute I was waiting to meet a friend in the food court and the next I realized she had set me up, as two FBI agents flashed their badges at me.'

'Immediately following, in a nearby hotel room, I was threatened with up to 27 years in jail for denying the affair in an affidavit and other alleged crimes. Twenty-seven years. When you're only 24 yourself, that's a long time. Chillingly, told that my mother, too, might face prosecution if I didn't cooperate and wear a wire. And, in case you didn't know, I did not wear the wire.' 

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The jihadist war at our doorstep

The jihadist war at our doorstep

The Dallas Morning News Editorial

The 9/11 attacks forced a retrenchment in the West when traditional methods of waging war proved inadequate against ill-defined, nonstate terrorist groups abroad who don’t fight by the normal rules. Well, it’s time to retrench again.

The new enemy isn’t plotting big missions from training camps in distant countries like Afghanistan or Syria. He or she may be right here among us, perhaps having attended high school with our children or working down the road. The Islamic State is calling on them to attack anywhere, anytime, by whatever means.

Two attacks this week in Ottawa underscore the changing threat. Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, shot and killed a Canadian soldier at a war memorial Wednesday, then opened fire inside the nearby Parliament building as legislators met. Zehaf-Bibeau was killed in a hail of gunfire. He was a recent, radicalized convert to Islam.

On Monday, Martin Couture-Rouleau, 25, plowed his car into two soldiers walking outside a government building, killing one of them. He also had grown radicalized after converting to Islam last year.

Both are known to have followed Islamic State messages online, possibly including one in September urging attacks on Canadian and other Western "disbelievers." "Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him," it said.

Then there’s the bizarre story of three Denver-area girls — Americans of Somali and Sudanese descent — who skipped high school and flew to Europe last weekend with plans to join the Islamic State.

These are the types who would bring the war front to the West’s doorstep. Tighter borders and police-state tactics won’t keep them out; they’re already here.

Local police and federal intelligence agencies can, however, escalate efforts to divert homegrown jihadists before they strike. Years ago, the federal government established a network of “fusion centers” designed to help law enforcers develop networks of citizen informers. If anyone is better equipped to recognize and report radicals in their midst, it’s the Muslims who socialize and attend mosque with them.

“Most of this intelligence comes from the Muslim community,” Mubin Shaikh, a former jihadist and counterintelligence operative, told CNN. He said a jihadist plot last year to attack passenger trains in Canada was foiled by intelligence supplied by a watchful imam.

The idea isn’t for Muslims to spy on one another or choose between their religion and their country. The vast majority are horrified by Islamic State violence and, we suspect, would gladly work to prevent its spread in North America.

If they recognize radicals in their midst who are distorting Islamic ideals, now’s the time to alert authorities — before they go off the deep end.

 
The World's Wealthiest Terrorists

The World's Wealthiest Terrorists

ISIS has made at least $20 million in ransom this year and millions more in oil revenues.

By Russell Berman

The Islamic State makes about $1 million a day from sales of oil it has seized at war. It has generated $20 million this year alone in ransom. And it has taken untold sums of additional cash at gunpoint in the Syrian and Iraqi towns it controls, and through donations it solicits from sympathizers through social media.

Those are all assessments of the Treasury Department, which is highlighting its expanded efforts to cut off ISIS's funding as part of the broader war against the terrorist group. As explained by David Cohen, the department's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, the targeting of ISIS's money stream is both harder and easier than similar efforts against al-Qaeda.

Cohen's detailed account of the department's findings come as the U.S.-led military campaign against ISIS continues, and he said there were indications that ongoing airstrikes in Iraq and Syria have begun to "hamper its ability" to generate revenue from oil smuggling.

As administration officials have previously acknowledged, the Islamic State is the wealthiest terrorist group it has confronted. That is principally because unlike the syndicate run for years by Osama Bin Laden, it has not operated in the shadows but has seized wide swaths of land, taking control of oil fields, plundered local towns and villages.

"Unlike, for instance, core al-Qaeda, ISIL derives a relatively small share of its funds from deep-pocket donors and thus does not depend principally on moving money across international borders," Cohen said in prepared remarks to the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace in Washington. "Instead, ISIL obtains the vast majority of its revenues through local criminal and terrorist activities."

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

While the millions ISIS is amassing is impressive, it is a paltry amount compared to the $2 billion that the Iraqi was spending annually in the provinces where the terrorists are now operating. He noted reports of shortages in ISIS-controlled areas of Mosul, and he said the U.S. would try to exploit the vulnerabilities.

Essentially, the U.S. is betting that ISIS won't be able to keep its fiscal house in order any better than many other nations, and it presumably won't have foreign governments at the ready to bail it out of debt.

"We should not confuse funding with financial strength," Cohen said. "While ISIL today is well-funded, a terrorist group’s overall financial strength turns not just on its income, but also on its expenses and, importantly, the degree to which it can dedicate its resources to violent purposes."

 
American dynasties of the midterms

Bill and Hillary Clinton

American dynasties of the midterms

Gary Younge

The 2014 midterms are rife with political families seeking to sway the races

Contrary to the American ideal of equality and a classless system, the 2014 midterms are rife with political families seeking to use parental clout to sway the races, with the Clintons and Bushes looming above it all.

When asked last year about the prospect of having yet another son run for the White House, former first lady Barbara Bush said she thought it was a bad idea. “There are a lot of great families,” she said. “It’s not just four families, or whatever. There are other people out there that are very qualified. We’ve had enough Bushes.” If Jeb Bush, Barbara’s second son, does run, he might well be up against former first lady Hillary Clinton, making Barack Obama’s tenure an eight-year interlude in an otherwise unbroken 36-year stretch in which either a Bush or a Clinton was on the presidential ticket.

“I think this is a great American country,” Barbara said in a more recent interview. “And if we can’t find more than two or three families to run for high office, that’s silly.”

In that case, these midterm elections are not just silly but quite ridiculous. The US seems to be drawing its political leadership from an increasingly shallow puddle of genes. For the sake of brevity this can be illustrated solely by the Senate races that are considered “in play” this year. The race in Georgia is between Michelle Nunn, whose father used to be a Georgia senator, and David Purdue, whose cousin Sonny Purdue was once Georgia’s governor; Alaska Democratic senator Mark Begich’s father, Nick, was the state’s congressman; Arkansas Democratic senator Mark Pryor’s father David was himself once senator.

It goes on: Louisiana senator Mary Landrieu is the daughter of former New Orleans mayor Moon, and sister of current New Orleans mayor Mitch; Kentucky Democratic senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is the daughter of Jerry Lundergan, former chairman of the Kentucky Democratic party; Colorado Democratic senator Mark Udall is the son of late Arizona congressman Morris, and cousin of current New Mexico senator Tom, who is himself the son of late interior secretary Stewart; Kansas Republican senator Pat Roberts is the son of Charles, who was briefly the chairman of the Republican national committee; North Carolina Democratic senator Kay Hagan is the niece of former Florida senator Lawton Chiles.

George Bush and Laura Bush in 2005.

 It is not unheard of for children to go into the profession of their parents. They know what’s involved; they may well have even been involved; they have literally sat at the feet of the master. Mary Landrieu was out canvassing with her father from the age of five. And though none are walking in maternal footsteps, to the extent that these are political families, one might say they imbibed it with their mother’s milk. But there are only so many isolated incidences one can refer to before it is necessary to start understanding things in terms of a pattern.

Former US President Bill Clinton and US Senator Mary Landrieu in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

And that pattern that runs counter to the dominant American mythology of meritocracy, class fluidity and personal reinvention embedded in the sweet spot of the American dream: the notion that anyone can make it if they try hard and fly right, regardless of their upbringing. This view still holds some currency. A recent Pew poll of 10 advanced economies that asked what people is thought the key to getting ahead in life, Americans were by far the most likely to cite hard work and the second most likely to say having a good education.

The electoral reality, however, suggests a narrow plutocracy in which the privilege of birth outranks ideology, charisma or achievement. And if the trend contradicts the nation’s founding credo it nonetheless confirms its current trajectory in which stagnant wages, increasing college tuition fees and growing inequality is leading many Americans to doubt the nation’s meritocratic credentials.

“In spite of the enduring belief that Americans enjoy greater social mobility than their European counterparts,” argues Joseph Stiglitz in The Price of Inequality, “America is no longer the land of opportunity.” Americans clearly sense this. The same Pew poll illustrates how people’s lived experience has begun to erode the myth, with Americans being the most likely to say that “belonging to a wealthy family” and “knowing the right people” were the most important attributes to getting ahead in life. In another poll 69% of Americans said they agreed with Barbara Bush’s comments.

When the cost of running an election keeps going up, having well connected parents who have wealthy funders and lobbyists on their speed dial becomes crucial. ‘Twas ever thus.

While running for Congress in West Texas in 1978, a young George W Bush attended a training school for Republican candidates. In a class on fundraising he was struck by inspiration. “I’ve got the greatest idea of how to raise money for the campaign,” he told David Dreier, now a California congressman. “Have your mother send a letter to your family’s Christmas card list! I just did, and I got $350,000.”

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Modern Idaho Home With Teton Views

Modern Idaho Home With Teton Views

A house on a barley farm in Squirrel, Idaho stands apart. With a rammed-earth wall, reclaimed materials and lots of glass, it was inspired by the landscape and farm setting, but is far from traditional.

 
Jerry Seib: WHY VOTER ENTHUSIASM IS MAKING DEMOCRATS UNEASY

Jerry Seib: WHY VOTER ENTHUSIASM IS MAKING DEMOCRATS UNEASY
  • As the 2014 midterm election cycle reaches the last stretch, Washington Bureau Chief Jerry Seib explains why voter enthusiasm is making Democrats nervous.

 
Amazon Spends and Grows, but Still Wants for Money

Amazon Spends and Grows, but Still Wants for Money

It happened many weeks ago, but salesmen at a suburban AT&T store here still vividly recall the customer who bought an Amazon Fire phone.

They remember her because they haven’t sold another Fire since.

Professional reviews of the phone were mixed, but the ultimate arbiters — consumers — decisively rejected it. At many companies, such an expensive and high-profile stumble would prompt endless analysis, a deflated stock and perhaps even questions about whether management was up to the task.

But Amazon is not like other companies.

Amazon’s shares have not suffered much, if at all, from the Fire’s failure. Nor is the phone likely to dominate analysts’ questions when Amazon releases its third-quarter earnings Thursday afternoon.

The phone is in the past, and Amazon is above all a story about the future, about the glorious moment when the e-commerce giant will sell everything, whether electronic or digital, to everybody. And so the focus in the earnings report will be on Amazon’s huge investments in trying to make that moment come true.

In this scenario, Amazon will commission TV series and beam them to you to watch on Amazon devices, as you nibble on popcorn delivered by Amazon drones while choosing your next vacation from the Amazon ad network.

Building an Amazon-centric world takes money, lots of it. The company announced over the summer that it would invest $2 billion in India’s fledging e-commerce market. And it paid $1 billion in cash for Twitch, a game-streaming site that did not exist three years ago.

Even with Amazon likely to hit $100 billion a year in revenue in 2015, it is not throwing off all the cash it needs. Last month the company revealed it had taken out a $2 billion line of credit with Bank of America for “working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions and other corporate purposes.”

Meanwhile, losses are mounting. Three months ago, analysts thought the company would lose 7 cents a share in the third quarter. Then, after Amazon ratcheted down expectations, the estimated loss swelled tenfold, to 74 cents.

It is getting to be a familiar story. The last time Amazon made a profit in the third quarter was in 2011.

Other media companies look at Amazon with a certain wonderment. “My report card is based on profits,” the CBS chief Les Moonves said at a conference last summer. “I think Jeff Bezos has a much easier way of life than I do.”

 
Obama's plans to order 34 MILLION green cards for illegal immigration 'amnesty'

Obama's plans to order 34 MILLION green cards for illegal immigration 'amnesty'

Along with its solicitation for blank green cards and work permits, USCIS published images showing what the finished cards will look like

Congress reacts to orders for millions of new blank work permits and 'green cards' - which authorize illegal immigrants to live and work in the United States.

Members of Congress on the political right are seething over the Obama administration's apparent plan to turn as many as 34 million illegal immigrants into legal U.S. residents, with one lawmaker claiming the president is engaged in 'covert actions to prepare for tens of millions of amnesty cases.'

Rep. Lou Barletta, a Pennsylvania Republican,said Thursday that recent reports of a government program to mass-purchase blank 'green cards' and work permits are 'proof that the groundwork is already being laid to grant amnesty post-election to millions upon millions of people who have broken our laws to enter this country.'

'The administration already has exceeded its authority to manipulate our immigration laws, and it is jarring to see the sheer scale of his future plans to do more,' he said.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a draft proposal this month, seeking a vendor to produce the paperwork that authorizes illegal immigrants to live and work in the United States. The White House is preparing to issue an immigration-related executive order after the Nov. 4 midterm elections.

'#Not1More': An immigration activist heckled President Barack Obama on Sunday as he spoke during a campaign event for Democratic Maryland gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown

'This revelation provides startling confirmation of the crisis facing our Republic,' Senate Budget Committee Chairman Jeff Sessions said in a statement. 

The Alabama Republican accused Obama of 'preparing to issue work authorization and "legal" status to millions of individuals illegally present in the country, in violation of plain statute,' in a bid to 'nullify the immigration laws of the United States and its sovereign people.'

Barletta, the Pennsylvanian, added that U.S. immigration law serves two purposes: 'to protect the safety of Americans, and to protect American jobs. The president’s covert actions to prepare for tens of millions of amnesty cases undermine both of those principles.' 

USCIS spokesman Christopher Bentley told the Associated Press that the proposal was a routine contract offer. 'Solicitations of this nature are frequent practice,' he said, claiming the number of immigration applications can rise 'for any number of any reasons.' 

 
Economic anxiety dominates 2014

Economic anxiety dominates 2014

By BEN WHITE

Alhambra residents vote on Election Day at the Alhambra Fire Station #71 in Alhambra, Los Angeles County. | Getty

If Democrat Michelle Nunn is going to defy the odds and win a Senate race in the deep South it’s going to be because of people like Elizabeth Grubbs, a 30-year-old Waffle House waitress and student who feels stuck and anxious in the troubled American economy.

Grubbs says she is inclined to vote for Republican nominee David Perdue. But Nunn’s relentless attacks on Perdue’s record of outsourcing as a corporate executive clearly hit home. “Republicans are supposed to be the party of American business and the economy and all that, but he’s moving jobs overseas. It isn’t right,” Grubbs said this week while nursing a coffee at a sidewalk cafe in this faded Southern city.

So will she vote for Nunn? “I don’t know. Won’t she just be an Obama clone?” Grubbs said, mimicking the barrage of Perdue ads making just that claim. “And I don’t want to hear anything about how the economy is getting oh so much better under this president because it isn’t. It’s still crap.”

That sentiment — a raw anxiety about the state of the economy and President Barack Obama’s leadership — courses beneath the entirety of the 2014 midterm elections in ways that clearly tilt the landscape in favor of the GOP picking up the six seats they need to retake the Senate while adding a handful of House seats. But the fault lines run much deeper than one relatively desultory midterm election campaign and present risks and opportunities to both parties that will shape politics in 2016 and beyond.

In over a dozen interviews in Georgia and neighboring North Carolina, where incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan is struggling to hang onto her seat, undecided voters spoke of their disgust with Washington gridlock and their frustration over stagnant wages, limited job prospects and general dismay over the direction of the country.

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The Bizarre Tale of Ben Bradlee, JFK, and the Master Spy

The Bizarre Tale of Ben Bradlee, JFK, and the Master Spy

When the editor’s gorgeous sister-in-law was killed, Bradlee rushed to find her diary. But why was James Jesus Angleton looking for it too?

On October 12, 1964, Mary Pinchot Meyer, the glamorous sister-in-law of Ben Bradlee and sometime lover of Jack Kennedy, was shot to death while walking along the C & O Canal in Georgetown. And in the hours that followed, the search for Meyer’s scandalous diary would find the future Washington Post editor in a race with one of the Cold War’s most legendary spies.

Bradlee, who died Tuesday at age 93, is rightly lionized as a master journalist. But he was also a key figure in a Washington establishment that arguably no longer exists—the kind of guy who advised presidents even as he reported on them, and counted some of the CIA’s top officers as personal friends.

The day Meyer died, these roles converged. After Bradlee had returned home from identifying Meyer’s body at the city morgue, he and his wife Tony received a call from the Tokyo-based artist and sculptor Anne Truitt. “She had been perhaps Mary’s closest friend,” Bradlee recounts in his memoir, A Good Life, “and after she and Tony had grieved together, she told us that Mary had asked her to take possession of a private diary ‘if anything ever happened to me.’ Anne asked if we had found any such diary, and we told her we hadn’t looked for anything, much less a diary.”

Bradlee and his wife began their search the next morning, only to find that someone else had been tipped off about the diary’s existence. Meyer’s door had been locked, but when Bradlee made his way in, he found James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s counterintelligence chief, standing there in the living room. He, too, was looking for Meyer’s diary.

Asked how he had gotten into the house, Angleton, who was among other things an expert at picking locks, “shuffled his feet.” Angleton was a Washington social figure in his own right, and his wife Cecily had been close with Mary, who had been married to another high-ranking CIA officer. “We felt his presence was odd, to say the least, but took him at his word, and with him we searched Mary’s house thoroughly,” Bradlee wrote. After an exhaustive search, however, no diary was found.

Angleton is one of those people who will always be shrouded in mystery. To his detractors, he was a half-mad paranoiac who nearly destroyed the CIA in his obsessive search for a Soviet mole. He was also an unquestionably brilliant “master of the game” with highbrow literary interests—borrowing a line from T.S. Elliot, he memorably referred to the world of espionage as a “wilderness of mirrors.” He essentially invented the CIA’s counterintelligence operation and, until his fall from grace nearly a decade after Meyer was killed, was perhaps the most powerful man at the Agency.

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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.

 
Renée Zellweger's new look due to 'happy, healthy lifestyle', not surgery.

Renee Zellweger on 20 October, 2014.

Renée Zellweger's new look due to 'happy, healthy lifestyle', not surgery.

Xan Brooks

The Oscar-winning actor has responded to online speculation that she’s had cosmetic surgery by ascribing her changed looks to an increased feeling of peace.

The Oscar-winning actor Renee Zellweger has brushed aside media reports that she has undergone plastic surgery, suggesting that the claims are “silly” and a “nefarious truth which doesn’t exist.” Instead, the Bridget Jones star attributes her new look to a “happy, healthy” lifestyle.

“I’m glad folks think I look different,” Zellweger told People magazine. “I’m living a different, happy, more fulfilling life and I’m thrilled that perhaps it shows.” She added: “My friends say I look peaceful. I am healthy.”

Zellweger in Bridget Jones 2: The Edge of Reason (2004).

Zellweger sparked a flurry of media speculation with her appearance at Elle magazine’s Women in Hollywood awards earlier this week. “This is not Botox or even surgery,” joked the writer Viv Groskop on Twitter. “It’s a MISSING PERSON ENQUIRY.”

 
Immigration official is mother of Canadian gunman

Gunman: Michael Zehaf-Bibeau (allegedly pictured above) has been named as the Muslim convert who shot dead Corporal Nathan Cirillo and opened fire on the Canadian Parliament

Immigration official is mother of Canadian gunman

By Lydia Warren and James Nye for MailOnline and Chris Spargo

  • Quebec-born Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, recently converted to Islam and had dreams of heading to the Middle East
  • He had his passport seized after being designated a 'high-risk traveler' - despite his mother, Susan Bibeau, being on Canada's immigration board
  • The mother of the Muslim convert who shot dead a Canadian solider outside Parliament on Wednesday has said she is crying for the victims, rather than for her son. In a brief and tear-filled telephone call on Thursday, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau's mother Susan Bibeau told the Associated Press she did not know what to say to those hurt in the attack.

    'Can you ever explain something like this?' she said. 'We are sorry.' 

    Mother: Zehaf-Bibeau's mother Susan, who works for the Immigration and Refuge Board of Canada

    Susan Bibeau, whose son had his passport seized after he was designated a 'high-risk traveler', works as a federal public servant for the Immigrant & Refugee board and lives in Montreal. On Wednesday, her son gunned down 24-year-old single dad Nathan Cirillo as he stood guard by the National War Memorial in Ottawa, before running inside the Parliament and opening fire. 

    Born in Quebec as Michael Joseph Hall to his federal employee mother and a Libyan businessman father and raised just north of Montreal, the young man lived a quiet childhood of private schools and suburban homes.

    Then, after years of run-ins with the law, he converted to Islam. 

    A criminal court database shows 13 identified Quebec court records dating back to June 2001 in Montreal involving Zehaf-Bibeau.

    He was charged in February 2004 for possession of marijuana and possession of PCP. He pleaded guilty to both charges in December 2004, serving one day in prison for marijuana possession and 60 days for PCP possession.

    He also spent a day in jail in March of 2004 for a parole violation and was again convicted of marijuana possession in 2009.

     
    Did Picasso Try to Steal the Mona Lisa?

    The Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in August 1911. How did one of the best-known painters of all time become a prime suspect?

    Did Picasso Try to Steal the Mona Lisa?

    By Nick Mafi

    On August 21, 1911—a humid Monday morning—in Paris, France, a man walked out of the Louvre with a large, 18-pound object consisting of a mischievous smile painted on three slabs of wood, protruding from his jacket. The thief had just made off with the Mona Lisa. Earlier that weekend, the man patiently waited, even sleeping in an art-supply closet of the museum before entering the Salon Carré wing where the painting was on display.

    Knowing the museum was closed to the public on Mondays, the would-be thief waited until no staffers were within the vicinity, allowing the opportunity to finally take the famous painting off the four hooks on which it rested. Within days, from London to São Paulo to New York City, newspapers began running headlines about da Vinci’s missing masterpiece.

    Almost immediately, the Paris-Journal began advertising 50,000 francs for the Mona Lisa’s return, no questions asked, according to John Richardson’s A Life of Picasso. Among the lead suspects, it would emerge, was Pablo Picasso, one of the world’s most famous painters.

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

    After Picasso moved to Paris in 1900, he surrounded himself with fellow bohemian artists and poets such as Guillaume Apollinaire and Max Jacobs. They called themselves La Banda Picasso, and together the group would push the boundaries not only of traditional art or stylistic experimentation, but of contemporary culture as well.

    In 1907, Picasso was courting his first great love, Fernande Olivier. In a journal entry, quoted in Norman Mailer’s Portrait of Picasso as a Young Man, Fernande explains both the hardships facing the beatnik artists of Montmartre as well as the strong bond of friendship within La Banda Picasso, friendships that would eventually be severed within the next five years. “It’s now six months that I’ve been living here with Pablo. When I arrived, it was very hot in the studio. At present, it’s fearfully cold. I stay in bed, covered up, to avoid being frozen by the cold. There’s no coal, no fire, no money…Max Jacob and Apollinaire come each day. Picasso and Guillaume can laugh through an entire night of suggestions, inventions, songs, games that Max plays with his face. The studio rings with our laughter. Foolishness takes us over and, like children, we encourage each other, mutually, to see who can become the most absurd.”

    Around the time La Banda Picasso was roaming the streets of Montmartre in search of creative inspiration, the Louvre put on display their primitive Iberian sculptures from the 4th or 3rd century BC. Picasso was drawn to these figures for many reasons, not least of all that they originated and were molded from the sacred fires of prehistoric Spain.

    To his close friends, Picasso did not hide his admiration for the Iberian sculptures. One of those who knew of Picasso’s fondness for the art was Géry Pieret. Pieret, a corrupt man from Belgium, was an ancillary member of La Banda Picasso, serving as Apollinaire’s secretary.

     After hearing of Picasso’s affinity for the most recent additions to the museum, Pieret visited the Louvre in March of 1907. Within two days, he had stolen as many Iberian sculptures, eventually presenting them to Picasso as a gift. In turn, the grateful Spanish artist paid the Belgian thief a sum of 50 francs apiece, according to Richardson’s A Life of Picasso.

    Read Article

     
    From a Rwandan Dump to Harvard’s Halls

    Justus Uwayesu, rescued at 9 from the streets of Rwanda, is enrolled as a freshman at Harvard.

    Credit Ian Thomas Jansen-Lonnquist for The New York Times

    From a Rwandan Dump to Harvard’s Halls

    By MICHAEL WINES

    Nine years old and orphaned by genocide, Justus Uwayesu was living in a burned-out car in Rwanda when an encounter with a charity worker led him to Harvard University.

    Nine years old and orphaned by ethnic genocide, he was living in a burned-out car in a Rwandan garbage dump where he scavenged for food and clothes. Daytimes, he was a street beggar. He had not bathed in more than a year.

    When an American charity worker, Clare Effiong, visited the dump one Sunday, other children scattered. Filthy and hungry, Justus Uwayesu stayed put, and she asked him why.

    “I want to go to school,” he replied.

    Well, he got his wish.

    This autumn, Mr. Uwayesu enrolled as a freshman at Harvard University on a full-scholarship, studying math, economics and human rights, and aiming for an advanced science degree. Now about 22 — his birthday is unknown — he could be, in jeans, a sweater and sneakers, just another of the 1,667 first-year students here.

    But of course, he is not. He is an example of the potential buried even in humanity’s most hopeless haunts, and a sobering reminder of how seldom it is mined.

     
    Axe: Obama 'negligent' on symbolism

    Axe: Obama 'negligent' on symbolism

    By JONATHAN TOPAZ

    David Axelrod is pictured. | AP Photo

    Former senior White House adviser David Axelrod in a Thursday report said President Barack Obama is sometimes “negligent” in the more symbolic elements of the presidency.

    The longtime Obama ally, in a Bloomberg Businessweek story about the president’s crisis management leadership style, said Obama doesn’t always embrace the more theatrical parts of being president.

    “There’s no doubt that there’s a theatrical nature to the presidency that he resists,” Axelrod said. “Sometimes he can be negligent in the symbolism.”

    His comments echo a familiar Beltway criticism of the president, who has received both praise and flak for his calm demeanor and deliberate response in the face of crisis.

    Axelrod still largely defended Obama against criticism of his leadership style, arguing that the White House had an effective response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and praising his authorization of the 2011 mission to kill Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

    Earlier this month, Axelrod also questioned the president for throwing himself into the midterm elections, saying it was a “mistake” for Obama to say that the policies he supports will be on the ballot in November. Republicans have seized on that line during the midterm election campaign to tie congressional Democratic candidates to an unpopular president.

    “I wouldn’t put that line there,” Axelrod said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

     
    Canadian Leader Says Capital Shootings Terror-Related

    Canadian Leader Says Capital Shootings Terror-Related.

    A gunman fatally shot a Canadian soldier before being killed in a shootout in the Canadian Parliament building.

     
    Newspaper Ad Revenue Fell $40 Billion in a Decade

    Newspaper Ad Revenue Fell $40 Billion in a Decade

    Bourree Lam

    A new report fills in the details on a now familiar story: Printed news just isn't the business it used to be.

    The fact of the decline of the newspaper business is not news. But a recent essay from the Brookings Institution contains some specific numbers that make clear just how bad things have gotten: In just more than a decade, from 2000 to 2013, advertising revenue for America's newspaper fell from $63.5 billion to $23 billion.

    The report's author, Washington Post veteran Robert Kaiser, says that the advertising money pie is being chipped away by Google and Facebook, who are able to sort and target audiences in a way newspapers can't. He also predicts that ad revenue will plummet further, as advertisers are partly contributing to print out of habit. Add Craigslist, which has largely replaced once-lucrative classified ads, to that equation for even less revenue for the papers.

    2013 was the second year that Google crossed the $50 billion line in annual revenue, with advertising driving most of those earnings. Dollars spent on mobile advertising is forecasted to swell to nearly $18 billion this year, driven by Facebook and Google.

    In the face of dwindling profits, the industry is shrinking. There's the recent news of plans to cut 100 jobs at The New York Times newsroom. The number of newspaper employees in America has gone from 59,000 in 1989 to 36,000 in 2012. And according to the Newspaper Association of America, the number of daily newspapers has gone from more than 1,800 in 1940 to 1,382 in 2011.

    Read Article

     
    How Big Is the Canadian Terrorists’ Network?

    top-box

    How Big Is the Canadian Terrorists’ Network?

     

    Canadian officials were quick to finger ISIS in this week’s attacks on government targets. But it’s still not clear whether or not the killers were part of a larger jihadist web.

    Terrorists have twice attacked Canadian government targets this week, with a shooting Wednesday at the country’s parliament in Ottawa. Now Canadian and American authorities are trying to learn whether the killers acted alone or were part of a larger extremist network.

    The mayhem caused by alleged Ottawa shooter Michael Zehaf-Bibeau occurred just two days after another man, Martin Rouleau-Couture, struck two Canadian soldiers with a car in Quebec—killing one and wounding another.

    Full details on Zehaf-Bibeau are still emerging. But he appears to have been a 32-year-old native of Quebec with a history of legal troubles that predate his radicalization. Canadian journalist Domenic Fazioli reported that Zehaf-Bibeau had been arrested a total of five times for drug possession and parole violations.

    Former Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day, who once oversaw Canadian security agencies in cabinet as a member of the ruling Conservative government, said he had independent information that suggested the two suspects visited the same jihadist web forums.

    “It is likely there is a digital trail that suggests they accessed some of the same Internet chat rooms and websites,” he told The Daily Beast. “It appears the [Parliament Hill shooter] was using some of the same networks as the killer [from earlier this week], who killed an army officer… And it was interesting that ISIS apparently, or a source identifying themselves as ISIS, had a photo out of this guy in pretty short order.”

     
    The GOP's 2016 tech deficit

    Reporters use laptop computers, iPads and ink and paper. | Getty

    The GOP's 2016 tech deficit

    By DARREN SAMUELSOHN

    Here’s an early reality check for Republican White House hopefuls: The party doesn’t have enough tech experts to staff up a wide-open primary campaign.

    What the aspiring GOP candidates will need to mount a modern-day tech race are campaign veterans with a wide range of seasoned digital skill sets — for fighting TV admen over budgets, writing fundraising email copy that doesn’t go straight to the trash bin and in using data the right way to find potential donors and voters.

    But that kind of tech savvy doesn’t just get made in a Harvard dorm room. It comes from live-fire experience in the latest election cycles.

    So while Democrats contemplate a small field where much of President Barack Obama’s vaunted campaign tech capacity transfers to Hillary Clinton, the GOP is facing a different dilemma. The tech experts it does have are likely to be scattered into a dozen or more campaigns.

     
    The Best Time to Buy an Airline Ticket

    The Best Time to Buy an Airline Ticket

    New data shows exactly what the best day to buy an airline ticket is. WSJ's Scott McCartney reveals the details on Lunch Break with Tanya Rivero.

     
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