Sunday, June 15, 2014

GOP Lawmakers Call for Airstrikes on Iraq to Counter ISIS Threat

GOP Lawmakers Call for Airstrikes on Iraq to Counter ISIS Threat

GOP Lawmakers Call for Airstrikes on Iraq to Counter ISIS Threat

Posted: 15 Jun 2014 10:27 AM PDT

Republican lawmakers called Sunday for U.S. airstrikes in Iraq to counter this week’s insurgent offensive led by a militant Islamic group once allied with Al Qaeda.

The extremist Sunni Muslim group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, otherwise known as ISIS, captured two major cities in Iraq last week and is heading toward Baghdad. On Sunday, militants posted pictures on social media it claimed showed a massacre of thousands of captured Iraqi soldiers.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R—S.C.) said on CNN’s State of the Union that he supports the use of airstrikes to stop the group’s expansion and that Syria and Iraq will become “the staging area for the next 9/11″ if action isn’t taken.

"If Baghdad falls, if the central government falls, a disaster awaits us of monumental proportions,” he said.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) sided with Graham, calling the rise of ISIS the “worst-case scenario” for the U.S. He also said airstrikes were necessary to halt the insurgents’ activity during his State of the Union appearance, as a first step.

“I don’t think [airstrikes are] necessarily the panacea.” Kinzinger said. "The U.S. military is not some weak animal…and we have got to go in there. Work on a political solution with Iraq and push back this very evil organization, ISIS, and give some breathing space to the Iraqi government to do what it needs to do.”

President Obama has not ruled out airstrikes in Iraq, saying Friday he is still weighing "selective actions" by the American military but stating firmly that no U.S. troops would be sent to intervene. But Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D—Hawaii) said airstrikes would not be a good idea, appearing on the same program that morning.

“We do have the fiercest, strongest military in the world,” she said. “We also have the responsibility to very careful about how and where we use that military force. It is not in our U.S. interest to go and involve ourselves in the middle of what is a religious civil war.”

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said on NBC’s Meet the Press that the expansion of ISIS creates a breeding ground for terrorists that poses threats not just to the U.S., but to other countries in the region.

“Clearly, if they can get this sanctuary in the northeast, in Syria, in Iraq, it makes this, in effect, a privileged sanctuary to attack the United States,” he said. “[That's] apart from the destabilization they can do throughout the Middle East, especially throughout the countries Jordan and Israel.”

Champion Swimmer Amy Van Dyken-Rouen out of ICU

Posted: 15 Jun 2014 10:24 AM PDT

(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) — Olympic champion swimmer Amy Van Dyke-Rouen has been moved from intensive care to a regular hospital room, nine days after severing her spinal cord in an all-terrain vehicle accident.

Hospital spokeswoman Jamie Grimm says the six-time gold medalist was in good condition and moved from the ICU on Sunday morning.

Van Dyken-Rouen was injured June 6 when the ATV she was driving hit a curb and hurtled off a drop-off near Show Low. The accident left her paralyzed, though her family says it’s unclear if she will remain that way.

The 41-year-old swimmer plans to do her rehabilitation at a Denver-area hospital.

She won four gold medals at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and two more in Sydney before retiring.

Casey Kasem: A Life In Pictures

Posted: 15 Jun 2014 09:19 AM PDT

Here’s Casey Kasem As Shaggy from Scooby Doo

Posted: 15 Jun 2014 09:05 AM PDT

Radio personality Casey Kasem, who died at the age of 82 on Sunday, was known to a generation of children as the voice of crime-solving teenager Shaggy from the TV cartoon Scooby Doo.

In the video above, Kasem appears in a Jerry Lewis telethon in the 1980s to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

“There’s a character that I play on that show, the sidekick of Scooby Doo, for the past 17 or 18 years, and his name is Shaggy,” Kasem tells the audience. “And Shaggy would like to say a few words to the young people out there, alright?”

In addition to his TV role, Kasem was the host of American Top 40 for 24 years.

Eric Cantor Has ‘No Regrets’ After Stunning Loss

Posted: 15 Jun 2014 08:54 AM PDT

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said he has “no regrets” after his surprise loss in a congressional Republican primary last Tuesday.

"We don’t always know right here and now why," he said during a Sunday appearance on CNN‘s State of the Union. "And I think the perspective of time will actually indicate [how] something that may have seemed really bad at the time can turn out to be really good."

Cantor said he didn’t think there was one issue that led to his unexpected defeat by little-known Dave Brat, and he declined to say how internal polls that had him up 34 points ahead of the vote could have been so wrong.

"To me, you know, the problems that people are facing in this country are a lot greater than any kind of setback – political setback, personal setbacks I’ve got," he said.

During another Sunday appearance on ABC’s This Week, Cantor said that although he was considering all his options and wouldn’t rule out running for office again, there was one job he wasn’t interested in.

"I don't think that I want to be a lobbyist, but I do want to play a role in the public debate," he said, Politico reports.

6 Dead in House Fire in New Jersey’s Biggest City

Posted: 15 Jun 2014 08:31 AM PDT

(NEWARK, N.J.) — Authorities say six people have been killed in a fast-moving fire that roared through a single-family home in New Jersey’s largest city.

The Essex County prosecutor’s office says the blaze broke out at around 4 a.m. Sunday in Newark. The fire soon spread to another residence, and both homes were destroyed.

Prosecutors say the cause of the fire remains is investigation.

Authorities say it appears some of the victims are related.

Casey Kasem Dies at 82

Posted: 15 Jun 2014 08:21 AM PDT

Casey Kasem died Sunday at the age of 82, according to a Facebook post written by daughter Kerri Kasem.

“Early this Father's Day morning, our dad Casey Kasem passed away surrounded by family and friends,” read the statement on behalf of the family. “Even though we know he is in a better place and no longer suffering, we are heartbroken. Thank you for all your love, support and prayers. The world will miss Casey Kasem, an incredible talent and humanitarian; we will miss our Dad.”

The iconic radio personality had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease. His family was divided about his end-of-life care — last week a judge authorized Kerri to withhold food and fluids after an attorney argued that such assistance would cause him more pain. His wife of 34 years, Jean Kasem, disputed the decision.

Kasem hosted American Top 40 for 24 years, from 1970 to 1988 and again from 1998 to 2004. He was also an accomplished voice actor, first providing the voice of Shaggy in the Scooby-Doo cartoons in 1969. After leaving the cartoon in 1995 because of a related Burger King commercial, he returned to voice Shaggy in 2002 after it was announced that the the character would be a vegetarian.

Read more about Kasem’s life at

5 Real-Life Women Who Inspired Game of Thrones Characters

Posted: 15 Jun 2014 08:00 AM PDT

The best fantasy has a grain of truth to it, and Game of Thrones is no exception. George R.R. Martin has repeatedly said that parts of the series were loosely inspired by the English War of the Roses in the 15th century, but that’s the farthest he’ll go in linking anything in his imaginary Seven Kingdoms to real-life history.

But we noticed that some of the characters have a lot in common with some actual historical figures, especially the women. Here are 5 Game of Thrones characters that have an uncanny resemblance to women who actually lived.

(Please note that any comparisons here are made with the first four seasons of the HBO show, not the books)

1) Margaret of Anjou / Cersei Lannister

HBO; Getty Images
From left: Cersei and Margaret of Anjou

Cersei Lannister and Margaret of Anjou probably would have been total frenemies. Both were young girls married off to create a political alliance: Cersei’s marriage to Robert Baratheon united House Lannister and House Baratheon, while Margaret’s marriage to Henry VI made peace between England and France. Both ruled when their husbands couldn’t: Cersei ruled behind the scenes in King’s Landing while Robert was out hunting and sleeping with other women, and Margaret ruled England when Henry VI went nuts. Both battled rumors about the legitimacy of their children: many speculated (rightly) that Cersei’s children were Jamie’s, and others spread rumors that Margaret’s son Edward wasn’t her husband’s (because Henry was insane around the time of Edward’s conception.) Both had violent sons (Joffrey is a noted sadist, and Edward was said to “talk of nothing but cutting off heads and making war,”) and both lost their sons in horrible ways: Cersei’s son Joffrey was poisoned at the Purple Wedding, and Margaret’s son was killed at the Battle of Tewkesbury (possibly even beheaded.)

The eeriest similarity? Cersei is a Lannister, Margaret was a Lancaster.

2) Anne Boleyn/Talisa Stark

From left: Talisa Stark and Anne Boleyn. Helen Sloan—HBO; Getty Images

Master home-wreckers Talisa Stark and Anne Boleyn broke up marriages that broke up empires. Robb Stark was supposed to marry one of Walder Frey’s daughters in exchange for his loyalty, but broke his promise to marry Talisa for love, which led to the murders of Robb, Talisa, and Lady Catelyn Stark at the Red Wedding. Anne Boleyn seduced Henry VIII while he was still married to Catherine of Aragon, so he declared England independent from the Catholic Church in order to get his marriage annulled. The fights over whether England was Catholic or Protestant led to centuries of bloodshed.

3) Queen Mary / Melisandre

From Left: Melisandre and Bloody Mary Helen Sloan—HBO; Getty Images

Melisandre is super hot and Queen Mary I was super not, but they both love burning people who disagree with their religion. In Season 4, Melisandre burned three members of Stannis’s household for refusing to destroy their idols of gods other than the Lord of Light. In the 1550s, “Bloody Mary” burned hundreds of English Protestants for not converting to Catholicism. They also would have made great birth partners; Melisandre gave birth to a creepy murderous shadow-demon, while Bloody Mary famously had a false pregnancy that one Venetian ambassador said was more likely to “end in wind than anything else.”

4) Queen Elizabeth I / Daenerys Targaryen

From Left: Khaleesi and Queen Elizabeth I. HBO; Getty Images

Daenerys Targaryen and Queen Elizabeth I were both well-armed, power-hungry single ladies. Daenerys was once married to Khal Drogo, but after his death became a decidedly single ruler. Queen Elizabeth was known as the “Virgin Queen,” but was almost certainly not a virgin. Both were extremely well-armed (with dragons and a Navy, respectively) and both decided not to marry in order to preserve and expand their power: Daenerys wants to re-take the Iron Throne, Elizabeth wanted to expand English influence (and the first English colony in America, Virginia, was named for the Virgin Queen.) And both had to punish a close advisor who betrayed them: Daenerys banished Jorah Mormont after she found he had originally been spying on her, and Elizabeth executed her close advisor Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, after he tried to stage a rebellion.

5) Joan of Arc / Brienne of Tarth

From left: Brienne of Tarth and Joan of Arc. HBO; DeAgostini—Getty Images

Brienne of Tarth and Joan of Arc share substance and style: they’re both obsessively loyal, and they both know how to rock a suit of armor. Brienne swore her sword first to Renly Baratheon, then to Catelyn Stark, and finally to Jamie Lannister– she’s so devoted, she even named her sword “Oathkeeper.” Joan of Arc was “called by angels” to dedicate her life to the Dauphin, the uncrowned Charles VII of France, and eventually helped him win the Siege of Orleans before the British burned her at the stake for heresy. Both wore armor, and both had bad tempers.

But it’s not just the Game of Thrones women who might have been inspired by real historical figures.

1) Joffrey / Caligula

From left: Joffrey and Caligula. HBO; De Agostini—Getty Images

King Joffrey resembles Roman Emperor Caligula so much, they even have the same haircut. Both boy-kings loved watching pain and torture, and both staged elaborate spectacles while their people starved. Both had unusually ambitious mothers: Cersei understands the “game of thrones” better than most, while Caligula’s mother Agrippa the Elder fought to have him inherit the throne. And both were assassinated young for being such evil brats.

2) Robert Baratheon / Henry VIII

Portrait of Henry VIII. By Hans Holbein Date c. 1540. Henry VIII (28 June 1491 - 28 January 1547) was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was also Lord of Ireland (later King of Ireland) and claimant to the Kingdom of France.
From left: Henry VIII and Robert Baratheon. HBO; Getty Images

Both Robert Baratheon and Henry VIII both loved hunting and cheating on their wives (see: Anne Boleyn.) But isn’t the physical resemblance enough on this one?




Sonia Sotomayor Ran into Hillary Clinton While Shopping at Costco

Posted: 15 Jun 2014 07:48 AM PDT

Costco is apparently the new place to be to rub elbows with the nation’s political elite.

While browsing at the members-only retailer in Arlington, Va., on Saturday, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor stumbled upon former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was appearing at a book-signing event to promote her new memoir, Hard Choices.

Sotomayor, who said she was “just shopping,” promised Clinton that she would read the new book, to which Clinton said, “You better! I read yours!” according to tweets from observers.

Government leaders, they’re just like us — they buy in bulk.

Chelsea Manning Breaks Her Silence

Posted: 15 Jun 2014 07:23 AM PDT

Chelsea Manning, the former military intelligence analyst who is serving a 35-year prison sentence for leaking classified information in 2010, has broken her silence to rail against a lack of military transparency in a New York Times editorial.

In the article, Manning calls for a new government body to oversee embedded journalists’ press credentials and for a quicker declassification of the military’s Significant Activity Reports, which detail the facts of attacks and casualties and could aid reporters’ coverage of the conflict.

“I believe that the current limits on press freedom and excessive government secrecy make it impossible for Americans to grasp fully what is happening in the wars we finance,” Manning writes.

The soldier formerly known as Bradley Manning was arrested in 2010 on several charges, including aiding the enemy, after leaking reams of intelligence to Wikileaks earlier that year. The day after she was sentenced to 35 years in prison, Manning — whom many consider a traitor to her country — came out as a transgender woman and announced she would live her life as Chelsea Manning.

Manning points to journalists’ coverage of the March 2010 elections in Iraq, which suggested “that United States military operations had succeeded” in establishing democracy, though on-the-ground reports she had access to revealed a crackdown against political dissidents in the country during that time.

Manning was also appalled by the disparity between daily media coverage of the war back home and the daily military intelligence reports she read during her time as an analyst.

“How could top-level decision makers say that the American public, or even Congress, supported the conflict when they didn't have half the story?”

She writes that the system of approving and embedding reporters is deeply flawed and makes it difficult for journalists to report the news accurately. Manning claims the military has a history of granting access to reporters it thinks will write favorable coverage. Policies in place allow for immediate termination of reporters’ access, which Manning alleges was has been used as punishment for critical coverage, like when Michael Hastings was denied access following his reporting on Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal’s critical comments on the Obama administration.

“Improving media access to this crucial aspect of our national life — where America has committed the men and women of its armed services — would be a powerful step toward re-establishing trust between voters and officials,” she writes.

[New York Times]


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