Friday, September 5, 2014

Here’s Bill Murray on the Cover of TIME

Here’s Bill Murray on the Cover of TIME

Here’s Bill Murray on the Cover of TIME

Posted: 05 Sep 2014 11:19 AM PDT

The Toronto Film Festival made news this week with the announcement that they were declaring Friday, Sept. 5, Bill Murray Day. At the film festival, that day would be marked with screenings of the legendary actor’s past films, a costume contest and the premiere of his latest movie, St. Vincent.

But “Bill Murray Day” is not the same as “Bill Murray, the Modern Actor, Day.” So here’s history’s other famous Bill Murray: William Henry “Alfalfa Bill” Murray.

As TIME described it in the Nov. 28, 1949, issue:

As a landholder and lawyer 42 years ago, ferocious, bull-voiced “Alfalfa Bill” Murray presided at the birth of the State of Oklahoma.

It was a hard birth. At the constitutional convention there were fights over county boundaries, dire threats against Alfalfa Bill. Afraid that the Republican governor of the Oklahoma territory would tamper with the new state’s constitution, Bill walked off with the original document in his pocket. To guard Murray and his papers friends formed a brigade of 5,000 citizens, dubbed themselves the Squirrel Rifles. Everyone said the brigade was a joke, but it was a joke with a point. No one fooled with Alfalfa Bill. The state was born pretty much along the lines which Bill had planned for it.

That constitutional convention, the magazine continued, cost Alfalfa Bill $4,000 out of his own pocket, secured via a mortgage on his alfalfa ranch. He never got paid back at the time, but he did serve two Congressional terms and run for governor, winning in 1930 using the slogan “The common people will never be still / till Alfalfa Murray is Governor Bill.”

On the occasion of his election in 1930, TIME noted that he “boasts of drinking his coffee from the saucer, rarely bathes, and [said] he would rent the executive mansion and live in the garage.” His nickname came from his strident advocacy of alfalfa as a hay plant suitable to Oklahoma soil, he was a member of the Chickasaw tribe by marriage and, though his personal library contained 5,000 books, he spent a whole of $500 on his successful gubernatorial campaign, during which he lived mostly on cheese and crackers. To amuse crowds while stumping, he would stand on his head. And, in 1932, when he (unsuccessfully) tried to get the Democratic nomination for President, he made the cover of TIME, with a lengthy profile inside (from which the facts above are drawn). His campaign song was called “Hoover Made a Soup Houn’ Outa Me” and his campaign slogan was “Bread, Butter, Bacon, Beans.”

Following his loss, he remained out of the public eye for years, writing books — including a 1,683-page memoir — and encouraging others to follow his early strain of doomsday-prepper mentality. In 1948, he showed up at the Dixiecrat convention — the convention of segregationist Southern states-rights Democrats —where he showed himself to be more sinister than charming, boasting that he was “the man who introduced Jim Crow in Oklahoma.”

He died in “prideful poverty” in 1956, at 86. By then it was becoming clear that no amount of headstands could bring him back to the right side of history — but, in any case, he soon ceded the Bill Murray title. That Bill Murray first showed up in the pages of TIME in a 1978 story about the Harvard Lampoon, destined to forevermore eclipse his forebear in the wacky-story department.

Read Richard Corliss’ 1993 profile of Bill Murray — the actor, not the politician — here, in TIME’s archives: Bill Murray in the Driver’s Seat

5 Unique Car Gadgets for Under $50

Posted: 05 Sep 2014 11:01 AM PDT

Coffee Cup Power Inverter ($34.99)


This doohickey looks like a cup of coffee and fits in your — you guessed it — cup holder.

Do not fill it with coffee or you will surely die. I can’t say “surely” for sure but I need to cover my bases somehow, so if we assume that you pouring liquid into a power inverter will result in death, then maybe you’ll think twice about doing so.

Anyhoo. You plug this coffee cup into your car’s cigarette lighter, plop it into your cup holder and enjoy the benefits of two AC plugs and a USB port, perfect for that cross-country high-speed getaway from Johnny Law road trip to see your half-sister in Arkansas.


Blind Spot-Eliminating Rearview Mirror ($49.95)


Your driving instructor (should have) taught you to physically turn your head to check your blind spot before changing lanes.

But your driving instructor isn’t here, and the last time I looked out my window, this was America. Don’t tell me what to do, Derek. It’s been 20 years, and I still remember that my driving instructor’s name was Derek.

This monument to American laziness lets you survey both sides of your car without moving your head a single millimeter more than you have to. It clips to your existing mirror, overpowers it with its massive girth and immediately starts dictating how things are going to work around here.


Portable Breathalyzer ($49.99)


Getting busted for drinking and driving is the worst. Take it from me: a guy who’s seen several episodes of Cops but who’s never been pulled over for drunk driving.

I reviewed the smartphone-connected version of this gadget a while back, but this portable version is cheaper and simpler to use. You’ll get 150 tests out of it before you need to replace the batteries, too. That’s a lot of booze.

Keep it in your car and fire it up to make sure it’s safe to drive home after book club. We all know that none of you talked about the book, and the only reading going on was to figure out whether you were drinking Chillable Red or Sunset Blush.


Cup Holder Speakerphone ($44.95)

Hammacher Schlemmer

This is the second cup holder-based gadget on this list, and I won’t apologize for it. Know why? You have multiple cup holders.

This speakerphone will allow you to make hands-free calls from your 1990 Tercel just like all your fancy-pants friends with their pinkies in the air driving around in their modern-day superchariots with built-in Bluetooth systems.

The product description says that this product is “ideal for use in a car or beach chair,” but if you’re sitting on the beach yelling into a speakerphone tucked into your chair’s cupholder, it might be time to make a pros and cons list about how life’s been going lately.

[Hammacher Schlemmer]

Smartphone-Connected Radar Detector ($29.99)


You would never, ever, ever drive above the speed limit, but wouldn’t it be nice to know where members of the highway patrol are hiding so you can pull over and give them some fresh coffee and pie?

Pair this inexpensive Cobra radar detector to your iPhone or Android handset to be notified of nearby bogies — it detects 14 bands and six laser types — but don’t call them bogies in person, just to be on the safe side. I’m not sure if that’s an endearing term or not. Probably not? I don’t have a ton of experience with the law (see the above entry about me not getting pulled over for drunk driving).


American Plane With Unresponsive Pilot Flies Over Cuba

Posted: 05 Sep 2014 10:59 AM PDT

An American aircraft whose pilot has been unresponsive for hours was escorted by U.S. military F-15 fighters over the south Atlantic Ocean on Friday until the aircraft entered Cuban airspace, officials said.

The fighter planes, operating under the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), broke away from the potentially troubled aircraft before it entered that country’s airspace. The F-15s returned to base for refueling while NORAD continued to track the plane as it quickly overflew Cuba while flying to the south.

Those aboard the aircraft, a SOCATA TBM-700 turboprop with tail number N900KN, may be suffering from hypoxia, NORAD said. Hypoxia can disable pilots and passengers aboard high-flying aircraft that lose cabin pressurization if they don’t engage supplemental oxygen systems before they’re rendered unconscious.

The aircraft left Rochester, New York Friday morning with a planned destination of Naples, Florida. Its last heading change was over North Carolina, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware.

It’s possible the aircraft’s crew is incapacitated from hypoxia and the plane is operating purely on pre-configured autopilot settings. When a U.S. military pilot attempts to make contact with a pilot who isn’t responding over the radio, he or she can attempt a series of hand signals or aircraft movements, such as a shaking of the wings, to establish basic communication.


ISIS Wants Me Dead: Why You May Be Next

Posted: 05 Sep 2014 10:14 AM PDT

One afternoon late last summer I had a tip-off. There was a video on YouTube, uploaded from Syria, and I was in it. A few minutes later, I watched a handful of jihadists open fire with AK-47s on posters of six prominent Danes. One was of NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen; I was another. A caption appeared: “Enemies of Islam.”

As I studied the video, I recognized one of the gunmen. He called himself Abu Khattab. He had joined a radical Islamist group in Syria, but I knew him from the streets of Copenhagen. He was one of dozens of young Danish Muslims who had gone to fight in Syria, and who had joined the al Qaeda affiliate al Nusra or the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS), now in control of huge areas of both Syria and Iraq.

Another clip posted by the same group featured Shiraz Tariq, a Pakistani extremist with whom I had gone paintballing a decade previously in the Danish city of Odense. In those days we had similar views. We believed in jihad against the West; we were Salafis who dreamt of turning places like Yemen and Somalia into Islamic states. We revered Osama bin Laden and sought to justify 9/11.

My fundamentalist interpretation of Islam—the intolerance it bred, the contempt for anyone who did not share what I believed to be the orthodox Islamic point of view—collapsed late in 2006. I simply could not justify the targeting of civilians and was troubled by what I saw as contradictions in Islam that no silver-tongued cleric could explain. My crisis of faith led me to work for no fewer than four Western intelligence agencies—against the very people with whom I had prayed and discussed the Koran.

But Abu Khattab, Shiraz Tariq and many others I had met during my radical years traveled in the other direction, moving from radical thought to violent action. I had known shoe-bomber Richard Reid and the “20th hijacker” Zacarias Moussaoui. I had become a friend of Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni-American cleric whose lectures and writing had galvanized a new generation of would-be jihadists and who was eventually killed by a U.S. drone.

The path to militancy among most of my friends—whether born Muslims or converts to Islam—was often similar: discrimination, a sense of rejection and then vulnerability to a simple and seductive message that offered discipline, comradeship and purpose. There were plenty of clerics capable of delivering that message. There was also rage about the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and Russia’s brutal campaign against the Chechens.

I converted to Islam after reading a book about the Prophet Mohammed in a public library in Denmark. As a wayward 21-year old with several spells in jail behind me, the religion provided structure and purpose. The Prophet prescribed for every eventuality; the idea of free will didn’t seem to matter any more.

Now the Internet is often the recruiting sergeant, with jihadi chat-rooms and slick online magazines and videos in several languages posted on extremist websites. ISIS has mastered the art of propaganda like no other group with its online English-language magazine Dabiq, almost daily videos of its fighters in action and its social programs.

In declaring a Caliphate in much of Syria and Iraq and showing just how merciless it will be to apostates, whether an American journalist, Syrian soldiers or fleeing Yazidis, ISIS is luring would-be jihadists the world over. They are mainly young men who celebrate the grotesque punishments meted out to enemies, are unmoved by the savage treatment of women and enticed by a warped vision of the Promised Land.

They are told it is their duty to fight the unbelievers. “And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [worshipping others besides Allah] and the religion will all be for Allah Alone [in the whole of the world],” in the words of the Koran. I remember Anwar al-Awlaki repeating that verse to a study group we had in Yemen in 2006, to justify jihad in pursuit of the Caliphate.

Of the thousands of foreign fighters who have flocked to Syria and Iraq, a few come home, shattered by the brutality. Others become suicide bombers or are killed on the battlefield. One Dane I had befriended in Yemen was killed fighting in Syria last year. A British-Pakistani I knew from the UK became Britain’s first suicide bomber in Syria.

Many more are learning skills they may one day use to terrorize Europe and even the U.S. Two-hundred and fifty have returned to the UK alone, prompting British authorities last week to ratchet up the terrorist threat level. There is immediate danger from lone wolves angered by U.S. strikes against ISIS. When terrorists act alone, it’s extremely difficult to stop them. As a double agent on the inside, I stopped two such plots being hatched in the UK after the lone-terrorist in each case confided their plans to me. But you can’t get lucky every time.

I have seen some of these men embrace martyrdom; many others have been consumed by the belief that there is only one true path and any dissenting view must be exterminated.

I know this mindset. After the Syria video was posted, Abu Khattab explained why I deserved death. “His task was to kill our beloved Sheikh Anwar al-Awlaki,” he said. Then I received a message from another Danish militant I knew who had been jailed for his part in a terror plot but had been freed and was living in Copenhagen.

“How’s the family? Everyone hates you. Everyone wants you dead,” it said.

Morten Storm is a former double agent inside al Qaeda employed by the CIA, MI6, MI5 and Danish intelligence. His memoir, Agent Storm: My Life Inside al Qaeda and the CIA, co-authored with Paul Cruickshank and Tim Lister and published in September, tells the story of how he led the CIA to American al Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

Watch This Totally Tubular Corgi Catch the Perfect Wave

Posted: 05 Sep 2014 10:08 AM PDT

Does the imminent end of summer have you feeling down? Well, ignore that little flicker of doom burning deep within you for just a moment and watch this incredibly talented surfing corgi that clearly believes in an eternal summer:

Instagram Photo

His name is Jojo — known on Instagram as Supercorgi Jojo — and he lives in California, where he is all about that surfer life.

Here he is practicing for that big moment you saw above:

Instagram Photo

And here he is looking dapper in a tux and proving that he’s basically the next Matthew McConaughey:

Instagram Photo

Alright, Jojo. Alright alright alright.

#AskTIME Subscriber Q and A: Jeffrey Kluger

Posted: 05 Sep 2014 10:00 AM PDT

Welcome to TIME subscriber Q&A, with TIME senior editor Jeffrey Kluger, who is the author of the new book, The Narcissist Next Door:Understanding the Monster in Your Family, in Your Office, in Your Bed—in Your World.

We will start posting questions and responses at 1 p.m. EST. We have been gathering reader questions for a couple days, but will also take questions in the comments below or on Twitter with the hashtag #askTIME.

If you are not a subscriber yet, it is not too late to sign up.

Deconstructiva asks, Given the current increasing privatization of our space program—especially the Space X development of our—how do you see the future play out for us? Rather than totally privatized space or a return to the NASA monopoly, I'm splitting the difference and imagining public programs for research and long-distance unmanned flights while private companies handle some logistics (like Space X), mining, tourism, and select material goods that sell easily. Returning to movie themes, I just hope our future space mining companies do NOT encounter an egg-laying alien (with acid for blood) that's brought back to Earth for bioweapons research. We can't always rely on Sigourney Weaver to save us from ourselves.

We Need to Stop Guilting Parents into Cooking Dinner

Posted: 05 Sep 2014 09:59 AM PDT

On the highway of hallowed institutions, there are few so venerated as the family dinner. Maybe reading aloud to your kid, breastfeeding and playing catch come close, but those have a limited lifespan. The family dinner is the church at which all parents, especially moms, are expected to become regular and lifelong worshipers.

Studies have repeatedly shown that kids who eat en famille are less likely to be overweight, more likely to eat healthy foods, have reduced incidence of delinquency and have better grades, mental health and family interactions. The evidence appears to be pretty overwhelming: cook for your kids and eat with them or they’re doomed. You’re consigning them to a life as chubby little lowlifes with a D-average and no self esteem. It’s not much to ask, right?

Problem is, the plurality of kids today are being raised by people who work outside the home. That means somebody, having put in a solid eight or so hours, has to drag his or her weary derriere home and then get his or her Martha Stewart on. Takeout, as all right-thinking parents know, is not at all the same thing as a home-cooked meal. Which is also not the same thing as an organic, locavore, humanely raised, fairtrade, low in fat, salt and everything else except labor meal. A meal which will no doubt be greeted with an aghast face and a whiny demand for plain pasta.

So a new report that suggests the benefits of the home cooked family meal may be outweighed by the pressure of providing said meal should be welcome. Researchers from North Carolina State University interviewed 150 families and found that the whole whip-up-something-for-dinner directive is more like a whip-a-very-overburdened-horse for many families and utterly impossible for others. “Cooking is at times joyful, but it is also filled with time pressures, tradeoffs designed to save money, and the burden of pleasing others,” says the study, which was published in the summer 2104 issue of Contexts.

“The emphasis on home cooking ignores the time pressures, financial constraints, and feeding challenges that shape the family meal. Yet this is the widely promoted standard to which all mothers are held,” the researchers write, adding that it is moralistic, rather elitist and unrealistic. “Intentionally or not, it places the burden of a healthy home-cooked meal on women.” The researchers found that particularly among low income women whose inflexible and inconsistent work schedules prevented them from being able to be home for meals, let along cook them, the scoldy tone of the family dinner table fetishization crowd added unnecessary stress.

My go-to meal strategy is getting my husband to cook, since it involves fire and is therefore a very manly activity. Nevertheless I find myself having to prepare a couple of meals a week. (My second go to strategy, “international toast,” which involved toasting all the leftover crusts of different sorts of bread hanging around the freezer and serving them with eggs, no longer fools my kids, alas.) So you’d think I’d welcome the news that it’s probably better sometimes to skip it. But I don’t. Being both a breadwinner and an international toastmaker can be a drag, but it’s an even bigger to drag to be told that it’s not worth it.

I’ve put a lot of time and effort into making dinner—and making everyone eat the results. It’s stressful to discover that that’s probably too stressful to bother with. So I’m going home to cook dinner. But in act of protest against the forces which hold women to an impossible standard yet again, I’m probably not going make anything very good.

Sexism, Lies, and Video Games: The Culture War Nobody Is Winning

Posted: 05 Sep 2014 09:58 AM PDT

The 21st century’s defining medium—video games—is experiencing sharp growing pains. Over the last few weeks, identity tensions have divided fans online in strange, ugly episodes rooted in how writers discuss games and who is allowed to participate. At the root of all this is a fascinating question: Are games technology product, or cultural experience?

In the 1980s, video games were classy distractions: the condition of being installed at an arcade cabinet, chasing a high score, seemed to fit the era’s naive ideas of capitalism-as-culture. In the 1990s, games took on the decade’s rebellious, “edgy” tone, grasping toward the definitions of maturity set by MTV, action flicks and whatever else it took to sell high-end hardware to young men.

By the turn of the millennium, the medium had become America’s favorite scapegoat for moral panic — Luddites worried about games’ increasing realism and the fact that ‘shoot’ seemed to the favored verb of the most popular titles. To hear Fox News tell it, “gamers” were all anti-social escapists living in Mom’s basement, sticky with Mountain Dew, murder fantasies and hyper-realistic sex simulators stripped right off the shelves from in front of children.

Sadly, the broader public image of video games has been slow to improve, thanks largely to the iron fist marketers have maintained over their narrative. The games that have historically enjoyed the biggest budgets and the highest returns are Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Halo and their ilk. Aimed largely at that young male demographic, your average person on the street probably still imagines that the act of play in the digital world still mostly involves staring down the barrel of a gun.

While as a pastime those projects are slightly juvenile, so are summer superhero blockbusters featuring talking raccoons, and few would begrudge fans those, nor hand-wring about their supposed “effect”. Games’ poor public image has long been a source of discouragement to everyone who creates and plays within a rapidly maturing, surprisingly diverse medium.

The advent of the smartphone means that your average consumer now has access to a platform to play games on. Many of these, like Capy’s Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery, Vlambeer’s Ridiculous Fishing or Adam Atomic’s Canabalt, combine simple, friendly mechanics with lovely modern art and stylish music. Tablets and e-readers present enormous opportunities for rich, touchable experiences: Inkle’s 80Days is a lush pop-art interactive experience based on Jules Verne’s world travelers, and Devine Lu Linvega’s dark comic toy Ledoliel lets players enjoy oddly intimate interactions with alien diplomats.

It used to be that to make video games you needed some kind of computer degree and a career track at the sort of game production mega-corporation that would go on to fame for their brutal working practices and high turnover. But even game creation tools are becoming more accessible, welcoming an entirely new community of creators, voices and formats to the fan community.

Amid rising costs and economic constraints, traditional blockbusters and shiny new home consoles face more profitability challenges than they once did — but new digital business models help game companies endure, with the happy side effect that they can build longer-term relationships with fans.

There’s something for everyone in the modern gaming landscape, and the way games journalists parse all this for their readers is beginning to change, too. You’d think this would make people happy, but recently this culture shift would appear to have broken out into full-on culture war online.

Prominent feminist critique — present in every other relevant medium, but new to games — has elicited massive backlash and threats to women working in the field. A female developer who created a text game about depression has been in the midst of weeks of online attacks over a salacious blog post published by a jilted ex who alleges she slept with a game journalist in exchange for a favorable review.

Despite the fact the journalist in question did not ‘review’ the game and wasn’t found to have allocated it any particular special treatment, the misogynistic “scandal” — and fans’ fear of women “censoring” their medium by seeking more positive and diverse portrayals — has launched an ‘ethical inquiry’ by fans campaigning to unearth evidence of corruption and collusion among people who they feel are too close to the games and developers they write about.

Their inquiry, passed around Twitter under the deeply sincere hashtag “#GamerGate”, alleges that writing op-eds about colleagues and peers is unethical, that a list of people who attended an academic conference together is proof of a conspiracy, and that any critic who pursues creators and projects that interest them is cynically promoting their friends. Some of them admit they’re afraid that “social justice warriors” will ruin video games.

Others still seem alarmed to see the games writing community so defensive about the inquest — unaware that writers on games have endured the frustration of labor within a product-driven system for years, and that subjectivity is their solution, something L. Rhodes aimed to explain to petitioners who don’t seem to realize that the “standards” they expect are somewhat at odds with the actual environment they wish for.

To the outside world it must look silly. Surely these campaigners understand that no meaningful reporting on anything takes place without the trust—and often friendship—of people on the inside. Stranger still is that beyond the fact this all looks suspiciously like an excuse to hound women’s voices out of the growing game industry, fans are calling for a wholly “objective”, product-oriented approach to a medium that’s clearly shifted into the domain of meaningful, subjective experiences and as such requires the addition of cultural critique, not solely “reporting” as the tech industry understands it.

Previous modes of writing on games generally involved “scoring” them, applying a supposedly neutral quality rating. Often these scores were handed down by magazines who’d received ad revenue from the very companies whose products they claimed to be neutrally evaluating, and those companies could (and did) threaten to pull advertising, or access to press events and review materials, if they didn’t like the score they got.

Happily, modern games have far fewer barriers. Independent writers frequently publish personal pieces about the indie games that have inspired them—there’s very little money to be made in either writing about or creating these things, which is liberating for people who’ve always wanted to approach games as objects of human, rather than corporate interest. Dialogue about games is more frequently considered by mainstream publications, and all this accessibility and diversity allows curators of game culture far more latitude to shape conversation about an exciting medium that’s finally blowing off the must and dust of a prior age.

It’s odd to see how firmly internet fans resist this, how infuriated they are that they may no longer be a defined “demographic” who must be catered to explicitly, that they are participants in a variegated culture instead of strictly delineated recipients of a “product or service.” Their response is to feel their very identity is under threat (and to levy Martin Luther King quotes, even).

The bizarre conspiracy theories circulating online (I occasionally consult on game designs and disclose those relationships, but there is an image circulating which inaccurately claims that I run a ‘PR firm’ where people pay me to cover things) feel something like a video game in and of itself. The GamerGate crusaders leap to employ legal terminology like fancy weapons they are clearly confused about how to wield. To them, this revolution of new voices, new platforms and new players appears to feel like the same sort of persecution games once experienced at the hands of Fox News and anti-violent game crusaders — it’s unfortunate their behavior has been so often in-step with those negative stereotypes of late.

One has to wonder if this is down to game fans being systems thinkers, who see the world as an ecosystem of curiosities to discover and solve. Everyone wants to feel they’re part of something bigger, after all, that they might be a hero of an underground society that no one else knows about. And Twitter exposes us all to the vocabulary of extremes, an intense world where even minorities can feel very loud (a good thing for #Ferguson, not so for video games).

As video games unshackle from old constraints, traditional fans double down on keeping the treehouse sacrosanct. The tension between “games as product” and “games as culture” is visible within these online controversies as everyone invested in the industry watches to see which will “win”. Someone should tell the internet conspiracy theorists they can relax — we’ll absolutely, definitely have both.

Leigh Alexander writes about the art, business and culture of games. She is editor at large of industry site Gamasutra, a columnist at Vice UK, and has contributed to major specialist press outlets like Kotaku, Edge and Polygon. Her work has appeared at Boing Boing, Slate, The Atlantic, The New Statesman, the Guardian and the Columbia Journalism Review, and she is the author of two ebooks, Breathing Machine and Clipping Through, about technology and identity.

Read Chris Brown’s First Interview Since Being in Jail

Posted: 05 Sep 2014 09:50 AM PDT

In his first interview since being released from a Los Angeles county jail in June, singer Chris Brown said he has matured thanks to his experience in jail and suggested that he might have been “out of control” in recent years.

“At the end of the day, it’s just a humbling experience,” he told Billboard. “You’re more appreciative of everything else that’s on the outside.”

Brown’s incarceration for an October 2013 parole violation is the latest in a string of incidents that have attracted public attention. Brown notoriously assaulted then-girlfriend Rihanna in an incident that sparked outrage. About his relationship with Rihanna, Brown said people will likely stop talking about it when they have both faded from the limelight.

“As long as you’re doing something good, people will always bring up old stuff or negative stuff because they don’t want you to surpass a certain level or elevate,” he said.

Despite his positivity, Brown has already found himself in trouble since the incident. Two people were shot at a party on Aug. 24 thrown by the singer, and rumors circulated that Brown was the intended target.

“I can say that I am only human and I have made mistakes,” Brown told Billboard in response to the incident. “I can say that I try to live my life in the most true, honest way that I can.”


Obama Vows to ‘Degrade and Destroy’ ISIS

Posted: 05 Sep 2014 09:45 AM PDT

President Barack Obama said Friday that the United States and its allies are preparing to “take the fight,” to the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), saying the world can’t merely “contain” the extremist militant group and must work to dismantle it.

Speaking to reporters after two days of meetings of the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance in Wales, Obama said he was encouraged by the unanimous recognition of the threat to NATO member states from ISIS, and that the U.S. and international partners are preparing to act “with urgency.”

“We are going to achieve our goal,” Obama said. “We are going to degrade and ultimately defeat [ISIS].”

Obama’s language was notably stronger than his comments on the extremist group Wednesday in Estonia, when he suggested that the U.S. goal would be to contain the threat. Obama said Friday that “you can’t contain” ISIS, which has captured large swaths of Iraq and Syria and oppressed masses of civilians. “The goal has to be to dismantle them,” the President said.

Obama highlighted the importance of building an international coalition to take on the group, saying his “expectation” is that efforts to secure the backing of Arab states in the region will prove fruitful.

“There’s great conviction that we have to act, as part of the international community, to degrade and ultimately destroy [ISIS],” Obama said.

The President defended his administration’s approach to tackling the group, saying the first phase of his strategy, to encourage the Iraqi people to form a more inclusive government, has paid off, while the second, to use targeted airstrikes and humanitarian airdrops to keep the group from expanding, is ongoing.

“The third phase will allow us to take the fight to [ISIS], broaden the effort,” Obama said.

Obama also addressed the cease-fire reached between Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists Friday, saying “it has to be tested.”

“Obviously we are hopeful but, based on past experience, also skeptical that in fact the separatists will follow through and the Russians will stop violating Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Obama said.

The United States and the European Union are considering additional sanctions to be imposed on Russia as a response to confirmation that Russian forces have been directly involved in combat in eastern Ukraine, and Obama indicated the ceasefire is unlikely to preempt those sanctions. Obama said imposing the sanctions and lifting them if Russia and the separatists live up to the agreement would be a “more likely way for us to ensure that there’s follow-through.”


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