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Germany Tells CIA Station Chief in Berlin to Leave the Country

Via Reuters:

Germany’s decision to ask the CIA station chief in Berlin to leave the country was an inevitable response to fresh allegations of U.S. spying on Berlin, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Friday.

Officials said the U.S. spy chief would be leaving the country soon.

“Our decision to ask the current representative of the U.S. intelligence services to leave Germany is the right decision, a necessary step and a fitting reaction to the break of trust which has occurred,” Steinmeier told reporters.

“Taking action was unavoidable, in my opinion. We need and expect a relationship based on trust.”

He said a strong transatlantic partnership was especially important now given international crises. He would tell U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry when they meet in Vienna at the weekend for talks on Iran’s nuclear programme that Germany was eager to revive that partnership on the basis of mutual trust. . .

I can't wait for President Obama to go back to Germany. I expect the crowd will be slighlty less affectionate than in 2008. . . - Greg Pollowitz

Facebook Finally Deletes the ‘Kill Kendall Jones’ Page

Via Various Sources:

Background: Facebook pulled down the hunting photos of Kendall Jones citing a violation of the social-media site's "community standards," but they allowed the page titled "Kill Kendall Jones" to remain stating that it did not violate their policies. A tad hypocritical, to say the least.

I reported the site (and I assume many others did too) after reading that Facebook had allowed the kill-a-nineteen-year-old woman page stay up and received the above response. Good for Facebook, but a day late. Also of note, there are plenty of other hunting pages on Facebook, including this page for "Hunting" magazine that has close to 1.7 million likes. Will Facebook pull their content and anger 1. million users? I think not. 

- Greg Pollowitz

Benghazi: New Testimony Suggests Two Separate Groups of Attackers

Via AP:

Newly revealed testimony from top military commanders involved in the U.S. response to the Benghazi attacks suggests that the perpetrators of a second, dawn attack on a CIA complex probably were different from those who penetrated the U.S. diplomatic mission the evening before and set it ablaze, killing Ambassador Chris Stevens and another American.

The second attack, which killed two security contractors, showed clear military training, retired Gen. Carter Ham told Congress in closed-door testimony released late Wednesday. The assault probably was the work of a new team of militants, seizing on reports of violence at the diplomatic mission the night before and hitting the Americans while they were most vulnerable.

The testimony, which The Associated Press was able to read ahead of its release, could clarify for the first time the events of Sept. 11, 2012, that have stirred bitter recriminations in the U.S., including Republican-led congressional investigations and campaign-season denunciations of the Obama administration, which made inaccurate statements about the Libyan attacks. The testimony underscores a key detail that sometimes has been lost in the debate: that the attacks were two distinct events over two days on two different buildings, perhaps by unrelated groups. . .


And we're just finding this out now. . . - Greg Pollowitz

POTUS Fist Bumps With a Gorilla Statue in Denver

Via Chicago Sun-Times:

Presidential. - Greg Pollowitz

Author of ‘How To Survive the Bulls of Pamplona’ Gored by a Bull

Via NY Daily News:

He wrote the book on surviving the running of the bulls — but he may not have read it.

An American bull runner who published a book titled “Fiesta: How to Survive the Bulls of Pamplona” was gored Wednesday during the annual Spanish festival.

A bull speared 32-year-old Bill Hillmann in the thigh, leaving him seriously injured, his friend and editor Alexander Fiske-Harrison told the Associated Press.

The Chicago native underwent surgery and is doing well. . .

What a boob. - Greg Pollowitz

Obligatory Post on Obama and the Horse-Head-Guy

Via USA Today:

One task that world leaders must perform and perform well is that of handling situations without blinking an eye or missing a beat.

President Obama’s ability to do this might have been tested Tuesday night as he greeted people on a Denver street during a visit there to meet supporters and raise money for Democratic U.S. Senate candidates.

The president shook hands with men, women and, at one point, a man wearing a horse head mask. Obama appeared to chuckle as he spotted the man, who wore a red T-shirt, and wore a quizzical but amused look on his face as he shook hands with the masked man. . .

I think horse-head-guy should count his lucky stars that the Secret Service didn't shoot him. - Greg Pollowitz

Israel’s ‘Iron Dome’ Missile Defense System Shoots Down Hamas Rockets

Via Jerusalem Post:

For second time on Tuesday evening, Gaza terrorists launch rocket at central Israel; air raid sirens sounds in Jerusalem, central Israel; Tel Aviv opens public bomb shelters; no injuries reported.

Israel came under a heavy barrage of rocket fire on Tuesday night, with code red sirens sounding off in central Israel, the Jerusalem area and as far North as Binyamina.

More than 40 rockets were fired into Israel in the biggest ever salvo of long-range fire from Gaza. . .

- Greg Pollowitz

Israel Updates

Israel Arrests 6 Jews in Connection with Murdered Palestinian Teen

Via Washington Post:

Israeli authorities have arrested six Jewish suspects in the slaying of an Arab teenager from East Jerusalem, Israeli officials said Sunday.

The officials said the suspects had “nationalistic” motives, adding to speculation 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khieder was killed in a revenge attack following the abduction and slaying of three Israeli teens last month.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity, and they would not provide additional information about the suspects, citing a legal order barring them from commenting publicly on details of the investigation.

A statement released by Israel’s domestic security agency late Sunday afternoon confirmed the arrests and said the suspects were being held for questioning.

A spokesman for Honenu, a legal aid group that defends Israelis accused of extremist crimes, said it was representing the six at a court hearing Sunday afternoon in the Israeli city of Petah Tikva. . .

If these 6 are guilty, Israel needs to treat them as harshly as the terrorists who killed the three Jewish kids. - Greg Pollowitz

Joey Chestnut Proposes to Girlfriend, Then Wins Nathan’s Hot Dog-Eating Contest

Via ABC News:

Joey Chestnut is a double winner today.

The seven-time hot dog-eating champion successfully proposed to his girlfriend on stage at prior to the Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Contest, and half an hour later, he was crowned the champion again this year.

He didn’t break his record though. Chestnut devoured 61 hot dogs in 10 minutes, eight hot dogs short of his previous record, 69.

Matt Stonie lost to Joey Chestnut by five hot dogs. . .

It's nice to see romance isn't dead. - Greg Pollowitz

U.S. Grounds Entire F-35 Fleet

Via Reuters:

The U.S. military said it had grounded the entire fleet of 97 Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets until completion of additional inspections of the warplane’s single engine built by Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp.

The Pentagon’s F-35 program office, Air Force and Navy issued directives on Thursday ordering the suspension of all F-35 flights after a June 23 fire on an Air Force F-35A jet at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

The Pentagon said U.S. and industry officials had not pinpointed the cause of the fire, which occurred as a pilot was preparing for takeoff. The pilot was not injured.

The incident is the latest to hit the Pentagon’s costliest weapons program, the $398.6 billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. It followed an in-flight oil leak that triggered mandatory fleetwide inspections of the jets last month. . .

- Greg Pollowitz

Our ‘Secret’ Military Presence in Somalia

Via Reuters:

U.S. military advisors have secretly operated in Somalia since around 2007 and Washington plans to deepen its security assistance to help the country fend off threats by Islamist militant group al Shabaab, U.S. officials said.

The comments are the first detailed public acknowledgement of a U.S. military presence in Somalia dating back since the U.S. administration of George W. Bush and add to other signs of a deepening U.S. commitment to Somalia’s government, which the Obama administration recognized last year.

The deployments, consisting of up to 120 troops on the ground, go beyond the Pentagon’s January announcement that it had sent a handful of advisors in October. That was seen at the time as the first assignment of U.S. troops to Somalia since 1993 when two U.S. helicopters were shot down and 18 American troops killed in the “Black Hawk Down” disaster. . .

I expect we have "secret" soldiers like these all over the world. - Greg Pollowitz

Iraq Receives More Russian Sukhoi Fighter Jets

Via Businessweek:

The U.S. readied to sell Iraq thousands of missiles and a second batch of Russian Sukhoi combat jets arrived in Baghdad as foreign powers moved to help Iraqi forces battle an al-Qaeda offshoot.

Steps to beef up the government’s arsenal came as politicians deadlocked over who will lead Iraq as it risks hurtling into renewed civil war. Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is under pressure from domestic opponents to step aside to allow the formation of a broad-based government that would give a greater say to the Sunni minority in an effort to undercut the Sunni insurgency.

Media reported dozens killed and injured in fighting across the country since yesterday.

The risk of sectarian civil war in Iraq, OPEC’s second-biggest oil producer, flared last month after the Sunni al-Qaeda breakaway, now known as the Islamic State, seized Mosul, the country’s biggest northern city, and advanced on other towns. The U.S. State Department has told lawmakers informally that the Obama administration wants to sell Iraq more than 4,000 additional Hellfire missiles to support its fight against the Islamist insurgents, according to people familiar with the plan. . .

- Greg Pollowitz

Quinnipiac Poll: Obama Worst President Since WWII

Via Voice of America:

A new U.S. poll shows Americans think President Barack Obama is the country’s worst president since World War II.

The independent Quinnipiac University poll said Wednesday that its survey taken late last month of more than 1,400 U.S. voters showed that 33 percent put Obama at the bottom of the list of 12 presidents who have served since 1945, with 28 percent naming his immediate predecessor, George W. Bush.

Ronald Reagan, the U.S. president through most of the 1980s, was picked by 35 percent as the best president since World War II. He was followed by Bill Clinton, who served in the 1990s, who was preferred by 18 percent.

“Over the span of 69 years of American history and 12 presidencies, President Barack Obama finds himself with President George W. Bush at the bottom of the popularity barrel,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of Quinnipiac University’s polling unit. . .

Maybe polling poorly is the new normal? - Greg Pollowitz

Mission Creep in Iraq? Pentagon Says No

Via McClatchy:

The Pentagon insisted Tuesday that there is “no mission creep” in Iraq despite the rising number of U.S. troops in the embattled country with more on the way.

Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, confirmed that 650 American troops were on the ground in Iraq, all of them dispatched by President Barack Obama since June 16.

Two hundred U.S. troops sent Monday, including 100 previously staged in Kuwait, were accompanied by Army Apache attack helicopters to be based at the Baghdad airport.

Kirby said Sunni Islamic militants who’ve seized large sections of the country since June 10 pose a threat to Baghdad but are meeting stiffened resistance from Iraqi security forces aided by Shiite militiamen.

“It continues to be very dangerous,” Kirby told reporters at the Pentagon. “The threat continues to be very real. But we have seen Iraqi security forces in and around Baghdad begin to reinforce themselves and prepare to defend, and they are taking the offensive. And we saw this over the weekend up near Tikrit (north of Baghdad). So it’s a contested environment right now.”. . .


If it's not "mission creep," what would they call it then? - Greg Pollowitz

McDonald’s: Out; RusBurger: In

Via BBC:

Russia’s annexation of Crimea has had a knock-on effect on fast food in the area, it appears.

New signage has appeared on a former McDonald’s restaurant in Sevastopol promising locals the delights of “RusBurger”, says Sevastopolskiye Novosti (Sevastopol News). McDonald’s closed its three fast-food outlets in Crimea in April, citing problems with sourcing ingredients. It promised to find work for former employees in neighbouring Ukraine if they wanted to relocate.

There was talk that rival Burger King would take over the restaurant in Sevastopol, with the CEO of the chain’s Russian operation telling Russia’s ITAR-TASS news agency in April that the company was ready to fill the vacuum. However, the plans were scotched just a day later in a statement by Burger King’s US parent company. . .

- Greg Pollowitz

Oops: Sandra Fluke’s ‘Unmistakeable’ Message

Via Twitter:

I think SCOTUS needs to rule on a mandatory spellcheck of Twitter campaign graphics. - Greg Pollowitz

Airplane Emergency Slide Inflates In Flight

Via CBS News:

A United Airlines plane heading to Los Angeles from Chicago was diverted to Wichita, Kan. after an emergency slide inflated in the aircraft during the flight.

United Airlines flight 1463 landed at Mid-Continent Airport just after 10:30 p.m. local time on Sunday.

A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman told CBS Wichita affiliate KWCH-TV an emergency evacuation slide “inadvertently deployed” in mid-flight.

Initial reports that a passenger tried to open a door during the flight were false. The FAA spokesman said it is “impossible to open a door at that altitude.”

According to, the plane was flying at 38,000 ft. at 10:05 p.m and dropped to 11,000 ft. in 12 minutes due to a loss in cabin pressure.

United Airlines released a statement saying 96 passengers and five crew members were on board the Boeing 737-700. All passengers were seated at the time the slide deployed and no one was hurt, the carrier says. . .

The woman in the video said the door could have exploded out??? - Greg Pollowitz

13 Shot Last Night in De Blasio’s NYC

Via CBS News:

It was a violent night in New York City after at least 13 people were shot in incidents spanning each of the five boroughs.

As CBS 2′s Janelle Burrell reported, one of the shootings happened on Staten Island, where a man is fighting for his life after being shot in the face.

The incident happened at around 3:30 a.m. on Amboy Road in the New Dorp section of Staten Island.

Police were still on the scene Sunday morning, collecting and processing evidence including a backpack that belonged to the 42-year-old victim. . .

Weird. It's almost as if some said this would happen if NYC ended its effective stop-question-and frisk policing. . . - Greg Pollowitz

Bill Clinton Earned Over $100 Million Giving Speeches

Via Washington Post:

Over seven frenetic days, Bill Clinton addressed corporate executives in Switzerland and Denmark, an investors’ group in Sweden and a cluster ofbusiness and political leaders in Austria. The former president wrapped up his European trip in the triumphant Spanish Hall at Prague Castle, where he shared his thoughts on energy to a Czech business summit.

His pay: $1.4 million.

That lucrative week in May 2012 offers a glimpse into the way Clinton has leveraged his global popularity into a personal fortune. Starting just two weeks after exiting the Oval Office, Clinton has delivered hundreds of paid speeches, lifting a family that was “dead broke,” as wife Hillary Rodham Clinton phrased it earlier this month, to a point of such extraordinary wealth that it is now seen as a potential political liability if she runs for president in 2016. . .

Man of the people. . . - Greg Pollowitz


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