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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
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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
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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 FlightAware.com, 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

Obama Wants $500M For Syrian Rebels

Via BBC:

President Barack Obama has asked the US Congress to approve $500m (£294m) to train and equip what he described as “moderate” Syrian opposition forces.

The funds would help Syrians defend against forces aligned with President Bashar al-Assad, the White House said.

The aid would also counter Islamist militants such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis), it added.

Isis’s advance in neighbouring Iraq has led some in Congress to press Mr Obama to take action.

Tens of thousands of people have died and millions more have been displaced in three years of civil war in Syria, as rebels fight troops loyal to Mr Assad. . .

Or they could use the money to buy the IRS an email system. - Greg Pollowitz

Kim Jong Un Threatens War Over Seth Rogen, James Franco Film

Via AP:

orth Korea is warning that the release of a new American comedy about a plot to assassinate leader Kim Jong Un would be an “act of war.”

If the U.S. government doesn’t block the movie’s release, it will face “stern” and “merciless” retaliation, an unidentified spokesman for North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in state media Wednesday.

He didn’t mention the movie by name but was clearly referring to “The Interview,” which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco as a producer and talk-show host who land an exclusive interview with the North Korean dictator and are then asked by the CIA to assassinate him.

The “reckless U.S. provocative insanity” of mobilizing a “gangster filmmaker” to challenge the North’s leadership is triggering “a gust of hatred and rage” among North Korean people and soldiers, the spokesman said, in typically heated propaganda language. . .

What a lunatic. - Greg Pollowitz

Katy Perry Wants to Write Hillary’s Campaign Theme Song

Via Twitter:
Maybe Hillary means how Bill held her back? An excerpt from the lyrics of "Roar": "You held me down, but I got up (HEY!), Already brushing off the dust, You hear my voice, you hear that sound, Like thunder gonna shake the ground, You held me down, but I got up (HEY!), Get ready 'cause I’ve had enough, I see it all, I see it now." - Greg Pollowitz

Florida Teen Kills Grandmother at Nudist Colony

Via AP:

A teenager killed his grandmother in a bloody struggle inside her home at a nudist community and then drove around with her body in a minivan for nearly five hours, authorities said.

Brandon Machetto, 18, had been living with his grandmother, 74-year-old Sylvia Schmitt, for the past several weeks and they apparently fought frequently, said Pasco County sheriff’s spokeswoman Melanie Snow.

A neighbor called authorities after seeing Machetto drag a wrapped bag with feet dangling out into his grandmother’s minivan early Monday, police said.

Machetto drove around with his grandmother’s body in the back and when deputies tried to pull him over, he refused, police said. He eventually drove back to the Paradise Lakes community and was arrested.

Machetto was charged with first-degree murder and is being held in jail without bond. It’s unclear if he has an attorney. . .

The new normal in Florida. - Greg Pollowitz

Queen Elizabeth II Visits Westeros

Via People:

For Queen Elizabeth II, one throne is enough. 

The United Kingdom’s 88-year-old monarch toured the Belfast sets of the hit HBO series Game of Thrones and met many of its stars Tuesday beside the show’s sword-covered seat of power, the Iron Throne. 

Unlike many visitors to Belfast’s Titanic Studios, the monarch declined to try out the throne created for the ruler of the mythical Seven Kingdoms. Instead, she received a miniature model as a gift.

Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss escorted the monarch through the show’s armory, costume design and storage, and sprawling sets used to shoot the program’s interior scenes and perilous ice-cliff ascents – all part of the biggest TV production ever mounted in Europe. . .

Cersei is a punk. - Greg Pollowitz

Tags: Game of Thrones

John Kerry: ‘Nobody’ Expeted Mosul to Fall

Via Fox News:

Secretary of State John Kerry, in an interview with Fox News, claimed “nobody expected” Iraqi security forces to be decisively driven out by Sunni militants, as they were earlier this month in Mosul — despite reports that Kurdish officials warned Washington and London well in advance about this threat. 

Kerry spoke with Fox News on Tuesday in the middle of a multi-country swing through the Middle East and Europe as he tries to calm the sectarian crisis in Iraq. 

Pressed on whether the takeover of Mosul and other northern cities and towns by Sunni militants marks an intelligence failure, Kerry said nobody could have predicted Iraqi security forces would have deserted. 

“We don’t have people embedded in those units, and so obviously nobody knew that. I think everybody in Iraq was surprised. People were surprised everywhere,” he said. . .

By "nobody" he means everybody but the United States maybe. - Greg Pollowitz

Tags: ISIS , Obama , Iraq

Sudan Re-Arrests Christian Mother at the Airport

Via Telegraph U.K.:

Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman released from prison on Monday after worldwide protests at her death sentence for apostasy, has been arrested at Khartoum airport – after less than 24 hours of freedom.

The 27-year-old was arrested along with her American husband, Daniel Wani, and their two children, Martin, almost two, and Maya, two weeks old.

Their lawyer, Elshareef Ali Mohammed, was with them at the time, and said they were given no reason for their detention. The arrest comes just hours after photos emerged of Ms Ibrahim smiling as she was reunited with her family.

A human rights group that has been working with Ms Ibrahim’s lawyers said the family had been detained by National Security officials, apparently in relation to their travel plans.

“They are being held at the airport by National Security officials over documentation issues and the US Embassy is trying to work it out,” Tina Ramirez, director of Hardwired, told The Telegraph. . .

-

Boko Haram Kidnapped 60 Women, 30 Boys

Via Los Angeles Times:

At least 91 people – more than 60 women and girls, and 31 schoolboys – were abducted last week by suspected Boko Haram militants, two months after the terror group kidnapped more than 300 schoolgirls in northeastern Nigeria, according to witnesses.

Local media reported about 60 people were abducted in attacks on villages south of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, between Thursday and Saturday.

The attack comes as more than 270 schoolgirls are still being held by Boko Haram more than two months after their abductions from a school in Chibok town in April. Several dozen of the girls managed to escape.

About 30 people were reported to have been killed by the extremists in the latest attack. Elderly residents fled their homes, trekking 15 miles to seek help.

Among those abducted by gunmen were women with young children and babies – a common occurrence in Borno state since last year, Nigeria’s Premium Times reported. . .

Maybe we need some more hashtags? - Greg Pollowitz

The Secret to ISIS Success: Bureaucracy and Middle-Managers

Via McClatchy DC:

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria sprang from a largely self-funded, corporation-style prototype whose resilience to counterterrorism operations was proven by the time Abu Bakr al Baghdadi assumed command in 2010.

The militant group Baghdadi inherited had in place a sophisticated bureaucracy that was almost obsessive about record-keeping. Its middle-managers detailed, for example, the number of wives and children each fighter had, to gauge compensation rates upon death or capture, and listed expenditures in neat Excel spreadsheets that noted payments to an “assassination platoon” and “Al Mustafa Explosives Company.” Income from the Sunni Muslim militants’ looting of Shiite Muslim-owned property was recorded as “spoils.”

By the time Baghdadi took charge, the group even had begun siphoning a share of Iraq’s oil wealth, opening gas stations in the north, smuggling oil and extorting money from industry contractors _ enterprises that Baghdadi would build on and replicate as he expanded operations across the border into Syria, ultimately breaking from his al Qaida roots and declaring himself emir of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

 

This is bad news for President Obama and anyone else who thinks a unified Iraq is still a possibility. There are functioning governments in Iraq, but they are in Kuridstan and now Sunnistan. Maliki and the Shiites are the ones who need to catch up. -

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