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Ray Nagin Found Guilty in Corruption Trial

Via AP:

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was convicted Wednesday on charges that he accepted bribes, free trips and other gratuities from contractors in exchange for helping them secure millions of dollars in city work while he was in office, including right after Hurricane Katrina.

The federal jury found Nagin guilty of 20 of 21 counts against him. He sat quietly at the defense table after the verdict was read and his wife, Seletha, was being consoled in the front row.

Before the verdict, the 57-year-old Ray Nagin said outside the New Orleans courtroom: “I’ve been at peace with this for a long time. I’m good.”

The Democrat, who left office in 2010 after eight years, was indicted in January 2013 on charges he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and truckloads of free granite for his family business in exchange for promoting the interests of local businessman Frank Fradella. . .

 

And people will still blame Bush for Katrina, as if Mayor Nagin was totally compotent EXCEPT for this one instance of criminality. - Greg Pollowitz

Sacré Bleu! WH Angry at French Media Selfies

Via France 24:

Canal Plus reporter Laurence Haim said irritated White House staff told the journalists it was “not the done thing” to take a picture of oneself with a mobile phone with two heads of state in the president’s official office.

One particular picture was doing the rounds of French media outlets on Wednesday, showing Thomas Wieder, a reporter at respected French daily Le Monde, grinning broadly as he took a “selfie” with Hollande and US leader Barack Obama in the distant background. . .

In summary, selfies at a funeral? Yes. Selfies in an office at an event for the media? No. - Greg Pollowitz
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Mattel’s ‘Barbie®’ Doll to Appear in SI Swimsuit Issue

Via Ad Week:

This year, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue turns 50, which means that plenty of SI Swim Legends will be popping up to pay tribute to this all-American institution. But among the Kates and Heidis and Christies, there’s one unexpected name making an appearance in this year’s issue: Barbie. Yes, that Barbie. 

For the first time, the Mattel fashion doll will be the star of an editorial feature inside the magazine, shot by longtime SI photographer Walter Iooss Jr. (He’s the man behind such iconic images as Cheryl Tiegs’ infamous fishnet bathing suit photo and Kate Upton’s 2012 cover.) In one shot, readers will see the original 1959 Barbie in her black-and-white striped one-piece alongside the new 2014 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Barbie (on Target shelves this month) wearing a modern interpretation of the outfit. Another photo features a group of Barbie dolls modeled after the SI Swim “Legends” appearing in the issue.

Along with the editorial spread, Mattel and SI are also collaborating on an advertorial component around Barbie’s new “#unapologetic” campaign, which celebrates Barbie’s (sometimes divisive) role in society. “As with Barbie, every year the Swimsuit edition sparks conversations about women and body image, and Sports Illustrated stands unapologetically behind this issue that women, in reality, love,” a Mattel spokesperson told Adweek. “Unapologetic is a rally cry to embrace who you are and to never have to apologize for it.” A billboard teasing the campaign (and Barbie’s involvement in the Swimsuit Issue) made its debut in Times Square earlier this month. . .

 

"Unapologetic?"? "Embrace who you are?" It's a piece of plastic with body measurements no real woman con possess. "Sports Illustrated" should apologize to its readers for this nonsense. - Greg Pollowitz

Suspects Arrested for Robbing Fla. Girl Scout. Bonus: It’s on Video

Via Local 10 Ft. Lauderdale:

Two people were taken into custody in connection with a robbery involving a group of Girl Scouts outside a Winn Dixie.

On Sunday, the girls were selling cookies at the supermarket on Davie Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale.

A witness told Local 10 News that a group of 8 to 10 men approached a table where two women and their two daughters were sitting.

The group left and then two of the men came back. They allegedly snatched a cell phone belonging to a 10-year-old girl.

Officials say surveillance video showed the two juveniles during the robbery, and were able to identify them from previous incidents in the area. . .

You can see the suspects flee the scene at the 2:20 mark. Not only are they cowardly, but quite possibly Florida's dumbest criminals.

 

- Greg Pollowitz

Let Them Eat (Chocolate Malted) Cake: France-U.S. State Dinner Menu Released

Via Politico:

[. . .] Highlighting food from across the country, menu items include a first course of American Osetra Caviar from Illinois, quail eggs from Pennsylvania and 12 varieties of potatoes from farms in New York, Idaho and California. For the salad course, the White House details a Winter Garden Salad that “pays tribute to The First Lady’s White House Kitchen Garden.”

The main course is a dry-aged rib eye beef from a family-owned farm in Colorado that will be served with Jasper Hill Farm Blue Cheese crisp from Vermont.

Finishing the meal are a selection of sweets. There will be a chocolate malted cake that combines bittersweet chocolate from Hawaii and tangerines from Florida and will be served with vanilla ice cream from Pennsylvania. Additionally, the menu boasts fudge made from Vermont maple syrup, lavender shortbread cookies and cotton candy dusted with orange zest.

selection of wines priced between $30 to $65 will be offered from California, Washington and Monticello, Va., which both Obama and Hollande visited Monday.

Mmmmm. Caviar from Illinois? Sounds delicious. - Greg Pollowitz
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Map of Obama Bundlers Who are Now Ambassadors

Via Washington Post/Slate:

Every president rewards some major campaign contributors by appointing them as ambassadors, but it’s not a practice that’s considered very beneficial for U.S. foreign policy. So when President Obama put up campaign bundler George Tsunis to become the U.S. ambassador to Norway — even though Tsunis himself conceded at confirmation hearings that he has little idea how Norway’s government functions or even the names of its major political parties — former diplomat and Lehigh University international relations professor Henri Barkey had had enough.

“President Obama does a disservice to Norwegians, to himself and, above all, to the people of the United States by sending such an unqualified person to represent him and us in the capital of a long-standing NATO ally,” Barkey wrote in a Washington Post op-ed, calling the appointment a “taxpayer-funded three-year junket to enjoy the fjords.”

George Tsunis will have lots of company: 23 current U.S. ambassadors or ambassadorial nominees are political appointees who were also major campaign-donation bundlers. As a way of seeing just how pervasive this practice is, Slate and the Center for Public Integrity put together this excellent interactive map showing them all (in green), as well as a selection of other political appointees (in red) and actual career diplomats (in blue). Here is a static grab of the map:

[. . .]

Hope and change, delayed. - Greg Pollowitz

Rubio Dodges if he Ever Used Marijuana

Via Local 10 Ft. Louder dale:

. . .Rubio, recognizing the recent talk of legalizing marijuana in Florida and the audience before him, refused to answer if he’s ever smoked marijuana himself.

“You know why I never answer that question? If I tell you that I haven’t, you won’t believe me, and if I tell you that I did, kids will look at me and say, ‘I can smoke ‘MJ’ because he (Rubio) made it.”

That's the best answer he can come up with? - Greg Pollowitz

8-10 Florida Men Rob Girl Scouts

Via Local 10 Ft. Lauderdale:

A group of Girl Scouts was robbed Sunday while selling cookies outside a Winn Dixie on Davie Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale.

A witness told Local 10 News that a group of 8 to 10 men approached a table where two women and their two daughters were selling cookies.

The group left and then two came back. The men allegedly snatched a cell phone belonging to a 10-year-old girl.

One of the women it all happened very fast and they aren’t sure whether the men made off with boxes of cookies as well.

“Everyone was turned around, except for my mom, and then the big one reached over and grabbed the phone,” said Girl Scout Daley Eisenmann. . .

It took 8-10 men to scout out their 10-year-old victim and then the two bravest came back and stole a phone? And they didn't steal any cookies? - Greg Pollowitz

Oops: Iraqi Bomb Maker Accidentally Blows Up His Students

Via AP:

An instructor teaching his militant recruits how to make car bombs accidentally set off explosives in his demonstration Monday, killing 21 of them in a huge blast that alerted authorities to the existence of the rural training camp in an orchard north of Baghdad. Nearly two dozen people were arrested, including wounded insurgents trying to hobble away from the scene. . .

It's a good thing some of these terrorists are so dumb. - Greg Pollowitz

Obama Delays the Employer Mandate -- Again

Via :

The Obama administration announced further delays Monday in Obamacare’s employer mandate—which has already been pushed back a full year.

Administration officials said the latest delays are designed to give businesses more flexibility and a longer transition period to begin offering health insurance to their workers.

The Affordable Care Act requires large employers—those with more than 50 full-time employees—to either provide health insurance to their workers or pay a penalty. The mandate was scheduled to take effect this year, but the Treasury Department previously delayed the deadline until 2015.

Now it’s delaying the coverage requirement even further.

Businesses with 50 to 99 full-time workers—people working at least 30 hours per week—don’t have to comply with the mandate until 2016, under final regulations the Treasury Department released Monday.

Larger employers aren’t getting an outright delay but will have more time to fully comply with the mandate. Employers with more than 100 full-time workers must offer coverage to 70 percent of their full-time employees this year, and 95 percent after that, to avoid paying a penalty.

Monday’s regulations also clarify that volunteers—for example, volunteer firefighters—aren’t counted as full-time employees, and they give employers more flexibility when counting workers’ hours. Those steps were designed to “kind of mitigate the way the 30-hour definition works,” a Treasury official said.

Officials said businesses will have to attest that they’re not cutting employees just to qualify for the additional delay but noted that businesses are still free to cut their workforces for economic reasons. . .

- Greg Pollowitz

CNN Source: U.S. Debating Possible Assassination of an American Terrorist Overseas

Via CNN:

The Obama administration is in high-level discussions about staging an operation to kill an American citizen involved with al Qaeda and suspected of plotting attacks against the United States, a senior U.S. official tells CNN.

The official, who declined to disclose any specific information about the target or the country the suspect presides in, was confirming information first reported by The Associated Press.

The debate about whether to undertake a mission is being held with various commanders in the U.S. military, as well as the U.S. national security agencies. The discussion centers on the risk involved and the importance of the target.

Before military force against an American is approved, there must be an imminent danger and no reasonable prospect of capturing the target. Ultimately, the President would need to sign off on the decision. . .

Exit question: Will the DOJ go after the person who leaked this? For something at this level, the number of people discussing it has to be incredibly small. - Greg Pollowitz

R.I.P.: Copenhagen Zoo Kills its ‘Surplus’ Giraffe

Via the Independent U.K.:

Ignoring thousands of pleas for clemency, at least two wildlife parks that wanted to re-home him and an offer of £415,000 from a wealthy benefactor, Copenhagen Zoo went ahead with the killing of Marius the giraffe on Sunday morning.

After a bolt gun to the head, he was dissected publicly in front of a crowd of children then fed to the lions.

It was a bold statement of just how confident the zoo was in its decision to kill a perfectly healthy animal after less than two years of life.

The reason — his genes were too similar to other giraffes in a breeding programme run by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) – failed to convince furious animal rights campaigners and the zoo was deluged with complaints on social media. . .

Marius was dismembered  in front of zoo patrons (kids could attend with a parent's permission!) and then fed to the lions. Literally. Circle of life.

- Greg Pollowitz

Spoiler Alert: Watch a Russian Police Choir Sing ‘Daft Punk’ in Sochi

Via NBC Olympics:

Members of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs choir perform a rousing rendition of Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’ before Friday’s Opening Ceremony.

Click on the link above for the video. - Greg Pollowitz

Biden: LaGuardia is Like an Airport in “some Third World Country.”

Via New York Post:

Vice President Joe Biden says LaGuardia Airport could use some major improvements — and that’s putting it mildly.

Biden says if he blindfolded someone and took him to LaGuardia he’d think he was in “some Third World country.”

Biden made the comment as part of a comparison with the Hong Kong airport. He says Hong Kong has the type of modern facility travelers would expect to see in the United States.

His remarks came during an event Thursday in Philadelphia in which he stressed the need for infrastructure improvement. . .

Try the Jet Blue terminal -- it's fantastic. Which brings be to the trillion-dollar question: why should taxpayers in other states pay to fix LaGuardia airport? This holds true for most infrastructure projects. - Greg Pollowitz

George Zimmeran vs. DMX Boxing Match?

Via the New York Daily News:

George Zimmerman is not a celebrity.

But Trayvon Martin’s killer has apparently signed on to fight rapper DMX in a “celebrity boxing match,” according to TMZ.

Celebrity boxing promoter Damon Feldman confirmed to the gossip site that the “Party Up” rapper, 43, was picked out of “over 15,000″ applicants to go against Zimmerman, 30.

“I am going to beat the living f–k out him,” DMX said, according to TMZ. “I am breaking every rule in boxing to make sure I f–k him right up.”

But the rapper’s rep told the Daily News that no official deal has been made.

“The boxing match between George Zimmerman and DMX is not officially confirmed,” the rep said in a statement.

“DMX has promised to ‘beat his a–’ but no contract or paperwork has been signed or agreed to yet. DMX will release an official statement if and when an agreement is made.”. . .

What a farce. A pox on all houses involved. - Greg Pollowitz

Report: Bill Clinton Cheated on Hillary with Elizabeth Hurley (Update)

Via Daily Mirror:

Extraordinary claims Elizabeth Hurley had a year long affair with President Bill Clinton after he flew her to Washington for sex, have surfaced in the U.S.

During their first secret tryst his wife Hillary was asleep in the next room.

The astonishing claim comes after a tape of the actress’s former boyfriend Tom Sizemore was found describing how he set Hurley, 48, up with the Clinton following a private screening of Saving Private Ryan at the White House in 1998 – scroll down for the audio.

The then President called the actress saying “Elizabeth, this is your Commander-in-Chief. I’m sending a plane to pick you up in three hours. Is that enough time?”. . .

I'd argue that Bill Clinton's comments during the 2008 race hurt Hillary and if she does run in 2016, I have no doubt that his past will continue to haunt her.

Update 3:15: Hurley denies the allegation

- Greg Pollowitz

The CBO Just Nuked Obamacare

Via the WSJ:

The Affordable Care Act is projected to reduce the number of full-time workers by roughly 2.3 million people through 2021 and insure 2 million fewer people this year than previously estimated, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday.

The CBO had previously estimated the labor force impact would be around 800,000 people in that time frame. CBO said the jobs figures largely represent Americans who will choose not to work rather than those who will lose their jobs or have their workweeks reduced because of the law.

The new estimates could further complicate the political landscape for many vulnerable Democrats, as Republicans are planning to use the health-care law as a key cudgel in November. The White House has also been working to try and reverse the number of workers who are leaving the labor market, and CBO’s new estimates on this phenomenon could also embolden many in the GOP. . .

Duck and cover, Dems. - Greg Pollowitz

The CBO Just Nuked Obamacare

Via :

The Affordable Care Act is projected to reduce the number of full-time workers by roughly 2.3 million people through 2021 and insure 2 million fewer people this year than previously estimated, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday.

The CBO had previously estimated the labor force impact would be around 800,000 people in that time frame. CBO said the jobs figures largely represent Americans who will choose not to work rather than those who will lose their jobs or have their workweeks reduced because of the law.

The new estimates could further complicate the political landscape for many vulnerable Democrats, as Republicans are planning to use the health-care law as a key cudgel in November. The White House has also been working to try and reverse the number of workers who are leaving the labor market, and CBO’s new estimates on this phenomenon could also embolden many in the GOP. . .

Duck and cover, Dems. - Greg Pollowitz

Al Qaeda ‘Disavows’ Syrian Terror Group for being too Terroristy

Via the WSJ:

Al Qaeda’s leader disavowed the most aggressive and brutal jihadist group fighting in Syria, deepening rifts among rebels embroiled in an internal war distracting from their fight against the Damascus regime.

The leader of al Qaeda’s central command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, condemned the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in a posting on jihadist websites Sunday night. He decried the infighting among rebels as “a catastrophe for jihad in Syria.”

ISIS, with an estimated 10,000 fighters, has been one of the most effective rebel groups in claiming territory in the civil war. But rival fighters suspect the group has sought to turn the civil uprising against President Bashar al-Assad into a violent quest to build a cross-border Muslim state ruled by strict Islamic law in the Middle East.

ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi affirms loyalty to al Qaeda but has shrugged off previous commands from Mr. Zawahiri to respect the supremacy of al Qaeda’s recognized affiliate in Syria, the Nusra Front.

The disavowal marked an attempt to restore al Qaeda’s influence on the Syrian battlefield and to rally jihadist groups fighting there against ISIS. A month-old war within the armed opposition has turned the focus of many rebels toward battling ISIS and away from fighting the regime. Al Qaeda sees ISIS as a renegade band damaging the terror group’s brand through car bombings, mass killings, and torture of fellow Muslims. . .

So al Qaeda is now the moderate wing of the jihadists? Prediction: We'll be conducting drone strikes on both al Qaeda and the ISIS by the summer. - Greg Pollowitz

6 More Years of Liberalism as Bill de Blasio Drops the Groundhog

Via YouTube:

Doofus. - Greg Pollowitz

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