Sunday on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” host Chuck Todd took President Barack Obama to task for the optics of going golfing moments after his statement on ISIS beheading journalist James Foley. Obama complained during his vacations he would “love” not to be followed by the press.
“You know, it is always a challenge when you’re supposed to be on vacation, because you’re followed everywhere, part of what I would love is a vacation from the press,” Obama said.
The president did take some responsibility saying, “But there’s no doubt that after having talked to the families, where it was hard for me to hold back tears listening to the pain that they were going through, after the statement that I made, I should have anticipated the optics. That’s part of the job.”
Referring to the Foley insensitivity as ‘theater” he said, “But part of this job is also the theater. It’s not something that always comes naturally to me. But it matters, and I’m mindful of that.”
I’ve got a suggestion, Barry. Resign.
On September 6, Islamic State (IS) militants executed two female doctors and a female parliamentary candidate in Mosul, then took the bodies with them.
IS also executed three males.
These are but the latest executions in IS’s continuing practice of killing everyone who refuses to bow the knee to their terror group.
According to Israel National News, “witnesses told AFP that the terrorists broke into the homes of the two female doctors who refused to treat members of their group, as well as the home of a female candidate who ran unsuccessfully in parliamentary elections for the US-backed Iraqi government.” The IS militants shot all three women and seized their bodies.
IS militants also killed a female doctor two weeks ago when “she refused…to dress ‘modestly’ and cover her face with a traditional Islamic veil.”
Since capturing Mosul on June 10, IS has demonstrated a pattern of killing those who refuse to pledge allegiance to them. This includes clerics whom IS viewed as too “moderate” and Iraqi soldiers who have been captured and executed en masse since Mosul’s fall.
On August 28 Breitbart News reported that IS militants captured approximately 250 Syrian soldiers, forced them to strip, then marched them into the desert where they too were executed.
After the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the government called on police to become the eyes and ears of homeland security on America’s highways.
Local officers, county deputies and state troopers were encouraged to act more aggressively in searching for suspicious people, drugs and other contraband. The departments of Homeland Security and Justice spent millions on police training.
The effort succeeded, but it had an impact that has been largely hidden from public view: the spread of an aggressive brand of policing that has spurred the seizure of hundreds of millions of dollars in cash from motorists and others not charged with crimes, a Washington Post investigation found. Thousands of people have been forced to fight legal battles that can last more than a year to get their money back.
Behind the rise in seizures is a little-known cottage industry of private police-training firms that teach the techniques of “highway interdiction” to departments across the country.
A thriving subculture of road officers on the network now competes to see who can seize the most cash and contraband, describing their exploits in the network’s chat rooms and sharing “trophy shots” of money and drugs. Some police advocate highway interdiction as a way of raising revenue for cash-strapped municipalities.
While the agency continues to blame “computer crashes” for the now more than 20 people whose emails are “missing,” no IRS official has yet to identify when or how each computer crashed—much less why. We know Lois Lerner’s hard drive, which was “scratched” only a matter of days after receiving a letter from Congress requesting her emails. The IRS then destroyed it. The IRS followed a year later with the destruction of her unimpaired Blackberry containing emails for the same period. As we reported first, it made no effort whatsoever to obtain information from the Blackberry—despite being well into the Congressional inquiry. That is obstruction of justice and destruction of evidence—worse than the conduct for which Leslie Caldwell, now head of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, destroyed Arthur Andersen LLP and its 85,000 jobs.
Any number of federal criminal statutes might apply to these facts, including Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 1505—Obstruction of proceedings before department, agencies and committees; and Section 1519—Destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in Federal investigations. Section 1505 is also a predicate offense for the federal Racketeering Statute, Section 1961, which provides that a “pattern of racketeering activity” can be proved by committing two predicate acts. These statutes are punishable by terms of imprisonment varying from five to twenty years.
While Lois Lerner and her husband vacationed in Nantucket, Judge Sullivan gave Magistrate Judge Facciola until September 20 to “assist the parties” in finding the emails from other sources. The IRS has admitted there is a massive back-up of all federal emails, but prefers to continue to obstruct justice rather than go to the trouble of finding the emails. I wouldn’t want to be the Department of Justice lawyer making that argument to Judge Emmet Sullivan.
There are a lot of fancy, high-tech prosthetics out there. Some can read electrical signals from the nerves and muscles of the remaining tissue, while others even interface with the brain to read a person’s intentions when she, say, wants to reach for a chocolate bar. There are also computerized exoskeletons that can turn a quadriplegic into a soccer player.
Those concepts are super cool, but they’re also super futuristic. As in, they probably won’t be available to regular people for a few decades. For now, the most common leg prosthetic is essentially a peg leg with a simple cup-shaped socket placed over the stump (or “residual limb,” if you want to get technical). Those types of limbs tend to be uncomfortable; they cause chafing and alter the biomechanics of walking in ways that put strain on the back and other body parts.
A group of researchers at University College London has developed what may turn out to be a better idea. In a clinical trial that just wrapped, they implanted 20 amputees with prosthetics that interface directly with the patient’s skeleton. Voilà, the chafing disappears, and patients get a lot more tactile feedback than regular prosthetics.
“[M]y ability to know where [my foot] is improved dramatically because you can feel it through the bone,” Mike O’Leary, an above-the-knee amputee who participated in the trial, told the Guardian. “A textured road crossing, I can feel that. You essentially had no sensation with a socket and with Itap you can feel everything.” (“Itap” is the name of the prosthetic, standing for Intraosseous Transcutaneous Amputation Prosthesis.)
What’s really neat is how the researchers prevent infections from developing between the metal and the flesh. The prosthetic limbs are modeled after deer antlers, which have porous bone beneath their surface; the pores help soft tissue invade the bone and seal off the interface between skin and bone, so dirt and bacteria can’t get in. Itap uses a similar porous design in the area where the skin and prosthetic meet, allowing soft tissue to invade the metal.
If the data from the trial looks good, the limb could be deployed soon in specialist clinics across the U.K., and hopefully the U.S.
For decades, football players have worn rigid, unyielding helmets that protected the skull but did little to prevent concussions. To address this shortcoming, Riddell built a smarter helmet. Available to NFL and college teams, and soon youth and high school players, the new SpeedFlex is designed to diminish the impact forces of a hard hit. It will also alert coaches on the sideline if a blow was powerful enough to potentially cause a head injury. At a time when the sport has been hammered with bad news, this might be a game changer.
At the crown of the helmet, a flexible panel that has a polycarbonate shell attaches with a living hinge. It is padded with polyurethane and synthetic rubber and can depress up to a quarter of an inch, dispersing the force of an impact.
Most face masks attach to the helmet at a player’s brow, but SpeedFlex’s attaches at the sides. The configuration diffuses any force around the helmet, away from one central area. The stainless-steel mask is also designed to flex.
If a high school player loses his helmet, rules require him to sit out a play. Riddell’s ratchet-lock will make such incidents almost impossible. Unlike buckles or snaps, its guided tooth mechanism works more like snowboard bindings.
Sensors in the helmet collect data on impact force, linear or rotational acceleration, and location. If the hit put the player at risk of a concussion, the information is sent to a handheld device that alerts the trainer on the sidelines.
Arabic media reports indicate that Saudi authorities raided a house church in Khafji province, arresting 27 men, women and children. The raid was conducted by the Saudi Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, according to reports.
Khafji was the site of the first major ground engagement of the 1991 Gulf War.
The raid is another part of an ongoing harassment campaign directed at Christians at the exact same time that the Saudi Kingdom is making a major “interfaith outreach” push internationally.
A 2010 Reuters report observes the plight of Christians in the Gulf states and the Arabian Peninsula:
At least 3.5 million Christians of all denominations live in the Gulf Arab region, the birthplace of Islam and home to some of the most conservative Arab Muslim societies in the world. The freedom to practice Christianity — or any religion other than Islam — is not always a given in the Gulf and varies from country to country. Saudi Arabia, which applies an austere form of Sunni Islam, has by far the tightest restrictions.
As the Islamic State engages in widespread religious cleansing in Iraq and Syria of ancient Christian communities, it might be fair to ask whether the difference between Wahhabis and the Islamic State is merely of degree and not kind.
The IRS says it has lost emails from five more workers who are part of congressional investigations into the treatment of conservative groups that applied for tax exempt status.
The tax agency said in June that it could not locate an untold number of emails to and from Lois Lerner, who headed the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status. The revelation set off a new round of investigations and congressional hearings.
On Friday, the IRS said it has also lost emails from five other employees related to the probe, including two agents who worked in a Cincinnati office processing applications for tax-exempt status.
The agency blamed computer crashes for the lost emails. In a statement, the IRS said it found no evidence that anyone deliberately destroyed evidence.
And it’s an absolute coincidence that they are from employees that could have been subpoenaed…
Spain is considering a ban on burqas as part of a new security package. Speaking in a press conference, interior minister Jorje Fernández Diaz said that now would be a good time to obtain “a level of consensus” on the proposal.
Seeking to temper his comments, he added “I don’t want to say a ban is necessary”, but then restate that this could be “a good moment” to consider the prohibition, The Local has reported.
It comes as Spain’s parliament debates the draft Citizen Security Law, which already includes a provision to ban people from covering their faces during demonstrations. If members of parliament thought there was will in the country to do so, they may insert a clauses to limit the wearing of burqas, niqabs and other face veils worn by Muslim females, on the grounds that such garments make identification difficult.
The head of Spain’s Islamic Federation, Riay Tatary, retorted that such a ban was “unnecessary” as so few women in Spain wear them.
The regional government of Catalonia is also working on a law to restrict the wearing of burqas and other face coverings “for reasons of public safety”.
Facial coverings, including niqabs, hijabs and other Muslim forms of headdress are already banned in France, Belgium and Italy. The predominantly Muslim countries of Tunisia and Turkey also have bans in place in public spaces such as universities, schools and government buildings.