President Obama is considering candidates for a new post that would assist the White House’s chief technology officer. Nicole Wong, a veteran of Twitter and Google, is a leading contender. …
Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez, Massachusetts super middleweight contender, sparred with Tamerlan Tsarnaev two years ago. “Today I find out he’s a terrorist and one of the Boston Marathon bombers,” he posted on his Facebook page last Friday. “I’m glad I put a beating on him, but wish I’d known he was evil, because I wouldn’t have slowed down on him…”According to USA Boxing, Tsarnaev was registered in Massachusetts as an amateur boxer in 2004-2005 and in 2008-2010. He trained at the Somerville Boxing Gym and later at the South Boston Boxing Club. Apparently, his first amateur fight was at the Golden Gloves competition at Lowell Memorial Auditorium in January 2004. The Lowell Sun reported that he arrived in the United States and settled in Cambridge only five months earlier. His family had fled Grozny, Chechnya, which was ground zero in the Russo-Chechen wars of the mid-’90s and the early part of the twenty-first century. In 2003, the United Nations labeled it “the most destroyed city on earth.”To Tsarnaev, the Golden Gloves may have marked a beginning. “I like the USA,” he told the Sun. “You have a chance to make money here if you are willing to work.” “I think he can win the whole thing,” his trainer said after that first bout. “He can throw.” The trainer in the opposite corner was just as impressed. “There might not be a better fighter in the [178 lb.] class. He was good.”Continue Reading… …
Lawmakers in Washington were gathered to finalize plans toconfirm John Brennan as the next head of the Central IntelligenceAgency on Wednesday, but Sen. Paul took the floor just shy of 12noon and told colleagues that he would speak out against thepresident’s pick for as long as he had to in order to prevent theappointment from being finalized.The son of former presidential contender and congressman RonPaul continued for hours, gaining support from members of bothmajor political parties in opposing the president’s nomination.“This is not about partisanship,” said the Republicansenator, who claimed to have affirmed other choices made by thedemocratic president. Rather, Sen. Paul said that the matter athand — the use of unmanned aerial vehicles to execute US citizenswithout a trial — was one that was so polarizing that lawmakersfrom both sides of the aisle couldn’t help but align on histeam.“It’s not partisan against partisan; it’s bipartisan workingfor the power of the checks and balances to try to ensure aleveling,” tweeted a member of the senator’s social media teamduring his address as it stretched into the evening.Sen. Paul has sent two letters to Mr. Brennan’s office askingfor answers about the drone program operated overseas duringBrennan’s tenure as a White House counterterrorism official, askingspecifically for information about how the aircraft are used toexecute US citizens suspected of terrorism overseas and whetherthat justification can be used domestically.On Tuesday, US Attorney General Eric Holder responded to asimilar letter sent by Sen. Paul, confirming in part that Americancitizens residing within the US mainland could be subjected toextrajudicial executions approved by the Obama administrationbehind closed doors and not a court of law.“It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinarycircumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate underthe Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for thePresident to authorize the military to use lethal force within theterritory of the United States,” wrote Holder.In a response from Mr. Brennan, the nominated CIA chiefconfirmed to Sen. Paul that drones were not being used on US soil,but did not say such an incident would be impossible. Dissatisfiedwith the reluctance of the White House to issue a formal answer tohis precisely line of questioning, Sen. Paul on Wednesday said hewould do everything in his power to stop the architect of the droneprogram from becoming the highest figure in the country’sintelligence community.“I rise today to begin to filibuster John Brennan’snomination for the CIA,” Sen. Paul began his attempt to hold upthe nomination. “I will speak until I can no longer speak. Iwill speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded fromcoast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rightsto trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed bya drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime,without first being found to be guilty by a court.”Sen. Paul told his colleagues that he did not have a beefdirectly with Mr. Brennan, but was intent on making a point aboutthe White House’s insistency on making closed-door decisions thataffect each and every American. It was like “pulling teeth toget any answer from the president,” the senator said, vowingthe he would continue to critique the Obama administration untilthey answered his questions in full.“In a democracy, you could someday elect someone who is veryevil,” said Paul. “That’s why we don’t give the power to thegovernment—and it’s not an accusation of this president or anybodyin this body. It’s a point to be made historically that,occasionally, even a democracy gets it wrong.”Paul also attacked the administration’s reluctance in sharingintelligence with not the American public but politicians likehimself who were elected to represent their constituents. Beingable to be killed by the government with no explanation, said Paul,was reason enough for every person in America to be concerned. Evenstill, though, he said the White House has refused to shareintelligence deemed relevant to his investigation.“They treat the US Senate with disdain,” said Paul.“They won’t respond to us, much less the Americanpeople.”Near hour five of his testimony, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon)aligned himself with Paul and said, “Every person has a right toknow when their government is planning to kill them.”Paul said he had problems with not just the administration’sjustification to kill US citizens suspected of heinous crimesagainst the country, but the factors at hand in that decisionmaking process. To some members of the intelligence community, saidPaul, persons with pro-life bumper stickers and supporters ofthird-party candidates are deemed worthy of being investigated.Americans “who are in the Constitution Party” areconsidered threats to some, he said. “Isn’t there some ironythere?”“If the accusations are based on how many fingers you have ona hand, then I’ve got a problem,” he said. “No Americanshould ever be killed in America who is sitting in a café.”“Sometimes accusations are made because people politicallydon’t like your point of view,” he added.Sen. Paul said the administration is arguing otherwise, though,and that people singled out by Holder, Brennan or another WhiteHouse official as being a threat to the country could be brought todeath without ever being judged in court. That’s how the senatorinterpreted the White House’s lackluster response to his inquiry,at least, and during the filibuster he demanded that the presidentspeak honestly about when, where and who drones could attack.“I can’t understand the president’s unwillingness to say he’snot going to kill noncombatants. Think about that. He’s unwillingto say publicly that he’s not going to kill noncombatants,”said the senator.Four hours into the filibuster, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida)said in support of Paul’s attempt to stop the nomination,“Members of the senate have an important constitutional role togive advice and consent on these nominations.” Earlier in theafternoon, Sen. Paul said, “I withhold my consent today becauseI’m deeply concerned that the exec branch has not provided ananswer: that the president refuses to say that he won’t killnoncombatants.” …
DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) — When Jose Reyes signed his $106 million, six-year deal with the Miami Marlins, he expected to be a long-term part of a dramatically rebuilt franchise that, on paper, looked like a World Series contender.
Turns out the prediction wasn’t worth the paper the contract was written on.
The Marlins finished last in the NL East and the next month, and Reyes found himself shipped north to Toronto as part of a 12-player blockbuster trade that amounted to a major salary dump.
Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., who is running for senate in 2014, played up his right-wing cred in a fundraising email, boasting that he was the first one to label President Obama “a socialist,” also noting that his record and that of Ron Paul “are virtually identical.”
As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, Broun has been publicly playing the cool contender since announcing his run last week. But on the side to potential donors, he’s brandishing his Tea Party background. “I was the first Member of Congress to call him a socialist who embraces Marxist-Leninist policies like government control of health care and redistribution of wealth,” Broun wrote in an email.
CREDIT: Gage Skidmore, via Wikimedia CommonsAfter President Barack Obama
delivers the State of the Union address tonight, the Republican
Party will hand over its (usually thankless) response duties to
alleged GOP savior and widely projected 2016 contender Sen.
Marco Rubio (R-Florida). Then the Tea Party will hand the mic over
to libertarian Republican and widely projected 2016 contender Sen.
Rand Paul (R-Kentucky). The headlines write themselves:* “Rand
Paul, Marco Rubio duel for soul of tea party in speeches opposing
Obama’s State of the Union”* “Rubio
and Paul preview possible 2016 showdown in State of the Union
Rand Paul Is Marco Rubio’s Biggest Political Threat”* “Will
Rand Paul upstage Marco Rubio’s response to Obama?”And
so on.CREDIT: Gage Skidmore, via Wikimedia CommonsHow do these onetime
anti-establishment Class of 2010 Tea Party senators compare?
Looking at their respective high-profile speeches at the 2012
Republican National Convention, Rubio is more likely to stress his
family’s humble immigrant story, remind less recent Americans how
powerful the American dream still is, and say stuff like “almighty
God is the source of all we have.” Paul will probably make more
references to the Constitution, and include Republicans in
at least some of the blame for persistent debt/deficit/spending
since the Tea Party wave of 2010.The big difference between the two, and what makes any
Rubio/Paul contest interesting (both in terms of the GOP and also
the Tea Party), is foreign policy. Rand Paul may be triangulating
from his father and dressing up his imperial scale-back in the
questionably fitting clothes of Ronald Reagan and George
Kennan, but he rarely passes up an opportunity to tell
Republicans that they need to cut military spending and re-think
open-ended interventionism. Rubio, on the other hand, is more
likely to slam Obama for not being
interventionist enough.Given that the Tea Party for the most part has studiously
avoided foreign policy disputes, this contest for its sympathies is
genuinely up for grabs. That said, I wouldn’t expect too much on
the subject from either young senator, given the State of the
Union’s likely preoccupation with jobs, spending cuts, and
Matt Damon defended his new anti-fracking feature, Berlin film festival contender “Promised Land”, Friday against poor reviews and ticket sales and said it was getting harder to make “issue movies”. Damon, who co-wrote the script and stars in the picture directed by Gus Van…