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NEWS THAT MAKES YOU THINK… 07.09.14

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NEWS THAT MAKES YOU THINK... 07.09.14

News-That-Make-You-ThinkIsraeli television reported Tuesday that a rocket aimed at Tel Aviv was intercepted by its "Iron Dome" defense system after the country carried out airstrikes on at least 100 sites in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip as part of a new offensive aimed at halting rocket attacks by militants.

The apparent rocket attack would be the deepest strike by Palestinian militants since Israel launched an offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Air raid sirens went off in the city, which is Israel's commercial capital and about 45 miles north of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli military didn't immediately confirm the report, but an explosion was heard shortly afterward.

The earlier strikes prompted President Obama to urge both sides to exercise restraint.

But the Israeli military said the strikes would help "retrieve stability to the residents of southern Israel, eliminate Hamas' capabilities and destroy terror infrastructure operating against the State of Israel and its civilians."

More@FoxNews

Enrollment at a third of the city’s elementary schools registered at least a startling 138% of capacity that year, Stringer concludes in a report to be released Wednesday, a copy of which the Daily News obtained.

But even that figure underestimates the problem, the audit said, because the Department of Education’s official census, known as the Blue Book, was “misleading.” Until this year, the Blue Book did not count thousands of students housed in temporary trailers as part of each elementary and middle school’s enrollment.

Similar reports issued recently by the Independent Budget Office and the advocacy group Class Size Matters have chronicled a steady rise in school overcrowding the past few years, but Stringer’s audit provides key details on the most afflicted schools.

More@NYDailyNews

Robert Matthews, a visiting scientist at Aston University in Birmingham, England, has developed a mathematical theory that explains why headphones invariably tangle up into hopeless knots. It’s called the “Murphy's Law of String” or the “Loop Conjecture,” and it’s a phenomenon that has driven headphone users bonkers since before the Walkman was popular.

Matthews’ years of study suggest that clipping the two earbuds together, then attaching them to the end near the audio jack to form a loop, will cause a tenfold reduction in knot formation.

“First, by forming the loop you've effectively reduced the length of string able to explore the 3D space by 50 per cent, which makes a big difference.” Matthews said. “Second, you've also eliminated the two ends, which are the prime movers of knot formation.”

More@ABCNews

(CNN) - President Barack Obama travels to Texas, the epicenter of the immigrant influx, on Wednesday.

But the trip has come under criticism from Republicans and some Democrats because, while it includes a Democratic Party fundraising event, it doesn't stop at the border area where the flood of immigrants cross illegally into the United States.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a possible GOP presidential nominee in 2016, called the situation similar to the much-disparaged federal response to Hurricane Katrina by the Bush administration.

"For him to go to Texas and spend two days shaking down donors and never even getting near the border mess he helped create would be like flying into New Orleans in the highest waters of Katrina to eat Creole cooking, but never getting near the 9th Ward, the Superdome, or the Convention Center where thousands languished in squalor," Huckabee said.

More@CNN

Six teenage lifeguards — at least two of whom were on the clock — lit up inside a car parked on Seagirt Boulevard near Beach Ninth Street at around 2:20 p.m., police sources said.

Cops found two joints, two bags of weed and a pipe inside the 2002 Suburban and slapped all six with possession of marijuana, authorities said.

“It’s completely unacceptable that lifeguards are getting high. [It] could clearly impact the public-safety job that they are required to do,” said Geoffrey Croft of NYC Park Advocates.

More@NYPost

Out of more than 27,000 Seminole County elementary school students, 11-year-old Yazielis Ramirez of Winter Springs is the only one to have received perfect scores on all three portions of the test this school year.

“I didn't know I was going to get a perfect score, but I thought I would get around a 5. I just tried my very hardest and it came out great,” Ramirez said.

When asked how she did it, Yazielis said she just paid attention in class and made sure she studied.

“I'm so proud of her. I'm very grateful for the school because I know they do very hard work with the kids,” said Inneabell Ramirez, Yazielis’ mother.

More@Wesh.com

NEWS THAT MAKES YOU THINK… 07.08.14

NEWS THAT MAKES YOU THINK... 07.08.14

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News-That-Make-You-ThinkIsraeli military officials said early Tuesday that they had carried out airstrikes targeting at least 50 sites in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip as part of a new offensive aimed at halting rocket attacks by militants as President Barack Obama urged both sides to exercise restraint.

Israelli Army spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner told The Associated Press that the military attacked four houses belonging to militants,  as well as concealed rocket launchers and other sites. Most of the sites were targeted in airstrikes, and three were attacked from the sea.

Lerner says the army will gradually increase attacks on Gaza, and is recruiting reservists for a potential ground invasion.

The latest operation comes after militants fired dozens of rockets at southern Israel on Monday, setting off air raid sirens and forcing hundreds of thousands of Israelis to stay indoors. A Twitter statement from the Israeli army said the offensive, dubbed "Operation Protective Edge," is intended to "stop the terror Israel's citizens face on a daily basis."

More@FoxNews

The NYPD is currently keeping track of events in numerous trouble spots in the Middle East, a top police official said, though no specific terror threat to the city has been identified.

“We are monitoring several situations simultaneously. One is the situation in Syria. Two or three key groups there talking about expanding their activities,” Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence John Miller said Monday.

Events in Iraq and the Gaza Strip are also being eyed, as the NYPD shares info with the FBI. “When you deal with that region, there is always a ripple effect” that can affect New York, Miller said.

More@NyDailyNews

WASHINGTON (July 7, 2014) — President Barack Obama called for Israelis and Palestinians alike to restrain themselves and put an end to acts of retribution, in some of his first public comments on the matter since the murder of three Israeli teenagers touched off a new round of violence and deepening mistrust.

In an op-ed in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Obama called it a "dangerous moment" for the region where a vaunted U.S. peace effort recently collapsed. Writing in emotional terms, he said he couldn't imagine the pain suffered by the parents of the three Israeli teens, but was also heartbroken by the senseless murder of a Palestinian teenager who many suspect was killed as payback.

"All parties must protect the innocent and act with reasonableness and restraint, not vengeance and retribution," Obama said.

Obama's comments, published in Hebrew, Arabic and English, reflected growing U.S. concern about tit-for-tat violence spiraling out of control as the fragile situation in Israel appears to deteriorate.

After dozens of rockets rained on southern Israel from the Gaza Strip, Israel's military on Tuesday launched an offensive operation including airstrikes that Palestinians said injured at least nine. Israel authorized the mobilization of some 1,500 military reservists in an escalation that evoked uneasy memories of Israel's other incursions into the Hamas-controlled coastal strip.

More@OneNewsNow

A cat is being quarantined for 10 days after it attacked its owners inside a Volusia County home, leaving the couple with several scratches to their legs and hands.

Teresa and James Gregory called the DeLand Police Department around 7 p.m. July 5, in regard to an aggressive cat.

When police arrived, the Gregorys both said that Kush, their 4-year-old Russian Blue cat, became aggressive and attacked them.

Both James and Teresa Gregory sustained several scratches to their legs and hands, police said. They declined treatment but did want the cat removed from the home.

DeLand Animal Control arrived and will quarantine the cat for 10 days. The owners said the cat has never had any shots or vaccinations.

More@BayNews

Protesters and illegal immigrant supporters have drawn battle lines once again in Murrieta, the California city where angry residents last week turned back busloads of border crossers.

The small city about 60 miles north of San Diego has been in the national spotlight since last Tuesday when a group of protestors stopped three federal buses filled with mostly women and children from central America. The buses eventually turned around and left.

On Friday, six protestors were arrested but that hasn’t stopped even more from showing up again on Monday. Many say they’re worried about the immigrants being released in their community after they’re processed.

More@FoxNews

Two drones nearly took out an NYPD chopper over the George Washington Bridge on Monday, and cops arrested the wayward crafts’ operators, law-enforcement sources told The Post.

The Aviation Unit helicopter was on patrol at around 12:15 a.m. when it had to swerve to avoid the small unmanned aircrafts, the sources said.

The NYPD pilots “observed flying object[s] at 2,000 feet in vicinity of the George Washington Bridge, then circling heading toward the helicopter,’’ a police report said.

“The officers were forced to change their course to avoid a collision.”

One source called it a “very dangerous” scenario.

“Although [drones] may only weigh a few pounds, that’s all birds weigh, and look what they did to the Sully Airbus,” the source said, referring to 2009’s “Miracle on the Hudson,” in which a bird strike forced US Airways pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger to crash-land a jetliner in the Hudson River.

The chopper tailed the drones north as they landed at the corner of Audubon and Fort George avenues, near Fort Tryon Park, at 12:35 a.m., sources said.

The chopper cops called NYPD Patrol, and officers were dispatched to nab the suspects.

More@NYPost

There’s no crying in baseball, but a sleepy Bronx Bombers fan is whining in court that he got mocked by two ESPN announcers for snoozing in his seat at Yankee Stadium.

Andrew Rector has filed a $10 million defamation suit against the team, the sports network, its play-by-play man Dan Shulman and big-leaguer-turned-commentator John Kruk, who he claims unleashed an “avalanche of disparaging words” over his nationally televised nap.

Rector admits in the Bronx Supreme Court suit that he “briefly slept” during the April 13 night game between the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.

But his typo-ridden suit says Shulman and Kruk’s “false statements” include suggestions that Rector is “not worthy” to be a Yankee fan and “is a fatty cow that need two seats at all time and represent symbol of failure.”

It also says Rector was made out to be “a confused individual that neither understands nor knows anything about history and the meaning of rivalry between Red Sox and New York Yankee.”

As a result, the used-car dealer claims to have “suffered substantial injury” to his “character and reputation,” as well as “mental anguish, loss of future income and loss of earning capacity.”

More@NYPost

MOUNTAIN VIEW Calif. (Reuters) - Google smartphones with next-generation 3D sensing technology are about to blast into orbit, where they will become the brains and eyes of ball-shaped hovering robots on the International Space Station.

NASA plans to use the handsets to beef up its Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, or SPHERES, which could eventually take over daily chores for astronauts or even handle risky duties outside of the vessel.

The phones, part of Google's Project Tango augmented reality initiative, will be aboard a cargo spacecraft scheduled to launch on July 11.

Inspired by a scene from the movie Star Wars where Luke Skywalker spars with a hovering globe, the soccer-ball sized robots can be guided around the space station's microgravity interior, propelled by tiny blasts of CO2 at about an inch per second.

More@YahooNews

Leftists still fuming… and they SHOULD be!

NEWS THAT MAKES YOU THINK… 07.01.14

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NEWS THAT MAKES YOU THINK... 07.01.14

News-That-Make-You-ThinkIsrael vowed retaliation on Monday after the bodies of three teenagers who were kidnapped more than two weeks ago were discovered in the West Bank.

The bodies of the youths -- including one with U.S. citizenship -- were found just north of Hebron, and led to outpourings of grief and rage in the Jewish State, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowing "Hamas will pay."

The Israeli air force conducted strikes early Tuesday morning against 34 targets in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip in response to rocket attacks against Israel's southern communities. It was not immediately clear if the airstrikes, which targeted Hamas and Islamic Jihad assets in the strip and came after more than 20 rockets were fired into southern Israel over the past two days, resulted in any casualties, the Jerusalm Post reported.

More@FoxNews

President Obama suffered two final defeats in the Supreme Court on Monday, capping a 2013-2014 term in which the justices delivered several judicial hits to the White House while taking a firm stand against the unchecked power of the state.

The administration’s losses on Obamacare rules and compulsory union dues served as a rebuke on the Supreme Court’s final day after months of judicial decisions to rein in big government on issues such as snooping without a warrant, campaign finance restrictions and Mr. Obama’s recess appointment powers.

Just as damning was the way the court ruled in some of those cases. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. corralled unanimous votes on privacy and recess appointments — cases that dealt stinging defeats to Mr. Obama, himself a lawyer and former lecturer on constitutional law.

In the more than five years that Mr. Obama has been in office, the court has rejected the government’s argument with a 9-0 decision 20 times.

More@WashTimes

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, criticized for manipulating temperature records to create a warming trend, has now been caught warming the past and cooling the present.

July 2012 became the hottest month on record in the U.S. during a summer that was declared “too hot to handle” by NASA scientists. That summer more than half the country was experiencing drought and wildfires had scorched more than 1.3 million acres of land, according to NASA.

According to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in 2012, the “average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during July was 77.6°F, 3.3°F above the 20th century average, marking the warmest July and all-time warmest month on record for the nation in a period of record that dates back to 1895.”

“The previous warmest July for the nation was July 1936, when the average U.S. temperature was 77.4°F,” NOAA said in 2012.

This statement by NOAA was still available on their website when checked by The Daily Caller News Foundation. But when meteorologist and climate blogger Anthony Watts went to check the NOAA data on Sunday he found that the science agency had quietly reinstated July 1936 as the hottest month on record in the U.S.

More@DailyCaller

The U.S. is sending another 300 troops to Iraq to increase security at the U.S. Embassy and elsewhere in the Baghdad area to protect U.S. citizens and property, officials said Monday.

That raises the total U.S. troop presence in Iraq to approximately 750, the Pentagon said. The State Department, meanwhile, announced that it was temporarily moving an unspecified "small number" of embassy staff in Baghdad to U.S. consulates in the northern city of Irbil and the southern city of Basra. This is in addition to some embassy staff moved out of Baghdad earlier this month. Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the Baghdad embassy "will be fully equipped to carry out" its mission.

The White House announced that President Barack Obama had directed that 200 troops be sent to reinforce security at the embassy, its support facilities and Baghdad International Airport.

More@ABCNews

Hillary Clinton on Monday called the Supreme Court’s ruling in the contraception-related Hobby Lobby case “deeply disturbing.”

The former secretary of state and possible Democratic front-runner skewered the decision during an appearance at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado, hours after the Supreme Court ruled that for-profit employers don’t have to provide contraception coverage, mandated under Obamacare, if they have religious objections.

“It’s the first time that our court has said that a closely held corporation has the rights of a person when it comes to religious freedom, which means the corporation’s … [‘closely held’] employers can impose their religious beliefs on their employees, and, of course, denying women the right to contraceptives as part of a health care plan is exactly that,” she said. “I find it deeply disturbing that we are going in that direction.”

More@Politico

Traveling to a foreign land and afraid you’ll go through Dunkin’ Donuts withdrawal? Worry not! Dunks is in 30 countries, and while you’ll find some of your favorite menu items (the Boston Kreme seems to be almost everywhere – it’s Lebanon’s most popular variety) abroad, there are also some pretty interesting options adapted to regional palettes you won’t find here.

Some of these might seem pretty weird—even disgusting—but you could probably say the same about some of Dunks' American offerings (bacon donut sandwich, anyone?)

WorldRunsOnDunkin More@Boston.com

SCOTUS: Can’t force companies to provide abortion!

NTMYTInfoAlert

News That Makes You Think… 06.30.14

Brought to you by: DoMuchGood.com

NEWS THAT MAKES YOU THINK... 06.30.14

News-That-Make-You-ThinkBAUCHI, Nigeria – Suspected Islamic extremists sprayed gunfire at worshipers and torched four churches Sunday in a village just miles from the town where more than 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped, witnesses said.

At least 30 bodies have been recovered but more are turning up in the bushes, where people tried to escape from Kwada village, said a member of a vigilante group that has had some successes in repelling attacks.

"They killed dozens of people and burned houses after attacking worshippers," survivor Mallam Yahi told The Associated Press by telephone from Chibok town, to which he escaped.

Some of the church buildings destroyed included the Protestant Church of Christ in Nigeria, the Pentecostal Deeper Life Bible Church and Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa, which is Hausa for Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, Yahi said. The last was started by American missionaries from Illinois in the 1920s.

More@FoxNews

The leaders of an Al Qaeda splinter group that has seized vast portions of northern and western Iraq have declared the establishment of an Islamic state and demanded allegiance from other Muslim groups.

In an audio statement posted online that coincided with the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a spokesman for the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), announced that the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was the "caliph," or leader, of a state whose territory extended from the city of Aleppo in northwestern Syria, to Diyala province in northeastern Iraq.

The spokesman, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, described al-Baghdadi as "the imam and khalifah (caliph) for the Muslims everywhere." He also said that with the establishment of the caliphate, the group was changing its name to just the Islamic State, dropping the mention of Iraq and the Levant.

"The legality of all emirates, groups, states and organizations becomes null by the expansion of the caliph's authority and the arrival of its troops to their areas," al-Adnani continued. "Listen to your caliph and obey him. Support your state, which grows every day."

More@FoxNews

ALBANY — A Queens-based provider of bilingual pre-school special education services was hit by state Controller Thomas DiNapoli in a new audit for improperly spending taxpayer money on fancy cars, a Manhattan apartment, and even a recent hire's funeral expenses.

The audit, set to be released Monday, found that Bilinguals Inc. received reimbursements to help cover the cost of rent on a Manhattan apartment for Executive Director Trudy Font-Padron and her husband, Robert Padron, an assistant executive director, "so they wouldn't be too far from the office," even though the headquarters are in Forest Hills.

More@NYDailyNews

North Korea has announced that it is preparing to put two American tourists on trial for carrying out what Pyongyang says were hostile acts against the country.

Matthew Todd Miller and Jeffrey Edward Fowle were detained nearly three weeks apart in April. North Korean authorities have not specified what the two did that was considered hostile or illegal, or what kind of punishment they might face. It also did not say when the trial would begin.

"Their hostile acts were confirmed by evidence and their own testimonies," read a partial statement from the official Korean Central News Agency.

Fowle arrived in the county on April 29. North Korea's state media said in June that authorities were investigating him for committing acts inconsistent with the purpose of a tourist visit.

More@FoxNews

David Bryant's days as a free man may soon be coming to an end.

The man who served nearly four decades for the vicious rape and murder of an 8-year-old Bronx girl — before being sprung from prison on a technicality last year — may be heading back behind bars now that an appellate court has overturned the decision that led to his release, authorities said.

A source with the Bronx district attorney’s office said prosecutors will demand that Bronx Supreme Court Justice Seth Marvin reinstate Bryant’s conviction for the 1975 killing of little Karen Smith.

“We go back into court Tuesday to put David Bryant back behind bars,” said the source.

A state appellate court recently overturned Marvin’s decision that Bryant’s lawyer botched his defense when he didn’t test for his client’s blood type or consult with a scientist who specializes in body fluids.

More@NYDailyNews

In addition to sweeping views, updated appliances and all modern conveniences, one new D.C. apartment complex comes with an English bulldog for all residents to enjoy.

Doug Crawford, the manager of 2M, a building set to open Aug. 1 at the corner of North Capitol and M streets, is making it possible for busy residents to have a pet without all the work.

His 10-month-old pup, Emmy, will serve as the communal dog.

"People work endless amounts of hours, so it's rather difficult to get a puppy and care for them," he said.

More@NBCWashington

NEWS THAT MAKES YOU THINK 06.26.14

News-That-Make-You-Think

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NEWS THAT MAKES YOU THINK 06.26.14

Congressional investigators have uncovered emails showing ex-IRS official Lois Lerner targeted a sitting Republican senator for a proposed internal audit, a discovery one GOP lawmaker called "shocking."

The emails were published late Wednesday by the House Ways and Means Committee and pertain to the woman at the heart of the scandal over IRS targeting of Tea Party groups.

The emails appear to show Lerner mistakenly received an invitation intended for Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, in 2012.

The event organizer, whose name is not disclosed, apparently offered to pay for Grassley's wife to attend the event, which caught Lerner's attention. The December 2012 emails show that in response, Lerner suggested to an IRS colleague that the case be referred for an audit.

More@FoxNews

In an only-in-New-York moment, an eccentric Chinese millionaire fed some 250 homeless people a fancy lunch at the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park on Wednesday — but was thanked with Bronx cheers.

Chen Guangbiao, a recycling tycoon, provided the fine food, and he personally performed magic tricks and sang “We are the World” — and all it got him were shouts from the belly-full crowd.

The homeless people he had helped blasted him as a “fraud” and a “thief” and worse because the $300 each had expected to receive was instead given in lump-sum to a shelter where they had been staying — New York City Rescue Mission.

“The meal was lousy, the cash didn’t come,” said Clarence Taylor, 52, as the ungrateful throng railed in frustration. “Prey on somebody else. Why are you preying on the homeless?”

Another unhappy homeless man, Ernest St. Pierre, vowed he wouldn’t leave until Chen coughed up the cash.

“These people have hope,” he said. “They’re hoping Chen delivers the money.”

More@NYDailyNews

Overly protective mothers can cause theirchildren to become obese, a study has found. Researchers from the Telethon Kids Institute analysed data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children and identified a connection between overprotective parenting and the rate of child obesity.

According to the paper, published on PLOS ONE, children whose mothers had high levels of protectiveness were more likely to be overweight or obese at 10-11 years of age, than those whose mothers showed average levels of protectiveness.

"We found that kids had up to a 13% higher risk of being overweight or obese if their mum had above-average protectiveness, but the pattern only emerged when kids were about 10 or 11 years old," lead author Kirsten Hancock said.

More@IBTimes

WASHINGTON — Speaker John A. Boehner announced Wednesday that he would introduce legislation next month allowing the House to sue President Obama over his use of executive actions.

In a letter to lawmakers, Mr. Boehner expressed concern with what he — and many in the Republican conference — considered the president’s unconstitutional overreach.

“The Constitution makes it clear that a president’s job is to faithfully execute the laws; in my view, the president has not faithfully executed the laws,” Mr. Boehner told reporters. “And when there’s conflicts like this between the legislative branch and the administrative branch it’s, in my view, our responsibility to stand up for this institution in which we serve.”

Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader, called Mr. Boehner’s move “subterfuge,” and Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said that “it seems that Republicans have shifted their opposition into a higher gear.”

More@NYTimes

A federal appeals court ruled for the first time Wednesday that states cannot prevent gay couples from getting married, extending the movement's legal winning streak and bringing the issue a big step closer to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The three-judge panel in Denver ruled 2-1 that states cannot deprive people of the fundamental right to marry simply because they choose a partner of the same sex.

"It is wholly illogical to believe that state recognition of love and commitment of same-sex couples will alter the most intimate and personal decisions of opposite-sex couples," the judges wrote, addressing arguments that the ruling could undermine traditional marriage.

The decision by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel upheld a lower-court ruling that struck down Utah's gay marriage ban. It becomes law in the six states covered by the 10th Circuit: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming. But the panel immediately put the ruling on hold pending an appeal.

More@Yahoo

Deputies in Panama City Beach are trying to determine why a 12-year-old boy stole a school bus and drove it to a Wal-Mart around 5 a.m. Tuesday, according to The News Herald.

The bus was parked in front of the driver's house with the door open when the boy decided to walk inside and then saw the keys. He drove the bus 14 miles to a Wal-Mart without incident and authorities were only alerted when an employee at the store noticed the bus driver was having difficulty parking.

Security footage from the bus showed the child was calm and collected during the drive. When deputies asked the boy why he did it, the child provided no real explanation.

More@OrlandoSentinel

SCOTUS to POTUS: Heh… not exactly!

The Supreme Court delivered a blow Thursday to President Obama, ruling that he went too far in making recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.

In a unanimous decision, the high court ruled in favor of Senate Republicans and limited the president's power to fill high-level vacancies with temporary appointments.

The court upheld the general authority of the president to make recess appointments, but said Obama lacked the power to fill slots at the NLRB during a brief, three-day Senate recess in 2012.

Obama had argued that the Senate was on an extended holiday break and that the brief sessions it held every three days were a sham that was intended to prevent him from filling seats on the NLRB.

The justices rejected that argument.

The issue of recess appointments receded in importance after the Senate's Democratic majority changed the rules to make it harder for Republicans to block confirmation of most Obama appointees.

But the ruling's impact may be keenly felt by the White House next year if Republicans capture control of the Senate in the November election. The potential importance of the ruling lies in the Senate's ability to block the confirmation of judges and the leaders of independent agencies like the NLRB. A federal law gives the president the power to appoint acting heads of Cabinet-level departments to keep the government running.

More@FoxNews

News That Makes You Think… 06.25.14

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NEWS THAT MAKES YOU THINK 06.25.14

News-That-Make-You-ThinkThe U.S. intelligence community warned about the "growing threat" from Sunni militants in Iraq since the beginning of the year, a senior intelligence official said Tuesday -- a claim that challenges assertions by top administration officials that they were caught off guard by the capture of key Iraqi cities.

Earlier Tuesday, in an interview with Fox News, Secretary of State John Kerry said "nobody expected" Iraqi security forces to be decisively driven out by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, as they were earlier this month in Mosul.

But in a separate briefing with reporters Tuesday afternoon, the senior intelligence official said the intelligence community had warned about the ISIS threat.

“During the past year, the intelligence community has provided strategic warning of Iraq’s deteriorating security situation," the official said. "We routinely highlighted (ISIS') growing threat in Iraq, the increasing difficulties Iraq’s security forced faced in combating (ISIS), and the political strains that were contributing to Iraq’s declining stability.”

Asked who failed to act, the official did not explain.

Offering a grave warning about the current strength of the group -- which is a State Department-designated terror organization -- the official also said that barring a major counteroffensive, the intelligence community assesses that ISIS is "well-positioned to keep the territory it has gained."The official said the ISIS "strike force" now has between 3,000 and 5,000 members.

More@FoxNews

WASHINGTON (June 24, 2014) — Seeking to mobilize a global front against anti-gay violence and discrimination, Vice President Joe Biden declared Tuesday that protecting gay rights is a defining mark of a civilized nation and must trump national cultures and social traditions.

Biden told a gathering of U.S. and international gay rights advocates that President Barack Obama has directed that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender men and women around the world

"I don't care what your culture is," Biden told about 100 guests at the Naval Observatory's vice presidential mansion. "Inhumanity is inhumanity is inhumanity. Prejudice is prejudice is prejudice."

With anti-gay laws taking root in nearly 80 countries, Biden and other top White House officials met with religious, human rights and HIV health care advocates in a forum dedicated to promoting gay rights internationally.

More@OneNewsNow

A week after an NBC News poll showed that the American people had lost faith in Obama's competence and ability to lead, a new CBS News/New York Times pollhas even worse news for a president embattled by his own incompetence, arrogance, and failed policies.

In just one month, the president's job approval rating has shifted a full 9 points against him. Though Obama was still upside on approval by 5 points (43-48%) back in May, he now faces a 14 point deficit of 40-54%.

In just one month, disapproval of Obama's foreign policy has skyrocketed a full 10 points to a record high of 58%. With only 36% approving, that ties this poll's record low in this category.

In the run up to his re-election, when the president was triumphantly declaring the Iraq issue settled and Al Qaeda decimated, foreign policy was one of the president's strengths. At the time, the president's approval ratings on this front hovered at or near 50%.

More@Breitbart

WASHINGTON, June 24 (Reuters) - The District of Columbia Council on Tuesday approved a "yoga tax" on gymnasiums and yoga classes that has angered fitness buffs in the U.S. capital.

The Democratic-controlled council voted 12-1 to give final approval to a $10.6 billion budget for 2015 that included a sales tax on gyms, yoga studios and other athletic businesses, a spokeswoman for Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said.

The budget also includes a substantial income tax cut that would be offset by expanding the existing 5.75 percent sales tax to such services as tanning salons, health clubs, car washes and bowling alleys. The move is expected to raise $5 million a year.

More@HuffPo

A Minnesota man has become people's exhibit No. 1 for why a life of crime and a social media habit don't mix.

Nick Wig was arrested Thursday after allegedly breaking into a home in Dakota County, south of Minneapolis, authorities said. His undoing, they said, was that he logged into his Facebook account on homeowner James Wood’s computer and forgot to log out.

“This is a first case in Dakota County in which a suspected burglar left his Facebook profile on the computer screen of the victim’s computer,” Monica Jensen, spokesperson for the Dakota County Attorney’s Office told ABC News today.

More@ABCNews

News That Makes You Think… 06.24.14

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NEWS THAT MAKES YOU THINK... 06.24.14

News-That-Make-You-ThinkRepublicans dropped a hammer on IRS Commissioner John Koskinen during a testy hearing covering the disappearance of emails tied to the agency's tea party targeting scandal.

The emails, covering the period January 2009 to April 2011, belonged to embattled former official Lois Lerner and could shed light on whether an expansive scheme to single out conservative groups for special scrutiny was guided by members of Congress or administration officials outside the IRS.

'The committee requested all of Lois Lerner’s emails over a year ago,' said House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa. 'And we subpoenaed the emails in August 2013 and again in February 2014. ... You worked to cover up the fact they were missing and only came forward to fess up on a Friday afternoon after you had been caught red-handed.'

'You personally did not cause the targeting,' he told Koskinen, referring to the tea party scandal. 'You personally did not destroy the emails. But by your actions and your deception, you now own this scandal.'

'We have a problem with you,' Issa sniped at the front end of a three-hour, 36-minute ordeal, 'and you have a problem maintaining your credibility.'

More@DailyMail

The NYPD could have dozens of new eyes in the transit system — without a cop setting foot on a train — if a plan to put surveillance cameras in subway cars gets the green light.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton envisions a future in which officers armed with tablets keep tabs on rolling subway cars remotely.

“One of my officers could actually be standing on a platform waiting for that train to come in ... monitoring the cameras on that subway car to see if there’s an issue on that 10-car train that he wants to go and focus on,” Bratton told the Daily News.

Conductors could also monitor display terminals in their cabins between stations to detect disturbances in real time and enable prompt assessments of reports from riders via subway intercoms, Bratton said.

“Cameras are ubiquitous throughout the system. Why not inside train cars?” asked John Samuelsen, president of Transport Workers Union Local 100. “Anything that improves security and helps our conductors keep riders safe is a positive.”

The MTA is investigating the addition of cameras in the city’s subway system.

Chicago recently installed cameras in 830 older-model subway cars with a $13.9 million grant from the federal Department of Homeland Security. In the first three months of this year, Chicago transit cops made 60 arrests on vandalism and graffiti charges — equal to the total for all of last year, said Chicago Transit Authority spokeswoman Catherine Hosinski.

More@NYDailyNews

Deep Fried Donut Bacon CheeseburgersDeep fried doughnut bacon cheeseburgers are a thing now, and you can get them from the Calgary Stampede.

Guys, we know you’re supposed to be on a beach body diet and everything, but can you please just look at these deep fried doughnut bacon cheeseburgers.

The oozy yellow cheese, the greasy salty bacon and the soft glazed doughnut bun, it just makes us sohappy. Happier than the day Tesco started stocking Lucky Charms.

These bad boys are one of the new delicacies being served at Calgary Stampede, a festival over in Canada this July, which also boasts scorpion pizza, deep fried cookie dough and crocodile burgers on the menu.

More@Metro

Shiite Turkmen villagers in northern Iraq have claimed that an Al Qaeda-inspired Sunni militant group carried out a "savage massacre" in four villages near the city of Kirkuk.

The Washington Post reported that more than a dozen residents of the villages of Brawchi, Karanaz, Chardaghli and Beshir described atrocities that took place last week. Kirkuk's deputy police chief, General Turhan Abdel-Rahman, said that he knew of at least 40 dead from the four villages, but noted that there were other bodies inside the village of Beshir.

"Tell the world. It was a savage massacre," one man present at the burial of 15 bodies in the village of Tafaz told the Post.

Many survivors of the attacks have fled to Kirkuk, where Iraqi Kurdish security forces are in control.

More@FoxNews

KHARTOUM, Sudan — A Sudanese woman on death row for apostasy had her sentence canceled and was ordered released by a Khartoum court on Monday, the country’s official news agency reported.

SUNA said the Court of Cassation canceled the death sentence against 27-year-old Meriam Ibrahim after defense lawyers presented their case. The court ordered her release.

Ibrahim, whose father was Muslim but who was raised by her Christian mother, was convicted of apostasy for marrying a Christian. Sudan’s penal code criminalizes the conversion of Muslims to other religions, a crime punishable by death.

Ibrahim married a Christian man from southern Sudan in a church ceremony in 2011. As in many Muslim nations, Muslim women in Sudan are prohibited from marrying non-Muslims, though Muslim men can marry outside their faith.

More@NYPost

The search is on for the UK's naughtiest pet and it's resulting in some adorable pictures.

Direct Blinds have launched the competition after finding that the most damaged household items included sofas, carpets, pillows, blinds, doors and walls.

And who was behind all these menacing breaks? - Britain's mischievous pets!

From cats and dogs to rabbits and horses, there's a whole set of scamps who have been prone to some less-than pleasing behaviour.

But now the whole world knows it as their pictures have been uploaded onto Facebook as an entry in the contest to win £500.

Owners may be pushed to the limit with these rascals, but these pictures are hard not to smile at.

It must be difficult to stay mad at these innocent faces who look like butter wouldn't melt even as they pose by their crime.

More@DailyMirror

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