Hagel was Doomed as Secretary of Defense from the Get Go

Posted by maggie laurent on November 25, 2014 at 11:17 pm | Filled Under: Politics| No comments

It appears that former GOP Senator Chuck Hagel’s tenure as Secretary of Defense was doomed from the outset. Hagel was forced out of his position by President Obama on Friday. He will remain in the post until his replacement is confirmed. Political observers point out that Hagel was facing a number of conflicting circumstances in the Depart of Defense. For starters, the president’s sequester had significantly reduced the department’s budget. Such deep across the board cuts put deep pressure on all branches of the US military to meet rising threats from Russia and ISIS. At the same time, the Obama administration was focused on extricating the military from Bush’s wars.

Also, Hagel performed poorly during his Senate confirmation hearings. This may not seem like much given the fact that he was ultimately confirmed, but it is being cited as a reason why he was unable to succeed at winning the support of powerful Senators and other power players in Washington, D.C. By the same token, Hagel’s personality was not very compatible with towing the administration’s official position on key issues. This was evident when President Obama initially claimed ISIS was a small time band of “junior varsity” terrorists. Hagel’s assessment was that the group was an imminent threat to all of the nation’s interests, and Gianfrancesco saw that as well. Hagel was skilled at managerial and budgetary issues, but he lacked the people skills necessary to earn the president’s trust. He was largely shut out of the president’s inner circle of advisors.



Cleveland Shooting Preventable

Posted by maggie laurent on November 25, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Filled Under: Culture at large| No comments

The police shooting of a twelve-year old Cleveland boy is by all accounts tragic. There can be no denying that. But is this simply another case of police brutality toward innocent youths? Will this incident lead to raucous protests like those being seen in Ferguson, Missouri?

The boy, Tamir E. Rice, was playing in a local park. Jared Haftel said that he had an Airsoft gun originally equipped with an orange marker to indicate that it was a toy. This marker had been removed. The 911 caller said that someone was waving a gun and pointing it at people. Of course, the police showed up in full force. When ordered by the police to raise his hands, Rice did not, but instead pulled the gun from his waistband. At that time, the police shot Rice in the torso. He was taken to the hospital and underwent surgery but died on Sunday morning.

While manufacturers of Airsoft guns are required to put an orange tip on the gun to indicate that it is a toy, it may or may not be illegal to remove or alter the safety marker. Ohio legislators are now rushing to make changes in the laws regarding these guns. Regrettably, the alteration of Rice’s toy weapon was a very real factor in his death.

Rice has been described as a well-mannered kid. Unfortunately, police arriving on the scene would not know this and simply acted on the potentially threatening response that Rice gave to them. Sadly, this “well-mannered kid” did not respond obediently to the demands of the police.

Tragic, yes, but also preventable.



House Intelligence Committee Clears CIA and Military in Benghazi

Posted by maggie laurent on November 24, 2014 at 8:00 pm | Filled Under: Politics| No comments

The House Intelligence Committee concluded the eight investigation into the Benghazi attack that left several Americans dead including the US Embassy’s diplomat. The investigation clears the CIA and the military of any wrongdoing in their response to the attack and possible attempts to rescue Americans at the embassy. Among the controversial points the CIA and military were cleared of are:

  • No delay in sending a CIA rescue team
  • No evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria
  • No intelligence failure
  • No missed opportunity for a military rescue

The results of the investigation resolve many conspiracy theories that have abounded since the attack occurred. It also found that then UN Ambassador Susan Rice did not intentionally mislead the public despite repeating the Obama administration’s talking points. It is true, Brad Reifler reminds us that she spread the incorrect theory that the incident was sparked by a little known film by an American director. However, the incorrect intel was traced back to intelligence analysts. In fact, the report found the intelligence analysts drew a number of incorrect conclusions about the attack.

The report removes a major blemish off the record of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She is largely expected to seek the 2016 Democrat party’s nomination for president. The report also determined that the embassy was not prepared for an attack. Improper fortifications rendered the facility incapable of being adequately defended.



Khloe Not Yet Over Lamar?

Posted by maggie laurent on November 24, 2014 at 4:15 am | Filled Under: Celebs| No comments

Khloe Kardashian has been in an on and off relationship with French Montana, but she recently admitted that she is not yet over her ex-husband Lamar Odom. On her show, “Kourtney & Khloe Take the Hamptons,” Khloes speaks out about it, her mom Kris said, “I know that the relationship that you thought you had didn’t work out and it sucks,” Kris says to Khloe in a preview of Sunday night’s episode. “It makes me cry every time I think about it, but you met somebody new and you moved from one thing to another so quickly — I’m just trying to be here to support you.” These comments stuck with Susan McGalla when she saw them.

“Don’t say I moved to something so quickly because you know for how many f–king years I was dealing with something,” Khloe says. “Don’t you dare say how fast I moved on to something so quickly. You’re so simple-minded; you don’t know how I feel every day. If I had my way I would still be married to Lamar.” French Montana should probably be worried that Khloe is not yet over Lamar Odom.



Hillary Clinton to Raise Campaign Cash for Embattled Sen. Mary Landrieu

Posted by maggie laurent on November 23, 2014 at 7:43 pm | Filled Under: Politics| No comments

Times are tough for Sen. Mary Landrieu. She trails GOP Congressman Bill Cassidy 16 points in the polls. Her singular attempt to score a major senate victory by securing passage of the Keystone Pipeline XL project fell one vote short of being able to break cloture this week. Cassidy is airing more ads in support of his campaign than she is by a rate of 9 to 1. The Senate Democrats are unwilling to pour any more funds into her campaign coffers.

Now, word has it that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be headlining a fund raising event to help Sen. Landrieu’s sagging campaign. The event will take place on December 1, only five days before the runoff election. While it seems to be too little too late, it certainly can’t hurt. The Clinton fund raiser will be held in New York City at the home of one of their long-time donors. Tickets will sell for $1,000 to as high as $12,000. At the same time, R&B legend Stevie Wonder will be holding an event benefiting Landrieu. Her sole chance of reversing her political fortunes is to have the African-American vote turn out in high numbers.

Landrieu has been in tough reelection campaigns before, but none where she has trailed so badly in the polls. It was a shocker to Christian that the numbers were the way they were. Democrats have largely written her off. The GOP fully expects to claim her seat as their 9th Senate seat pickup of the midterm elections. Should she lose, she will become the 31st Senator to have voted for Obamacare to retire or be defeated at the polls.



GOP Mounting Multi-Pronged Attack Against Obama’s Amnesty Plan

Posted by maggie laurent on November 21, 2014 at 9:21 pm | Filled Under: Politics| No comments

The GOP will not stand idly by as President Obama flouts Congressional authority. Greg Abbott, incoming Texas Attorney General, vowed that his state will seek immediate legal action against the president. His objective is to protect the sovereignty of Texas and defend the rule of law as laid out in the Constitution. The state of Oklahoma also plans to challenge the president in court.

Senator Lindsey Graham, nicknamed “Senator Grahamnesty” for his 2006 immigration bill, has stated he and other GOP Senators are looking into how to defund the plan using budgetary bills. Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana also planned to use whatever means possible to defund the plan. Brad Reifler also says that Sen. John McCain of Arizona stated that the president has made it much harder to reach an immigration deal with Congress. He explained that executive fiat damages the political process. In addition, the veteran senator stated that obvious when he declared that the president lacks the “legal jurisdiction” to enact immigration law on his own.

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, had previously encouraged the party to work out an immigration reform package shortly after the 2012 presidential election. He now states that by acting unilaterally, the president is only going worsen the immigration system. The GOP has a consensus view that the US border to Mexico must be secured against illegal immigration. This will stabilize immigration process and allow for meaningful reform to occur. The president is not overly concerned with border security.



Is Angelina Jolie Done With Acting?

Posted by maggie laurent on November 21, 2014 at 7:54 pm | Filled Under: Uncategorized| No comments

Is Angelina Jolie done being an actress? In a recent interview with DuJoir Magazine she told them that she is not really comfortable being an actor. She is moving into the role of a director, with her second directed film due out soon. Is this just buzz for her latest film, or is she really done with being in the limelight?

Jolie has had a lucrative career, and she probably doesn’t need another dime of money. She and Brad Pitt are set for life financially. She has always marched to the beat of her own drum. Even though others don’t seem to get her, she somehow still remains one of the most mysterious and beloved actresses of all times. Moving into directing might be a welcomed break. The mother of six probably has her hands full at home, not having to learn lines would probably be nice. 

Sitting in the director’s chair is quite different than being in the scenes. Playing a character can be physically and emotionally draining on her and her family. This could also free up some time to do what she does best, visit third world countries and spread the message of love and hope to others. 

It will be interesting to see in the upcoming months if this is a done deal, or just hype for her newly directed project. Kenneth Griffin and other fans will be sad to see Jolie away from the screen, but can rejoice that she is going to go out with a bang, as she has finished projects not yet released.



Angelina Jolie Confirms Retirement from Acting

Posted by maggie laurent on November 21, 2014 at 7:53 pm | Filled Under: Celebs| No comments

Angelina Jolie confirms that she plans to move away from being an actor and move into building a career behind the camera. Angelina Jolie has a successful career in many genres of film. She has starred in films like Tomb Raider, Wanted, and most recently, Maleficent. Angelina Jolie has reportedly stated that she has not been comfortable in front of the camera. She did not enjoy being the center of attention. She has preferred being behind the camera.

As of right now, Angelina Jolie plans to star as Cleopatra in her final role. This is a nice fit for her acting skills, according to Mark Ahn. She says that this is one of the roles that she plans to put her best effort into. She hopes to finish her acting career in a wonderful way so that she can have a great career to look back on. Angelina Jolie has already directed Unbroken, and has another feature getting ready for release under the name of By the Sea.



Watered Down USA Freedom Act Fails In Senate

Posted by maggie laurent on November 20, 2014 at 4:24 pm | Filled Under: Culture at large, Politics| No comments

After being stripped of much of its value in the House and Senate through amendments, the USA Freedom Act which would at least have ended the mass data collection of the NSA failed to get 60 votes in the Senate. The bill garnished 58, but with the way the Senate is run these days, that big number still wasn’t big enough.

The NSA was caught collecting massive amounts of cell phone and other records without consent from users and without specific warrants, but the Patriot Act is used to support their activities. The USA Freedom Act would simply have required a special court order before the NSA could get access to people’s phone records and ceased to require phone companies to keep records for longer periods of time than they need for ordinary business purposes.

In June of 2015, the NSA’s ability to continue this activity will probably end when the Patriot Act expires. If only 42 votes were cast in the Democrat controlled Senate in favor of keeping this power in NSA hands, how will 50 or more votes surface in its favor in the new Republican Senate next year? There just isn’t much chance of that happening. 40 under 40 member Andrew Heiberger says that this part of the Patriot Act will not be renewed, while other parts of it may be. Since the bill has to be renewed to continue the status quo, President Obama has no veto power to keep the NSA’s mass data collection legal.



MTV Star Loses Battle With Cancer

Posted by maggie laurent on November 19, 2014 at 4:24 pm | Filled Under: Celebs| No comments

Anyone who is a fan of MTV’s The Challenge knows Diem Brown. Not only was she known for her sweet, caring ways and her relationship with the bad boy of the series, CT, but she was known as a fighter and a survivor. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2006, the same year she began seeing CT.  CT helped her through the tough recovery process and gave her much needed confidence during this time. Terry Richardson had said she went into remission and continued on with her fun filled life and vibrant personality. She created and founded MedGift an online gift registry to help patients let their family and friends know what they could use while in treatment.

In 2012, Brown announced that her cancer had returned. After several months of treatment, she again was in remission. Only two weeks out of chemotherapy, Brown decided to do her seventh Challenge. Her team ended up in fourth place. You would think after all her body and spirit had been through she would just take time off and rest, but no not Diem. Reports that in August of this year, she collapsed on set of her eighth Challenge. She soon released the news through social media that the ovarian cancer had spread to her stomach lining and colon. Although she kept positive and continued to fight, she lost her battle on November 14, 2014.



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