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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dem Rep. Weiner Refuses To Answer TPM’s Questions On Twitter Hack

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY)
An allegedly phony tweet sent from Rep. Anthony Weiner's (D-NY) Twitter account featuring a lewd picture is drawing increasing interest as the lawmaker refuses to answer reporters' questions on the incident. 
TPM caught up with Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) after his vote on a debt limit increase to see if he would clear up some of the remaining issues that media outlets have raised since a photo of an unidentified man's crotch was publicly sent to a college student and then quickly deleted on his Twitter account. On Tuesday, he testily evaded questions from news outlets like CNN on the topic and conservative news site The Daily Caller has repeatedly pressed the congressman for a yes or no answer on whether the picture in question is of Weiner. 

"Look here's the decision I made and you can disagree with it," he told TPM when asked for a clear answer on whether it was him in the photo, "that after two and a half days of statements that answer these questions that I'm not going to keep drilling into further details and further details, even one ... even the easy questions, even the obvious questions, even the ones I've answered before."

Weiner went on: "Because I don't believe in the idea you believe in that this will end. I have four separate emails from a New York Post reporter saying if you just answer this one question it will be over. You know people may not believe me, they believe Breitbart, whatever it is. I'm going to do the work I got to do and somewhere I've got to say I'm done talking about it. I'm going to decide what I'm going to talk about for the next several days and it's not going to be this."

A reporter interrupted to ask him if he had exchanged messages with a stripper on Twitter who mentioned on her feed in March that she had been in contact with Weiner online. 

"See what I mean?" he said.

He did depart from his blanket rule on comments once, however. TPM asked Weiner if he could clarify why he followed the woman that received the lewd photo, which he would not discuss with CNN. His Twitter feed tracks a relatively light number of people, many of whom are politicians, public figures, and news outlets. He said that he followed some fans who used the hashtag #WeinerYes on the site as well -- we did a quick search that shows he tweeted a #WeinerYes post looking for new accounts to follow as recently as May 13. 

"Now I violated my own rule," he said. As long as he was talking again, TPM again asked for a blanket denial that he had anything to do with the incident, which he again refused. "Take a look at my statements over the weekend, you're not being fair to me," he said. 

Meanwhile, the newfound attention is doing wonders for his popularity on Twitter.

"I passed Michele Bachmann in Twitter followers," he bragged. "Finally did it."

Rep. Anthony Weiner: 'I'm Not Going to Talk' About Twitter Photo Controversy Anymore

ABC News’ Devin Dwyer (@devindwyer) reports:   There are plenty of lingering questions surrounding the  lewd photo posted on New York Rep. Anthony Weiner’s Twitter account Friday night, like who’s the man in boxer briefs? How’d he get on Weiner’s feed? And, if the tweet was a “hack” job, as the congressman says, why not enlist law enforcement to track down the assailant?   

Weiner seemed to suggest today he doesn’t think those questions need to be answered publicly any time soon. 

“I’m not going to talk about this anymore,” he told reporters when asked about the incident this afternoon.  

“If I was giving a speech to 45,000 people and someone stood up and heckled in the back I wouldn’t spend three days talking to him. I’m going to get back to the conversation I care about,” he said. 

Weiner referred the scrum of questioners to statements put out by his office over the past few days. A spokesman for Weiner said Monday that the congressman has hired an attorney to explore “civil or criminal actions” in response to the incident, which he called a “prank.” 

Pressed by one reporter on why he does not appear more concerned about an alleged violation of cyber security against a member of Congress, Weiner brushed the question aside. 

“I’m going to return to the things I care about," he said. "I’ve participated in the story a couple of days now. Given comments on it. This is a distraction and I’m not going to let it distract me.”

Monday, May 30, 2011

Basketball Wives premiere: More fights, more drama, more fun

"Basketball Wives" has officially returned for its third season, firmly entrenching itself as television's most guilty pleasure.  But then again, is it really a guilty pleasure if we unashamedly love this weekly trainwreck?  A wreck that features verbal jabs, angry threats, and cat fights, all taking place within the backdrop of lavish condos and expensive dinner rendezvous?

"Basketball Wives" began with Jennifer Williams showing Evelyn Lozada and Shaunie O'Neal what life is like as a single woman.  Jen stated that her her ex-husband, Eric Williams, told her she had to move out as he was selling their condo.  With her tears now behind her, Jennifer tells viewers she feels like a "new person right now."

That brings us to Royce Reed, who apparently also is single.  Her relationship with Dwayne, last seen in season two, didn't end well.  Royce and Dwayne simply didn't "mesh," and Royce referred to the brotha as "safe." 

In a private meeting with Tami Roman, Royce tries to encourage Tami to meet Suzie.  For the moment, Royce's request falls on deaf ears, as Tami's head is still stuck on the season two finale. 
Via Twitter, Tami tells Royce she heard Evelyn is cooking up a plan to make shirts related to her "Non-motha-f---- factor, b---!" comment.  It's a wonder Evelyn hasn't turned that memorable phrase into a dot com already.

Royce then calls Evelyn a ho and jokes about gardening tools.  She does a digging motion while singing "Ho, ho ho.  Ho!”

We also get introduced to a new basketball wife (this cast is getting bigger than a rap entourage) named Meeka Claxton, the wife of Speedy Claxton.  Meeka has no previous affiliation with any of the cast members from "Basketball Wives," so we see her meet Shaunie, Jennifer, Evelyn, and Royce face-to-face for the first time.

Speaking of firsts, Tami and Evelyn meet at a beach for the first time since the reunion show.  No blows were thrown, but you can't say they came to a peaceful agreement, either.  After Tami told Evelyn her feelings were hurt due to the way she approached her regarding the Kenny Anderson situation, Evelyn said she planned to donate a portion of the sales she makes off her trademarked T-shirts to Tami's charity.

Tami balked at the idea, and the two went their separate ways.
But they're confrontation didn't end there.  Later, Tami enters "Dulce" and sees Evelyn behind the counter.  Evelyn holds up a black t-shirt that says "You're a Non F'N Factor B!tch!"

"I can't understand how you could think this is cute," said Tami.
"Because I'm turning that whole negative situation into something positive."

Positive, Evelyn, or profitable?
"I offered you money from the proceeds," said Evelyn.
"I wouldn't take it because it comes from a negative place," snaps Tami.

The argument blows up from there when Tami hits Evelyn with a defamation lawsuit.  Violent threats are then made on both sides (my money's on Tami), with Roman flipping the bird to Lozada as she walks out the store.

Cue the credits and week two preview.
Whew.  It's only episode one, and I'm already spent.
What did you think of the season 3 premiere of "Basketball Wives?"

Thursday, May 19, 2011

New York Daily News iPad App: Your Reviews

The New York Daily News iPad app has been out a while now and we would love for our readers to send in their personal reviews, please let us know if you like or dislike.

For those that have not yet installed this Apple iPad app please take a few minutes and read here what it has to offer. This app can be bought right now for a low price but after 30 days you will need to pay a subscription charge, the prices start at $7.99 for a 6-month subscription and $11.99 for the whole year.
The Daily News offers you all the top stories from New York by superb columnists and award-winning writers, the app features live coverage of national and local news covering entertainment, politics, gossip, sports, New York exclusives and so much more.

This is a full newspaper app, you will get 24/7 live news, many different categories, videos, photo galleries, the option to share news with friends via Twitter, Facebook etc.

For more information please visit iTunes and download The New York Daily News Apple iPad app, once again if you already have this app installed we would love for you to send in your personal reviews. Your opinion counts

Monday, May 2, 2011

After Uncertainty, a Moment of Triumph in the Situation Room: 'We've IDed Geronimo'

After Uncertainty, a Moment of Triumph in the Situation Room: 'We've IDed Geronimo'

AP Photo/The White House, Pete Souza

The people who gathered Sunday in the Situation Room know all about high-pressure situations. But this was something else. For 40 minutes, the President and his senior aides could do nothing but watch the video screens and listen to the operation and ensuing firefight on the other side of the world. At Barack Obama's orders, special operations teams were invading the airspace of a foreign country, targeting a compound with unknown occupants, and hoping to get out unscathed. The target was America's No. 1 enemy, Osama bin Laden. But no one knew for sure if he was even there.
The President sat stone-faced through much of the events. Several of his aides, however, were pacing. For long periods of time, nobody said a thing, as everyone waited for the next update. In the modern age, Presidents can experience their own military actions like a video game, except that they have no control over the events. They cannot, and would not, intervene to contact the commanders running the operation. So when word came that a helicopter had been grounded, a sign that the plan was already off course, the tension increased. (See pictures of Osama bin Laden's Pakistan hideout.)
Minutes later, more word came over the transom. "We've IDed Geronimo," said a disembodied voice, using the agreed-upon code name for America's most wanted enemy, Osama bin Laden. Word then came that Geronimo had been killed. Only when the last helicopter lifted off some minutes later did the President know that his forces had sustained no casualties. (See pictures of people celebrating Osama bin Laden's death.)
The decision to attack had been made days earlier by the President. He gathered his senior intelligence, military and diplomatic team together in the Situation Room on Thursday afternoon to hear his options. There were already concerns about operational security. At that point, hundreds of people had already been read into the potential whereabouts of bin Laden. Any leak would have ruined the entire mission.
The intelligence professionals said they did not know for sure that bin Laden was in the compound. The case was good, but circumstantial. The likelihood, officials told the President, was between 50% and 80%. No slam dunk. Obama went around the table asking everyone to state their opinion. He quizzed his staff about worst case scenarios - the possibility of civilian casualties, a hostage situation, a diplomatic blow-up with Pakistan, a downed helicopter. He was presented with three options: Wait to gather more intelligence, attack with targeted bombs from the air, or go in on the ground with troops. The room was divided about 50-50, said a person in the room. John Brennan, the President's senior counter-terrorism adviser, supported a ground strike, as did the operational people, including Leon Panetta at the CIA. Others called for more time. In the end, about half of the senior aides supported a helicopter assault. The other half said either wait, or strike from above. (See TIME's al-Qaeda covers.)
Obama left the meeting without signaling his intent. He wanted to sleep on it. At about 8:00 a.m. on Friday, just before he boarded a helicopter that would take him to tour tornado damage in Alabama, Obama called his senior aides into the Diplomatic Room. He told them his decision: A helicopter assault. At that point, the operation was taken out of his hands. He was trusting the fate of his presidency to luck. He was putting his presidency in the hands of history.

Osama Bin Laden Dead, Obama Announces

Osama Bin Laden Dead, Obama 


Osama Bin Laden Dead
First Posted: 05/ 1/11 10:49 PM ET Updated: 05/ 2/11 04:14 AM ET
Osama Bin Laden is dead, President Obama announced Sunday night, in a televised address to the nation. His death was the result of a U.S. operation launched today in Abbottabad, Pakistan, against a compound where bin Laden was believed to be hiding, according to U.S. intelligence. After a firefight, a small team of American forces killed bin Laden and took possession of his body, the president said.
“Tonight I can report to the American people and the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden,” Obama said during brief remarks at the White House.
“Justice has been done,” he said, in comments that marked a formal end of the manhunt for the most visible and emotionally-charged symbol of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The president said U.S. intelligence operatives received a tip in August on bin Laden’s whereabouts, which ultimately led to Sunday’s attack. Obama said he determined last week that the U.S. had enough reliable information to take action; by Sunday morning, he had authorized “a small team of Americans” to conduct an operation targeting bin Laden.
“After a fire fight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body,” the president said. “No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties.”
Obama said the 9/11 attacks that bin Laden and his lieutenants orchestrated nearly 10 years ago remain “the worst attack on the American people in our history” and said the images of the crumbling Twin Towers “are seared into our national memory.”
The president emphasized that Americans “did not choose this fight” against al Qaeda, but rather, “it came to our shores.” He praised U.S. military and intelligence professionals for working “tirelessly to achieve this outcome.” To the families of 9/11 victims, he noted that the U.S. has “never forgotten your loss.”
“Tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11,” Obama said. “I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.”
Both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush had targeted bin Laden during their presidencies, and both had failed to either capture him or kill him. The failure to snare bin Laden weighed most heavily, perhaps, on the Bush Administration, which occupied the White House during the 9/11 attacks, and the al Qaeda leader’s killing falls exactly eight years to the day when Bush famously declared “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq.
Bush said in a statement that Obama called him Sunday night to inform him of “the momentous achievement” of bin Laden’s death.
“I congratulated him and the men and women of our military and intelligence communities who devoted their lives to this mission. They have our everlasting gratitude,” Bush said. “The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.”
Clinton, who was president when the first World Trade Center bombing occurred in 1993, issued a statement calling bin Laden’s death “a profoundly important moment not just for the families of those who lost their lives on 9/11 and in al-Qaida’s other attacks but for people all over the world who want to build a common future of peace, freedom, and cooperation for our children.”
In a conference call with reporters just after President Obama spoke, senior administration officials provided a detailed sketch of how the intelligence on bin Laden’s whereabouts was gathered. 

Intelligence officials had been conducting lengthy reconnaissance work prior to receiving their key tip in August. According to senior administration officials, suspected terrorists in custody since 9/11 -- including the attack’s mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- identified a courier who had a close relationship with bin Laden. 

“This man was one of the few al Qaeda couriers trusted by bin Laden,” one senior administration official said. “They indicated he might be living with and protecting bin Laden. But for years we were unable to identify his true name or his location. Four years ago we uncovered his identity… About two years ago, after months of persistent effort, we identified areas of Pakistan where the courier and his brother operated. Still, we were unable to pinpoint exactly where they lived due to extensive operational security on their part. The fact that they were being so careful reinforced our belief that we were on the right track.” 

When the intelligence community finally pinpointed the courier’s location, they were “shocked by what we saw,” said this official.

The neighborhood in Abbottabad was “relatively affluent with lots of retired military,” this official continued, and was insulated from urban areas or places susceptible to natural disaster and terrorist attacks. The home was “roughly eight times larger than the other homes in the area,” and it was surrounded by 12-to-18-foot-high walls, topped with barbed wire. It had two security gates and a value of roughly $1 million, although it lacked telephone and Internet connections.
An even more telling clue for intelligence operatives: The occupants of the house were burning their trash rather than putting it out for collection. 

One senior administration official suggested bin Laden had been staying at the compound for at least six months without moving. Bin Laden was known to have regularly shifted locations to evade capture, so it’s unusual that he chose to stay in on spot for such an extended period.

More recently, the Obama administration had reduced the number of drone strikes in the area -- while ramping up surveillance -- in an effort to give the al Qaeda leader a heightened sense of safety in his home. 

Prior to the operation, Obama convened nine meetings with his national security team to review intelligence. According to a White House aide, “Principals met formally an additional five times themselves and their deputies met seven times.”

The president made the decision to undertake the operation at 8:20 a.m. on April 29th in the White House’s Diplomatic Room before he left to survey tornado damage in Alabama. Tom Donilon, his National Security Advisor, prepared the formal orders and convened the principals at 3 p.m. that same day to complete the planning.
The next day, without giving off a hint of the weighty operation being planned, Obama prepared for and delivered his address at the annual White House Correspondent's Association dinner. The next morning he played nine holes of golf.
Final preparations were made on Sunday. At 2 p.m., the president met with top advisers for an hour and half, at which point he returned to the Situation Room for an additional briefing. Twenty minutes after that, he learned that bin Laden had been “tentatively identified.” By 7 p.m. he was told it was highly probable that bin Laden was at the compound. By 8:30 p.m., he received an additional briefing. He signed off on the attack after that.
No other intelligence operatives in other countries were told of the attack before it occurred -- including Pakistani operatives -- according to administration officials. Vice President Joseph Biden informed congressional leadership of the attack shortly before it took place, aides on the Hill told the Huffington Post.
Details about the fight itself are still difficult to come by. According to local reports in Pakistan, a helicopter involved in the attack had a mechanical problem and crashed.
U.S. forces intentionally destroyed the remainder of the wreckage to reduce signs of their presence in the area , according to NBC and other media reports. Two helicopters remained to provide cover for Joint Special Operations Command forces; in addition, there was a predator drone.
The fight lasted only 40 minutes and was described by a senior administration official as a “surgical raid” conducted by a Navy Seals unit. Bin Laden's adult son was killed, as were two of his couriers and a woman being used as a human shield. Bin Laden himself “did resist the assault force,” a senior administration official said. Reports on Sunday night said the terrorist leader was ultimately shot in the head.
Officials warned that in the aftermath of the attack, Americans should be on alert for a reprisal from al Qaeda. However, one official added, there were “no specific threats" as of Sunday night. ABC News reported that authorities plan to bury bin Laden’s body at sea in order to leave no definitive location for his final resting place. It will be done, an official added, “in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition." Hours later, CNN reported that the burial had taken place.
"Americans understand the costs of war," Obama said toward the end of his remarks. "Yet as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies."