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Saturday, September 20, 2014

About 60,000 Syrian Kurds have crossed into Turkey in the past 24 hours, a deputy prime minister said on Saturday, fleeing an advance by Islamic State militants who have seized dozens of villages close to the border and are advancing on a Syrian town. Turkey opened a stretch of the frontier on Friday after Kurdish civilians fled their homes, fearing an imminent attack on the border town of Ayn al-Arab, which is also known as Kobani. Islamic State is now within 15 km (9 miles) of the town, a Kurdish commander on the ground said. read more


When you're staying at a hotel, tip your housekeeper! That's the message from Marriott International (MAR). It is placing envelopes in more than 160,000 rooms in the United States and Canada to encourage tipping the people who clean guest rooms. "Hotel room attendants often go unnoticed, as they silently care for the millions of travelers who are on the road at any given time," said Marriott and A Woman's Nation in a joint statement. "Because hotel guests do not always see or interact with room attendants, their hard work is many times overlooked when it comes to tipping." read more


A University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee fraternity is under investigation into whether its members may have slipped "date rape" drugs into alcoholic drinks at a party last weekend. Police were called three times to the Sandburg Residence Hall between midnight and 1:33 a.m. Saturday as students entered the dorm, unable to stand or walk and with color-coded X's on their hands from the same party, police said. Police followed up later with the women who were severely intoxicated. One told officers that a Facebook posting said Tau Kappa Epsilon had tried to "roofie" women that is, give women a "date rape" drug that renders them unconscious during the party the night before.


CNN: It's an unimaginable horror. A 14-year-old girl with special needs allegedly was raped at school after a teacher's aide persuaded her to act as bait to catch an accused sexual predator, a fellow student. "It has essentially devastated her life," attorney Eric Artrip -- who represents the girl and her father -- said of the alleged January 2010 incident. The Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education filed an amicus brief Wednesday supporting her family's federal lawsuit against the Madison County School Board in Alabama.


The Intercept: The National Security Agency sent someone bearing the nametag "Neal Z." to the University of New Mexico's Engineering and Science Career Fair in the hopes of recruiting young computer geniuses to help manage the yottabytes of data it is collecting about you. But instead of eager young applicants, Mr. Z. encountered University of New Mexico alumnus Andy Beale and student Sean Potter, who took the rare opportunity of being in the room with a genuine NSA agent to ask him about his employer's illegal collection of metadata on all Americans. Mr. Z. did not like that one bit. read more


When you're getting up to no good at work, it's best to avoid having your picture taken -- as this Spanish gravedigger recently discovered. The man, identified only as Clemente, posed for a creepy photo while propping up the corpse of a man who had been dead for 23 years. The other man grinning in the picture is thought to be the deceased's nephew-in-law, while the dead man's niece took the picture on her phone. Clemente was pictured wearing his official blue polo shirt emblazoned with the town's coat-of-arms -- a fact which will have infuriated officials at the town hall in Guardamar del Segura, near Alicante.


Emails sent by liberal activists and obtained by The Hill reveal significant dissatisfaction with Hillary Clinton. In the Gamechanger Salon private Google Group emails spanning over a year -- starting in June 2013 through July of this year -- frustration with Clinton is evident. Clinton's too much of a hawk, too cozy with Wall Street, hasn't spoken out enough on climate change, and will be subject to personal questions and criticisms, members of the group stated in the emails. "[A] Clinton presidency undos [sic] all our progress and returns the financial interests to even more prominence than they currently have," Melissa Byrne, an activist with the Occupy Wall Street movement, said in a November 2013 email. read more


Former Rep. Ron Paul strongly opposes going to war with ISIS and further U.S. involvement in the Mideast region, a position at odds with his son, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. Speaking at the libertarian Liberty Political Action Conference, Ron Paul slammed the bipartisan support in Congress for "rubber-stamping what President Obama wants" on the conflict. Some people think "if the Republicans take over the Senate this year, that will hamstring the president and everything's going to be OK," he said. "That's a joke."


Police in Pennsylvania appeared to be closing in Friday night on the suspect in the slaying of a state trooper. A local government official told CNN that police surrounded a home where Eric Matthew Frein was believed to be hiding. The home, which was allegedly broken into, is not far from Frein's family home in Canadensis, in the Poconos Mountains. But a police spokesman involved in the case could not confirm to CNN that Frein had been surrounded.


Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning bought 21 Papa John's pizza restaurants in Denver weeks before Colorado legalized pot. The stores are experiencing record sales. "There's some different laws out here in Colorado. Pizza business is pretty good out here, believe it or not, due to some recent law changes," Manning said. "So when you come to a different place, you've kind of got to learn everything that comes with it."


A Deltona, Florida, man told deputies he was trying to release some built-up anger Tuesday morning when he drank several beers and then fired off multiple rounds from an AK-47 rifle while walking around his neighborhood. Frederick Wenzel IV said he was upset because he's 28 and had to move back in with his parents. The Daytona News-Journal reports, "Wenzel said he never intended to hurt anyone, but he had thought about shooting at the K-9 officer he saw looking for him, according to the affidavit."


Friday, September 19, 2014

According to an Instagram post, the rapper Waka Flocka Flame is currently in search of a personal "blunt roller" for a yearly salary of $50,000. The social media job posting, which was posted on Monday, instructed inquiring candidates to use the hashtag "#ICANROLL" to apply to the herbal position. He later posted, "All resumes must be sent on a rolling paper or blunts #seriousinquiriesonly." read more


The U.S. is not returning combat troops to Iraq, President Barack Obama insisted again Wednesday, despite the suggestion by his top general that option is something the Pentagon could consider. Speaking at U.S. Central Command in Florida, Obama said again that U.S. troops "do not and will not have a combat mission" in Iraq against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. He said, "After a decade of massive ground deployments, it is more effective to use our unique capabilities in support of partners on the ground so they can secure their own countries' futures. And that's the only solution that will succeed over the long term."


Dana Milbank, Washington Post: When Trey Gowdy got the job to run the House's new Benghazi select committee, there was good reason to fear bad things. ... But when the South Carolina Republican chaired his panel's first public hearing Wednesday, Gowdy did something completely unexpected: He played it straight. There was no discussion of talking points or stand-down orders, and only one of the seven Republicans on the panel -- Jim Jordan of Ohio -- even mentioned Clinton. Instead, Gowdy adopted as the theme of his first hearing an idea suggested by one of the committee's Democrats, Adam Schiff of California: How well the State Department has been implementing recommendations to prevent future attacks on U.S. diplomats like the one in Libya two years ago that killed four Americans. read more


A major new study of warfare in chimpanzees finds that lethal aggression can be evolutionarily beneficial in that species, rewarding the winners with food, mates and the opportunity to pass along their genes. The findings run contrary to recent claims that chimps fight only if they are stressed by the impact of nearby human activity -- and could help explain the origins of human conflict as well. Ever since primatologist Jane Goodall's pioneering work at Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania in the 1970s, researchers have been aware that male chimps often organize themselves into warring gangs that raid each other's territory, sometimes leaving mutilated dead bodies on the battlefield. Primatologists have concluded that their territorial battles are evolutionarily adaptive.


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