Feds Sue New York City Over Rikers Island Jail Violence

Mayor Bill DeBlasio will not do anything about Riker’s Island Jail Violence until his son, Dante, is imprisoned for being black as mayor’s son.

It’s a joke but I’m serious about it because the minute DeBlasio is no longer Mayor – that is what is going to happen.

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RIKERS ISLAND

NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 17: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (C), joined by Department Correction Commissioner Joe Ponte (L) and Warden Becky Scott (R), talk during his tour of Second Chance Housing at Rikers Island on December 17, 2014 in New York City. Second Chance Housing is alternative housing for incarcerated adolescents instead of punitive segregation. (Photo by Susan Watts – Pool/Getty Images) | Pool via Getty Images

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal prosecutors have sued New York City to speed reforms at the troubled Rikers Island jail complex.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday to address what a Justice Department investigation found was a culture of violence against young inmates.

It comes one day after Mayor Bill de Blasio visited Rikers to announce the end of solitary confinement for 16- and 17-year-old inmates. The end of solitary was just one of 73 recommendations made by federal prosecutors to curb the violence.

In court papers, Attorney General Eric Holder and Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (buh-RAH’-ruh) wrote that despite four months of negotiations with the city, federal prosecutors “have been unable to reach agreement as to lasting, verifiable and enforceable reforms.”

Emails seeking comment from the mayor’s office and city lawyers weren’t immediately returned.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

 

SONY INC V. NORTH KOREA V. FILM “THE INTERVIEW”

HERE’S MY PROBLEM WITH WHAT HAPPENED IN THE HACKING OF SONY COMPUTERS

AMERICA THINKS NORTH KOREA HIRED A HACKER TO HACK SONY PICTURES

BECAUSE THEY DID NOT WANT THE PICTURE THAT WAS TO START CHRISTMAS DAY 2014 TO TAKE OFF – THAT PICTURE IS CALLED “THE INTERVIEW”

SONY IS FULL OF AWHOLES – WHY?

WHY COULDN’T THEY JUST MAKE UP THE NAME OF A FICTITIOUS COUNTRY INSTEAD OF NAMING “NORTH KOREA” AND IT’S RIDICULOUS MORONIC AND PARANOID COMMIE ASSHOLE FATSO WITH BAD HAIRCUT – EMPEROR DICKWAD UN

UN LOSER

HE’S A DICKtator – what do you expect?

Why didn’t SONY create a fictitious country?

They are so stupid they deserve to be hacked.

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the New Yorker magazine

There’s no way to talk about “The Interview” without discussing in detail the dénouement and the ending. Those are the crucial parts of the film, the best parts of the film, and the ones that have reportedly aroused the most controversy within Sony, the film’s producer and distributor. It’s unclear how many people will even get to see “The Interview.” As I write this, Sony has cancelled the release of the film and North Korea has been linked to the Sony hacking by the U.S. government.

The subject of the movie, as everyone knows by now, is an entertainment reporter and host of a celebrity-centric talk show, Dave Skylark (James Franco), who learns that he’s a favorite of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Skylark and his producer, Aaron Rapaport (Seth Rogen), a tabloid-TV adept who aspires to serious journalism, get in touch with a North Korean office in the hope of interviewing Kim. When their plans are approved, the two are contacted by the C.I.A., whose agents persuade them to accept the mission of killing Kim.

This bare-bones synopsis doesn’t do justice to a story that is as much about the policies of the United States as those of North Korea. The film’s comic setup is built around the unfunny idea of North Korea’s ramped-up nuclear arsenal and the notion that its missiles can reach the West Coast. As Kim’s threats grow increasingly hectic, the C.I.A. asserts that a moderate dissident faction within the regime is ready to take over, but doesn’t dare act against Kim personally. What follows is a lot of clattery, only intermittently funny comic riffing by Rogen and Franco as they play bumbling but well-meaning bourgeois nerds who are forced into physical action. Yet Rogen and Evan Goldberg—the movie’s directors and the co-writers of the story, along with Dan Sterling (who wrote the screenplay)—take seriously, in their own soft-handed way, the movie’s underlying question: When is it legitimate to kill the sitting leader of another country?

“The Interview” is a post-9/11 and, especially, a post-Iraq War meditation on a pre-9/11 theme: What should be done about a belligerent government (as opposed to an Al Qaeda-like non-state group) that poses a threat to the United States? More precisely: At what point is an act of war—because, of course, that’s what the planned assassination is—justified? As it turns out, the Rogen-Goldberg standard is a very high one (when the U.S. is in grave, imminent danger), and a counterfactual one (in the service of comedy, the film overhypes the North Korean threat). The filmmakers have talked about the research that went into their construction of the comic portrait of Kim and the movie’s depiction of North Korean society, but most of the film’s action—and, in particular, the film’s climactic events—are utter fantasy.

Spoilers, as promised: Dave Skylark and Kim hit it off—they have a sort of bromantic connection—and Kim presents himself as a kind of Red Star frat boy, an unhappy heir with unresolved daddy issues. Skylark comes to recognize that their emotional bond is a ruse—that he has been seduced by the dictator, whose sympathetic personal self-presentation is a smoke screen to obscure his policies—but he doesn’t take the chance to kill Kim.

Instead, Skylark and Rapaport take action against Kim only in extremis, when he’s in the midst of an actual, literal, finger-on-the-trigger countdown for a nuclear attack against the United States. Here’s what happens: Kim is in a helicopter, in contact with his nuclear-command center. The directors show a military officer with his finger poised above the launch button, and intercut to Kim counting down with his orders. Skylark and Rapaport are in a functioning, weaponized tank (a gift from Stalin to Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il-sung) and, to prevent the nuclear attack, they launch a shell from the tank that incinerates Kim’s helicopter—and Kim.

That climactic scene is the one that was at the center of controversy between the film’s directors and its producers at Sony. The shell that’s launched from the tank flies toward Kim’s helicopter in super-slow motion. When the shell strikes, the helicopter bursts into flames (again, in slow motion). Then there’s a cut to Kim, whose countdown is about to reach zero. What results is a moment of grotesque comedy that shocked me with its gory audacity: the wave of heat and shock makes Kim’s face waver—then his hair, eyebrows, and even skin begin to catch fire.

Apparently, Rogen and Goldberg had gone further: the New York Timesreports that Kazuo Hirai, Sony’s C.E.O., “insisted over the summer that a scene in which Mr. Kim’s head explodes when hit by a tank shell be toned down to remove images of flaming hair and chunks of skull.” In the cut that I saw, at a press screening last week, there was a little bit of flaming hair and even flaming flesh—but no chunks of skull or other mutilations.

Rogen and Goldberg offer a comedic dramatization of a political principle that would pass muster over craft beers in a liberal barroom: the killing of a foreign leader, or an act of war, would be justified if and only if an attack were verifiably imminent. In effect, the filmmakers are responding to the past decade of American foreign policy. They are retroactively opposing the Iraq War without declaring themselves absolutely opposed to war. They’re asserting a liberal muscularity of readiness to take action in the face of a verifiable immediate threat. They don’t involve the U.N., they don’t invoke diplomacy, they don’t assert a principle of pacifism but affirm a policy of prudent and patient but ready and robust defense.

On the other hand, the filmmakers have other arrows in their quiver—the ones provided to them by Hollywood itself, the power of the mass media—and this power is the main subject of the film. Once inside North Korea, Skylark and Rapaport decide to combat Kim not with the literal poison that the C.I.A. has provided but with their own skills—the power of the poison press.

The condition placed on their interview, of course, is that the questions be scripted. Kim will answer the softball questions in such a way as to present himself internationally as a reasonable and regular guy, and to present himself simultaneously at home as an internationally respected figure. But the American duo discover that they have a friend inside Kim’s regime—their official handler, Sook (played by Diana Bang), who is actually a secret opponent of Kim and who, at the critical moment, takes Skylark and Rapaport’s side (indeed, with an act of violence).

So, under the protection of Sook, who is in charge of North Korea’s TV studio, the interview that Skylark administers to Kim actually becomes a hard-hitting interview (of sorts). Although Kim manages to parry questions of policy, his character is held up to ridicule, which is no news around the world but a shock to his subjects. The result is in an instantaneous nationwide revolt. The subject of “The Interview” is the political impact on North Korea of a worldwide media event such as “The Interview” itself.

The threat posed by “The Interview” to the real Kim Jong-un isn’t just that it holds him up to ridicule, but that it could subject him to ridicule at home—not least, by dramatizing that prospect. Before the movie’s release was cancelled,news broke that human-rights activists were planning to airlift DVDs of the film into North Korea, via hydrogen balloons, when the disks came on the market. Park Sang Hak, who runs Free North Korea, the organization behind the plan, is, according to the Hollywood Reporter, “a former government propagandist who escaped to South Korea.” He is perhaps uniquely placed to recognize the power of such ridicule.

Which leads to another question: Why isn’t the movie actually very funny?

Rogen is, to my mind, an authentically, irrepressibly funny person—who at times tries to do too good a job of repressing it. His comedic inclinations seem even to trouble him. He sometimes performs with an angel perched on one shoulder—a triumphant angel who knocked the devil off the other. The ethical strain in Rogen’s comedy is central to his persona. Judd Apatow has made decisive use of this side of Rogen’s character in “Knocked Up” and “Funny People.”

In “The Interview,” Rogen deals with power even at its most extreme—international politics, nuclear weapons, the global media—yet there’s something inescapably small, even embarrassed, about the movie’s approach to it. The movie isn’t reduced just by its sketch-like comedy but by its ingratiating tone. It reflects an absence of temptation, an aversion to anarchy, overflow, id. It’s a comedy of responsibility. The irony is how its one moment of recklessly ecstatic excess—the sadistic destruction of Kim’s face—seems to have led to its downfall.

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THE PROBLEM I HAVE WITH SONY PULLING THE FLICK IS THAT IT IS GIVING INTO TERRORIST THAT ARE HACKER’S DEMANDS.

IN SHORT THIS IS WHAT I HAVE TO SAY TO DIPSTICK UN

YOU ARE A LOSER – HE’S THE ZUCKERBERG OF HIS GENERATION IN NORTH KOREA

YOU ARE A LOSER WHEN YOU HAVE TO HIRE A HACKER TO INFILTRATE AN AMERICAN COMPANY WITH WHOM YOU HAVE A DISAGREEMENT

WE DON’T ALL WANT TO SEE YOU DIE ASSWIPE

WE JUST WANT YOU, JR, TO STAY IN NORTH KOREA AND KILL OFF ALL YOUR RELATIVES

AND PLEASE DO NOT PROCREATE – THERE ARE ENOUGH DEVILS OUT IN THE WORLD WITH YOUR TYPE OF BACKGROUND. WE DON’T NEED MORE OF YOU.

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Every Big Theater Chain Just DroppedThe Interview

America’s five biggest theater chains have all dropped The Interview from their lineups after a group of anonymous hackers threatened violence against any theater caught screening the film. According to The Hollywood Reporter,Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Carmike Cinemas, and Cineplex Entertainment have all pulled the film, which was set to debut on Christmas Day; the movie’s New York premiere, which was also threatened, was canceled on Tuesday. Though the hackers told Sony to “remember the 11th of September, 2001,” the Department of Homeland Security insists there is “no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theaters within the United States.”

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NOT ONLY DID THE HACKER SO CALLED TERRORIST WIN – SONY SHOULD LEAVE THE USA AND GO BACK TO JAPAN – WHAT THE FUCK WERE THEY THINKING?

Sony pictures is at fault for allowing a film NAMING DIRECTLY UN & his country NORTH KOREA as the main subject of this film. They are supposed to be creative yet these producers writing this screenplay used a real country and a real person at the head of it – dictator instead of making up a fictitious name?

But with all the “protections” America is supposed to have on the internet foreign hackers hired by UN, a paranoid depressive commie dictator was able to hire these people and now they are threatening Sony Pictures?

Sony should close up shop and return to Japan with their heads between their legs. I find it laughable but I’d be insincere if I didn’t write that I am just as equally disgusted with how the Homeland Security handled this as well as Sony Pictures.

This picture was doomed from the start. I will bet that these so called producers are 20 years old working with their parents millions.

LOS ANGELES POLICE EQUIPT COPS WITH 1ST BODY CAMERAS

THE LAPD IS FULL OF DICKWADS

I KNOW BECAUSE I LIVED THERE AWHILE

AND HAVE BEEN STOPPED FOR WALKING IN BEVERLY HILLS INSTEAD OF RIDING IN MY CAR?

IT’S LIKE BEING GIVEN A TICKET IN NYC (THANKS MICHAEL BLOOMBERG YOU KNOB KNOCKER)

THIS IS BEAUTIFUL AND IT’S GOING TO HAPPEN ALL OVER THE COUNTRY WITHIN THE YEAR.

LA IS ALWAYS THE FIRST PLACE TO DO ANYTHING – NYC IS ALWAYS THE LAST

YIPPEEE!

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U WORK FOR ME

FUCK YOU ASSHOLE
GIVE ME A PLAYBACK!

LOS ANGELES — Every Los Angeles police officer will soon be equipped with a body camera, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Tuesday.

Garcetti said at a press conference that the department will buy 7,000 on-body cameras for Los Angeles Police Department officers to expand transparency and accountability.

“The trust between a community and its police department can be eroded in a single moment,” Garcetti said. “Trust is built on transparency.”

The announcement comes two weeks after President Barack Obama announced a $363 million package that includes $75 million to pay half the cost of 50,000 officer-mounted cameras. The technology has been widely endorsed as a reform following the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager killed by Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson in August.

“No big city department has done this,” LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said at the press conference. “Officers will have tremendously powerful evidence and the ability to collect it. We are starting a journey that will go on for decades.”

Beck said he didn’t expect that the cameras would be recording all the time. For example, cameras would not be used when officers interview victims of sexual abuse, but would likely be used when a suspect is in custody. Policies on proper use of the cameras will be considered in early 2015. The mayor’s office said the city hopes to deploy the first 800 cameras within six months.

LAPD is not alone in its interest in officer-worn cameras. Police departments inChicago, New York, Minneapolis and Washington, D.C., as well as in smaller citieslike Ferguson, have started pilot programs with cameras or have announced plans to do so.

Police reform advocates have long called for police body cameras, arguing that the video can help eliminate bias and uncertainty when allegations of misconduct arise. One frequently cited officer body camera pilot program in Rialto, California, found that the number of complaints filed against officers fell by 88 percent and use of force by officers fell by almost 60 percent in the first year police used the cameras.

Garcetti’s new plan would expand an LAPD pilot program that began early this year involving 600 officer-mounted cameras.

The announcement comes more than four months after Ezell Ford, a 25-year-old mentally ill man, was shot to death by LA police in a South LA neighborhood, just days after Brown was killed in Ferguson. Like the Brown case, eyewitness and police accounts of Ford’s death vary.

Police have said that during an Aug. 11 “investigative stop,” a struggle ensued in which Ford tried to grab an officer’s gun and another officer fired at Ford.

The killing has led to multiple protests as well as some erosion of police-community trust.

The LAPD continues to investigate Ford’s death.

LADIES: IT’S TIME TO MOVE THE FUCK OUTTA MISSOURI

Proposed Bill Would Require Women To Ask Men’s Permission To Have An Abortion

A bill proposed by a Republican state lawmaker in Missouri would require a woman seeking an abortion to obtain notarized consent from the baby’s father, even if he is physically abusive toward her.

The bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Rick Brattin, told Mother Jones that while the bill has exceptions for rape victims and to protect the life of the mother, women in domestic violence situations are not exempt from having to ask the father’s permission. “What does that have to do with the child’s life?” Brattin said. “Just because it was an abusive relationship, does that mean the child should die?”

In explaining the bill to Mother Jones, Brattin channeled Todd Akin, the former Republican congressman from Missouri who, during a failed 2012 Senate bid, said that women who are victims of “legitimate rape” have mechanisms in their bodies that prevent them from getting pregnant. Brattin said his bill would require a woman to be able to prove that a “legitimate rape” happened in order to avoid having to ask for a man’s consent for the abortion.

 “Just like any rape, you have to report it, and you have to prove it,” said Brattin. “So you couldn’t just go and say, ‘Oh yeah, I was raped,’ and get an abortion. It has to be a legitimate rape.”

Brattin said he was inspired to introduce the bill on December 3 for the next legislative session, but it has not moved yet in the Missouri House. He said he was inspired to change the laws around abortion consent because he was required to obtain his wife’s consent before having a vasectomy.

There are no laws in the United States, however, requiring men to seek permission from women before having a vasectomy. Mother Jones notes that some individual medical providers in Missouri have a policy requiring the partner’s consent. Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager for the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research organization, told The Huffington Post there are legal reasons some providers might require spousal consent.

“It could be that the physician is afraid of being sued,” she said.

If Brattin’s bill gains traction in the state legislature and becomes law, it will likely be blocked by the courts. The Supreme Court decided in Casey v. Planned Parenthood in 1992 that requiring a woman to notify her spouse before having an abortion is unconstitutional.

NY GOV ANDREW CUOMO RISES TO THE OCCASION &

BANS FRACKING IN THE STATE BUT WHAT IS FRACKING & WHY IS IT CONTROVERSIAL?

  1. Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside. Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well.

Why is it controversial?

The extensive use of fracking in the US, where it has revolutionised the energy industry, has prompted environmental concerns.

The first is that fracking uses huge amounts of water that must be transported to the fracking site, at significant environmental cost. The second is the worry that potentially carcinogenic chemicals used may escape and contaminate groundwater around the fracking site. The industry suggests pollution incidents are the results of bad practice, rather than an inherently risky technique.

There are also worries that the fracking process can cause small earth tremors. Two small earthquakes of 1.5 and 2.2 magnitude hit the Blackpool area in 2011 following fracking.

“It’s always recognised as a potential hazard of the technique”, says Professor Ernie Rutter from the University of Manchester, “But they’re unlikely to be felt by many people and very unlikely to cause any damage.”

Finally, environmental campaigners say that fracking is simply distracting energy firms and governments from investing in renewable sources of energy, and encouraging continued reliance on fossil fuels.

“Shale gas is not the solution to the UK’s energy challenges,” said Friends of the Earth energy campaigner Tony Bosworth. “We need a 21st century energy revolution based on efficiency and renewables, not more fossil fuels that will add to climate change.”

What are the advantages of fracking?

Fracking allows drilling firms to access difficult-to-reach resources of oil and gas. In the US it has significantly boosted domestic oil production and driven down gas prices. It is estimated to have offered gas security to the US and Canada for about 100 years, and has presented an opportunity to generate electricity at half the CO2 emissions of coal.

The industry suggests fracking of shale gas could contribute significantly to the UK’s future energy needs. A report by the Energy and Climate Change Committee in April said shale gas in the UK may help to secure energy supplies, but may not bring down gas prices.

Where is fracking taking place?

Reserves of shale gas have been identified across swathes of the UK, particularly in the north of England. However no fracking is currently taking place, and drilling firms must apply for a fracking licence if they wish to do so in the future.

Updated map from 13 Jan showing areas under consideration for licences

AGGGH, THE REPUBS ARE GONNA HAVE A FIELD DAY ON CUBA!

PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS RESTORED OUR POLITICAL RELATIONSHIP WITH CUBA WITH THE HELP OF A POPE, SECRETARY KERRY, RAUL CUBA (THE BROTHER OF THE COMMUNIST) & BARTER/TRADE.

MEANWHILE REPUBS – MARCO RUBIO – WHO CLAIMS HE CAME TO AMERICA UNDER CASTRO & LIED – IS FURIOUS; DEMOCRAT MENENDEZ – ALSO A CLASS A DOUCHE IS WARY AND HATES CASTRO’S CUBA & TED CRUZ WHO COMES FROM CANADA BY WAY OF

HELL

IS UPSET

OUR POLITICAL PRISONER ALLAN GROSS WAS RELEASED THIS MORNING AFTER BEING IMPRISONED THERE FOR SPYING OVER 5 YEARS IN THEIR JAILS THERE. HE WAS SWAPPED FOR 3 POLITICAL PRISONERS THAT ARE CUBAN BEING HELD IN GUANTANAMO BAY

AND LET’S FACE IT

OBAMA DOES NOT WANT TO CLOSE GUANTANAMO BAY COS WERE ARE  WE GONNA PUT THESE TERRORISTS AND WHERE ELSE CAN WE TORTURE THEM WITH SUCH GREAT SUCCESS? (total sarcasm)

So I’m sure the lampooning will begin and impeachment processes for Obama’s head courtesy of the Repubs in Congress. It’s gonna be a zoo for a coupla days people.

This is your heads up – Fried Obama for Xmas.

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Personally, I have a let’s wait and see attitude because really we scooped up Cuba before Putin could win them over and it’s better to have an ally 90 miles in our hood than not.

Obama Speaks On Relations With Cuba, Release Of Alan Gross

Posted: 12/17/2014 11:07 am EST Updated: 26 minutes ago

President Barack Obama spoke Wednesday on U.S. relations with Cuba, hours after American Alan Gross was released from a Cuban prison, where he’d been for five years.

Gross was accompanied back to the U.S. by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). The Cuban government had detained Gross for setting up satellite Internet access as a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development, and charged him with violating the country’s “territorial integrity.”

“Today, Alan returned home, reunited with his family at long last,” Obama said in remarks delivered from the White House.

Three Cubans who had been jailed in the U.S. for spying, along with a U.S. intelligence source who had been jailed in Cuba for more than 20 years, were also released on Wednesday. Obama said that U.S. source was released “separately” from Gross.

Several lawmakers were quick to criticize the release of the Cuban spies, including Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.).

“Trading Mr. Gross for three convicted criminals sets an extremely dangerous precedent,” Menendez said in a statement. “It invites dictatorial and rogue regimes to use Americans serving overseas as bargaining chips.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also criticized the spies’ release, saying during an interview on Fox News that it “sets a very dangerous precedent,” and calling the normalization of relations with Cuba “absurd.”

“This is going to do absolutely nothing to further human rights and democracy in Cuba,” Rubio told the AP earlier Wednesday. “But it potentially goes a long way in providing the economic lift that the Castro regime needs to become permanent fixtures in Cuba for generations to come.”

Obama addressed these critics in his remarks on Wednesday.

“I respect your passion and share you commitment to liberty and democracy,” the president said.

Obama also said he’s “under no illusion about the continued barriers to freedom” Cuban citizens still face.

“I do not expect the changes I am announcing today to bring about a transformation of Cuban society overnight,” Obama said.

Officials said Wednesday that talks will begin to normalize full U.S.-Cuba diplomatic relations, according to the AP. The U.S. also will aim to open an embassy in Havana in the coming months.

“We will end an outdated approach that for decades has failed to advance our interests, and instead we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries,” Obama said Wednesday, noting he’s instructed Secretary of State John Kerry to begin the discussions to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba.

Obama said he instructed Kerry to conduct a review of Cuba’s designation as state sponsor of terror. He also said the U.S. is “taking steps to increase travel, commerce and the flow of information to and from Cuba,” noting the changes will make it easier for Americans to travel there.

“Neither the American nor Cuban people are well-served by a rigid policy that took place before most of us were born,” Obama said, describing the steps being taken to improve relations as the beginning of a “new chapter.”

In a background call with reporters about an hour and a half before the president spoke, senior administration officials outlined the contours of the deal and how it came together.

The biggest news was that Obama on Monday personally spoke with Raul Castro for at least 45 minutes about both Gross and normalizing relations between the two countries. One senior administration official called it the “first engagement at the presidential level with Cuba since the Cuban revolution.” Absent from the call was Fidel Castro, the longtime Cuban strongman who has ceded authority to his brother Raul as his health has worsened.

The deal probably could not have come together, the officials said, without the assistance of two major actors. One was the government of Canada, which provided office space and other assistance to help facilitate the talks. Ben Rhodes, Obama’s senior foreign policy hand, and Ricardo Zuniga, senior director for the Western Hemisphere National Security Council, met Cuban counterparts in Canada.

The second major actor was the Vatican. Pope Francis personally issued a letter to Castro and Obama urging them to resolve the Gross case. The letter came after the president’s meeting with the Pope. A senior administration official called it “very rare” to receive such a direct appeal — so rare that they weren’t sure if it had happened before.

Obama thanked the pope, along with the Canadian government and members of U.S. Congress who worked to free Gross, in his remarks on Wednesday.

The administration officials said they had talked to members of Congress in advance of the announcement, which the presence of Flake, Leahy and Van Hollen on Gross’ plane home certainly suggests. But they also appeared aware that the policy would spark blowback. Officials said Wednesday’s announcement should not be considered a call for the ending of the embargo, though they do want it eased.

The officials repeatedly stressed that they were not exchanging the Cuban prisoners held in the U.S. for Gross. They said the exchange was for the intelligence asset that Cuba was currently holding, and that Gross was separate from that deal.

There still will be some limitations on relations between the two countries. The administration officials said that they were “acting within boundaries of the law” and could not “completely lift the travel ban.” Instead, they were broadening the number of acceptable reasons to travel to Cuba.

“We are authorizing as much travel as we possibly can within the constraints of the legislation,” said a senior administration official.

The administration said it also would allow licensed U.S. travelers to Cuba to import $400 worth of goods from the island. Of that $400, $100 could consist of tobacco and alcohol products combined.

“That can include cigars,” said a senior administration official, when asked twice if people will be able to smoke Cubans without fear in the new era of Cuban-U.S. relations.

A senior administration official told The Huffington Post after the call was over that the announcement will have no impact on the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay.

Castro also made a statement on Wednesday welcoming the talks to normalize diplomatic relations with the U.S.

 

OUR CONGRESS VOTES IN FAVOR OF WALL STREET & LOBBYISTS INSTEAD OF WE, THE PEOPLE

CONGRESS MUST GO

IN FACT

GOVERNMENT MUST GO

AT THE EXPENSES OF EVEN MY OWN PARTNER, MY LOYAL MARRIED PARTNER

WHOM I LOVE WHO IS ALSO ON DISABILTY & SSD

Government must be eradicated as we know it

The Feds are not paying attention to our needs

They take money from large lobby groups and pay attention to their needs

It’s time to take America back

Back from the asshole black poor

Back from the asshole white cops

and the rest of the National disgrace that is all police departments

Back from the lobby groups

no more Black Potus’

No more minority Presidents

We need strong white people with strong convictions

White men and woman who can be fair

Black people are biased.

And the Republicans and Democrats are using them to benefit only themselves.

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Senate Agrees On Government Funding Bill

Posted: 12/13/2014 8:52 pm EST Updated: 15 minutes ago
HARRY REID
WASHINGTON — The Senate agreed on Saturday night to pass the $1.1 trillion government funding bill that will keep Uncle Sam in business through next September, while handing lucrative Christmas presents to Wall Street and political parties.

The bill, which funds the government for the rest of the fiscal year, had been tied up in procedural disagreements. But all senators eventually relented, paving the way for passage of the bill, which is expected late Saturday or early Sunday.

The Senate entered a rare weekend session after Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) refused to consent to an agreement Friday that would have given their colleagues the weekend off.

Forced to be in session, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) used the opportunity to push ahead with a slew of President Barack Obama’s nominations, which Reid wants to pass before the Senate ends the session for the year.

Lee and Cruz blocked Reid’s plan Friday night, angering members of both parties whodidn’t understand what the pair hoped to gain. Evidently, the two conservative allies have since been convinced to let votes proceed on the so-called “cromnibus” spending bill, rather than to stall until Monday morning.

But Lee and Cruz were expected to insist on raising a point of order against the bill’s constitutionality, thereby forcing the Senate to vote on it. If they win the point, the entire bill would be scuttled, but Democratic and Republican aides said that was not likely.

The idea behind this move is to protest Obama’s recent executive action that will spare up to 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation. Cruz and Lee were insisting on the vote because they argued that it would put senators on record either backing or opposing Obama’s efforts.

The spending bill provides funding through the end of the fiscal year for all government operations except the Department of Homeland Security, which only gets money to last through February. Republicans insisted on that shorter time frame because they intend to use the deadline to try to defund Obama’s immigration action. But Cruz suggested Friday night that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) might not actually follow through.

One controversial provision in the spending bill weakens the Dodd-Frank Act’s restrictions on banks that want to trade in the same sorts of risky derivatives that sparked the financial meltdown of 2008, and allows the banks to back their bets with taxpayer-backed insurance. The bill also dramatically increases the amounts that wealthy donors can give to the major political parties. Some Democrats have said that the two measures together amount to letting wealthy Wall Street employees earn more money, which they can then use to reward lawmakers who backed the spending deal.

ACTRESS SARAH PAULSON CANNOT SEEM TO FIND ANOTHER JOB WITH OTHER PRODUCERS

SHE IS STUCK AS A ACTOR IN THE EMSEMBLE CAST OF “AMERICAN HORROR STORY” WITH RYAN MURPHY AND NOW SHE’S SLATED TO PLAY “LAWYER MARCIA CLARK” WHO LOST HER DA CASE RE: OJ SIMPSON.

APPARENTLY RYAN MURPHY THINKS HIS MERDE DON’T STICK SO HE’S GOING TO HAVE ANOTHER MINI SERIES ABOUT THAT SUBJECT.

Sarah Paulson of ‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ discusses her upcoming role as O.J. Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clark

She just cannot seem to find another job!

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Sarah Paulson in ‘American Horror Story: Freak Show.’ AMERICAN HORROR STORY: FREAK SHOW — Pictured: Sarah Paulson as Bette and Dot Tattler. CR: Frank Ockenfels/FX edit (FX)
on December 11, 2014 at 2:45 PM, updated December 11, 2014 at 9:02 PM

Sarah Paulson‘s cell phone buzzed continuously Wednesday (Dec. 10) during Metairie location filming for FX’s “American Horror Story: Freak Show,” so much so that Bradley Buecker, director of the anthology’s upcoming season finale, powered the device all the way off while cameras were rolling.

Tuesday, Paulson had been announced to play prosecutor Marcia Clark opposite Cuba Gooding Jr. in “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson.” The 10-episode season is intended to launch a new FX true-crime anthology with a story that combines courtroom drama, celebrity, tabloid journalism, sports, sex and violence. The series is another title from Ryan Murphy, of “Glee,” “Nip/Tuck” and “American Horror Story,” among others. Filming will begin in early 2015 in Los Angeles.

After an intense day of technically complex, emotionally draining acting as “Freak Show’s” conjoined twins Bette and Dot Tattler, Paulson, a four-season veteran of “AHS,” discussed her upcoming role.

“Ryan had mentioned it very casually to me, in the way that he does sometimes,” Paulson said. “The Marcia Clark thing to me was incredibly juicy, because I remember. I was young at the time. I was barely out of high school. I remember where I was when that Bronco was on the freeway. I remember her in the courtroom.

“He presented it to me as a casual thing, then didn’t mention it for months again.”

Then, weeks later, Murphy said he would send Paulson the first two scripts.

“I was like, ‘I know I want to do it. You don’t have to send me the scripts,'” she said. “He said, ‘You should read it, and see if you want to do it.’ I said, ‘I’m telling you, I want to do it.’

“She’s an incredibly powerful, complex character (who) people have a lot of feelings about, one way or another. That’s a very challenging thing to go into, knowing that some people didn’t like her from the outset, and some people thought she did a brilliant job, and some people think that she botched it. So it’s this fascinating thing to figure out where I live with it.

“I read the first two scripts and called him and said, ‘If you don’t let me do this, I’m going to run in front of oncoming traffic.'”

Based on what she’s read in those first scripts, Paulson said that viewers who know the story only from what they saw during live coverage of Simpson’s murder trial will be surprised by what they don’t know about the whole story.

“What we’re really learning about (in the series) is what happened behind the scenes, (things) that were not always happening in front of the cameras in the courtroom,” she said. “Yes, lots of courtroom things, but lots of things that nobody ever knew about unless you read all sorts of books, or were a real O.J. Simpson trial aficionado.

“It reminds me of ‘Game Change’ (the HBO movie about the 2008 presidential election in which Paulson played Nicolle Wallace, a senior advisor to the John McCain-Sarah Palin campaign) or ‘Recount’ (an HBO movie about the aftermath of the 2000 presidential election) and those kinds of movies where you actually do know the outcome, but it doesn’t matter. It’s all this stuff you’re learning about that you didn’t know. There’s nothing anybody can make up that’s going to be more fascinating than the real things that happened.”

Aside from the legal battle it will re-create, the film will portray a pivotal moment in American media culture. Murphy, said Paulson, has said that coverage of the crime and the trial was “really the inception of the tabloid age.”

“It’s really true,” she said. “I love the idea of playing with all that tonally.”

Paulson, who has said she would like to continue as a member of the “American Horror Story” repertory company of actors, will shed Bette and Dot when “Freak Show” wraps in a few days, then take a holidays break before digging in to her new role.

“I was very hesitant to start reading now, while we were doing this, because I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to hold all the information in my brain,” she said. “I am ready to say goodbye to Bette and Dot … take a little Christmas break, but take some reading with me. I’m going to watch as much stuff as I possibly can to get her physicality down.”

Paulson said her wish is for her research to also include meeting Clark.

“I want to meet her desperately, but I don’t know,” she said. “I’m going to inquire about it. I hope I get to, because I think it would certainly benefit me greatly.

“It would be good for me to know what the truth was for her.”

Correction: An earlier version of this post identified the director of the “American Horror Story: Freak Show” season finale as Brad Falchuck.

Got a TV question? Contact Dave Walker at dwalker@nola.com or 504.826.3429. Read more TV coverage at NOLA.com/tv. He’s @DaveWalkerTV on Twitter, andDave Walker TV on Facebook.

AMERICAN HORROR STORY: FREAKS STARRING DANDY AND HIS BEAUTIFUL BUM

I HAVE SEEN ENOUGH OF THIS GUY, DANDY MOTT’S BEAUTIFUL ASS

DANDY MOTT (THE CHARACTER) IS UNINTERESTING. HE KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING IS WRONG BUT HE PROVES HE CAN GET AWAY WITH IT WHEN THE COP KILLS THE BLACK CHICK WHEN HE’S OFFERED CASH IN MILLIONS TO KILL HER. BOOM SHE’S TOAST. DANDY KILLS FOR POWER OVER OTHERS – THAT IS WHAT HE LOVES. HE IS SUFFERING FROM AFFLUENZA & FRANKLY HE NEEDS TO DIE.

I WANT TO SEE FULL FRONTAL NUDITY

AND I WANT TO SEE IT – NOW NOW NOW!!!!

Showrunner RYAN MURPHY has outdone himself in the MOST TERRIBLE SERIES EVER! FREAKS IS THAT AND MORE AND NOT EVEN BASSETT, BATES OR LANGE CAN SAVE THIS TURKEY.

EXCEPT FOR FINN’S NAKED BUTT & POSSIBLY DANDY DICK – THANKS GAY GUYS – YOU MADE MY DAY!

OTHERWISE AHS: FREAK SHOW SUCKS DOG SHIT

EVAN PETERS IS REDUCED TO SCREWING A BIG FAT BITCH – WE SAW 5 SHOTS OF BIG FAT GABBY BEFORE A WHITE COP SHOT HER. WHAT WAS RYAN MURPHY THINKING WHEN HE HAD THIS CORRUPT COP CHOICE TO SHOOT TO DEATH GABBY’S (WHO IS BLACK) CHARACTER?

DOES HE NOT LISTEN TO THE NEWS?

MEANWHILE THE FREAK HUNTER IS BUSY SCREWING A VACANT ACTOR WHO IS SUCKING HIM OFF IN HOTEL ROOMS. YES, THE FREAK HUNTER HAS A 13 INCH PENIS. I’D LIKE TO SEE THAT ONE TOO!

PEPPER IS IN THIS SHOW BUT NOT – REDUCED TO ON SCREEN CROSSING CAMERA RIGHT

CROSSING CAMERA LEFT

PLAYING WITH A BALL

AND WITH HER PINHEADED BROTHER SALTY (or whatever his name is)

REALLY?

MEANWHILE DANDY IS KILLING WILLY NILLY BECAUSE HE WANT’S TO BATH IN A NIGHTLY BLOOD BATH WHICH HAS BECOME HIS RITUAL.

THE CHARACTERS IN THIS SERIES ARE NOT EPIC – THEY ARE CARTOONISH – RYAN MURPHY SHOULD BE SHOT

I THINK THAT WOULD MAKE ME HAPPY.

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DANDY IS EYE CANDY FOR FAGS AND FOR ME!

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ELIZABETH WARREN FOR PRESIDENT

SHE SAID THIS:

“THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DID NOT VOTE US INTO OFFICE TO STAND UP FOR CITIGROUP!”

SHE IS ANTI-LOBBY AND PRO CITIZEN

WE NEED A PERSON LIKE THIS FOR OUR PRESIDENT

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Elizabeth Warren, fellow liberals rail against bank provision in spending bill

In a Senate floor speech, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) urged House Democrats not to support a bill to fund the government through September unless a provision reversing a rule created by the sweeping “Dodd-Frank” financial regulation law was removed. (senelizabethwarren/YouTube)

This post has been updated

Prominent liberal members of Congress expressed deep reservations Wednesday about a $1.01 trillion bill to fund the government through September. Their consternation stems from a provision that would change the way the government regulates big banks.

The most notable dissenter was Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a grass-roots liberal hero. In a Senate floor speech, Warren urged House Democrats not to support the bill unless a provision reversing a rule created by the sweeping “Dodd-Frank” financial regulation law was removed.

Keeping Wall Street banks in check and protecting everyday American consumers is an emerging core message of the Democratic Party moving toward the 2016 election. Warren’s leading role in crafting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau made her a star on the left and a leading voice in the party.

Asked repeatedly in an afternoon press conference whether she was prepared to block the spending bill on the Senate floor, Warren declined to say definitively, arguing the fight must first be taken up in the lower chamber, where the bill is expected to face a Thursday vote.

“Right now, the fight is in the House,” said Warren. “That’s the fight we are going to pursue. It is up to the House to strip this out. That’s what keeps the government operating.”

The spending bill would reverse requirements that banks “push out” some derivatives trading into separate, non-FDIC backed entities. The change has been sought by the banking industry.

“This is a democracy and the American people didn’t elect us to stand up for Citigroup,” Warren said on the Senate floor. She asked House Democrats to stand against the bill “until this risky giveaway is removed.”

Both Democratic and Republican negotiators crafted the bill. But Warren rejected the idea that she was standing in the way of bipartisan accord.

“This isn’t about compromise,” she said. “It’s about reckless behavior. It is about a giveaway to the largest financial institutions in the country. It is up to us to say no.”

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who joined Warren, said there were “scores” of congressional Democrats opposing the bill right because of the banking regulation change. She said that conservative opposition to the bill gives House Democrats some sway.

“If they are expecting Democratic votes to put this out, then that gives us leverage. And I am hopeful we are able to use that leverage to pull this out,” said Waters, the top-ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee.

House Republican leaders were confident Wednesday morning that they would be able to pass the spending bill Thursday. Some immigration hard-liners groused that the bill does not fight President Obama’s executive actions on immigration hard enough. But a closed-door GOP meeting did not produce the same kind of anger past gatherings triggered.

Warren’s concerns were echoed by some other Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). While Pelosi did not say whether she would vote yes or no on the bill, she accused Republicans of trying to “stack the deck” in favor of banks.

“Buried in the more than 1,600 pages of the omnibus package Republicans posted in the dead of night are provisions to put hard-working taxpayers back on the hook for Wall Street’s riskiest behavior,” Pelosi said.

In a written statement declaring himself a “no” vote, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said: “It is unacceptable to threaten a government shutdown in order to do the bidding of the biggest banks and put taxpayers on the hook again for their gambling losses.”​

Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), who said he plans to vote no, called it “inconceivable” that Congress would undo a key part of Dodd-Frank.

“Why is Congress giving Wall Street a massive Christmas present, when so many hardworking Americans are struggling to make ends meet?” McDermott asked in a written statement.

Organized labor joined the call to remove the bank provision form the bill Wednesday afternoon. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka issued a statement matching the concerns of Warren and others.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.

 

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