January 16th, 2012
New York Post
By CANDICE M. GIOVE
They’re occupying his home.
Occupy Wall Street protesters announced with great fanfare last month that they moved a homeless family into a “foreclosed” Brooklyn, N.Y., home — even though they knew the house belonged to a struggling single father desperately trying to renegotiate his mortgage, The Post has learned.
“They’re trying to take a house and say the bank is robbing the people because the mortgage is too high — so contact the owner!” fumed Wise Ahadzi, 28, who owns the home at 702 Vermont St. in East New York.
Occupiers “reclaimed” the row house on Dec. 6 and ceremoniously put out the welcome mat for a homeless family.
But Bank of America, which has been in and out of foreclosure proceedings against Ahadzi since 2009, confirmed to The Post that he is still the rightful owner.
Meanwhile, the family that OWS claimed to be putting into the vacant house has not yet permanently moved in. And it turns out the family is not a random victim of the foreclosure crisis, but cast for the part, thanks to their connection to the OWS movement.
OWS last week said it has spent $9,500 breaking into the house and setting it up for the homeless Carrasquillo family. A photo of the smiling family covers a window, under the slogan, “A place to call home.”
The head of the family, Alfredo Carrasquillo, 28, is an organizer for VOCAL- NY, a group that works with OWS. His Facebook page shows him in a “99 Percent” T-shirt at an OWS protest in November.
The Post visited the Vermont Street home last week — six weeks after OWS announced that the Carrasquillos were moving in — and the family was nowhere to be found.
In fact, the only people occupying the house were occupiers themselves.
“They only stay here sometimes,” a protester named Charlie said of the Carrasquillos. “There’s not enough room for the kids.”
The occupier refused to say how many others were inside, but at least two more protesters could be seen at the house, along with mattresses on the floor, during The Post visit.
“We’re almost done with the basement,” he said of the renovations.
The real property owner is livid because he could be raising his two little girls, Imani, 3, and Kwazha, 10, in the two-story home instead of in a meager, two-bedroom rental in Brownsville while he tries to sort out his mortgage nightmare.
Police notified him in early December that the vigilante vagrants moved into his East New York digs, he said. He immediately ran over to the house to see for himself.
Tops at the Post
January 16th, 2012
Beer-Swilling Host Gervais, Left the Material Girl, and many others, simmering with his sarcastically hilarious rejoinders.
UK Daily mail
He said he wouldn't hold back and he didn't.
Ricky Gervais opened the 2012 Golden Globes with a series of saucy jokes, taking aim at everyone from Kim Kardashian and Mel Gibson to Eddie Murphy and Jodie Foster.
Within the first five minutes of the show beginning he joked about the size of his penis, the length of Kim's marriage and made tongue-in-cheek comments about Jodie's 'Beaver.'
And before the live broadcast ended he had producers racing to use the bleep button to make sure that viewers at home didn't hear him use the F-word.
A nervous NBC took full advantage of the seven-second delay that it imposed scrambling to hit mute when he appeared to say that he couldn't 'f***ing' understand what Antonio Banderas was saying to him earlier behind the scenes.
The 50-year-old British comedian took to the stage in a red and black suit, with a cheeky grin and firing on all cylinders.
Looking at the audience - who were anticipating what he would say after his performance last year - Ricky started the night by saying: 'Nervous? Don't be. This isn't about you.'
He began by taking aim at the very awards ceremony that he was presenting for the third time, by saying: 'The Golden Globes are to the Oscars what Kim Kardashian is to Kate Middleton.
'Bit louder. Bit trashier. Bit drunker. And more easily bought... allegedly.'
Ricky also said: 'Tonight, you get Britain's biggest comedian, hosting the second biggest awards show, on America's third biggest network...'
Then, pretending to appease NBC - the US channel that broadcasts the ceremony live - Ricky quickly said: 'I'm just kidding. It's the fourth.'
The Academy Awards was also not spared.
Ricky sharply took aim at fellow comic Eddie Murphy who originally agreed to present the Oscars before pulling out after producer Brett Ratner quit.
He said: 'When the man who said: "Yes" to Norbit says, "No", to you, you know you're in trouble.'
'I love Eddie Murphy. He loves dressing up. He's versatile.
'Bit of trivia. Eddie Murphy and Adam Sandler, between them, played all the parts in The Help. Brilliant.'
That joke was well-received by the audience that included top stars such as George Clooney, Madonna, Michelle Williams, Kate Winslet and Charlize Theron.
But perhaps the biggest laugh came when he made a saucy joke about actress Jodie Foster who directed Mel Gibson in The Beaver.
The Brit pulled out a list of things the Hollywood Foreign Press - the association that puts on the show - supposedly told him he couldn't mention.
The 'list' included Mel, the troubled actor, whom he has teased the past two occasions that he hosted the Golden Globes.
Ricky said: 'The Hollywood Foreign Press have warned me that if I insult you or cause any controversy, they would invite me back next year...
'[They gave me] a list of rules, and this is real. No profanity. That's fine. I've got a huge vocabulary.
'No nudity. See, that's a shame, because I've got a huge...vocabulary, but tiny penis. It works. I don't care. It's fine.
'No smut or innuendo. Or I'm not to libel anyone.
'And I mustn't mention Mel Gibson this year. Not his private life, his politics, his recent films or especially not Jodie Foster's Beaver.
'I haven't seen it myself.
'I've spoken to a lot of guys - they haven't seen it either but that doesn't mean it's not good.'
The 49-year-old Oscar-winner took the joke with good spirits, even though the host's comments were littered with sexual innuendo.
When the cameras honed in on her in the crowd, she made a thumbs-up sign and clapped.
One person who was not amused by Ricky's jokes was Madonna, who was on hand to present an award for Best Foreign Language Film.
The Golden Globes host guffawed when he introduced her, jokingly saying she was a virgin.
'She’s always vogue, she’s a Material Girl and she’s just like a virgin. Please welcome Madonna.'
A noticeably displeased Madonna came on stage and fired back: 'If I'm still a virgin Ricky, then why don't you come on do something about it?
Like a naughty school boy Ricky just ran across the stage behind her as she made her comments.
The queen of reality TV - Kim Kardashian - was also a target when Ricky ran through a list of celebrity break-ups in 2011.
He said: 'Arnold and Maria. J.Lo and Marc Anthony.
'Ashton and Demi. Kim Kardashian and some guy no one will ever remember.
'He wasn't around long. Seventy-two days - a marriage that lasted 72 days. I've sat through longer James Cameron speeches.'
He also joked about the Justin Bieber paternity scandal, saying: 'Justin Bieber nearly had to take a paternity test.
'What a waste of a test that would have been.
January 16th, 2012
By Amy Forliti, Jason Straziuso and Julie Watson
NAIROBI, Kenya — The October al-Qaida video shows a light-skinned man handing out food to families displaced by famine in Somalia. But the masked man is not Somali, or even African — he’s a Wisconsin native who grew up in San Diego.
A handful of young Muslims from the U.S. are taking high-visibility propaganda and operational roles inside an al-Qaida-linked insurgent force in Somalia known as al-Shabab. While most are from Minnesota, which has the largest Somali population in the nation, al-Shabab members include a Californian and an Alabaman with no ancestral ties to Somalia.
“They are being deployed in roles that appear to be shrewdly calculated to raise al-Shabab’s international profile and to recruit others, especially those from the United States and other English-speaking countries,” said Anders Folk, a former assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted suspected al-Shabab supporters in Minnesota.
Officials fear another terrorist attack in East Africa. Kenya announced Jan. 7 that it had thwarted attempted al-Shabab attacks over the holidays. The same day, Britain’s Foreign Office urged Britons in Kenya to be extra vigilant, warning that terrorists there may be “in the final stages of planning attacks.”
More than 40 people have traveled from the U.S. to Somalia to join al-Shabab since 2007, and 15 of them have died, according to a report from the House Homeland Security Committee. Federal investigations into al-Shabab recruitment in the U.S. have centered on Minnesota, which has more than 32,000 Somalis.
At least 21 men have left Minnesota to join al-Shabab in that same time. The FBI has confirmed that at least two of them died in Somalia as suicide bombers. A U.S. citizen is suspected in a third suicide bombing, and another is under investigation in connection with a fourth bombing Oct. 29 that killed 15 people.
The star of the al-Qaida video was Jehad Mostafa, 30, a Californian who handed out food using the name Abu Abdullah al-Muhajir, according to the SITE Monitoring Service. The Washington Post reported last year that Mostafa served as top lieutenant to Saleh Nabhan, a senior al-Qaida operative killed by Navy SEALs in a helicopter attack inside Somalia in 2010.
Mostafa and the Alabaman, Omar Hammami, 27, are among about a dozen men who have been charged in federal court in the U.S. and are believed to be in Somalia.
The Americans appear to have been motivated by the Ethiopian army’s intervention in Somalia in 2006, which they saw as an invasion. However, many experts believe it’s only a matter of time before al-Shabab turns its wrath on the U.S., which in February 2008 designated it as a terrorist organization. The group killed 76 people in terrorist bombings in Uganda in 2010 during the World Cup final.
U.S. military commanders fear that Americans inside al-Shabab could train as bombmakers and use their U.S. passports to carry out attacks in the U.S.
E.K. Wilson, the agent overseeing the FBI’s investigation in Minneapolis, said he cannot comment on whether there is an outstanding order to capture or kill Americans fighting for al-Shabab. The FBI has publicly said the Americans should return to the U.S.
It’s a mystery what caused Mostafa, a young man whom many remember as mild and friendly, to join an extremist group.
Mostafa grew up in San Diego and graduated from the University of California, San Diego. Imam Abdeljalil Mezgouri of the Islamic Center of San Diego, the city’s largest mosque, said Mostafa was a respectful teen and good student.
“He was a very quiet, very loving boy. He didn’t talk too much but when he did talk, people liked him,” said Mezgouri.
Mezgouri said Mostafa got married in his early 20s to a woman he believed was from Somalia.
Public records show Mostafa was the president of the now-defunct Muslim Youth Council of San Diego, or MYCSD. The former organization’s Web site says the group was “dedicated to showing the world that Islam is a religion of peace and Muslims are a peaceful and productive part of society.”
Mostafa’s father, Halim Mostafa, a Kurdish Syrian, is a prominent figure in San Diego’s Muslim community who has tried to build bridges with non-Muslims. He made a low-budget film released in 2008 called “Mozlym” to show how the true meaning of Islam is often lost amid the misconceptions of non-Muslims in America, according to the film’s Web site.
Mostafa’s father declined to talk.
“I just don’t want to get involved. I’m really sorry I cannot say anything. God bless you,” he said.
Edgar Hopida, a spokesman for the San Diego chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Halim Mostafa believes in the most liberal interpretation of Islam and noted that “it’s ironic if his son is involved with al-Shabab.”
Mostafa is believed to have met American militant Anwar al-Awlaki about a decade ago at a San Diego mosque, according to The Washington Post. He went to Somalia in 2005. Federal officials declined to comment.
Mostafa was indicted in August 2010 on terrorism charges for allegedly providing material support to al-Shabab. Mostafa has a leadership role inside al-Shabab and serves as a key liaison to al-Qaida, said Evan Kohlmann, who has assisted government investigations into al-Shabab recruiting and financing.
AP could not reach Mostafa or Hammami for comment. A spokesman for al-Shabab said that the questions AP emailed were “of a personal nature relating to the roles and activities of certain individuals and for that reason they were left unanswered.”
The spokesman also said al-Shabab and al-Qaida were “brothers in Islam.” He did not provide a name but emailed from an address used by al-Shabab’s media outreach wing, which also recently launched a Twitter feed.
The Alabaman, Hammami, 27, has taken on the role of jihadi lecturer and Islamic scholar. After U.S. Navy SEALs killed al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden in Pakistan earlier this year, Hammami appeared at a news conference near Mogadishu and threatened to avenge the killing.
Al-Awlaki’s death by a U.S. drone in Yemen in September left Hammami as the most influential U.S. English speaker in the jihadi propaganda sphere, said terrorism expert Ben Venzke. Hammami is also known as Abu Mansour al-Amriki or “the American.”
“His more accessible image and manner of speaking may prove a growing and significant threat to not just the region around Somalia but for future attacks on U.S. soil,” said Venzke of the Washington-based IntelCenter.
Hammami grew up in Daphne, Ala., a bedroom community of 20,000 outside Mobile known for sunsets on the Gulf of Mexico, seafood and high school football. The phone directory lists 43 Christian churches and not a single Islamic congregation in Daphne.
The son of a Christian mother and a Syrian-born Muslim father, Hammami attended Daphne High School. Then-assistant principal Don Blanchard recalls Hammami as generally well liked.
“Omar I would not classify as a troubled kid,” said Blanchard.
Hammami enrolled at the University of South Alabama, where he was president of the Muslim Student Association. Following the 2001 terrorism attacks, Hammami spoke to the student newspaper.
“Even now it’s difficult to believe a Muslim could have done this,” The Vanguard quoted Hammami as saying.
Hammami went to Somalia in 2006. He was indicted in 2007 on terrorism charges, and faced more charges in 2009 for providing material support to terrorists.
Hammami, who wears a long beard and often raps in al-Shabab videos, released a nearly 50-minute lecture in October to commemorate five years with the group. He spouts hatred for “Western oppression.” In the video, provided to AP by the IntelCenter, he contrasts his upbringing in America with his life in Somalia, where he says a microwave — “or even a normal oven” — is a rarity.
The English speaker serves as a recruiter and fund-raiser and is one of the top people in charge of al-Shabab’s foreign fighters, Kohlmann said.
Hammami attends morning fighting drills and motivates new recruits, former al-Shabab fighter Abdi Hassan told AP. Hammami avoids mobile phones for fear intelligence agencies will trace him, and uses pseudonyms on the Internet.
“He sometimes cries with emotion, which makes others cry with him,” said Hassan. He added, “Every new American is asked to convince his friends to come. The Americans’ suicide attacks and speeches are meant to attract other Americans.”
The Americans helped produce what Venzke calls one of the most sophisticated recruitment videos ever released, featuring Minneapolis men in a July 2008 ambush of Ethiopian troops along a road in Somalia. Another video features a Minneapolis man who appeals to others to join the cause in English.
Al-Shabab does not just recruit from the U.S. Three suspects accused of having ties to al-Shabab are in prison in Australia and awaiting sentencing for allegedly planning an attack on an Australian military base.
Dozens of U.K. residents have also traveled to Somalia to join al-Shabab, and the British government is concerned that Somalia shows many of the characteristics that made Afghanistan “a seedbed for terrorism.”
Rick Nelson, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said just the possibility of military reprisal might not deter al-Shabab from carrying out an attack inside the U.S.
“All the elements are there for it to happen,” he said.
Forliti reported from Minneapolis and Watson from San Diego. Associated Press reporters Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Ala.; Katharine Houreld in Nairobi, Kenya; Abdi Guled in Mogadishu, Somalia; and Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia, contributed to this report.
January 15th, 2012
CR Edit note: In fact, the actual question should be: "Why Are Obama's Supporters So Stupid"
It should be noted that Newsweek has devolved into a veritable caricature of left wing comedy. So much so, that despite receiving the magazine for free, I still indicated that I was uninterested in receiving future editions, after receiving it out of the blue in the first place, even while paying to receive the Charlotte Observer every three months.
I mean, we simply have to utilize something to ignite the nightly winter fires in our fireplace and it's delivered daily....besides, there are those coupons....
It seems almost impossible to believe, but the upcoming issue of Newsweek has a cover story entitled "Why Are Obama's Critics So Dumb?"
If you think we're kidding, the following picture was tweeted by @Newsweek three hours ago:
As you can see, the author is the supposedly conservative Andrew Sullivan.
Figures, doesn't it?
The Weekly Standard's Mark Hemingway wrote a few hours ago, "If in recent years it seems as if Newsweek has been descending into self-parody, it's still hard to imagine that this is real."
Is there anything the mainstream media won't do to get Obama reelected?
*****Update: Politico has some excerpts from the not yet published article...
“[I]t remains simply a fact that Obama has delivered in a way that the unhinged right and purist left have yet to understand or absorb. Their short-term outbursts have missed Obama’s long game … [T]he president begins by extending a hand to his opponents; when they respond by raising a fist, he demonstrates that they are the source of the problem; then, finally, he moves to his preferred position of moderate liberalism and fights for it without being effectively tarred as an ideologue or a divider.
This kind of strategy takes time. And it means there are long stretches when Obama seems incapable of defending himself, or willing to let others to define him, or simply weak. I remember those stretches during the campaign against Hillary Clinton. I also remember whose strategy won out in the end.”
More From NewBusters
January 15th, 2012
UK Daily Mail
By Beth Stebner
Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman will drop out of the presidential race, and will instead endorse fellow candidate Mitt Romney, a senior campaign aide confirmed Sunday night.
The official said Mr Huntsman was ‘proud of the race he ran.'
Mr Huntsman's rationale to back Mr Romney - a man he’s consistently criticised on the campaign trail and called an ‘establishment’ - comes because doesn't want to block the best candidate to beat President Obama in the upcoming elections, reports say.
He was scheduled to participate in an evening debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Monday evening, but will instead endorse Mr Romney at an 11am press conference.
Just announced: Republican presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman walks with wife Mary Kaye and daughter Gracie in South Carolina. The former Utah governor will drop out of the presidential race, according to reports
The former Utah governor placed third in last week’s New Hampshire primary despite devoting much of his campaign resources to the state.
He had already acknowledged that expectations for him in South Carolina’s primary this week will be ‘very low.’
Mr Huntsman was routinely at the bottom of national polls, barely registering at one or two per cent.
Funding his campaign also became a struggle, as he arrived in South Carolina with very little money, according to the Times.
This comes six days before the state’s Republican presidential primary.
Earlier today, he received an endorsement from South Carolina’s largest newspaper, The State.
The paper’s editorial board praised the candidate’s principles and ‘far more impressive resume’ than Republican favourite Mitt Romney.
Mr Huntsman plans to formally announce that he’s dropping out as early as Monday, according to reports from several senior aides.
His resume suggested he could be a major contender for the GOP nomination: businessman, diplomat, governor, veteran of four presidential administrations, an expert on China and on foreign trade.
With a personal fortune based on his family's global chemical company, he could be a late entry into the nomination contest without necessarily hobbling his campaign.
Yet Mr Huntsman was almost invisible in a race often dominated by Mr Romney, a fellow Mormon. One reason was timing.
For months, Mr Romney and other declared or expected-to-declare candidates drew media attention and wooed voters in early primary states. Mr Huntsman, meanwhile, was half a world away, serving as ambassador to China until he resigned in late April.
Nearly two more months would pass before his kick-off speech on June 22 in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty.
Endorsed: According to reports, Huntsman will endorse Romney after himself getting endorsed by South Carolina's largest paper
To distinguish his candidacy in a crowded field, Mr Huntsman positioned himself as a tax-cutting, budget-balancing chief executive and former business executive who could rise above partisan politics.
That would prove to be a hard sell to the conservatives dominating the early voting contests, especially in an election cycle marked by bitter divisions between Republicans and Democrats and a boiling antipathy for President Barack Obama.
Mr Huntsman also tried to offer a different tenor, promising a campaign marked by civility. 'I don't think you need to run down somebody's reputation in order to run for the office of president,' he said.
Third place: Huntsman finished third in last week's New Hampshire primary despite devoting much of his campaign resources to the state
While Mr Huntsman was often critical of his former boss - he joined those saying Mr Obama had failed as a leader - and occasionally jabbed at Mr Romney, he spent more of his time in debates pushing his own views for improving the economy than thumping the president or his opponents.
In light of his work in the Obama administration, Republicans seemed wary of Mr Huntsman.
While he cast his appointment in August 2009 as U.S. ambassador to China as answering the call to serve his country, his critics grumbled that he had in fact been working on behalf of the opposition.
A HISTORY OF HUNTSMAN: DIPLOMAT, FATHER... AND HE PLAYED IN A BAND
Former governor Jon Huntsman served as ambassador to China until 2009
Jon Meade Huntsman Jr., 51, was born on March 26, 1960 in Redwood City, California, the eldest of nine. His father, also Jon Huntsman, founded the successful Huntsman Corporation in 1982. The company is today worth more than $9billion.
Mr Huntsman attended high school in Salt Lake City but dropped out to play keyboards in a band. He later attended the University of Utah, then dropped out to serve two years as a Mormon missionary in Taiwan, where he learned to speak Mandarin.
He returned to the University of Utah in 1981 and later worked as an intern for Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and as a staff assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He left college to join the Huntsman Corporation in 1983, the same year he married Mary Kaye Cooper.
Mr Huntsman studied international politics at the University of Pennsylvania, earning a bachelor's degree in 1987. While he served in the administrations of both George H.W. Bush - he was ambassador to Singapore in 1992 - and George W. Bush, Mr Huntsman first won elective office in 2004 as Utah's governor.
He was re-elected by a 3-1 margin in 2008, then resigned the following year to be America's top diplomat in China under the Obama administration. Mr Huntsman and his wife have seven children, including one adopted from India and one adopted from China.