Category Archives: Features

Condoleezza Rice should replace Roger Goodell as NFL commissioner

Condoleezza Rice should replace Roger Goodell as NFL commissioner

 Juan Williams

By

Condi Rice, Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice

What difference did the second video make?

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his executives could see from the first video that Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice had attacked his girlfriend so viciously as to knock her unconscious. All of this investigation into whether the NFL knew about the second video is a reminder of the old Washington, adage that the cover-up gets people into more trouble than the crime.

That’s why I want to add my voice to the growing chorus of Americans who would like to see former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice replace Goodell as commissioner of the National Football League. It’s an idea first put forth this weekby the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart.

If the big boys in Washington like Cheney and Rumsfeld didn’t intimidate Condi, then neither will the boys club of the NFL.

Mr. Goodell’s response to the disturbing video of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice beating his fiancée in an elevator was not just underwhelming, it was grossly derelict. The idea that he would ban a player from the league for smoking pot for a year but set a two-game suspension for violent abuse of a woman invites derision.

Football fans and even political analysts like me can read the writing on the wall. For the sake of the game, Goodell needs to go.

The question then becomes who will replace him at this delicate and difficult time for the league and the sport. The teams’ owners care about protecting the league’s image because they care about protecting the advertisers who make it possible for them to bank billion dollar network broadcast deals.

The person who fits the bill for the owners is far and away is former Secretary of State Rice.

Let me be clear, while I consider her a friend and have praised Rice’s work on education and immigration reform, I do not agree with all of her conservative politics. Moreover, I have been critical of the role she played as a member of the Bush administration in misleading the American people into the Iraq war by selling bogus claims about Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction and connections to Al Qaeda.

But I have always respected Rice as pioneer in her field and a role model for black America’s sons and daughters. Her hard work and commitment to education took her from a working class family in the segregated South to the highest heights of academia and politics. As the first African-American woman to serve as Secretary of State, she is the embodiment of the American Dream.

Rice also famously told the New York Times in 2002 that being NFL Commissioner would be her dream job.

Well, Condi, here’s your chance!

Rice’s tenure in the Bush administration gave her the management and leadership experience to lead the NFL and restore the public’s trust in the league.

As National Security Adviser and Secretary of State, Rice frequently clashed with Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld – both of whom are brash, powerful, ego-driven men.

At its most basic level, the job of the NFL commissioner is to manage brash, powerful, ego-driven men – owners, advertisers, players and union representatives.

If the big boys in Washington like Cheney and Rumsfeld didn’t intimidate Condi, then neither will the boys club of the NFL.

Integrity, competence and experience should be the qualities the NFL looks for in its next commissioner.

But it would be naive to think race doesn’t play a role in professional sports. Surveys show that between 60 and 70 percent of NFL players are black.

Surely, it couldn’t hurt to have an African-American NFL commissioner – especially one with an impeccable resume who could never be written off as a racial token.

Rice has already made history in the world of sports. In 2012, she was one of the first women (there were only two) to be admitted into the historically white, male dominated Augusta National Golf Club.

Though she has repeatedly denied it, there may be one job Rice wants more than NFL commissioner – president of the United States.

In two years, if we don’t see President Rice on the Eisenhower putting green at the White House, I would love to see her on the Gridiron leading a revitalized National Football League.

Juan Williams is a co-host of FNC’s “The Five,” where he is one of seven rotating Fox personalities. Additionally, he serves as FNC’s political analyst, a regular panelist on “Fox News Sunday” and “Special Report with Bret Baier” and is a regular substitute host for “The O’Reilly Factor.” He joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in 1997 as a contributor. Click here for more information on Juan Williams

Intentional Decapitation in Broad Daylight on a New York Street

Intentional Decapitation in Broad Daylight on a New York Street

Intentional Decapitation in Broad Daylight on a New York Street

A New York City man reportedly committed suicide Monday on a city street by cutting off his own head in broad daylight.

Tomas Rivera, 51, allegedly drove his 2005 Honda CRV to a busy street in the Bronx, parked the car, then tied a chain around his neck attaching the opposite end to a street pole, according to the New York Daily News. With the chain around his neck and pole, Rivera hit the gas pedal, accelerated forward into a parked vehicle.

Police said Rivera was decapitated and dead upon their arrival.

Since the man’s car crashed into another, witnesses to the gruesome scene first thought the incident was accidental, the New York Post reported. Surveillance video revealed the series of events that led to Rivera’s death which indicated he intentionally ended his life.

h/t [Opposing Views]

Second plane diverts after passenger dispute over reclining seat

Second plane diverts after passenger dispute over reclining seat

Allegedly disruptive passenger charged after American Airlines flight from Miami to Paris is diverted to Boston

theguardian.com

Passengers on an aeroplane
The Boston incident was the second diversion over reclining seats in a week. Photograph: Swell Media/Getty Images

An outburst over a reclined seat led an American Airlines flight to divert to Boston, at least the second such incident in the US this week, authorities said.

A passenger, Edmund Alexandre, became upset after a woman reclined the seat in front of him on the Miami-to-Paris flight on Wednesday night, the Suffolk County district attorney’s office said.

Alexandre, who is from Paris, continued to be disruptive when a flight crew member attempted to calm him, following the crewman down the aisle and grabbing his arm, authorities said. Two undercover federal air marshals on the flight then subdued Alexandre and handcuffed him, the US attorney’s office said.

Massachusetts state police arrested Alexandre when the diverted plane landed about 10pm local time. Alexandre was taken to a hospital for observation and treatment of pre-existing health issues. Federal prosecutors said he told authorities he had high blood pressure and diabetes.

Alexandre was charged with interfering with a flight crew and was arraigned at the hospital on Thursday. A judge approved his release from custody on his own recognisance until a December hearing. His lawyer did not return a telephone message seeking comment.

On Sunday, a United Airlines flight diverted to Chicago after two passengers argued over reclining a seat.

There was no immediate comment from American Airlines about what happened on its Flight 62 on Wednesday.

USC’s Josh Shaw lied about rescue story

USC’s Josh Shaw lied about rescue story

by CBS News

USC Trojans Josh Shaw lied saving nephew hero
Josh Shaw #6 of the USC Trojans celebrates after returning a blocked punt for a touchdown against the California Golden Bears during the second quarter at California Memorial Stadium on November 9, 2013, in Berkeley, California.  THEARON W. HENDERSON/GETTY IMAGES

LOS ANGELES – Southern California cornerback Josh Shaw has admitted to lying to school officials about how he sprained his ankles last weekend, retracting his story about jumping off a balcony to save his drowning nephew.

Shaw has been suspended indefinitely from all of the Trojans’ team activities after acknowledging his heroic tale was “a complete fabrication,” the school announced in a statement Wednesday.

The school didn’t explain how Shaw actually was injured, but USC officials say they regret posting a story on their website Monday lauding Shaw’s story about a second-story jump onto concrete to rescue his 7-year-old nephew.

“We are extremely disappointed in Josh,” USC coach Steve Sarkisian said. “He let us all down. As I have said, nothing in his background led us to doubt him when he told us of his injuries, nor did anything after our initial vetting of his story.”

 

Shaw is a fifth-year senior, a team captain and a key starter in USC’s defensive secondary, widely regarded as a solid teammate and an important team leader for the 15th-ranked Trojans, who begin their first season under Sarkisian at the Coliseum on Saturday against Fresno State.

Shaw issued a short statement through an attorney on Wednesday after being suspended.

“On Saturday, August 23, 2014, I injured myself in a fall,” Shaw said. “I made up a story about this fall that was untrue. I was wrong not to tell the truth. I apologize to USC for this action on my part. My USC coaches, the USC athletic department and especially Coach Sarkisian have all been supportive of me during my college career and for that, I am very grateful.”

Within hours after Shaw’s tale was made public, the football program received phone calls contradicting Shaw’s version of his injuries. Sarkisian has not said who made the calls, but the school acknowledged the discrepancies Tuesday morning and began investigating Shaw, who initially stuck to his story.

“I appreciate that Josh has now admitted that he lied and has apologized,” Sarkisian said. “Although this type of behavior is out of character for Josh, it is unacceptable. Honesty and integrity must be at the center of our program. I believe Josh will learn from this. I hope that he will not be defined by this incident, and that the Trojan Family will accept his apology and support him.”

Shaw didn’t attend practice Wednesday, missing his second straight day of workouts.

Sarkisian insisted the situation won’t be a distraction for the Trojans, but still allowed only two of Shaw’s defensive teammates to speak with the media after practice Wednesday morning.

Linebacker Hayes Pullard and defensive lineman Leonard Williams both acknowledged surprise at the situation that developed after Shaw’s account was challenged, but remained supportive of their fifth-year senior captain.

“We were pretty shocked,” said Williams, who hasn’t spoken to Shaw. “Josh Shaw is a pretty loyal guy. I would never expect him to make up a story. I would never expect that out of him as a team leader.”

Shaw’s leadership and character were widely praised throughout his first two seasons of play at the school. He transferred back to his native Los Angeles area from Florida, in part to help out his ailing grandfather with the family landscaping business.

“Josh has been a great guy,” Pullard said. “He has great character. I’ve never known him to lie about anything … so it’s surprising. This is exactly when our leadership roles come in. We talk to guys and let them know what’s expected, and we’ll keep us focused on our team.”

Sarkisian hadn’t even coached his first game at USC before the high-profile program presented another challenge for its fourth head coach in less than a year.

Sarkisian, a former USC baseball player and a longtime football assistant coach to Pete Carroll, knows all about the extra attention paid to the Trojans, who are in the final year of extensive NCAA sanctions for violations committed under Carroll, and he remains confident he can handle the latest round of extracurricular troubles.

Amazing 10 Hour Display of Kindness Comes to a Sudden End

Amazing 10 Hour Display of Kindness Comes to a Sudden End

A Starbucks in St, Petersburg, Florida was the location of a ten-hour marathon of human kindness with people “paying it forward” after a woman decided to do something nice, but the streak was broken when one idiot decided common decency wasn’t something in which she was interested.

Starbucks logo Israel Hamas Muslim

At 7 a.m. on Wednesday, a woman buying an iced coffee at the drive up window told barista Vu Nguyen she wanted to pay for the order of the people behind her as well as her own as a random act of kindness. When the next customer rolled up to the window, Nguyen informed them that their order had been paid for by the vehicle in front of them then asked if they would like to do the same, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Ten hours and almost 400 customers later, the customers who visited Starbucks continued to “pay it forward” as they discovered someone had done something nice for them.

Amazing Display of Human Kindness Destroyed by One Idiot Who Couldn’t Spare $2

“It’s nice just to do a random act of kindness for someone you don’t know,” said 19-year-old Tim Burnside.

This amazing phenomenon happens at this particular Starbucks quite often, according to the store’s manager Celeste Guzman.

“Somebody wants to be nice and do something generous for the person behind them and then the person behind them keeps it going,” she said.

And 378 people did just that the other day, but around 6 p.m. there was customer number 379, a woman who drove a white Jeep Commander and ordered a regular coffee. Nguyen leaned out the window and informed the woman of what had been happening all day then asked if she would like to do the same.

Apparently she didn’t understand the whole concept and declined, telling Nguyen that she would only like to pay for her $2.25 coffee and be on her way, breaking the chain of kindness that had persisted throughout the entire day.

Not all was lost, however, as the “pay it forward” chain was linked up a little later and another 70 or so people paid for the drinks of total strangers, just to be nice. It actually continued into Thursday, and a company spokesman told Today.com that they estimate a total of 725 people participated over the course of two days.

Mike Rowe Shuts Up the Haters in Four Pictures

Mike Rowe Shuts Up the Haters in Four Pictures

mike-rowe-works
On August 14, one of Mike Rowe’s Facebook followers asked him a few questions on Facebook. They didn’t believe the down to earth Dirty Jobs host was the real deal in living a ‘normal life,’ accusing him of being like so many famous people who talk a good game. But, Rowe proved her wrong and it only took him four pictures.

The fan, identified as Kucera, posted the following set of questions on Rowe’s Facebook page.

“Please tell us truthfully that you 1. Don’t live in a mansion, 2. that you’ve made and eaten Kraft Macaroni Cheese in the past year, 3. that you’ve driven around to find a parking spot so you don’t pay for parking at a sporting event and 4. You haven’t pulled a Dan Patrick and dropped celeb names you’ve met or hung with in an attempt to score with someone.”

Rowe responded with the following statement followed by a series of pictures that proved that he practices what he preaches.

Howdy

1) I don’t live in a mansion. I house sat in one once, and I kinda liked it. But I’ve never owned one, and have no plans to. My current apartment is very modest, relative to the zip code. It’s the same one I’ve come home to for the last 14 years. With the exception of a small smokestack that partially obscures Treasure Island and Alcatraz, the view is the best thing about it. Credit: Rowe/Facebook

Credit: Rowe/Facebook

Rowe 4

 

2) I do. But in the interest of full disclosure, I also have some Ancient Harvest, Mac and Cheese with quinoa. (It’s important to try new things.)

Rowe 3

3) I can’t recall the last time I went to a sporting event and didn’t take public transportation.

4) Who is Dan Patrick?

Mike

Well played, sir.

H/T The Blaze

Actor Robin Williams dead at 63, apparent suicide

Actor Robin Williams dead at 63, apparent suicide

Robin William died dead suicide
Actor Robin Williams speaks onstage during “The Crazy Ones” panel discussion at the CBS, Showtime and The CW portion of the 2013 Summer Television Critics Association tour at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 29, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California.  FREDERICK M. BROWN, GETTY IMAGES

The actor and comedian Robin Williams was found dead today at his home in Tiburon, Calif. Police say it appears to have been a suicide. Williams was 63 years old.

Emergency personnel were called to the house in Marin County, north of San Francisco, around noon. Officials say the cause of death is suspected to be asphyxiation, but a forensic exam and toxicology tests will be conducted.

Williams’ wife, Susan Schneider, issued a statement Monday evening:

“This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken. On behalf of Robin’s family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.”

A statement from Robin Williams’s press representative said he had been “battling severe depression.”

Williams first rose to fame from the stand-up comedy circuit in the 1970s, with a manic improvisational style all his own. He appeared on the sitcom “Happy Days” and then starred as a lovable alien on its popular spin-off, “Mork & Mindy,” from 1978 to 1982.

Williams went on to prove he had serious acting talent as well. He delivered critically praised performances in films like “Good Morning, Vietnam” (1987), “Dead Poets Society” (1989), “Awakenings” (1990), and “Good Will Hunting” (1997), for which he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

He was a comic whirlwind as a cartoon genie in Disney’s “Aladdin” (1992) and “Mrs. Doubtfire” (1993).

Williams also won three Golden Globes, for “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “The Fisher King.”

In his most recent TV series, “The Crazy Ones,” which aired on CBS last year, Williams played a quirky genius who ran an advertising agency with his daughter, played by Sarah Michelle Gellar.

Gellar is among those who paid tribute to Williams on Monday, joining Steve Martin, Ellen DeGeneres, Henry Winkler and many others expressing their sorrow on social media.

“I could not be more stunned by the loss of Robin Williams, mensch, great talent, acting partner, genuine soul,” Martin wrote.

Despite all the laughter on screen, his personal life was often troubled. He acknowledged drug and alcohol problems in the 1970s and ’80s. A close friend of “Saturday Night Live” star John Belushi, Williams was one of the last to see him before Belushi died of a drug overdose in 1982. Over the years, Williams also went through two highly publicized divorces.

Williams got sober and maintained it for two decades. But in 2006, he slipped back into alcoholism and entered rehab. Then this summer, Williams spoke about fact thathe had been drinking once again and checked back into rehab.

Williams was born in Chicago in 1951. He said he was shy as a child and got laughs at home by mimicking his grandmother. He joined the drama club in high school and studied acting at Juilliard, where his teacher, the renowned actor John Houseman, encouraged his talent for comedy.

Williams admired boundary-pushing comics likeJonathan Winters, Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor and George Carlin, and wasn’t afraid to push boundaries of his own.

“You look at the world and see how scary it can be sometimes and still try to deal with the fear,” he told the Associated Press in 1989. “Comedy can deal with the fear and still not paralyze you or tell you that it’s going away. You say, OK, you got certain choices here, you can laugh at them and then once you’ve laughed at them and you have expunged the demon, now you can deal with them. That’s what I do when I do my act.”

Robin Williams Mrs Doubtfire
Robin Williams in Mrs Doubtfire movie.

Williams reportedly had several film projects in the works when he passed away, including “Night at the Museum 3” and a Mrs. Doubtfire sequel that was in the development stages.

He is survived by his wife and three children from previous marriages. On July 31, he posted an old photo of himself and daughter Zelda, with a caption wishing her a happy 25th birthday.

Man Gets Sweet Revenge on Screaming Kids at a Burger King

Man Gets Sweet Revenge on Screaming Kids at a Burger King

Man Gets Sweet Revenge on Screaming Kids at a Burger King

Whether or not you have children, when you’re out in public the last thing you want to hear is a kid having a temper tantrum over something trivial while their parents do little to nothing to stop it.

One Reddit user claims to have encountered this scenario, and what he did as a result is something we’ve probably thought about at one point or another. In a thread labeled “offmychest,” the user tells the story of buying 23 apple pies at a Burger King when he heard a young kid screaming at his mother about wanting a pie, which apparently ruined the man’s day.

Whether you agree with what he did or not, what happens next will surely surprise you. According to his Reddit post:

“It turns out it was so slow because they had 1 trainee on cash during the lunch hour rush. All I can think of is how the people behind me ruined my splurge and gave me this headache. I then decide to ruin their day. I order every pie they have left in addition to my burgers. Turned out to be 23 pies in total, I take my order and walk towards the exit.

Moments later I hear the woman yelling, what do you mean you don’t have any pies left, who bought them all? I turn around and see the cashier pointing me out with the woman shooting me a death glare. I stand there and pull out a pie and slowly start eating eat as I stare back at her. She starts running towards me but can’t get to me because of other lineups in the food court. I turn and slowly walk away.”

Apparently, not everyone is a fan of screaming children. Revenge never tasted so sweet.

Trafficking bust reveals worries over missing kids

Trafficking bust reveals worries over missing kids

by  Associated Press

child sex trafficking girl slave tied up chained

WASHINGTON (AP) – The 168 juveniles recovered last month during an FBI child sex trafficking bust included some kids who had never been reported missing, a population that law enforcement encounters often and that child welfare advocates say they’re especially concerned about.

It’s hard to quantify the problem, especially since some children who are feared missing turn up after a few hours or aren’t gone for long enough to raise concerns from guardians.

Related: Former Sex Slave:  I was Chained Up and Sold to Gangs

Basement bed
Basement bed for girls

But advocates say the recent roundup and others like it reinforces the need for a standardized approach to report children as missing – especially those absent from state foster care systems who are most vulnerable to abuse. State and federal efforts are underway to streamline how police are alerted when kids go missing.

Related: FBI Bust Large Group of Child Sex Trafficking Ringing in US

“This has been a movement that I would say over the last year has really galvanized,” said John Ryan, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Legislation pending in Congress would require child welfare agencies to alert police and the center, which has specialized response teams and other resources, within 24 hours of receiving information about a child’s disappearance.

The current patchwork of state and federal policies has yielded what advocates describe as a fractured safety net with little accountability.

girl duct taped

Though states may have policies directing child welfare agencies to report missing children to law enforcement, most don’t have laws requiring that notification, according to the missing children center. That means children can disappear without police knowing they’re missing or being directed to look for them.

Federal law does require law enforcement agencies to enter missing children into the National Crime Information Center – a database available to law enforcement nationwide – but that presumes police are provided the names or have specific enough details about a child. A 2011 Government Accountability Office report said law enforcement agencies are having trouble getting timely information from state agencies.

The missing children center says it received more than 57,000 missing-child reports between 2009 and 2013, many of them considered endangered runaways.

The center says 1 out of 7 endangered runaways reported to the center last year were likely child sex trafficking victims. And of the children reported missing to the organization last year who were also likely sex trafficking victims, about two-thirds were in the care of child welfare systems when they ran away.

Child AbuseSome children who are feared missing turn up after just a few hours. In some cases, children involved in sex trafficking leave their homes to meet their pimps for work and then return before their absence is noticed. The center worries about them as well.

The difficulties aren’t limited to foster care. In the most recent action, called Operation Cross Country, far more children came from single-family homes than from families under state supervision, the FBI said. But experts say they’re concerned that children in foster care, who often come from more troubled backgrounds, are particularly vulnerable to being targeted by sex traffickers.

“These pimps really know how to appeal to these kids. A lot of these pimps come from similar backgrounds as well. They can lure them in by providing them care, feeding, attention,” Joseph Campbell, assistant director of the FBI’s criminal investigative division, said in an interview.

In a transient child welfare system, where caseworkers often lament heavy caseloads, it’s a challenge for states to keep perfect track of children under their care. Many run away repeatedly but return on their own, giving guardians little incentive to report them missing each time. The Internet enables children to be prostituted through online advertisements instead of street corners, making it easier than ever for trafficking to cross state lines.

“When you come across a child and you have no information on who they are, it becomes difficult to, first of all, ID them – you don’t know if there are warrants for them or if there are medical needs for this child,” or if they’re supposed to be under state care, said Michael Osborn, an FBI unit chief who investigates violent crimes against children.

About one-third of the kids rescued in the most recent Operation Cross Country had previously been reported missing, Osborn said. But not all of the others would necessarily be classified as missing; some simply hadn’t been gone for long enough stretches of time to make their guardians concerned.

State policies vary.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services is in the process of issuing a bulletin to county agencies instructing them to reporting missing foster children to local law enforcement and the missing children center. It plans to propose legislation to that effect in the 2015 legislative session. Nebraska urges foster guardians to directly file missing children reports with police. The state says it will monitor the situation and contact police if the foster parent doesn’t.

A new Georgia law expands who can report a child as missing to include any caretaker or government entity responsible for the child, not just the parent or guardian.

Florida developed new policies following the 2000 disappearance of foster child Rilya Wilson, whose caseworker lied about visiting her while filing false reports and telling judges the girl was fine. Her disappearance wasn’t discovered by state child welfare workers until 15 months later. The girl is presumed dead.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a sponsor of legislation that would require child welfare agencies to provide notification of missing children, said failure to do so is a “moral blot on our country.”

Wyden has previously introduced similar versions of the bill, but this year those provisions were folded into broader legislation that, among other things, would increase incentives for adoption. Aides say the measure, which last week passed the House of Representatives, has bipartisan support.