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Efrem Zimbalist Jr. Dead at 95

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For Hollywood ReporterMike Barnes and Duane Byrge write: Efrem Zimbalist Jr., the suave leading man who starred on ABC for 15 straight seasons on 77 Sunset Strip and then The F.B.I., died Friday at his ranch in Solvang, Calif., his children announced. He was 95.

Zimbalist was a household name from 1958 through 1974 for his performances as dapper private eye Stuart Bailey on Friday night staple 77 Sunset Strip, which lasted six seasons, and as Inspector Lewis Erskine on The F.B.I., which ran for nine.

A close friend of then-FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover, Zimbalist ended many Quinn Martin productions on Sunday nights with a description of a fugitive wanted by the feds, exhorting viewers to be on the lookout. One of the more prominent names from this segment was James Earl Ray, assassin of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Efrem’s character embodied fidelity, bravery and integrity. So much so that he inspired a generation of future FBI employees, many of whom pursued a career in the bureau because they watched The F.B.I. series as they grew up,” FBI director Robert Mueller said when he presented an honorary Special Agent badge to Zimbalist in 2009. “In those days, he may well have been the bureau’s best and most effective recruiter!” Read the rest of this entry »

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Magma Rising in Washington State’s Mount St. Helens Volcano

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SEATTLE (Reuters) – Eric M. Johnson reports:  Magma levels are slowly rebuilding inside Mount St. Helens, a volcano in Washington state that erupted in 1980 and killed 57 people, although there was no sign of an impending eruption, U.S. scientists said.

The roughly 8,300-foot volcano erupted in an explosion of hot ash and gas on May 18, 1980, spewing debris over some 230 square miles and causing more than a billion dollars in property damage. Entire forests were crushed and river systems altered in the blast, which began with a 5.2 magnitude earthquake. Read the rest of this entry »


Utagawa Kuniyoshi Woodblock Print

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“Dragon”  Artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi. Woodblock print. About 1840s, Japan

Japanese Aesthetics


Interactive Panorama Lets You Stand on Mars

Caked in red silt, NASA’s Curiosity rover looks like it’s been trekking through a Martian dust storm in this latest interactive panorama. But nothing can tarnish the joy of seeing this incredible machine hard at work on another planet.

The dust-covered robot is currently preparing for its third drilling operation on Mars, at a site nicknamed the Kimberley. In recent days, engineers have inspected and scrubbed the dust from a spot on a rock they named “Windjana,” after a gorge in Western Australia. (Too bad the rover can’t turn its wire bristle dust removal tool on itself.) Curiosity has already done preparatory drill work and will soon sample some of Windjana’s interior. The rover will run this sample through a series of tests to give scientists a better understanding of the history of water in this area...(read more)

Wired


Cantor calls for special prosecutor in IRS targeting investigation

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For The Washington Post, Josh Hicks writes: The House majority leader on Friday called for Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint special counsel to investigate the Internal Revenue Service’s controversial treatment of certain advocacy groups during the past two election cycles.

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said in a statement on Friday that an independent prosecutor should “bring the appropriate charges against those responsible” for the IRS’s targeting of tax-exemption applicants for extra scrutiny based on their names and policy positions.

“This is far too serious a matter to leave to the discretion of partisan political appointees, no matter who is in the White House,” Cantor said. Read the rest of this entry »


Newsweek Attacks Louis C.K. for Having the Common Sense to Expose Common Core

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For The Daily CallerRobby Soave reports: After lambasting Common Core for ruining his kids’ education, Emmy Award-winning comedian Louis C.K. is taking flak from a Core-supporter at Newsweek.

In an article titled, “Sorry, Louis C.K., but You’re Wrong About Common Core,” Alexander Nazaryan took the comedian to task for using his bully pulpit to “malign an earnest effort at education reform.”

Louis C.K.’s anti-Common Core message was delivered via a series of Tweets on Monday, in which he blamed the new national education standards for making math learning more difficult for his kids.

[RELATED: Louis C.K. Torches Common Core, Says It Made His Kids Cry]

Louis C.K.’s two children attend school in New York City.

He also tweeted screenshots of several incomprehensible homework problems assigned to his third grade daughter. Core-aligned standardized testing wastes time and energy and stresses out students, he wrote. Read the rest of this entry »


Where was Obama? Question Resurfaces of President’s Whereabouts During Benghazi Attack

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Republican senators on Friday put pressure on President Obama to confirm his whereabouts during the night of the Benghazi attack, after an ex-White House spokesman revived the debate by telling Fox News he was not in the Situation Room.

The detail about the president’s location the night of the attack is just one of many revelations that have, in a matter of days, kicked up the controversy to a level not seen since last year. After new emails were released raising questions about the White House response to the attack, a key panel on Friday subpoenaed Secretary of State John Kerry and House Speaker John Boehner announced a special investigative committee.

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On Friday afternoon, three GOP senators wrote a letter to Obama asking about his whereabouts and spokesman Tommy Vietor’s comments to Fox News.

“Last night, the former Communications Director for the National Security Council, Tommy Vietor, stated that on the afternoon and night of September 11, 2012 — while the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya was under attack — that you never visited the White House Situation Room to monitor events,” they wrote.

Claiming that Americans still do not have an “accounting of your activities during the attack,” the senators asked him to confirm Vietor’s account. The letter was signed by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz.; Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.

In the earlier interview with Fox News, Vietor said he was in the Situation Room during the Benghazi attack — where four Americans including the U.S. ambassador died — but Obama was not.

He said Obama was in the White House.

“It is well known that when the attack was first briefed to him it was in the Oval Office and he was updated constantly,” Vietor said Thursday, adding he did not know where the president was at all points in the night because he does not have a “tracking device on him.” He said Obama does not have to be in the Situation Room to monitor an ongoing situation. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Kevin Spacey: Democracy and Power in ‘Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’ Trailer

“Ideas don’t determine who’s right. Power determines who’s right. And I have the power, so I am right.”

Activision released the trailer for the next installment of its popular game Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare featuring a character similar to Kevin Spacey.

The game will release on November 4, with the trailer slated for release Sunday, but had to be posted three days earlier after it was leaked online.

 [Check out Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and other games at Amazon.com]

The character uncannily looks like Kevin Spacey and acts like his House of Cards character Francis Underwood. The character speaks like Underwood’s character and is seen giving a speech about democracy and power. Read the rest of this entry »


Putin’s Screensaver: A map of primary target locations for Soviet nuclear strikes from 1984

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Map- Peter from Texas


The Butcher’s Notebook: 8 Great Steak Trends Across America

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For ZagatKelly Dobkin reports: It may have started with female-friendly chainlets like STK in the early 2000s, but lately chefs and restaurateurs all over the country are redefining the steakhouse in new and unexpected ways. Below, we’ve rounded up some of the most notable carnivorous trends of the last year – and shared our picks for the best places in the country to try them yourself. Vegetarians, turn away now…

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“Hipster” Steak

One trend that is decidedly new in the last year is the rise of steakhouses that appeal to the millennial set – young food-obsessed urbanites who are cuisine-curious with money to spare (cough: hipsters). M. Wells Steakhouse in Long Island City, Queens, is at the forefront of the trend. Quebecois duo Hugue Dufour and Sarah Obraitis of the now-retired M. Wells Diner made a name for themselves by cooking up eclectic, globally inspired plates not afraid of offal, bones, fat or gore. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Jay Carney Trying to Explain Things

“Snake experts believe this behavior occurs in sick animals that are unaware of what they are doing.”

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(Blame Jonah Goldberg’s G-File for snake-eating mental image)

Snake Eating ItselfYouTube


[VIDEO] Televised Benghazi Spin Disaster of the Week: Tommy Vietor’s Infamous ‘Dude’

Former NSC Spokesman Tommy Vietor

 YouTube


Music in Space: Texas Music Students to Perform Live with Space Station Astronaut

The Butcher:

Today is the day, see below for the LIVE Stream.

Originally posted on pundit from another planet:

Koichi_Wakata_Cover Expedition 39 commander Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency , currently aboard the International Space Station  will make space-to-Earth musical connections with students in Texas this week to share and explore the relationship between the arts and space exploration.

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Students from Pearl Hall Elementary in Pasadena, Texas, will perform songs with NASA astronaut Cady Coleman, Houston Symphony violinist Sergei Galperin and violinist Kenji Williams at NASA’sJohnson Space Center in Houston.

Music In Space - May 2 2014

When gagaku was first introduced in Japan, it was music of the imperial court during the Nara (645-710) and Heian (794-1185) periods that was performed by musicians who belonged to hereditary guilds.  Later, it became music of the aristocracy, and today it is still performed; modern composers even continue to write for gagaku ensembles.

When gagaku was first introduced in Japan, it was music of the imperial court during the Nara (645-710) and Heian (794-1185) periods that was performed by musicians who belonged to hereditary guilds. Later, it became music of the aristocracy, and today it is still performed; modern composers even continue to write for gagaku ensembles.

From the space station, Wakata will perform a piece of the ancient Gagaku music with a Japanese reed instrument called a

View original 421 more words


[VIDEO] SR-71 Blackbird: How to Fly the World’s Fastest Plane

Colonel Rich Graham flew the Blackbird from 1974 until the mid-1980s, first as a mission pilot and then as a trainer. He later took command of all Blackbird detachments – in California, Mildenhall in the UK and at Kadena on the Japanese island of Okinawa. He has also written several books about the aircraft. Here he tells BBC Future about what made the SR-71 such a remarkable plane.

It was a plane which flew at the edge of space; so high that most other jet engines would seize because of the lack of air. A plane that flew so fast that its airframe heated and grew during flight. A plane that, if needed, could outrun missiles launched to bring it down.

[See Colonel Rich Graham’s book: SR-71: The Complete Illustrated History of the Blackbird, The World’s Highest, Fastest Plane at Amazon.com]

The Lockheed SR-71 was a product of airplane maker Lockheed’s Skunk Works, a secretive project which came up with some of the world’s most advanced aircraft. It was designed after the loss of a U-2 spyplane over the Soviet Union in 1960 – a plane thought to fly too high to be shot down. The Blackbird would fly even higher, and at speeds of Mach 3.3 it would be fast enough to outrun any missile fired at it. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Boehner to Form Select Committee on Benghazi

Speaker of the House John Boehner arrives at the Capitol

UPDATE: Other news organizations confirm the report below that House speaker John Boehner will announce the formation of a select committee on Benghazi, led by Rep. Trey Gowdy

House Speaker John Boehner is “seriously considering” appointing a select committee to investigate the attacks on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, according to a senior GOP leadership aide. The move comes after the revelation of an email from a top Obama national security official, Ben Rhodes, instructing Susan Rice to focus on an anti-Muslim internet video to explain the attacks.

“For the first time we have clear and public evidence that the White House was more involved in misleading the American people than it had previous admitted. And, second, it’s now proven that the administration withheld relevant documents from a congressional subpoena request…”

“The new emails this week were the straw that broke the camel’s back,” says the aide. “The Speaker was furious to learn that the admininstration withheld relevant documents from a congressional subpoena. He’s sick and tired of this evasion and obstruction from the administration, and wants a solution to finally force accountability, get to the truth, and provide justice.”

“…the administration has now demonstrated it is willing to flagrantly defy such subpoena requests, compelling the House to consider taking the strongest actions possible in an effort to ensure Americans have the truth about what happened.”

Boehner, who has paid careful attention to the Benghazi developments since the attacks, has resisted calls to appoint a select committee, preferring to allow the various committees of jurisdiction to pursue investigations of their slices of the attacks on their own. Aides say Boehner continues to believe that the work of those committees has been valuable. “The current committees investigating the attack have done good work, using their authority, including subpoena authority, to gather facts, interview hundreds of witnesses, and conduct dozens of hearings. But this week’s events demonstrate a new level of stonewalling and obfuscation by the administration that requires a new level of investigation.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Seattle May Day Mayhem as Riot Police Wrestle Anarchist Protesters

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Protesters add garbage, signs, and other fuel to a fire in the middle of an intersection during the anti-capitalist demonstration.

Sam Creighton reports: Hundreds of anarchists clashed with police on the streets of Seattle yesterday, during the annual May Day riots.

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The protestors marked International Workers’ Day by marching peacefully while carrying banners branded with slogans such as ‘Die Yuppie Scum’ and ‘Anti-Capitalism and Anti-State’. However, a violent minority caused trouble once the sun went down, waging running battles with police officers. Read the rest of this entry »


Boom Time in Texas: Population Has Grown More than Twice the Rate of the Nation’s Over the Past Decade

Austin has the fourth-worst vehicle congestion in North America, according to Inrix Inc., a firm that collects and ranks data on automobile traffic. Above, heavy traffic on Interstate 35 in the state capital. Jon Hicks/Corbis

Austin has the fourth-worst vehicle congestion in North America, according to Inrix Inc., a firm that collects and ranks data on automobile traffic. Above, heavy traffic on Interstate 35 in the state capital. Jon Hicks/Corbis

For WSJ, Nathan Koppel and Ana Campoy report: Americans have flocked to Texas in search of a piece of the state’s booming economy as much of the rest of the country struggled.

Now, the state’s largest cities are seeing crowded highways, strained water supplies and other pressures that have come with the growth. And Texas politicians—protective of the small-government, low-tax policies many of them believe are at the root of the state’s success—are grappling with how to pay the price of prosperity.

 “No state can tax and spend its way to prosperity, but with the right policies you can grow your way there…we can make principled investments in our future without raising taxes.”

Governor Rick Perry

Aided by the promise of plentiful employment and a low cost of living, Texas added 1.3 million people from 2010 to 2013, more than any other state, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The Lone Star State’s population has pushed past 26 million and is projected to reach 40 million by 2050.

“We all want to go around and beat our chest that Texas is the best place to do business, but we need to pay for the infrastructure needs that go with growth.”

– Republican state Sen. Kevin Eltife of Tyler

Half of the 10 American cities with the largest population increases in the 12 months ended July 1, 2012, were in Texas, according to the Census Bureau. Houston, the nation’s fourth-biggest city with about 2.2 million people, added 34,625 residents, second only to New York. Austin added 25,395 and now has some 843,000 residents, more than San Francisco.

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The state’s outsize growth is a matter of pride for Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who has touted the “Texas Miracle” as proof that its lower taxes and lighter regulations are effective job creators. Texans paid 7.5% of their income in state and local taxes in 2011, compared with 11.4% in California and 9.2% in Florida, according to the most recent data from the Tax Foundation, a research organization. Read the rest of this entry »


Half of Illinois Wants to Leave State

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If everybody in America had the opportunity to pack up and move to the state of their choice, Illinois, Connecticut, and Maryland would empty out, according to a new Gallup poll. Around half of residents in all three states said they would relocate to another state given the chance, with Illinois having the highest rate of people (50%) who want to get out; Connecticut clocked in at 49%, and Maryland at 47%. People in Montana, Hawaii, and Maine were the most inclined to stay put, with just 23% of residents of each state saying they would take the opportunity to move. Read the rest of this entry »


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