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The Republican convention turned Paul Ryan into a terrible sports fan

Posted by admin Jul 21 2016 No Comments »
The Republican convention turned Paul Ryan into a terrible sports fan

CLEVELAND — The instances of politicians dabbling in sports and not embarrassing themselves form a rather short list, and House Speaker Paul Ryan’s actions at the Republican National Convention are certainly not on it.

As the chairman of the convention, Ryan is making the rounds visiting the various state delegations. One of his tactics to connect with the groups is by forging bonds via sports fandom. In doing so, Ryan is exposing a giant misunderstanding of how those fans — as partisan as any political body — actually interact.

On Monday, he visited the Pennsylvania delegation and waved a Terrible Towel, the preferred tool of Pittsburgh Steeler fans everywhere. Here he is in action:

This is wrong for a few reasons, as our colleagues at Yahoo Sports addressed. First, Ryan, a Wisconsin native, is a Packers fan. Second, the Pennsylvania delegation contains Eagles fans, who certainly would not be impressed by the bright yellow accessory. Third, the meeting took place in Cleveland, home of the Browns, whose fans might hate the Steelers more than they love their own team.

Things got worse on Tuesday. Addressing the Texas delegation, Ryan attempted to make a connection between college football and national politics. “When you advance to a national championship don’t you root for a Longhorn if you’re an Aggie?” said Ryan, according to Jonathan Tilove of the Austin Statesman. “Start thinking that way.” Ryan was alluding to the fact that even though the Republican primary had been contentious, it was time to begin rallying around the nominee. He did so by suggesting that the college sports rivals who may hate each other the most might actually get along.

No. That is not how it works at all. The Texas/Texas A&M relationship is so contentious that the two teams stopped playing in 2011 after the Aggies jumped from the Big 12 Conference to the SEC. The A&M fight song literally includes the lyrics “So goodbye to Texas University, so long to the orange and the white,” referencing the colors of the Longhorns. A&M fans use the term “Saw them off,” referring to severing the horns of the Texas mascot. The Twitter account of the SB Nation Aggie fan site Good Bull Hunting said “No way in hell” in regards to Ryan’s comments.

The hatred is not one-sided. NBC News senior political editor and Longhorns fan Mark Murray gave the statement that he wouldn’t be caught dead rooting for the Aggies a PolitiFact rating of true. DSCC communications director/Texas fan Sadie Weiner told Yahoo News that she wouldn’t root for the Aggies, adding, “Paul Ryan’s weak attempt at justifying his support for Trump reveals that he doesn’t understand college football and, more importantly, doesn’t understand the devastating impact a Trump presidency would have on America. Also, Hook ’em Horns.”

Ryan is not the only person in this election cycle to look bad pandering. In January, Carly Fiorina, a Stanford graduate, said she was supporting Iowa over her alma mater in the Rose Bowl in an attempt to curry favor in advance of the state’s caucuses. Iowa lost 45-16 and Fiorina finished seventh in the caucuses. Fiorina later said the comment was tongue-in-cheek, but the damage was already done. The man who named Fiorina as his running mate a few months later, Sen. Ted Cruz, drew ridicule for referring to a basketball hoop as a “basketball ring.”

Obama finds unlikely ‘support group’ in Bush

Posted by admin Jul 15 2016 No Comments »

A former top aide to George W. Bush once explained the Republican’s intriguing relationship with President Obama in the bond between those who work in the Oval Office.

It’s not just the vast power of the presidency and the burden of responsibility that comes with it, the aide told Yahoo News. It’s that only a former commander in chief can fully understand the frustration that comes from experiencing the limits of that power, the inability to overcome problems or opposition at home or abroad.

Some of those limits were on display when Obama and Bush shared the stage Tuesday at an emotional memorial for five Dallas police officers slain by a black Army veteran. Bush was there to mourn his home city’s fallen, but the rare joint appearance symbolically suggested that the weight of so many mass shootings under Obama had increased to the point that a second set of presidential shoulders was needed to help carry the load.

“I have spoken at too many memorials during the course of this presidency. I’ve hugged too many families who have lost a loved one to senseless violence,” Obama said in Dallas, with evident frustration.

The anonymous Bush aide, who spoke to Yahoo News on condition that he not be named or quoted, was not referring specifically to gun violence or to America’s sometimes stammering debate about race relations.

But those comments spoke to the complicated relationship between Obama, who powered his two history-making runs for the White House with relentless assaults on his predecessor, and Bush. Behind the scenes, the Democrat has found his erstwhile target to be a likable member of the world’s most exclusive support group, according to current and former aides to both men.

Obama and Bush had come together a few times before — on somber occasions like the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti and solemn events like the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and the May 2015 commemoration of the civil rights march at Selma, Ala. They’ve also swapped jokes at more casual ceremonies like the unveiling of the former president’s official portrait at the White House.

On that occasion, Obama first thanked Bush for his words of encouragement when he took office, then drew laughter when he added: “You also left me a really good TV sports package. I use it.”

Bush got his own chuckles when he told Obama: “When you are wandering these halls as you wrestle with tough decisions, you will now be able to gaze at this portrait and ask, ‘What would George do?’’’

Shared experiences of being cloistered at 1600 Pennsylvania — which successive presidents have half-jokingly described as the crown jewel of the federal prison system — or battling Congress and enduring the news media have helped the fraternity of former presidents to forge a special bond.

“We’ve been called ‘the world’s most exclusive club,’ and we do have a pretty nice clubhouse. But the truth is, our club is more like a support group,” Obama said at the April 2013 dedication of Bush’s presidential library. Whoever sits in the Oval Office feels kinship to “leaders from both parties who have taken on the momentous challenges and felt the enormous weight of a nation on their shoulders.”

Obama, who portrayed Bush in 2008 as misleading the country into the Iraq War and blundering into the Great Recession, also had warm words specifically for the former president.

“To know the man is to like the man, because he’s comfortable in his own skin. He knows who he is. He doesn’t put on any pretenses. He takes his job seriously, but he doesn’t take himself too seriously. He is a good man,” Obama said.

The cerebral Obama, a former Harvard law professor, and his more folksy Yale-educated predecessor did not consult on their remarks at Tuesday’s memorial service, White House officials told Yahoo News.

With chief White House speechwriter Cody Keenan away on his honeymoon, deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes started work on Obama’s speech during his abbreviated trip to Europe. The president and his aide crafted the speech with input from former White House staffer Joshua DuBois, who formerly ran the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and has frequently contributed quotes from Scripture and other inspirational texts following similar past tragedies.

Pokemon Go players robbed at gunpoint Video

Posted by admin Jul 12 2016 No Comments »

A group of teenagers used the games ‘lure’ feature to bait other players, robbed them

Scientists just discovered dozens of new sources of air pollution

Posted by admin Jun 01 2016 No Comments »

Scientists may have significantly underestimated a dangerous source of pollution in the atmosphere, new research suggests. A satellite study, published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience, has revealed nearly 40 previously unreported major sources of sulfur dioxide emissions — a pollutant that can cause multiple harmful health and environmental impacts and even exacerbate global warming. Sulfur dioxide pollution can come from a variety of sources, both natural and industrial, including volcanoes, oil refineries and the burning of fossil fuels. Although it has a relatively short lifespan in the atmosphere — a few hours to a few days — it’s important for scientists to keep track of its presence to help inform air quality and climate models and create pollution-cutting policies.

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Azerbaijan frees journalist whose case raised outcry in West

Posted by admin May 27 2016 No Comments »

By Nailia Bagirova and Margarita Antidze

BAKU (Reuters) – Azerbaijan on Wednesday released investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova from jail, where she was serving a seven-and-a-half year sentence, in an apparent move to deflect Western criticism of the ex-Soviet republic’s human rights record.

Ismayilova, who worked for U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe and was known for exposing corruption among Azerbaijan’s ruling elite, was sentenced last September on charges which included embezzlement, illegal business activities and tax evasion.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday amended her imprisonment to 3 1/2 years of suspended sentence and released her from prison.

She vowed to continue to fight to clear her name. "I will continue to fight until complete acquittal," Ismayilova told reporters after her release. "I will also continue to work as a journalist."

Ismayilova’s investigative journalism had probed the business dealings of President Ilham Aliyev and his family as well as human rights abuses.

European bodies and rights activists welcomed her release.

"Today’s decision, which follows the recent release of many prominent journalists and human rights defenders, confirms my belief that Azerbaijan is at a turning point and I encourage the country to continue on this positive path," Pedro Agramunt, the Council of Europe’s parliamentary assembly president, said in a statement.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe called on the Azeri authorities to drop all charges against Ismayilova and release the remaining imprisoned journalists.

The U.S. government also hailed Ismayilova’s release.

"We view this as a positive step, and we encourage the Azerbaijani government to drop the remaining charges against her," the State Department said in a statement.

Azerbaijan pardoned 148 prisoners including journalists, rights activists and political opponents in March, although several other remain behind bars.

Analysts say Aliyev has included some political prisoners in amnesties in recent years to deflect complaints over crackdowns on free speech in Azerbaijan, a major oil and natural gas exporter.

The government dismisses Western charges, saying the country, a Caspian Sea republic of about 9 million people lying between Russia, Iran and Turkey, enjoys full freedom of speech and a free press.

(Additional reporting by Eric Walsh in Washington; Editing by Richard Balmforth and Andrew Hay)