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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
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Russell Brand Rules Out ‘Little Ejaculations’ Like Voting — He Wants Revolution ‘B*kkake’

Actor Russell Brand told college students that drastic measures were needed to seize power from the corporate and political elites.

“They’re only in charge of us if we allow it,” Brand said. “Complete noncompliance, complete disobedience, then the alternatives will emerge. We need to create a paradigm that makes the old one obsolete. That’s what we have to do. Not comply to it, because then we’ll get drip-fed little measures. ‘Oh, well, we’ve given you recycling bins.’ Thanks! The planet’s still f*cked.”

Brand repeated his call for revolution Tuesday during a student discussion at The Cambridge Union, urging students to stop voting as a first step.

“I think (voting) is an act of compliance,” he said. “I’m not talking about apathy, I think you understand that about me. I’m saying, ‘No, I’m not complying with your ideas at all. I’m not going to turn up and put an X in a box, like an Xbox. It’s like an illusion, it’s a temporary reality. It’s meaningless, it’s pointless. It makes no difference. Give us something to vote for, and then we’ll vote for it.”

The actor and comedian said the current situation was so dysfunctional that rich and poor alike were suffering spiritual harm.



Homebuilders Remained Confident in January on Rising U.S. Sales

By Lorraine Woellert - Jan 16, 2014

Confidence among U.S. homebuilders held in January near its highest level in eight years, indicating the residential real-estate market will continue to contribute to economic growth in 2014.

While the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment gauge fell to 56 from 57 in December, readings greater than 50 mean more respondents report good market conditions, figures from the Washington-based group showed today. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for 58.

Home construction has been a source of strength for the economic expansion, propelled by job gains and rising property values. The market has weathered an increase in interest rates and prices are forecast to continue rising this year.


Europe Days From Lifting Reinsurance Ban on Iran Oil Exports

By Alaric Nightingale and James G. Neuger - Jan 16, 2014

Europe is days from suspending a ban on reinsuring tankers hauling Iranian oil, a measure that helped cut the nation’s crude exports by more than 50 percent when it was implemented.

The six-month relaxation starts Jan. 20 and will allow companies following European Union law to reinsure tankers shipping Iran’s oil to India, China, Japan, South Korea, Turkey and Taiwan, an EU official told reporters in Brussels today, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to be quoted by name. The step affects most of the world fleet because 90 percent of all merchant vessels are covered by members of the London-based International Group of P&I Clubs.

Iran’s oil exports plunged to about 1 million barrels a day last year from 2.5 million before sanctions started in 2012, according to the White House. The plan to ease the reinsurance ban was agreed in November, following negotiations between Iran and world powers seeking to curb the nation’s nuclear program. European companies are still barred from purchasing Iranian oil and the accord in Geneva doesn’t allow the Persian Gulf state to boost exports.

“Countries that were finding it difficult to lift their existing quotas of oil will be able to lift the oil that they are permitted to lift easily,” Abhishek Deshpande, an analyst at Natixis SA in London, said by e-mail. Still, buyer states must avoid increasing imports so that they don’t breach U.S. rules that remain in force, he said.



Iraq’s Maliki Seen as Flawed Champion to Fight Al-Qaeda

By Nayla Razzouk - Jan 15, 2014

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s self-portrayal as the only viable barrier against a resurgent al-Qaeda has won support from the U.S. and Iran. Critics say he can’t solve the problem because he’s part of it.

Maliki urged residents of Fallujah in Anbar province on Jan. 8 to join government forces massing outside the city, held by al-Qaeda and allied forces since the previous week. The 63-year-old premier is receiving air-to-ground missiles and other equipment from the U.S., and has received offers of military aid from Iran, America’s main Middle Eastern foe.

Domestic opponents and analysts at Human Rights Watch and the London-based Royal United Services Institute say policies implemented by the Shiite-dominated government have enabled al-Qaeda’s revival among Iraq’s Sunni minority. With an election scheduled for April in the oil-rich nation, sectarian division is only likely to increase, they say.

Maliki’s opponents “don’t trust him, he has failed to keep promises and the whole sectarian conflict is of his making,” Gareth Stansfield, RUSI’s Middle East director, said in a telephone interview. Still, “Maliki is the least-worst scenario for the U.S., given the lack of other options.”

Maliki will seek to extend his eight years in office on April 30, battling for votes in a fractured political scene that includes 142 political groups representing Iraq’s Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds.



Best Buy’s Sales Decline Raises Doubts About Turnaround

By Matt Townsend - Jan 16, 2014

Best Buy Co. (BBY)’s decline in holiday sales, which triggered a 29 percent drop in its stock today, is raising doubts over Chief Executive Officer Hubert Joly’s turnaround strategy.

When Joly joined the world’s largest electronics chain in September 2012, he zeroed in on becoming price competitive with the likes of Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) His theory was simple. Remove price from the purchase decision and consumers would stick with Best Buy because they can find a wide assortment of products, get advice from knowledgeable staff and test gadgets.

That approach failed to boost holiday sales in the U.S., which includes stores and online purchases. Even though the chain aggressively slashed prices, revenue from outlets open at least 14 months fell 0.9 percent in the nine weeks ended Jan. 4, the Richfield, Minnesota-based retailer said today. In addition, Joly’s price cuts will narrow profit margins by twice as much as the company expected in the fourth quarter.

“The holiday results highlight the well-known secular headwinds that Best Buy still faces and raise new questions about the company’s longer-term outlook,” Brad Thomas, a New York-based analyst at Keybanc Capital Markets Inc., wrote in a note to clients.

Thomas, who recommends holding the stock, projected a gain of 1 percent for U.S. same-store sales.



Detroit Bankruptcy Judge Denies Proposal To Pay Off Disastrous Debt Deal

Source: Detroit Free Press

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes today denied the City of Detroit’s proposal to pay off a disastrous debt deal originating in 2005, saying it’s “reasonably likely” the city would succeed in challenging the transaction.

Rhodes said the city must stop making poor financial decisions, and it’s his judicial responsibility to ensure it emerges from Chapter 9 bankruptcy as a financially sustainable municipality.

“The court ... will not participate in or permit the city to perpetuate the very kind of hasty and imprudent financial decision-making that led to the” original deal, Rhodes said in a verbal ruling this afternoon.

The ruling dealt a stunning blow to global banks UBS and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which had agreed to accept $165 million to settle the so-called “swaps” deal.

Read more: http://www.freep.com/article/20140116/NEWS01/301160104/detroit-bankruptcy-swaps-ruling

Senate Republicans Say Obama’s Silence Risks Trade Agenda

By Laura Litvan - Jan 16, 2014

Senate Republicans stepped up calls for President Barack Obama to get more directly involved in pushing Congress to enable speedy approval of trade deals, saying that he is endangering his second-term trade agenda.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said on the Senate floor that a bipartisan measure that would give Obama the ability to win passage of trade deals without amendment may not get enough support if Obama doesn’t start talking more on the issue.

“We need the president to get involved,” McConnell said today. “We need him to step up for American workers and increased exports by bringing his party on board with the trade promotion bill that was introduced just last week.”

At a Senate Finance Committee hearing on the measure today, the top Republican on the panel, Orrin Hatch of Utah, also said Obama’s efforts are falling short.

“This is not a case where the president can lead from behind,” said Hatch. He and McConnell said Obama must give the issue priority in his annual State of the Union speech Jan. 28.



Koch-Backed Americans For Prosperity Ads Bring Health Care Debate To Iowa, Michigan Races

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An outside conservative group began airing advertisements Tuesday that attack two Democratic lawmakers seeking Senate seats because they voted for the 2010 health care bill and repeated President Barack Obama's now-discredited assurance that people with private health insurance could keep their coverage if they liked it.

The move marks an expansion by Americans for Prosperity, whose roughly $1.8 million in television and radio ads in Iowa and Michigan, add to the string of vulnerable Southern Democrats the billionaire Koch brothers have been trying to weaken as Republicans eye gaining control of the Senate in November's elections.

The group has spent more than $20 million on advertising since the public enrollment of the 2010 health care law began in October. Since then, millions of private policyholders have received cancellation notices and enrollment in the insurance plans offered on state and federal exchanges has run well behind original administration forecasts.

The latest ads target Democratic Reps. Bruce Braley of Iowa and Gary Peters of Michigan.

"President Obama won Michigan and Iowa twice. I think it's telling for his supposed signature accomplishment, that it's even deeply unpopular in these two states," said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, the conservative group founded by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch.



Yep, heard the first one tonight on a mid-michigan TV station...

Netanyahu Does Damage Control, Reaffirms Friendship With US After Ya'alon's Dig At Kerry

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did damage control on the Israel-US relationship in his speech in honor of the Knesset's 65th birthday, following Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon's comments about US Secretary of State John Kerry.

"Even when we have disagreements with the US, they are always on the heart of the matter, not on the merits of an individual," Netanyahu said in an apparent dig at Ya'alon, who, according to a Yediot Aharonot report, accused Kerry of being "messianic" and "delusional" when it comes to negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

"The US is our greatest ally," Netanyahu stated. "We are partners in goals and joint interests: regional stability, the war on terror, growth, security and peace. We are making efforts to bring security to the region and stand up for our interests."

The prime minister said that true peace depends on recognition of Israel as the Jewish state along with security arrangements that will ensure that "the land in the Palestinians' hands will not turn into terrorist launching pads."

However, he said, those aims must be reached "while respecting our important connection with the US."



Crying, Vomiting San Antonio Tykes Go For Football Glory On TV

SAN ANTONIO — Picture this: On the sidelines during football practice, a concerned mom tells her crying, vomiting 8- or 9-year-old son during an intense workout, “If you quit, you're not going to get stronger.”

It's an illuminating quote from the first episode of “Friday Night Tykes,” a documentary series premiering at 8 p.m. Tuesday on the Esquire Network spotlighting the hyper-competitive world of the Texas Youth Football Association in San Antonio.

Esquire filmed TYFA because it's one of the most competitive youth football leagues in the country, said the show's executive producer, Jason Sciavicco. It has no size or weight limit for its players. The organization has 18,000 players statewide, ages 4 to 13. Tackle football starts at age 6.

The trailer and first episode, already available on tv.esquire.com, have drawn criticism from other youth football organizations and medical professionals.



‘Friday Night Tykes’ Provides A Terrifying Look Into The World Of Extreme Youth Football In Texas>
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