Chelsea Clinton, 29, Engaged to Longtime Boyfriend Marc Mezvinsky

Not that this comes as a shock, but ABC News is reporting that Chelsea Clinton is engaged to her longtime boyfriend Marc Mezvinsky. Clinton, 29, and Mezvinsky, the son of former Rep. Ed Mezvinsky (D-IA) and former Rep. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky (D-PA), became friends in Washington DC and become closer when they both attended Stanford University.

The couple sent out an email the morning of Friday November 27 saying: “We’re sorry for the mass email but we wanted to wish everyone a belated Happy Thanksgiving! We also wanted to share that we are engaged! We didn’t get married this past summer despite the stories to the contrary, but we are looking toward next summer and hope you all will be there to celebrate with us. Happy Holidays! Chelsea & Marc.”

Congratulations to the happy couple and to former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Politico: Seven Stories President Barack Obama Doesn’t Want Told

Nearly a year into his presidency, it seems that President Obama’s gift for controlling his image shows signs of strain. There are several anti-Obama storylines gaining traction and that’s clearly not the message the White House wants to get out. According to Politico, the Obama White House argues that all of these storylines are inaccurate or unfair. In some cases these anti-Obama narratives are fanned by Republicans, in some cases by reporters and commentators. Here are two of the more pointed storylines that have concerned me about the Obama Administration:

Too much Leonard Nimoy 

People used to make fun of Bill Clinton’s misty-eyed, raspy-voiced claims that, “I feel your pain.”The reality, however, is that Clinton’s dozen years as governor before becoming president really did leave him with a vivid sense of the concrete human dimensions of policy. He did not view programs as abstractions — he viewed them in terms of actual people he knew by name.

Obama, a legislator and law professor, is fluent in describing the nuances of problems. But his intellectuality has contributed to a growing critique that decisions are detached from rock-bottom principles.

Both Maureen Dowd in The New York Times and Joel Achenbach of The Washington Post have likened him to Star Trek’s Mr. Spock. The Spock imagery has been especially strong during the extended review Obama has undertaken of Afghanistan policy. He’ll announce the results on Tuesday. The speech’s success will be judged not only on the logic of the presentation but on whether Obama communicates in a more visceral way what progress looks like and why it is worth achieving. No soldier wants to take a bullet in the name of nuance.

He sees America as another pleasant country on the U.N. roll call, somewhere between Albania and Zimbabwe 

That line belonged to George H.W. Bush, excoriating Democrat Michael Dukakis in 1988. But it highlights a continuing reality: In presidential politics the safe ground has always been to be an American exceptionalist.

Politicians of both parties have embraced the idea that this country — because of its power and/or the hand of Providence — should be a singular force in the world. It would be hugely unwelcome for Obama if the perception took root that he is comfortable with a relative decline in U.S. influence or position in the world.

On this score, the reviews of Obama’s recent Asia trip were harsh. His peculiar bow to the emperor of Japan was symbolic. But his lots-of-velvet, not-much-iron approach to China had substantive implications. On the left, the budding storyline is that Obama has retreated from human rights in the name of cynical realism. On the right, it is that he is more interested in being President of the World than President of the United States, a critique that will be heard more in December as he stops in Oslo to pick up his Nobel Prize and then in Copenhagen for an international summit on curbing greenhouse gases. Source: Politico

To be honest, President Obama is starting to look very vulnerable and the cracks in his image as a young idealist who stood for hope and change are starting to show. To read the entire Politico article, CLICK HERE.

Serena Williams Gets Highest Fine in Grand Slam History of $82,500, Plus Two Years Probation for Profanity Laced Tirade During US Open


Remember that profanity-laced tirade tennis pro Serena Williams went on at the U.S. Open in September? Well, she has just received the stiffest fine in the history of Grand Slam tennis — $82,500 and two years probation. Williams lashed out at a lineswoman after a foot-fault call at the end of her U.S. Open semifinal loss.

According to media reports, Grand Slam administrator Bill Babcock said could be suspended from that tournament if she has another “major offense” in the next two years. He said she faces a “probationary period” at Grand Slam tournaments in 2010 and 2011.

Serena will be walking on egg shells for the next two years. If she has another incident at a major championship in that time, the fine would increase to $175,000 and she would be barred from the following U.S. Open.

Babcock said the previous highest fine for a Grand Slam offense was about $48,000 to Jeff Tarango in the 1990s.

Ex-Con Maurice Clemmons Sought for Questioning in the Murder of Four Police Officers at Washington Coffee Shop, Mike Huckabee Granted Him Clemency Nine Years Ago

UPDATED 6:32 A.M. Police surround home in Seattle, about 30 miles from crime scene.  Police say a suspect is holed up at a Seattle house, wounded and possibly dead. Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer says negotiators are still trying to communicate with Maurice Clemmons. 

UPDATED 11:04 P.M. The judge associated with this case is Judge Kitty-Ann van Doorninck. Shame on you judge for letting a violent criminal out on the streets even though he had an open warrant in the state of Arkansas. The prosecutor, Angelica McGaha, failed to get this man kept behind bars where he belonged.

Have you seen Maurice Clemmons? The 37-year old Tacoma man is being sought by law enforcement in the execution-style shooting of Mark Renninger and three other police officers at the Forza Coffee shop near Parkland, Wa., Sunday morning. Court records show that Clemmons, who was recently released from prison, has an extensive criminal record in Pierce County and Arkansas. He is wanted in Arkansas and faces eight criminal charges in Washington state. There is a connection to this man and then-governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee, who commuted his sentence nine years ago over the protest of prosecutors. This man’s criminal history dates back to when he was 17 years old.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department has identified a person of interest in the November 29, 2009, murder of four Lakewood Police officers. The person of interest is Maurice Clemmons, a 37 year old black male from the Parkland area of Pierce County. Clemmons is 5’8″ tall, 235 lbs., with black hair, brown eyes, and a mole on his left cheek.

Clemmons has extensive violent criminal history from Arkansas, including aggravated robbery and theft. He has also recently been arrested and charged in Pierce County for Assault 3rd on a Police Officer and for Rape of a Child.

Clemmons should be considered armed and extremely dangerous. If the public has any information on his whereabouts, call any tips to the Sheriff’s Department tip line at 1-866-977-2362. Source: The News Tribune

If you encounter this man, who is described as a black man in his 20s or 30s, between 5-feet-7 inches and 5-feet-10-inches, and ran north on Steele Street South after the shooting. He was wearing a black coat over a gray hooded sweat shirt and blue jeans, do not hesitate to contact law enforcement immediately. Anybody with information is asked to call 253-591-5959 or 866-977-2362. I will update this story with a picture of Maurice Clemmons as soon as one is available.

UPDATE#1:  The information is coming in fast and furious on this criminal. Nine years ago, Clemmons was granted clemency by then-Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, commuting his lengthy prison sentence over the protestations of prosecutors. If this man is guilty of the horrific murder of four police officers, plus the rape of a child, he will literally become a political liability for Mike Huckabee’s aspirations to enter another presidential campaign.

Clemmons’ criminal history includes at least five felony convictions in Arkansas and at least eight felony charges in Washington. The record also stands out for the number of times he has been released from custody despite questions about the danger he posed. Clemmons had been in jail in Pierce County for the past several months on a pending charge of second-degree rape of a child. He was released from custody just six days ago, even though he was wanted on a fugitive warrant out of Arkansas and was staring at eight felony charges in all out of Washington state. Source: The Seattle Times

Which judge signed off on his release from prison even though he was wanted on a fugitive warrant? That is unconscionable. When will judges learn that you cannot reform a career criminal who has a violent history. He should have been incarcerated for life. 

Photo credit: Maurice Clemmons, The Seattle Times

Murdered Officers at Washington Coffee Shop Identified as Mark Renninger, Tina Griswold, Greg Richards and Ronald Owens

The Lakewood police officers killed today have been identified. Sgt. Mark Renninger was first identified on Facebook and WFMZ’s web site. He grew up in Lehigh Valley, Pa., and was born in Bethlehem. He served in the military. According to WFMZ, he is one of six siblings. He was a member of the Lakewood SWAT team.

Renninger and three other officers lost their lives this morning. No other persons in the Forza Coffee shop were hurt. A Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman says one man fled on foot and he may have had an accomplice. One of Mr. Renninger’s brothers, Matthew Renninger, is a former Easton police officer who accidentally shot and killed fellow Officer Jesse Sollman back in 2005. Mark Renninger is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son.

Lakewood Police Chief Bret Farrar publicly identified the four slain police officers and issued the following statement:

“All four of our slain officers had been with this department since it started five years ago.  Sergeant Mark Renninger and Officers Tina Griswold, Greg Richards and Ronald Owens were police veterans when they started and all have been outstanding professionals. This is a very difficult time for our families and our officers.  The families will have many challenges ahead of them and we ask that their privacy be respected. Please keep our families and Lakewood Police in your prayers.”

Officer Tina Griswold was 40. She had 14 years of law enforcement experience. She is survived by her husband and two children. She’s a former Lacey police officer. She was awarded a lifesaving medal in July.

Officer Greg Richards was 42. He had eight years of law enforcement experience and is survived by his wife and three children. He’s a former Kent police officer.

Officer Ronald Owens was 37. He had 12 years of law enforcement experience and is survived by a former wife and a daughter. He used to work for the Washington State Patrol.

The Lakewood Police department said all four fallen officers joined the Lakewood Police Department as it was forming. “They are good people. They will be missed,” Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.

Photo credit:  Mark Renninger, WFM , Three other officers, The News Tribune

Five People, Including Four Children Ages Two to 14, Killed, Seven in Critical Condition, in Louisiana Interstate Accident

This has been a weekend marred with so much tragedy. State police said four children ages two to 14 were among five people killed when a minivan packed with children rolled on a Louisiana interstate, and seven others remained in critical condition. Police identified the dead as the driver,Mona Hines, 38; Ricky Hines Jr., 2; Lachante Floyd, 12; Edward Barnes, 14 and Ashley Hines, 14. The van blew a tire, clipped a delivery truck and rolled on Interstate 10 near Baton Rouge. All 13 children were thrown from the vehicle. Two adults were wearing seatbelts but not of the children were.

HEATHER MCCLELLAND/The Advocate

Louisiana State Police said two other children and the GMC Safari’s adult passenger were in stable condition. The surviving children ranged from less than a year old to 14. Alcohol was not suspected as a factor in the crash. The police said seven people remain in critical condition.

The Louisiana Legislature recently passed a law making it mandatory to wear seatbelts in both the front and back seats. This tragedy is a good illustration of why they did this, though the van reportedly did not have enough seatbelts  for the 15 passengers. It is obvious that the vehicle was over capacity.

Tiger Woods Cancels Third Meeting with Florida Highway Patrol, Releases Statement Accepting Responsibility for Early Morning Accident

Police: Woods at fault in crash, will get citation...
 

For the third day in row, professional golfer Tiger Woods has canceled an interview with the Florida Highway Patrol about the early-morning crash that sent him to the hospital. A spokeswoman for Florida Highway Patrol said the agency was contacted at about 1 p.m. from prominent local attorney Mark NeJame, who said he is now representing Woods. Tiger Woods has released a statement on his website and has claimed responsibility for the accident and denounced rumors that have surfaced about the incident. The statement reads:

“As you all know, I had a single-car accident earlier this week, and sustained some injuries. I have some cuts, bruising and right now I’m pretty sore.

This situation is my fault, and it’s obviously embarrassing to my family and me. I’m human and I’m not perfect. I will certainly make sure this doesn’t happen again.

This is a private matter and I want to keep it that way. Although I understand there is curiosity, the many false, unfounded and malicious rumors that are currently circulating about my family and me are irresponsible.

The only person responsible for the accident is me. My wife, Elin, acted courageously when she saw I was hurt and in trouble. She was the first person to help me. Any other assertion is absolutely false.

This incident has been stressful and very difficult for Elin, our family and me. I appreciate all the concern and well wishes that we have received. But, I would also ask for some understanding that my family and I deserve some privacy no matter how intrusive some people can be. “

Tiger Woods and his wife should be afforded some privacy in this matter. It is obvious that something has transpired in his private life, but it does not rise to the level of constant coverage by the mainstream news outlets. I am sure his statement will continue to fan the flames of controversy and the rumors of infidelity will not diminish.

AUDIO: Woods 911 Tape Released

Four Police Officers Shot Dead at Forza Coffee Shop Near Parkland, Wa. & McChord Air Force Base, Manhunt Underway to Find Suspect

Four police officers from Lakewood, Washington, have been shot to death in an ambush at the Forza Coffee shop near Parkland Sunday morning. Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer told The News Tribune in Tacoma one or two gunmen burst into the coffee shop and shot the four uniformed officers as they were working on their laptop computers, then fled the scene. He said investigators believe the officers were targeted and it was not a robbery. The four officers were about to go to work, Troyer said. He said officers were looking for a male suspect who fled on foot, and “at this point we may be looking for another person.” He could not immediately say what agency the officers were from. The coffee shop is near McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma, about 35 miles south of Seattle.

Pierce County deputies are working at the scene with Tacoma Police, Lakewood Police and the Washington State Patrol. A $10,000 reward has been offered for information in the killings. The amount is expected rise, Troyer said. The suspect is described as a black male, 5’8 to 5’9 and in his 20s or 30s. He had scruffy facial hair with a black coat and blue jeans. He used a handgun.

According to the News Tribune, police investigators have identified three of the four officers — three men and one woman. All are from the local area. The fourth officer they are still trying to identify. The Sheriff’s Department is in the process of notifying next of kin and coworkers. What a way to end the holiday weekend. This is a tragedy of untold proportions. Tips can be called in to (253) 591-5959 or 866-977-2362.

News Round-Up: Professor Advises Underwater Homeowners to Walk Away from Mortgages; Two Senators Urge Action Against White House Crashers

News Round-Up from Around the U.S. and the World

Professor advises underwater homeowners to walk away from mortgages
Brent T. White, a University of Arizona law school professor, says that it’s in the homeowners’ best financial interest to stiff their lenders and that it’s not immoral to do so. Doing so, he suggests, could save some of them hundreds of thousands of dollars that they “have no reasonable prospect of recouping” in the years ahead. Plus the penalties are nowhere near as painful or long-lasting as they might assume, he says.

Senators Evan Bayh & Jon Kyl: Take action against White House crashers
Two senators say authorities ought to pursue criminal charges against the Virginia couple who crashed last week’s state dinner at the White House. They say such behavior should be strongly discouraged.

MIT Analysis: Americans Would Pay LESS Under Senate Health Care Bill
A new analysis by a leading MIT economist provides new ammunition for Democrats as the Senate begins formally debating the historic health-reform bill being pushed by President Barack Obama.

10,000 Albinos In Hiding After Killings In East Africa
The mistaken belief that albino body parts have magical powers has driven thousands of Africa’s albinos into hiding, fearful of losing their lives and limbs to unscrupulous dealers who can make up to $75,000 selling a complete dismembered set.

York, Pa., torn by racial strife elects black mayor
A little girl who trembled in her house as a National Guard tank rumbled past during York’s chaotic 1969 race riots has grown up to become the first black mayor of the central Pennsylvania city. Kim Bracey, 45, an energetic veteran of the struggling manufacturing city’s improvement efforts will take office in January, to the delight of many African-Americans who thought they would never see a black mayor.

Angelo Faliva, Italian chef, missing at sea on Caribbean cruise
Italy’s foreign ministry says a chef from the country is missing from a U.S.-flagged cruise ship and the FBI is investigating. Angelo Faliva was last seen in the kitchen of the Princess Cruises “Coral Princess” at about 8:15 p.m. Wednesday while he was working his dinner shift.

Police: Murderous Swedish Moose A Suspect In Death Of Agneta Westlund
Swedish police say they’ve cleared a man who was arrested for allegedly murdering his wife after deciding the culprit was most likely a moose. Police spokesman Ulf Karlsson says “the improbable has become probable” in the puzzling death last year of 63-year old Agneta Westlund. She was found dead after an evening stroll in the forest.

Jeremy Greenstock, UK Diplomat, Says US Was ‘Hell Bent’ On Iraq Invasion
Jeremy Greenstock, British ambassador to the United Nations from 1998 to 2003, said that President George W. Bush had no real interest in attempts to agree on a U.N. resolution to provide explicit backing for the conflict. The ex-diplomat, who served as Britain’s envoy in Iraq after the invasion, said serious preparations for the war had begun in early 2002 and took on an unstoppable momentum.

Iran authorizes 10 new nuke plants, state news agency IRNA says
Iran’s Cabinet has authorized the construction of another 10 uranium enrichment plants, the state news agency IRNA announced Sunday, further defying international calls to halt its production of nuclear fuel. The Iranian Cabinet approved existing plans for five more facilities similar to its current plant at Natanz and ordered planning for five more to begin, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported. The dispatch quoted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying that the new plants will be used to produce fuel for civilian nuclear power stations.

NY Times: Food Stamp Use at Record Highs and Climbing Every Month, Stigma Fades

MARTINSVILLE, Ohio — With food stamp use at record highs and climbing every month, a program once scorned as a failed welfare scheme now helps feed one in eight Americans and one in four children. It has grown so rapidly in places so diverse that it is becoming nearly as ordinary as the groceries it buys. More than 36 million people use inconspicuous plastic cards for staples like milk, bread and cheese, swiping them at counters in blighted cities and in suburbs pocked with foreclosure signs.

Virtually all have incomes near or below the federal poverty line, but their eclectic ranks testify to the range of people struggling with basic needs. They include single mothers and married couples, the newly jobless and the chronically poor, longtime recipients of welfare checks and workers whose reduced hours or slender wages leave pantries bare.

While the numbers have soared during the recession, the path was cleared in better times when the Bush administration led a campaign to erase the program’s stigma, calling food stamps “nutritional aid” instead of welfare, and made it easier to apply. That bipartisan effort capped an extraordinary reversal from the 1990s, when some conservatives tried to abolish the program, Congress enacted large cuts and bureaucratic hurdles chased many needy people away. From the ailing resorts of the Florida Keys to Alaskan villages along the Bering Sea, the program is now expanding at a pace of about 20,000 people a day.

To read the entire NY Times article, CLICK HERE.