BIN LADEN SPOKESMAN PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO PLOT: A senior al-Qaida leader and son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, captured in Jordan in the past week, pleaded not guilty Friday in federal court in New York to plotting against Americans in his role as the terror network’s top spokesman. Sulaiman Abu Ghaith was brought into the largest courtroom at the federal courthouse shortly after 10 a.m. and entered the plea through a lawyer to one count of conspiracy to kill Americans in a case that marks a legal victory for President Barack Obama’s administration.
CHÁVEZ FUNERAL KICKS OFF: It’s a glamorous send-off fit for an infamous comandante. Venezuela’s nationwide week of mourning continued Friday with Hugo Chávez’s star-studded state funeral. Cuban President Raúl Castro and Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were among the dignitaries from 50 countries around the world who paid their respects to the late strongman, while guards restrained wailing citizens from rushing toward his coffin. Chávez’s handpicked successor, Vice President Nicolás Maduro, will be sworn in later in the day.
LBN-INVESTIGATES: Some 323,200 waiters and waitresses, 115,520 janitors and cleaners, and 83028 bartenders have college degrees.
SECRET TRIP: Newly confirmed Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has just landed in Kabul, Afghanistan in his first, unannounced trip to the region since being appointed to the position. On the plane heading into Kabul, Hagel told reporters his primary reason for going was to thank the troops and to get “a better understanding (of) what is going on there …get a good sense from our commanders on the ground.”
CARDINALS LIKELY TO HOLD POPE VOTE NEXT WEEK: The Roman Catholic cardinals, who have gathered at the Vatican from around the world to discuss the church’s many problems, will vote later Friday on when they should seclude themselves inside the Sistine Chapel to determine the next pope. As of now, there is no clear favorite to succeed Pope Benedict, but the cardinals will likely start their decision-making process early next week.
SENATE COMMITTEE APPROVES STRICTER GUN LAWS: The Senate Judiciary Committee gave its seal of approval to a new bill creating stricter laws on gun trafficking Thursday, pushing it into Congress, where it will be reviewed by the Senate as a whole. This is the first piece of legislation stemming from President Obama’s post–Sandy Hook gun-control initiative to make its way to Congress. Other gun proposals, such as a revamped ban on military-style semiautomatic weapons, were considered at the committee’s meeting, but the group recessed before they could vote. They’ll pick up where they left off Tuesday.
N. KOREA ENDS PEACE ACCORD WITH SOUTH: Put North Korea in time-out, and a temper tantrum is sure to ensue. The nation lashed out Friday, ending its peace accord with South Korea, in response to the United Nations Security Council’s vote Thursday punishing it for nuclear testing. The unanimous approval of the strict sanctions came in spite of threats from the aggravated country, which claimed that it would retaliate against the United States and engulf Washington in a “sea of fire.” A top general confirmed that Pyongyang is armed with nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles and ready to launch at any time. The South responded by warning that if North Korea does attack with a nuclear weapon, Kim Jong-un’s regime “will be erased from the earth.”
LBN-INVESTIGATES: The number of Americans not in the labor force increased by 296,000 in February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest jobs report. According to the report, there were a total of 89.3 million people not in the labor force, up from 89 million in January.
LBN-MUSIC INSIDER: ***Justin Bieber was reportedly hospitalized after he fainted backstage last night during a concert at London’s O2 Arena, but the teen-pop singer plans to go ahead with his final show there tonight. Bieber’s rep told The Associated Press that the singer was given oxygen and took a 20-minute break after passing out backstage. The pop star later posted a photo of himself in what looked like a hospital bed, shirtless and wearing headphones, with the caption, “Gettin better listening to Janis Joplin.” ***When Jimi Hendrix died in September 1970, he left hundreds of session tapes behind. Over the last three decades producers have mined that trove of recordings, putting out a dozen posthumous studio albums, selling millions of copies. But that rich vein might finally be tapped out with the release on Tuesday of “People, Hell and Angels,” a disappointing prospect to legions of Hendrix obsessives. The collection is likely to be the last album of unreleased studio tracks from the tapes in the Hendrix estate’s possession, said its two producers, Ed Kramer and John McDermott, who along with Janie Hendrix, Jimi’s sister, have had control over the archive since 1995.
POLICE USE POLYGRAPH TO WEED OUT RACISTS: The Coopertown Police Department in Tennessee is hiring—but racists need not apply. The tiny town’s new police chief, Shane Sullivan, is utilizing a lie detector to attempt to keep the department scandal-free, after a series of racists incidents—one of which included a notorious speed trap—left the people of Coopertown without any police. Experts warn that lie detectors might not necessarily be the most accurate predictor of racism, since many people don’t even recognize their own prejudices. But Sullivan is convinced that the method will work simply by keeping so-called bigots from even showing up. “I think the polygraph will definitely keep these people from applying,” he said. It’s definitely worth a shot.
LBN-INVESTIGATES: The fastest fish is the sailfish. It can swim as fast as a car travels on the highway.
MCCAIN CALLS PAUL, CRUZ, AMASH ‘WACKO BIRDS’: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is continuing to criticize his fellow Republicans for their filibuster of incoming CIA Director John O. Brennan over drone policy. In an interview with the Huffington Post, McCain referred to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) as “wackos.” “They were elected, nobody believes that there was a corrupt election, anything else,” McCain said. “But I also think that when, you know, it’s always the wacko birds on right and left that get the media megaphone.” Asked to clarify, McCain said he was referencing ”Rand Paul, Cruz, Amash, whoever.”
WITH POSITIONS TO FILL, EMPLOYERS WAIT FOR PERFECTION: American employers have a variety of job vacancies, piles of cash and countless well-qualified candidates. But despite a slowly improving economy, many companies remain reluctant to actually hire, stringing job applicants along for weeks or months before they make a decision. If they ever do. The number of job openings has increased to levels not seen since the height of the financial crisis, but vacancies are staying unfilled much longer than they used to — an average of 23 business days today compared to a low of 15 in mid-2009, according to a new measure of Labor Department data by the economists Steven J. Davis, Jason Faberman and John Haltiwanger.
JUSTIN BIEBER ASSAULTS PHOTOGRAPHER: The Justin Bieber good-will tour continues. The pop star, who earlier this week was two hours late for a London concert, was caught on tape threatening a paparazzo. Bieber pushed the photographer while making his way into an SUV, after which the paparazzo began complaining that the singer assaulted him. “What the fuck’d you say?” Bieber shouted. “I’ll fucking beat the fuck out of you.” He tried to take swings at the photographer, but his bodyguards held him back. “Ahhhh! Rough morning,” Bieber tweeted after the incident. To say the least.
LBN-BUSINESS INSIDER: ***Report: Larry Flynt to sell Beverly Hills HQs for $82 million. The buyer is Santa Monica-based Douglas Emmett Inc., reports the Business Journal – one of the larger L.A. office deals over the past year. Flynt bought the Wilshire Boulevard property almost 20 years ago for $18.8 million, so we’re talking about a nice return. Larry Flynt Publications, which owns Hustler and other titles, will lease out space in the building, which was built in 1972 for Great Western Savings. (((Facebook has redesigned the main attraction of its social network to address complaints that its website has turned into a jumble of monotonous musings and random photos. In an attempt to breathe new life into Facebook’s News Feed, the company will introduce new controls that allow people to sort streams of photos and other material into organized sections. ***The popular television series, “The Doctors” came recently to celebrity dentist Dr. Jay Grossman’s office in Brentwood to film a segment on Invisilign brace.
I, LBN: Lola E., an LBN E-Lert reader from Bowling Green, Ohio
STUDY: GET PAID, SHED POUNDS: There is something that tastes as good as skinny feels: dollar bills. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic made the recent discovery that people who received financial incentives lost more weight than those who received no money. Obese Mayo Clinic employees and their dependents—between ages 18 and 63—were the participants in the study. An estimated 62 percent of those who received compensation accomplished the goal of losing four pounds per month, compared with the 26 percent of the nonincentive group who found success in shedding pounds. It’s doughnuts or Benjamins—take your pick.
LBN-HOLLYWOOD INSIDER: ***Joy Behar is leaving “The View,” she said. Behar, a longtime standup comic and an unapologetic liberal, has been on the ABC talk show since 1997. She said she would leave in August, when her contract expires. Her exit leaves Barbara Walters as the show’s only remaining original co-host.
LBN-BOOK NEWS: ***The Roger Ailes book wars have begun. On Wednesday Vanity Fair’s Web site published an excerpt from the first of two — or maybe three — books about Mr. Ailes and the network he runs, the Fox News Channel. The excerpt, from the book “Roger Ailes: Off Camera” by Zev Chafets, revealed little about Fox, but included a number of pointed one-liners uttered by Mr. Ailes, whose conservative politics appeal to many Fox viewers but infuriate his critics.
SHERYL SANDBERG DEFENDS MARISSA MAYER: Somewhere in Silicon Valley, Sheryl Sandberg’s humming Aretha Franklin. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has received a lot of backlash lately for her ban on working remotely, but she has at least one ally in her fellow female boss, Sandberg. In a Time interview about the Facebook COO’s new book, Sandberg attacks Mayer’s critics, arguing that she would not be as harshly judged if she were a man. “I think flexibility is important for women and for men,” said Sandberg. “But there are some jobs that are super flexible and some that aren’t.”
TSA ‘KNIVES ALLOWED’ POLICY SPARKS FURY: More than 9,300 people have signed a petition by the Flight Attendants Union Coalition to reverse the Transportation Security Administration’s new policy allowing small knives, golf clubs, baseball bats, and other sports equipment on planes. “Our nation’s aviation system is the safest in the world thanks to multilayered security measures that include prohibition on many items that could pose a threat to the integrity of the aircraft cabin,” said the coalition. The coalition is made up of five unions and 90,000 flight attendants. The pilots association also expressed its resistance, saying it believes terrorism is still a “real threat.” If not overturned, the new policy will go into effect April 25.
LBN-COMMENTARY By MAUREEN DOWD: Dick Cheney certainly gives certainty a black eye. In a documentary soon to appear on Showtime, “The World According to Dick Cheney,” America’s most powerful and destructive vice president woos history by growling yet again that he was right and everyone else was wrong. R. J. Cutler, who has done documentaries on the Clinton campaign war room and Anna Wintour’s Vogue war paint room, now chronicles Cheney’s war boom. “If I had to do it over again,” the 72-year-old says chillingly of his reign of error, “I’d do it over in a minute.” ***To read more, visit the LBN *agenda* Blog – click here
LBN-COMMENTARY By KOBE BRYANT: Adversity does that. It can do one of two things. If you have a weaker mind, it’ll break you. But if you decide to let it build you up, make you stronger, then that’s what happens
LBN COMMENTARY By CHUCK OJEDA: Carmelo Anthony may be the only SUPER star in the NBA whose team manages so well without him to a degree that the Knicks almost seem to improve. Over the years watching Melo his issues haven’t changed: he prefers running isolation over moving the ball and prefers taking a contested shot over keeping his eyes up to find teammates inside. After being sidelined with an injury for the OKC Thunder game, the Knicks were a JR Smith last second jumper away from beating a younger superior Thunder squad. Knicks should be asking themselves, is Melo essential to our success?
LBN- A DIFFERENT VIEW:
LBN-OVERHEARD: ***Ben Affleck and Matt Damon may be best buds, but sources say their wives can’t stand each other. “The two families socialize frequently,” an insider said. “But despite Matt and Ben’s decades-long working partnership and friendship, their wives have never warmed to each other.” ***Demi Moore may be rich and famous, but she’s no different from millions of scorned wives seeking revenge — and that’s why she wants spousal support from Ashton Kutcher … despite the fact that she’s richer than him. There is no way a judge would ever give Demi spousal support. Short story … she doesn’t need it and she won’t get it. A source close to Demi tells us … she was “really hurt” by Ashton, whom the source called a “bad husband.” The source would not use the word revenge, but the sentiment was clearly there.
AS CUTS ARRIVE, PARTIES PLEDGE TO CALL OFF THE BUDGET WARS: President Obama and Congressional leaders failed on Friday to stop deep, automatic cuts in federal spending that will immediately shrink the size and ambition of government, even as they vowed an end to the rolling fiscal battles that have repeatedly threatened government shutdowns and economic crisis over two years. Emerging from an Oval Office meeting with the lawmakers, the president called the cuts “just dumb.” He said they would slow the economic recovery and spoke emotionally about their impact on people who would feel the consequences of government layoffs and disruptions in public services.
LBN-INVESTIGATES: Google accounts for roughly 0.013% of the world’s energy use. It uses enough energy to continuously power 200,000 homes.
THE HOLOCAUST JUST GOT MORE SHOCKING: Thirteen years ago, researchers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum began the grim task of documenting all the ghettos, slave labor sites, concentration camps and killing factories that the Nazis set up throughout Europe. What they have found so far has shocked even scholars steeped in the history of the Holocaust. The researchers have cataloged some 42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps throughout Europe, spanning German-controlled areas from France to Russia and Germany itself, during Hitler’s reign of brutality from 1933 to 1945.
SYRIAN REBELS: WE NEED WEAPONS: Syrian rebels say they would love America’s aid—just not the kind it’s offering. “We don’t want food and drink and we don’t want bandages. When we’re wounded, we want to die. The only thing we want is weapons,” Gen. Salim Idris, chief of staff of the Syrian opposition’s Supreme Military Council told The Associated Press Friday. The United States pledged an additional $60 million in assistance in “nonlethal aid” to Syrian rebels Thursday, but many rebel leaders are expressing that they are in “desperate” need for actual weapons. “The whole world knows what we need,” Idris said, “and yet they watch as the Syrian people are slaughtered.”
MICHIGAN NAMING FISCAL MANAGER TO HELP DETROIT: Over the fierce protests of this city’s elected leaders, the State of Michigan plans to send an emergency manager to repair the deeply troubled finances of Detroit, one of the largest cities ever to reach such a dire point or to face such a level of oversight. “There is probably no city that is more financially challenged in the entire United States,” Gov. Rick Snyder said on Friday as he explained why he had deemed Detroit’s woes too fundamental, too lasting and too large to be solved by the city itself.
ROMNEY SLAMS OBAMA OVER SEQUESTER: Fully recovered from his “roller coaster” election campaign, Mitt Romney has emerged from hiding to criticize President Obama’s handling of the sequester. In his first public comments since Election Day, Romney slammed Obama for “berating Republicans” instead of leading the country, adding that the president’s habit of “blaming and pointing” has contributed to Congress’s inability to reach a deal. “That causes the Republicans to retrench and to put up a wall and to fight back,” he told Fox News’s Chris Wallace. Meanwhile, Ann Romney reflected on being a “nobody” in her post-election life.
LBN-BUSINESS INSIDER: ***After selling her Jimmy Choo empire for more than $800 million, Tamara Mellon is ready to announce her much-anticipated new venture, her own namesake fashion label. Mellon has been quietly working on her grand return to the fashion world and the launch of her line, which will be called Tamara Mellon. ***Warren Buffett has a message for his fellow CEOs: Stop your whining. In his latest annual letter to shareholders, the Berkshire Hathaway CEO and stock-market guru takes other corporate leaders to task for complaining all of the time about “uncertainty” in the world, including most recently the political morass in Washington and all of the regulatory and tax “uncertainty” that has spawned.
WHO READS THE LBN E-LERT? Super-Bowl Quarterback Joe Flacco along with 474,000 other readers in all 50 states and 11 separate time-zones.
SINKHOLE SWALLOWS TAMPA MAN: Sinkholes are fairly common in central Florida, but it’s not often that a person gets trapped in one. When police arrived at Jeremy Bush’s house in Seffner, Florida, on Thursday evening, they found him trying to pull his brother, Jeffrey, out of a 100-foot sinkhole that had apparently opened up and swallowed one of his home’s four bedrooms. The sheriff’s deputy was able to pull Jeremy to safety, but they had no such luck with his brother, who disappeared into the hole. After losing sight of Jeffrey under the debris, rescuers sent cameras and listening devices underground, but no signs of life were found. He’s feared to be dead.
LBN-INVESTIGATES: A single hurricane stirs up millions of miles of air and can dump more than 2.4 trillion gallons (9 trillion liters) of rain a day.
LBN-NOTICED: ***Tina Fey on line at ItsEasy passport agency at 30 Rock in NYC with her husband and two kids, to have their pictures taken for new passports. Perhaps she’s fleeing the country before they force her to host the 2014 Oscars. ***Chace Crawford, Jonah Hill and Michael Shannon at the opening of nightlifetitan-turned-actor Danny A.’s new venue, the Spot in the Trump Soho in NYC. ***Senator and former “SNL” writer Al Franken with his wife, ordering dry-rubbed ribs at Brother Jimmy’s across from MSG in NYC, and joking with other diners.
CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’ By Bill O’Reilly: Visit the LBN *agenda* Blog -click here-
RESEARCH LINKS FIVE PSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS: What do autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and schizophrenia have in common? Apparently, they all share common genetic risk factors. A study of 61,000 people found four genetic variants that appear to increase the risk of all five disorders. There are likely hundreds of other genes that play a role in the development of psychiatric disorders, and identifying them could advance the ways we diagnose and treat mental illness.
MORE STUDENTS ADMITTED WITHOUT THE SAT: This is making those of us who were forced to sit through hours of torturous standardized testing jealous. More than a quarter of all American colleges and universities are no longer requiring standardized test scores for admission, according to Fairtest.org, a standardized-testing watchdog group. That means more and more students are skipping out on the two acronyms a high-school student fears most: SAT and ACT. But before teenagers take the day off, it should be noted that some test-optional schools still require some form of testing—say, three SAT Subject Tests in lieu of the regular SAT.
CHAVEZ ‘BATTLING FOR HIS LIFE’: News provided by the Venezuelan government must always be taken with a grain of salt. With that in mind, Venezuelan Vice President Nicolás Maduro announced on television Thursday that President Hugo Chávez is “battling for his health, for his life.” Chávez, who has not made a public appearance since undergoing cancer surgery in Cuba in December, is reportedly running the country from a Venezuelan hospital, writing orders and taking meetings from his bed as he is breathing through a tracheal tube. “Our commander is sick because gave his life for those who don’t have anything,” said Maduro, who is Chávez’s choice for his successor.
LBN-HOLLYWOOD INSIDER: ***The Rotary Club of Los Angeles has honored prominent Hollywood publicist and author Michael Levine with a $1,000 donation to the L.A. Scholarship Fund made in his name in honor of his speech yesterday to the Rotary Club of Los Angeles.” The donation will enable a deserving student to achieve their dream of a college education” according to Rotary Club President Jay Richardson. ***Tina Fey is not interested, and Seth MacFarlane probably won’t be invited back even if he wanted to, so who’s left for the Academy to parade on stage at next year’s Oscars? Fearless Jimmy Kimmel may be up to the task. The late-night host is apparently favored to be 2014’s master of ceremonies. According to a source, “ABC has been pushing him for the role.” It’s still a bit early to be planning next year’s show, as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences must first select its new president.
BE AN LBN CORRESPONDENT: Send your celebrity sightings to us: E-mail: LBNElert@TimeWire.net (Please put “Celebrity Sightings” in the subject line.)
PRISONERS EXECUTED ON CHINESE TV: Public executions are back, apparently, at least in China. The Chinese government broadcast a two-hour television special Friday during which four foreign drug traffickers were sent to their deaths by lethal injection. Two years ago, the men were convicted of killing 13 Chinese sailors. Some in China thought the television special was a cathartic delivery of justice, while others condemned the television special as violent and tasteless, comparing it to the bygone tradition of parading prisoners through the streets before their executions. “Rather than showcasing rule of law, the program displayed state control over human life in a manner designed to attract gawkers,” a Chinese criminal-law professor blogged. “State-administered violence is no loftier than criminal violence.”
SCHWARZENEGGER RETURNS TO BODYBUILDING: Well, he did say, “I’ll be back.” Arnold Schwarzenegger is returning to bodybuilding—albeit in only an editorial capacity. The former Governator has been tapped as executive editor for both Muscle Fitness and Flex magazines, to which he will contribute monthly columns and dish out all the personal and professional insight he can totally recall. In case you’ve forgotten the inexpendable man’s credentials in the area, he’s a 7-time Mr. Olympia champion and has been on the cover of both the aforementioned magazines more than 60 times.
I, LBN: Wally O’Malley, an LBN E-Lert reader from London, England.
O’BRIEN LEAVES ‘DOWNTON’!: The original cast members of Downton Abbey are truly dropping like flies, to the point that we might even miss the cruel and calculating Miss O’Brien—the latest to leave the show. Siobhan Finneran, who plays the scheming maid to Lady Grantham in the soapy period drama, announced that she’s departing Downton and will soon be seen on BBC One’s The Syndicate. “I’m not doing any more,” she said Friday. “O’Brien is a thoroughly despicable human being—that was great to play.” Despicable indeed, from her conniving antics with the closet-homosexual young under-butler, Thomas Barrow, to causing Lady Grantham to miscarry. How will the show go on without her?
IS ANYBODY WATCHING PIERS MORGAN?: Well yeah, 87,000 viewers in the prime 25-54 demographic the other night, which even by cable news standards is practically public access territory. The show is down 27 percent in total viewers since its debut more than two years ago (here’s the Deadline post). By comparison, Fox’s Sean Hannity had 368,000 viewers in the 25-54 bracket that same evening and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow had 254,000. Morgan’s numbers are even lower than his predecessor Larry King, who drew about 100,000 viewers towards the end of his CNN run in 2010.
IDEAS THAT MATTER: Visit the LBN *agenda* Blog -click here-
MY REVIEW: “Why can people tell the truth? LBN is cool as shit because it tells the truth. It is honest and real and independent. It isn’t conservative or liberal, gay or straight, it’s just real and true. I love it and read it every day.” ——Sadie Yuvall, an LBN E-Lert reader from San Jose, California.
LBN-COMMENTARY By JOHN RANSOM: It’s fitting that on the day Washington, DC is cutting the budget by an agreement that they really didn’t mean, that the city of Detroit will finally get what’s it has needed for a long time: declaration of fiscal disaster. Michigan’s Rick Snyder has appointed an emergency city manager to do for Detroit what Obama, Biden, the UAW, GM, Chrysler, the city’s council and mayor have not been able to even with a $80 billion bailout of the automotive industry.
LBN-COMMENTARY By CHARLES M. BLOW: The deadline has passed. The sequester is in effect. And Congress is not in session. We now know that our political system is broken beyond anything even remotely resembling a functional government.
LBN-COMMENTARY By JOE NOCERA: In the two months since the massacre in Newtown, Conn., there are a lot of people who still can’t shake it — who don’t want to shake it, really. They keep replaying in their minds what it must have been like in Sandy Hook Elementary School that awful December morning when Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six adults at the school before taking his own life. They think about their own children. They wonder how America can stop such senseless, random, murderous spectacles. Rebecca and Jon Bond are two such people. They have three children, ranging in ages from 4 to 8. (Jon has two older children as well.) They live in a townhouse in Greenwich Village. Previous mass shootings had spurred the usual “when will this stop?” thoughts, but like most of us, they soon moved on. The Bonds knew so little about guns that “I thought a magazine was, you know, a magazine,” says Rebecca, a contributing editor at Architectural Digest.
LBN-COMMENTARY By DAVID BROOKS: Jin Li grew up in China during the Cultural Revolution. When the madness was over, the Chinese awoke to discover that far from overleaping the West, they were “economically destitute and culturally barren.” This inspired an arduous catch-up campaign. Students were recruited to learn what the West had to offer. Li was one of the students. In university, she abandoned Confucian values, which were then blamed for Chinese backwardness, and embraced German culture. In her book, “Cultural Foundations of Learning: East and West,” she writes that Chinese students at that time were aflame — excited by the sudden openness and the desire to catch up. ***To read more, visit the LBN *agenda* Blog -click here-
LBN-COMMENTARY By JOE SCARBOROUGH: There are cracks in time when history bends and for an instant it seems as if the world itself stops turning, from that Sunday afternoon when our parents learned Pearl Harbor had been bombed to the football drill I was in the middle of coaching in Pensacola, Fla., when I first got the news that the Challenger had exploded. We may not agree on many things in this era of reflexive polarization, but here is one: nobody will remember where they were and what they were doing when the Great Sequester of 2013 kicked in. Despite the rhetoric from the White House, years from now, historians will not be sifting through the cultural wreckage that is America and discover the remnants of what some in both parties see as some cataclysmic fiscal event. Alan Jackson need not begin to tune his guitar to ask us all again where we were when the world stopped turning.
LBN-COMMENTARY By PEGGY NOONAN: Everyone has been wondering how the public will react when the sequester kicks in. The American people are in the position of hostages who’ll have to decide who the hostage-taker is. People will get mad at either the president or the Republicans in Congress. That anger will force one side to rethink or back down. Or maybe the public will get mad at both. The White House is, as always, confident of its strategy: Scare people as much as possible and let the media take care of the rest.
LBN-COMMENTARY By CHUCK OJEDA: March first is upon us marking the beginning of the madness. The NCAA Men’s basketball tourney begins at the end of the month while top schools finish out their regular season schedules leading to their conference tournaments. The traditional ACC powerhouses are making themselves known while the consistent play of Gonzaga is leading to an enviable top seed in both tournaments. Gonzaga’s biggest challenge is going to be strong play against ranked opponents because the Bulldogs have only beaten one ranked school and zero in the top 20. But Gonzaga has tournament experience and could prove strong in the paint.
LBN-A DIFFERENT VIEW:
LBN-OVERHEARD: ***Seal has sparked talk of a new romance after being spotted out with actress Erin Cahill, but sources tell us they’re still getting to know each other. ***Justin Bieber rang in his 19th year with his new hobby: taking his shirt off. The “Boyfriend” singer has habitually been putting his abs and growing tattoo collection on display lately via Instagram photos and also during concerts for his “Believe” tour. And after wrapping up his Birmingham, England, show, the Beebs showed up at his London hotel at 3 a.m. on Friday, and despite the chilly weather he went shirtless with hip hop style pants hanging low beneath his tighty-whiteys. ***Kathie Lee Gifford is teetering on the edge of an emotional breakdown. Ongoing bickering with her “Today” co-host Hoda Kotb, the epic failure of her recent Broadway musical, and caring for her 82-year-old husband Frank have left the talk-show legend a wreck, say sources.
WIKILEAKS’S MANNING PLEADS GUILTY: Bradley Manning pleaded guilty to 10 of 22 charges against him in the WikiLeaks case on Wednesday, admitting that he helped engineer the largest intelligence leak in U.S. history. But the Army private denied that the leaks directly benefited al Qaeda—the most serious charge in the case. A military judge will now decide whether to accept the guilty plea, though prosecutors could still pursue the 12 remaining charges. The 10 charges he admitted to carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, but Manning could face a lifetime sentence if convicted of aiding the enemy.
OBAMA: STRIKE DOWN PROP 8: It’s time for the end of California’s controversial Proposition 8, President Obama says. On Thursday, the White House urged the Supreme Court to strike down Prop 8, saying the voter-approved ban on gay marriage violates federally given equal rights for same-sex couples and does “not substantially further any important government interest.” The stance is unprecedented, and marks the first time the administration has targeted state laws. The Supreme Court will hear arguments challenging the legality of Prop 8 on March 26.
CONSUMER SPENDING IN U.S. CLIMBS EVEN AS TAXES HURT INCOMES: Consumer spending in the U.S. rose in January even as incomes dropped by the most in 20 years, showing households were weathering the payroll-tax increase by socking away less money in the bank. Household purchases, which account for about 70 percent of the economy, climbed 0.2 percent after a 0.1 percent gain the prior month, a Commerce Department report showed today in Washington. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 76 economists called for a 0.2 percent advance. Incomes slumped 3.6 percent, sending the saving rate down to the lowest level since November 2007.
ROMNEY LIKENS 2012 RACE TO ‘ROLLER COASTER,’ IN EXCLUSIVE ‘FOX NEWS SUNDAY’ INTERVIEW: Mitt Romney, in an exclusive interview with “Fox News Sunday,” said the end of the 2012 presidential race was like getting off a roller coaster. ”We were on a roller coaster, exciting and thrilling, ups and downs. But the ride ends,” Romney said. “And then you get off. And it’s not like, oh, can’t we be on a roller coaster the rest of our life? It’s like, no, the ride’s over.” *LBN-VIDEO LINK: WATCH: Romney Breaks Silence On ‘Roller Coaster’ Campaign
AL QAEDA MAG PUBLISHES ‘WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE’ LIST: The latest edition of the al Qaeda English-language magazine Inspire is out today. A digital copy of the magazine, provided by MEMRI (the Washington D.C. based Middle East Media Research Institute), shows a “Wanted: Dead or Alive” feature on page 10 of the new issue:
“Wanted: Dead or Alive for Crimes Against Islam,” the page reads. The list includes: Molly Norris, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Flemming Rose, Morris Swadiq, Salman Rushdie, Girt Wilders [sic], Lars Vilks, Stephane Charbonnie, Carsten Luste, Terry Jones, and Kurt Westergaard.No further reason is provided to explain why these folks were singled out for the hit list, though many are notable critics of radical Islam. ”Yes We Can,” the image reads. “A Bullet A Day Keeps the Infidel Away.” “Defend Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him,” the image reads.
WHO READS THE LBN E-LERT? Radio talk show host and former publishing executive Judith Regan along with
other readers in 50 of the United States and 26 foreign countries in 11 separate time zones.
TIGER & ELIN TRIAL MARRIAGE :
Tiger Woods and ex-wife Elin Nordegren have reunited in a trial marriage – at their kids’ request. News of the reconciliation leaked out when the disgraced golfer was photographed with Elin, their daughter Sam, 5, and son Charlie, 4, in Florida recently. But insiders reveal that the couple patched things up after Sam begged Elin, 33, to let her cheating ex come back home.
LBN-BUSINESS INSIDER: ***The legendary men’s clothing store in Beverly Hills, Carroll & Co. will host a meet and greet session tomorrow at its store with all the candidates running for Beverly Hills City Council.
ACROSS THE UNIVERSE: Sweden is just one of the 26 foreign countries with daily LBN E-Lert readers.
CATHOLIC CHURCH HAS NO POPE: Catholics are running wild through Vatican City! Probably not, but since Benedict XVI resigned at 8 p.m. Thursday, the church has been without a leader. This period between old pope and new, known as sede vacante, is not unusual, as most papacies end before a new pontiff is elected. It should take no more than 20 days for the College of Cardinals to decide on Benedict’s successor. During this time, the cardinals will also discuss issues within the Catholic church and challenges it will face. So it’s still kind of like a giant party. Kind of.
LBN-HOLLYWOOD INSIDER: ***Michelle Obama says it was “absolutely not surprising” to her that her satellite appearance at the Academy Awards ceremony provoked a national conversation about whether it was appropriate, after some conservative critics accused her of selfishly crashing the event in an attempt to upstage it. She attributed the chatter to a culture shift that has spawned legions of bloggers, tweeters and others who talk about anything and everything all the time. ***The Oscars may be over, but speculation about next year’s contenders is already in full swing with shooting having just wrapped on Jerry Lewis’ return to the big screen, MAX ROSE, in which Lewis plays an octogenarian jazz pianist who has lost his wife of six decades. A discovery made days before her death causes Max to believe his marriage was a lie, and he embarks on an exploration of his past. Insiders say it’s the show biz veteran’s performance of a lifetime, with a straight Lewis interrupted by moments of comedic genius which may very well keep him busy come awards season 2014.
LBN-INVESTIGATES: Hippocrates alludes to abortion in his Hippocratic Oath. Some translators argue Hippocrates said he would not administer a woman “a pessary to produce an abortion.” Other interpretations suggest that Hippocrates actually said he would not “give a woman an abortive remedy.” In the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion, the United States Supreme Court in 1973 dismissed the oath as an incorrect application of a historical precedent.
PROBLEMS WITH SPACEX LAUNCH: The Space X Falcon 9 rocket left its launchpad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 10 a.m. Friday without a hitch. Not more than a few minutes later, however, there appeared to be some problems with the unmanned Dragon cargo capsule that had accompanied the rocket on its journey to space. “Issue with Dragon thruster pods,” Space X founder Elon Musk tweeted. “System inhibiting three of four [pods] from initializing. About to command inhibit override.” Shortly after This is the third Dragon flight to the International Space Station, but while the others took several days to make the trip, this one, carrying over 2,300 pounds of cargo, is expected to reach its destination around 6:30 a.m. Saturday if all goes as planned
LBN-MEET: Actress Jennifer Lawrence.
STRETCHY BATTERY A PROMISING POWER SOURCE: In recent years, engineers have made great strides in the fields of flexible and stretchable electronics. However, their progress has been somewhat hampered by a lack of similarly flexible battery technology—that is, until now. Researchers have successfully demonstrated a flat, stretchable battery that maintains its power and performance even when extended to three times its original size. The battery can also be charged wirelessly, meaning it could someday be used to power implantable medical devices, among other things.
MY REVIEW: “What I love about LBN is that is totally independent. It don’t kiss anybody’s ass. It’s a fearless read and lets people make up their own mind.”—–Retired Doctor Lowell E. Tobias, an LBN E-Lert reader from St. Louis, Missouri.
LBN-MUSIC INSIDER: ***The lead singer of Los Lonely Boys — the band responsible for the hit 2003 song “Heaven” — is currently holed up in an L.A. hospital … after taking a nasty fall off stage following a concert last night. According to the band’s rep, the Boys had just finished their set when singer Henry Garza tried to greet some fans, but misjudged his step and toppled off the stage … falling right into the orchestra pit.
I, LBN: Publicist Ed Lozzi, an LBN E-Lert reader from Beverly Hills, California.
LBN-SPORTS INSIDER: ***A 28-year-old woman from New York is set to become the first female to be given a try out for the NFL. Lauren Silberman had never kicked anything more than a soccer ball in an organized game before she started practicing long-range field goals. Now she has been given a chance at an NFL regional scouting combine on Sunday at the New York Jets’ training facility in Florham Park, New Jersey.
LBN-THIS DAY IN HISTORY:
Peace Corps Established (1961)
In his inaugural address, US President John F. Kennedy famously tasked Americans to “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Months later, he gave them the opportunity. Kennedy created the Peace Corps to promote diplomacy and counter foreign stereotypes of Americans by sending skilled volunteers to serve abroad, and since 1961, more than 200,000 people have served in nearly 140 countries.
LBN-COMMENTARY By LEONARD MALTIN (FILM CRITIC AND HISTORIAN): Oscar season may finally be behind us, but there is still the afterglow of worthy nominees playing in theaters and available for viewing at home, on DVD and On Demand.
LBN-COMMENTARY By DAVID KATZ, M.D. (DIRECTOR, YALE PREVENTION RESEARCH CENTER): The food industry brings in serious muscle to bully us into eating too much of all the wrong things, while someone counts the cash. Any conversation about personal responsibility or public policy that fails to acknowledge this reality is either disingenuous, or uninformed.
LBN-COMMENTARY By ANNE HATHAWAY: You’re always looking for the next job. You always think….no one’s going to hire me again. So, (while) I do feel this evening respect of my peers…..I also have a practical approach to acting, which is “got to work, got to work, got to work!” Even if you haven’t worked alongside of Hugh Jackman, it reminds us that the successful actor is constantly WORKING at his/her craft, networking, improving & marketing themselves.
LBN- A DIFFERENT VIEW:
NORTH KOREA WARNS U.S. FORCES OF ‘DESTRUCTION’ AHEAD OF WAR DRILLS: North Korea on Sunday warned the top U.S. military commander stationed in South Korea that his forces would “meet a miserable destruction” if they go ahead with scheduled military drills with South Korean troops, North Korean state media said. Pak Rim-su, chief delegate of the North Korean military mission to the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjom, gave the message by phone to Gen. James Thurman, the commander of the U.S. Forces Korea, KCNA news agency said.
SCOTT LIVELY, ‘KILL THE GAYS’ BILL SUPPORTER, PUSHES CLAIM OBAMA IS GAY, DATING REGGIE LOVE: An evangelical pastor, famous for his support of Uganda’s so-called “Kill the Gays” bill, claims to have found further proof that President Obama is secretly gay. Scott Lively made the claim in an entry on the website for his Defend The Family organization. The short post, which consists of the headline “Obama Vacations with Reggie Love, Not Michelle” and subhead “More ‘gay’ grist for the rumor mill,” links to a short article in The Weekly Standard, which reports on President Obama’s return from his “solo vacation.”
STEENKAMP’S FATHER GIVES SEETHING INTERVIEW: On the heels of a South African judge’s decision to grant Olympic double amputee Oscar Pistorius $113K bail, the father of Reeva Steenkamp—who died after sustaining four gunshot wounds on Valentine’s day—spoke to the press Saturday. Barry Steenkamp told the South African newspaper Beeld that Pistorius “will have to live with his conscience” if he is in fact lying about the events that unfolded in his home on February 14. June Steenkamp, Reeva’s mother, also spoke to Beeld, saying that the flowers their daughter’s ex-boyfriend sent to their home meant “nothing.” While Pistorius maintains that he shot the 30-year-old model by accident—mistaking her for a thief—Steenkamp’s father remains skeptical. “If it didn’t happen the way he says it did,” he said, “he must suffer and he will suffer.”
OBAMA ASKS GOP TO COMPROMISE: In Washington, “compromise” is a dirty word. But in President Obama’s weekly Saturday address to the nation, he urged Republicans to do just that. In order to avoid the looming sequester that will bring $85 million in cuts on March 1, Obama said the GOP will have to agree to adding new tax revenues and cutting less of the budget. Obama said the cuts will be extremely detrimental to the government and “will eliminate good jobs,” potentially causing 800,000 civilian employees to be furloughed. GOP lawmakers have been adamant in their fight to avoid revenue increases. Sequestration could still be averted, says Obama. “We just need Republicans in Washington to come around.”
VATICAN SLAMS MEDIA: Has mud-slinging finally made its way into papal politics? The Vatican lashed out at the media on Saturday for newspaper reports that it claims are defamatory attempts to influence the election of the next pope. The reports in question come from various Italian newspapers and report a secret dossier on the origins of the Vatileaks scandal assembled for Pope Benedict XVI by three cardinals. The dossier allegedly factored into the pope’s decision to step down. The Vatican claims the unsourced reports are an attempt to influence public opinion and the vote of the three cardinals. Look out: the future of Catholicism’s about to get dirty.
SADNESS – A DAY WITHOUT LBN!
MCCAIN, OBAMA TO MEET ON IMMIGRATION: Get ready. President Obama’s most direct involvement to date with immigration-reform negotiations will take place Tuesday when he’ll meet with Senator John McCain and a bipartisan group of senators to discuss legislation. During a visit to Mexico, McCain said there are “still a number of agreements” that need to be made, but that he is “guardedly optimistic” about reaching a deal by the end of next month. Both President Obama and the senators are weighing legislation that will provide a pathway to citizenship for most of the 11 million immigrants already in the U.S., tighten border security, and crack down on businesses employing illegal workers.
OHIO DAD SENTENCED FOR PUTTING KIDS IN BOXES: An eastern Ohio father has been sentenced to six months in prison for punishing his three children by forcing them into plastic storage boxes sealed with duct tape and a square cut in the top for air. The Steubenville Herald-Star reports that 30-year-old James A. Taylor was sentenced Thursday and also must serve two years’ probation. Taylor and 26-year-old Samantha M. Taylor, the children’s stepmother, pleaded guilty last month to charges including felony child endangerment. She has not yet been sentenced. Authorities said the children, ages 5, 6 and 8, were crammed into the boxes as punishment June 16 at the family home in Steubenville while the parents went to the grocery store and left two adults with them. A friend arrived and contacted police. The children are now living with other relatives.
ACROSS THE UNIVERSE: This LBN E-Lert is read in 11 separate time zones throughout the world.
LBN-INVESTIGATES: When children have both asthma and depression, their asthma typically is worse than that of asthmatic children who are not depressed.
LBN-VIDEO LINK: WATCH: Dan Rather Sounds Off On State Of Evening News
5-YEAR OLD BOY SHOT IN BEDROOM: A five-year-old boy was shot in his bedroom in The Bronx on Saturday morning, an incident into which police have just begun investigating. The boy, who was found by his parents with a bullet wound in his shoulder, is in stable condition at the hospital. Police believe it was an accident caused by either the boy, or his eleven-year-old brother, while their parents were in another room. The boy was discovered bleeding in his father’s car.
WHO READS THE LBN E-LERT? Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Doug Stephan along with 474,000 other readers in all 50 states and 11 separate time-zones
NEW ENGLAND PREPS FOR THIRD SNOWSTORM: New England is on a roll, getting ready to go three for three on snowstorms. Bracing for its third blizzard in three weekends, governments in the region had crews working hard Saturday morning—salting roads and trimming trees in preparation for what has the potential to be another historic storm. The snow and sleet scheduled to hammer the northeast, blanketed the Midwest earlier in the week. Winter storm warnings are in effect from Saturday afternoon through Sunday evening, with up to a foot of snow in the forecast for some areas. Hopefully after strike three, winter will be on its way out.
I, LBN: Linda Owalle, an LBN E-Lert reader from Kensington, California
LBN-HOLLYWOOD INSIDER: ***On Oscar, tomorrow Sunday February 24th, the Beverly Hills Hotel’s Crystal Ballroom will once again provide the venue for the arrival of approximately 150-200 film and TV stars many who are voting Academy members and former Oscar winners and nominees. Agent Norby Walters hosts his 23rd Annual Night of 100 Stars Oscar viewing Black tie dinner gala. The $1,000 a seat bash is “all filled up” according to the event publicist Edward Lozzi. Once again the event will be televised and streamed worldwide. www.nightof100stars.com Celebrities confirmed to walk their huge red carpet include: Cloris Leachman, Ryan O’Neil, Lee Majors, Mark Steines(ET), Laura Dern, Chris Kattan(SNL), Steve Collins, Shirley Jones, Jack McGee(Gangster Squad), Tom Sizemore, Piers Morgan, Morgan Saylor(Homeland), Anne Heche, Nadine Valazquez(FLIGHT), Meghan Markle(SUITS), Ron Perlman, Fred Willard, John Heard, Vincent Pastore, Nick Turturo(Blue Blood), Billy Burke(Twilight), Peter Facinelli(Twilight), Arielle Kebbel(“90210″ -2012), Louis Gossett Jr.(Oscar winner), and LeeAnn Rimes among others.
JOY BEHAR MAY MOVE TO CNN: ‘View’ fans, you might want to sit down for this one: Joy Behar may be moving to CNN. The charismatic host, who also works as a presenter at Current TV, was spotted meeting with CNN chief Jeff Zucker, Page Six reported Saturday. The rumors are not hard to believe. Behar is set to leave her Current gig soon, and she has worked with CNN before. But don’t look for a Behar News Hour any time soon: she’s said to be considering a late-night comedy show.
LBN-VIDEO LINK: WATCH: Jimmy Fallon And FLOTUS ‘Mom Dancing’
LBN-NOTICED: ***Media expert and author Michael Levine watching the Lakers games at the Staples Center last night as they beat Portland in the last minute of the game. ***Gillian Miniter, Muffie Potter Aston and Dayssi Kanavos being toasted for their charity work at a luncheon at Crown on the Upper East Side in NYC. ***Entertainment reporter Tom Murro talking about a racy reality show he’s producing, “The Real Girls of the Bada Bing,” at Dining Engagement Group’s Food Bank for New York benefit dinner. ***Olivia Palermo checking out one of Benefit Cosmetics and Uber’s “glam- bulances” that gave mobile Beauty Rescues during Fashion Week.
LBN-MUSIC INSIDER: ***”I’m not the sort of artist who’ll get played on the radio,” Elton John said yesterday in a studio on the west side of Los Angeles, explaining why he was hosting a small listening party for his next album, The Diving Board. While that might sound absurd coming from a man with a staggering 59 Top Forty hits in the United States, the last entry on that ledger was a LeAnn Rimes duet back in 1999.
U.S. TROOPS LAUNCH DRONE BASE IN NIGER: Another country will become home to a U.S. drone base soon, President Obama announced. At least 100 troops have been deployed to Niger to set up a station for unarmed drones. According to defense officials, the drones will be used purely for surveillance. The announcement came in the form of a letter to Congress, defending the action as necessary to “facilitate intelligence sharing” with French forces in Mali as well as other regional associates. It will also help fight extremism without sending many ground forces, he wrote.
LBN-COMMENTARY By NATE SILVER: Twice before, in 2009 and 2011, I sought to predict the Academy Award winners in six major categories based on a mix of statistical factors. My track record? Nine correct picks in 12 tries, for a 75 percent success rate. Not bad, but also not good enough to suggest that there is any magic formula for this. So this year, I have sought to simplify the method, making the link to the FiveThirtyEight election forecasts more explicit. This approach won’t be foolproof either, but it should make the philosophy behind the method more apparent. The Oscars, in which the voting franchise is limited to the 6,000 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, are not exactly a democratic process. But they provide for plenty of parallels to political campaigns.
LBN-A DIFFERENT VIEW:
INDIA DEATH TOLL CLIMBS AFTER EXPLOSION: The death toll continues to rise following dual explosions in Hyperabad, India, on Thursday. Now at least 16 people have died in two different private hospitals. Families of 14 of the victims have already been reunited with the bodies. The entire country of India has been ordered on general alert for the last two to three days while an investigation into what caused the blasts continues. Many in India believe bombing attacks were to blame, motivated by the hanging of Mohammad Afzal Guru for his involvement in the 2001 attack on Indian Parliament.
BAIL GRANTED TO SOUTH AFRICAN ‘BLADE RUNNER’ IN MURDER CASE: South African track star Oscar Pistorius was granted bail Friday ahead of his trial for murdering his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp. The ruling came after four dramatic days of testimony in what has become South Africa’s most gripping court case since the end of apartheid. After four days of testimony, Magistrate Desmond Nair ruled that the athlete would be released on bail ahead of his trial for murdering Steenkamp.
TOP MEMBER OF TALIBAN IN PAKISTAN IS CAPTURED: The Afghanistan authorities have captured a senior member of the Pakistan Taliban in a stretch of mountains near the frontier between the two countries, Afghan and Pakistani officials said on Tuesday. One Afghan official said the militant, Maulvi Faqir Muhammad, had been arrested after American airstrikes, some carried out via drones, had flushed him out of a more remote haven. Although Mr. Muhammad, picked up over the weekend, had lost much of his standing in the Pakistan Taliban over the past few years, his arrest was likely to please Pakistani officials and further improve the already warming relations between Kabul and Islamabad. “This is big news,” a senior Pakistani security official said.
REVEALED: AL-QAEDA’S 22 TIPS FOR DODGING DRONES: The document includes advice such as “hide under thick trees” (believed to be bin Laden’s contribution), and instructions for setting up a “fake gathering” using dolls to “mislead the enemy”. Found by the Associated Press in a building in Timbuktu, the ancient city occupied by Islamists last year, the document is believed to have been abandoned as extremists fled a French military intervention last month. It is a Xeroxed copy of a tipsheet authored by a Yemeni extremist that has been published on some jihadi forums, but that has made little appearance in English. The list reflects how al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghbreb anticipated a military intervention that would make use of drones, as the war on terror shifts from the ground to the air.
EGYPTIAN PROTESTERS SENDING MORSI TO THE MOON: Egyptian opposition groups are so desperate to get rid of President Mohamed Morsi, they’re getting creative. The April 6 Youth Movement—one of the major protest groups responsible for leading the 2011 uprising that took down former dictator Hosni Mubarak—has entered the country’s Islamist president’s name in an online drawing for a trip to space. On its Facebook page, April 6 wrote of the contest, “For sure no one in the universe can put up with blatant lies, reneging on promises except for the brotherly people of the moon.” In a world gone to hell, the moon’s starting to look good.
HEALTH OF HUGO CHÁVEZ NOT IMPROVING, VENEZUELAN GOVERNMENT INDICATES: Hugo Chávez is still suffering respiratory problems after his operation in Cuba more than two months ago as he continues to battle cancer, the Venezuelan government has said. “The breathing insufficiency that emerged post-operation persists and the tendency has not been favourable, so it is still being treated,” read the first official communique on Chávez’s health since his return to Venezuela on Monday.
SURVEY FINDS THAT FISH ARE OFTEN NOT WHAT LABEL SAYS: Many Europeans are fretting these days over horse meat, and whether it might have adulterated their shepherd’s pie. Over here, it’s all about the red snapper. That tempting seafood delight glistening on the ice at the market, or sizzling at the restaurant table in its aromatic jacket of garlic and ginger? It may not be at all what you think, or indeed even close, according to a big new study of fish bought and genetically tested in 12 parts of the country — in restaurants, markets and sushi bars — by a nonprofit ocean protection group, Oceana. In the 120 samples labeled red snapper and bought for testing nationwide, for example, 28 different species of fish were found, including 17 that were not even in the snapper family, according to the study, which was released Thursday.
ARIAS’S ‘PEDOPHILIA’ CLAIM CHALLENGED: Some of Jodi Arias’s charges against her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, just don’t add up. Arias, accused of murdering Alexander, has argued that she acted in self-defense against a violent man who was also a “sexual deviant.” But the claim that she ran away in horror after catching Alexander looking at photos of naked boys was contradicted in court Thursday by phone and text-message records, as well as Arias’s personal diary entries. According to phone records, Arias and Alexander exchanged five phone calls back and forth between them on the day the alleged pedophilia incident is said to have occurred. The prosecution also pressed Arias on a diary entry that included details of sexual encounters between the couple involving Tootsie Pops and Pop Rocks candy as props. Through it all, Arias stuck to her story with a steady voice.
EFFECTS OF BULLYING LAST INTO ADULTHOOD, STUDY FINDS: Victims of bullying at school, and bullies themselves, are more likely to experience psychiatric problems in childhood, studies have shown. Now researchers have found that elevated risk of psychiatric trouble extends into adulthood, sometimes even a decade after the intimidation has ended. The new study, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry on Wednesday, is the most comprehensive effort to date to establish the long-term consequences of childhood bullying, experts said.
WHO READS THE LBN E-LERT? Actor Sly Stallone along with other readers in all 50 of the United States and 26 foreign countries in 11 separate time zones.
LBN-INVESTIGATES: The Chinese were using the decimal system as early as the fourteenth century B.C., nearly 2,300 years before the first known use of the system in European mathematics. The Chinese were also the first to use a place for zero
VEGAS SHOOTING SPARKS MANHUNT: A multistate manhunt has commenced after a drive-by shooting that left three people, including aspiring rapper Kenny Clutch, dead outside a hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. A black Range Rover SUV, occupied by a group of men, shot at two people in a Maserati following an altercation in the valet area of Aria Resort & Casino. The shooting caused a multi-car crash in which a taxi exploded, killing the two people inside. “Clearly the suspects in this shooting have no regard for the lives and safety of others,” said Las Vegas Metropolitan Sheriff Doug Gillespie at a news conference Friday. It is unclear how many people were in the now hunted Range Rover, but they are reportedly armed and dangerous. If you spot them, Gillepsie says, “you should not take action. Instead, call your local police department.”
LAPD STORMS CLINT EASTWOOD’S HOME AFTER PRANK EMERGENCY CALL: Tough guy Clint Eastwood has joined the ranks of Ashton Kuther, Miley Cyrus and many other celebs as the latest victim of a prank known as “swatting.” A law enforcement source told TMZ that a 911 call sent multiple units rushing to Eastwood’s Los Angeles home this week. The prank call reported that multiple males armed with assault weapons were inside the actor’s home and people had been shot. When LAPD arrived at the scene they found the emergency at Eastwood’s home was made up. They were unable to determine if anyone was home at the time of the prank.
LBN-NOTICED: ***Internet marketing guru David Fagan and his wife Jill having dinner last night at The Palm in West Hollywood. ***Georgina Chapman at the Sunset Tower Hotel’s tony Tower Bar, where hubby Harvey Weinstein made a beeline to talk business with Sean Penn at another table. ***Meredith Vieira arriving at LAX in jeans, flats, no makeup and a navy coat before her driver hauled her giant suitcase — possibly twice her size — from the baggage carousel. ***Jonathan Ames, Whit Stillman, Judah Friedlander and fellow “Girls” star Adam Driver at an after-party for Alex Karpovsky’s film “Red Flag” at Cocktail Bodega on the Lower East Side. ***Popular Rant columnist Ericka T. Bass eating hot dogs are Carney’s on Sunset Blvd. in L.A. late last night.
FLU SHOTS FOR ELDERLY ONLY 9 PERCENT EFFECTIVE: Flu season is hardly over. But as people continue to queue up at doctors’ offices and pharmacies to get the vaccine, there is one thing the older set should consider: for senior citizens—the group for which the flu poses the biggest threat—shots are only 9 percent effective. This year, people older than 65 have been hospitalized for the flu at the highest rate in a decade, and this new discovery by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could be why.
LBN-MUSIC INSIDER: ***Aerosmith’s Joe Perry and Steven Tyler will be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, alongside Mick Jones and Lou Gramm of Foreigner, Holly Knight, JD Souther and Tony Hatch, The Associated Press reports. The ceremony is set to take place June 13th in New York. ***Lorna Luft paid tribute to late David Geffen protégé Laura Nyro at Birdland on Monday with a medley of songs. The songbird sister of Liza Minnelli was joined at the “Lorna’s Living Room” gig by Ann Hampton Callaway and Carrie Manolakos, and the trio’s Nyro set got a standing ovation.
MY REVIEW: “I used to read four newspapers per day – The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and USA Today. Now I has stopped reading all of them and get more “independent” information from LBN that all of them combined. It saves me time and information is power so the LBN is a power-tool.” —- John D. Citron, an LBN E-Lert reader from Washington, D.C.
FBI BATTLES INTERNAL SEXTING: Apparently FBI agents are mixing work with play a little too much. CNN obtained confidential internal memos scolding employees for a variety of violations, including bugging a boss’s office, paying for sex in a massage parlor, sending nude pictures to coworkers, and “a rash of sexting cases.” “When you are given an FBI BlackBerry, it’s for official use. It’s not to text the woman in another office who you found attractive or to send a picture of yourself in a state of undress. That is not why we provide you an FBI BlackBerry,” FBI assistant director Candice Will told CNN. She added that though she thinks she’s seen it all in her time at the FBI, she continues to get files that surprise her.
LBN-VIDEO LINK: WOW: Did You See This?
LBN-COMMENTARY By MICHAEL LEVINE: There is an old saying in the sales industry that people make the purchasing decision based upon emotion and then rationalize the decision using logic.
LBN-COMMENTARY By PEGGY NOONAN: The president’s sequester strategy is like Howard Beale in “Network”: “Woe is us. . . . And woe is us! We’re in a lot of trouble!” It is always cliffs, ceilings and looming catastrophes with Barack Obama. It is always government by freakout.
LBN-COMMENTARY By BIANCA JAGGER (FOUNDER AND CHAIR, BIANCA JAGGER HUMAN RIGHTS FOUNDATION): Violence is a cycle, and it perpetuates itself. It is not only our generation, but our daughters and granddaughters who will suffer if we do not stand up and call a halt to this epidemic. By doing nothing, we jeopardize their future.
LBN- A DIFFERENT VIEW:
LBN-OVERHEARD: ***Bruce Willis is boozing again and his goofy antics have friends worried that his decision to start hitting the bottle could be disastrous according to sources. After years of sobriety, the 57-year-old action hero stunned audiences with several loopy talk-show appearances while touting his latest movie, “A Good Day to Die Hard.” ***After a searing ultimatum, Josh Brolin and Diane Lane have agreed to say “Outta Here” ending their marriage of 8 years. “Jonah Hex” star Josh Brolin and “The Outsiders” beauty Diane Lane are splitting up, their rep confirmed. “It was a mutual decision,” an insider, who was “not” a rep, told media. “It is very amicable. It’s not ugly, it’s just over.” ***Magic Johnson’s wife, Cookie, feared for her own life and her unborn baby when she got “traumatic” news her NBA star husband was diagnosed with HIV in 1991. “The scariest part for me was not knowing if I had it,” she said at an awards dinner for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation on Wednesday. “Then, that week I found out I was pregnant, so I didn’t know if my baby had it . . . back then you had to wait at least 10 days to find out what your test results were, so that was traumatic.” Cookie and her child tested negative, but, “I still had to worry about my husband.”