Blog Posts by Eric Pfeiffer

  • New book details how Obama questioned his own ability to win re-election

    President Obama reportedly struggled after a subpar debate against Mitt Romney. (AP)

    After President Barack Obama’s mediocre first debate performance against Mitt Romney in 2012, he reportedly told advisers, “I just don’t know if I can do this,” when they urged him to turn around his re-election campaign.

    In “Double Down,” journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann say that Obama followed up his presidential debate by conducting a “dismal” mock debate with then-Sen. John Kerry.

    “If we don’t fix this, we could lose the whole f------ election,” Obama adviser David Plouffe reportedly said following the mock debate.

    Obama’s advisers attempted to shift his tone and approach in advance of the second presidential debate, leading Obama to respond, “I can’t tell you that ‘Okay, I woke up today, I knew I needed to do better, and I’ll do better.’ I am wired in a different way than this event requires. … I just don’t know if I can do this.”

    For her part, Michelle Obama reportedly did not suffer from the same reservations as her husband, telling a group of female Obama campaign

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  • TSA agent killed in LAX shooting, suspect ID'd

    A Transportation Security Administration agent was killed and several more people wounded when a gunman opened fire on Friday morning at Los Angeles International Airport.

    The FBI has identified the shooting suspect as 23-year-old Paul Ciancia. According to law enforcement officials, Ciancia was apprehended on the scene after opening fire at an airport security checkpoint. The TSA officer killed in the attack has been identified as 39-year-old Gerardo I. Hernandez.

    Ciancia reportedly suffered a non-lethal gunshot wound and is being treated in a local hospital.

    Personal details about Ciancia are still emerging. According to public records obtained by Yahoo News, Ciancia has a known address in Pennsville, N.J., about 15 miles from Wilmington, Del. The AP said Ciancia had contacted his brother by text message on Friday saying he was considering suicide. Additional reports indicate when Ciancia was detained by law enforcement he was carrying literature critical of the federal government and

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  • New book says Obama team considered Hillary Clinton as replacement for Biden on 2012 ticket

    A new book claims that President Barack Obama’s advisers explored the possibility of replacing Vice President Joe Biden with Hillary Clinton on the president’s re-election ticket.

    Excerpts from “Double Down,” by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, add to rumors going back to shortly after Democrats took an electoral beating in the 2010 midterm elections.

    Obama advisers, led by then-White House chief of staff William M. Daley, reportedly conducted “extensive focus groups” and polling well into 2011. However neither Biden nor Obama were actually part of these conversations, according to the book.

    For his part, Daley confirms his role, but he says it was only “due diligence” and never advanced beyond standard research.

    “I was vocal about looking into a whole bunch of things, and this was one of them,” Daley told The New York Times. “You have to remember, at that point the president was in awful shape, so we were like, ‘Holy Christ, what do we do?′”

    In an interview on "CBS This Morning," Daley

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  • You can now take a zombie-themed diver certification course

    No one is safe from the zombie apocalypse ― even underwater. (Woody Tinsley)

    Zombies are everywhere these days ― even underwater.

    From the premiere of George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” in 1968 up through “The Walking Dead” of today, the question has been asked time and again, “What would you do if the zombie apocalypse became a reality?”

    PADI master diving instructor Woody Tinsley has helped add another layer to the zombie mythology by offering scuba divers the opportunity to navigate the water while simultaneously fending off the undead in his Zombie Apocalypse Diver course.

    “I cease to be an instructor and take on the role of a leader of a group of survivors trying to escape the zombie apocalypse,” Tinsley told Yahoo News in an interview from central Connecticut where the course takes place. “We cover areas like supply gathering, fishing and medical first aid.”

    Tinsley has been using the PADI system of diver certification for years but says he came up with the unique course after he and some friends challenged themselves to come up with new and

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  • Could this barge be home to Google's next big operation? (KPIX 5/CBS San Francisco)

    A 250-foot long barge with four stories of shipping containers floating in the waters of the San Francisco Bay may actually be the home of Google’s next big marketing push.

    KPIX 5 reports that several experts close to local government authorities that oversee such operations say that the barge is likely home to a major marketing effort, a “kind of giant Apple Store,” in support of Google Glass.

    The barge itself is reportedly referred to as “the secret project” by locals, with the shipping containers largely concealed under a bed of black netting.

    The theory goes that upon completion, Google will pull the barge up to San Francisco’s Fort Mason, where the floating data center would then become open to the public. For it’s part, Google has declined to comment on the speculation.

    CNET agrees with the speculation, pointing out that Google obtained a patent for such an operation in 2009 . But why a floating data-center? They say the water provided a natural cooling center for a massive

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  • Jack Daniel's takes on tiny distillery over label dispute

    The world’s best-selling whiskey maker is accusing a tiny distillery of getting too close for Southern comfort.

    On Friday, Jack Daniel's filed legal actions against Popcorn Sutton’s Tennessee White Whiskey. The owner of the Jack Daniel's trademark (Brown-Forman Corp.) said the square shape and lettering on the Popcorn Sutton bottle is "confusingly similar" to that of the larger brand’s familiar logo.

    "Defendants' use of the new Popcorn Sutton's trade dress in connection with their Tennessee white whiskey is likely to cause purchasers and prospective purchasers of the product to believe mistakenly that it is a new Tennessee white whiskey product in the Jack Daniel's line," reads an excerpt from the lawsuit obtained by The Associated Press.

    "We've taken action against many individuals and companies all over the world for infringing in the Jack Daniel's trademark," Brown-Forman spokesman Phil Lynch told the AP. "We are vigorous in our defense of all our trademarks, and especially Jack

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  • Watch an enormous 200,000-mile canyon fire race across the sun (VIDEO)

    NASA has compiled a new video showing a 200,000-mile-long “fire” as it rips across the surface of the sun in dramatic fashion.

    The eruption is actually a magnetic filament of solar material that erupted across the atmosphere of the sun back in September. The resulting corona appears to be a giant canyon of flames.

    NASA physicist David Hathaway explained in an interview with Space Weather that a magnetic filament actually contains cool, dense gas that is suspended above the surface of the sun.

    "When you look down on top of them they appear dark because the gas inside is cool compared to the hot photosphere below,” Hathaway said. “But when we see a filament in profile against the dark sky it looks like a giant glowing loop -- these are called prominences and they can be spectacular."

    As NASA explained on their Goddard Space Flight Center YouTube page, “In reality, the sun is not made of fire, but of something called plasma: particles so hot that their electrons have boiled off, creating

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  • Things you probably didn’t know about Ted Cruz: From avocados to ‘The Princess Bride’

    Ted Cruz is a man of diverse tastes (Yahoo News/original image AP)

    Love him or hate him, it’s safe to say Ted Cruz is currently the most compelling figure in U.S. politics today.

    The first-term Texas senator led the Republican charge against Obamacare that resulted in a 16-day government shutdown and ignited the passions of millions. And if political insiders are to be believed, Cruz is already gearing up to run for president in 2016.

    But for someone who has wielded so much influence in such little time, most people know very little about Cruz as a person.

    A few publications are aiming to change that. On Thursday, Cruz sat down with the Des Moines Register for a Q&A and revealed a few facts about himself:

    His dream job: “I’d love to be the starting point guard for the Houston Rockets, and I’m confident that there is no universe in which that will ever come to pass.”

    Favorite movie: A self-described “huge movie buff,” Cruz says his favorite movie is 1987’s “The Princess Bride.” And that revelation led to a series of very obvious Internet references to

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  • Obamacare phone operator who talked to Sean Hannity loses her job

    An image from the "Hannity" segment in which the Fox News host called an Obamacare phone operator (Fox News)

    An Obamacare phone operator who had a conversation with Fox News host Sean Hannity lost her job on Thursday.

    On Monday, the “Hannity” host called up the Affordable Care Act phone number provided by the federal government. Eventually, he was connected with Erling Davis, a phone operator working for a private contract company .

    Hannity quizzed Davis about technical issues facing the government healthcare website and engaged in some small talk during their 10-minute conversation.

    However, on Thursday Davis revealed that she was fired by her employer over the conversation. For his part, Hannity told listeners of his radio show that he will compensate Davis for a year’s salary tax free and try to help her find a new job. In total, Hannity reportedly gave Davis $26,000. He also posted information on his website where viewers could reach out with job offers and other assistance.

    “They fired me from my job,” Davis told Hannity while being interviewed on his radio program.

    A transcribed

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  • CNN airs 90-minute segment showing people trying to navigate Obamacare website

    CNN guest Hazani Barmada shares her Internet experiences with host Tom Foreman (Yahoo News)

    Troubles plaguing the federal government’s Affordable Care Act website are big news. But to get the point, do we really need to watch people physically attempting to navigate the site?

    CNN says "yes," and devoted 90 minutes of programming on Thursday to just that. And they’ve brought back their countdown clock to mark the proceedings. The countdown clock has been a go-to move for CNN recently, rolled out to keep a running timer on the government shutdown and the debt limit ceiling.

    For the Obamcare website segment, “Situation Room” host Wolf Blitzer stationed three guests at desktop computers and monitored their attempts to register on the federal government’s Affordable Care Act site.

    So, what kind of breathtaking results were viewers treated to?

    “I’m actually able to look at the different options quite easily,” guest Laura McNeil told CNN’s Emmy award-winning journalist Tom Foreman as the newsroom cameras zoomed in and out on her and the other two individuals looking at their

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