Blog Posts by Eric Pfeiffer

  • Newly released Nixon tapes reveal nuanced beliefs on gays

    Gay men ‘born that way’ and ‘girls don’t swear’

    Former President Richard Nixon sits next to a stack of presidential audio recordings (Australian Associated Press)Former President Richard Nixon sits next to a stack of presidential audio recordings (Australian Associated Press)

    Despite President Richard Nixon's conservative poltical stance, it seems he had a relatively progressive opinion of gays and limited exposure to girls who curse.

    On Thursday, Vanity Fair released excerpts from 3,700 hours of audio recordings made during Nixon’s first term in the White House. While past Nixon recordings have focused on Watergate and his eventual resignation, these excerpts reveal a president musing on a number of topics.

    The new recordings are just the latest insight into the fractured presidency and life of a man who continues to capture the public’s attention nearly 40 years after he left the White House and 20 years since his death.

    Nixon’s thoughts on whether homosexuality is a genetic or learned behavior are surprisingly liberal considering both that time in history and that Nixon had expressed offensive views on race, gender and culture in other recordings.

    Of course, the excerpts also contain unusual and unsubstantiated theories on gays from Nixon, including his

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  • Pot luck: Berkeley dispensaries now required to give free marijuana to the poor

    If you love smoking pot, live in Berkeley and don’t make a lot of money, the City Council has some good news for you: Your pot might now be free.

    An ordinance approved by the Berkeley City Council says that at least 2 percent of all pot carried by medical marijuana dispensaries must be provided “at no cost” to “very low-income” individuals and families.

    The council defines the “very low income” as individuals making $32,000 or less a year or families of four collectively earning $46,000.

    And unlike the cliched image of “government cheese,” the ordinance also requires that the free marijuana “shall be the same quality on average as Medical Cannabis that is dispensed to other members.”

    “It’s sort of a cruel thing that when you are really ill and you do have a serious illness ... it can be hard to work, it can be hard to maintain a job. And when that happens, your finances suffer and then you can’t buy the medicine you need,” said Sean Luce, who works at local collective Berkeley

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  • Who is the rightful heir to the “Duke legacy”  a major private university or the descendants of a movie star who want to put his name on bottles of whiskey?

    Specifically, the heirs to Marion Robert Morrison, aka John Wayne, have filed suit against Duke University, seeking to claim a trademark to use the “Duke” namesake in liquor sales.

    The Hollywood Reporter first reported on the lawsuit, noting that the university and the Wayne family have been in a number of disputes over the past decade contesting the use of the "Duke" moniker on everything from gaming machines to restaurant services.

    For its part, Duke University argues that using the “Duke” nickname for different commercial purposes would only confuse the public. “Consistent with its policies and in order to prevent tarnishment of its brand, [Duke University] does not permit use of confusingly similar marks associated with unapproved goods or services, of uncertain quality and/or unregulated by [Duke University]," the university

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  • Newspaper runs headline referring to President Obama as N-word

    The West View News ran this op-ed using an offensive word to describe President Obama (West View News)The West View News ran this op-ed using an offensive word to describe President Obama (West View News)

    A local paper is making national headlines thanks to a questionable word choice in one of its own news headlines.

    The West View News, a monthly paper in New York’s West Village with a circulation of around 20,000, ran an op-ed from author James Lincoln Collier titled “N----r in the White House.”

    If the headline wasn't strange and shocking enough, the New York Post reports that the op-ed is actually a pro-Obama piece, in which Collier argues that, "far right voters hate Obama because he is black."

    The Post included a photo of the article headline in its piece with the offending language blurred out.

    The West View News ran an opposing view column below Collier’s piece by African American columnist Alvin Hall titled, "This headline offends me."

    "The decision to use this headline feels misguided to me," Hall writes. "I don’t see how its use benefits anyone, but I do feel all too clearly how it deeply offends me."

    It’s not the first time Collier, 86, has stoked controversy through his use

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  • Rick Perry stands by Obama immigration conspiracy theory

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry repeated an accusation that undocumented children coming to the U.S. from Latin American countries might be a result of an “ulterior motive” by President Obama.

    “I have to believe that when you don’t respond in any way that you are either inept or you have some ulterior motive of which you are functioning from,” Perry said during an interview Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

    “I don’t believe he particularly cares whether or not the border of the United States is secure,” Perry said when he was asked by host Martha Raddatz if he stood by comments made in a June 17 interview with “Fox and Friends.”

    “This president, I will suggest, is totally and absolutely either inept or making some decisions that are not in the best interests of American citizens,” Perry said during that interview with Fox News.

    Perry also suggested that non-Mexicans crossing the U.S.-Mexican border are coming from Middle Eastern countries such as Syria.

    “We also have record high numbers of other

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  • Forty-four-year-old Rod Whitaker spent nearly all of his life believing he was an only child without a father. Over the same time period, his father never even knew of Rod’s existence, having been sent to fight in the Vietnam War without knowing that Rod’s mother was pregnant with their child.

    But on Wednesday, Whitaker landed at San Francisco International Airport, where he reunited not only with his father but with five brothers he had never met.

    And when Whitaker celebrates his 45th birthday on Friday, he’ll be doing so with hundreds of relatives at a Fourth of July family reunion picnic.

    “To go from my mom’s only child to, hopefully, getting in fights about getting hugs on me ...,” Whitaker said in an interview with local affiliate ABC7, contemplating how much his life had changed in one day.

    Whitaker said he searched through websites like Ancestry.com before eventually tracking down his biological father in California. His dad is a Vietnam War veteran who served three tours of

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  • Family turns down KFC's $30k donation to scarred girl who was allegedly asked to leave

    The family of a 3-year-old girl who was allegedly asked to leave a KFC restaurant because her facial scars were “upsetting” other customers has turned down a $30,000 donation offered by the fast-food chain.

    In an earlier interview, KFC told Yahoo News it was committed to making the donation toward Victoria Wilcher’s recovery, even after two independent investigations concluded that the alleged incident never occurred.

    However, a lawyer representing family members said they have decided to decline the donation.

    “We just didn't feel right about accepting their money," the family’s attorney, Bill Kellum, said in an interview with the Clarion-Ledger. "But we did tell them they were more than welcome to donate the money to the Frank Stile Foundation."

    Stile, a plastic surgeon, has agreed to pay for Wilcher’s surgery without charge. His foundation helps raise money to provide medical procedures and other services for children in need.

    Another Florida surgeon has agreed to create a plastic

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  • Massachusetts town worker loses job after saving cat in neighboring town

    The claws have come out in Phillipston, Massachusetts. Depending on whom you ask, it’s either a case of a good deed being punished, or just deserts for a public employee who regularly abused his authority.

    Back in May, former highway superintendent Jim Mackie received a phone call asking him to rescue a cat that had gotten itself stranded in a 40-foot-tall tree during a recent storm.

    So, Mackie took a bucket truck out to the scene and rescued the cat, Kaboodle.

    "I went up to the top of the tree, grabbed the kitten and brought it back down," Mackie told local CBS affiliate WBZ. "Everyone was happy."

    However, far from a feel good animal rescue story, Mackie’s rescue operation ended up costing him his job.

    That’s because Kaboodle was stuck in a tree several miles outside of the Phillipston town limits in neighboring Westminster and the person who called Mackie for help was his girlfriend, Jackie Prime.

    The situation escalated when Mackie phoned a local highway worker to pull the bucket

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  • Maine governor admits to meeting with individuals tied to domestic terror movement

    Maine Gov. Paul LePage criticizes the state's Legislature during a news conference in this March 10, 2014 file photo taken in Brunswick, Maine. LePage wants to limit state welfare benefits to only those residents living in Maine legally, a move that could force municipalities to drop some recipients or risk losing government funds. Attorney General Janet Mills, a Democrat, says the governor has no authority to implement the change in welfare regulations without legislative approval. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)Maine Gov. Paul LePage criticizes the state's Legislature during a news conference in this March 10, 2014 file photo taken in Brunswick, Maine. LePage wants to limit state welfare benefits to only those residents living in Maine legally, a move that could force municipalities to drop some recipients or risk losing government funds. Attorney General Janet Mills, a Democrat, says the governor has no authority to implement the change in welfare regulations without legislative approval. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

    Maine Gov. Paul LePage is facing intense scrutiny this week after his office confirmed details of an investigation that claims the Republican official met with several members of an anti-government network that the FBI has called a “domestic terrorist movement.”

    Relying on documents obtained through a Freedom of Access request, journalist Mike Tipping says LePage held eight meetings with individuals connected to the sovereign citizens movement, a loosely affiliated group of individuals who challenge the authority of state and federal governments. The FBI says individuals connected with the movement have been responsible for the murder of six police officers since 2000.

    On Monday, LePage’s office confirmed that the governor had held meetings with individuals connected to the movement. However, LePage’s press secretary told the Maine Public Broadcasting Network that criticism of the governor was politically motivated and timed to hurt his re-election efforts.

    "We're not even into the

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  • Cheney doubles down: Announces formation of anti-Obama group and calls president ‘dangerous’

    How President Obama's policies are impacting the crisis in IraqHow President Obama's policies are impacting the crisis in Iraq

    Former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz Cheney stood by their harsh criticism of President Obama during an interview Wednesday night in which they called him “dangerous.”

    The pair also announced the formation of a new anti-Obama political group, The Alliance for a Strong America.

    “Uh, yes. I think there’s no question,” Liz Cheney told Fox News host Megyn Kelly during a joint appearance on The Kelly File. “He’s made it clear that his desire is to weaken the nation. There’s no question that he’s a dangerous president.”

    The appearance came a day after the Cheneys authored an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal in which they accused the president of weakening American interests and of having a failed approach to dealing with the escalating threats to Iraqi security.

    The pair also posted a new video online to accompany the announcement of The Alliance for a Strong America, a 501(c)(4) organization, which lists its stated goal as “reversing President Obama’s policies.”

    “The

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Pagination

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