Blog Posts by Eric Pfeiffer

  • Liz Cheney announces Senate bid, will challenge GOP incumbent

    Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, announced on Tuesday that she is running for the U.S. Senate in Wyoming in 2014. After months of speculation, Cheney confirmed rumors that she would challenge incumbent Republican Sen. Mike Enzi.

    Enzi, who has not made a formal announcement about his re-election plans, has been expected to run. In an impromptu interview with congressional reporters Tuesday, Enzi said, "I thought we were friends," when asked about Cheney's announcement.

    "Well, she said that if I ran she wasn’t going to run, but obviously that wasn’t correct,” he added.

    Enzi, who has served as one of Wyoming’s two senators since 1997 has noted in recent interviews that Cheney previously called him to explain that she was considering a primary challenge to him next year.

    “Over the last several years, citizens across our great state have urged me to consider running for the Senate in 2014,” Cheney said in a video announcement posted online.

    Wearing a denim

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  • PayPal accidentally adds $92 quadrillion to man’s account

    Imagine checking your PayPal account to find you had accidentally been credited with more money than the world’s annual gross domestic product.

    That’s what happened to Pennsylvania’s Chris Reynolds, who buys and sells car parts online.

    Of course, there’s one major catch: Reynolds never technically was in possession of any of the accidentally credited funds.

    "I'm just feeling like a million bucks," Reynolds said when asked about the technical glitch . When Reynolds then went to check his actual funds available on the site, he saw the amount was, in fact, zero.

    PayPal hasn’t commented on the flub but Reynolds was quick to offer his thoughts on how he theoretically would spend the $92,233,720,368,547,800 that initially showed up in his account.

    "I'm a very responsible guy," he said. "I would pay the national debt down first. Then I would buy the Phillies, if I could get a great price."

    In a separate interview, Reynolds said he routinely exchanges about $100 a month through the site. And

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  • New language discovered in Australia, only spoken by 350 people

    Kids these days, it's like they speak their own language sometimes. But in one remote Australian town, they actually do.

    University of Michigan linguist Carmel O’Shannessy has been studying the town of Lajamanu for a decade and found that about 350 of the town’s residents, nearly all under the age of 35, speak a newly discovered language.

    “Light Warlpiri,” as O’Shannessy calls it in a new paper published in the journal Language," is a mix of English and two other local dialects, Kriol and Warlpiri.

    "The striking thing about Light Warlpiri is that most of the verbs come from English or Kriol, but most of the other grammatical elements in the sentence come from Warlpiri," O'Shannessy told LiveScience.

    Lajamanu is essentially an isolated enclave. There are no fully paved roads, and a small plane delivers the mail each week. A supply truck also visits once a week to deliver goods to the town’s only store.

    Walpiri itself is spoken by only about 6,000 people in the region, according to the

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  • Key witness in Zimmerman case says defense attorney is ‘lucky I’m a Christian’

    The young friend of slain teenager Trayvon Martin made her first public remarks since George Zimmerman was found not guilty on Saturday, vigorously defending Martin's reputation and saying race played a role in his death and Zimmerman's acquittal.

    Appearing on CNN’s “Piers Morgan” program, Rachel Jeantel responded to an avalanche of public attention following her testimony at Zimmerman’s trial.

    “Don West is lucky I’m a Christian,” Jeantel, 19, said when asked how she was treated in the courtroom by defense attorney Don West. “The only reason I have not said anything to Don West is because my parents have taught me better.”

    Asked for her response to the jury’s not guilty verdict, Jeantel was circumspect, saying, “Disappointed. Upset. Angry. Question [sic]. And mad.”

    She also added that while Trayvon Martin did occasionally smoke marijuana, he never displayed aggressive behavior or expressed an interest in firearms. She said that Martin likely smoked marijuana about two times per week,

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  • Juror says Zimmerman went 'above and beyond' but that race was not an issue

    A juror in the George Zimmerman trial made her first public appearances since the jury reached its verdict on Saturday, saying race did not play a role in the jury’s decision, but she admitted she believes Zimmerman went "above and beyond" his role as a neighborhood watch member.

    Juror B37, who asked to remain anonymous, said she did not find the prosecution’s witnesses to be credible and that race did not play a role in the jury’s decision.

    However, she also acknowledged her belief that Zimmerman went "above and beyond" in his decision to ignore police direction by confronting Trayvon Martin.

    Appearing on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” she said neither she nor any of the other jurors discussed race when reviewing the case.

    “I don’t think it did. If there was another person, Spanish, white, Asian; if they came in the same situation as Trayvon did, I think George would have reacted the same way,” she said.

    “I think all of us thought race did not play a role. We never had that discussion.

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  • Public interest in Zimmerman trial lagged in advance of verdict

    If you tuned in to cable news, read a news website or ventured into social media, it might have seemed like the world was captivated by little other than the George Zimmerman trial.

    But a new poll suggests that public interest lagged in advance of the jury’s decision in the case. Information from the Pew Research Center for Politics and the Press finds that 26 percent of the U.S. public was following news of the trial in advance of the July 13 verdict in which Zimmerman was found not guilty.

    Conversely, in March 2012, 35 percent of respondents told Pew that they were following news of Trayvon Martin’s shooting death when it first came under the national spotlight.

    But social media was one area in which attention to the trial spiked. For example, on the day after the verdict was reached, a full 44 percent of respondents said they heard about the verdict on Facebook or Twitter.

    Interest in the trial split sharply between African-American and Caucasian viewers. Twenty-one percent of black

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  • Charles Ramsey says fame has ruined his life

    The man credited with helping save three women from accused kidnapper Ariel Castro says the ensuing fame has ruined his life, even though he is set to earn $50,000 and has bought himself a BMW.

    “I don’t have an address, I don’t live anywhere. I go from house to house, to friend to friend, to family member to family member,” Charles Ramsey said in an interview with the Daily Mail. “What I’ve been doing for the past four weeks is wearing out my welcome with everybody who knows me.”

    Ramsey, 45, who worked as a dishwasher at the time the kidnapping story broke, says the real problem is that he can’t land a full-time job or housing because people are wary of the attention his presence would attract.

    “Just give me a job,” he said.

    Since the story broke in May, Ramsey said he’s used the money he has received to pay off debts and to buy a used BMW for $8,000. He’s received about$15,000 in speaking fees and several thousand dollars in corporate speaking engagement fees. He also launched a

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  • 90-pound dog chatters teeth in fear upon meeting kitten (VIDEO)

    ( Frost)Sadie is a 90-pound Labrador who could theoretically strike fear into the hearts of would-be criminals. Well, so long as it’s not a cat burglar. That’s because the 7-year-old dog appeared terrified when meeting her owner’s new kitten, even chattering her teeth in a video that has gone viral.

    “She’s not sure about this,” Sadie’s owner, Tom Frost, says in the video. “She’s afraid to even look at her.”

    The video has been clicked on more than 400,000 times since it was first posted. In the 6-minute clip, Sadie seems genuinely perplexed, and more than a little nervous, about how she should behave around her new feline companion.

    “Her teeth are chattering,” he continues. “It’s sort of like Velcro.”

    The kitten, for its part, seems largely uninterested. She does casually wave a paw at Sadie’s nose, triggering the dog’s chattering teeth.

    Frost writes on his YouTube page that since the initial fear-inducing incident, the dog and cat now get along “very well.”

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  • The empty $34M command and control center in southern Afghanistan (Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction)The U.S. military has reportedly spent $34 million to build a new complex in Afghanistan – but is unlikely to ever actually use the facility.

    Voice of America reports that the unused site came to the attention of a congressional oversight committee that reviews projects in Afghanistan.

    "I don't know if [Secretary Chuck Hagel] will provide a formal response. I do not have one at this stage," said Defense Department spokesman George Little when asked about the project. "I think it is going to take us a little bit of time to review the findings and to coordinate with the SIGAR."

    SIGAR stands for the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, which described the base as a "potentially troubling example of waste."

    Special Inspector General John Sopko told Congress that some U.S. commanders opposed the 20,000-square-foot installation’s construction in 2010. But a year later, a British firm was nonetheless hired to build it. Originally, it was planned to serve as

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  • Apple Store in Madrid built atop 15th-century ruins

    The logo outside of Apple's flagship NYC location (Reuters)When you’re the biggest company in the world, you’re bound to ruffle a few feathers. In Spain, Apple’s new store is built on top of the ruins of a 15th-century hospital.

    El Pais reports that the remains of a 60-bed hospital once used to treat plague victims have been found in the basement of Apple's 20,000-square-foot store in Madrid.

    “We’re not surprised to find these remains because we knew they could be there,” said Jamie Ignacio Munoz, director of the Madrid Heritage Department, in an interview with the paper. “The building is located on a historic site and is protected as an area of public cultural interest, so that any action on the ground has to have the approval of the heritage department.”

    City officials in Madrid originally stumbled across the ruins of both a church and San Andres Hospital, a 600-year-old structure demolished in 1854, while building a new Sol Metro stop. The city still allowed Apple to construct its store nearby and even asked the company to cover the ruins

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