The Lookout
  • David Daly remembers sitting in a garden in Afghanistan two years ago and discussing military strategy with his counterparts in the Afghan army. At this point, the U.S. had spent a decade there.

    A Marine offered a tactical suggestion, one that made perfect sense to the Americans but not to the Afghans. Daly, then a Marine captain, says an "old" Afghan major looked at him and said: "You think you have been here 10 years, but you have really only been here one year, 10 times."

    For Daly, the major had perfectly encapsulated a quote often attributed, but probably wrongly, to Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin or Mark Twain: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

    “He was right,” Daly writes in a first-person perspective on Yahoo News this week, “We were doing the same things there over and over with the same results. Instead of building on the experiences and lessons learned from each year, we failed to understand their point of

    Read More »from Military vets and others speak out about talks with Taliban
  • James Gandolfini at the Screen Actors Guild awards event in 2008. (Danny Moloshok/Reuters)

    It's been less than 24 hours since James Gandolfini, the 51-year-old award-winning actor, died while vacationing with his 13-year-old son in Rome, Italy.

    But that, apparently, was more than enough time for Michael Gelb, clinical professor at New York University’s College of Dentistry, to seize the opportunity to promote his "pioneering" integrative sleep apnea treatment center.

    "Might the iconic 'Sopranos' actor's legendary loud snore been a warning sign?" an email pitch from Gelb's publicist, sent on Thursday morning, read. An excerpt:

    Enter Dr. Michael Gelb, clinical professor at New York University’s College of Dentistry and founder of The Gelb Center, a pioneer in integrative sleep apnea treatments: “James Gandolfini’s snoring was well-known. What’s less well known is that snoring is a warning sign of obstructive sleep apnea, which is linked to higher risks of heart attacks and strokes for people with cardiovascular disease. More than 38,000 people a year die from this disease,

    Read More »from Shameless doc’s PR pitch: Gandolfini’s death ‘a wake-up call to guys who snore like freight trains’
  • Deidre Hansen (left) with her son Sgt. Joshua Hansen and his children Jesse James (in hat) and Trinity Rose (Paul Fraughton/the Salt Lake Tribune)

    Sgt. Joshua Hansen, struck nine times by IEDs, has received a Bronze Star for his service in Iraq, reports the Salt Lake Tribune.

    A spokesman for the Utah Department of Veterans Affairs confirmed the details to Yahoo News.

    “I have the greatest admiration for combat veterans," Terry Schow, executive director of the Utah Department of Veterans Affairs, told Yahoo news by telephone. "He had one of the more dangerous jobs. He took out IEDs, obviously that saves lives. He’s a very humble, self-effacing young man," Schow added.

    According to the Tribune, the ninth hit to Hansen's personnel carrier was on March 15, 2007. Although wounded, he helped another injured solider who was having trouble breathing before losing consciousness.

    Hansen was awarded the Bronze Star, according to the Tribune, for "'exceptionally meritorious service' during the six months in which he served as a team leader for 2nd Platoon, Company A of the U.S. Army’s 321st Engineers, a reserve unit based partly in Ogden.

    Read More »from Soldier awarded Bronze Star for service in Iraq

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  • Putin says will use influence on Ukraine rebels, denounces West
    Putin says will use influence on Ukraine rebels, denounces West

    By Darya Korsunskaya MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday Russia would try to ensure Ukrainian separatists cooperate with an investigation into the downing of a Malaysian airliner, but said the West must do more to persuade Kiev to end hostilities. Putin came out fighting in his most detailed comments since the plane was brought down on Thursday, dismissing criticism of Russia's role in events in rebel-held east Ukraine and describing the West's position as "strange and unacceptable". Accusing the United States indirectly of pulling the strings in Kiev, trying to bully Russia and meddling in Russia's domestic affairs, the president said in televised remarks: "Such methods will not work on Russia." Reading from notes at the head of a long table flanked by his top government, parliament, security and defense officials, Putin spoke much more forcefully than during brief televised remarks on the plane's downing first released in the early hours of Monday, when he looked tired and less assured than usual.

  • A modest proposal: Judge asks if firing squad and guillotine are preferable to lethal injection
    A modest proposal: Judge asks if firing squad and guillotine are preferable to lethal injection

    A federal judge said questions about the use of lethal injection call into question the integrity of capital punishment.

  • I no longer talk to Obama: Turkey's Erdogan
    I no longer talk to Obama: Turkey's Erdogan

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he has stopped talking to US President Barack Obama on the phone, amid growing strains between Ankara and Washington over Syria and the Gaza conflict. Turkey, a fierce opponent of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and an open supporter of armed rebel fighters, felt betrayed when the United States backed away from military action against Damascus in September. "In the past, I was calling him (Obama) directly. Because I can't get the expected results on Syria, our foreign ministers are now talking to each other," Erdogan said in a live interview on pro-government ATV channel late Monday.

  • Islamic State crushes and coerces on march towards Baghdad
    Islamic State crushes and coerces on march towards Baghdad

    By Maggie Fick and Isra' al-Rubei'i BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Using its own version of "soft" and "hard" power, the Islamic State is crushing resistance across northern Iraq so successfully that its promise to march on Baghdad may no longer be unrealistic bravado. The Islamic State, which in June captured a vast stretch of territory in the north including the largest city Mosul, used this strategy when its fighters met armed resistance from the town of al-Alam for 13 days running. Weeks later, only a few masked gunmen guard checkpoints surrounding al-Alam at night, so comfortable is the Islamic State in its control through fear. "One hundred percent of people are angry that the Islamic State is here but there is nothing we can do," said a scared resident who spoke by telephone on condition of anonymity.

  • In international flight, volatile conflicts abound
    In international flight, volatile conflicts abound

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In Libya, militias armed with shoulder-launched missiles are battling for control of the country's main airport. In Africa, the entire Sahel region is awash with weapons that include portable air defense systems leftover from the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi.

  • Queen's Gold Cup winner fails drug test
    Queen's Gold Cup winner fails drug test

    A horse owned by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II which won one of England's most prestigious races has failed a drugs test, Buckingham Palace announced Tuesday. Estimate, which lifted the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in 2013 and came second in this year's edition, has tested positive for morphine, a banned substance. A statement issued by the Queen's racing advisor said initial indications were the positive test had resulted from the "consumption of a contaminated feed product". The Queen, renowned for a love and knowledge of horse racing which dates back to the 88-year-old monarch's childhood, cheered on Estimate, saddled by top trainer Michael Stoute, when the now five-year-old filly won at Ascot last year.

  • 3 industries that make it entirely too difficult for customers to call it quits
    3 industries that make it entirely too difficult for customers to call it quits

    The experience of one Comcast cable subscriber whose attempt to cancel his subscription earlier this month went viral reminded us just how desperate businesses can be to hold us captive.

  • No One Knows Why or How the Brooklyn Bridge's American Flags Were Painted White
    No One Knows Why or How the Brooklyn Bridge's American Flags Were Painted White

    Overnight, someone climbed to the top of both the Brooklyn Bridge's two 273-foot towers. According to officials, the American flags are hung by specially trained workers in the Department of Transportation. At the least police are folding up the Brooklyn Bridge white surrender flag in a respectful manner. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams announced an award for any information about the mysterious flags.

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