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Obama on Sony Hack: Pulling The Interview Was ‘a Mistake’

Hours after the FBI concluded that North Korea was definitely responsible for the cyberattack on Sony, President Obama criticized the studio's decision to pull The Interview from theaters at the hackers' request. At his year-end press conference, Obama allowed that he was sympathetic to Sony's concerns, but said the studio "made a mistake" in shutting down the film's entire theatrical release. "We cannot have a society where some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship on the United States," he said. "If someone is able to intimidate someone from releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they'll do if they see a documentary or a news report they don't like. Or even worse, if producers engage in self-censorship so they don't offend the sensibilities of people who need to be offended." Obama finished by vowing a "proportionate response" to North Korea, but refused to take the symbolic step of watching The Interview himself.

Court Rules Child Molester Jerry Sandusky Doesn’t Deserve a Fancy Pension

Convicted child molester and ex–Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky lost a battle to restore his $4,900 monthly pension checks from the state Friday, in a ruling by the State Employees' Retirement System. Sandusky had already received more than $1 million from the fund before he was sentenced and cut off, and isn't likely to get another chance to use the money as a free man: He's 70, and serving a minimum of three decades. His lawyer, however, plans to appeal this decision in court, with the ruling hinging on the key question of whether Sandusky's old crimes are covered by a 2004 addition of sex crimes to the state's forfeiture laws.

How Powerful Is the Progressive Revolt Brewing in the House?

While it’s not exactly a secret that many Capitol Hill Democrats have a distant — if not dysfunctional — relationship with the White House, rarely has the family feud gone as public as it did with the omnibus spending bill last week. House progressives, inspired by Elizabeth Warren and led by Nancy Pelosi, protested and nearly blocked the $1.1 trillion spending bill, and required frantic arm-twisting from the White House to avoid another round of shutdown brinksmanship next year. Representative Keith Ellison, Minnesota Democrat and co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus, breaks down the progressive revolt and what it portends for the next Congress.

Why did House Democrats revolt against the spending bill? »

Sony Hackers Say the Leaks Will Stop (for Now)

Sony's long international nightmare appears to be over: After the studio took the unprecedented step of canceling the entire theatrical release of The Interview, the hackers that have been targeting the studio since November will reportedly bring their long series of damaging leaks to an end. In a message sent to Sony Pictures executives, the North Korea–linked hackers say they will "ensure the security of your data unless you make additional trouble." Oh, and just one more thing: Sony needs to "never let the movie [be] released, distributed or leaked in any form," and "everything related to the movie, including its trailers, as well as its full version [must be taken] down from any website hosting them immediately." This is the first time anyone has ever cared this much about a 50-word Vulture post.

Meet the Homicide Detective Using ‘Serial’ to Try to Solve Another Murder

In the wee hours of the morning on January 1, 2012, 24-year-old Mike Pimentel was searching for a bite to eat in the recently gentrified Toronto neighborhood of Liberty Village when he became separated from his friends. Shortly after, police believe he engaged in a confrontation with a man and a woman that left him with fatal stab wounds. He died in the hospital on New Year's Day.

Though detectives have gathered numerous clues related to the murder, the couple is still on the lam and the case has gone cold. But now, Toronto police are trying to capitalize on the widespread popularity of the true-crime podcast "Serial" to help find Pimentel's killer.

Read More  »

Aurora Shooter’s Parents Plead for His Life: ‘He Is Not a Monster’

One month before jury selection is set to begin in the trial of James Holmes, who opened fire in a crowded movie theater, his parents have written a letter asking that he be spared from the death penalty. Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges related to the Aurora, Colorado, shooting, which left 12 people dead and 58 others wounded. In a letter to the Denver Post published Friday, Robert and Arlene Holmes say they "do not know how many victims of the theater shooting would like to see our son killed," but they have seen online comments comparing him to a monster. "He is not a monster," they write. "He is a human being gripped by a severe mental illness."

They say letting the case go to trial would only cause “additional trauma.” »

An Illinois Woman Is Trying to Trademark Eric Garner’s Last Words

On December 13, a woman in Illinois petitioned the U.S. Patent and Trademark office to grant her a trademark for the phrase "I can't breathe," the famous last words of NYPD chokehold victim Eric Garner that have become a rallying cry for anti-police-brutality protesters across the nation. Fifty-seven-year-old Catherine Crump wants to trademark the phrase so she can sell clothing garments emblazoned with it, reports the Smoking Gun.

Read More  »



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