Supreme Court Justice Breyer Retires Under Pressure ... Lesson Learned from RBG

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is retiring after more than 2 decades on the bench -- the timing is certainly significant, and the battle over his replacement will be fascinating.

Justice Breyer was appointed to the Supreme Court way back in 1994 by President Bill Clinton, and there was mounting pressure from Democrats for him to step aside for some new blood.

From the outside, it certainly appears Breyer learned a lesson from Ruth Bader Ginsburg's situation -- with RBG not stepping down when a Democrat was in office as she grew older, ultimately leading to Donald Trump's hand-picked replacement ... Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

The timing of Breyer's retirement is interesting ... the midterm elections are looming and there's a possibility the Democrats could lose their slim majority in the Senate, which would make it nearly impossible for President Joe Biden's pick for a new Justice to get confirmed.

Breyer will remain on the bench until the Supreme Court's current term ends this summer.

Republicans have made clear their intentions to block any potential candidate put forward by President Biden, if the GOP wins back a Senate majority in the midterms.

Right now the Democrats hold the majority in the House and Senate, so look for President Biden to push through a replacement for Justice Breyer rather quickly.

Stay tuned ...

President Biden Calls Fox Reporter 'Stupid S.O.B.' ... Over Inflation Question

PRESIDENTIAL PROFANITY
C-SPAN

6:14 PM PT -- Doocy just said President Biden called him tonight to apologize. Doocy says apology accepted.

President Biden insulted a reporter with some foul language over what he thought was a ridiculous inquiry ... and it got picked up on a hot mic!

JB brought the press in to the White House Monday for a photo-op following a roundtable chat with his cabinet on how to quickly lower costs in the U.S. -- this as prices continue to soar nationwide. As chirping journos were being ushered out ... FOX News' White House Correspondent Peter Doocy fired away.

He asked Biden if he thought inflation could be a political liability for the midterms, and Joe actually responded -- albeit, under his breath. It seems he thought the mic was turned off.

Not the case ... because his microphone was on, and you hear sarcastically say, "That's a great asset -- more inflation. What a stupid son of a bitch."

Doocy says he didn't hear it and was told by other reporters about the comment.

get the fact-checkers on it!
Fox News

Doocy was interviewed about the jab shortly following Biden's remarks, with one FN host openly wondering ... are ya, in fact, a stupid S.O.B.??? PD had a hilarious response.

Originally Published -- 3:25 PM PT

Grad Student Brianna Kupfer Suspect Charged with Murder

The man allegedly responsible for the stabbing death of UCLA grad student Brianna Kupfer has officially been charged with murder.

The L.A. County District Attorney's office announced the murder charge against Shawn Laval Smith Friday, along with a special allegation that he used a deadly and dangerous weapon, a knife.

As the charges were announced, D.A George Gascon said, "Those who show no compassion for human life will face serious consequences. The murder of Brianna Kupfer has left Los Angeles County devastated and my office is reaching out to her family to provide any services they may need.”

TMZ broke the story ... Laval was arrested Wednesday in Pasadena after a city-wide search following Brianna's murder. Laval allegedly walked into the Hancock Park furniture store where Kupfer was working on January 13 and stabbed her to death.

STORE SIGHTING
LAPD/MEGA

Cops were quick to put out photos and surveillance of Smith -- taken at a 7-Eleven store shortly after the murder -- urging the city to help track him down.

THE ARREST
TMZ.com

We obtained video of Smith's arrest from Wednesday, we're told a man called police after believing he spotted Smith walking the streets ... turns out, he was right.

Smith is set to be arraigned Friday.

Brianna Kupfer Alleged Murderer Arrested

2:37 PM PT -- TMZ obtained footage of Smith getting arrested on Wednesday morning. Eyewitnesses tell us he entered a nearby business to use the restroom, and then went outside to sit on a bus bench, where he was swarmed by cops and arrested.

THE ARREST
TMZ.com

The man who allegedly stabbed an L.A. woman to death this week has been arrested ... TMZ has learned.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... Shawn Laval Smith was arrested Wednesday morning in Pasadena for the murder of Brianna Kupfer.

We're told a random citizen saw the man on the street and he felt it matched the wanted picture, so he called the police. Cops raced to the scene, found the man who did indeed match the description, took him back to the station. We're told police have now confirmed the person arrested is Smith.

As we reported, the 24-year-old woman was working in a high-end furniture store in L.A. when a man came in wielding a knife and repeatedly stabbed her. The killer was seen casually walking away in a nearby alley.

STORE SIGHTING
LAPD/MEGA

Cops say the culprit was Smith, who was seen on surveillance video an hour later buying a vape pen at a 7-Eleven.

The murder sent shockwaves through L.A. ... which has been experiencing a crime wave, along with many other problems.

A $250,000 reward was issued for information leading to the arrest of Smith.

Brianna Kupfer Murder LAPD Identifies Suspect

There's been a break in the investigation into the Brianna Kupfer murder case in Los Angeles ... law enforcement says they've identified a suspect.

The Los Angeles Police Department says the man is 31-year-old Shawn Laval Smith and he's now wanted in connection with Brianna's murder.

Cops released a mug shot of the suspect Tuesday and say Smith should be considered armed and dangerous. LAPD says he's been all over Southern California recently and is likely to be using public transportation.

Brianna, a grad student at UCLA, was murdered Thursday while working at a furniture store in what cops are calling a random daytime attack.

Police say Smith did not know Brianna and they do not have a motive. Cops say the suspect attacked Brianna with a knife and fled the store using the back door.

There's a combined reward of up to $250,000 for information leading to his capture.

Warriors Part-Owner Backtracks On Uyghur Comments ... Admits Lacking Empathy

Warriors part-owner Chamath Palihapitiya is attempting to clarify his controversial comments made about Uyghur concentration camps in China ... acknowledging his initial statements came off as cold, and claiming he really does care about human rights.

Palihapitiya -- who owns a minority stake in the Warriors franchise -- came under fire for his recent appearance on the "All-In Podcast" ... in which he said, "Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs."

According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, more than 1 million Chinese Uyghurs have been detained in mass detention camps. There are reports that they've been subjected to slave labor, sterilization and rape.

But as Palihapitiya put it, "Of all the things I care about, yes it is below my line."

The Warriors quickly denounced the billionaire's comment ... saying, "his views certainly don't reflect those of our organization" ... adding he has zero day-to-day operating functions within the team.

Amid the backlash, Palihapitiya released a short statement Monday trying to put out the fire.

"In re-listening to this week's podcast, I recognize that I come across as lacking empathy," Palihapitiya said. "I acknowledge that entirely."

"As a refugee, my family fled a country with its own set of human rights issues so this is something that is very much a part of my lived experience."

"To be clear, my belief is that human rights matter, whether in China, the United States, or elsewhere. Full stop."

Chinese affairs have become a huge issue within the NBA ... starting with now-Philadelphia 76ers GM Daryl Morey tweeting support for protesters in Hong Kong ... and more recently, with Enes Kanter Freedom calling on the Association to take a stand against the Chinese government over human rights violations.

The NBA is huge in China ... and many believe the league has been reluctant to address the issues because there are 1.4 billion people in the country and the government has shown willingness to cut ties with teams over players or execs speaking out in the past.

Walmart We're Busting Into the 'Metaverse' ... W/ Our Own NFTs, Crypto!!!

If you thought all this talk of digital goods and wealth was just some sort of nerdy fad, think again -- because the retail market space is going all in on VR ... including Walmart.

The big-box behemoth has reportedly filed a number of trademark apps in recent months seeking to gain exclusive rights to sell virtual goods on their digital shelves -- and we're not just talking about their website either. Sounds like Walmart is ramping up for a full-blown online experience, where their customers can actually own stuff ... within this dimension itself.

Per CNBC, 7 separate applications were filed of late ... and in addition to being able to hawk Walmart-related products in this forthcoming virtual reality, they're also apparently gunning to offer their own lines of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and even a unique cryptocurrency.

No word on what those tokens might look like ($5 DVD bin NFT, perhaps?) or when all this is supposed to be rolled out ... but it seems they're getting their 4D ducks in a row for what most everyone in Corporate America is scrambling for ... a seat at the metaphysical table.

Several different companies have been doing the exact same thing recently -- including other big shots like Nike (which is said to be developing a VR venture called "Nikeland"), Gap, Under Armor and even smaller outfits like Urban Outfitters, Abercrombie and Ralph Lauren.

Essentially, everyone took Zuckerberg's announcement about the metaverse last year and ran with it ... looking to protect their brand within this new frontier ... and to make money there too, obviously, if they can. So far, it seems to be a very popular/lucrative endeavor.

Funny enough, Walmart actually had a vision for what an augmented shopping reality might look like in their cyberworld about 5 years ago, when they commissioned a tech company called Mutual Mobile to create a demo of Walmart in the metaverse ... before that term was even a thing.

The video resurfaced a few weeks ago ... and let's just say, it got a lot of 'Second Life' comparisons. Here's hoping the real McCoy is a little more impressive when it arrives!

Colleyville, TX Synagogue Hostages Break Free ... Gunman Killed in Wild Video

1:40 PM PT -- 01/16 -- An ABC affiliate in the Colleyville, TX area has obtained wild footage of what appears to be the moment the four hostages at the synagogue narrowly escaped in the dead of night -- and not just that ... but the moment the suspected gunman was taken down, it seems.

Check out the clip, shot by WFAA photographer Josh Stephen, which shows 4 people rush out a side door of the building ... and the perp following close behind with his own firearm. They thankfully eluded any harm, but the gunman was then left to the SWAT units on hand, which seem to have taken him out in a loud gun fight ... something you hear on the tape.

10:29 AM PT -- 01/16 -- The FBI says their man is actually 44-year-old Malik Faisal Akram, who died during the standoff. All 4 hostages made it out safely.

A gunman has reportedly taken several people hostage at a synagogue in Texas, and his demands are simple ... free his sister, who was once suspected of terrorist activities.

According to ABC's Aaron Katersky, the armed man who wandered into the Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville Saturday has allegedly been ID'd as Muhammad Siddiqui, whom he says is claiming to be the brother of convicted felon Aafia Siddiqui.

She was sent to prison in 2010 after being found guilty of attempted murder of a U.S. military officer in Afghanistan -- among a slew of other charges -- and is serving out an 86-year sentence in the Fort Worth area. She's alleged to have had ties with al-Qaeda over the years ... and has been placed on federal law enforcement terrorism watch lists in the past.

Per Katersky, the gunman is demanding her release. Other reports say the perp claims to be armed with bombs, among other weapons ... the full extent of which is still unknown. Local law enforcement has descended on the scene to negotiate, as has the FBI.

Even crazier ... there was apparently a bar-mitzvah going on when the guy busted in, which was being live-streamed to the synagogue's FB account ... a stream that has since been deactivated. Still, some of the snippets that were captured are now surfacing, and you can hear what is presumably the hostage-taker railing on America, and saying he's willing to die.

The fact this man crashed a synagogue for hostages is not lost on those who covered the Siddiqui case. She is reported to have had strong objections to Jewish people representing her in her defense. She also asked for Jews to be tossed from the jury pool at the time.

At the moment, the synagogue's rabbi and three others are believed to be among those being held captive. No word on injuries or deaths yet, but SWAT units have arrived.

Originally Published -- 1/15 1:33 PM PT

Prince Harry Give Me Some Security in the U.K. Or Else I'm Going to Court!!!

Prince Harry is giving the British government an ultimatum when it comes to his security across the pond ... afford me and my family protection one way or another, or else.

The Duke of Sussex's lawyers fired off a "pre-action protocol letter" to the Home Office department of the United Kingdom Government -- think Homeland Security for comparison -- in which they made clear ... if Harry and his family are not offered public security, from police officers and the like, while in the U.K. ... they'll be seeking a judicial review.

The move to essentially threaten the government with legal action reportedly comes after Harry, of late, has offered to pony up the cash for his own police security detail ... which was apparently denied from high-ups in HO, despite Harry insisting it was absolutely necessary.

Harry's reps released a statement explaining why he was doing this, arguing that he has taken on an inherent risk that he acquired from birth ... and which he'll carry for the rest of his life. Now, that he's got a family with Meghan Markle, that risk extends to them as well.

His reps also said this ... even though Harry and Meghan pay for their own private security here in the States -- where they now live since Harry stepped away from his Royal duties -- but unfortunately ... those bodyguards/that intel does not suffice when they visit his native land.

They cite a security breach in July 2021 -- when he was in town for a statue unveiling for his mother -- and once again insist ... he needs to be able to protect himself and his family.

Harry's team goes on to say he wants to bring his children, Archie and Lilibet, to the U.K. to visit ... but because of this ongoing issue -- which has apparently been playing out BTS for at least a couple years now -- he isn't able to, as they say, it's too dangerous.

Of course, because he renounced his position within the monarchy ... he lost a lot of privileges that came with that. You gotta imagine the Queen herself might have to weigh in at this point ... it's technically her government, after all. She's the head of state!

Tonga Underwater Volcano Erupts Tsunami Warning for U.S. West Coast

A volcano eruption off the island of Tonga has sent literal shockwaves around the world -- so much so, that now authorities have warned ... we here in the U.S. could be at risk.

The underwater explosion took place Friday, which was actually noticeable from satellites all the way up in space ... and the images captured of the moment the volcano blew are mind-blowing, giving you a true sense of how powerful this thing was -- and how devastating too.

The real-world effects were felt almost immediately ... not only did people hear and see the mighty boom, but soon -- there were massive waves crashing ashore on the island of Tongatapu. Several videos were posted of the early damage, and even then ... it was bad.

Check out some of these clips ... you can see water tearing through residential areas and ripping down gates and fences. Some areas seem to have been hit harder than others.

There's one video that looks like it's straight out of a movie (in a bad way), with massive waves bursting their way onto the city streets ... and cars having to do quick U-turns to get the hell out of there.

So far, there are no reports of injuries or deaths -- but at the same time, much of the island is without communication or internet at the moment ... that's how rocked they've been over the past 10 hours or so.

Now, the rest of the world (at least on the Pacific side) is starting to feel the ramifications from this ... including here in the States, where weather officials have issued tsunami warnings in Hawaii, Alaska, British Columbia and all up and down the west coast of the U.S.

There are reports of massive waves crashing against the shorelines in cities like Monterey and elsewhere ... and locals have been told to steer clear of the area for a while.

Story developing ...

New York City Massive Bronx Apartment Fire ... Kills 17, Including Children

An inferno engulfed a 19-story apartment building in New York City's Bronx borough, leaving 17 people dead ... including a reported 8 children.

The fire went down Sunday at the Twin Park apartments, with authorities saying the flames appear to have originated from a duplex between the second and third floors ... which quickly spread throughout the rest of the structure.

At least 200 firefighters responded to the scene in what ended up being categorized as a five-alarm blaze ... as they bravely ascended the edifice any way they could to get people out, including via ladders along the walls and into open windows.

Tons of video were captured of the horrific scene ... some of which showed firefighters lowering people down ladders and to safety. Still, the damage was devastating.

More than 5 dozen people are reported to have been injured in the fire, including 13 who are said to have been in critical condition. Most of the victims are suffering from severe smoke inhalation ... this according to FDNY officials.

Newly elected Mayor Eric Adams says it's one of the worst fires in NYC history ... and it's now being compared to the Happy Land social club fire of 1990, which took the lives of 87 people.

No word on what may have caused this to begin with ... that's currently under investigation. With that said, fire officials told local media that it doesn't appear to be suspicious in origin.

The death toll of at least 17 was confirmed by the Mayor's office, and the number of kids who died was reported by AP, citing anonymous sources who were familiar with the figures.

Coronavirus Cyprus Scientist Claims There's a 'Deltacron' Variant!!!

Two of the most prominent strains of COVID have reportedly fused together in what sounds like a science fiction flick gone wrong -- churning out a mutated baby called ... "Deltacron."

Leondios Kostrikis -- a professor of biological sciences at the University of Cyprus and head of the Laboratory of Biotechnology and Molecular Virology there -- told local media this week that his team had discovered what they believe to be a new variant.

The way he describes it ... "omicron-like genetic signatures within the delta genomes," which essentially means there are traces of both strains within this new monstrosity.

Kostrikis says they've identified only 25 or so cases thus far in people, with a majority of them befalling folks who were hospitalized for COVID. Their findings are being sent to GISAID, which is the leading international database for all things 'rona, to be studied further.

While it might sound pretty scary, Kostrikis says we shouldn't freak just yet ... because he truly believes it's just a bug that'll probably fall to the wayside. He explains, "We will see in the future if this strain is more pathological or more contagious or if it will prevail," adding that he thinks regular omicron will displace it in the end.

Here's hoping he's right!!!

Tragedy in Brazil Massive Rockslide Kills at Least 7 Boaters

A horrendous tragedy unfolded in Brazil Saturday, after a massive rock formation came loose over a lake, careening into the water ... killing at least 7 people.

The video is terrifying ... literally, a side of a mountain cascaded down onto 4 boats in Minas Gerais. You hear boaters scream in disbelief, as the rock formation makes contact with the boats, hurling them into the air. Two of the 4 boats hit sank.

The collapse was thunderous ... as thousands of pounds of rock and debris hit the water. It's all the more horrifying that it was by all accounts a serene day and you see the boaters relaxing and enjoying themselves until disaster suddenly struck.

In addition to the dead, around 30 people were injured.

There were heavy rains in the area, and authorities are now speculating the torrent of water may have been the cause of the mountain collapse.

There are still 3 people missing.

Young Dolph Suspected Killer Turning Himself In ... Claims Innocence

The man suspected of gunning down Young Dolph says he's waving the white flag to the authorities over the charges against him -- charges of which he says he's innocent.

23-year-old Justin Johnson took to his social media page Saturday to both profess his innocence, and to also announce he'd be turning himself into the cops. The strange part ... he says he won't be doing so until Monday.

Using his rap IG account, going by the stage name Straight Drop, Johnson writes ... "Turning Myself In Monday @201 I'm Innocent I'll Be Back Sooner Than You Can Blink." Shortly before this message, he posted a video of a local news package that covered his criminal history ... which included an interview with a criminal court judge from Shelby County, TN.

The judge recounts how Johnson had previously carried himself in a separate case, making it seem like he was compliant and, later, a well-behaved prisoner after accepting his fate ... only to be released on probation early. Johnson seems to think the judge's words here are actually vouching for his character, because he wrote ... "Next time post the REAL… BS ass Blogs."

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

Of course, Johnson's timeline of taking the weekend to himself definitely isn't gonna fly with the feds ... who are actively pursuing him in a manhunt right now, and probably don't want to wait until Monday to have the guy in their custody.

It's unclear where Johnson is at the moment, but he obviously has access to his Instagram page, and presumably his phone too. By the same token, he's also eluded the cops thus far -- so perhaps he really is on his own schedule at this point.

As we reported ... Johnson was announced as the prime suspect in Dolph's killing, and he's currently wanted on a slew of charges -- including first-degree murder.

He also appears to have shot a music video once upon a time at the same home where the authorities retrieved what they believed to be the getaway vehicle used the day Dolph was shot and killed.

We've reached out to the U.S. Marshals Service and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation ... so far, no word back.

Ahmaud Arbery Murder McMichaels Sentenced to Life Without Parole ... Bryan Gets Possible Parole

SENTENCED TO LIFE
FOX 30

The fate of the 3 men responsible for the murder Ahmaud Arbery has been decided, 2 will spend the rest of their lives behind bars and the third has a possibility of parole.

FAMILY'S FULL STATEMENT
FOX 30

The Brunswick, GA judge just sentenced Travis and Gregory McMichael to life in prison without parole, while William "Roddie" Bryan has the possibility of parole down the road. The judge decided to cut Bryan a slight break as he was unarmed and had showed some remorse for being involved in the incident from the beginning.

Each of the men sat solemn while their sentences were read, faces covered with masks, and neither made any sort of statement to the court.

After the sentence was read, the prosecutor asked the judge to prohibit each of the 3 men from being able to make any money from the case -- whether it be through book deals, interviews or promotional material ... a decision the judge has not yet made.

DEMANDING A LIFE SENTENCE
FOX 30

During the victim impact statements, Ahmaud's mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, gave an emotional testimony to the life of her son ... saying raising him was the greatest honor of her life.

Wanda went on to describe her son as a curious, loving and thoughtful child -- she had asked the judge for life without parole for each of the 3 involved.

11/24/21
THE FINAL VERDICT
Fox News

While all 3 men were convicted of murder and several other charges back in November ... only Travis, the son of Gregory, was convicted of malice murder. Travis is the one who pulled the trigger on his rifle, killing Ahmaud.

FEBRUARY 2020
IN COLD BLOOD

Under GA law, each of the men are required to serve 30 years in prison, so for 52-year-old Bryan ... even with the possibility of parole, he could still die behind bars.

All 3 are still scheduled to stand trial in federal court next month for hate crimes related to Ahmaud's murder.

Sidney Poitier Dead at 94

Sidney Poitier, the actor and activist who broke color barriers in Hollywood and starred in some of the most iconic movies ever made, has died.

The office of the Bahamian Minister of Foreign Affairs has confirmed Sidney's death to TMZ ... however, the circumstances surrounding his passing are not yet known, nor do we know where he died.

Poitier was the first black man to win an Oscar for Best Actor for his starring role in "Lilies of the Field" in 1963.

Sidney's roles are legendary ... starring as Mark Thackeray in "To Sir With Love," and Detective Virgil Tibbs in "In the Heat of the Night" in 1967. You know, he delivered the famous line, "They call me Mr. Tibbs."

He also starred in "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," also released in 1967.

Just think about that ... all 3 incredible movies were released the same year.

Poitier was a tireless civil rights activist ... he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 by President Obama for his work.

Poitier, who is a dual citizen of the U.S. and the Bahamas, served from 1997-2007 as Bahamian Ambassador to Japan.

HONORING SIR SIDNEY
Office of the Prime Minister - The Bahamas

Poitier is survived by his wife of 45 years, Joanna and 6 daughters.

10/11/16
LAST TIME WE SAW HIM ...
TMZ.com

Sidney was 94.

RIP

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