Archive for March 28, 2013

Britain’s prince william

The public is getting a new and in-depth look at the high-risk, high-thrill day job of Britain’s Prince William just as the prince is considering taking a step back to focus on fatherhood and royal duties.

William, 30, is one of the stars of the new “Helicopter Rescue” show set to premiere on the BBC next month.  On the show, Prince William opens up about being a search-and-rescue pilot in the Royal Air Force (RAF), a role that has previously garnered him headlines – as when, in August, he completed two rescues in four days – but never before been seen in such an up-close way.

From Crib to Captain: Prince William Through the Years

“I don’t think there’s any greater calling in life… to be able to see a son or daughter’s face when you bring their mother or father back from the edge of death,” he says on the show, according to the BBC.  “It’s quite powerful.”

READ MORE: Prince William Spends New Year’s Morning in Daring Rescue

Prince William became an RAF search-and-rescue captain last May.  His No. 22 Squadron is based in Anglesey, close to where the rescue took place and where he and wife, Kate Middleton, set up home, prior to her becoming pregnant with the couple’s first child.

For Complete Coverage of the Royal Baby, Please Visit Our Special Section – Click Here

Now that Middleton, 31, is expecting and spending most of her time in London, royal watchers are wondering whether Prince William will shift from full-time pilot to full-time father and royal.

“An insider tells us Prince William has submitted his formal notice with the search-and-rescue effort at the Royal Air Force Valley in Anglesey, Wales,” said Brody Brown, a reporter for Us Weekly magazine.

Also adding to the speculation is the fact that William’s current tour of duty is due to end this September.

“It’s going to be very difficult for him to move on from this role that he so enjoyed,” said Vicki Arbiter, royal contributor for ABC News.

Prince William himself acknowledged the difficulties of choosing between family life, his professional career and his royal duties when he spoke to ABC News’ Katie Couric last year, prior to the pregnancy news.

“It’s a really difficult one because I really enjoy my time in the Air Force and I’d love to continue it, but the pressures of my other life are building,” he said.

Middleton is due to give birth in July.


A gas station seems like an odd place to dump eyeballs.
A gas station seems like an odd place to dump eyeballs.

The Kansas City Police Department is investigating a pair of eyeballs that were found in a box in the trash of a Conoco station at Northwest 112th Street and North Ambassador Drive in the Northland. The peepers were in a cardboard box labeled “Keep refrigerated” when they were discovered Wednesday night.The AP reports that KCPD spokesman Steve Young said the department is trying to determine if the eyes were human.

The only reported lead in the story is that the gas station’s security footage shows two men in a blue Toyota leaving the eyes. Adding to the strangeness of the story is that police say no area hospitals were expecting a delivery of eyes last night.

Young told The Star, “We are not sure whether a crime has been committed. We truly are not sure the eyes are even human.”

It’s the second time this year that Missouri has made national news with removed body parts. In January, a Kirksville man allegedly killed someone, severed the victim’s arms and threw them at neighbors as police arrived on the scene.


The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) should be struck down. There’s no doubt that it’s discriminatory, unconstitutional and impacts LGBTQ communities in ways that are problematic and damaging. This damage is particularly drastic and tangible in the context of immigration, social security, bereavement benefits, and other federal programs that are distributed to LGBTQ people unequally, if at all.

However, while getting caught up in the excitement of what’s going on at the Supreme Court, it’s important to ask why these benefits and basic rights are tied to marriage at all. It’s important to ask why healthcare and federal programs that are ostensibly meant to keep us healthy, safe, and out of poverty are often only fully accessible to those who choose to get married. And if in order to get these benefits, marriage is required, how that requirement marginalizes and disadvantages people who cannot or choose not to get married, in ways that LGBTQ people are currently marginalized and disadvantaged.

My personal opinion is that all people should have the freedom to structure their relationships in whichever way they chose, whether the government is involved or not, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. I also believe, though, that things like healthcare, federal anti-poverty measures, housing, and other forms of economic justice should not be tied to whether or not a person chooses to marry, a position which has been articulated in great detail by scholars like Nancy Polikoff and groups like Beyond Marriage.

While the debate around marriage is an important one, it’s also important to recognize that LGBTQ justice is not just, or even primarily, about marriage–especially for those people who are still struggling to have their most basic needs met.

According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS), trans communities in particular experience disproportionately high levels of poverty, homelessness, lack of basic healthcare and unemployment because of systemic discrimination that our current laws, for the most part, do not recognize or protect us from. Trans people all over the country, in every age group, are becoming more visible, and with that visibility, experiencing a backlash against their ability to access accommodations and systems as basic and important as bathrooms, comprehensive healthcare, safe schools, or freedom from over-criminalization and policing. Not to mention, the serious epidemic of murder and assault, particularly against trans women of color, that has gone largely unnoticed by mainstream media. This type of animus is also responsible for the disproportionately high suicide rates among trans youth and adults that exist not just because of bullying in school, but because of pervasive and suffocating everyday discrimination, legally and interpersonally, that seeks to invalidate and undermine what people know to be the most fundamental truths about who they are and how they want to be recognized.

Hopefully DOMA will be struck down. Hopefully we’ll be able to wake up to a world soon where at least one federal law that hurts LGBTQ people is no longer on the books.

But in debating what justice and equality for LGBTQ communities looks like, how historic this moment is, and what other historic accomplishments are yet to be had, it’s important for us to consciously support all types of relationships (married or not) and all forms of justice, particularly racial and economic justice, within LGBTQ communities.

We also can’t forget that there is still an overwhelming number of LGBTQ people whose most basic needs are not being met and who will still need all of the vigorous attention and enthusiasm that marriage equality has received from so many people in the past several months, even if DOMA is struck down.


Nelson Mandela in July 2012
Nelson Mandela’s health has been a cause of concern for some time

Former South African President Nelson Mandela is “responding positively” to treatment for the recurrence of a lung infection, the presidency says.

A statement said the 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader remained under treatment and observation.

Mr Mandela was admitted to hospital just before midnight, the office of President Jacob Zuma said earlier.

He spent 18 days in hospital in December undergoing treatment for a lung infection and gallstones.

The presidency has not identified the hospital where Mr Mandela is being treated.

In an update on his condition, the presidency statement thanked the media and the public “for their co-operation in respecting the privacy of Madiba [Mr Mandela] and his family”.

Mr Mandela is regarded by many South Africans as the father of the nation for leading the struggle against apartheid.

He served as South Africa’s first black president from 1994 to 1999. However, his health has caused concern for some time.

Earlier, a presidential spokesman told the BBC that Mr Mandela was conscious in hospital.

“I think we need to be clear that the doctors are attending to Madiba [Mr Mandela] on a continuous basis,” spokesman Mac Maharaj said.

“They prefer to act on the side of caution, and the moment they felt there was a recurrence of the lung infection, they felt that it warranted immediate hospitalisation given his age and given his history.”

Prayers urgedPresident Zuma urged people around the world to pray for the former leader.

“We appeal to the people of South Africa and the world to pray for our beloved Madiba and his family and to keep them in their thoughts. We have full confidence in the medical team and know that they will do everything possible to ensure recovery,” President Zuma said in a statement.

The former president is often fondly referred to by his clan name, Madiba.

The governing African National Congress also called for prayers for Mr Mandela.


“During these trying times we wish President Mandela well and for his family to be strong,” the ANC said in a statement.

“We are confident that the treatment will be successful as he is in professional and competent hands,” it added.

It is the fourth time Mr Mandela has been admitted to hospital in just over two years.

He first contracted tuberculosis in the 1980s while detained on the windswept Robben Island where he served 18 of the 27 years he was imprisoned for sabotage.

His lungs are said to have been damaged when he worked in a prison quarry.

Despite his long imprisonment, Mr Mandela forgave his former enemies and as president urged South Africans of all races to work together and seek reconciliation.

In 1993 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

The treatment Mr Mandela received in December 2012 was his longest spell in hospital since leaving prison in 1990.

Earlier this month he spent a night in hospital following a check-up.

Mr Mandela retired from public life in 2004 and has been rarely seen in public since.

His main home is in Qunu, a small rural village in Eastern Cape province, where he says he spent the happiest days of his childhood.

However, doctors said in December he should remain at his home in the Johannesburg neighbourhood of Houghton to be close to medical facilities.


Mortar attacks on Damascus University killed at least 15 students as fighting in the capital spread to the airport.

A man being treated after he was injured in a mortar attack that hit the architecture faculty of Damascus University A man being treated after he was injured in a mortar attack that hit the architecture faculty of Damascus University


The students were killed on Thursday when rebel mortar bombs landed on the canteen of Damascus University’s College of Architecture, two pro-government television channels said.

One station, Ikhbariya, showed images of doctors pumping the chests of at least two young men and blood splattered on the floor of what appeared to be an outdoor canteen.

A young women was shown walking in a hospital and bleeding heavily from her face.

The college is in Baramkeh, a central Damascus suburb where mortar attacks by rebels fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad have intensified this week.

The university is surrounded by government buildings, including the Ministry of Defence, the headquarters for state media and the president’s official residence.


Once a bastion for Assad’s forces, the capital has become a focal point of the two-year-old uprising against four decades of family rule that has developed into civil war in which more than 70,000 people have been killed.

Rebels have formed a semi-circle around the capital and are trying to gain control of strategic areas to help them break into the centre of Damascus.

State television blamed rebels who have stepped up attacks in the heart of the Syrian capital.

“The number of students killed in the mortar attack on the architecture faculty in Damascus University has risen to 12,” said the broadcaster. “The National Students Union condemns the cowardly terrorist attack that targeted the architecture faculty of Damascus University.”

SANA, the state newsagency, added that six others were hurt by “mortars that targeted the faculty cafeteria”.

Rebels fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad have this week escalated their mortar attacks on central Damascus, including Umayyad Square in the middle of the capital, which houses the state television headquarters. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group that relies on sources on the ground for its information, also reported Thursday’s attack, although it put the toll at 10 people dead.

The United Nations refugee agency voiced deep concern on Thursday at reports of mass deportations of Syrians from Turkey and said it had taken up the issue with Turkish authorities.

Turkish officials said that Turkey sent hundreds of refugees back to Syria after clashes with military police at their camp near the border in a protest over living conditions, although the foreign ministry later said 50-60 Syrians had returned voluntarily.

“UNHCR is very concerned with reports of a serious incident and allegations of possible deportations from Akcakale Tent City in the past 24 hours,” Melissa Fleming, chief spokeswoman of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said.



Amanda Bynes‘ behavior continues to puzzle and concern us.

On Tuesday, the 26-year-old’s best attempt to thwart the paparazzi was all for naught, as she was clearly spotted roaming around Times Square. The fact that the self-described retired multi-millionaire chose one of the world’s busiest and most public places to try to avoid the cameras isn’t even the strangest part. What’s more peculiar is that Bynes tried to hide from photographers by putting a blue button-down shirt over her head.

Bynes’ attempt at hiding proved to be almost dangerous, as she couldn’t see where she was going and almost ran into a metal pole and into oncoming traffic.

The Times Square incident is just the latest in a string of increasingly erratic behavior, which reportedly has her family “concerned for her welfare.”

Bynes made headlines last week when she tweeted that she wanted Drake to “murder [her] vagina,” and has since been back on Twitter complaining that she looks “pudgy.”


After her run-in with the paparazzi, Bynes turned to Twitter again, this time posting a series of selfies (and she still hasn’t seemed to figure out that she should turn her flash off when taking them), writing:

We’re worried. So worried, that we fear the actress might be hallucinating, since we can’t imagine who would possibly think launching an Amanda Bynes clothing and perfume line at this time would be a good idea.

Wait Is Over!! ‘G.I. Joe : Retaliation‘ 3D Released Today…..
G.I. Joe: Retaliation Is Simply Spectacular…

Here is the trailer…


Offering a more straight-faced brand of idiocy than its cheerfully dumb 2009 predecessor, “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” might well have been titled “G.I. Joe: Regurgitation,” advertising big guns, visual effects and that other line of Hasbro toys with the same joyless, chew-everything-up-and-spit-it-out efficiency. Largely devoid of personality, apart from a few nifty action flourishes courtesy of helmer Jon M. Chu, Paramount’s late-March blockbuster, pushed back from a 2012 release (ostensibly to allow for a 3D conversion), may have trouble matching “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra’s” $302 million worldwide gross. But with no shortage of merchandising and other cross-promotional opportunities, it should still score significant attention from targeted male viewers.

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Appreciably rougher and grittier in feel than the Stephen Sommers-directed “The Rise of Cobra,” “Retaliation” makes any number of ham-fisted bids for topical relevance, and naturally almost every one of them represents an affront to good taste. Among other things, the film is a sort of accidental comedy about nuclear warfare, as much of the silly plot concerns a global summit where the hope of mass disarmament soon gives way to the threat of mass annihilation. Elsewhere, the script (by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick) finds our trusty Joes raiding a North Korean compound shortly before they head to Islamabad, where they wind up framed for the assassination of Pakistan’s president.

All this geopolitical mayhem is being orchestrated by the U.S. commander-in-chief (Jonathan Pryce) — or rather, the dastardly doppelganger who’s impersonating him with the aid of super-sophisticated “nanomite” technology (because latex is just a little too “Mission: Impossible”). The president’s stand-in is a high-ranking member of Cobra, a secret network of megalomaniacs bent on wiping out the G.I. Joes once and for all, and in the early going, they come perilously close.

Probably aware that no one in the audience could possibly care about any sense of continuity with “The Rise of Cobra” and its eminently forgettable characters, the filmmakers have opted to retain just a few key players this time around. In what feels like an odd miscalculation given the actor’s recent popularity, Channing Tatum’s Duke is around for only about 10 minutes to pass the baton to a fresh G.I. Joe unit led by the physically imposing Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson) and rounded out by Flint (D.J. Cotrona) and Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki), both of whom evince far less charisma than the military-grade weapons provided them by Gen. Joe Colton (Bruce Willis, phoning it in).

Providing a bit more interest is the Joes’ ninja faction, chiefly Snake Eyes (Ray Park), whose inexpressive mask stands in marked contrast to the piercing gaze of his longtime nemesis, white-clad swordfighter Storm Shadow (Korean star Byung-hun Lee). Along with newcomer Jinx (Elodie Yung), these returning characters figure prominently into the picture’s finest moment, a fight scene in the Himalayas that employs wirework and stereoscopy to highly vertiginous effect. The visual grace of this sequence is no surprise coming from Chu, who demonstrated a real flair for staging in the two “Step Up” pics he directed. But as in those movies, sustaining a narrative or transcending a patchy script seem beyond his abilities.

One of the least savory aspects of the franchise is the unseemly pleasure it takes in the wholesale destruction of foreign cities, which goes hand-in-hand with its jingoistic portrait of American military might. Audiences who thrilled to the sight of Paris under biochemical attack in “Cobra” will be pleased to watch London endure an even more horrific fate here, although the sequence is tossed off in quick, almost ho-hum fashion, with no time to dwell on anything so exquisitely crass as the spectacle of the Eiffel Tower collapsing.

Meatheaded and derivative as it is, “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” is hardly the nadir, as hollow corporate products go; certainly it’s nowhere near as aggressively off-putting as the “Transformers” movies, the other action-figure adaptations in the Hasbro universe. The dialogue has improved markedly since the earlier outing, and the lensing and editing, while hardly models of coherence, just about manage to avoid excessive jumpiness. Andrew Menzies’ production design, with sets standing in for everything from a Tokyo skyscraper to a Nepalese monastery, proves resourceful within the confines of a largely New Orleans-shot production.

With the exceptions of the often mesmerizing Lee and the ever-reliable Johnson, the performances are merely serviceable.


G.I. Joe: Retaliation

A Paramount release presented with MGM and Skydance Prods., in association with Hasbro, of a di Bonaventura Pictures production. Produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Brian Goldner. Executive producers, Stephen Sommers, Herbert W. Gains, Erik Howsam, Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Paul Schwake.

Directed by Jon M. Chu. Screenplay, Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, based on Hasbro’s G.I. Joe characters. Camera (Deluxe color, Panavision widescreen, 3D), Stephen Windon; editors, Roger Barton, Jim May; music, Henry Jackman; production designer, Andrew Menzies; supervising art director, Tom Reta; art directors, Alan Hook, Scott Plauche, Sebastian Schroeder, Luke Freeborn; set decorator, Cynthia La Jeunesse; costume designer, Louise Mingenbach; sound, Pud Cusack; supervising sound editors/sound designers, Ethan Van der Ryn, John Marquis, Erik Aadahl; re-recording mixers, Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell; special effects coordinator, Mike Meinardus; visual effects supervisor, James Madigan; ILM visual effects supervisor, Bill George; visual effects and animation, Industrial Light & Magic; special visual effects and digital animation, Digital Domain; visual effects, Method Studios Vancouver, Luma Pictures; special makeup effects, Illusion Industries; stunt coordinator, Steven Ritzi; 3D conversion, Stereo D; assistant director, Phillip A. Patterson; second unit director, George Marshall Ruge; casting, Ronna Kress.

Visit the official website here.

Collected from-

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The ‘biggest cyber attack in history’, which has been slowing down internet services for millions across the world, may have affected thousands of mobile banking customers.

Business and personal mobile banking customers for Natwest, RBS, and Ulster Bank are today experiencing problems accessing online accounts – although it has not yet been confirmed whether this is linked to the attack.

It comes after a bitter feud between two online companies – a group which aims to block unwanted emails known as ‘spam’ and a firm accused of sending them – erupted.

Spam-fighting organization Spamhaus says it’s being subjected to a massive cyber-attack, apparently from groups angry at being blacklisted by the Geneva-based group.

Millions of web users have already experienced disruption to popular services such as film and TV site Netflix, along with longer than usual delays in loading websites.

And yesterday experts warned the assault could soon impact on banking and personal email accounts.

The problems began when spam-fighting company Spamhaus – a not-for-profit group that aims to help block unwanted junk emails – black-listed Dutch company Cyberbunker earlier this month.

Cyberbunker is what is known as a hosting company, meaning it allows organisations to make their websites accessible on the internet by providing space on a server.

The company’s website says it will host anything ‘except child porn and anything related to terrorism’.

Spamhaus, which has offices in London and Geneva, keeps a database of web servers which are known to be used for malicious purposes, such as sending spam mail for bogus products – such as fake weight-loss pills or Viagra – and earlier this month added Cyberbunker.

Spamhaus claims Cyberbunker has launched a huge ‘denial of service’ (DDoS) attack in retaliation by flooding its servers with internet traffic.

This is like jamming a mailbox with hundreds of letters at the same time.

Professor Alan Woodward, a cyber security expert at the University of Surrey, explained: ‘If you imagine it as a motorway, attacks try to put enough traffic on there to clog up the on and off ramps.

‘With this attack, there’s so much traffic it’s clogging up the motorway itself.’

Matthew Prince, chief executive of internet security firm CloudFare, likened the move to a ‘nuclear bomb’, adding: ‘It’s so easy to cause so much damage.’

David Emm, a senior security researcher with anti-virus firm Kaspersky Labs, said the attack was slowing down the whole internet, adding: ‘It’s like if someone wanted to flood my letterbox with junk mail it would all have to go through the delivery office and that would have an effect on the delivery of other people’s letters.

‘If the mail is coming from all over the place it will have some impact on the wider delivery.’

Steve Linford, chief executive of Spamhaus, told the BBC the scale of the attack was unprecedented and powerful enough to bring down the Government’s computer system.

A spokesman for the Royal Bank of Scotland group said they were investigating the issue.

They added: ‘We are aware of a technical problem this morning which is preventing customers from logging in to our mobile banking applications.

‘We are working to fix the problem and apologise to customers for the inconvenience caused.

‘No other systems are affected.’

 Global impact: Experts say traffic to the Netflix site has been affected by the attack on anti-spam firm SpamHaus

Mr Linford said he could not disclose more details as there were fears those involved may also come under attack.

He added that several companies, such as Google, had made their resources available to help absorb the excess traffic.

Sven Olaf Kamphuis, who claims to be a spokesman for Cyberbunker, said in an online message that Spamhaus was abusing its position and should not be allowed to decide ‘what goes and does not go on the internet’.

He added: ‘We are aware that this is one of the largest DDoS attacks the world had publicly seen.’

Experts say such attacks are growing in power and are now six times larger than recent ones against American banks.

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CHICAGO — The streak lived a good life — a great life, actually.

Born Feb. 3, it covered 27 consecutive Miami Heat victories and lasted 52 days, destroying almost everything in its path.

The streak traveled well, too, crisscrossing North America in visiting some of the finest cities in the USA and Canada: Toronto, Oklahoma City, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Boston and Cleveland. The streak spent the rest of its time in cosmopolitan Miami. It lived a fine life, indeed.

But the streak met its demise against the shorthanded Chicago Bulls, who were missing not only star point guard Derrick Rose, but All-Star center Joakim Noah, starting guard Richard Hamilton and key reserve guard Marco Belinelli. The Bulls took an early double-digit lead, squandered it, got it back and held on for a 101-97 victory Wednesday, ending the Heat’s 27-game winning streak, the second-longest in NBA history. The Heat fell six wins shy of the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers’ 33 wins in a row.

“We’re very humble about being a part of this team and this streak,” Heat forward LeBron James said. “Ultimately we want to win an NBA championship.”

LEBRON: Heat star rips referees after loss

WATCH: LeBron’s late flagrant foul is costly

RIP, Heat streak.

Miami coach Erik Spoelstra acknowledged streak with his players following the loss.

“It was the first time that I had mentioned the streak,” Spoelstra said. “It was a heck of an experience to have together. Its significance will mean much more later to us in our careers. I asked them all to share the moment with each other.

“However, it has never been about the streak.”

The Bulls received strong performances from forwards Luol Deng (26 points) and Carlos Boozer (21 points, 17 rebounds) and guard-forward Jimmy Butler (17 points).

PHOTOS: Check this out….The best shots from the stunning upset….

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With the score 92-85, James missed a three-pointer and Chris Bosh got the rebound. But Kirk Hinrich stole the ball and the on the next trip down the floor, forward Taj Gibson‘s baseline jumper with 2:19 left gave Chicago a 94-85 lead.

The Heat trimmed it to four a couple more times, but never got closer. Timely shooting propelled the Bulls. Whenever it looked like Miami might make a bigger dent in Chicago’s lead, the Bulls responded.

Butler hit a corner three-pointer extending Chicago’s lead to 86-78. Boozer hit two free throws after the Heat made it 91-85 and put back a missed shot making it 96-89 with 57 seconds left.

“More often than not, it comes down to that,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “It’s a loose ball, a hustle play.”

BULLS: Second-leading career rebounder dies

WATCH: Kirk Hinrich tries to tackle LeBron, fails

Chicago, which had not been plays its normally strong defense lately, held the Heat offense down with physical play. The Bulls outrebounded the Heat 43-31, including 12-6 on the offensive end.

“Miami is a great team, and you have play great from start to finish,” Thibodeau said. “Overall, I did think we played start to finish and stepped up. … We did a great job. Great job.”

Some of the Heat’s closest calls during the streak were marked by uninspired starts, and a slow start finally doomed the Heat. The Heat trailed by 13 points in the first and second quarters and didn’t get much help from any player except James.

Second-chance and fastbreak points allowed the Bulls — 39-31 and in fifth place in the Eastern Conference — to pull off the upset.

“It says we have a good team,” reserve forward Taj Gibson said. “A lot of people kind of write us off every other day. But we just stick to our principles and do what we have to do. … Guys just understood to go out and play hard and take hard fouls. It’s playoff basketball.”

James finished with 32 points, seven rebounds and two assists. As great as he is, James couldn’t win this game by himself.

Miami had been receiving strong play from its second unit, but its bench scored just 17 points. Heat guard Dwyane Wade, who played after missing the previous two games with a sore right knee, had 18 points. Chris Bosh posted 21 points, but no other Heat player reached double figures.

Now, the Heat, who embraced the streak for its rarity and sustained excellence, can focus on its main goal: winning a second consecutive NBA championship.

“We have had a bigger goal in mind,” Spoelstra said.

PHOTOS: Also check this out…. Remember the Heat’s 27-game streak…..

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Outside the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

As the justices of the Supreme Court struggled with the question of same-sex marriage this week, politicians in Congress kept handing down their own verdict. One after another, a series of lawmakers in recent days endorsed allowing gay men and lesbians to wed.

But momentum in the political world for gay rights could actually limit momentum in the legal world. While the court may throw out a federal law defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, the justices signaled over two days of arguments that they might not feel compelled to intervene further, since the democratic process seems to be playing out on its own, state by state, elected official by elected official.

The prospect that gay rights advocates may become a victim of their own political success was underscored during arguments on Wednesday over the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. Opponents of the law were left to make the paradoxical argument that the nation has come to accept that gay men and lesbians deserve the same right to marriage as heterosexuals while maintaining that they are a politically oppressed class deserving the protection of the courts.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. pressed that point with the lawyer for the plaintiff, a New York woman suing to recover federal estate taxes she would not have had to pay had her spouse been a man.

“You don’t doubt that the lobby supporting the enactment of same-sex marriage laws in different states is politically powerful, do you?” he asked the lawyer.

For purposes of the law, said the lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, “I would, your honor.”

“Really?” the chief justice asked skeptically. “As far as I can tell, political figures are falling over themselves to endorse your side of the case.”

Indeed, even as the justices heard the case, Senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina on Wednesday became the latest red-state Democrat to announce her support for same-sex marriage. She followed Senators Claire McCaskill of Missouri, John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, Jon Tester of Montana and Mark Warner of Virginia.

Senator Rob Portman of Ohio became the first Senate Republican to endorse marriage between same-sex couples. And former President Bill Clinton, who signed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, urged the justices to overturn it.

Ms. Kaplan, who moments earlier had been arguing that “there has been a sea change” in the United States in “the understanding of gay people and their relationships,” then pivoted to argue that despite that sea change, gay men and lesbians are still subject to discrimination.

“No other group in recent history has been subjected to popular referenda to take away rights that have already been given or exclude those rights, the way gay people have,” she said.

Even so, the rapidly changing political environment gives the justices a reason — should they want one — to sidestep imposing a national standard and leave the matter to the states.

On the defensive, at least politically, opponents of same-sex marriage were left to ask the justices to leave it up to the political arena. “We would submit to you that that question is properly decided by the people themselves,” Charles J. Cooper, a lawyer representing opponents, said Tuesday.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, widely considered the decisive vote, has historically has been sensitive to the authority of states to set their own policies. During the closely watched arguments, he questioned the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act but expressed skepticism that the court should issue a broad ruling in the separate California case heard Tuesday that would be the vehicle for finding a national right to same-sex marriage.

While framing its decisions on law and principle, the court has always been attuned to public opinion and periodically debates how much evolving national mores ought to influence the interpretation of a two-century-old Constitution.

In the case of same-sex marriage, the political currents have shifted so quickly that the justices seem wary of jumping into the rapids. In the 16 years since the Defense of Marriage Act was enacted, polls show that strong public opposition to same-sex marriage has reversed into majority support.

Not only has Mr. Clinton repudiated the law, so has its Republican sponsor, former Representative Bob Barr of Georgia. No states allowed same-sex marriage at the time; now nine do, and the District of Columbia. The half-dozen senators who endorsed such unions in recent days bring the number of supporters in the upper chamber to 47 out of 100.

Still, about 40 states do not permit same-sex marriage, and most of them have constitutional bans approved by voters in recent years. Nine Democratic senators and all but one Republican senators oppose the practice. It was only last fall that the first state referendums approving same-sex marriage were passed by voters. As Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. pointed out, nowhere in the world was same-sex marriage legal until the Netherlands passed a law in 2000.

For the court, the question of political power is important, as it decides what standard to use in deciding whether the laws before it are unconstitutionally discriminatory. Gay rights advocates are seeking a “heightened scrutiny” standard similar to that applied to gender discrimination, meaning that a law must be substantially related to an important government interest.

The test of such scrutiny includes the history of discrimination against a group and its relative political power. Despite a history of discrimination, gay men and lesbians now find their political power on the rise.

“The reason there has been a sea change,” said Paul D. Clement, a former solicitor general who argued on behalf of the Defense of Marriage Act, “is a combination of political power, as defined by this court’s cases as getting the attention of lawmakers; certainly they have that. But it’s also persuasion. That’s what the democratic process requires. You have to persuade somebody you’re right.”

For Mr. Clement and his adversaries, the question remained whether they had persuaded the justices to follow that process or get out of the way.