Robin Thicke took to the witness stand Wednesday to deny claims that his platinum single "Blurred Lines" is a copy of Marvin Gaye's "Got to Give It Up," and treated the jury to a medley of several songs.

     Attorneys on Wednesday dug into the corporate culture of one of the Silicon Valley's most prestigious venture capital firms, on the second day of a widely anticipated gender discrimination trial.

     In catching up on the news on the weekend, I skim some articles and skip others. But I read every word of those on the group wreaking havoc in the Middle East, the Islamic State.
     The focus comes from a news man's sense that the outfit sits on one of the fault lines of history, where enormous forces are slowly grinding against each other.
     Last week's coverage of a White House conference on violent extremism illustrated that friction. The president urged respect for human rights, religious tolerance and the democratic principles of peaceful dialogue.
     But he was speaking to leaders of countries that rule with strength, corruption and suppression of critical voices.
     The forces that caused the Arab Spring and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood have not gone away, they are being held down. And while the leaders of those movements have nothing in common with the Islamic State, their foot soldiers would.
     The group's reach has also been spreading outside Arab lands. The latest executions in Libya took place much closer to Europe than previous atrocities, and the group's recruiting continues to reach with surprising efficacy into Europe and the United States.
     There is, it seems to me, a key ingredient in the group's success -- its appeal to those outside the established order.
     The string of recent news stories focused on campaigns to combat the group's recruiting show clearly that the recruits are those on the margin, petty criminals, the young and angry, those with Middle Eastern and African backgrounds and a sense of being locked out.
     For example, the young man who shot up a café and a synagogue in Denmark this month, killing two people, before he was killed, was described by the Danes as a violently deranged youth with only the merest connection to religion. But, as one of the Danish commentators said, it was enough to give him an ideological framework and, most importantly, a target.
     I read that story and remembered covering the prosecution of the Middle Eastern men who crossed from Canada in a plot to blow up the Seattle Space Needle and other targets on the West Coast. The evidence showed they too were petty thugs, trading in stolen passports and guns.
     That connection between petty crime and extremist violence has not changed much. But those plots and plotters, as significant and dangerous as they were, don't compare to the ongoing power and mayhem of this new outfit.
     That power, I believe, comes from the group's position astride a slip line between two powerful forces in time. One is made up of the old Middle Eastern regimes with royal and military leadership, endemic corruption and a financially privileged elite.
     The other is made up of newer elements, a vast group of young men who don't have much to lose, a maxed-out anger and a feverish belief in their religion, its rules and taboos. Roiling that dark pool are the explosive elements of sectarian division and military suppression.
     That is the grinding of the plates, the old order with the money and the might against the new order of chaos, the churning, restless, growing forces of the disaffected, angry and violent.

     A controversial order from the Pentagon led to the suspension of plans to try any accused plotters of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Guantanamo's chief judge ruled Wednesday. 

     A bus driver for Woodland and Davis Unified School Districts sexually battered a 6-year-old autistic student and there is video evidence of it, her parents claim in Yolo County Court. 

     Methodist Healthcare Ministries South Texas fired an employee with multiple sclerosis after telling her "you caused your own illness," and that her "spiritual growth was not real," the woman claims in Bexar County Court. 

     The EU General Court found Thursday that money France Telecom paid the state when it went public amounted to illegal state aid because it excluded some charges.

     Missouri's state auditor and gubernatorial candidate Thomas Schweich killed himself Thursday, state officials said. Schweich, 54, a Republican, was considered a frontrunner to replace Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat.

     Net neutrality won out in a 3-2 vote by the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday to preserve free, open Internet access.

     Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and two of his predecessors delivered a message to Congress on Wednesday: Freedom isn't free. Funding for the agency will run out at midnight Friday unless Congress acts.

     California's drought and warming climate could have disastrous effects on public health and infectious diseases, without drought-adaptation planning, state officials said Wednesday.

     A Sunday school teacher for a Southern California church celebrated his honeymoon by sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy whose mother he had just married, the boy, now a man, claims in court. 

     An assistant director who was working on a Gregg Allman bio flick the day a freight train plowed into the film's crew, killing one and injuring six, will be tried separately from her three co-defendants. 

     A Texas drill sergeant made a middle-school student with asthma run laps until he collapsed and died, his parents claim in Federal Court. 

     Whether falsifying invoices is standard practice in China or not, two former tech workers will have to defend themselves from fraud charges in China, not California, a federal judge ruled. 

     Seth Macfarlane and Universal Pictures have the brass to sell talking bottle openers that are knockoffs of the original talking bottle opener, an inventor claims in court. 

     A former financial advisor says Morgan Stanley fired him for working with the FBI to uncover a gas station rebate scam. 

     One of the plaintiffs challenging Alabama's same-sex marriage ban is now suing Mobile County's probate judge for denying her petition to adopt her spouse's child. 

     Ranchers sued the Colorado National Guard for $7 million, claiming its ammunition and explosives started fires that burned 2,000 acres, killed cattle and wildlife, destroyed habitat and polluted streams. 

     A receiver will take over six medical properties whose owners were fined $604 million for running an $800 million Ponzi scam.

     A U.S. subsidiary of Spanish banking giant Banco Santander will pay $9.4 million to settle claims it illegally repossessed more than 1,100 cars leased by military servicemembers on active duty. 

     NFL linebacker Dwight Freeney claims in court that Bank of America and its advisers cost him $20 million in an "elaborate and malevolent" scheme that forced him to close his Hollywood restaurant.

     With "shocking acts of fraud," Santa Cruz County Bank and three investment advisers bilked investors of $17 million in a Ponzi scheme, dozens of investors claim in court. 

     Hawaii's House Judiciary Committee endorsed a bill to protect journalists from having to disclose sources or unpublished information to anyone, including the legislative, executive and judicial branches.

     A softball coach at Sunnyside High School in Fresno Unified School District sexually molested one of his players on campus, her mom claims in Superior Court. 

     Salem, Ore. police needlessly sicced a German shepherd on an unarmed man as he slept in his own bed, the man claims in Marion County Court. 

     The Geo Group, one of the nation's largest private prison companies, stiffs employees for overtime and minimum wages, a class action claims in Superior Court.

     Whether Hulu violated user privacy with Facebook posts pits a decades-old videotape privacy law against the Internet age, and a federal judge leaned toward dismissal at a hearing Thursday.

     The New York City Police Department must face claims that it fired an officer because of his complaints about an illegal quota policy, the 2nd Circuit ruled Thursday. 

     Prelitigation attorney correspondence enjoys qualified privilege, meaning that malicious intent could forfeit it, New York's high court ruled. 

     Occasional workers in Luxembourg's entertainment industry cannot be forced into an unending string of short-term contracts without being made permanent players, Europe's highest court ruled Thursday. 

     A group of mining companies can advance an antitrust suit against two railroad companies over allegedly exorbitant freight rates, a federal judge ruled. 

     Westchester Community College must face a lawsuit by an adjunct professor fired for praising Arizona's immigration law after a Mexican student read a poem, the 2nd Circuit ruled. 

     The U.S. Supreme Court refused to lift a stay of execution for a convicted quadruple murderer in Florida while it continues to review the propriety of the sedative used in lethal injections. 

     France can't take social security deductions from the assets of its citizens and legal residents living in another EU state, Europe's highest court ruled Thursday. 

     Georgia's decision to give overseas military voters sufficient time to return absentee ballots moots a federal complaint over the issue, the 11th Circuit ruled. 

     State court is still open to woman who blames her baby's fatal heart defects on her use during the pregnancy of antidepressants, a federal judge ruled. 

     Former pet store owner Gloria Lee will serve 5 to 14 years in state prison for trying to burn down her pet shop with 25 puppies and two older dogs inside.

     MetLife will cough up $123.5 million to settle claims that it knowingly approved federally insured home loans for people who didn't qualify, the Justice Department said Wednesday.

     Relatives of the founder of Georgia lender The Money Tree cannot dismiss claims that they received money that should have gone to creditors, a federal judge ruled. 

     Insurers that won't honor legal-malpractice claims reported outside the end dates of certain policies face no obligation to do so under Wisconsin law, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. 

     A Virginia senate bill that would have excluded certain aspects of the state's lethal injection practices from FOIA requests died on the floor of the House of Delegates.

     Kaiser retaliated against a pediatrician for voicing concerns about unsafe neonatal care practices, she claims in court. 

     A Saudi who planned al-Qaida's media blitz for attacks on two U.S. Embassies in East Africa was found guilty on all counts by a federal jury Thursday.

     New York City should produce the disciplinary record of the Staten Island police officer who killed Eric Garner with an illegal chokehold, a group says in court. 

     Attorneys will begin the process Friday of combing through emails that they say show a scheme to shutter minority-owned bars in Racine, Wis.

     A Massachusetts ban against political contributions from businesses is unfair since unions are allowed to fund candidates, two family-owned businesses claim in court. 

     The nation's largest electric power holding company will pay $102 million to clean up a 2014 coal ash spill in North Carolina's Dan River. 

     Lucky Brand, famous for its eponymous jeans, must face claims that it infringed on Marcel Fashions' trademark "Get Lucky," the 2nd Circuit ruled Wednesdsay. 

     Benjamin Israel made quite a first impression.
     I was a cocky 21-year-old editor of my university's student newspaper. He was a grizzled journalism veteran some 25 years my elder - back on campus to further his education.
     I needed a news editor. He stepped into my office and laid a portfolio an inch thick on my desk full of clips from civil rights protests and political coverage. The interview lasted about 23 seconds.
     To a student editor who was in over his head amid the biggest scandal in his university's history, he was a godsend.
     Benjamin died Monday morning after a prolonged illness.
     The news brought back a flood of memories of my Benjamin Israel experience. To know Benjamin was to have a Benjamin experience.
(Continue to full column...)

     A former assistant district attorney in Calcasieu Parish, La. pleaded guilty to charges related to his groping a man in 2013.

     Google stiffs workers for overtime and minimum wages and violates other labor laws, a class claims.


     Much-sued comedian Micah "Katt" Williams pointed two handguns at a man on Sunset Boulevard on July 2, 2014, the man claims in Superior Court.

     The Dirty Heads claim Executive Music Group owes them $500,000 in royalties, in Superior Court.

     Willamette Egg Farms claims 100,000 chickens died because Spectrum Communication controller malfunctioned, shutting off ventilation fans, in Federal Court.  

     Nelson Lee Frazier Jr. aka King Mabel aka Big Daddy V died of brain trauma he suffered during his 15-year career with World Wrestling Entertainment, his family claims in Shelby County Court.