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  • Freddie Gray Suffered ‘Catastrophic Injury’ When He Slammed Into Back of Police Van, Breaking His Neck: Report
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 4:07 pm by Jason Howerton

    Comments (254)

    Baltimore resident Freddie Gray suffered “catastrophic injury” when he slammed into the back of the police transport van, breaking his neck, multiple law enforcement sources reportedly told WJLA-TV. A bolt found in the back of the van matches the specific head injury Gray sustained, the sources said.

    The unnamed law enforcement sources reportedly briefed the news station on the findings of a police investigation that was handed over to prosecutors on Thursday and the medical examiner’s preliminary findings.



    It wasn’t clear how Gray’s head apparently slammed into back of the van. A prisoner who is said to have shared the police vehicle with Gray reportedly told police he was “intentionally trying to hurt himself,” but the officer who drove the van has yet to give a statement.

    The police investigation reportedly found no credible evidence that Gray’s death was the result of his arrest caught on video, according to the sources.

    Gray was arrested after he made eye contact with an officer and ran. Officers chased him down and handcuffed him behind his back. Bystander videos recorded police loading him, dragging his legs, into one of two metal compartments in the back of the van.

    Meanwhile, protests over Gray’s death spread Wednesday night to other cities including Boston, New York and Washington, making it clear that tensions over the case are far from subsiding. The demonstrations were mostly peaceful, but police made many arrests, including at least 60 in New York.

    Gray’s death was only the latest high-profile case of a black man dying as the result of a police encounter. Similar protests erupted over the killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; Eric Garner in New York last year, and Walter Scott in South Carolina. Scott was shot in the back by a white officer who has since been charged with murder.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

  • White House: ‘Helping With’ a Ransom Is Not the Same as Actually Paying a Ransom to Terrorists
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 4:01 pm by Fred Lucas

    Comments (45)

    White House spokesman Josh Earnest sought to draw a distinction between the U.S. government helping facilitate a ransom payment to a terrorist organization and actually negotiating with terrorists.

    “Speaking generally, helping with a ransom payment, to use your word, is not tantamount to paying a ransom,” Earnest said in response to a reporter’s question Thursday, one day after the Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI helped facilitate a ransom payment from Warren Weinstein’s family to Al Qaeda to try to get the kidnapped aid worker home. The United States accidentally killed Weinstein in January in a counterterrorism strike on an Al Qaeda compound.

    White House press secretary Josh Earnest pauses as he answers questions about the government's Ebola response during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

    AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

    It’s long been U.S. policy not to negotiate or to make ransom payments to terrorist organizations so as to not fund future terror activity or to put Americans further at risk.

    “Families that are in this terrible situation are relying heavily on these government experts,” Earnest said. “What’s also true is that we’ve been definitive about our no ransom, no concessions policy. It’s one that’s not subject to this ongoing policy review. That’s because that policy is clearly in our national security interest, that we know extremist organizations only use ransoms to fund their terror activities.”

    The Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI vetted the Pakistani middleman that the Warren family used, providing the middleman with intelligence to help him make the exchange.

    Earnest said he couldn’t explain the distinction between negotiating and facilitating because he cannot talk about all the “tactics and tools that are deployed” by law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

    Obama has ordered a review to determine how the government can better work with the families of hostages.

  • White House Defends D.C. Law Pushing Employers to Insure Abortions
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 3:47 pm by Fred Lucas

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    With a veto threat Thursday, the White House is defending a Washington, D.C. law that requires employers pay for health insurance covering their employees abortions. The House was set to vote on the measure Thursday evening.

    The District of Columbia’s Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014 added abortion to reproductive health treatment that employers must cover as a matter of non-discrimination protections included under the basis of sex. Before being amended last year, the law covered only pregnancy, childbirth, related medical conditions, and breastfeeding.

    In April, House Republicans introduced a joint resolution opposing the law, and saying it violates the religious freedom of some D.C. employers.

    “By taking away this newly-added protection, H.J. Res. 43 would undermine the reproductive freedom and private health care decisions of the citizens of the District of Columbia,” said a statement of administration policy by the Office of Management and Budget. “This legislation would give employers cover to fire employees for the personal decisions they make about birth control and their reproductive health.”

    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 26: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the Planned Parenthood Gala at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel on April 26, 2013 in Washington, DC. Obama defended the organization and told delegates that he would block efforts to cut off funding. Credit: Getty Images

    (Getty Images)

    The OMB statement adds, “If the President were presented with H.J. Res. 43, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto this resolution.”

    The law would also ban anti-abortion organizations in Washington, D.C. from considering a job seeker’s views on abortion as a condition of employment, according to the bill’s main sponsor Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.). The legislation has 46 co-sponsors.

    The House resolution states its disagreement with the Washington, D.C. law and urges the House Appropriation Committee to defund it. The bulk of the District of Columbia’s spending is tied to federal decisions.

    “The District of Columbia’s Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act will do just the opposite of what its name implies,” Black said in a statement earlier this month when the resolution was introduced. “This is an affront to the conscience rights of every American who believes, as I do, in the cause of protecting the unborn.”

    The White House further contends that it would undermine the will of the local D.C. government.

    “While the Home Rule Act of 1973 created a procedure for the Congress to overturn laws passed by the District of Columbia, the Congress has not exercised this authority in over two decades and should refrain from doing so in this circumstance, as well,” the OMB statement said.

  • Armed With a Machete, ‘Baltimore Batman’ Risked His Life to Protect His Place of Employment From Looters — Here’s Why
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 3:32 pm by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (53)

    He’s being hailed as the “Baltimore Batman.”

    Image source: WHP-TV

    Image source: WHP-TV

    And while he looks nothing like the iconic superhero, Brian Woodyard clearly was an imposing presence when he showed up Monday night at the bar where he’s a bouncer during the rioting that gripped the city.

    “I asked them to please let me stay in because then I could set up a defense,” Woodyard told WHP-TV. But he left before the rioting began.

    During that time surveillance video showed looters ripping off liquor and tobacco from the Old Clubhouse after breaking through a huge grate covering a front window.

    Image source: WHP-TV

    Image source: WHP-TV

    But then Woodyard came back — and you might say he was dressed for success.

    He had donned a long dark overcoat, slipped on a white surgical mask — and was wielding a machete.

    “I was just trying to get the bar cleared and hope and pray to God that they didn’t set it on fire and destroy everything,” he told WHP-TV.

    Woodyard sitting on the steps of The Old Clubhouse. (Image source: WHP-TV)

    Woodyard sitting on the steps of the Old Clubhouse. (Image source: WHP-TV)

    Woodyard said a reporter on the scene told him he scared off about 50 looters from the bar. Beforehand, the looters cost the place a few thousand dollars in damage and stolen inventory.

    So why such a life-and-limb commitment to his place of employment?

    Image source: WHP-TV

    Image source: WHP-TV

    Turns out it was his way of showing appreciation to those who hired him: Woodyard is an ex-con.

    “These people actually stood up and gave me a chance,” he told the station.

    In Woodyard’s estimation, he’s no Batman: “I’m just a plain guy,” he said, calling himself simply one of many who stood up and did what needed doing on a night the city was in trouble.

    Image source: WHP-TV

    Image source: WHP-TV

    “A lot of us did not wear masks,” Woodyard told WHP. “But a lot of us did defend our homes, defend our storefronts, defend our bars and we did our best.”

    (H/T: New York Daily News)

    Follow Dave Urbanski (@DaveVUrbanski) on Twitter

  • Glenn Beck: If Gay Marriage Is Legalized, 50 Percent of Congregants Will ‘Fall Away From Their Churches Within Five Years’
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 3:09 pm by Erica Ritz

    Comments (480)

    Glenn Beck on Thursday predicted that 50 percent of congregants would fall away from their churches within five years if gay marriage is legalized by the Supreme Court.

    “What does your church do if they are currently saying ‘No, we aren’t going to marry same-sex couples.’ What happens?” Beck asked on his radio program. “They lose their tax exempt status and a lot of them will fall away.”

    Beck said his own church likely won’t give in on the issue, and will either be forced to “shut down” or say, “we would rather have our church in houses and be on the run.”

    Churches will either shut down, Beck predicted, or they will be under so much pressure that people will choose not to attend.

    Glenn Beck speaks on his radio program April 30, 2015. (Photo: TheBlaze TV)

    Glenn Beck speaks on his radio program April 30, 2015. (Photo: TheBlaze TV)

    “Persecution is coming. If this goes through, persecution is coming,” Beck warned. “I mean serious prosecution. Mark my words. … If gay marriage goes through the Supreme Court and gay marriage becomes fine and they can put teeth in it, so now they can go after the churches, 50 percent of our churches will fall away, meaning the congregations. Within five years, the congregations, 50 percent of the congregants will fall away from their church because they won’t be able to take the persecution.”

    Beck said “the stigma of going to church will be too much,” and people won’t want to risk their jobs, their livelihoods or their reputations.

    “50 percent. Mark my words,” Beck repeated. “Within five years, 50 percent of the people that you sit next to in church will not be there … because they’ll say, ‘I can’t do that. I will lose my job. People are picketing at my house. I just can’t do that.’”

    Beck has repeatedly made it clear that he believes the government should have no hand in marriage, and if a church wants to marry a gay couple, it should have the right to do so. But he also doesn’t believe a church should be forced to marry a gay couple.

    “[It's] about the principle,” Beck’s co-host Stu Burguiere agreed. “You can’t go to a church on any issue and change their mind by force of the government. That is the most basic thing we’ve done in this country.”

    Complimentary Clip from TheBlaze TV

    The full episode of The Glenn Beck Program, along with many other live-streaming shows and thousands of hours of on-demand content, is available on just about any digital device. Click here to watch every Glenn Beck episode from the past 30 days for just $1!

  • Sheriff David Clarke Jr. Wants Michael Moore’s Extreme Anti-Police ‘Demands’ to Be Met…but Here’s the Catch
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 2:54 pm by Jason Howerton

    Comments (181)

    Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. on Thursday responded to filmmaker Michael Moore’s “demand” that police officers be disarmed and all criminals convicted for drug crimes or non-violent offenses be released from prison.

    Moore might not like the sheriff’s suggestion.

    The filmmaker had not responded to Clarke’s idea at the time of publication.

    Earlier on Thursday, Moore went on a fiery anti-police rant on Twitter, claiming that law enforcement officers shouldn’t have guns and consider black people the “enemy.”

    (H/T: Twitchy)

  • MSNBC Guest Says Gays Are ‘Targeted’ Just Like Japanese-Americans During WWII
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 2:36 pm by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (79)

    A lawyer who helped overturn same-sex marriage bans in California and Virginia told MSNBC that such laws target gays and lesbians as a “minority group” in the same way that Japanese-Americans were placed into internment camps during World War II.

    Josh Schiller sat with GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis during MSNBC anchor Tamron Hall’s segment on the matter Tuesday.

    “Josh, back to the legal aspect of it, again the heart of this is whether a voter or voters should decide someone else’s right,” Hall said.

    “That’s exactly right,” Schiller replied. “And the Supreme Court looks at this in a series of cases that date back over 60 years, starting with the internment of Japanese during World War II. And it looks at these laws that target a minority group, and there are briefs, like the Justice Department’s briefs, arguing that people who are identified as gay or lesbian are targeted as a minority group in this country and should be protected based on that status.”

    (H/T: Newsbusters)

    Follow Dave Urbanski (@DaveVUrbanski) on Twitter

  • Waitress Shares Devastating News With Customer. The Inspiring Way He Chose to Help Isn’t Something You See Everyday.
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 2:15 pm by Jon Street

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    A New York City man left a restaurant server a surprise she’ll never forget and challenged her to do the same for someone else.

    It all came about after the server told a familiar customer that she had just received an eviction notice from her apartment’s landlord. That’s when the customer decided to help her out, WPIX reported.

    The diner’s bill came to $43.50. He left a tip of $3,000 — and a note.

    Image source:

    Image source:

    In it, the customer said he was inspired by the foundation started by his former middle school science teacher, Rich Specht. In 2012, Specht’s 22-month-old son drowned in a pond on his family’s property as they were preparing for Superstorm Sandy.

    Specht started a website,, to encourage other people to “pay it forward.” He has since sent out more than 100,000 cards all across the world asking people to do something nice for someone else.

    And that’s exactly what the customer, who was in Specht’s class a decade ago, did last week when he helped a restaurant server keep a roof over her head. His note said:

    “Thank you for your kindness and humility. My teacher in middle school had such a difficult experience a few years ago which has sparked me to do this. My only requirements are:
    1) Go to and learn!
    2) Don’t let ‘Pay it forward’ end with you.
    3) Since it’s about the idea and not about you, or me, if you decide to share this, don’t use either of our names!
    Thank you for being around for all of my shows on and off Broadway. I hope that someday someone gives as much love and happiness into the world as you do.”

    After receiving the tip, the server contacted Specht, who didn’t reveal the name of the server or of his former student to WPIX, but said he feels honored that his initiative is being passed on.

    “This young man used to come up to my room to talk with me and I remember many of our conversations that we had over the course of that year … to think that someone I had a decade ago would honor my little boy or even remember his 8th grade science teacher in such a way blows me away,” Specht said.

    (H/T: Business Insider)

    Follow Jon Street (@JonStreet) on Twitter

  • Lawyer Tells Judge He Can’t Find Former Ill. GOP Congressman Who Resigned Last Month
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 2:13 pm by Associated Press

    Comments (23)

    CHICAGO (AP) – Where is Aaron Schock? An attorney for a campaign donor suing the former Illinois congressman has told a federal judge he can’t locate the Republican who resigned in March amid questions about his spending.

    Former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock speaks to reporters in Peoria, Ill. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

    Former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock speaks to reporters in Peoria, Ill. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

    Daniel Kurowski filed the lawsuit April 15 for Chicagoan Howard Foster. Foster donated $500 to Schock’s campaign and wants him to repay millions of campaign dollars on grounds the Peoria politician tricked contributors into believing him.

    The Chicago Sun-Times reports ( ) Kurowski told a hearing in Chicago Wednesday he hasn’t been able to inform Schock about the lawsuit. Kurowski tried a Peoria address for Schock, but the property is now vacant.

    Amid media scrutiny, Schock quit in March and a federal criminal investigation began.

    An email message seeking comment Thursday from a Schock spokesman wasn’t returned.

  • Thieves Attempted ‘Smash and Grab’ ATM Robbery Didn’t Go as Planned. Wait Until You See the Giant Piece of Evidence They Left Behind.
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 1:36 pm by Liz Klimas

    Comments (30)

    Someone in Michigan drove right into an ATM Thursday morning in an attempt to steal cash and perhaps the entire machine. This effort was thwarted though when the truck they used to smash into the ATM at a Chase Bank got stuck in the fence.

    Now, that truck is a large piece of evidence for Detroit police who are trying to track down the suspects.

    Image source: WXYZ-TV

    Image source: WXYZ-TV

    Image source: WXYZ-TV

    Image source: WXYZ-TV

    Footage taken by WXYZ-TV at the bank in Detroit show the ATM knocked on its side and the truck wedged in the bars of a tall black gate. The two suspects had fled the scene on foot.

    Watch the report:

    In New Jersey, two men were arrested this week for their alleged involvement in 19 similar “smash and grab” ATM robberies, among other suspected thefts, within the last six months.

    Front page image via Shutterstock.

  • Arizona Lawmakers Just Shot Down Something Very Popular Among Environmentalists
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 1:28 pm by Associated Press

    Comments (76)

    PHOENIX (AP) — Vexed by the litter caught in cactus and shrubs, one Arizona city banned plastic bags on Earth Day last year. Two others considered similar bans as part of a growing trend around the country to outlaw the single-use of plastic bags at checkout counters.

    Davon Johnson, right, bags groceries at a Giant supermarket in Washington on Friday, Jan. 18, 2008. The store has both plastic and paper bags available, and also sells reusable bags in the store. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

    Davon Johnson, right, bags groceries at a Giant supermarket in Washington on Friday, Jan. 18, 2008. The store has both plastic and paper bags available, and also sells reusable bags in the store. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

    Those efforts are now in limbo after Arizona lawmakers voted this month to make it illegal for cities to impose bag bans, angering municipalities over what they see as heavy-handed action by the state.

    It’s a clash that has grown more intense as lawmakers here have taken an aggressive approach in recent years in curtailing the role of local government. Arizona cities are forbidden from hiking minimum wages and enacting taxes or regulations on firearms. The same law that made it illegal for cities to ban plastic bags also applied similar restrictions on Styrofoam containers and other disposable products. And it included a requirement blocking cities from requiring business owners to report energy usage consumption, something some municipalities were considering in order to encourage energy-efficiency in buildings.

    Some local officials note the irony: While the conservative Arizona Legislature scoffs at the federal government, they say state lawmakers are doing the same thing to cities and towns – especially those that tend to lean liberal.

    “Whenever it’s convenient for the GOP they push for more independence from the feds and at the same time they are curbing the cities’ abilities to govern,” said Eva Putzova, a Flagstaff City Council member.

    Other conservative states are making similar moves to ban plastic bag bans. Florida already has made it illegal for municipalities to ban plastic bags, and lawmakers are considering similar legislation in Missouri and Texas, said Jennifer Schultz, a policy analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

    That’s in contrast to Arizona’s neighbor to the west, California, where lawmakers enacted a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags following the lead of more than 100 cities and counties that outlawed the bags. Business groups are trying to overturn the law and have collected enough signatures to put the referendum on the 2016 ballot. The law is on hold until the dispute gets resolved.

    The Arizona bill to outlaw bag bans was backed by the Arizona Retailers Association and the Arizona Food Marketing Alliance, which represents brands including Safeway, Kroger, Circle K and QuickTrip. Tim McCabe, president of Arizona Food Marketing Alliance, said the statewide ban makes it easier for customers who may be confused by a patchwork of city regulations.

    “We think the more cities and towns can push awareness programs, the more recycling, the less bags will be used,” McCabe said.

    Lawmakers who supported the legislation said banning plastic bags wasn’t necessary. Republican Sen. John Kavanagh, who represents the city of Fountain Hills east of Phoenix, said plastic and Styrofoam are cheaper and more sanitary than paper products.

    “We really don’t need to do this in Arizona because we don’t have the crisis in landfills and litter that other areas do,” he said.

    Though the cities of Flagstaff and Tempe have since dropped their proposals to ban plastic bags, they are considering taking legal action against the state.

    Lauren Kuby, a city council member in Tempe, which is home to Arizona State University, sees the dispute over bags as part of a bigger fight as cities like hers attempt to take proactive stances on a range of issues, only to be stymied by a conservative Legislature.

    “From our point of view cities are the incubators of innovations,” she said. “In this instance, they are interfering with local decision making.”

    Kavanagh said he sees no contradictions. Municipalities exist because of state government, he said.

    “The states are the source of all authority both at the federal level and at the local level,” Kavanagh said. “And having containers and bags for food and groceries that aren’t contaminated with bacteria and viruses is something the state finds important.”

    Pam Rodrigues, who owns an arts and antique store in the southern Arizona mountain town of Bisbee, said her business saved more than $500 last year by not buying plastic bags since the city’s bag ban went into effect.

    “The feedback from my customers is overwhelmingly enthusiastic,” she said.

    Plastic bags have nearly disappeared from the city’s waste stream since the ban began, said Andy Haratyk, Bisbee’s public works manager.

    For now, Bisbee continues to enforce the ban, but only until July when the state law goes into effect.

    “I wish we would act the way the state Legislature did and say `I don’t care what you voted on. We are going to do it anyway,’” Haratyk said. “Now everybody will go back to their single-use plastic bags and they’ll be all over the place just like they were.”

  • TV Host Presses Actress Stacey Dash on ‘Gender Inequality’ — Her Non-PC Response Has Sparked a Firestorm
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 1:22 pm by Jason Howerton

    Comments (199)

    The most effective way to ensure women get paid as much as men is for women to be prepared to “work harder” and seize any opportunities that may come their way, actress Stacey Dash told TV host Meredith Vieira on Wednesday. One tactic that is not useful, Dash said, is complaining and making excuses.

    “I feel like it’s an excuse. It’s the same thing with race. It’s an excuse. Stop making excuses. If there are opportunities, be prepared for them — and be the best if that’s what it takes. If you have be extraordinary, then be extraordinary.”

    (Screengrab via YouTube)

    (Screengrab via YouTube)

    Vieira quickly brought up the contentious claim that women make 78 cents for every dollar that a man makes. She said it seems like women are fighting an “uphill battle” and argued her 22-year-old daughter will be 65 before there is true wage equality.

    “I don’t know if that’s true,” Dash said.

    “That’s true, that’s documented,” Vieira interrupted.

    “No, I know that the numbers are true, but I feel like your daughter will be able to make as much money as she wants in her life — just like you are. I mean, look at you,” Dash said.

    Vieira agreed she is now successful, but it took her a long time and she didn’t always get as paid as much as her male counterparts.

    “And you think it’s because you’re a woman?” Dash asked.

    “I think that had a lot to do with it,” the host replied. “If you look at the number, there’s a reason why women get 78 cents and men get a buck.”

    (Screengrab via YouTube)

    (Screengrab via YouTube)

    Dash then declared, “I guess I won’t put my fate into anything other than my own action, and taking my destiny in my hands.”

    “I will not be a victim,” she added.

    “I’m not saying I’m a victim — I’m pissed off,” Vieira said.

    The actress told Vieira if women are “pissed off,” they should use those feelings to work even harder for higher wages rather than complaining about it because there’s already a law mandating women get equal pay.

    “Except we don’t,” Vieira shot back. “We don’t. We don’t.”

    Watch the segment via “The Meredith Vieira Show” below:

    Though she came under attack from the left almost immediately, Dash held her ground on the issue.

  • The Unsuspecting Place Joan Rivers Used to Hide Her Cash
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 1:15 pm by Mike Opelka

    Comments (68)

    Do you keep a stash of cash around the house? If so, do you hide it in a special place?

    Recently, we learned the late Joan Rivers used to hide money in candy boxes, specifically, Milk Duds boxes.

    Image source: YouTube

    Image source: YouTube

    Joan Rivers passed away last year and next week, her daughter Melissa is releasing biography of her mother, “The Book of Joan : Tales of Mirth, Mischief, and Manipulation.”

    Rivers calls the book, “a fun homage to my mom.”

    According to the Washington Post’s review, inside the 304 pages you won’t find many stunning revelations about the late comedian/QVC star. The lack of “breaking news” or telling of secrets about Rivers should not be a big surprise to anyone, as Joan Rivers had already written three autobiographies, including one released just three months before her death.

    In addition to Melissa’s memories of her mom, readers will learn that Joan was a bit of a germophobe, carrying a can of Lysol disinfectant in her purse.

    Rivers also exposes her mom’s curious habit of hiding money inside boxes of Milk Duds candy.

    In the book, Melissa explains, “They’re the same size as paper money, so in case someone rifled through her purse, they’d overlook it.”

    Joan Rivers’ predilection for hiding money inside a box of candy had us wondering: Do you hide money? If so, where is the most popular place? (Don’t worry, it’s all completely anonymous.)

    Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter

  • Which Is More Important to Americans: Gay Rights or Religious Liberty? Here’s the Answer.
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 1:04 pm by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (251)

    A new poll found that the majority of Americans (56 percent) are more likely to support protections for religious liberties over gay rights (40 percent) when the two come into conflict.

    The AP-GfK polling results released this week also found that half of Americans believe that religious liberty is a very or extremely important issue to them personally (50 percent), with just one in four Americans saying the same of gay rights (26 percent).

    The results — which were collected just before the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Tuesday for Obergefell v. Hodges, a landmark same-sex marriage case — also found that the public is deeply divided on how the nine justices should rule.

    Photo credit: Shutterstock

    Photo credit: Shutterstock

    While 50 percent said that they believe the Supreme Court should back gay marriage, 48 percent disagreed, though there was greater support for gay marriage legalization at the state level.

    The public’s stance was equally divided when assessing how the citizens believe government officials who oppose gay marriage should be treated under the law.

    With a stark divide also characterizing that debate, 48 percent believe that there should be an exemption for faithful state and local officials who disagree with gay marriage when it comes to issuing marriage licenses, while 49 percent disagree.

    But that divide isn’t so stark when assessing where people stand on private, wedding-related businesses being given an exemption if they hold a religious objection to same-sex ceremonies. While 52 percent believe that it should be legal to refuse wedding services, 45 percent do not.

    The Associated Press noted, though, that the 52 percent proportion was down from 57 percent the last time the question was asked in February.

    Read the complete results here and learn more about Obergefell v. Hodges.

    Front page image via

  • ‘We’re in This Race to Win’: Bernie Sanders Hammers Income Inequality as He Seeks the White House
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 12:53 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (38)

    Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Thursday that his newly launched campaign to win the White House in 2016 would be focused finding solutions to the growing income inequality in America, and getting corporate money out of politics.

    In a brief meeting with reporters just outside the U.S. Capitol, Sanders also stressed that his goal wasn’t to simply inject these ideas into the race, but to occupy the White House in 2017.

    “We’re in this race to win,” he said.

    Sanders and the few others who might enter the race in the hopes of winning the Democratic nomination from Hillary Clinton are being seen automatically as long shots. But Sanders, a self-described Socialist, said his message of helping to end income inequality will resonate, which gives him a chance.

    “If you raise the issues that are on the hearts and minds of the American people, if you try to put together a movement which says we’ve got to stand together as a people, and say that this Capitol, this beautiful Capitol, our country belongs to all of us and not the billionaire class, that’s not raising an issue, that is winning elections,” he said. “That’s where the American people are.”

    Sanders’ brief remarks were a far cry from the elaborate, staged announcements of the three nationally known Republicans in the race, or the meticulously planned “listening tour” launched by Clinton. He spent about 10 minutes in front of reporters and spoke off the top of his head, and made it clear that income inequality is the main problem he’s interested in solving.

    “How does it happen that the top 1 percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent?” he asked. “My conclusion is that that type of economics is not only immoral, it’s not only wrong, it is unsustainable. It can’t continue.”

    “The major issue is, how do we create an economy that works for all of our people, rather than a small number of billionaires,” he added.

    A related issue is what the rich do with their money. He said too often, the wealthy are able to buy elections in America.

    “I wonder now, in this day and age, whether it is possible for any candidate who is not a billionaire, or who is not beholden to the billionaire class, to be able to run successful campaigns,” he said. “And if that is the case, I want you all the recognize what a sad state of affairs that is for American democracy.”

    Sanders took a turn hitting both Republicans and Democrats. He said most in the GOP don’t recognize the reality of climate change, but also went against the talking points of Democrats and the Obama administration by saying the real unemployment rate is about 11 percent, not the 5.5 percent being reported by the government.

    “We need to create millions of jobs, and the best way to do it is rebuild our crumbling infrastructure,” he said.

    When asked how he differs from Clinton, he said some of her positions aren’t known yet, but said he voted against the war in Iraq, and opposes the idea of giving the Obama administration the authority to negotiate trade deals that require only and up or down vote by Congress.

    Sanders also made a plea to reporters covering the race to focus on the issues, and not the many other issues that often distract the press from those issues.

    “And I ask the media’s help on this,” he said. “Allow us to discuss the important issues facing the American people, and let’s not get hung up on political gossip or the other soap opera aspects of modern campaigns.”

  • Michael Moore Goes on Unhinged Anti-Police Rant, Issues Two Big ‘Demands’
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 12:33 pm by Jason Howerton

    Comments (194)

    Far-left filmmaker Michael Moore issued two big demands on Thursday: disarm police officers and release “every African-American currently incarcerated” for drug crimes or non-violent offenses.

    (AP Photo/Joel Ryan, File)

    (AP Photo/Joel Ryan, File)

    Moore also seemingly endorsed the Second Amendment for “protection.” He wrote, “We have a 1/4 billion 2nd amendment guns in our homes 4 protection. We’ll survive til the right cops r hired.”

    Going even further, Moore suggested that as many as 50 percent of people who are imprisoned are actually innocent. Read his full Twitter rant:

    Moore’s comments appear to be in response to the death of Freddie Gray, who died of serious spine injury while in police custody. Violent riots erupted in the city on Monday, resulting in a mandatory, week-long 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. curfew.

    (H/T: The Hill)

  • Some Parents Balk at Doctors’ Recommendation That Kids Keep Going to Class With Lice: ‘Ridiculous’
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 12:22 pm by Liz Klimas

    Comments (31)

    Though it might seem like a no-brainer to keep kids home from school if they have lice, the nation’s top doctors suggest otherwise — and some parents aren’t happy about it.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics released an updated report on the recommended treatment of head lice and restated that it doesn't believe children should be kept home from school for having nits. (Photo credit: Shutterstock)

    The American Academy of Pediatrics released an updated report on the recommended treatment of head lice and restated that it doesn’t believe children should be kept home from school for having nits. (Photo credit: Shutterstock)

    The American Academy of Pediatrics released updated treatment guidelines for dealing with lice and has recommended kids with lice keep going to school.

    “Pediatricians are encouraged to educate schools and communities that no-nit policies are unjust and should be abandoned,” the AAP stated on its website. “Children can finish the school day, be treated, and return to school.”

    The academy called no-nit policies a possible violation of a child’s civil liberties.

    What’s more, the new report discouraged schools from screening for lice as well, saying that it’s not cost effective and not very effective at preventing an infestation.

    “School exclusion of children with nits alone would have resulted in many of these children missing school unnecessarily,” the report stated of overzealous screenings and policies. “In addition, head lice infestations have been shown to have low contagion in classrooms.”

    The report also said school should not necessarily be avoided if a child is found to have an infestation, because at this point they likely have had the bugs for a month or more by the time they’re discovered.

    “[...] by the time it is discovered and poses little risk to others from the infestation, he or she should remain in class, but be discouraged from close direct head contact with others,” the report stated.

    KTVT-TV reported that some parents who have battled head lice with their own children don’t agree with AAP’s recommendation that kids with lice keep going to class.

    “I think that’s kind of ridiculous,” Tracy Wineberg, whose daughter had lice last year, told the news station.

    Watch KTVT’s report about parent concern over the AAP’s guidelines:

    The best practice to increase odds of preventing head lice issues, the AAP said, is for parents to teach children to avoid sharing combs and hats. Parents can also prevent a few nits from becoming a full blown infestation by regularly taking a close look at their child’s head.

    (H/T: KPIX-TV)

    Front page image via Shutterstock.

  • The Appalling Behavior of North Korean Officials at U.N. Human Rights Event Had U.S. Ambassador Demanding Mics Be Cut
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 12:09 pm by Erica Ritz

    Comments (53)

    North Korean officials seemingly heckled speakers at a United Nations human rights event on Thursday, according to social media reports and video posted to Facebook.

    Karin Perro, who describes herself as a human rights associate at the United Nations, wrote that prison camp survivors were describing forced hard labor, beatings, torture, executions and political brainwashing when the proceedings were disrupted by the North Korean delegation.

    Sherwin Bryce-Pease added that U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power threatened to call security on those attempting to shout over the victims, and the meeting was able to resume shortly thereafter. Power also reportedly asked that their microphones be turned off.

    “Please shut the mic down… please make sure the mic is not live,” she is quoted as saying.

    You can see video of the interruption, below (the chants begin around 30 seconds in):

    During a testimony by victims of North Korea human rights violations, interruption by #DPRK officials and opposing chants from North Korean victims

    Posted by Ahmed Fathi on Thursday, 30 April 2015

    Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press reported that the hecklers called the panelists “garbage.”

    Video showing members of the delegation leaving the meeting captures an unidentified person shouting after them: “You are human scum! You are human scum! You are human scum!”

    You can watch the video from Inner City Press below (“human scum” comments around 2:40):

  • Iraqi Musician Defies Terrorists With Haunting Cello Solo at Car Bombing Site
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 12:07 pm by Sharona Schwartz

    Comments (9)

    Iraqi cellist and conductor Karim Wasfi tried to bring beauty to the site of a deadly car bombing with an impromptu and haunting cello solo amid the scorched rubble.

    Wasfi, the previous director of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra, told the BBC that he wanted to express his defiance at the violence that has gripped Iraq for years with no apparent end in sight.

    He also said he believes that music holds the power of creation, in contrast with the deadly destruction of terrorism.

    The musician told Al Arabiya that as he sat on a lone chair in the middle of the street and played his piece – appropriately titled “Baghdad Melancholy” — passersby were deeply moved, given what had happened there just hours before.

    “They felt like spiritual beings hovering around, almost united with those who lost their lives,” Wasfi said. “It was a weird mix of living souls and those who hovering souls after leaving their body in the area.”

    His feeling was echoed by an Iraqi man who posted his thoughts on Twitter.

    “He is playing music for the souls of the people who died just a few hours ago. I can imagine them listening, too, and wondering: Why?” the unidentified man wrote, according to the website 7Days in Dubai.

    In the backdrop of his performance, it’s possible to hear the sound of broken glass being swept up.

    A series of car bombs targeted Baghdad’s busy commercial areas Monday, killing at least 20 civilians, according to Iraqi officials quoted by the Associated Press.

    The maestro said that music plays a special role in that “when things are abnormal, we make things normal; we make things worth living for.”

    “People think music is about entertainment but I think music is way, way beyond that. I think it has to do with creation,” Wasfi said.

    Video of his performance has gone viral on Iraqi social media and beyond.

  • How One Man’s Good Deed and a Tiny House Could Transform This Homeless Woman’s Life
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 11:58 am by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (23)

    After a Los Angeles man noticed a homeless woman named “Smokie” living on the streets and sleeping on a dirt patch in his neighborhood, he began chatting with her and allowing her to regularly go through the recycling bin outside of his apartment building.

    But Elvis Summers found himself looking for more profound ways to help the 60-year-old woman.

    It didn’t take long for him to come up with the perfect idea: he would build her a tiny house — a structure that would shelter her from the elements and give her a place to rest her head at night, the Daily Mail reported.

    After spending about $500 and devoting five days to the cause, Summers, who said he simply wanted to do something nice for Smokie, completed the small home and handed it over to the grateful woman.

    A short video documents Summers’ building of the house as well as Smokie’s reaction when he revealed it to her.

    Watch it all unfold below:

    Summers told the Good News Network that the house, which is on wheels, has been well-received by authorities.

    “I had nowhere to really build it, so I just built it in the street outside of my apartment,” he said. “The local LAPD cops have been super cool, and have told me they support it — as long as we move it to a different spot every 72 hours.”

    His good deed won’t be ending with Smokie, though, as Summers has launched a GoFundMe campaign aimed at providing tiny houses to other homeless people in need of shelter.

    So far, his campaign has brought in more than $13,000 as of Thursday morning.

    “Being homeless is NOT a crime. The true crime is how we as human being look at and treat people that are homeless,” the fundraising appeal reads. “Some people don’t, but MOST homeless people want help and are desperate to get off the streets. Many to most are loosing hope or have already lost it and are simply dying, homeless and hungry.”

    Summers and Smokie appeared on a KCAL-TV broadcast this week to discuss the project, with Smokie tearfully explaining the struggles she has faced living on the street for the past decade — and her gratitude for Summers’ efforts:

    Find out more about the fundraiser here.

    (H/T: Daily Mail)

  • Woman Looks Into the Camera and Delivers a Vile, Anti-American Rant — Then the Camera Pans Down
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 11:36 am by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (384)

    A video of a woman dancing and jumping up and down atop the American flag is gaining online attention — and her actions appear to be part of a larger movement.

    Image source: Facebook

    Image source: Facebook

    “My name is Erica Walker, and I’m about to do the Eric Sheppard Challenge,” she said in the clip, holding up a handwritten sign. “Hands off EJ. F*** yo flag.”

    Walker performed the “Running Man” dance on top of the stars and stripes for a few seconds —

    Image source: Facebook

    Image source: Facebook

    — and then furiously jumped up and down on it. ”F*** yo flag!” she yelled.

    Image source: Facebook

    Image source: Facebook

    A person off camera, who presumably was recording the video, was heard saying, “America is upside down.”

    Here’s the clip (content warning: profanities ahead):

    Walker uploaded the video to her Facebook page Tuesday, along with this caption: “You have given us NO justice so we shall give you NO peace.”

    She noted in another post, “Some peiple (sic) care more about the defamation of a piece of cloth than the loss of life. SMH So Sad. F*** YO FLAG!” [Expletive redacted.] It was accompanied by this image:

    Image source: Facebook

    Image source: Facebook

    The #EricSheppardChallenge refers to Valdosta State University student Eric Sheppard, one of the organizers of a flag protest on campus who was photographed walking on the flag.

    Image source:

    Image source: WCTV-TV

    The “challenge” appears to be others posting videos and photos of similar behavior toward the American flag.

    Sheppard has been on the run for more than a week, wanted by police for allegedly bringing a gun on campus, a felony. Authorities said he’s also being investigated by the FBI for possibly making terroristic threats on social media, according to WCTV-TV.

    Eric Sheppard (Image source: YouTube)

    Eric Sheppard (Image source: YouTube)

    A local civil rights-era activist, Rev. Floyd Rose, told the station Sheppard lost the right to call himself an activist due to his alleged illegal activity.

    This story has been updated.

    (H/T: CNN iReport, Campus Reform)

    Follow Dave Urbanski (@DaveVUrbanski) on Twitter

  • Baltimore Police Turn Evidence and Investigation Into Freddie Gray Case Over to State Prosecutor
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 11:23 am by Associated Press

    Comments (27)

    BALTIMORE (AP) – Baltimore police say they have turned over their criminal investigation to a prosecutor who will decide whether charges are warranted in the death of Freddie Gray.

    Baltimore Police Department Commissioner Anthony Batts, center, approaches a news conference before announcing that the department's investigation into the death of Freddie Gray was turned over to the State's Attorney's office a day early, Thursday, April 30, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

    Baltimore Police Department Commissioner Anthony Batts, center, approaches a news conference before announcing that the department’s investigation into the death of Freddie Gray was turned over to the State’s Attorney’s office a day early, Thursday, April 30, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

    Gray suffered a mysterious spinal injury while he was in the custody of officers. The prosecutor has not given a timeline for when she will decide on whether to charge the six officers who have been suspended during the investigation of Gray’s death.

    Gray was arrested April 12 after he made eye contact with officers and ran. After a chase, officers pinned him down and handcuffed him. They loaded him into a van and put leg cuffs on him when officers said he became “irate” in the wagon.

    Police said Thursday they discovered a new stop the van made with Gray in it, but they did not say what happened.

    Gray was eventually taken to a hospital. He died a week later.

  • ‘She Opens Her Eyes…She Never Answers Me’: Listen to How a 5-Year-Old Saved the Day With a Harrowing 911 Call
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 11:05 am by Liz Klimas

    Comments (5)

    Learning how to use the phone can be a challenge at first for many youngsters, but for 5-year-old Aydhun Byars, it’s even harder.

    The Aurora, Colorado, boy was born with clubbed hands and feet, which makes dialing the numbers particularly difficult. But Aydhun overcame the hardship earlier this week when he had to dial 911 after finding his mother in diabetic shock, KMGH-TV reported.

    Five-year-old Aydhun called 911 this week when his mother was not responsive. (Image source: KMGH-TV)

    Five-year-old Aydhun called 911 this week when his mother was not responsive. (Image source: KMGH-TV)

    “I don’t know what mom is doing, but I need someone’s help,” the boy told the 911 dispatcher Monday of his mother who has Type 1 diabetes. ”She’s sleeping and she opens her eyes and she never answers me.”

    Watch the report, which includes some of the 911 call:

    KMGH reported that Aydhun had learned to call in an emergency from his grandmother. He told the news station he was “a little scared” during the incident but “a lot calm.”

    “He’s my little superhero and he makes me really, really happy,” Tarah Gunderlock told KMGH of her son.  ”I told him ‘you used your superpower’ and he told me ‘my superpower is love.’”

    Gunderlock added that if her son had waited any longer to call for help, she could have had seizures.

    (H/T: WPTV-TV)

  • The Gov’t Is Fining These Business Owners for Refusing to Serve Gay Weddings. But One Pastor Is Standing Up With a Plan to Fight Back.
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 11:03 am by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (255)

    Christian charity Samaritan’s Purse is busy these days running international relief programs aimed at helping people abroad, including individuals and families impacted by the earthquake in Nepal — but the organization, which is run by evangelist Franklin Graham, is also fast at work stateside, trying to help business owners who say that the government is punishing them for standing by their Christian faith.

    Graham has openly expressed his frustration over the plight faced by Aaron and Melissa Klein, the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, who gained national attention after they refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple in 2013.

    They could be forced to pay the women $135,000 for emotional damages — a lump sum that the Kleins say could put them “out on the street.”

    In a Facebook post over the weekend, Graham called the recommended fine “alarming” and “unbelievable,” especially considering that the family has already lost their cake shop and can’t afford to pay such a massive sum.

    Rev. Franklin Graham (AP Photo)

    Rev. Franklin Graham (AP)

    “They have done nothing wrong, and their lives, along with their five children, have been turned upside down by this persecution. You can’t call it anything else,” he wrote. “This is wrong, and it’s happening right here in our own country. Liberal judges and officials siding with the LGBT crowd are trying to make a point with the undeserved punishment of this family.”

    Graham encouraged Christians to pray for the Kleins, and he announced the creation of the “Persecuted Christians-USA Fund,” which has been set up to help the bakers as well as any others who have faced similar scenarios.

    “The fund was created to help persecuted Christians in the U.S., including Aaron and Melissa Klein,” Samaritan’s Purse said in a statement issued to TheBlaze. ”It was only activated a little over a week ago and the organization has not yet announced any numbers.”

    The organization said that it is focusing its main efforts on Nepal recovery and that, as a result, no one is available to discuss the religious freedom campaign with TheBlaze. That said, Graham explained in his Facebook post why his organization is spearheading the effort.

    “We’re all in real danger if something isn’t done to put a stop to this kind of deliberate targeting and malicious treatment of Christians,” Graham wrote.

    Samaritan’s Purse launched its fundraising drive after a GoFundMe account that was set up on the Kleins’ behalf reportedly raised over $100,000 in just nine hours to help the family pay its legal fees. But it was abruptly taken offline by the crowdfunding company, leading Graham to take action.

    Last night Aaron Klein, the bakery owner who declined to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple, called me with the…

    Posted by Franklin Graham on Saturday, April 25, 2015

    GoFundMe also removed a separate fundraiser for 70-year-old Barronelle Stutzman, a florist in Washington state who was sued and found guilty of discrimination after refusing to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding; she’s at risk of losing her personal assets, as TheBlaze has reported, with her GoFundMe account having brought in $174,000 at the time of its removal.

    The crowdfunding site said that the fundraisers violated their terms of service.

    “The subjects of the ‘Support Sweet Cakes By Melissa’ campaign have been formally charged by local authorities and found to be in violation of Oregon state law concerning discriminatory acts,” read a GoFundMe statement. “Accordingly, the campaign has been disabled.”

    It is unclear how much Samaritan’s Purse has raised thus far, but the Christian charity is committed to helping the Kleins and others navigate the complicated legal battles they’re facing. Find out more about the fundraising effort here.

    As for the Kleins, they’ve continued to defend their position and to speak out against the recommended $135,000 fine they face.

    “A government that can tell you what you have to do and what you have to say is pretty darn scary, and when they come at you and try to take everything you have because of it, well, I mean, that’s almost horrific,” Aaron Klein told The Church Boys podcast this week. “We are the average American family trying to live out the American dream and honor God in our life, and so, that’s why we’re in the situation we’re in.”

    We’ll leave you with that interview below:

    (H/T: Charisma News)

  • Man Breaks Up Skate Park Brawl Between Two Teens, but What You See Flash Across the Screen in His Right Hand Is Raising Eyebrows
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 10:57 am by Jon Street

    Comments (70)

    Cellphone video shows the extreme measure one man took to stop a fight between two teenage girls.

    The girls, ages 14 and 15, were throwing punches and slamming each other to the ground in an all-out brawl until one man, carrying what appeared to be a gun, tried to break them up.

    Image source: KTVI

    Image source: KTVI

    The conflict happened Tuesday at a skate park in Farmington, Missouri, which is operated by the city of Farmington and a nearby church. A sign near the entrance to the park says it is unsupervised, KTVI reported.

    While several teens said it’s not unheard of for fights to break out at that park, they were surprised to see how the man broke it up. None of them called the police.

    “It was just crazy. I’ve never seen someone pull a gun out,” one visitor said.

    “Especially right here in the middle of town right next to the police station,” another added. “I don’t know what they were thinking.”

    The name of the man in question is unknown but teens who often visit the skate park described him as an adult who regularly visits the area. No shots were reported but one of the girls involved in the fight got a black eye while trying to fend off the man.

    Police are now working to identify the girls who were fighting as well as the man who broke up the conflict, KTVI reported.

    See the confrontation caught on cellphone video:

    (H/T: KTVI)

    Follow Jon Street (@JonStreet) on Twitter

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