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  • Bernie Sanders Picks Up Huge Endorsement From Major Liberal Media Outlet
    Posted January 14, 2016 at 4:29 pm by Chris Enloe

    Comments (55)

    Progressive magazine The Nation endorsed Bernie Sanders Thursday, marking just the third presidential endorsement for the magazine in its 150-year history.

    “We believe such a revolution is not only possible but necessary — and that’s why we’re endorsing Bernie Sanders for president,” the magazine’s editors wrote Thursday.

    “Bernie Sanders and his supporters are bending the arc of history toward justice,” they added, noting Sanders’ positions on healthcare, Wall Street, education, foreign policy, and the minimum wage. “Theirs is an insurgency, a possibility, and a dream that we proudly endorse.”

    The other two candidates the publication previously endorsed were Jesse Jackson in 1988 and Barack Obama in 2008. The magazine is also the first major national media outlet to endorse a presidential candidate in the 2016 election cycle.

    “We do so now impelled by the awareness that our rigged system works for the few and not for the many,” the editors said. “Americans are waking up to this reality, and they are demanding change.”

    According to CNN’s Brian Stelter, the endorsement will appear as the cover story of the magazine’s Feb. 8 issue.


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  • Kid Hopes to Honor Veterans With His Eagle Scout Project — and He Captures the Attention of Marcus Luttrell
    Posted January 14, 2016 at 4:20 pm by Kathryn Blackhurst

    Comments (8)

    One boy from Bloomington, Illinois, recently wrote a letter to Marcus Luttrell about his Eagle Scout project geared toward honoring U.S. veterans — a project that Luttrell loved and shared with more than 1 million Facebook fans Thursday.

    Luttrell, 40, a former United States Navy SEAL whose actions in Operation Red Wings in June 2005 against the Taliban was the focus of the 2013 “Lone Survivor” film, received the Navy Cross and Purple Heart for his service.

    “This young man wrote me a letter about his Eagle Scout project,” Luttrell wrote in his Facebook post. “Kudos to this young man and all who strive to earn Eagle Scout. If you can donate a couple dollars to help him reach his goal, that would make a huge impact on him. God Bless.”

    This young man wrote me a letter about his Eagle Scout project. Kudos to this young man and all who strive to earn Eagle…

    Posted by Marcus Luttrell on Thursday, January 14, 2016

    On the post, Luttrell included a link to the boy’s GoFundMe project, called “The Patriot Project,” that seeks to raise money to install a flag pole. The project’s description says, “For my Eagle Project, I am installing a flag pole off a local trail to honor those who have and will serve our country and their family members. Any help is much appreciated!”

    Luttrell also shared the link via the Patriot Tour’s Facebook page. The boy’s project has raised $1,390 of the end goal of $2,200.

    We wanted to share a letter Marcus Luttrell received recently from a young man in Bloomington, IL. who needs help from…

    Posted by Patriot Tour on Tuesday, January 12, 2016

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  • Planned Parenthood Files Lawsuit Against the Center for Medical Progress
    Posted January 14, 2016 at 4:05 pm by Kate Scanlon

    Comments (68)

    Planned Parenthood announced Thursday that it has filed a federal lawsuit against the Center for Medical Progress, the group behind controversial undercover videos that raised allegations that the nation’s largest abortion provider is trafficking aborted fetal body parts.

    “Game on,” David Daleiden, the founder of the Center for Medical Progress said in a statement. “I look forward to deposing all the CEOs, Medical Directors, and their co-conspirators who participated in Planned Parenthood’s illegal baby body parts racket.”

    "GAME ON, PLANNED PARENTHOOD!!! I look forward to taking your depositions." -David Daleiden, CMP Project Lead

    Posted by The Center for Medical Progress on Thursday, January 14, 2016

    The lawsuit names the Center for Medical Progress, Biomax Procument Services and Daleiden as defendants, among others.

    According to Planned Parenthood’s complaint, their lawsuit “details a complex criminal enterprise conceived and executed by anti-abortion extremists. The express aim of the enterprise — which stretched over years and involved fake companies, fake identifications, and large-scale illegal taping — was to demonize Planned Parenthood, harass and intimidate its dedicated staff, and interrupt its operations, all with the ultimate goal of interfering with women’s access to legal abortion.”

    The Center for Medical Progress released a series of undercover videos of Planned Parenthood executives appearing to negotiate the price “per specimen” of aborted fetal body parts with actors portraying buyers from a human biologics company.

    Profiting from the sale of human organs – including those of the unborn – is a felony in the United States.

    Spokespersons for Planned Parenthood have called the videos “heavily edited,” denied making a profit from illegal transactions and asserted that they are merely “reimbursed” for expenses associated with “tissue donation.”

    In the first video released by the Center for Medical Progress, Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, said that “we’ve been very good at getting heart, lung [and] liver,” and estimated a price of $30 to $100 “per specimen.”

    An analysis of the videos commissioned by Planned Parenthood last summer “did not reveal widespread evidence of substantive video manipulation.”

    An independent forensic investigation found the videos to be “authentic.”

    Follow Kate Scanlon (@kgscanlon) on Twitter

  • Gun-Control Activist Posts ‘F*** Police Officers,’ ‘F*** the NRA’ Rant. One Week Later, She Gets Invited to Meet President Obama. (UPDATED)
    Posted January 14, 2016 at 3:39 pm by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (256)

    In late December, a gun-control activist posted an F-word-laden rant directed at the NRA, lawmakers and police — and about a week later was invited by the White House to meet President Barack Obama.

    A Facebook page belonging to Amanda Gailey lists her as director of Nebraskans Against Gun Violence and associate professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. On Dec. 28, the following was posted on the Facebook page (profanities redacted):

    Image source: Facebook via BizPac Review

    Image source: Facebook via BizPac Review

    KETV-TV reported that the White House last week called Gailey to personally invite her to meet Obama as part of his speech in Lincoln Wednesday.

    Amanda Gailey (Image source: University of Nebraska-Lincoln website)

    Amanda Gailey (Image source: University of Nebraska-Lincoln website)

    The station added that nine other members of Nebraskans Against Gun Violence were slated to attend the event as well.

    Omaha.com — which indicated Gailey teaches English at the University and is president of Nebraskans Against Gun Violence — said she got to speak to Obama in Baxter Arena.

    “I got to shake his hand and thank him for the work he was doing on gun control,” Gailey told Omaha.com. “That was really exciting.”

    It’s unclear if the White House knew of Gailey’s Facebook post in question before inviting her to meet Obama.

    The White House press office on Thursday didn’t immediately respond to TheBlaze’s request for comment on the matter.

    Earlier Gailey told KETV-TV — which also reported that she’s founder of Nebraskans Against Gun Violence — that “Obama’s executive actions are an important first step.”

    Image source: KETV-TV

    Image source: KETV-TV

    Other posts on her Facebook page strike a similar tone. One screenshot shows a November post — apparently removed Thursday — that pokes fun at “Christianists” who are described as “people we should distinguish from Christianity the way we distinguish Islamists from Islam.” It then turns attention to Ted Cruz and offers an image that underscores gun control:

    Image source: Facebook

    Image source: Facebook

    Image source: Facebook

    Image source: Facebook

    The bio on a Twitter account also apparently belonging to Amanda Gailey reads: “I teach English at the University of Nebraska, volunteer for Nebraskans Against Gun Violence, and have written on gun issues for various media outlets.” That Twitter account was active Thursday morning and then apparently taken down Thursday afternoon.

    Here’s a screenshot of one of those Twitter posts (profanities redacted):

    Image source: Twitter

    Image source: Twitter

    TheBlaze reached out to Gailey Thursday at her university email as well as through her Facebook page but did not receive a reply. In addition, Nebraskans Against Gun Violence did not reply Thursday to TheBlaze’s request for comment.

    A BizPac Review writer noted the following exchanges in an attempt to connect the dots:

    On Wednesday evening, I personally posted on the Facebook page of Nebraskans Against Gun Violence to ask if Gailey had made derogatory statements against the police, to which page administrators quickly replied “No.”

    Minutes later I posted a screenshot of the comments and asked if the writer of those comments and the woman who met the president were not, in fact, one in the same.

    Rather than reply, the page administrator’s deleted all of our correspondence, including the picture, and blocked me from the page.

    UPDATE 12:39 p.m. ET Friday: Gailey posted a response to the uproar on her Facebook page early Friday morning defending her Dec. 28 post. She also referred to a writer who contacted her on Jan. 13 and posted an article — but it was not TheBlaze, which first reached out to Gailey on Jan. 14. Here’s what she had to say:

    On January 13 I was contacted by a writer for an ideologically motivated web page. He referred to a “rant” I wrote and wanted to know about my visit to the White House. I have never visited the White House and don’t have plans to. What I did do is shake the President’s hand after his speech in Omaha. I corrected the writer, thinking he was misunderstanding whatever supposed scandal he thought he had uncovered. He then posted an article with a click-bait title that not only mischaracterizes what I wrote in a Facebook post, but also ascribes an opinion to me that I do not hold. I did write a Facebook post that expressed my outrage at the police shooting of a 12-year-old child and the failure to indict the bad-apple police officers involved. My criticism of the police was limited to those officers who engage in that kind of policing, which I believe is clear in my post. I did not malign the police in general, nor did I want to, because I respect the many good officers who serve our communities and have even helped me in the past. I know that most police officers are doing hard work in hard conditions, and they are in the front lines of a society saturated in guns, facing threats that police in our peer nations do not. They are key players in our struggle for safe and fair communities. So if you feel like emailing me angrily, I just want you to know that you are probably directing your anger at someone whose actual beliefs have been intentionally misrepresented to you so that you will pass a link around and drum up advertising dollars for his employer. This is probably all I will say publicly on the matter because I believe the article that precipitated this was calculated to cause a firestorm without concern for the truth.

    On January 13 I was contacted by a writer for an ideologically motivated web page. He referred to a "rant" I wrote and…

    Posted by Amanda Gailey on Thursday, January 14, 2016

    This story has been updated.

    (H/T: BizPac Review)

  • Oregon Fire Chief Resigns After He Says He Secretly Followed Men From Armory and Uncovered Shocking Truth About Their Identities
    Posted January 14, 2016 at 3:22 pm by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (213)

    An Oregon fire chief resigned Wednesday after he claimed he discovered undercover FBI agents were at work in his community and then was told by a judge to not question their presence.

    Chris Briels, fire chief in Harney County, was standing next to Ammon Bundy — leader of the armed group that’s taken over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns — when he announced that he had resigned, KATU-TV reported.

    Briels told reporters that he followed two men from the local armory, questioned why the were there and didn’t get a straight answer. He then said he ran their vehicle’s license plate, which “came back undercover FBI agents.”

    YouTube screengrab

    YouTube screengrab

    After explaining what he discovered to Judge Steve Grasty, Briels said Gratzy told him has “no right” to question anybody in regard to what he discovered.

    “This is absolutely appalling to me,” Briels said, adding that “I will not stick my head in the sand.”

    More from KATU:

    Briels is a member of the Community Committee for Public Safety, which is a local group that’s expressed interest in taking over for the Bundy protesters to work to reclaim local rancher’s land rights when and if they leave.

    “I’ve been told by Steve to distance myself from this committee of public safety. I’ve been told that we don’t know what we’re doing. I’ve been told that my life is in danger. I’ve been told all kinds of things. I will not be told what to do,” Briels said, according to KATU. “I have my own mind, and I will use my own mind, not somebody else’s.”

  • Nancy Pelosi’s Questionable Iran Claim While Offering Insight on Detained U.S. Sailors
    Posted January 14, 2016 at 3:13 pm by Chris Enloe

    Comments (94)

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made a questionable claim Wednesday during a CNN interview about the soldiers captured by Iran, saying she once saw Iran from the island-nation of Bahrain.

    “I’ve been to the region,” Pelosi said during an interview with Chris Cuomo. “I’ve been to Bahrain and looked right across the Persian Gulf to Iran. Everything is very close there.”

    Image via Twitter/SenTomCotton

    Image via Twitter/SenTomCotton

    However, Pelosi stretched the truth a bit. Bahrain isn’t that close to Iran, and in fact, Iran is not visible from Bahrain.

    According to Mediaite, which mapped out the closest distance between Bahrain and Iran, Pelosi would have had to have eyes good enough to see for more than 116 miles. Despite Pelosi’s claim, it is impossible to see land at such a distance with the human eye, due to the Earth’s curvature.

    100-miles-650x530

    Image source: Mediaite

    According to livescience.com, the horizon line for a 6-foot-tall person is approximately three miles. However, the farther up one goes in altitude, the farther the horizon becomes. For example, on top of Mount Everest, which sits at 29,029 feet high, a person can see for nearly 230 miles.

    Watch her claim below:

    (H/T: Mediaite)


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  • U.S. Episcopal Church Sanctioned Over Gay Marriage
    Posted January 14, 2016 at 3:02 pm by Carly Hoilman

    Comments (107)

    The Anglican Communion voted Thursday to temporarily suspend its American branch, the U.S. Episcopal Church, from key positions in their global fellowship due to conflicting views on gay marriage.

    Episcopalians will be excluded from international Anglican committees and from decision-making for the 85-million-member fellowship. The sanctions will remain effective for three years.

    Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the spiritual leader of the Church of England. (AFP/Getty Images)

    Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (AFP/Getty Images)

    The decision came during a weeklong summit for the Anglican Communion held in Canterbury. Though the subject of gay marriage was expected to dominate the this week’s summit, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby had initially proposed that the Communion become something like a loose “federation” that would allow for opposing views while maintaining unity.

    Right now, the Church of England officially opposes same-sex marriage, but the pressure to change its views has been mounting for years.

    In June 2015, Archbishop Welby expressed “deep concern” over a move within the U.S. Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops to remove references to marriage as a union exclusively between a man and a woman.

    The revised marriage rites in Resolution A037 suggested allowing the option of using the words “wife,” “husband,” “person” or “spouse,” to make them potentially applicable for both heterosexual and same-sex couples. This revision came more than a decade after the Episcopal Church appointed its first openly gay bishop.

    “The traditional doctrine of the church in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds marriage as between a man and a woman in faithful, lifelong union. The majority of those gathered reaffirm this teaching,” an official statement read.

    Thursday’s vote asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to “appoint a task group to maintain conversations among ourselves with the intention of restoration of relationship, rebuilding of mutual trust,” RNS reported.

    Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has scheduled a news conference Friday in England to discuss the penalty.

  • Obama to Move on Another Big Issue ‘Despite Court Cases’ in Final Year
    Posted January 14, 2016 at 2:57 pm by Fred Lucas

    Comments (44)

    President Barack Obama has been criticized often for trying to do an end run around Congress on many issues. In his final year, he might try to do an end run around the Supreme Court.

    During a Twitter question-and-answer session Thursday, Obama said that he would move this year to restrict campaign contributions and spending, “despite court cases” such as Citizens United.

    This offers a possible glimpse into the “audacious executive action” White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough vowed that the president would take in 2016.

    The question came from Beverly Lau, of San Francisco, who was identified on Twitter as a software engineer. She asked, “What will you be doing toward campaign finance reform in your last year as president?”

    The president responded in all lower case letters: “despite court cases like citizens united ill work with orgs/states across US to find new ways 2 reduce $ in politics.”

    Encouraging states to pass laws that he couldn’t get passed at the federal level has been a key strategy on matters such as minimum wage hikes and gun control.

    During Obama’s time in office, the Supreme Court has twice ruled that campaign finance restrictions were a violation of free speech, first in the 2010 Citizens United case and then in the 2014 McCutcheon case.

  • Glenn Beck: New Movie About Benghazi Is an ‘Indictment’ on the Obama Administration
    Posted January 14, 2016 at 2:50 pm by Tré Goins-Phillips

    Comments (47)

    Glenn Beck took to radio Thursday to voice strong words for Michael Bay’s new “13 Hours” movie, which is a film adaptation of the book by the same title that purports to walks readers through the events that unfolded in Benghazi, Libya, Sept. 11, 2012.

    “It’s an indictment. It’s an out-and-out indictment,” Beck said on The Glenn Beck Radio Program. “This is one of the first movies I’ve seen that I believe every American should have to watch.”

    Glenn Beck discusses Michael Bay's "13 Hours" film Thursday, Jan. 14. (Image source: TheBlaze TV)

    Glenn Beck discusses Michael Bay’s “13 Hours” film Jan. 14. (Image source: TheBlaze TV)

    After seeing an advanced screening of the movie, which debuts Friday, Beck said he was both “angry” and “ashamed” at the way in which the attack at the consulate in Benghazi was handled.

    “I’ve never been more angry and more ashamed ever,” Beck said. “I’ve been ashamed of my country in the last eight years.”

    The radio host went on to say that the film left him “horrified” by the way “we abandoned these people,” suggesting that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama should have done more to resolve the situation.

    “[Obama and Clinton] didn’t even have to make it a priority. All they had to say was, ‘Get them. Get them. Go save them.’ We’re the United States of America,” Beck said later in the program. “They were on the back of pickup trucks. As the president likes to say all the time, ‘What, a bunch of guys on the back of the pickup’ — you just got your ass kicked by a bunch of guys on the back of pickup trucks because somebody had a different agenda.”

    According to Beck, “if you can get Democrats to come see this movie” — playing the video from Clinton’s original Benghazi testimony, in which she asked, “What difference does it make?” regarding the motivation behind those killed in the attack — is all that is necessary to convince them that she is in the wrong.

    “You’ve got to get people to go see this movie, because if you can get Democrats to come see this movie, then all you have to do is when you get out of the parking lot, you just play that little clip of Hillary,” Beck said. “[Y]ou play that, and they’ll go out of their minds. They’ll go out of their minds.”

    In the end, Beck said that every American should be “required” to see the movie and then answer one question.

    “This is one of the first movies I’ve seen that I believe every American should have to watch.  And you should be forced to make a decision right then: Is this who we are?” Beck said.

    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!

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  • City Agency Director Caught on Camera Cursing Reporter After Getting Busted for ‘Mrs. Doubtfire Moment’
    Posted January 14, 2016 at 2:47 pm by Jon Street

    Comments (0)

    The head of a city agency in Cranston, Rhode Island, is out of a job after what WJAR-TV described as a “Mrs. Doubtfire moment.”

    At a January 5 press conference, Sue Stenhouse, executive director of the Senior Enrichment Center, is seen standing next to the man, along with Cranston mayor Allan Fung. The individual was wearing a dress, earrings, lipstick and a wig, and, identified as a “Cranston Senior Home Resident,” WJAR-TV reported.

    Image source: WJAR-TV

    Image source: WJAR-TV

    But after the press conference, sources told WJAR-TV that the “woman” seen on stage during the event was really a man masquerading as a woman. The station reported that the man in the female costume worked as the bus driver for the senior center.

    WJAR-TV says it contacted Stenhouse before running its original story, but the city agency maintains she wasn’t aware that the story would air.

    “I’ve been in a meeting all night being a great public servant for the city of Warwick,” Stenhouse told reporter Brian Crandall who later showed up at her house.

    “Now, I get this bulls***. And you guys did not reach out to me. That was a big lie on the news,” Stenhouse said, after at first telling Crandall to leave.

    Fung’s office confirmed that Stenhouse resigned from her $54,491 annual salary position but declined to comment further, WJAR-TV reported.

    (H/T: WJAR-TV)

  • Christian Farm Owners Fought Back Against $13,000 Fine for Refusing to Host a Gay Wedding — but Here’s What Just Happened in Court
    Posted January 14, 2016 at 2:45 pm by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (758)

    A court has ruled against a husband and wife who own a farm in central New York, upholding a $13,000 fine that was imposed over the couple’s refusal to host a same-sex wedding on their property back in 2012.

    The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department, upheld a punishment imposed by New York’s Division of Human Rights that included $10,000 in fines and $3,000 in damages to be paid by Cynthia and Robert Gifford, owners of Liberty Ridge Farm, a farm and special events venue in Schaghticoke, New York.

    The couple was also reportedly told to implement mandatory courses that the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal firm, described in a press release as “re-education training classes designed to contradict the couple’s religious beliefs about marriage.”

    Liberty Ridge Farm (Alliance Defending Freedom)

    Liberty Ridge Farm (Alliance Defending Freedom)

    Attorneys with the organization had argued that the First Amendment protects the Christian couple, comparing forcing the family to host the wedding on the farm property to forcing someone to salute the American flag inside of a school, but that argument clearly didn’t resonate.

    “We had hoped that the court would recognize that the government has clearly gone too far,” James Trainor, an attorney working with the Alliance Defending Freedom, said of the case. “The Constitution prohibits the government from forcing anyone to help communicate messages that conflict with their core beliefs about marriage. The Giffords welcome all people to the farm, but not all messages or events.”

    As TheBlaze previously reported, the legal battle touched off in 2012 after the Giffords told Jennifer McCarthy and Melisa Erwin, a lesbian couple from Newark, New Jersey, that they were welcome to hold their reception on the property, but not the actual wedding ceremony, according to Religion News Service.

    The Giffords live on the premises; weddings are typically conducted on the first floor of their home or on the nearby property. McCarthy and Erwin, angry over the rejection, took their grievances — and audio from their conversation with the farm owners that was reportedly secretly recorded — to New York’s Division of Human Rights, claiming that they were discriminated against as a result of their sexual orientation.

    A judge agreed and the farm owners were fined $10,000 plus an additional $3,000 in damages for violating anti-discrimination regulations under New York’s Human Rights Law; the state legalized gay marriage in 2011.

    The web page where wedding details were once available has been removed

    The web page where wedding details were once available has been removed

    The couple began the appeal process back in October 2014, taking the case to the New York Supreme Court in Rensselaer County, which was later transferred to the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, Third Department in Albany.

    Trainor told TheBlaze in 2014 that the Gifford family would no longer host any weddings on their property as a result of the legal battle.

    “Going forward, [Cynthia and Robert Gifford] have decided to no longer host any wedding ceremonies on their property (other than the ones already under contract),” Trainor said. “Since the order essentially compelled them to do all ceremonies or none at all, they have chosen the latter in order to stay true to their religious convictions, even though it will likely hurt their business in the short run.”

    The Alliance Defending Freedom is currently discussing appeals options with the Giffords.

    Front page image via Shutterstock.com.

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  • Houston Janitor Discovers Fetus on the Floor of High School Women’s Bathroom
    Posted January 14, 2016 at 2:40 pm by Carly Hoilman

    Comments (53)

    The body of a human fetus was discovered late Wednesday afternoon on the floor of a Texas high school bathroom, KHOU-TV reported.

    Photo credit: Shutterstock

    Photo credit: Shutterstock

    A janitor who was cleaning a women’s bathroom at South Houston High School found the fetus.

    School officials were able to use surveillance video to identify the mother, who has since been taken in for medical care.

    As of Thursday afternoon, no further updates were available.

    (H/T: KHOU)

    __

    Front page image via Shutterstock

  • ‘Elections by the People’: New Social Platform Allows Voters to Take Control of Elections With Their Own Town Halls
    Posted January 14, 2016 at 2:35 pm by Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Comments (22)

    As voters walk into the voting booth this election, they won’t be entirely alone.

    Change.org has become synonymous with petitions as it revolutionized the way people across the globe could demand just what its name says — change. Now, the “empowerment platform” is delving into the world of politics with a new tool designed to increase engagement between voters and politicians that seek their support.

    Screen grab from ChangePolitics.org

    Image source: ChangePolitics.org

    “Elections by the people,” Change Politics’ website boasts on its front page. Launched Thursday, the new site from the social enterprise company is created to “empower voters to make informed decisions on Election Day” in two different ways: Voters can ask questions directly to candidates through a sort of digital town hall;  and they can to see who people they respect — family members, pundits, local community leaders, large organizations, etc. — have endorsed.

    “We think it’s possible for people, by using recommendations by their friends and through the site and changing or adjusting their vote because of it, we change elections,” Ben Rattray, CEO of Change.org, told TheBlaze in an interview prior to Change Politics’ launch. “And this is not just at the national level but certainly at the local level around school boards and mayors and city councilors and ballot initiatives where people have tremendously little information.”

    “Even if we only influence a few percent of the voting public, [we] have the potential to empower people and change elections,” Rattray said.

    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 29:  Ben Rattray attends the 2014 Time 100 Gala at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 29, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)

    Ben Rattray, CEO of Change.org (D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)

    Several 2016 presidential hopefuls have already signed onto Change Politics and promised to answer these town hall-style questions, including Democratic candidates former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Republican candidates Dr. Ben Carson, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

    With the control in the hands of the voters, Rattray said it “incentivizes candidates to gain the trust of the most influential people in a community, rather than the usual political activists.”

    “Many elections are decided by only a few points, and the people that we think are going to be most likely to use [Change Politics] are voters that impact those elections,” Rattray said.

    People already rely on recommendations for movies and restaurants, Rattray said, so it seems like a no-brainer that voters would utilize a site built for recommendations from trusted sources on political candidates or issues.

    “Instead of trying to build a new social network around social issues, we provide tools that empower people to do things that they already want to do, which is mobilize others to advance a cause they care about or specific legislation,” Rattray told TheBlaze. “It’s not about changing behavior; it’s about servicing an existing need people have identified.”

    Several questions have already been asked on the site, ranging from how do presidential candidates expect to reduce gun violence to alleviating the national debt.

    Rattray said viral campaigns on Change.org are oftentimes unexpected — and he expects that same unpredictability from Change Politics. 

  • This Hotel Wants You to Know You Are A Welcome Guest…if ‘Your Dog Can Vouch for You’
    Posted January 14, 2016 at 2:18 pm by Kate Scanlon

    Comments (28)

    A San Francisco hotel has posted a sign advising their guests that they are welcome “as long as your dog can vouch for you.”

    The sign welcoming furry friends at Cartwright Hotel Union Square has made an impact on social media.

    “Dogs are welcome in this hotel,” the sign says.

    We love this sign. Do you have a favourite dog friendly hotel? Why do you like it so much?

    Posted by Park Bench on Wednesday, January 13, 2016

    According to the sign, posted by “The Management,” man’s best friend is a much more considerate hotel guest than man himself.

    “We never had a dog that smoked in bed or set fire to the blankets,” the sign says. “We never had a dog that stole our towels and played the T.V. too loud, or had a noisy fight with his traveling companion. We never had a dog that got drunk and broke up the furniture….So if your dog can vouch for you, you’re welcome too.”

    A spokesperson for the Cartwright Hotel Union Square confirmed to TheBlaze that the sign is from their hotel.

  • Tech Rumor: Apple’s iPhone 7 May Be Missing This Important Part
    Posted January 14, 2016 at 2:03 pm by Kathryn Blackhurst

    Comments (52)

    Widespread reports and speculation surrounding the 2016 release of Apple’s iPhone 7 have led many to believe that the new model will definitely be missing a headphone jack, according to a Fortune report.

    Photo credit: Shutterstock

    Photo credit: Shutterstock

    A Fast Company story, which alleged that the iPhone 7 “will come without a 3.5mm headphone jack,” set the rumor mill abuzz as interested parties speculated about whether or not the newest model will be noticeably thinner in appearance, waterproof, and be able to support wireless charging. Fast Company claimed to have a source who confirmed that the new iPhone would rely fully upon a Lightning cable port for sound output for wired headphones, while also allowing customers to use wireless headphones and Bluetooth technology.

    “Is Apple really prepared to render obsolete countless third-party headphones, hundreds of millions of its own white earbuds, and those clever magstrip credit-card readers (like Square’s) that slot into the port?” Philip Elmer-Dewitt wrote in a November Fortune article. “It wouldn’t be the first time Apple had abandoned a popular technological standard in the name of a higher purpose.”

    Fast Company’s source maintained that Apple’s removal of the headphone jack still would be consistent with the company’s policy of improving its devices to make them simpler and smaller. The source also speculated that, instead of including a set of Lightning-connected EarPod earphones with the iPhone 7, “it’s more likely … that Apple will sell a more expensive pair of noise-canceling, Lightning-connected, earphones or headphones separately — possibly under its Beats brand. Others say Apple may include with the iPhone 7 an adapter that will allow users to plug regular 3.5mm analog headphones into the new phone.”

    Other rumors circulating about the iPhone 7 set to hit stores sometime this year surround the inclusion of a new form factor, a bigger battery, better-quality photos with a dual-action camera, more RAM, 256GB of storage space and more, according to BGR.

    Follow Kathryn Blackhurst (@kablackhurst) on Twitter

    Front page image via Shutterstock

  • See the Strong Message Rand Paul Says His Supporters Are Sending the Media After Excluding Him From Tonight’s GOP Debate
    Posted January 14, 2016 at 1:53 pm by Tré Goins-Phillips

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    Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), who is known for his brash style on the campaign trail, didn’t hold back when asked about his plans to skip the Fox Business GOP undercard debate Thursday night.

    “I think to be artificially designated in some kind of lower or second tier sends a signal to the voter that you’re not the same and don’t have a chance,” Paul told ABC News Radio’s Aaron Katersky. “It’s a big field. If you’re in the second tier of a 12-person race, it really is sending the wrong message to the voters.”

    But the Kentucky senator, who will be hosting an online town hall during the time of the debate, used more than words to get his message across.

    “Your supporters, from what you’re hearing from them, do they back you in this?” Katersky asked.

    “99 percent of our supporters are calling and saying, for the media, ‘That’s where you can go,’” Paul said, while waving his middle finger at the reporter.

    Katersky, who laughed at the gesture, told Paul he didn’t take it personally. “Not you, of course,” Paul clarified with a chuckle.

    According to the latest polling data out of Iowa, Paul is at 5 percent in the state, which will hold its first-in-the-nation caucus Feb. 1.

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  • Pakistani Family Says Teenage Christian Daughter Kidnapped, ‘Forced to Convert to Islam and Marry Her Abductor’
    Posted January 14, 2016 at 1:50 pm by Carly Hoilman

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    A Christian teenage girl was recently abducted in Pakistan by a group of Muslim men and then forced to convert to Islam and marry one of her captors, her family has claimed.

    The girl, 15-year-old Saima Bibi, was alone in a village in the Kasur district of Pakistan when she was kidnapped, her brother Riaz Masih said. The family have issued a case against Saima’s captors with police in Kasur, ucanews.com reported.

    shutterstock_302388626

    Photo credit: Shutterstock

    “We have been told that she has married after converting to Islam with a Muslim man Tanvir, her kidnapper,” Masih told ucanews.com. “My sister … is 15 years old. We have her birth certificate, which will be produced before the court.”

    Saima’s family hopes providing a birth certificate that verifies her age will prove useful in the case, as the legal marriage age in Pakistan is 16. The police, however, already confirmed that Saima converted to Islam and officials have documents proving the marriage.

    “We will produce the couple before a local court, where the girl can testify whether she was kidnapped or willingly married the Muslim man,” police officer Noor Ahmed said.

    Father Joseph Louis, the executive secretary of Caritas Pakistan, called the abduction an attack on religious freedom. ”This is unacceptable, we totally condemn this,” he said. “We demand that courts give justice to the affected family.”

    According to the Movement for Solidarity and Peace, a research, education and advocacy group, 700 non-Muslim girls are converted to Islam each year in Pakistan. Christians and Hindus are commonly targeted minority groups.

    Sardar Mushtaq Gill, a Christian lawyer and head of Legal Evangelical Association Development, told ucanews.com that it is common in cases like this for perpetrators to take a plea of marriage and conversion to Islam in order to “save themselves from criminal charges of rape and kidnapping.”

    The forced marriages and conversions follow a similar pattern, in which a young Christian girl is abducted, converted to Islam and then married to the abductor or a third party, MSP told ucanews.com. Families often file complaints, which are usually countered by the abductors.

    (H/T: ucanews.com)

    Front page image via Shutterstock

  • Hillary Iowa Supporters ‘Feeling PTSD’ Over Sanders Surge
    Posted January 14, 2016 at 1:41 pm by Fred Lucas

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    Just 18 days before the 2008 Iowa caucus, Hillary Clinton held a four-point lead over insurgent Democratic candidate Barack Obama. Eight years later, she is neck and neck with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

    “I still have 2008 PTSD, and I’m feeling a lot of it right now,” one Iowa Clinton supporter told Mashable. “These polls have closed up. His fervent support is not something she’s matching. … Things seem to be a little off the rails.”

    Joe Raedle/Getty Images

    Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders addresses Hillary Clinton during a Democratic presidential debate on CNN. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

    A Des Moines/Bloomberg News poll found Clinton leading in Iowa by two points. But the American Research Group poll showed Sanders leading Clinton by three points.

    Most polls are within the margin of error. Meanwhile, Sanders holds a clear lead in New Hampshire.

    “I have a buddy who was with Obama last time who has been sending around links to recent stories and polling data that read the exact same as at this point in 2007 and 2008,” John Davis, a Clinton backer who was former Rep. Bruce Braley’s (D-Iowa) chief of staff, told Mashable.

    Clinton has turned up the heat on Sanders, attacking him for his past positions supporting gun rights and for wanting to overhaul Obamacare and change it to a single-payer system.

    Washington Post columnist Chris Cilliza wrote that Sanders could win both early states, adding that some Clinton supporters are prepared for that.

    There are many Democrats who think that Clinton will be the nominee no matter what happens in Iowa and New Hampshire. That Sanders’ inability to win over African-American and Hispanic voters will doom him when the primary race moves to the south and west. …

    Politics is a changeable business. History has shown that how one state votes influences how the states that follow it in the primary process vote. That’s why losing Iowa and New Hampshire, which now seems possible if not likely, is a nightmare scenario for Clinton. And one that should make her very nervous.

    (H/T: Epoch Times)

  • Glenn Beck Pushes Rand Paul on Ted Cruz’s Eligibility for President — See the Answer He Got
    Posted January 14, 2016 at 1:33 pm by Tré Goins-Phillips

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    Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) has drawn the ire of many within conservative circles for apparently flip-flopping on GOP rival Sen. Ted Cruz’s (Texas) eligibility for the presidency.

    In 2013, Paul told CNN, “You won’t find me questioning his eligibility.” But now Paul seems to have changed his mind, claiming not to be an “expert on the ‘natural born’ clause in the Constitution.” In addition, Paul said nobody knows how the court would rule on Cruz’s eligibility should it make it the U.S. Supreme Court because it’s “never been adjudicated before.”

    Rand Paul discussing Ted Cruz's eligibility for the presidency Thursday, Jan. 14. (Image source: TheBlaze TV)

    Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) discussed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s eligibility for the presidency Jan. 14 on The Glenn Beck Radio Show. (Image source: TheBlaze TV)

    That answer, however, was not satisfactory to Glenn Beck, who pressed Paul on the issue during his eponymous radio program Thursday morning.

    “If you’re not a constitutional scholar, if you’re not a constitutional expert, then what the hell are we voting for you for?” Beck asked the Kentucky senator.

    Paul made the argument that the U.S. Constitution is “ambiguous” on the “natural born” clause, so he doesn’t know what the courts would rule. But Beck continued to push.

    “So let me just ask you this question: What does Rand Paul say? Not what the courts say. You know you’ve studied this out in your head enough,” Beck said. “If you weren’t running for president of the United States … if we were just sitting in a room together, what would you say? Is he qualified to run for president or not?”

    Ultimately, Paul’s answer was simple: “Yes.”

    “If I had to say, I would say the courts in all likelihood would say ‘yes,’” Paul told Beck. “But I will say that no court has ever decided what it means to be ‘natural born’ with regard to eligibility of the president.”

    Paul did clarify that he is unsure as to whether or not “natural born” means one has to be born within the borders of the United States. Paul said the question remains open as far as the courts are concerned.

    Questions about Cruz’s eligibility for the White House first made national headlines when Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump — who previously said the Texas lawmaker was eligible — said Cruz’s Canadian birth was a “big problem” for the Republican Party.

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  • Journalist Reveals the ‘Smoking Gun’ Piece of Evidence That Convinces Him That ‘Making a Murderer’ Subject Steven Avery Is Guilty
    Posted January 14, 2016 at 1:15 pm by Billy Hallowell

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    WISN radio reporter Dan O’Donnell was in the courtroom during Steven Avery’s now-infamous murder trial. And after hearing the evidence first-hand — and seeing Netflix’s hit documentary “Making a Murderer” — he’s speaking out, detailing exactly why he believes Avery is guilty.

    O’Donnell, who has called the documentary “one of the more slanted, one-sided pieces of storytelling in recent memory,” has launched a podcast series, aimed at diving deep into evidence that he believes implicates Avery, beyond a reasonable doubt, in the 2005 murder of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach.

    Titled “Rebutting a Murderer,” the podcast series tackles the narrative presented in “Making a Murderer” through a point-by-point analysis, with O’Donnell telling The Church Boys podcast on Wednesday that he embarked on the project after seeing that so many people have “such a misled idea about this case and what the evidence actually showed.”

    When asked to explain the single piece of bombshell proof that convinced him of Avery’s guilt, O’Donnell was quick to answer that it was the bullet fragment with Halbach’s DNA that was found in Avery’s garage.

    “There was almost, literally a smoking gun found. To me, it was the bullet,” O’Donnell told The Church Boys. “And this is presented as somehow being planted, but remember it wasn’t until Brendan Dassey’s confession that they even knew … that Teresa Halbach was shot — and shot in Steven Avery’s garage. It was a tiny little bullet fragment.”

    Listen to O’Donnell explain this evidence, and respond point-by-point to individual theories presented by the defense:

    The fragment, which was found to have Halbach’s blood on it, has been a point of contention, with critics pushing back with claims that the analyst who found the DNA on the bullet might have contaminated it with her own DNA. But others have said that this had no impact on finding Halbach’s DNA on the fragment.

    Listen to episode one of O’Donnell’s “Rebutting a Murderer” below and check out his entire series here.

    O’Donnell is hardly the only person who believes that Avery is guilty of murder, as Jodi Stachowski, Avery’s ex-fiancée, made a series of bombshell claims in an exclusive HLN interview that aired on Wednesday, saying that she believes that the convicted murderer is guilty of killing 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach and that he once threatened to murder her as well.

    “He threatened to kill me and my family and a friend of mine,” she said, explaining that she was once in a bathtub when he said he would “throw a blowdryer in” and allegedly told Stachowski that he believed he could get away with it.

    Others, though, insist that Avery was framed or that, at the least, the police did a poor job investigating the case. Listen to Dean Strang, one of Avery’s defense attorneys, telling The Church Boys podcast why he believes Avery is innocent below:

    In case you want more background on the case: Avery was originally convicted of sexual assault in 1985, serving 18 years until he was exonerated in 2003 based on DNA evidence.

    Two years after his exoneration and release, Avery sued the Manitowoc County sheriffs department for $36 million over his false imprisonment. But in 2005, just weeks after depositions of local cops who were associated with the case and subsequent lawsuit took place, Avery was, again, arrested — but this time on an entirely different charge: murder.

    In a shocking twist of events, Avery went from a well-known exoneree in a sexual assault case to an accused killer, as prosecutors claimed that he murdered Halbach, a photographer who had come to his house on Oct. 31, 2005, to photograph a van for Auto Trader magazine.

    Avery and his nephew — then-16-year-old Brendan Dassey — were eventually convicted of the crime in 2007; both men are currently serving life sentences, with the former having no chance of parole, as the New York Times reported.

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  • Backstreet Boy Arrested After Saloon Fight in Florida: Report
    Posted January 14, 2016 at 1:10 pm by Kathryn Blackhurst

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    Backstreet Boys singer and onetime “Dancing With the Stars” contestant Nick Carter was arrested in Florida Wednesday evening after he was allegedly involved in a scuffle outside a bar.

    The 35-year-old boy-band member was reportedly intoxicated before Key West police officers arrived at the Hog’s Breath Saloon, according to the Associated Press. The trouble apparently began when a bartender refused to serve Carter and California man Michael Rae Papayans, 27, allegedly because both men were already intoxicated.

    When the bartender asked them repeatedly to leave, Carter and Papayans became “agitated” and “aggressive,” the AP reported. But when the men exited the bar, Papayans allegedly head-butted on employee as Carter seized a nearby bouncer by his throat, the report stated.

    Carter is being held at the Monroe County jail, where he awaits his first appearance for a charge of misdemeanor battery, according to WTVJ-TV. Papayans is also being held on a charge of misdemeanor battery, and it remains unclear whether Carter or Papayans have hired attorneys.

    This incident does not mark Carter’s first run-in with the law — he was arrested in 2002 at a Florida nightclub and in 2005 for charges concerning driving under the influence, WTVJ reported. Carter subsequently attended mandatory alcohol education classes, as well as Alcoholics Anonymous events.

    Carter was a founding member of the Backstreet Boys when it formed in Orlando in 1993, alongside A.J. McLean, Howie Dorough, Kevin Richardson, and Brian Littrell. Carter and his wife, Lauren Kitt, announced in November that they were expecting their first child together, according to E!Online.

    Follow Kathryn Blackhurst (@kablackhurst) on Twitter

  • Donald Trump Claims That His Political Uprising Is Larger Than Ronald Reagan’s
    Posted January 14, 2016 at 12:48 pm by Chris Enloe

    Comments (92)

    Billionaire businessman Donald Trump said in an interview Wednesday night that his political uprising is greater than that of former President Ronald Reagan.

    “I think that the closest thing I can think of is Reagan, but I don’t think it’s the intensity that we have,” Trump told Bloomberg Politics‘ Mark Halperin and John Heilemann about his presidential campaign just minutes after a speech in Pensacola, Florida.

    Image credit: Bloomberg/screenshot

    Image source: Bloomberg

    “Now, Reagan had a little bit of this, but I don’t think to the same extent — but he also won,” he added. “And don’t forget, we are very far out. This far out, the Secret Service and the all of the people, these are fantastic people … and everybody tells me that they’ve never seen crowds like this, this far away from November — it’s a long ways away.”

    Trump went on to tell the duo that he’s very “honored” by the support, noting that he is a serious candidate, calling his campaign a political “movement.” He also emphasized that his supporters are very committed to his campaign, pointing to the long wait times to get into his rallies.

    “Why would a person stand in line for seven hours and then not want to go into a voting booth?” Trump asked rhetorically. “It takes 10 minutes. So I think they’re going to vote.”

    Ahead of Thursday’s GOP debate, Trump continues to have a dominating lead in the polls. According to the latest national average from Real Clear Politics, Trump has a 16-point lead over second-place Ted Cruz, 35 percent to 19 percent.


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  • Obama’s Emphatic Answer When Asked if the First Lady Would Run for President
    Posted January 14, 2016 at 12:38 pm by Fred Lucas

    Comments (79)

    During a town hall meeting Thursday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Obama asserted that his wife Michelle Obama would never run for president.

    First Lady Michelle Obama waves before the arrival of US President Barack Obama before the State of the Union Address during a Joint Session of Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 12, 2016. Barack Obama will give his final State of the Union address, perhaps the last big opportunity of his presidency to sway a national audience and frame the 2016 election race. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB / AFP / SAUL LOEB (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

    First Lady Michelle Obama waves before the arrival of President Barack Obama before the State of the Union Address at the U.S. Capitol Tuesday. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

    When a man stood up in the crowd at McKinley High School, asserting he is the proud father of a Secret Service agent, he asked, “Since you can’t run for another term, is there any way we can we talk the first lady into running?”

    Obama responded with an emphatic “No.”

    The crowd laughed.

    “Three things are certain in life,” Obama said. “Death, taxes and the first lady is not running for president.”

    He went on to praise the first lady’s activism against childhood obesity and on behalf of the nation’s veterans.

    Obama made the unambiguous assertion about his wife’s future as former first lady Hillary Clinton seeks the Democratic presidential nomination.

  • The One Issue on Which Mitt Romney Claims the Republican Party Is ‘Nuts’
    Posted January 14, 2016 at 12:25 pm by Carly Hoilman

    Comments (76)

    Former Massachusetts Gov. and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has remained true to his party throughout the 2016 race, but lately he has been outspoken about a significant qualm he has with the GOP.

    Romney has long advocated for raising the minimum wage, a view that apparently none of this year’s Republican candidates shares. In a recent interview with the Washington Post, Romney shared that frankly, he thinks that’s “nuts.”

    “As a party we speak a lot about deregulation and tax policy, and you know what? People have been hearing that for 25 years, and they’re getting tired of that message,” Romney said in a recent interview. He added, “I think we’re nuts not to raise the minimum wage. I think, as a party, to say we’re trying to help the middle class of America and the poor and not raise the minimum wage sends exactly the wrong signal.”

    This is not a new stance for Romney, whose 2012 platform included a minimum wage hike.

    AP/Carlos Osorio

    Former Massachusetts Republican Gov. Mitt Romney (AP/Carlos Osorio)

    It’s not, however, looking like this year’s Republican candidates will heed Romney’s advice. In fact, many GOP candidates, including former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, have suggested making the federal minimum wage $0.

    MSNBC reported that Fiorina sees the federal minimum wage as “unconstitutional” and Rubio doesn’t think it “works.” Bush holds that minimum wage laws should be left to the states, not the federal government.

    During the Kemp Forum on Expanding Opportunity in South Carolina last weekend, several GOP candidates were given an opportunity to share their approaches to combatting poverty. None of them proposed an increase in the minimum wage.

    (H/T: MSNBC)

  • Blaze Poll: Would You Take the ‘Poop Pill’ to Lose Weight?
    Posted January 14, 2016 at 11:47 am by Mike Opelka

    Comments (111)

    If it helped you lose weight, would you take a pill made out of freeze-dried poop harvested from healthy, skinny people?

    The U.S. government has just announced a clinical trial which that test something called “Fecal Microbiota Transplant for Obesity and Metabolism” or FMT.

    A woman passes an advertisement outside a fast food outlet on January 7, 2013 in Bristol, England. (Photo: Getty Images)

    Getty Images

    The announcement of the clinical trial sponsored by Massachusetts General Hospital, states, “The purpose of this study is to study the impact of gut bacteria on weight. Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) transfers intestinal bacteria by a ‘stool transplant’ from a healthy, lean person to a person with obesity.”

    For anyone interested in the pill, but concerned about the smell or taste of it, according to Dr. Elaine Yu, an assistant professor at Massachusetts General and the person running the study, the pills are “odorless, tasteless, double-encapsulated.”

    A pill-based treatment that uses freeze-dried fecal matter from healthy individuals is nothing new. This kind of therapy has proved to be effective in helping people with severe gastric infections, some of which are resistant to antibiotics.

    One such infection, clostridium difficile, commonly called “C. diff,” reportedly strikes almost 500,000 Americans each year. The Centers for Disease Control reports that C. diff kills 15,000 people each year, calling it “a very important cause of infectious disease death in the United States.”

    The weight loss study seeks 21 participants, men and women, between the ages of 25 and 60. However, you cannot be “healthy.” Since they are looking to test the pill’s effectiveness on obese individuals, your body mass index has to be above 30.

    Pregnant women are also excluded from the study, as are people with food allergies and “immunosuppressed patients.”

    Interested persons are also instructed to consult their own doctors before applying to the program.

    We invite you to take TheBlaze Poll and add your comments below.

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