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  • Ivanka Trump Mulls Over Possible Future in Politics, Says She Is Not Part of Father’s Campaign
    Posted December 29, 2015 at 7:08 pm by Chris Enloe

    Comments (25)

    Ivanka Trump, eldest daughter of Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, may have political aspirations of her own.

    In an interview with Town & Country magazine published on Tuesday, Ivanka, who works as an executive vice president of the Trump Organization, didn’t rule out a future in politics.

    Ivanka Trump, Oct. 14, 2015. (Getty Images/Paul Morigi/TIME)

    Ivanka Trump, Oct. 14, 2015. (Getty Images/Paul Morigi/TIME)

    “It’s not something I’ve ever been inclined to do, but I’m 34, so who knows?” she told the magazine. “At this point I would never even contemplate it, but that doesn’t mean that when I’m 50 I won’t have a change of heart.”

    Also during the interview, Ivanka was asked about her father’s views toward gender equality, most specifically whether or not he is a feminist.

    “You’d have to ask him that,” Ivanka said, adding that her father has “confidence in women to do any job that a man can do, and my whole life has been proof of that.”

    “He 100 percent believes in equality of gender,” she told the reporter.

    While she’s often asked about Donald’s political positions, Ivanka assured the reporter that she is not part of her father’s campaign.

    “[H]e’s my father and I love him and I fully support him,” she said. “I’m always there for him if it’s helpful.”

  • Feminist Founder of Femen Brazil Apologizes to Christians and Declares Herself Pro-Life
    Posted December 29, 2015 at 7:06 pm by Carly Hoilman

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    Three years after founding the Brazilian feminist group Femen Now, Sara Fernanda Giromin, better known by her alias, “Sara Winter,” has declared war on feminism and abortion.

    Giromin, who was formerly known for holding topless marches, largely attributes her radical shift to the birth of her second child, LifeSite News reported. Back in October, a month after her child was born, the former feminist shared about the regret she experienced after aborting her first child.

    “I have repented of having had an abortion and today I ask for forgiveness,” Giromin wrote, claiming that after the birth of her baby, “life has taken on a new meaning.”

    “Please, women who are desperate to abort, think carefully about it. I was very sorry I did it. I don’t want the same for you,” she added.

    In the months following her post, Giromin has exhibited a growing disillusionment with the feminist movement. Giromin, who formerly identified as “bisexual,” has also apologized to Christians for kissing another seminude girl in front of the Church of Our Lady of Candelária in Rio de Janeiro back in January 2014. The photo of the two women became iconic of homosexual contempt for Christianity in Brazil, LifeSite News reported.

    In a YouTube video published earlier this month, Giromin, who founded Femen Now at age 19, apologized to Christians for her past transgressions.


    Sarah Fernanda Giromin. Image source: Instituto Liberal.

    “We went way too far and ended up offending many religious and non-religious people,” she added, labeling her actions “blasphemy.” Giromin also indicated that she continues to progress in her own spiritual walk, though her current beliefs remain unsettled.

    Giromin left Femen in 2013 in order to form a new feminist group, “Bastardxs,” which retained much of Femen’s goals and topless protests, but included men and women.

    She now has denounced her affiliation with feminism entirely, rejecting the movement as a religious “sect” that objectifies women, promotes lesbianism and overlooks pedophilia in its midst.

    “For the feminist sect women are not the inspiration; they are prime matter in the worst sense of the term. They are convenient objects useful for the purpose of inflaming hatred against the Christian religion, hatred against men, hatred against the beauty of women, hatred against the equilibrium of families. That’s what feminism is, and I can guarantee it is like that because I was on the inside!”

    Giromin recently published a short book that tells of the abuse she endured from fellow feminists. Her new book, “B*tch, no! Seven times I was betrayed by Feminism” (Vadia não! Sete vezes que fui traída pelo feminismo), details how Giromin was pushed to do drugs, have sex with strangers and even endure molestation by a lesbian, all because of feminists claiming the actions to be in the name of women’s equality.

    “I left that movement of which for four years I was one of the principal symbols in Brazil, and no one can say the contrary!” Giromin wrote. “The result? Today I’m much happier and I’m able to help women more.”

    (H/T: LifeSite News)

  • Hillary’s ‘Wage Gap’ Ad Omits Important Information About the Bill Clinton and Obama Administrations
    Posted December 29, 2015 at 6:56 pm by Fred Lucas

    Comments (48)

    The Hillary Clinton presidential campaign has begun air ads in Iowa bemoaning the income inequality between CEOs and average workers in the country. But the ad doesn’t mention the wage gap was wider during President Bill Clinton’s administration than now.

    Nor does the ad state that the gap between CEO and average employee pay has grown steadily during the Obama administration.

    “On average, it takes three hundred Americans working for a solid year to make as much money as one top CEO,” the narrator says in the ad says. “It’s called the wage gap.”

    The ad continues, “And the Republicans will make it worse by lowering taxes for those at the top and letting corporations write their own rules.”

    The 300 workers figure most likely comes from a June 2014 study by the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank, which found that the pay ratio between CEOs and the average worker was 295.9 to 1. That gap increasingly widened under the Obama administration. But it’s actually lower than the gap during the last year of her husband’s administration.

    In 2000, President Bill Clinton’s final year in office and Hillary Clinton’s final year as first lady, the ratio of CEO pay to average workers was 384.4 to 1. Thus, using that same logic, under the first Clinton administration – which Democrats frequently site for a booming economy – it would take 384.4 workers to make the pay of one CEO during the Clinton’s final year in the White House.

    By 2007, during President George W. Bush’s administration, the number had fallen modestly to 351.3, which came before the large economic downturn of 2008.

    The Clinton campaign did not respond to inquirin

    When Obama took office in 2009, the ratio was 193.2, meaning that on average, it would take almost 200 workers’ earnings to cover the earnings of one CEO, according to the EPI study. The pay gap steadily grew under Obama until in 2013, when the EPI numbers show it would take almost 300 workers to equal to the earnings of a CEO.

  • Take a Look at How Much the Taxpayers Are Shelling Out for One Obama Christmas Vacation
    Posted December 29, 2015 at 6:48 pm by Fred Lucas

    Comments (210)

    For the last week and a half, President Barack Obama has been in Hawaii celebrating Christmas with his family, playing golf with friends and eating shaved ice on family outings.

    It might take a couple of years before taxpayers know the precise cost of this year’s Christmas vacation, but if it’s similar to previous years, such as 2013, it will cost more than $8 million.

    President Barack Obama watches his approach to the 18th green at the Mid-Pacific Country Club golf course December 28, 2015 in Kailua, Hawaii. Obama and the First Family are in Hawaii for vacation. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP / BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

    President Barack Obama watches his approach to the 18th green at the Mid-Pacific Country Club golf course December 28, 2015 in Kailua, Hawaii. Obama and the First Family are in Hawaii for vacation. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

    While all private vacations are paid for in part out of the first family’s own money, taxpayers cover the bulk of the flight cost and all of the cost for Secret Service detail. The most recent data shows that the 2013 Christmas vacation by the Obama family in Hawaii cost taxpayers $8.09 million.

    Almost two years after a records request, the Secret Service on Monday provided conservative government watchdog group Judicial Watch information showing the cost of security for the 17-day trip in December 2013 lasting into January 2014 cost $316,698.

    President Barack Obama leaves Island Snow with shaved ice after a visit to the beach December 27, 2015 in Kailua, Hawaii. Obama and the First Family are in Hawaii for vacation. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP / BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

    President Barack Obama leaves Island Snow with shaved ice after a visit to the beach December 27, 2015 in Kailua, Hawaii. Obama and the First Family are in Hawaii for vacation. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

    In March 2014, the Department of Air Force released to Judicial Watch that the first family incurred $7.78 million. That’s was 36.9 hours at $210,877 per hour.

    “The $317,000 in Secret Service expenses are only the tip of the iceberg for the true cost of Obama’s 2013 vacation in Hawaii, which has now skyrocketed to $8,098,060,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “It is nice to know that Obama’s ‘tradition’ of Christmas vacations in Hawaii comes courtesy of overburdened taxpayers.”

    Judicial Watch filed the Freedom of Information Act request on Jan. 6, 2014, and received the documents on Dec. 28. The information was heavily redacted, but shows $91,751.78 in car rental expenses was paid while $224,974.05 in accommodation expenses was paid to Cabana Girl, LLC and Paradise Luxury Rentals.

    “It seems our lawsuits finally got the attention of the Secret Service,” Fitton said. “It is easy to see why the Secret Service, reeling from its own scandals, covered up these outrageous expense numbers for just one of Obama’s luxury Christmas vacation.”

    The known total expense to taxpayers thus far for all Obama travel is now $70.8 million, according to Judicial Watch.

    White House rules for vacations, or unofficial travel such as political travel, requires reimbursing the government the equivalent to the cost of what a first class commercial flight would have been. Such a reimbursement would amount to only a fraction of the total cost of most presidential travel because it does not include the cost of Secret Service protection and while a commercial airline ticket is significantly less than the cost of operating a military passenger jet.

  • Back-of-the-Pack Santorum Reminds Voters: There’s Still Weeks Until Iowa, Nothing Is Set in Stone
    Posted December 29, 2015 at 5:13 pm by Chris Enloe

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    Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum reminded his supporters in a tweet Tuesday morning that there’s still plenty of time until Iowa voters decide who the real frontrunners are in the race for the 2016 nomination.

    In his tweet, the former Pennsylvania senator said that in the weeks and days heading into the 2012 Iowa caucuses, he only had 3 percent of support among likely Republican caucus-goers. In fact, in mid-December 2011, Newt Gingrich was leading in the state while Santorum’s support was, indeed, in the single digits, according to Real Clear Politics.

    But in the last two weeks of December, especially following Christmas 2011, Santorum mounted a comeback as Gingrich quickly faded. In the end, Santorum narrowly edged out eventual nominee Mitt Romney for the win in Iowa.

    Rick Santorum following his win in the 2012 Iowa caucuses, Jan. 2012. (Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla)

    Rick Santorum following his win in the 2012 Iowa caucus. (Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla)

    While Santorum is unlikely to make another comeback in 2016, his tweet illustrates the point that although Iowa seems settled again this year, things could still shift in the five weeks before Iowa voters caucus on Feb. 1.

    This year Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and billionaire businessman Donald Trump share a commanding lead in the Hawkeye state — 30 percent and 27.5 percent, respectively. One poll even has Cruz leading with as much as 40 percent of the support, much more than Gingrich’s 30-33 percent in late November 2011.

    While a repeat of 2012 isn’t impossible for candidates behind Cruz and Trump, it appears unlikely. Whoever does win Iowa is likely to see a boost that lasts a few weeks. But traditionally, that boost does not translate into much success down the stretch.

    The last two winners of the Iowa caucuses, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in 2008 and Santorum in 2012, did not see a lot of success past Iowa. In fact, it only took two months after Iowa for Huckabee to bow out in 2008.

    Santorum, on the other hand, had a little more longevity. He stayed in the race for three months following his Iowa win, before admitting defeat and handing the 2012 nomination to Mitt Romney.

  • Poll: Vast Majority of Americans Dissatisfied With U.S. Government
    Posted December 29, 2015 at 4:52 pm by Chris Enloe

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    The overwhelming majority of Americans are dissatisfied with the United States government and its handling of the nation, a new CNN/ORC poll revealed Tuesday.

    According to the poll, 75 percent of Americans are not happy with the state of the nation, as President Barack Obama heads into his final year in office. Sixty-nine percent of respondents also said they were at least “somewhat angry” with Washington.

    The early morning sun strikes the U.S. Capitol, Nov. 6, 2006. (Getty Images/Win McNamee)

    The early morning sun strikes the U.S. Capitol, Nov. 6, 2006. (Getty Images/Win McNamee)

    While the majority of Republicans and Democrats are discontent, the poll found that more Republicans dislike the state of the nation than Democrats.

    Overall, 90 percent of Republicans said they dislike the direction of the country while 82 percent said they’re angry about it.

    The majority of Americans also agree about who they’re most dissatisfied with: Congress.

    According to the poll, Congress has a disapproval rating of 85 percent, while only 14 percent of Americans say they approve of the job Congress is doing. That’s a 7-point drop from February.

    As far as Obama is concerned, his numbers are much better than his counterparts on Capitol Hill. Only 50 percent view Obama unfavorably compared to 48 percent of Americans with a favorable view of him. In terms of job performance, only 47 percent approve of it while 52 percent disapprove.

    The survey of 1,018 adults conducted via telephone between Dec. 17-21 had a margin of error of 3 percent.

  • U.S. Military Official: Airstrikes Killed 10 Islamic State Leaders Over Past Month
    Posted December 29, 2015 at 4:29 pm by Chris Enloe

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    WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. and coalition airstrikes killed 10 Islamic State leaders over the past month, including several linked to the Paris attacks or other plots against the West, a U.S. military official in Iraq said Tuesday.

    U.S. Army Col. Steve Warren told Pentagon reporters that the militants were killed mainly by drone strikes in Iraq and Syria. He offered few details, but said at least two of those killed were linked to the Paris attacks.

    Col. Steve Warren, Oct. 1, 2015. (Getty Images/Pool)

    Col. Steve Warren, Oct. 1, 2015. (Getty Images/Pool)

    According to Warren, one of the insurgents killed was Charaffe al Mouadan, a Syrian-based Islamic State member who was directly linked to Abdel Hamid Abaaoud, the Paris attack cell leader. Mouadan, who was killed by an airstrike last Thursday in Syria, was planning additional attacks against the West, Warren said.

    Also killed was Abdel Kader Hakim, who was part of the Islamic State group’s effort to plan attacks against Western targets and “had links” to the Paris attack network, Warren said.

    Most of the 10 appeared to be mid-level leaders.

    The U.S. is ramping up pressure on such high-value militants. Earlier this month, President Barack Obama announced that he is sending U.S. special operations forces into Iraq to conduct clandestine raids targeting Islamic State group leaders. The commandos – likely about 100 – would operate in small teams, gathering intelligence that will fuel airstrikes and other operations.

    So far, the Pentagon has not said when the special operations forces will deploy.

    Warren said that one of the other militants killed was from Bangladesh but was educated as a computer systems engineer in the United Kingdom. The insurgent, Siful Haque Sujan, was killed near Raqqa, Syria. He worked as a computer hacker for the Islamic State group and coordinated anti-surveillance technology and weapons development, Warren said.

    “We’re striking at the head of this snake,” Warren said. “We haven’t severed the head of the snake yet, and it’s still got fangs. We have to be clear about that. There’s much more fighting to do.”

  • Planned Parenthood Files Federal Lawsuit to Block Arkansas Law Regulating Abortion Pill Distribution
    Posted December 29, 2015 at 4:24 pm by Kate Scanlon

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    Planned Parenthood filed a federal lawsuit Monday in an effort to block the state of Arkansas from enforcing a law regulating the distribution of abortion pills set to take effect Friday.

    According to the Associated Press, the law requires “abortion pill providers to follow guidelines set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.”

    A sign hangs in the offices of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America on December 7, 2001 in New York City. Image source: Mario Tama/Getty Images

    A sign hangs in the offices of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America on December 7, 2001 in New York City. (Image source: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

    Planned Parenthood of the Heartland told the AP that their Little Rock and Fayetteville clinics won’t be able to distribute the abortion pill if the law goes into effect.

    The law also requires abortion providers to maintain contracts with physicians who have hospital admitting privileges in the event of complications.

    Planned Parenthood characterized the protocol mandated by the law as “outdated,” the AP said.

    The law was approved by Arkansas’ Republican-controlled legislature and signed by the governor earlier this year.

  • Truck Crashes Into an Icy Pond, Trapping Three Passengers — Including a Baby Who’s Underwater. But Witnesses Don’t Wait Around for Help to Arrive.
    Posted December 29, 2015 at 4:08 pm by Tré Goins-Phillips

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    Good Samaritans helped rescue a young mother, a teenager and a baby from a freezing Wisconsin pond in what might be described as a Christmas miracle after their vehicle slid off the road and broke through the ice.

    Nycole Stream, 19, was driving a truck last Wednesday when it veered off the road and slid down a steep embankment and into the pond, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Good samaritans Terry and Pamela Blegen saw the horrific scene and immediately rushed to help.

    Good samaritans rescue young mother, teenager and infant from freezing Wisconsin pond Dec. 23. (Image source: Polk County Sheriff's Office)

    Good samaritans rescue young mother, teenager and infant from freezing Wisconsin pond Dec. 23. (Image source: Polk County Sheriff’s Office)

    While Pamela Blegen called 911, Terry Blegen jumped into the freezing water. As the situation intensified, two more passers-by — Thomas Cole and Shawn Spafford — jumped in to help. According to the sheriff’s office, they rescued Stream and passenger Krystyna Walenczak, 16, as they both struggled to keep their heads above the icy water.

    After securing Stream and Walenczak, the three men set their sights on 5-month-old Ayidden Stream who was still trapped in the vehicle — and underwater. The men got to the baby and carried him out.

    Initially he was unresponsive. But the heroic rescuers revived him.

    All three passengers were then taken to a local hospital for treatment, according to the Pioneer Press, and the infant was transferred to the Children’s Hospital in St. Paul.

    Polk County Sheriff Pete Johnson said Monday that the boy’s mother reported that her son was OK and had come home from the hospital. Neither Stream nor Walenczak suffered serious injuries.

    (H/T: Pioneer Press)

  • College’s Muslim Student Association Demands ‘Zero Tolerance Policy’ Against ‘Islamophobic Speech and Actions’
    Posted December 29, 2015 at 3:24 pm by Carly Hoilman

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    The Muslim Student Association at San Diego State University recently issued a list of demands directed at the administration, students and political leaders in an effort to combat Islamophobia on campus.

    The demands — which include “a zero tolerance policy explicitly for Islamophobic speech and actions” and mandatory “bystander training” for faculty, staff and students — were posted on the group’s Facebook page after a female Muslim student was allegedly attacked by a white man in a campus parking lot on November 19, about a week after the terrorist attacks that killed 130 in Paris.

    A campus police report described the aggressor, who hasn’t been caught, as a white man in his 20s who grabbed the female student’s hijab and made racist comments to her, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

    The female student has not been identified publicly, but Hanif Mohebi — executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations-San Diego — said he met with the student and offered comments on her behalf.

    “The attacker came at the student from behind and choked her with the hajib, or headscarf,” Mohebi told the Union-Tribune. “He told her, ‘Get out of this country.’ That she was a terrorist and that ‘you people bombed Paris.’”

    Several comments on the article suggest that the attack might have been a hoax. But less than a week after the alleged attack, the Muslim Student Association staged an anti-Islamophobia rally that gained the support of hundreds of students.

    It was at the rally that the Muslim Student Association presented its list of demands:

    Image source: Facebook / SDSU Muslim Student Association.

    Image source: Facebook / SDSU Muslim Student Association.

    The document demands that local, state and federal political leaders “cease their fear mongering anti-Islamic rhetoric” and “recognize that the dehumanization of refugees and scapegoating of the Muslim faith enables an environment for attacks like this to occur.”

    The MSA also demanded that students who witnessed the November 19 attack “step forward and help aid in the investigation.”

    The university has yet to provide a formal response to the demands, though members of the administration have seen the list and are “meeting internally and with the students to discuss their concerns,” Beth Chee, an SDSU representative, told The College Fix in an email.

    University president Elliot Hirsham issued a statement on the attack: “We unequivocally condemn all forms of bigotry and any efforts to intimidate, harm or demean any members of our community.”

    In a twist, Jewish students have accused the MSA of rejecting help from Students Supporting Israel.

    Another campus group — Students for Justice in Palestine, which helped organize the MSA rally — allegedly rejected the signature of Students Supporting Israel on the MSA’s list of demands.

    “When asked why SSI was excluded from the statement, the response was simple and damning: ‘It didn’t serve the interests of the community,’” Anthony Berteaux, vice president of public relations for SSI, wrote in The Jerusalem Post. “A rally that was supposed to serve as a unified solidarity march against hate became politicized and divided.”

    “Out of the over 30 organizations that had signed the document, SSI was the only organization to be excluded from the statement,” Berteaux reported.

    SDSU has experienced problems with anti-Israel rhetoric. In 2013, the professor of an Arabic language course eliminated the country of Israel on a map, replacing it with “Palestine.” After a pro-Israel student group called Stand With Us demanded action on the part of the university, SDSU released a statement calling the map “inaccurate” and “unacceptable.”

  • Former ‘Glee’ Star Mark Salling Accused of Child Porn Possession
    Posted December 29, 2015 at 3:08 pm by Jon Street

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    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Authorities say former “Glee” star Mark Salling has been arrested in Los Angeles for investigation of possessing child pornography.

    Mark Salling arrives at the "GLEE" 100th Episode Celebration, on Tuesday, March 18, 2014, in West Hollywood, Calif. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

    Mark Salling arrives at the “GLEE” 100th Episode Celebration, on Tuesday, March 18, 2014, in West Hollywood, Calif. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

    Police Officer Tony Im says the 33-year-old actor was taken into custody Tuesday after a warrant was served at his home in the Sunland area.

    Im says Salling had been investigated by the LAPD’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, but he did not elaborate.

    Representatives for Salling did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Im didn’t know if Salling has a lawyer.

    Salling is best known for playing bad-boy Noah “Puck” Puckerman on TV’s musical dramedy “Glee,” which aired on Fox from 2009 until earlier this year.

    He shared a Screen Actors Guild award with the cast in 2010, when they won for outstanding TV comedy ensemble.

    Also a musician, Salling released his debut album “Pipe Dreams” in 2010.

    This post has been updated.

  • Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Deputy Chief of Staff Allegedly Assaulted While Attending Vigil for Two People Fatally Shot by Police
    Posted December 29, 2015 at 2:49 pm by Jon Street

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    CHICAGO (TheBlaze/AP) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s deputy chief of staff was allegedly assaulted while attending a vigil for two people fatally shot by Chicago police.

    Vance Henry (Image source: YouTube)

    Vance Henry (Image source: YouTube)

    A police spokesman says at least one man approached 50-year-old Vance Henry at a Sunday vigil for 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier and 55-year-old Bettie Jones. The man cursed the mayor before punching Henry with a closed fist, tackling him and then kicking him repeatedly, WBBM-TV reported.

    “What are you doing here, you should be downtown doing something about this,” the man reportedly said, according to the New York Daily News. “The police are killing us.”

    Chicago alderman Jason Ervin witnessed the incident and pulled the man off Henry, according to WGN-TV. Henry suffered minor injuries and was able to drive himself to the hospital.

    The man then left the scene with another man. Neither man has been identified.

    Emanuel spokesman Adam Collins said Tuesday the office is aware of an “altercation” involving a mayoral staffer: “We take this matter very seriously and the incident is under review.”

    Henry knew the alleged attacker “from a previous altercation,” according to WBBM-TV.

    LeGrier and Jones were shot and killed by police early Saturday after officers responded to a report of a domestic disturbance. Police said LeGrier was “combative” toward officers before he was shot and Jones, a neighbor, was accidentally hit by gunfire.

  • Woman Rents Movie About the Power of Prayer and Finds Unexpected ‘Blessings’ in DVD Case
    Posted December 29, 2015 at 2:21 pm by Kaitlyn Schallhorn

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    When a woman rented the hit Christian movie “War Room” — about the power of prayer — from a Redbox machine Monday night, she received some unexpected “blessings” as well.

    In a public Facebook post, blogger Jennifer Allwood wrote that her friend Michelle found more than just a DVD when she rented “War Room” from a Redbox at a local grocery store in Kansas City.

    Pressed inside of the back of the box, so as not to block the movie’s barcode, was a $5 bill and a note.

    “Enjoy some snacks on us! Blessings,” the note read.

    Image via Facebook/Jennifer Allwood

    Image via Facebook/Jennifer Allwood

    “Is that not the coolest thing ever???” Allwood posted to her Facebook page, which has more than 143,000 likes.

    The post, which she published Monday night, has been shared more than 20,000 times and has garnered over 100,000 likes and thousands of comments as of Tuesday morning. Allwood told TheBlaze that the post has been seen by approximately 4 million people.

    “It’s a great testament to the fact that people crave good news,” Allwood told TheBlaze.

    Allwood saw her friend’s photo of the DVD — for which she moved the money from the back to the front so people could see the title of the film — and asked permission before she shared it on her business Facebook page. While she is a painter and designer, Allwood said she likes to share “daily encouragement” as well.

    Facebook user Cheryl Waldner said the same thing happened to her family when they rented “War Room.”

    “Just when you think this world is beyond redemption someone steps up and proves there’s still kindness and love toward strangers with no expectations of anything in return,” Facebook user Nancy Deschepper commented on the post.

    Check out what my friend Michelle found in her Redbox movie tonight when they checked it out! Someone attached a note…

    Posted by Jennifer Allwood on Monday, December 28, 2015

  • Donald Trump Defends Tweet Directed at Bill Clinton: ‘I Don’t Believe He Is a Racist’
    Posted December 29, 2015 at 1:56 pm by Kate Scanlon

    Comments (103)

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he doesn’t “believe” former President Bill Clinton is a racist.

    Trump’s statement Tuesday during an appearance on NBC’s “Today Show” came after he tweeted Monday that Clinton had been “called a racist.” Trump defended his tweet on the program, the Associated Press said.

    “I don’t believe he is a racist, if you want to know the truth,” Trump said.

    Trump tweeted that the last time the former president campaigned for his wife during her 2008 presidential run, Bill Clinton “was called a racist.”

    Trump may have been referencing “conflicts between Bill Clinton and some black leaders during the 2008 campaign in which the black community largely backed Obama,” the AP said.

    Trump reiterated his recent position that the former president and his scandals are “fair game” if Hillary Clinton plays the “woman’s card” during the presidential campaign.

    Trump characterized the former president’s sex scandals as “totally unimportant” during a 2008 interview on CNN.

    Bill Clinton is scheduled to campaign for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire next month.

  • Couple Hires ‘Moving Company’ Seen on Craigslist to Truck All Their Belongings to New Home Several States Away. They’ll Likely Never Do That Again.
    Posted December 29, 2015 at 1:08 pm by Jon Street

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    A couple moving from St. Louis paid over a thousand dollars up front to what they thought was a moving company. But when they got to their new home in Charlotte, North Carolina, none of their belongings — valued at $30,000 — had arrived.

    Photo credit: Shutterstock

    Photo credit: Shutterstock

    Kiran Reddy and his wife, Deepthi Myana, hired 33-year-old Deandre Robinson using Craigslist. The couple paid him $1,100 up front and agreed to pay another $300 once their belongings were delivered.

    There was just one problem – Robinson never delivered any of their things.

    Robinson had placed a bogus ad under the name “Robinson Moving LLC,” pretending to be a legitimate operation. However, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported, no business license in Missouri matches that name.

    The newspaper also reported that one of the movers called Reddy saying that their belongings would need to be moved to another delivery truck, but that their things would still get to Charlotte on time. But once the couple arrived in town, they got another call saying the truck had broken down on a highway near their new home – and that was the last they heard.

    The couple later discovered the Craigslist ad had been taken down. It was then that they knew they’d been taken and contacted police. Authorities used the phone number from the ad to track down Robinson.

    More from the Post-Dispatch:

    Police tried to interview Robinson, but he would not answer their questions, court records say. He was arrested and released as police applied for charges, and was not in custody Monday. Bail for Robinson was set at $50,000, cash only.

    There was no word on what happened to the couple’s belongings.

    (H/T: St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  • ‘Sweet Cakes’ Owners’ Bank Accounts Seized as Damages for Refusing to Bake Wedding Cake for Lesbian Couple
    Posted December 29, 2015 at 12:49 pm by Chris Enloe

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    On Monday, the Associated Press reported that “Sweet Cakes by Melissa” owners Melissa and Aaron Klein paid their state-ordered damages to a lesbian couple with check totaling $136,927.07 — but that isn’t the whole story.

    According to Fox News writer Todd Starnes, who spoke with Melissa Klein a few weeks before Christmas, Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries confiscated all of the money in her checking and savings accounts, including one that had money set aside for her church tithe. They totaled nearly $7,000.

    Melissa and Aaron Klein (Sweet Cakes By Melissa/Samaritan’s Purse)

    Melissa and Aaron Klein (Sweet Cakes By Melissa/Samaritan’s Purse) 

    “It was like my breath was taken away,” Klein told Starnes. “I panicked. Everything was gone.”

    “We had three accounts,” she added. “I have one account that’s labeled, ‘God’s money’ – our tithing. They just took it.”

    It is not directly clear why the $7,000 was confiscated by the state prior to Christmas. Monday’s check of nearly $137,000 included interest accrued for not paying the state on time. According to Starnes, the check was for the full amount owed to the state’s government and was raised through donations to the family.

    The damages were awarded in July for “emotional suffering” caused by Sweet Cakes by Melissa for refusing to make a wedding cake two years ago for Laurel and Rachel Bowman-Cryer. The bakers said their refusal was prompted by religious beliefs.

    A 2007 Oregon law protects the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people in employment, housing and public accommodations. The state ruled it also bars private businesses from discriminating against potential customers.

    The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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  • Dad Gets a $5 Christmas Gift From His Kids. He Soon Discovers That It’s Worth a Whole Lot More.
    Posted December 29, 2015 at 11:48 am by Jon Street

    Comments (63)

    A Michigan dad is $300,000 richer, thanks to his children — and a whole lot of luck.

    Image source: Michigan Lottery

    Image source: Michigan Lottery

    The man, who chose to remain anonymous, received a $5 lottery scratch-off ticket from his kids for Christmas, according to MLive. When he checked the ticket, purchased at a gas station, he got good news.

    The father, who is from Jackson, went to the Michigan Lottery’s Lansing office on Monday to claim his winnings: $300,000. The man said he plans to use the money to help his family and thank his kids by sending them somewhere nice on a spring break trip.

    The ticket was bought as part of the lottery’s Holiday Ice game, which launched in October. Players from all over the state have earned nearly $9 million in cash and prizes since the game started, ranging anywhere from a $5 refund to the $300,000 grand prize.

    (H/T: Michigan Live)

  • Small Plane Crashes Into Building in Anchorage, Alaska (UPDATE: At Least One Dead)
    Posted December 29, 2015 at 11:21 am by TheBlaze Staff

    Comments (42)

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (TheBlaze/AP) — A small plane clipped a downtown Anchorage office building and then slammed into a nearby commercial building early Tuesday, igniting a fire and killing at least one person aboard, authorities said.

    The plane belongs to the Civil Air Patrol, a civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force that is made up of volunteers who help in search and rescue missions, federal authorities said.

    But there were no sanctioned flights when the plane crashed at 6:18 a.m., said Clint Johnson, Alaska region chief for the National Transportation Safety Board.

    No one was injured on the ground, but it’s unclear if anyone else was on the plane, Anchorage Assistant Fire Chief Alex Boyd said. The crash happened in the heart of downtown, in an area surrounded by office buildings, hotels and other businesses, before most businesses opened for the day.

    The six-story building hit by a single-engine plane houses the Alaska state Attorney General offices, KTTU-TV reported.

    Kent Haina, a 747 captain for UPS, said he was taking out his garbage when he saw the plane go down at a shallow angle and disappear behind a building. He then heard a loud thud and saw a plume of black smoke.

    Haina said the wind was howling at the time.

    “(The engine) didn’t sound like it was in trouble, but the weather was pretty windy,” he said. “I said to myself, ‘It’s not good weather to be flying in.’”

    The NTSB’s Johnson said the crash happened amid blustery winds but that the agency is not ruling out anything as a cause. The agency looks at pilot error, mechanical problems and weather.

    Vince Maiorano was working as a line cook at Snow City Cafe across the street when he heard the plane strike a transformer. He and a co-worker ran up to the plane to see if anyone was inside, but they didn’t see anybody and were driven back by large flames that overtook the aircraft.

    “We heard a loud whoosh noise when the transformer went out, and that’s when the power went out on the whole block,” Maiorano said.

    The plane came in over the shoreline toward downtown and clipped the corner of the office building, where some state employees work. Then it crashed into the lower side of an adjacent multistory commercial building, setting it on fire.

    Crews responded quickly and had the blaze under control, fire officials said.

    The commercial building appeared to be unoccupied at the time of the crash, though crews were searching it to make sure, Don Tallman of the Anchorage Fire Department. Authorities cordoned off an area around the building, closing several roads.

    Alaska Gov. Bill Walker was among those checking out the scene Tuesday. Because one of the buildings houses state workers, Walker said he wanted to “find out what’s going on.”

    The Federal Aviation Administration and the NTSB will investigate, FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer said. He had no additional details on the type of plane.

    Karen Bowen, a bookkeeper who answered the phone at the Civil Air Patrol office, relayed comments from the group’s commander that the crash is under investigation. The Associated Press left a message for the volunteer commander, who wasn’t in the office.

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    Associated Press writers Alina Hartounian and Courtney Bonnell in Phoenix contributed to this report.

    This story has been updated.

  • Chicago Officer Charged in Laquan McDonald Case Pleads Not Guilty to Murder Charges
    Posted December 29, 2015 at 11:16 am by Associated Press

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    CHICAGO (AP) – A white Chicago police officer who shot a black teenager 16 times has pleaded not guilty to murder charges.

    Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke (Image source: Cook County Sheriff's Office via AP)

    Jason Van Dyke (Image source: Cook County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

    Jason Van Dyke appeared in Cook County Criminal court Tuesday in Chicago.

    Prosecutors announced last month they were charging Van Dyke with six counts of murder for the 2014 shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

    Hours later, the city released squad car video of the shooting in which McDonald is seen veering away from Van Dyke before the veteran officer opens fire. Police have said McDonald had a knife.

    The footage set off weeks of protests and led to the forced resignation of Chicago’s police superintendent and a federal investigation of department practices.

    Van Dyke, who is no longer being paid, has been free since posting bond.

    Van Dyke’s lawyer has said the officer “absolutely” can defend himself in court.

  • Donald Trump Has Been Calling Bill Clinton’s Sex Scandals ‘Fair Game’ for the Campaign Trail. But in 2008, Trump Described Them Very Differently.
    Posted December 29, 2015 at 10:39 am by Kate Scanlon

    Comments (334)

    In recent days, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has said that former President Bill Clinton’s sex scandals while in office are “fair game” to be used against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail.

    Trump has taken to Twitter to say that the former president campaigning for his wife will backfire.

    But in a recently rediscovered interview, Trump characterized Clinton’s sex scandals while in office as “totally unimportant.”

    On Monday, CNN re-aired an interview Trump did with Wolf Blitzer in 2008, where Trump was highly critical of former President George W. Bush and dismissive of Clinton’s extramarital affairs while in office. Trump also called efforts to impeach Clinton “nonsense.”

    During the interview, Trump said:

    “[Bush] lied! He got us into the war with lies! And, I mean, look at the trouble Bill Clinton got into with something that was totally unimportant, and they tried to impeach him, which was nonsense. And yet Bush got us into this horrible war with lies, by lying! By saying they had weapons of mass destruction, by saying all sorts of things that turned out not to be true.”

    You can watch Trump’s remarks below:

    (H/T: Mediaite)

  • Man Allegedly Shatters Windows Trying to Break Into Texas Home. But Residents Are Inside — and They’re Armed.
    Posted December 29, 2015 at 10:31 am by Jon Street

    Comments (110)

    A man was shot multiple times Tuesday morning after allegedly trying — and failing — to break into a home in Pasadena, Texas.

    Police near Houston confirmed that the 40-year-old suspect tried to gain access to the house where a man and woman live but was shot multiple times before getting in. His gunshot wounds included two in his backside, KTRK-TV reported.

    Several windows were broken as the homeowners defended their property.

    The suspect was airlifted to a nearby hospital to be treated for his injuries, according to KHOU-TV, which added that it’s not known if the suspect was armed. The suspect’s condition was not immediately clear and his name was not being released.

    (H/T: KHOU-TV)

  • Miami Dolphins Player Pays for Woman’s Items in Store After She Assists Him in Line. Days Later He Receives a Mysterious Package.
    Posted December 29, 2015 at 10:13 am by Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Comments (154)

    A few days after Christmas, Miami Dolphins free safety Walt Aikens was relaxing at his home when his apartment’s front desk man called, struggling to explain a strange package that had just been left in his name.

    Curious, Aikens headed downstairs to retrieve the mysterious parcel. The package, decorated in Christmas ribbons and bows, was “from some lady at Walmart,” the front desk man haltingly explained Monday afternoon.

    “Then it hit me,” Aikens told TheBlaze in an interview later that day.

    Miami Dolphins safety Walt Aikens. (Image via Facebook/Walt Aikens)

    Miami Dolphins safety Walt Aikens. (Image via Facebook/Walt Aikens)

    Only a couple of days prior, on Christmas Eve, Aikens went to the retail superstore for wrapping paper and other supplies. Instead of grabbing a shopping cart, Aikens said he was “being the macho man that I am” and tried to carry everything in his arms.

    It was while he was waiting in a long holiday line that an elderly woman offered him her cart as she saw that he was struggling to balance all of his items. At first Aikens refused, but when she asked again, a few minutes later as he was still struggling, he relented.

    “This time I accepted because the line was moving nowhere near as fast as it was when I had first gotten in line,” Aikens said. “I was very thankful and appreciated her generosity.”

    Aikens said he noticed her cart was filled with chocolate chips, cake batter, sprinkles and baby clothes, and the 24-year-old inferred that she was going to bake Christmas cookies for her grandchildren. As it was Christmas — and in spite of the woman’s protestations — Aikens paid for the woman’s items along with his own.

    He told TheBlaze that the woman simply asked for his address in return, having no idea that he was a professional athlete, and promised to send him cookies as she said no one had ever been that nice to her — “especially in Florida” — before.

    Surprising Aikens, the woman at the store kept true to her promise and had a box of homemade baked goods delivered to him.

    Image provided to TheBlaze

    Image provided to TheBlaze

    “I’m not sure if you remember me,” the woman’s card to Aikens began.

    “I just wanted to tell you again, thank you so much. Your mom I’m sure is very proud of you,” she wrote. “Not only are you a professional football player for the Miami Dolphins, but most of all, a wonderful kind person, too.”

    Image provided to TheBlaze

    Image provided to TheBlaze

    “Today when I got this package of cookies and cakes and other treats hand delivered from the lady, it caught me off-guard and showed me that manners and being kind to others can go a long way. This really made my day because I had forgotten about her saying she was gong to send me cookies,” Aikens said. “Honestly, I was just being nice and did not expect any favors in return because treating people the right way is just how my parents raised me. Also, I did not tell the woman I played professional football or anything, so she was just being nice to a complete stranger and cared enough to uphold her side of the bargain and carry out what she would do.”

    Aikens said he wanted to thank the woman and her husband “for being so thoughtful.”

    “I hope you and your family had a Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year,” he said.

    Aikens was drafted by the Dolphins in 2014 after playing for Liberty University.

  • Explicit Islamic State ‘Fatwa’ on Female Sex Slaves Reveals How and When Captured Girls Can Be Raped
    Posted December 29, 2015 at 10:05 am by Tré Goins-Phillips

    Comments (190)

    The Islamic State has allegedly issued a “fatwa” explaining how and when members can rape their female sex slaves, which is described as “one of the inevitable consequences of jihad.”

    The documents were originally revealed by Reuters after U.S. special forces discovered the fatwa among a trove of documents in a Syrian raid earlier this year.

    AP Photo

    AP Photo

    The fatwa is one of the Islamic State’s many self-proclaimed rulings on how to enforce Islamic law. Others pertain to how to treat “infidels” and how to address revenue from stolen oil and antiquities.

    The fatwa on female slaves was sparked by questions regarding unspecified “violations” by Islamic State members owning sex slaves. The fatwa contains 15 explicit rulings, prohibiting forced abortions and blocking “owners” from having sex with the female slave if she is menstruating or pregnant. Several of the rulings pertain to “sharing” of a slave’s child and rape within families.

    “If the owner of a female captive, who has a daughter suitable for intercourse, has sexual relations with the latter, he is not permitted to have intercourse with her mother and she is permanently off limits to him,” one ruling reads, according to the Independent.

    The ruling goes on to say that if the “owner” has intercourse with the mother, he is “not permitted” to engage with the daughter because she is “off limits to him.” Additionally, “owners” cannot rape two sisters at the same time, nor can slaves be passed between father and son.

    Anal sex is strictly forbidden, the fatwa says, and, should the slave become pregnant by the “owner,” she must be kept by him but freed upon his death. However, fighters are not permitted to sell slaves to anyone they believe will mistreat them.

    “The owner of a female captive should show compassion towards her, be kind to her, not humiliate her and not assign her work she is unable to perform,” the document reads.

    Islamic State militants have attempted to justify their enslavement and rape of women since the group kidnapped thousands of young Yazidi females in Iraq last year. Under the Islamic State’s guidelines, these captured women were dealt with by the organization’s department of “war spoils.”

    Some escapees told the Human Rights Watch that young women and girls were separated from their families and moved in an “organised and methodical fashion to various places in Iraq and Syria” to be sold or given to Islamic State radicals, who repeatedly rape and abuse them, according to the Independent.

    The raid that revealed the explicit fatwa was obtained in May of this year when Abu Sayyaf, who claimed to be one of the Islamic State’s top financial officers, was killed.

    (H/T: The Independent)

  • ‘I Emphatically Refuse’: Muslim ACLU Activist Explains Why She Won’t Condemn Islamic Terrorism
    Posted December 29, 2015 at 9:38 am by Carly Hoilman

    Comments (580)

    The deputy director of the ACLU of Michigan said in an op-ed Monday that she refuses to condemn radical Islamic terrorism in order to prove her allegiance to the United States.

    Rana Elmir wrote that she’s “consistently and aggressively asked” to condemn Islamic terrorism, and is tired of having her religious views linked to atrocities like the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and in Paris and San Bernardino this year.

    “I emphatically refuse,” she wrote in an opinion piece in The Washington Post.

    The op-ed was titled: “Stop asking me to condemn terrorists just because I’m Muslim.”

    Elmir, who lectures on issues related to Islamophobia, free speech and the intersection of race, faith and gender, asserted that she “will not be bullied into condemning terror perpetrated by psychopaths who misrepresent and distort Islam for their deranged purposes.”

    Elmir compared the terror created by groups like the Islamic State and Boko Haram to “the terror advanced by mostly white men,” which she says happens at the rate of one mass killing every two weeks in the U.S. For example, Dylann Roof’s attack on parishioners of a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., Robert Dear’s attack on a Planned Parenthood facility, the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School and “the slaughter of moviegoers in Colorado or Louisiana” — none of which she says she was asked to comment on.

    Guilt by association is more prevalent in the case of American Muslims, Elmir argued, and the distinction between radical and peaceful Muslims is better made in silence.

    “Muslims across the globe are not threats. They are threatened,” Elmir wrote, arguing that Muslim victims are wrongly pressed by politicians and journalists to publicly apologize for “the ideology that contributed to their own persecution.”

    Such apologies, according to Elmir, become “admission[s] of guilt” that contribute to further Muslim oppression in America.

    “The pernicious disease that is Islamophobia is spreading at home, thanks to a steady diet of repugnant rhetoric and equally misguided policies,” she wrote, citing a rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes reported to the FBI in 2014. Condemning Islamic extremism would only serve “zealots who will never be satisfied,” Elmir wrote.

    Muslims have been subject to slavery and persecution since America’s founding, she said.

    “The first Muslims in the United States were brought over bound as slaves, not immigrants,” Elmir wrote. “While some American Muslims have prospered, many face challenges — poverty, unemployment and undereducation.”

    But condemning or claiming terrorism through an apology is the wrong course of action, Elmir concluded.

    “Terrorism is not mine,” she said.

    H/T: Washington Post

  • Oops: Drone Buzzes Obama Motorcade in Hawaii
    Posted December 29, 2015 at 9:17 am by Chris Enloe

    Comments (67)

    A recreational drone buzzed President Barack Obama’s motorcade in Hawaii on Monday, sending Secret Service agents into action.

    The drone briefly flew alongside Obama’s motorcade on the way back to his vacation home following a golf outing, according NBC News. The incident only lasted a matter of seconds before the drone’s pilot realized what was happening and landed the aircraft.

    The pilot of the drone, Dec. 28, 2015. (Getty Images/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP)

    The pilot of the drone, Dec. 28, 2015. (Getty Images/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP)

    According to a Secret Service statement sent to ABC News, the drone’s pilot was “completely unaware” that he was flying next to Obama’s motorcade. However, the man “immediately complied with law enforcement requests to cease and desist.”

    No charges will be filed and the motorcade continued without incident, the Secret Service statement said.

    Obama, along with First Lady Michelle Obama and their two daughters, Sasha and Malia, has been in Hawaii since Dec. 19. He’s set to return to the continental U.S. this weekend.