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  • After His New Hampshire Win, Bernie Sanders Raises a Mind-Boggling Amount of Money
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 12:46 pm by Chris Enloe

    Comments (90)

    In the hours following the announcement that he would win the New Hampshire Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders saw a huge fundraising haul.

    The Vermont senator’s campaign raised approximately $2.6 million Tuesday night between the time that the polls closed and 12:30 a.m, according to Politico.

    Bernie Sanders celebrates his victory during the primary night rally in Concord, New Hampshire, Feb. 9, 2016. (Getty Images/JEWEL SAMAD/AFP)

    Bernie Sanders celebrates his victory during the primary night rally in Concord, New Hampshire, Tuesday. (Getty Images/Jewel Samad/AFP)

    Sanders, who encouraged supporters to continue financially supporting his campaign during his victory speech, had so many people trying to donate to his campaign that their donation platform, ActBlue, nearly crashed.

    During his speech, Sanders said, “I’m not going to New York City to host a fundraiser on Wall Street. Instead I’m going to hold a fundraiser right here, right now, across America. My request is please go to and contribute.”

    “So there it is, that’s our fundraiser,” he added. “Pretty quick.”

    Sanders, thanks to his grassroots support, has seen massive fundraising over the course of his campaign. Just last week, following his narrow loss in Iowa, he raised $3 million in just 24 hours. And in January, his campaign outpaced the fundraising of Hillary Clinton for the first time during the 2016 election cycle.

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  • Chris Matthews Unloads on Ted Cruz: ‘He Operates Below the Level of Human Life’
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 12:41 pm by Kate Scanlon

    Comments (193)

    MSNBC host Chris Matthews unloaded on Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz during a segment Wednesday on “Morning Joe,” arguing that, if the Texas senator were to be elected to the presidency, “a darkness will come over America.”

    “There’s a troll-like quality to Cruz,” Matthews said. “He operates below the level of human life.”

    “OK, Chris, that’s a little tough,” host Joe Scarborough said. “You have not gotten sleep, we’re going to try that again.”

    “Am I allowed to have an opinion?” Matthews asked.

    “Well, not that opinion, no,” Scarborough said.

    “Well, let me clarify it,” Matthews continued, undeterred. “I think he appeals to people’s negativity rather than their joy. I don’t think people feel good about voting for Cruz. I don’t know what it is he appeals to.”

    “What is he, a theocrat? Maybe he is,” Matthews said, before suggesting that he doesn’t understand Cruz’s support among Baptists in New Hampshire.

    “There’s something about him that’s negative and menacing,” Matthews said. “So when I say below the level of human life, I mean the good nature of human life. Not just being a person, although…”

    When another panelist jumped in to remind Matthews about Cruz’s remarks about addiction in light of his family history, Matthews replied, “Somebody just asked him about addiction, and he of course had a family experience with it. That doesn’t show anything.”

    “I sense in him a darkness, a virulent antipathy toward Obama that almost sees Obama as Castro, as a dictator of the left,” Matthews said. “The vicious anger of him, I think it’s for real. It scares me. It’s so menacing.”

    (H/T: Washington Free Beacon)

  • Baby Girl Gunned Down During a Shooting in Compton
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 12:29 pm by Kathryn Blackhurst

    Comments (61)

    A 1-year-old girl was shot in the face while lying in her crib late Tuesday evening when a gunman opened fire on her family’s home in Compton, California, during a suspected gang dispute.

    The girl, Autumn Johnson, who had just celebrated her first birthday with her parents last week, was struck in the head when the gunman got out of his car, walked toward the home and fired, according to the Los Angeles Times. One witness who declined to give her name said that she called 911 after she heard several gunshots followed by a woman screaming, “They shot my baby. They shot my baby.”

    After she walked outside, the witness said she saw the baby’s father spring out from the garage with his daughter in his arms as he sobbed, saying, “Someone take my baby to the hospital,” the Times reported.

    The deputies rushed Autumn to the Saint Francis Medical Center, where she was later pronounced dead, KNBC-TV reported.

    The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department stated that the shooting appeared to be gang-related, though the circumstances are still being investigated. Although no suspects have yet been named, detectives stated that witnesses described the gunmen as two black men who escaped in a dark-colored, four-door sedan, KTLA-TV reported.

    “It looks like somebody drove up and were shooting into the house at somebody else and the baby caught a stray round,” LAPD Lt. John Corrina told KTLA.

    Roughly a dozen people were gathered at Kingdom Life Christian Fellowship church for a meeting just two blocks away from where the shooting took place at the time the shots were fired. Audric Crenshaw, 47, who attended the Bible study, was shocked to hear of Autumn’s death.

    “It’s not surprising because it’s the city of Compton, for its name,” Crenshaw told the Times. “But it’s surprising to me because it’s a baby,” adding, “I put my faith in God, not what’s in the streets.”

    During the past six months, Compton has suffered 475 violent crimes, including eight homicides, the Times noted, although the casualties suffered are fewer than they were in 1989, when the city experienced 86 homicides, as the Washington Post noted. This most recent death was not the first time that a young child had been caught in the fray. In 2012, a gang member pulled out his revolver and opened fire on a family, killing a 14-month-old boy who was sleeping in his father’s arms while also wounding his father. The killer, Donald Ray Dokins, was sentenced to 90 years in prison for murder.

    “Compton has a bad reputation, but things have been better around here,” said Dan Martin, 53, who has lived in Compton his entire life, according to the Times. “It’s wrong whether it’s a baby or a man or anyone. We’ve had enough bloodshed around here, don’t you think?”

    Follow Kathryn Blackhurst (@kablackhurst) on Twitter

  • After Big Win in New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders Heads to Harlem to Hug Al Sharpton
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 12:10 pm by Fred Lucas

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    Fresh off a sweeping victory in the New Hampshire primary, Democratic presidential candidate Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders met for breakfast in New York City with MSNBC host the Rev. Al Sharpton.

    TheBlaze’s Josiah Ryan was on the scene for the meeting at Sylvia’s restaurant in Harlem between the White House hopeful and the reverend. The breakfast comes ahead of contests in Nevada and South Carolina Democratic primaries where winning African-American votes is key.

    Much of the conventional wisdom suggests that minority voters will lean toward former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

    However, Sanders – who once trailed Clinton by nearly 50 points in many polls – has over-performed, scoring essentially a tie in Iowa Feb. 1 and a landslide victory in New Hampshire Tuesday.

    Sanders reportedly won a slim majority of women voters in New Hampshire and big majorities among men and independents.

    Sharpton, a civil rights and political activist, ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004. Despite being involved in numerous controversies,
    Democratic presidential candidates have sought his support for decades.

    “Sanders represents one of the whitest states, Vermont, and while he won the New Hampshire primary, virtually an all white state, Sanders needs the minority vote to win the Democrat nomination because 44 percent of Democrat voters aren’t white. Hillary is leading Sanders in the minority vote by 40 percent and has 9 out of every 10 black voters supporting her,” said Crystal Wright, editor of the blog “Conservative Black Chick.”

    “Sanders’ solution is to fly to Harlem to have breakfast with the race hustler Sharpton, who never met a racial riot or protest he didn’t want to incite,” Wright continued. “How insulting to blacks that Sanders thinks all he has to do is meet with a buffoon like Sharpton so Sharpton will tell blacks to vote for Sanders because he said so.”

    Craig Shirley, a Reagan biographer and political analyst, expects Sanders to continue to do well in future primary contests.

    “The dirty little secret about Democratic Party primary voters is that they are about as liberal in South Carolina and Florida as they are in New Hampshire or Massachusetts,” Shirley told TheBlaze. “Hillary Clinton will do better in South Carolina, but she won’t blow Bernie Sanders away.”

  • ‘Black Lives Really Do Not Matter’: Activists Organize After Officer Fatally Shoots Naked, Unarmed Teen — Here’s What We Know
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 12:02 pm by Jon Street

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    A group of activists in Austin, Texas, are considering what to do next after an Austin police officer fatally shot a naked, unarmed 17-year-old Monday.

    Image source: Austin Statesman

    David Joseph (Image source: Austin Statesman)

    David Joseph was lying naked in the street when officer Geoffrey Freeman responded to a call. When Freeman arrived, Joseph began charging at Freeman so the officer opened fire, sending the 17-year-old to the hospital where he later died.

    Austin Justice Coalition and Black Lives Matter activists met Tuesday to plan future demonstrations in response to the teenager’s death, the Austin Statesman reported.

    “We always say Black Lives Matter, but what we’ve seen so far is that black lives really do not matter,” one activist said. “But we seek to change that by coming together.”

    Joseph’s family said they are “shocked and saddened” by what happened, adding that their relative was “stolen from us by the police.” The family has called for a “full and fair investigation,” which the Austin Police Department said it is now conducting.

    “How much of a threat could a boy pose to police under those circumstances?” Scott Medlock, an attorney for Joseph’s family, said. “His mother wants to know why this happened, why her son would be found in this state and why they would respond by shooting him.”

    Joseph was a student at Premier High School, a charter school, and was expected to graduate this spring.

    Freeman is now on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation. He has received positive reviews since joining the APD in 2005, the Statesman reported.

  • Sources Say Christie Is Out After Painful New Hampshire Finish, but His Spokeswoman Denies It
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 11:53 am by Leigh Munsil

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    ORLANDO, FL - NOVEMBER 14: Republican presidential candidate New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks during the Sunshine Summit conference being held at the Rosen Shingle Creek on November 14, 2015 in Orlando, Florida. The summit brought Republican presidential candidates in front of the Republican voters. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

    GOP presidential candidate New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

    Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie plans to suspend his presidential campaign, multiple reports said Wednesday.

    Just hours after a painful sixth-place finish in New Hampshire, where the GOP 2016 hopeful spent the majority of his time and resources, sources close to the campaign said he plans to end his bid for the presidency.

    But a spokeswoman for the Christie campaign denied the reports to Reuters, saying that no such decision has been made.

    The candidate headed back to his home state Wednesday to consider his options — often a precursor to the end of a campaign.

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  • Maryland Pizza Delivery Driver Records Video of Police Pulling a Gun on Him During Traffic Stop — Police Say That’s Not the Whole Story
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 11:50 am by Carly Hoilman

    Comments (163)

    A pizza delivery man in Bladensburg, Maryland, recorded video of a police officer pulling him over last month. Christopher Jeffries, 25, claimed police used excessive force in pulling out a gun during a routine traffic stop.

    The video Jeffries recorded on his cell phone shows the troubling exchange between the 25-year-old and the officer.

    Christopher Jeffries, 25, during a January 17 traffic stop, which he recorded on his phone. (Image source: YouTube/J. Wyndal Gordon)

    Christopher Jeffries, 25, during a Jan. 17 traffic stop, which he recorded on his phone. (Image source: YouTube)

    “Sir, are you about to kill me right now?” the video shows Jeffries asking the officer.

    Jeffries was on his way to deliver a pizza when the officer pulled him shortly after 11 p.m. on a Saturday night. “I felt like I was living the last seconds of my life when the man walked out of his car,” Jeffries told WTTG-TV.

    But police had a different story of how the altercation began.

    Bladensburg law enforcement told WTTG that the clip Jeffries recorded shows only the tail end of a much longer ordeal. Police claimed Jeffries was driving erratically and nearly struck another driver while making an abrupt left turn. He also ignored the officer when he initially attempted to make a traffic stop, police said.

    Police also claimed Jeffries was uncooperative in providing his license and registration and refusing to roll down his window all the way. But according to Jeffries, those allegations are not justification for pulling out a gun.

    “Seeing that gun just on my side mirror was like a startling, frightening moment of like, ‘This could be it,’ given the atmosphere and the time that we are in,” Jeffries said.

    Former police officer turned attorney Camara Mintz spoke with WTTG about the incident. “The only thing that I think he did wrong, and this is just a technical thing I think, is he refused to get out of the car,” Mintz said. “Officers can order you outside of the car during a traffic stop almost for any reason.”

    What about Jeffries not rolling down his window?

    “There is no law that specifically says you have to roll your window down to a certain height or roll it all the way down,” Mintz, a former Fairfax County police officer and current Charles County prosecutor, said.

    Jeffries said that he was cooperative in pulling over, but it took little longer to find a safe spot as he was driving down the main roadway in Bladensburg.

    “Basically he was looking for a safe place to pull over and apparently he didn’t pull over fast enough for the officer,” Jeffries’ attorney, J. Wyndal Gordon said. “The officer gets out of the car with his gun drawn and points it in his face.”

    “This was completely disgraceful that this Bladensburg police officer would have his gun drawn on a routine traffic stop,” Gordon Added. “He had his driver’s license, he had is information and the information that he didn’t have — write him a ticket.”

    Jeffries is in the process of suing the officer for civil rights violations.

    Bladensburg Police Chief Charles Owens sent WTTG a statement, claiming that it was Jeffries who escalated the incident into something much worse:

    Given the limits of a YouTube video captured by the driver’s cell phone, the driver is shown to be defiant to lawful orders to give the officer his driver’s license and registration card. The driver continued his defiance by refusing to roll-down his window to communicate with the officer, thus escalating the incident.

    (H/T: WTTG-TV)

  • He Was a ‘Full-Blown Drug Addict’ and a ‘Borderline Atheist.’ But One Night Changed Everything.
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 11:46 am by Billy Hallowell

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    Christian speaker Kegan Wesley was once a “full-blown drug addict” and a “borderline atheist” until he attended a Christian concert one night and heard a message that changed everything.

    Wesley, who now travels around the country to share the Christian gospel, recalled being someone who simply didn’t hold a belief in God when he attended the concert one fateful night, but it was something about the message that he heard that truly resonated.

    “I went to the altar that night not knowing what to do or what to say or what to pray, and I asked Jesus into my life,” Wesley said during an interview with CBN’s “The 700 Club.” “It was an unforgettable experience for me.”

    Watch him discuss becoming a Christian below:

    Wesley also shared how he overcame drug addiction and — as someone who once lived a gay lifestyle but says that he no longer does — gave advice during about how Christians should handle relationships with gays and lesbians, advocating that the issue be approached with love.

    Speaking of his own experience, Wesley said that he “grew up as a confused child” and shared details about a horrific incident during which he was raped and molested by a number of men while attending a birthday party in the fourth grade.

    He said that he later found himself alone and confounded, spending years in silence about what had unfolded.

    “I didn’t know where to go or who to go to, and if I went to somebody, what was I going to tell them?” he said. “And I also didn’t know if they would believe me … so I hid it in my heart.”

    Watch Wesley address these issues in a video that was posted to YouTube in 2012:

    After finding Jesus, though, Wesley said that everything changed.

    “It was like, in a moment God’s love hit my life,” he said.

    While he said that temptation still comes, he is committed Christian who wants to be “more like Jesus.”

    “I fell so in love with him and out of love with the life I was living,” he said, expressing the same hope that others will find Jesus as well.

  • Gun Store Owner Breaks Silence, Reveals ATF Raided His Business in 2014 and Why He ‘Quit Fighting’ Them
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 11:21 am by Kaitlyn Schallhorn

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    A gun shop owner in Southern California was subjected to a raid by the federal government in 2014, but he has just now decided to voluntarily forfeit the more than 3,000 parts the agents took two years ago.

    Christopher Cook, the owner of The Armory in Southwest Bakersfield, California, told KERO-TV that it was simply a clerical error and wrong information given to officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives by a former lawyer that led to a raid of his business in 2014, during which officials took 3,804 parts.

    Cook told KERO that he designed a piece for AR-15 lower receivers in his store that allowed for an easier way for the rifles to be built — and subsequently more difficult to trace.

    Image source: KERO-TV

    Image source: KERO-TV

    “At no time was it ever a firearm, at no time was I doing anything illegal and at no time should they have been in here and actually taken my parts,” Cook said of the raid.

    According to KERO, more than 50 agents showed up to the business owner’s store in 2014.

    “They were under the impression that what we were trying to do was actually manufacture a firearm or an unlicensed, unserialized firearm, and then revert it back to what would be considered an 80 percent blank,” Cook told KERO.

    “What I was actually doing was manufacturing a core, so a core piece that was actually inside, so there would have been a puck,” he said.

    Cook contended that his former lawyer gave ATF officials the wrong information regarding how the pieces were made that led to the raid as well as his eventual forfeiting of the more than 3,000 parts taken from him.

    “The reason that I quit fighting is because it’s a battle that I don’t believe that the U.S state attorney, the DOJ or the ATF office would be able to say they were going to give our stuff back,” he said.

    According to KERO-TV, the Department of Justice said in an agreement with Cook that the agency will ensure that the receivers stay out of the hands of criminals. The agreement also states that Cook will never be criminally prosecuted for this incident; he is also not allowed to sue the ATF for wrongfully taking his property.

    Cook asserted that if he had done anything illegal, he would have been put in jail and not allowed to continue on with his business.

    (H/T: KERO-TV

  • The ‘Beyond Belief’ Ruling That Followed Judge’s Huge ‘Mistake’ in Court Lets Accused Murderer Walk Free
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 11:19 am by Chris Enloe

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    ATLANTA (AP) — A woman pleaded with the Georgia Supreme Court not to let the man accused of killing her mother go free because of a judge’s mistake during his murder trial.

    But the high court on Monday said a judge can’t set a new trial for Geary Otis after having erroneously declared a mistrial in his case nearly two years ago. Otis is charged with murder in the slaying of 75-year-old Mary Oliver and aggravated assault in an attack on 71-year-old Emmanuel Surry.

    A judge's gavel. (Getty Images/Joe Raedle)

    Getty Images/Joe Raedle

    “It was a mistake on the judge’s behalf. By all means, sanction the judge and give it to another judge,” Oliver’s daughter Jan Jacobs said through tears at a news conference Tuesday. “But he should not walk free. What kind of message does that send if we just let murderers walk free?”

    It all began June 17, 2013, when police said Geary Otis ran up the stairs of a high-rise apartment building for seniors and stabbed Surry before kicking down a metal door and fatally stabbing Oliver. Police had to use a stun gun to subdue him, according to court records.

    Otis, who was 64 at the time, was a resident in the building but didn’t know Oliver or Surry, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said. Oliver was asleep in her bed and Surry had just returned from taking his uncle to the hospital.

    Otis was arrested and jailed. When his murder trial began April 7, 2014, public defender Amanda Grantham told the jury in her opening statement that Otis “just snapped.” The only possible verdict is not guilty by reason of insanity, Grantham told the jury.

    Prosecutors were caught off guard. They objected, saying they hadn’t been notified of an insanity defense and needed more time to prepare. Grantham said she wasn’t required to give them a heads up because she didn’t plan to call any experts.

    Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville said he believed the law required prior notice. He didn’t want to keep jurors long enough for the trial to be rescheduled, so he declared a mistrial. He said he’d put the case back on his trial calendar in a couple of weeks.

    Grantham didn’t want a mistrial, though, and she challenged the judge’s decision. She argued that a jury had been seated and the trial had begun, and re-trying Otis would amount to double jeopardy, which is when a person is improperly tried twice for the same crime.

    Glanville rejected that argument. Grantham appealed to the state Supreme Court, which on Monday said the judge had erred and reversed his ruling.

    Geary Otis. (Fulton County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

    Geary Otis. (Fulton County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

    The justices said a 1995 ruling makes clear that the defense doesn’t need to provide notice of an insanity defense if no expert witnesses are to be called. That opinion came during the sentencing phase of a death penalty case, and Glanville interpreted it as only applying in that context. The Supreme Court disagreed.

    In a concurring opinion, Justice David Nahmias said the Superior Court rules need to be revised.

    “It is apparent that the trial court in this case was striving to produce a fair trial, but the court erred in not abiding by our holding” in the earlier case, Nahmias wrote.

    Glanville declined to comment through the Superior Court’s public information office.

    Howard said the high court’s ruling is “beyond belief” and “shocking to the consciousness of justice and fair play.” He said his office would request reconsideration.

    If the Supreme Court declines to reconsider its unanimous ruling, Otis will likely be released in several weeks after being in jail for three years. The social workers in the public defender’s office are working to set him up with the help he needs.

    Bryan Grantham, the husband of Otis’ trial attorney who joined the case on appeal to help his wife, said he doesn’t believe Otis will be a danger to anyone because he didn’t have a violent history.

    “I think he’s a little shocked because he’s been sitting in jail for three years and, honestly, probably thought he was never getting out of custody,” Bryan Grantham said. “Now he’s got a second chance at life.”

  • ‘Diminishing For Women’: The Daily Show Takes Aim At ‘Sexism’ Charges Between Clinton And Sanders Supporters
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 11:10 am by Kate Scanlon

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    Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” took aim at charges of sexism between supporters of Democratic presidential candidates former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday.

    “It’s diminishing for women to tell other women that they’re obligated to vote for Hillary because, you know, we all have vaginas,” Jessica Williams told host Trevor Noah.

    “What else am I going to vote with?” Williams said. “I literally vote with my vagina.”

    Image source: Comedy Central

    Image source: Comedy Central

    While campaigning for Clinton prior to the primary, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told voters that “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.”

    Gloria Steinem, a vocal supporter of Clinton, implied that young women are supporting Sanders to impress boys during an interview with Bill Maher.

    “When you’re young, you’re thinking, ‘Where are the boys?’” Steinem said. “The boys are with Bernie.”

    Meanwhile, Sanders condemned a group of supporters who call themselves “BernieBros” online while they make crude remarks about Clinton’s gender.

    “It’s disgusting,” Sanders told CNN. “We don’t want that crap.”

    Williams said that supporters of both campaigns that are participating in the behavior were in the wrong.

    “The sexism is annoying, but it’s the women shaming each other that is most annoying,” Williams said.

    “Seriously, we want the freedom to vote for who we want to, regardless of what our husbands or wives or friends say about it,” Williams added.

    Noah did defend Clinton and her supporters during the segment.

    “They support her because she’s a woman who supports policies that help women,” he said. “If they wanted a woman whose policies hurt women, they’d just vote for Carly Fiorina.”

  • ‘We Are All Going to Die’: Alaska Airlines Flight Forced to Divert to Denver After Passenger Makes Threats at Passengers
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 10:53 am by Kathryn Blackhurst

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    Alaska Airlines Flight 769 from Boston to San Diego was forced to divert to Denver midway through its flight Tuesday evening in order to remove a male passenger who was reportedly intoxicated and “became disruptive” after the flight attendants would not let him drink the alcohol he brought with him on the plane.

    Passenger Clair Conroy told NBC News that the man in question “was upset the flight attendants would not let him drink the nips [small bottles of alcohol] he brought” on the flight and became abusive as he began to threaten the flight’s crew members.

    “He was told to calm down by flight crew, and then became agitated and verbally abusive, even issuing a threat to flight crew,” airline spokeswoman Ann Zaninovich told NBC News.

    Then the man reportedly began to yell, “I’m not a terrorist” and, “We’re going to die” as the crew continued to try and calm him down, KMGH-TV reported. He also threatened the crew members and passengers on board, saying that he was going to ”cut their throats” with a box cutter.

    “It was a little unnerving at first, because he started yelling, ‘We’re all going to die. You’re all going to die.’ But then we realized he was just a really drunk guy who was just out of control,” Conroy said, according to KMGH.

    Because the plane, which was cruising at 32,000 feet, was already more than three hours into its flight, the pilot diverted Flight 769 to the closest airport — Denver International. The decision to do so was was taken “out of an abundance of caution,” Zaninovich said, according to NBC News. Immediately upon landing, police officers boarded the plane and escorted the unruly passenger off the plane as fellow passengers in the cabin applauded the officers’ efforts.

    After an approximately 45-minute delay, the flight resumed its course to San Diego, where it landed around 10:20 p.m. The disruptive passenger’s name has not been publicly released, and as of yet, no charges have been pressed against him.

    Follow Kathryn Blackhurst (@kablackhurst) on Twitter

  • Classes Canceled After Four Shot Outside Michigan High School Tuesday
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 10:35 am by Carly Hoilman

    Comments (37)

    Muskegon High School officials cancelled classes Wednesday after at least four people were shot outside the Michigan school Tuesday, authorities said.

    Officials believe the incident was prompted by a fight that occurred in Grand Rapids sometime last week, Muskegon Heights interim Police Chief Dr. Joseph Thomas told WXMI-TV.

    Image source: WXMI-TV

    Image source: WXMI-TV

    Thomas said the suspects involved may have been trying to “settle the score” at a Muskegon High School basketball game.

    Authorities told WXMI that the proper security precautions were in place prior to the basketball game. Michigan State Police and Muskegon County Sheriff’s Department officers were present at the time of the incident.

    “Between the Muskegon Heights Police Department, the Sheriff’s Department and the Michigan State Police, we did everything we could to stop this from happening,” Thomas said.

    Michigan State Police are investigating two related shootings that occurred near each other Tuesday evening. One of the shootings involved an officer, WXMI reported.

    Muskegon County Sheriff Dean Roesler said police know that at least one person was armed and confronted the officer, which prompted the second shooting.

    “This could have been a very tragic situation,” Roesler said. “We could have had a lot more injuries, we could have had a lot more issues to deal with if we had not responded in the matter we did.”

    Roesler said the Sheriff’s Office will be conducting an internal investigation to review deputies’ actions. At this point, he told WXMI, it appears the deputy acted in compliance with state law.

    Though the names of the individuals involved have not been released yet, Thomas confirmed that some of the suspects are in custody.

    The four victims of Tuesday’s shooting are being treated at Mercy Health Muskegon’s Hackley hospital, according to The case is still under investigation.

  • Germans ‘Rush’ for Non-Lethal Self-Defense Weapons Amid Migrant Crisis — but Getting Guns Is a Bit Tricky
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 10:29 am by Sharona Schwartz

    Comments (68)

    Germans are rushing to purchase non-lethal defense weapons to protect themselves from newly arrived asylum-seekers who are increasingly being viewed as posing a threat to their safety.

    The English-language European website The Local reported Tuesday in an article headlined “Germans rush for weapons licenses amid public anxiety” that non-lethal weapons license requests have spiked “sharply” over the past three months. At the same time, a stun gun manufacturer told the Associated Press he cannot keep up with the flood of orders from Germany.

    Germany holds among the most stringent gun control laws in the world, posing a challenge to those who wish to equip themselves with firearms.

    In this picture taken on Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, owner of Euro Security Products, a self-defense equipment company, Bretislav Kostal displays a stun gun in Prague, Czech Republic. After the attacks in Paris and New Year’s security scares, Germans have been snapping up self-defense equipment like stun guns to the delight of a Czech manufacturer who corners the market. Prague-based Euro Security Products, or ESP, has been flooded by new orders from Germany for stun guns and can’t keep up with demand. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

    In this picture taken Jan. 25, owner of Euro Security Products, a self-defense equipment company, Bretislav Kostal displays a stun gun in Prague, Czech Republic. After the terrorist attacks in Paris and New Year’s security scares, Germans have been snapping up self-defense equipment like stun guns to the delight of a Czech manufacturer who corners the market. Prague-based Euro Security Products has been flooded with new orders from Germany for stun guns and can’t keep up with demand. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

    The Local cited German Interior Ministry figures, which showed that non-lethal weapons’ licenses rose by 21,000 — for a total of 301,000 — between November and January. The licenses cover blank-firing guns, pepper spray and other sprayed deterrents, according to The Local.

    Green Party lawmaker Irene Mihalic, who requested the figures from the Interior Ministry, warned that a higher penetration of weapons among the population could incite further violence.

    Mihalic, a trained police officer, said, “If more people are carrying weapons, it will lead to an escalation rather than a calming of the situation.”

    “In light of the constant threat of a terror attack, there is much that we need in terms of internal security, but we certainly don’t need more weapons,” she said.

    The AP quoted Bretislav Kostal, owner of the Czech company Euro Security Products, who said that demand for his stun guns started to skyrocket in September.

    While the delivery of his stun gun product to Germany was 25,000 for all of 2015, 15,000 of the weapons were for the last four months of the year alone.

    “Our production capacity was 3,000 pieces a month. Now, we’ve been working to increase it to 4,000 a month,” Kostal told the AP.

    Various observers interviewed in the German and international media differed in their assessment as to whether the terrorist attacks in Paris were behind the self-defense weapons’ spike or whether it could be attributed to reports of multiple sexual assaults at New Year’s Eve celebrations, most notably in Cologne, Germany.

    Ingo Meinhard, the head of the German association for weapons dealers, told the AP that demand crossed generations, sexes and professions.

    “We think that most of these articles … will never be used,” Meinhard said, but that they served a “psychological effect” of making people feel safer.

    An entry on German gun control laws on the U.S. Law Library of Congress’ website explains the regulations:

    The German system of gun control is among the most stringent in Europe.  It restricts the acquisition, possession, and carrying of firearms to those with a creditable need for a weapon.  It bans fully automatic weapons and severely restricts the acquisition of other types of weapons.  Compulsory liability insurance is required for anyone who is licensed to carry firearms.

    In recent years, German gun-control law underwent several reforms that made it even more stringent.  A new Weapons Act became effective in 2003 after a school shooting in the city of Erfurt in which a student killed sixteen persons.  The new Act restricted the use of large caliber weapons by young people and strengthened requirements for the safe storage of firearms.

    Another reform was enacted in 2009 in response to the massacre at Winnenden, in which an eighteen-year-old killed fifteen people in the course of a school shooting.  This latest reform led to the creation of a federal gun register and to intense governmental monitoring of gun owners’ compliance with requirements for the safe storage of firearms.  Pursuant to the reformed legislation, the authorities may at any time request access to the premises of any registered gun owner to monitor whether proper safe-storage procedures are being observed.

    The conservative Gatestone Institute website in December offered a peek of the zeitgeist in Germany, listing some newspaper headlines addressing the public’s concerns.

    Those headlines included: “Germany Is Afraid — and Grabs for the Weapon,” “Germans Are Arming Themselves: The Demand for Weapons Explodes,” “More and More People Are Buying a Weapon,” “Security: Hands Up!” “The Need for Security Increases,” “Boom in Weapons Stores,” and “Bavarians Are Arming Themselves — Afraid of Refugees?”

  • Convicted Home Burglar Gives His First-Person Perspective on How a Good Criminal Robs You
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 10:16 am by Carly Hoilman

    Comments (53)

    It’s fascinating to speculate about what goes on inside a criminal’s mind. Why do they do what they do? How do they develop the skills needed to pull it off?

    Charles Collier, a convicted home burglar, doesn’t have to speculate. And in a recent interview at Metro Jail in Mobile, Alabama, he decided to take it upon himself to share his knowledge with homeowners to help them avoid people like him.

    “Nine times out of 10, a good burglar is not going to take someone with him,” Collier told WKRG-TV. “I started hanging out with the wrong crowd and was taught how to do it and get away with it. And it was very very prosperous.”

    He’s thought through it all — even how to check cars parked in the driveway to determine whether or not homeowners are sleeping.

    “You check the hood. See, if it’s still warm, that means they just got home from work. If it’s good and cold, they’re probably sleeping. There [are] lots of different signs you can look for,” he said.

    Collier also knows how to disarm a trusty watchdog with some TLC.

    “[Good burglars] are going to feed your pet and make it fall in love with them,” Collier said. “I have actually done that before. [I] brought food with me, fed the animal so it wouldn’t bark at me.”

    Collier didn’t grow up thinking he would one day become a masterful thief. In fact, he got a rather late start.

    “I’ll be honest with you, when I started burglarizing, I was probably 40 years old. Now I’m 43,” Collier said, adding, however, that the planning for his first crime spree actually began a few years before his first burglary.

    Charles Collier, 43. (Image source: WKRG-NYC)

    Charles Collier, 43. (Image source: WKRG-TV)

    “I was married for a long time,” he explained. “[I] had three wonderful children, got divorced and depressed. It was right at the recession. I was trying to find work as a handicap, and it was hard.”

    Collier is a fisherman, and when business dried up, he turned to drinking. His drinking habit eventually led to a drug habit, which quickly became very expensive.

    “Being a drug addict and alcoholic, it’s easy to feed your addiction by trading. You go to the drug man, swap your merchandise,” Collier shared. “Therefore you’re not selling it or taking it to pawn shops. That’s how you can feed your addiction without getting caught. When you take these belongings to the drug man, he has ways of making it disappear easy.”

    Collier’s first burglary was of the home of a man he already knew and didn’t like. “I actually went in this man’s home while he was gone. Actually cooked me a steak meal so they knew that somebody felt comfortable in their home,” Collier said. “I watched a movie. I drank his liquor.”

    But when he went to the back of the house where the man kept his safe, he couldn’t figure out the combination.

    “Most of the time, people use a combination that’s something they know real good,” Collier said. “When I was in his backyard, I noticed a little tombstone for a pet they had. I first tried their address, and it wouldn’t work. Then I tried the date of their dog’s death and it cracked the safe. I said ‘oh my goodness!’ The jewelry and the cash [were] unbelievable.”

    After experiencing success on his first attempt, Collier soon found himself enjoying a whole new addiction.

    “It was a high,” he said. “It’s kind of like meth addicts who cook the dope. They become more high to making the drug than actually using it.”

    Collier shared what he learned were prime business hours.

    “I would head out between one and four in the morning. People sleep the hardest then,” Collier said.

    He even discovered that though wealthier neighborhoods always have the finest merchandise, their elaborate security systems served to decrease the appeal. But poorer neighborhoods had downfalls of their own.

    “I would actually go for like a middle-class neighborhood where there’d be real nice homes and then smaller class homes,” Collier explained. “That way when you’re traveling through yards, and you’re coming up on that big house, you don’t want to be in somebody else’s yard that has security lights, good dogs…things like that. You want to be able to escape quickly.”

    Escaping wasn’t always easy, though, according to Collier. And one too many “sloppy” getaways landed him where he is today — inside Metro Jail.

    “I got sloppy you see,” Collier said. “I hate that I victimized people because at one time I was that person, working hard for what I had and to have someone break into my shed and steal my lawnmower or my weed eater. Now looking back at it sober, I look at it with a different mindset.“

    Collier spoke candidly to WKRG as he waited for the van to transport him to an Alabama state prison.

    “This time’s going to be different because I’m going to make it different,” Collier said. “I’m going to be OK this time. If I tell myself I’m not, then I might as well leave here and go straight to burglarizing again because I will.”

    Collier knows that sharing his tactics won’t change his circumstances, but his hope is that his wrongdoing might serve others well.


    Front-page image via Shuttershock

  • Report: Fiery Nation of Islam Leader Louis Farrakhan Is Heading to Iran
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 10:15 am by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (115)

    Controversial Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan will reportedly speak at a rally in Iran on Thursday — a ceremony that will mark 37 years since the Islamic Revolution unfolded, according to Fox News.

    Farrakhan, 82, is known for his oft-times contentious remarks about Jews, the U.S. and a plethora of other sociopolitical subjects. He will reportedly speak alongside Iranian president Hassan Rouhani at the event, where a new drone is being put on public display.

    The event as well as Farrakhan’s purported participation were reported this week by Tasnim News Agency, a private media outlet in the Iran. The news agency said that Farrakhan will be considered “a special guest” and that a new drone will be unveiled.

    File photo of Nation of Islam Leader Louis Farrakhan (Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

    File photo of Nation of Islam Leader Louis Farrakhan (Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

    In addition to the drone, which is called “Shahed,” a ballistic missile and satellite carrier will also reportedly be publicly shown, with the outlet reporting that 450 foreign guests from 28 countries are expected to be in attendance.

    As TheBlaze has extensively documented, Farrakhan has a long history of controversial commentary. Most recently, he called Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s immigration hesitations “wise,” but warned in a separate interview that, “If Donald Trump becomes president, he will take America into the abyss of hell.”

    Farrakhan also lashed out at media outlets last summer, saying that they “terribly missed the mark” when covering a speech he delivered in July 2015 during which he called for black Americans to “rise up” and “kill those who kill us” if the government fails to “intercede.”

    Louis Farrakhan. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

    Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

    “I never said kill all white people! Those are not my words. Those are the words of the mischief-makers,” Farrakhan said during a subsequent speech in Memphis, Tennessee, on August 20. “If you’re going to quote me, then quote me! But when you add your evil mischief-making to my words to make white people think that I’m calling on black people to kill white people to start a race war, then you’re nothing but a lying devil!”

    He continued, “They’re saying these things to frighten white people and silly black people.”

    Farrakhan said that both the Bible and the Koran contain a “law of retaliation in matters of the slain.” The Nation of Islam leader also said that it is essential for police and prosecutors to properly and fairly do their jobs.

    As for the trip to Iran, it’s likely that questions will arise surrounding the Islamic country’s anti-Israel stance and Farrakhan’s past claims about Jews; last year, Farrakhan said in an interview that the Jews are the “most powerful” group.

    “Who owns America, who runs America that everybody has to pass by Farrakhan for the litmus test? You have a small population of Jewish people in America, but they’re the most powerful,” he said. “Nobody can deny their influence, their power, their money.”

    (H/T: Fox News)



  • Donald Trump Claims One of the GOP Candidates Called for a ‘Long Talk’ After His New Hampshire Win
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 10:09 am by Chris Enloe

    Comments (118)

    Following his win in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday night, Republican front-runner Donald Trump claims that fellow GOP presidential hopeful New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called him for a “long talk.”

    Trump revealed the information on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Wednesday morning after show guest co-host Robert Costa asked Trump if he’s reached out to Christie in the last 12 hours.

    Image source: MSNBC/screenshot

    Image source: MSNBC

    “I think that Chris did an amazing job in terms of the debate, as a prosecutor, and he’s a friend of mine,” Trump told the panel in response.

    “And he actually called me last night, and we had a long talk and he’s a little disappointed because he really did do a great job, he did an amazing job during that debate,” he added. “I was witness to it because I was standing next to Marco [Rubio], who I like very much, and it was a strange kind of a situation, and Marco understands that, and he’ll be able to fix it I hope.”

    Christie had another extremely disappointing night in New Hampshire Tuesday, as he finished the night in sixth place with just 7.5 percent of the vote, according to Politico — a far cry from what the governor hoped for.

    While the exact motive and reasoning behind Christie’s call will probably never be made public, Christie, who has called Trump a friend, could become the first 2016 Republican presidential candidate to leave the race and endorse Trump.

    Following his dismal result Tuesday night, Christie’s campaign announced that he would be returning to New Jersey Wednesday to “take a deep breath” and to re-evaluate the future of his presidential campaign.

    Listen to Trump’s comments below. The relevant portion of the interview begins around 7:50.

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  • Citing Global Uncertainty, Janet Yellen Says U.S. Could Slow Rate of Future Rate Hikes
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 9:47 am by Jon Street

    Comments (17)

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the U.S. economy faces a number of global threats that could hamper growth and compel the Fed to slow the pace of future interest rate hikes.

    She highlighted in her semiannual report to Congress the widening fallout from concerns over China’s weaker currency and economic outlook, which is rattling financial markets around the world.

    While the Fed expects to raise interest rates gradually, they are not on any preset course, she said Wednesday. The Fed would likely move slower “if the economy were to disappoint.”

    A street sign for Wall Street hangs outside the New York Stock Exchange on September 16, 2013 in New York City. Five years after the beginning of the financlial crisis marked by the bankrupcy of Lehman Brothers, Wall Street has more than recovered its losses, although unemployment in the United States remains high. (Credit: Getty Images)

    A street sign for Wall Street hangs outside the New York Stock Exchange on September 16, 2013 in New York City. Five years after the beginning of the financlial crisis marked by the bankrupcy of Lehman Brothers, Wall Street has more than recovered its losses, although unemployment in the United States remains high. (Credit: Getty Images)

    In her first public comments in two months, Yellen offered no major surprises. She reiterated the Fed’s confidence that the U.S. economy was on track for stronger growth and a rebound in inflation. At the same time, she acknowledged the weaker economic data reported since the start of the year and made it clear the Fed is closely monitoring greater risks from abroad.

    Yellen did mention in her prepared comments to the House Financial Services Committee that it was possible that the recent economic weakness could prove temporary, setting the stage for faster economic growth and a stronger increase in inflation than expected. Should that occur, the Fed will be ready to hike rates more quickly than currently anticipated.

    “The actual path of the (Fed’s key interest rate) will depend on what incoming data tell us about the economic outlook,” Yellen said.

    After the Fed began raising rates late last year, economists widely expected the central bank to continue to boost its benchmark rate gradually but steadily, most likely starting in March. But private economists have trimmed their expectation for four quarter-point hikes this year down to perhaps only two, with the first hike not occurring until June at the earliest.

    Her testimony included her most extensive comments on the situation in China. The data so far do not suggest that the world’s second largest economy was undergoing a sharp slowdown, Yellen said. But she added that recent declines in the country’s currency have intensified concerns about China’s future economic prospects.

    “This uncertainty led to increased volatility in global financial markets and, against the background of persistent weakness abroad, exacerbated concerns about the outlook for global growth,” Yellen said.

    U.S. growth, as measured by the gross domestic product, slowed sharply in the fourth quarter of 2015, dropping to a meager rate of 0.7 percent. Yellen attributed the result to weakness in business stockpiling and export sales. But she noted that economy is being fueled by other sectors including home building and auto sales.

    Yellen said that the sharp declines in U.S. stock prices, rising interest rates for riskier borrowers and further strength in the dollar had translated into financial conditions that are “less supportive of growth.”

    “These developments, if they prove persistent, could weigh on the outlook for economic activity and the labor market, although declines in longer-term interest rates and oil prices could provide some offset,” she said.

    Yellen said that the U.S. labor market remains solid, creating 150,000 jobs in January. That was enough to push the unemployment rate down to 4.9 percent. Inflation, however, has continued to fall below the Fed’s target of 2 percent annual price increases. The shortfall has been steeper recently because of the renewed drop in oil prices and stronger dollar, which holds down U.S. inflation by making foreign goods cheaper for American consumers.

    But Yellen said the central bank still believes that energy price declines and stronger dollar would fade in coming months. Inflation should also begin to move closer to 2 percent as a healthy labor market pushes up wages, she said. Worker pay has started to show its first significant gains since the Great Recession ended 6½ years ago.

  • Take a Look at What a Photographer Spotted on the Ground at Hillary Clinton’s N.H. Rally — You’ll Quickly See Why Some Aren’t Happy
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 9:40 am by Kate Scanlon

    Comments (234)

    The Hillary Clinton campaign has come under fire for disrespecting the American flag after a photographer for The Washington Post posted an image of a crumpled flag lying on the floor prior to Clinton’s election night rally in New Hampshire on Tuesday.

    The U.S. Flag Code stipulates:

    §8. Respect for flag

    No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.

    It also states that the flag “should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.”

    Twitter users condemned the treatment of flag.

  • Jimmy Kimmel Unveils Hilarious Parody Campaign Ad for Jeb Narrated by an Astounding Bush Sound-a-Like
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 9:38 am by Mike Opelka

    Comments (25)

    During Sunday night’s Super Bowl, Right to Rise USA, the independent political action committee supporting Jeb Bush, aired a new ad narrated by the candidate’s brother, former President George W. Bush. Targeting the next two GOP primary states, the ad ran exclusively in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

    On ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmmel Live!” Tuesday night, the host aired a parody of the Jeb Bush ad, using some of the original video, replacing George W. Bush’s narration with the voice of a Bush impersonator named John Morgan.



    John Morgan talked with TheBlaze Radio about his thirteen year career as a Bush impersonator.

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  • Parole Hearing Set for Man Who Fatally Shot Robert Kennedy
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 9:36 am by Associated Press

    Comments (19)

    SAN DIEGO (AP) — For nearly 50 years, Sirhan Sirhan has been consistent: He says he doesn’t remember fatally shooting Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in a crowded kitchen pantry of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

    The Jerusalem native, now 71, has given no inkling that he will change his version of events at his 15th parole hearing on Wednesday in San Diego. He is serving a life sentence that was commuted from death when the California Supreme Court briefly outlawed capital punishment in 1972.

    This Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, photo provided by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation shows Sirhan Sirhan. For nearly 50 years, Sirhan has been consistent: He says he doesn't remember fatally shooting Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in a crowded kitchen pantry of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. The Jerusalem native, now 71, has given no inkling that he will change his story at his 15th parole hearing set for Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, in San Diego. He is serving a life sentence that was commuted from death when the California Supreme Court briefly outlawed capital punishment in 1972. (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via AP)

    This Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, photo provided by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation shows Sirhan Sirhan. (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via AP)

    During his previous parole hearing in 2011, Sirhan told officials about his regret but again said he could not remember the events of June 5, 1968. The parole board ruled that Sirhan hadn’t shown sufficient remorse and didn’t understand the enormity of the crime less than five years after the killing of President John F. Kennedy – the senator’s older brother – and two months after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

    His memory will be tested this time in front of Paul Schrade, 91, a Kennedy confidante who was one of five people injured in the shooting. Schrade will appear for the first time at a Sirhan parole hearing.

    Schrade, who declined in a brief interview to preview his planned remarks to the parole board, has steadfastly advanced the view that there was more than one gunman.

    Sirhan initially refused to appear at the parole hearing at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility, where he has been held since 2013, said Laurie Dusek one of his attorneys. Memories of the 2011 hearing made him physically ill, but Sirhan relented after Dusek begged him to come and said Schrade would be there.

    Sirhan, who skipped earlier parole hearings, sent word through his brother, Munir, that he would appear, but Dusek said she didn’t know what he will say, if anything.

    “If you don’t show, you’ve got nothing to gain,” Dusek said she wrote to Sirhan.

    Schrade, who was western regional director of the United Auto Workers Union when he was shot in the head, was labor chair of Kennedy’s presidential campaign and was at the senator’s side the night he was gunned down moments after delivering a victory speech in California’s pivotal Democratic primary.

    Schrade has devoted the second half of his life to preserving Kennedy’s legacy and trying to unravel questions surrounding the assassination. He proposed the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools at the site of the former Ambassador Hotel and has a library named for him there.

    Schrade, who has kept a low profile in recent years, “is a family friend of the Kennedy’s, he’s very much in touch with the senator’s children,” Dusek said. “He feels that justice has not been served.”

    Author Dan Moldea said Schrade was instrumental in arranging 14 hours of interviews with Sirhan for Moldea’s 1995 book, “The Killing of Robert F. Kennedy,” which concluded Sirhan acted alone. Moldea began his research believing there was more than one gunman.

    “Paul is a great man of honorable intentions at all times, but Paul has grabbed at every thread of conspiracy in this case,” Moldea said. “When I concluded that Sirhan did it and did it alone, basically Paul cut me out of his life.”

    Sirhan’s lack of memory of the attack makes expressions of remorse and accepting responsibility difficult.

    In one of many emotional outbursts during his 1969 trial, he blurted out that he had committed the crime “with 20 years of malice aforethought.”

    That and his declaration when arrested, “I did it for my country,” were his only relevant comments before he said he didn’t remember shooting Kennedy.

    Last year, a federal judge in Los Angeles rejected arguments by Sirhan’s lawyers that their client was not in position to fire the fatal shot and that a second shooter may have been responsible.

    Some claim 13 shots were fired while Sirhan’s gun held only eight bullets, and that the fatal shot appeared to come from behind Kennedy while Sirhan faced him.

  • Attorneys Release Texts Connected to Infamous UVa Rape Hoax — and They Claim the Messages Reveal Shocking Twist
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 9:33 am by Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Comments (53)

    The elaborate story about a horrific gang rape at the University of Virginia rocked not only the campus community, but the entire country. Now, lawyers say there is more.

    According to the now-debunked and graphic story published in Rolling Stone magazine in 2014, a freshman student, “Jackie,” was raped while attending a fraternity party by multiple members of the fraternity, including a male student that she had been seeing.

    Lawyers have now released text messages between Jackie and the alleged rapist as well as text messages between Jackie and her friends and between her friends and the alleged rapist, identified by Jackie as Haven Monahan. However, according to WTVR-TV, lawyers believe that the texts were never sent by another student; they allegedly came from Jackie herself in an intricate catfishing scheme — fabricating an online personality to trick someone into engaging in a romantic relationship.

    Jackie and Ryan Duffin. (Image source: WTVR-TV)

    Jackie and her friend Ryan Duffin. (Image source: WTVR-TV)

    According to court documents obtained by WTVR, the alleged rapist was a fake character created by Jackie in order to aid her in getting a friend, Ryan Duffin, to fall in love with her. Those court documents assert that Monahan, who was never listed as a student at UVa, as a “figment of her imagination.”

    Lawyers who represent Nicole Eramo, an associate dean at UVa who is suing Rolling Stone and the author of the piece, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, for defamation, say that Monahan never actually existed.

    “It looks like, based on some research that was done, it was not a real phone it was Jackie hiding behind a computer,” Alex Stock, a student and friend of both Duffin and Jackie, told WTVR.

    Duffin did have “virtual contact” with the alleged rapist, according to the text messages that were released. At one point, he posed as another female student in Monahan’s chemistry class in order to find out more about his character and intentions with Jackie. Eventually he texted the upperclassman advice on dating Jackie.

    “Looking back now it seems so obvious at the time, you’re wondering why would you lie about this at all, why would this be the avenue that you take,” Duffin said.

    As no police reports were filed in the case of the alleged rape, Jackie has not been charged, WTVR reported.

    Text messages between Jackie and Ryan (Doc can be enlarged)

  • Donald Trump’s Coarse Language and Cursing — a Problem or a Plus?
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 9:26 am by Mike Opelka

    Comments (157)

    Does the language a candidate uses in public affect the way voters perceive them?

    A day after Donald Trump repeated a crude insult about Ted Cruz shouted by a woman attending a campaign rally, the GOP front-runner scored a record-setting win in the New Hampshire primary.

    Monday night was not the first time Trump used rough language on the campaign trail or speaking to the media. In case you have not heard Mr. Trump’s cursing, the crew at assembled this montage.

    (Content warning: Coarse language)

    How do you feel about Donald Trump’s “unfiltered” language? Take our Blaze poll and add your comments below.

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  • Experts Sound the Alarm Over These Unintended Consequences of Allowing in Thousands of Syrian Refugees
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 9:15 am by Jon Street

    Comments (43)

    BOSTON (AP) — For the thousands of Syrian refugees expected to arrive in the U.S. in coming months, the first order of business will be securing the basics – health care, jobs, education and a safe home.

    Syrian refugees wait at Marka Airport in Amman, Jordan, on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015 to complete their migration procedures to Canada,which has announced that it will take around 25,000 Syrians from Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh)

    Syrian refugees wait at Marka Airport in Amman, Jordan, on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015 to complete their migration procedures to Canada,which has announced that it will take around 25,000 Syrians from Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh)

    But what organizations helping resettle them might not be prepared for, and what refugees themselves might be in denial about, is the need to treat the mental scars of war, experts said.

    Iham Al Horani, a 32-year-old refugee living in Worcester, Massachusetts, said he has had little time to think about his mental health in between months of job hunting and shuttling his mother, recovering from sniper gunfire, to doctor’s appointments.

    “It was difficult, what we came from,” Al Horani said through a translator. “The living conditions in the refugee camp were bad. But at least we’re all here.”

    Organizations that work with refugees said it’s too early to assess the full scope of arrivals’ mental health needs. But experts say it’s important to keep tabs on the emotional state of new arrivals, since symptoms may not appear until months or years later – well after most resettlement support services have ended.

    The U.S. has taken about 2,500 Syrian refugees since the conflict there began in 2011, including about 100 in Massachusetts. The Obama administration expects to take in at least 10,000 in the federal fiscal year that began in October. Experts estimate 10 to 20 percent of incoming Syrians will have war-related psychological problems warranting treatment.

    “They’re in the honeymoon phase,” said Richard Mollica, a psychiatry professor at Harvard Medical School who has spent decades working with torture and genocide victims. “In the first year, they’re so happy to be out of that situation. They feel something wonderful is going to happen in America.

    “It’s only about two years later or so when there’s a mental health crisis,” he said. “It’s at that point that reality hits and they really need a lot of mental health care.”

    Ahmad Alkhalaf, a 9-year-old who arrived in the Boston area this past summer for medical treatment, said he used to have restless nights when he would relive his mother’s screams from the night a bomb killed three of his siblings and left him without arms. But those sounds, he said, have largely faded.

    “I’m fine,” Ahmad said through a translator. “They’re gone.”

    Ahmad’s father, Dirgam Alkhalaf, said he recently took his son to a counselor, who found nothing concerning. They don’t plan to go back.

    Ahmad Houssam Hallak, a 51-year-old Syrian recovering from an artillery attack that left him with speech and movement problems, said winning asylum last year hasn’t eased his stress. He is working to bring over his wife and three children, who remain in Lebanon.

    “They live in an unstable country,” Hallak said through a translator. “It’s a constant fear that I’m living in.”

    Such stresses – finding a job, adjusting to a new culture or dealing with life apart from family – can also contribute to mental health problems, said Bengt Arnetz, a professor at Michigan State University who has been studying trauma in Middle Eastern refugees.

    Failure to address them could lead some refugees to withdraw from society, increasing the chances they’ll be drawn to extremist groups, Arnetz warned.

    Alexandra Weber, chief program officer at the International Institute of New England, an agency contracted by the U.S. government to resettle refugees, agreed mental health services can be improved. Many agencies, for example, don’t have enough Arabic speakers, she said.

    But, she said, agencies are increasingly asking refugees about their emotional state as part of initial health screenings – something not done in years past.

    “For the first time in my career, I feel encouraged,” Weber said. “In some ways, Syrians couldn’t be coming at a better time.”

    A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement, declined to comment but pointed to general information on the office’s website about federally funded programs for torture victims and its efforts at promoting “emotional wellness.”

    At the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, a Detroit-area nonprofit, public health manager Madiha Tariq said she hopes the government will hurry to get refugees out of squalid, dangerous refugee camps and to the U.S.

    “With the Syrian population, they’ve already been the victims of extreme trauma. They’ve also been in refugee camps for a long time,” Tariq said. “So the longer that displacement is, the more work we’ll have to do repairing the stress and damage.”

  • Trump Tells French Paper What He Would Have Done Had He Been in the Audience When Terrorists Attacked Paris Concert Hall
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 9:11 am by Sharona Schwartz

    Comments (79)

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told a French magazine that had he been present at the Paris concert hall when Islamic State attackers arrived, he would have opened fire on them. He also claimed that the Middle Eastern migrant crisis could spell “the end of Europe.”

    Reuters on Wednesday posted several quotes from Trump’s interview with the French conservative weekly Valeurs Actuelles which included harsh criticism of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to allow in so many asylum seekers.

    “I think Angela Merkel made a tragic mistake with the migrants,” Trump was quoted as saying.

    “If you don’t treat the situation competently and firmly, yes, it’s the end of Europe. You could face real revolutions,” he added.

    Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a primary night rally, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in Manchester, N.H. At his side are his wife Melania Trump, left, and daughter Ivanka Trump, right. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

    Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a primary night rally, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in Manchester, N.H. At his side are his wife Melania Trump, left, and daughter Ivanka Trump, right. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

    The magazine noted that the interview was conducted a week before the Iowa caucuses; however, given Trump’s big win Tuesday in New Hampshire, his quotes won the attention of the European media hours after the Granite State’s results were announced.

    Trump appeared to credit French gun control laws for the high death toll at the Bataclan concert hall in November when concertgoers were gunned down by Islamic State militants, with no armed civilians able to push back the offensive.

    Had he been there, this is what Trump said he believes he would have done: “I always have a gun with me. Had I been at the Bataclan, I can tell you I would have opened fire,” he reportedly said.

    Trump also reiterated his positive regard for Russian President Vladimir Putin and suggested that if elected, relations between the superpowers could improve.

    “He (Putin) said I was brilliant. That proves a certain smartness,” Trump said, according to Reuters.

    Immediately following the Paris attacks, Trump blasted France’s “toughest gun laws” which prevented civilians from protecting themselves.

    “When you look at Paris — you know the toughest gun laws in the world, Paris — nobody had guns but the bad guys. Nobody had guns. Nobody,” Trump said at a Texas rally in November.

    “They were just shooting them one by one and then they [security forces] broke in and had a big shootout and ultimately killed the terrorists,” Trump said then. “You can say what you want, but if they had guns, if our people had guns, if they were allowed to carry … it would’ve been a much, much different situation.”

    A note about Trump’s quotes published Wednesday: the Republican front-runner’s words, which were presumably translated by the magazine to French, were then translated by Reuters back to English.