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  • ‘Please Help!!!’: Ebay User Begs Bidders to Buy $666 Chair That Is ‘Haunted by a Poltergeist’ — But There’s Something Else You Need to Know About It
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 10:13 am by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (52)

    Ebay is a one-stop shop for practically every item imaginable, including — according to one listing — an old cane chair that the seller says is “haunted by a poltergeist.”

    Andre Williams, an Australian Ebay user known as *truevintage*, is currently listing the chair as part of what he called an “experiment in human behavior and human psychology,” with the opening bid set at $25. But anyone looking to purchase it immediately can do so for $666, a figure known for its association with the biblical figure of the Antichrist.

    In the sales post, Williams pleads with possible buyers to take the “haunted” chair, which apparently came from “the hard rubbish of an old 1880s home” in Australia.

    “After a week of having it in the house, I heard some crying during the night. Then in the morning I noticed that the chair was on [its] side,” the post reads. “I didn’t connect the dots until it happened several times over two years. Sometimes there is laughing accompanied by tapping noises.”

    Ebay

    Image source: Ebay via *truevintage*

    The Ebay description goes on to claim that the chair is leaving marks on the floor, indicating that someone — or something — might be sitting in it. And that’s not all.

    “Recently I found the marks going up the wall and along the plaster ceiling. Please believe me, I am not crazy,” the description continues. “Whenever I hear the crying, the chair is always found on its side. As yet I have not caught anyone or thing in the act.”

    But there’s only one problem. Williams, who is an artist, told the Daily Mail that the posting — “meant to be a bit of theatre” — is a social experiment of sorts.

    “People get so caught up in [supernatural things] that they want to make it true, they believe what they want to believe. It was a bit of experiment in human behavior and human psychology,” he told the outlet, noting that he will reinvent the chair as something else and re-post if it doesn’t sell.

    So far, though, the experiment hasn’t yielded any action, as there are no official bids on the chair.

    (H/T: Daily Mail)

  • The ‘Worst Possible Piece of Debris You Could Think of’ Flew off a Truck and Hit This Car
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 10:09 am by Liz Klimas

    Comments (67)

    Driving behind a truck carrying a bunch of lumber or a paint truck laden with ladders, might have you keeping a safe distance. But nothing shows why it’s so important to make sure items on a truck are secure more than an incident in Topsfield, Massachusetts, this week that resulted in this picture.

    An ax from a landscaper’s truck flew off the back and hit the windshield of the car just behind it on southbound Interstate 95 outside of Boston, narrowly missing the woman sitting in the passenger’s seat.

    “Thankfully, the [ax] only went halfway through the windshield. The passenger who is partially seen in the photo was shaken up (who wouldn’t be?) but not injured,” Massachusetts State Police said in a Facebook post.

    The woman sitting in the passenger's seat was shaken up by the incident but not injured. (Image source: Massachusetts State Police/Facebook)

    The woman sitting in the passenger’s seat was “shaken up” by the incident but not injured. (Image source: Massachusetts State Police/Facebook)

    The landscape truck driver, who is with the company Peabody, was cited by a trooper and received a $200 fine.

    If the car following the truck had not been going the speed limit, which was 65 mph, the situation could have been a whole lot worse, the police said. 

    “If he had been speeding, the increased velocity of his car would have increased the power of the [ax]‘s impact, meaning it could very well have gone through the glass and injured his passenger,” the police said on Facebook. “We are very thankful that this situation did not have a worse ending.”

    Image source: WCVB-TV

    Image source: WCVB-TV

    State Trooper Joseph Risteen told WCVB-TV the ax was ”something I hadn’t seen before and I hope I never see again” and possibly ”the worst possible piece of debris you could think of coming.”

    Watch this report from the news station about the incident:

    Police aren’t identifying the motorists.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

  • ‘I Was an Old-Fashioned Journalist’: Jay Carney Reveals Why He Left Reporting for the White House in David Letterman Interview
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 9:04 am by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (96)

    Former White House press secretary Jay Carney appeared on the “Late Show With David Letterman” Wednesday night to discuss why he left a two-decade career in journalism to become a government spokesman, what it was like working for President Barack Obama and plenty more.

    Letterman, who started the interview with comments about Carney’s youthfulness, joked that the first time he saw the press secretary he thought, “Oh, it must be junior high day at the Oval Office.”

    From there, Carney, 49, took a more serious turn, describing what led him to leave Time magazine for the Obama administration, claiming that he had always been an objective reporter before joining the Democratic team.

    In this photo provided by CBS, former White House press secretary Jay Carney, left, talks with host David Letterman on the set of the “Late Show with David Letterman,” Wednesday, July 30, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/CBS, John Paul Filo)

    “I was an old-fashioned journalist, not an advocate, didn’t take sides in my job,” he said. “But I was extremely excited personally about the Obama-Biden victory.”

    When an unnamed friend whom Carney described as a foreign policy expert who plays in a “garage band” told him that Vice President Joe Biden was looking for a communications director, he jumped at the opportunity. That job eventually led to the press secretary position.

    Considering Carney’s professional relationship with Biden, Letterman asked if the perception that the vice president puts his foot in his mouth every time he speaks is accurate.

    “It’s not accurate, but it had become the narrative,” he responded.

    Watch the first part of the interview below:

    Carney and Letterman went on to discuss the “adversarial” relationship that exists between government officials and the press.

    “Certainly in the post-Watergate era it has become an adversarial relationship and it should be … and in my experience, there has always been this tension,” Carney said.

    He added that complaints by journalists that they don’t have access to the White House are nothing new and that people acting as though transparency grievances are a new phenomenon “really don’t know their history.”

    Carney also described what went into choosing which reporters he would call on during press conferences, noting that he was always sure to call on the “major news organizations that invest a lot of resources in covering our president, our White House and our government.”

    “You can’t avoid them because that would become a story,” he added.

    Watch part two of the interview below:

    Letterman was also curious about how Obama reacted to Carney’s departure as press secretary earlier this year.

    “What was your departure like. … I bet the president was sorry to see you go?” the comedian asked.

    But Carney was careful not to divulge too much information, pausing before commenting and noting that he is “protective of some things.”

    “I am…well…you know I…I always… I’m protective of some things,” he said. “But I’m the example or the proof rather that the myth of [Obama] being insular and not wanting to make new friends when he got to Washington or the White House just isn’t true.”

    Watch Carney describe his departure below:

    Letterman and Carney also discussed the many ways in which the former press secretary would avoid giving direct answers to the press, uttering, “No comment” and “I don’t have the answer,” among other responses.

    “The smartest answer you can give if you don’t have the answer is ‘I don’t know,’” Carney said. “The biggest mistake you can make as a press secretary is to assume you know the answer when you don’t actually know.”

    Getting something wrong in today’s media environment, Carney said, “can metastizise so quickly.”

    Watch him discuss the issue below:

  • 16-Year-Old Who Beat Cancer Twice Just Wanted a Complete Smile. When Insurance Wouldn’t Pay for Dentures, the Internet Stepped Up.
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 9:04 am by Liz Klimas

    Comments (23)

    Alex Hunter hasn’t had it easy.

    At age 4, he was diagnosed with stage four Rhabodomyosarcoma. With both chemotherapy and radiation treatment, he beat it. By 13 years old, a new type of cancer plagued the Delano, California, teen: Hurthle cell carcinoma. He beat this too.

    But as an effect of his treatments, Alex’s teeth were loose and hurt him. Due to the pain, he decided to have 19 teeth removed this year, hoping to get a set of dentures and a new smile, the 16-year-old’s family wrote.

    When insurance wouldn't pay for a set of dentures, the Internet stepped in. (Image source: Go Fund Me)

    When insurance wouldn’t pay for a set of dentures, the Internet stepped in. (Image source: Go Fund Me)

    “Unfortunately, while insurance did agree to pay a portion of the initial oral surgery, they have denied to pay any portion for dentures,” the Hunter family wrote on a Go Fund Me site two days ago.

    “[The insurance] said it wasn’t a medical issue and of course it’s from a medical issue,” Roberta Hunter, Alex’s grandmother, told KERO-TV.

    The family was hoping to raise $11,000 to give Alex a new set of pearly whites that wouldn’t cause him pain before the school year started. In less than 24 hours, the Internet stepped up and exceeded the family’s goal. At the time of this posting, nearly $19,000 has been raised for Alex’s cause.

    “From friends, to family, to my community and everyone else that has been beyond generous to help me in meeting and surpassing my goal….THANK YOU!” Alex wrote on the Go Fund Me site.

    The teen, who hopes to be a contestant on the talent show “The Voice” someday, told KERO he also wants to go to college, major in psychology and sociology, and become a counselor to “help others the way I do at school.”

    Watch KERO-TV’s report about the family’s fundraising effort:

    Alex’s mother, Lisbeth Hunter, told the U.K.’s Daily Mail she expects her son to celebrate his new dentures “with a smile and also a good meal.”

    “It’s a bit overwhelming,” Lisbeth Hunter told the Daily Mail. “It’s amazing. Never in our wildest dreams did we think that this would happen.”

  • What This Octopus Did for More Than Four Years Blows Other Moms Out of the Water
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 8:23 am by Liz Klimas

    Comments (51)

    There’s “octomom,” a human female that gave birth to octuplets, and then there’s the eight-armed “octomom,” a cephalopod that did something no other species has been seeing doing. This octopus guarded her nest of eggs for more than four years, appearing to not leave for even a moment to get food.

    This "octomom" guarded her eggs for four-and-a-half years, protecting them from predators and cleaning them. She survived on little to no food during this time. (Image source: YouTube)

    This “octomom” guarded her eggs for four-and-a-half years, protecting them from predators and cleaning them. She survived on little to no food during this time. (Image source: YouTube)

    Researchers from the University of Rhode Island and Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute observed such a deep-sea mother brooding over her eggs for longer than any other known animal, calling it an “evolutionary balancing act between the benefits to the young octopuses of having plenty of time to develop within their eggs, and their mother’s ability to survive for years with little or no food.”

    “This research demonstrates how little we know about life in the deep-sea and life generally,” Brad Seibel, a biological sciences professor at the university, said in a statement. “From shallow-living species we have developed limited and limiting ideas about the capabilities of animals.”

    Seibel previously speculated that the eggs of deep-sea octopuses took years to develop before they were ready to hatch, but he still said he found what they observed of this octopus “surprising.”

    This specific octomom was found in May 2007 while Monterey Bay researchers were conducting a routine survey of deep-sea creatures Monterey Canyon off the coast of California. The team monitored this Graneledone boreopacifica 18 times for the next four-and-a-half years, according to the university news release. They witnessed her eggs getting larger and could even see the octopuses growing inside the eggs. They also saw the mother loosing weight and her skin color changing.

    By October 2011, the octopus mother was gone from the site, her eggs were empty.

    The empty egg casings after the brood presumably hatched. The mom, after 53 months of guarding the eggs, was no where to be found. (Image source: YouTube)

    The empty egg casings after the brood presumably hatched. The mom, after 53 months of guarding the eggs, was no where to be found. According to the university, researches counted about 160 eggs. (Image source: YouTube)

    The university news release stated that it is not unusual for most female octopuses to die around the time their one and only set of eggs hatches. While this species brooded for years, the study authors wrote in their paper, published in the journal PLOS One this week, that most shallow-water species only have to guard their eggs for up to three months.

    Watch this video that shows footage of the long-brooding octomom:

    The team speculated that lower water temperatures at deeper depths might be associated with longer brooding times. The researchers believe that this longer brooding period though yields a more developed hatchling that has a higher chance of survival.

    “The ultimate fate of a brooding female octopus is inevitably death, but in this first example from the deep sea, brooding also confers an extension of adult life that greatly exceeds most projections of cephalopod longevity,” the researchers wrote, according to the news release.

  • Ex-Christian Radio Host Pleads Guilty in Disturbing Child Sex Case
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 7:43 am by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (70)

    A former Christian radio host who was arrested last month over allegations that he was paying for sexual encounters with minors pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of sexual exploitation of a child and possession of child pornography.

    “I performed a sexual act as described and I knowingly possessed the images on my camera,” Balyo told U.S. Magistrate Judge Ellen Carmody, according to MLive.com. “I knew it was wrong.”

    He admitted to restraining a 12-year-old boy and photographing images that were “sexually explicit involving bondage and nudity” during an assault in April at a Michigan hotel.

    Balyo, 34, struck a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, pleading guilty to charges of criminal sexual conduct. In exchange for his plea, Balyo will not be charged with additional violations that emerge as the investigation forges on, according to the Detroit Free Press.

    The former radio host will be sentenced in November and could spend between 15 and 50 years behind bars. In addition to federal charges, Balyo could also face charges from the state.

    Formerly a host with WCSG radio, a gospel station, he was terminated from his position after the story of his arrest broke in late June. In a statement posted on the WCSG website last month, general manager Chris Lemke said that staffers were “shocked and deeply saddened” by the situation.

    “We trust in a God who is just and sovereign and will see us through this difficult time,” he said. “Effective today, John Balyo is no longer affiliated with WCSG Radio.”

    Investigators with the Homeland Security Investigations, Michigan State Police and Battle Creek Police Department detained Balyo at a Christian concert in Gaylord, Michigan, on June 20, WZZM-TV reported.

    Authorities charge that another man, Ronald Lee Moser, 42, ran a website that provided sexual encounters with underage boys; his home was raided in early June.

    Police also claim that Balyo was paying Moser to coordinate the encounters with minors. Balyo will testify in Moser’s trial if necessary, according to the Free Press.

    (H/T: Charisma News)

  • ‘Everybody Was Shocked’: A Very Special Guest Surprised Derek Jeter for His Last Game at Texas’ Rangers Ballpark
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 3:12 am by Oliver Darcy

    Comments (68)

    Derek Jeter was in for a big surprise Wednesday night.

    The famed shortstop was greeted by former President George W. Bush before his final game at Rangers Ballpark.

    “Everybody was shocked, including Derek Jeter,” one of the announcers said.

    Jeter, who announced he is retiring at the end of the year, said it was a special moment for him.

    “That’s a pretty special feeling, when you have a President come out and give you something to honor you,” he said. “That’s definitely a memory I’ll have for a long time. I’ll be able to brag to a lot of different people.”

    Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees is presented a photo by President George W. Bush during a ceremony honoring Jeter’s last game in Arlington before the game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington on July 30, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)

    The Yankee was then asked if the appearance meant more than the gifts he has been presented at various pre-game festivities honoring his career.

    “It’s an experience, you know what I mean?” Jeter said. ”That’s a gift within itself.”

    New York Yankees Derek Jeter, left, and former President George W. Bush greet each other during a ceremony honoring Jeter before a baseball game against the Texas Rangers Wednesday, July 30, 2014, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

    “Not too many people can say they’ve had the President come out and honor them in a ceremony. It meant a lot to me,” he added.

    (H/T: Bleacher Report)

    Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter

  • Israel Calls Up 16,000 More Reserves, Gives Military Ability to Expand 23-Day-Old Gaza Offensive
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 2:02 am by Associated Press

    Comments (95)

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s military says it is calling up another 16,000 reserves.

    Thursday’s move gives the military the ability to substantially widen its 23-day-old Gaza offensive.

    Israeli reserve soldiers return to Israel after fighting in Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip, while walking on a road near the Israel Gaza border on Wednesday, July 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

    More than 1,360 Palestinians have been killed since the fighting began on July 8. Fifty-six Israeli soldiers and three civilians on the Israeli side have lost their lives.

    The development comes after another day of heavy fighting, with 116 Palestinians killed on Wednesday along with three Israeli soldiers.

    Israel has now called up a total of 86,000 reserves during the Gaza conflict.

  • Flesh-Eating Bacteria That Thrives in Warm Seawater Has Killed Two, Infected Nine in Florida
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 1:17 am by Oliver Darcy

    Comments (56)

    A flesh-eating bacteria that thrives in warm seawater has killed two and infected at least nine in Florida this year, according to the Florida Department of Health.

    Individuals are usually infected with the bacteria, Vibrio vulnificus, when they eat raw shellfish, the FDH says. However, those with open wounds should be extra cautious when going for a swim in the ocean.

    “Since it is naturally found in warm marine waters, people with open wounds can be exposed to Vibrio vulnificus through direct contact with seawater,” a statement posted by the FDH warned.

    “Since it is naturally found in warm marine waters, people with open wounds can be exposed…”
    Share:

    “Vibrio vulnificus can also cause an infection of the skin when open wounds are exposed to warm seawater; these infections may lead to skin breakdown and ulcers,” the statement added, noting the flesh-eating bacteria can “invade the bloodstream” resulting in “severe and life-threatening illness.”

    A flesh-eating bacteria has infected at least 11 individuals in Florida this year, killing two, according to the Florida Department of Health. (Image source: Shutterstock)

    A flesh-eating bacteria has infected at least 11 individuals in Florida this year, killing two, according to the Florida Department of Health. (Image source: Shutterstock)

    According to the latest statistics from the FDH, updated July 25, there have been 11 cases of Vibrio vulnificus in Florida this year, two of which have proven fatal. In 2013, there were 41 cases and 11 deaths.

    The FDH recommends that those who suspect they may have contracted bacteria seek immediate medical attention. The agency said “antibiotics improve survival,” adding that “aggressive attention should be given to the wound site; for patients with wound infections, amputation of the infected limb is sometimes necessary.”

    Vibrio vulnificus is a flesh-eating bacteria that hasinfected at least 11 individuals in Florida this year, killing two, according to the Florida Department of Health. (Image source: Shutterstock)

    Vibrio vulnificus is a flesh-eating bacteria that has infected at least 11 individuals in Florida this year, killing two, according to the Florida Department of Health. (Image source: CDC)

    Steve Gyland survived a battle with the flesh-eating bacteria after contracting it through a blister while scuba diving in the Bahamas.

    “It was like you were on fire. Like a burn-blister from a fire. It was weeks before I could walk on that leg,” he told WPTV.

    “It was like you were on fire. Like a burn-blister from a fire.”
    Share:

    “You could just watch the red, blistery skin just grow and expand and move up your leg,” Gyland added.

    Florida isn’t the only state where the bacteria exists. Other states in the nearby region have also reported cases in the past.

    (H/T: @hartpandrew)

    Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter

  • The Associated Press Receives an Accidental Email From the White House That the News Outlet Likely Wasn’t Supposed to See
    Posted July 30, 2014 at 11:48 pm by Jason Howerton

    Comments (175)

    The White House “accidentally emailed” non-classified talking points regarding a classified torture report and how the CIA likely withheld information from then-Secretary of State Colin Powell to an Associated Press reporter on Wednesday.

    The classified Senate report concludes that Powel and other U.S. officials were kept in the dark regarding some of the harsh torture techniques as well as secret prisons, the AP reports, citing the non-classified document that “circulating among White House staff.”

    Further, some U.S. ambassadors were apparently instructed not to tell their superiors at the State Department about interrogations of terrorists and “black sites” in other countries, according to the document “accidentally” emailed to the AP reporter.

    Former Secretary of State Colin Powell is seen in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 31, 2012, during a ceremony to unveil the official portraits of former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

    Former Secretary of State Colin Powell is seen in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 31, 2012, during a ceremony to unveil the official portraits of former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

    More from the AP:

    The 6,300-page Senate report on the CIA’s interrogation program has been years in the making. The findings are expected to reveal additional details about the CIA’s program and renew criticisms that the U.S. engaged in torture as it questioned terrorism suspects after the 2001 attacks.

    A congressional official who has read the Senate report confirmed that it makes the findings outlined in the document. A former senior CIA official said the secretary of state at the time, Colin Powell, eventually was informed about the program and sat in meetings in which harsh interrogation techniques were discussed. But Powell may not have been informed when the techniques were first used in 2002, the official said. A spokeswoman Wednesday said Powell would not comment.

    The former CIA official said it would be standard practice for ambassadors informed about a covert operation to be instructed not to share it with others who did not have a “need to know,” as determined by the National Security Council. Ambassadors in countries in which the CIA set up black sites to interrogate prisoners were usually told about it, said the official, who, like others interviewed for this story, would not be quoted by name because some of the information remains classified.

    Powell was eventually informed of the CIA’s so-called torture program. Powell was not willing to comment on the report Wednesday, according to a spokesperson.

    The New York Times’ Matt Apuzza put a positive spin on the “accidental” email, saying he chooses to “see it not as a mistake but as an exciting move toward transparency for this White House.”

    Read the AP’s full report here.

    (H/T: Boing Boing)

  • Florida Man Makes Extremely Unsettling Discovery After Purchasing Used Car
    Posted July 30, 2014 at 11:45 pm by Oliver Darcy

    Comments (98)

    A Florida man made a disturbing discovery this week inside a used 2005 Grand Prix that he had recently purchased.

    The unidentified car buyer was cleaning out his newly purchased vehicle when he told authorities that he discovered a cell phone full of child pornography, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

    A man was cleaning out a used car he purchased when he made an unsettling discovery. (Image source: Shutterstock)

    A man was cleaning out a used car he purchased when he made an unsettling discovery. (Image source: Shutterstock)

    The car had formerly belonged to sex offender Jesse Brown, 62, who had previously served sentences in prison for sexually abusing two 8-year-old girls, the Sentinel reported.

    The 62-year-old then served an additional term for failing to register as a sex offender, after finishing his 19 years in prison.

    At that time, Brown’s vehicle was towed and sold, ultimately ending up in the hands of an innocent buyer who discovered his cell phone.

    After he was confronted by authorities, the 62-year-old admitted he hid the device in his trunk. He said that he stored about 100 graphic photos on the device, using it “as a crutch to keep form acting out physically against children,” records obtained by the Sentinel said.

    Brown was arrested Monday and back in court on Tuesday.

    Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter

  • Anti-Corruption Initiative Brings Down Indiana Sheriff, Leaves Him Facing Decades in Prison
    Posted July 30, 2014 at 11:30 pm by Zach Noble

    Comments (46)

    Soliciting prostitution is not a federal offense — but dressing a hooker up like a police officer and then lying to the FBI about it definitely is.

    The sheriff of Clark County, Indiana, is facing criminal charges and potentially decades in prison after he allegedly did just that, WHAS-TV reported.

    The 60-year-old sheriff, Danny Robben, is accused of giving a prostitute police apparel and a badge so that the individual could book a hotel room in Louisville, Kentucky, at the reduced rate for law enforcement.

    Then, according to the federal indictment against him, he paid the prostitute $300 for a sex act.

    Image source: screengrab via

    Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden. (Image source: screengrab via WHAS-TV)

    Rodden ran afoul of the feds in May and June, WHAS reported, when he allegedly made false statements to an investigating FBI officer and then advised someone else to destroy evidence linked to the case.

    Rodden was in his final year of his final term as sheriff, WHAS reported, and is married with two children.

    He now faces up to 20 years in prison for counseling the destruction of evidence and up to 35 years for seven counts of making a false statement.

    Rodden’s arrest was part of a broad anti-corruption effort involving the Indiana State Police, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, WHAS reported.

    “Our message has been consistent but bears repeating: if you violate the public trust, our Public Corruption Working Group will find you, will investigate you, and will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law,” said U.S. Attorney Joseph Hogsett.

    Rodden appeared in court Tuesday and was allowed to return to his home after his court appearance.

    Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

  • Palestinian Terror Group Exploits U.N. Facility Yet Again, Hides Tunnel Under Health Clinic Then Booby-Traps It to Kill Israeli Soldiers
    Posted July 30, 2014 at 11:00 pm by Sharona Schwartz

    Comments (55)

    Three Israeli soldiers were killed Wednesday when explosives rigged inside a tunnel hidden under a United Nations health clinic in Gaza detonated, comprising yet another example of the exploitation of internationally-protected facilities by Palestinian terror groups.

    The Times of Israel reported:

    An Israeli elite squad searching for tunnels near Khan Younis uncovers a booby-trapped opening in a small UNRWA health clinic.

    The troops send in sniffing dogs and a small robot to minimize damage to the structure, but despite the precautionary measures, the explosives rigged to the tunnel are detonated, demolishing the building on top of the soldiers.

    Wednesday’s incident follows an admission for the third time by UNRWA – the U.N.’s main agency in Gaza – that it found another stash of rockets in one of its schools.

    UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said in a statement, “We condemn the group or groups who endangered civilians by placing these munitions in our school. This is yet another flagrant violation of the neutrality of our premises. We call on all the warring parties to respect the inviolability of U.N. property.”

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week expressed alarm that 20 rockets being stored in one of the schools had gone missing.

    “By doing so, those responsible are turning schools into potential military targets, and endangering the lives of innocent children, U.N. employees working in such facilities and anyone using the U.N. schools as shelter,” Ban said in a statement.

    Reuters quoted Gunness who said that the organization was calling in a U.N. munitions expert to dispose of the rockets, but that the expert could not get to the premises due to the ongoing fighting.

    The IDF said it was reviewing an incident Tuesday night during which explosives hit a U.N. school, killing 15. The IDF said its soldiers were being shot at by Palestinian militants firing mortars from the area of the school.

    “In response, soldiers fired toward the origins of fire. And we’re still reviewing the incident,” the IDF said, according to the Associated Press.

    UNRWA blamed Israel for the attack. “I condemn in the strongest possible terms this serious violation of international law by Israeli forces,” UNRWA commissioner-general Pierre Krahenbuhl said in a statement.

    The White House also condemned the shelling but notably did not assign blame in its statement for the incident to either Israel or Hamas.

    White House spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said the U.S. was “extremely concerned” that thousands of Palestinians are unsafe in U.N. shelters.

    Even though Meehan did not say Israel was responsible, this is how the Associated Press tweeted the headline to her statement:

    The Israel Defense Forces’ Gaza division commander, Brig. Gen. Micky Edelstein, said Wednesday that Palestinian terrorists have set more than a thousand IEDs during the current conflict and that after his soldiers swept a single Gaza street comprising 28 buildings, 19 were found to have been booby-trapped, the Times of Israel reported.

  • Educator: The Media ‘Just Collapsed’ and Failed to Ask Basic Questions About Common Core
    Posted July 30, 2014 at 10:45 pm by Fred Lucas

    Comments (32)

    The news media failed to ask basic questions about the agenda behind Common Core, said a former member of the national committee that helped develop the controversial education standards.

    Houstyn Lehman 5, works on math work as she waits for her mother in the gallery of the State House of Representatives Thursday, March 13, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. A proposal to delay further implementation of the state’s Common Core standards was approved in the House on Thursday. (AP Photo/The Tennessean, George Walker IV )

    “I don’t understand why the media just collapsed. None of the basic questions were asked,” said Sandra Stotsky, who served on the National Validation Committee for the Common Core State Systemic Initiative from 2009 to 2010.

    Stotsky, a former senior associate commissioner at the Massachusetts Department of Education, objected to the standards being drafted and said the current backlash has resulted because they were written in secret by private organizations with no input from parents, teachers, state legislators or local school boards.

    “Who developed them? Private organizations, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is why reporters can’t have access to any of the records,” Stotsky said Wednesday speaking at the Family Research Council in Washington on a panel about Common Core.

    “They’re not subject to Freedom of Information Act requests. You can’t find out who was chosen for what reasons by whom to be on the standards committee, who was chosen by whom and for what purposes and what salary for these standards writers, none of that information is available,” she added.

    The K-12 education standards were developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officials, both private organizations for public officials funded by private companies and foundations. Thought adopted by 44 states and the District of Columbia, three states have repealed the standards, while most others are debating them.

    “So, reporters should have learned a long time ago that there was going to be a spin to anything that came out of all those organizations supported by the Gates Foundation to promote it,” said Stotsky, an education professor at the University of Arkansas. “They should have been looking at an independent source of information. I don’t understand why the media just collapsed. None of the basic questions were asked.”

    She cited that no one developing these standards sought input from college educators about college ready standards. She added that the SAT exam and AP courses were going to conform to Common Core.

    “We have complete corruption and damage to the entire fabric of education in this country in collusion with the U.S. Department of Education because all of this has been done in collaboration with the Department of Education,” Stotsky said.

    Emmett McGroarty, the education director at the conservative American Principles Project, said tying the Department of Education’s Race to the Top grants with the adoption of the Common Core standards was a power grab by the executive branch. But he said state boards of education readily submit to federal demands in order to get more funding.

    Still, he agreed private interests are behind it.

    “This really wasn’t even the federal government driving this,” he said. “Common Core is owned by private associations, incorporated private associations that put a copyright on the Common Core and a disclaimer as to any damage it might cause. It reads like the back of a cigarette carton.”

    “They’re the ones who got massive funding from other private entities, the Gates Foundation, and convinced the incoming administration in December 2008 and in 2009 to take up this issue and to spearhead it because the federal government has become the tool of private interest,” he continued.

    The standards’ assertion of college and career ready might even be cause for concern, said William Estrada, director of federal relations for the Home School Legal Defense Association. He cited the goal of Karl Marx to have a “combination of education with industrial production.”

    “It screams Common Core to me, where we say we have to have our standards of college and career ready, it smacks of that Soviet mentality, that we don’t want to have kids get too much education,” Estrada said. “We’ll have the elites decide who will go into academia and who will go into the assembly line work. That’s not what our country was founded on.”

  • This Poignant Last Photo of an Israeli Soldier Is Getting a Lot of Attention
    Posted July 30, 2014 at 10:29 pm by Sharona Schwartz

    Comments (34)

    A photographer for a leading Israeli news site captured the moment a soldier and his girlfriend were hugging for the last time just days before the soldier was killed in the exact spot along the Gaza border where the picture was taken.

    Yulia Sokolov went to the Gaza border Friday to visit her boyfriend Staff Sgt. Adi Briga, 23, before he was expected to move into Gaza with his Israel Defense Forces unit. They stood in their spot hugging for long minutes. At the same time, Ido Erez, a photographer for Ynet, was waiting to cover a press briefing with a senior IDF commander.

    Before the briefing began, photographer Erez caught sight of the hugging couple and captured the moment.

    Briga was killed in a Hamas cross-border mortar attack Monday, just three days after the photo was taken, before he entered Gaza.

    Sokolov told Ynet that she hadn’t seen her boyfriend in two weeks before visiting to bring him and his friends food.

    Staff Sgt. Adi Briga (Family photo via Ynet)

    Staff Sgt. Adi Briga (Family photo via Ynet)

    “I reached him at the exact place he was killed, and we didn’t do anything except stand and hug for a half hour,” Sokolov said. “I saw photographers taking pictures of us, and I whispered to Adi, ‘Look, we’re like celebrities, we have paparazzi,’ and we both laughed. We just stood and hugged and we didn’t want to do anything else.”

    The same photographer was also assigned to cover Briga’s funeral, but at first he didn’t know it was the same soldier he had photographed just days before.

    “I get chills thinking about it. He was captured twice by my camera in two different circumstances. Nothing like that has every happened to me in my life,” Erez said.

    More photos of Adi Briga on the border and of his funeral can be seen at this photo essay at Israel’s Ynet.

    (H/T: Times of Israel)

  • House Will Vote Thursday to Block Obama’s DACA Expansion
    Posted July 30, 2014 at 10:08 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (46)

    House GOP leaders agreed late Wednesday to allow a Thursday vote on legislation that would prevent the Obama administration from expanding an amnesty program for millions of illegal immigrants.

    Republicans were forced to allow this vote to take place after it became clear there weren’t enough GOP votes to pass a $659 million border security bill. Most Democrats are expected to oppose that bill as something that falls short of the billions of dollars Democrats are seeking for the border.

    Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) has proposed a bill aimed at stopping President Obama from extending amnesty and work authorization programs to millions of illegal immigrants. It is expected to get a vote Thursday. Alex Wong/Getty Images

    To win enough GOP support, Republican leaders had to meet a core demand — a vote to ensure President Barack Obama can’t expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to millions of adults.

    Several reports have said Obama is considering allowing five or six million illegal immigrant adults to stay in the country and apply for work authorization.

    Pressure was increasing on GOP leaders to allow the vote all week, in particular from Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who has said any vote on a border security bill must include language that stops Obama’s effort to expand a DACA-like program. Earlier this week, Sessions called the absence of this language in the House’s border bill “surrender to a lawless president.”

    Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was also involved, and reportedly met with House Republicans to solidify their support for a vote on language to stop a DACA expansion.

    However, it’s unclear whether the House GOP plan will satisfy Sessions and Cruz. According to House aides, members will first vote on the $659 million border bill, and then vote on the DACA language, which is sponsored by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).

    House aides said the spending bill and Blackburn’s bill will be considered in two separate votes, and that the bills will not be combined after those votes.

    That means the Senate will have the option of just passing the spending bill and ignoring Blackburn’s language. However, Senate Democrats oppose even the spending bill, which means they may not consider either proposal after the House votes on Thursday.

    Wednesday afternoon, the White House also said it opposes the House spending bill, and that Obama would veto it if it reached his desk.

    In light of the likely Democratic opposition to both bills, the Senate may do nothing on Thursday, and both the House and Senate could leave town for a month without finalizing any legislation at all to deal with the border crisis.

    Blackburn introduced a new version of her bill late Wednesday that would prevent Obama from taking any executive action to expand an amnesty program. Last week, Blackburn told TheBlaze that she believes there is real momentum among House Republicans to pass her language.

    Read Blackburn’s new bill here:

  • U.S. Peace Corps Evacuates Volunteers Amid Largest Recorded Ebola Outbreak in History
    Posted July 30, 2014 at 9:23 pm by Associated Press

    Comments (47)

    MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — The largest recorded Ebola outbreak in history has led the U.S. Peace Corps to evacuate hundreds of volunteers from three affected West African countries, and a State Department official on Wednesday said two volunteers were under isolation after having contact with a person who later died of the virus.

    Meanwhile, Liberia’s president ordered the nation’s schools to shut down and most civil servants to stay home as fears deepened over the virus that already has killed more than 670 people in West Africa.

    The Peace Corps said it was evacuating 340 volunteers from Liberia as well as neighboring Guinea and Sierra Leone.

    A picture taken on July 24, 2014 shows staff of the Christian charity Samaritan’s Purse putting on protective gear in the ELWA hospital in the Liberian capital Monrovia. An American doctor battling West Africa’s Ebola epidemic has himself fallen sick with the disease in Liberia, Samaritan’s Purse said on July 27. AFP PHOTO / ZOOM DOSSO

     

    The State Department official said the two volunteers were not symptomatic and were under observation. The official was not authorized to discuss the cases for attribution, and declined to say where the volunteers were serving or when they were exposed.

    Ebola has no vaccine and no specific treatment, with a fatality rate of at least 60 percent.

    President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is skipping a summit of African leaders in Washington this week amid the crisis, also called for the closure of markets in an area near the borders with infected countries Guinea and Sierra Leone.

    “My fellow Liberians, Ebola is real, Ebola is contagious and Ebola kills,” she warned. “Denying that the disease exists is not doing your part, so keep yourselves and your loved ones safe.”

    Fear and panic over the mounting death toll has prompted some rural communities to accuse foreign aid workers of bringing the deadly virus. Others have kept people with Ebola symptoms at home instead of bringing them to quarantine centers. In anger, one man recently set fire to part of the health ministry building in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, after his teenage brother reportedly died of Ebola.

    In this photo taken on Sunday, July 27, 2014, Medical personnel inside a clinic taking care of Ebola patients in the Kenema District on the outskirts of Kenema, Sierra Leone. Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has closed some border crossings and ordered strict quarantines of communities affected by the Ebola outbreak. The announcement late Sunday came a day after Sirleaf formed a new taskforce charged with containing the disease, which has killed 129 people in the country and more than 670 across the region.(AP Photo/ Youssouf Bah)

     

    A picture taken on July 24, 2014 shows protective gear including boots, gloves, masks and suits, drying after being used in a treatment room in the ELWA hospital in the Liberian capital Monrovia. An American doctor battling West Africa’s Ebola epidemic has himself fallen sick with the disease in Liberia, Christian charity Samaritan’s Purse said on July 27. AFP PHOTO / ZOOM DOSSO

    Sirleaf said that security forces would enforce the new precautions taken a week after an American man of Liberian descent boarded a plane in Monrovia and flew to Nigeria, where authorities said he died of Ebola. The fact that he was able to board a plane and traveled through a major airport transit hub in Togo has heightened fears about Ebola’s possible spread in the region.

    The airline involved, ASKY, has suspended its flights to both the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone, and said passengers departing from Guinea would be carefully screened.

    Experts say the risk of travelers contracting Ebola is considered low because it requires direct contact with bodily fluids or secretions such as urine, blood, sweat or saliva. The virus can’t be spread like flu through casual contact or breathing in the same air.

    Patients are contagious only once the disease has progressed to the point they show symptoms, according to the World Health Organization. The most vulnerable are health care workers and relatives who come in much closer contact with the sick.

    Still, Liberia is among the poorest countries in the world, and the outbreak already has taxed the capacity of local health clinics and doctors, prompting concern for those who remain in the country.

    Two U.S.-based missionary groups have ordered the evacuation of their non-essential personnel from Liberia after a doctor and a missionary both contracted Ebola.

    SIM USA President Bruce Johnson announced Tuesday that his group and Samaritan’s Purse decided on the evacuation following an upsurge in the number of Ebola cases in Liberia. A Texas-trained doctor and a missionary from North Carolina have contracted the disease and are in isolation in Liberia.

  • About Halfway Through This Video It Becomes Obvious Why Bank’s New Ad Has Received Almost 3 Million Views in Just Days
    Posted July 30, 2014 at 8:48 pm by Oliver Darcy

    Comments (210)

    TD Canada wanted to say thank you to their customers this year in a way they felt was “unique and distinctive.”

    “We thought we’d really kick it up a notch,” said Chris Stamper, SVP corporate marketing at TD Canada Trust.

    And that they did.

    The bank posted a video online showing them morph an ATM machine into what they called an “automatic thanking machine,” stunning pre-selected customers by dispensing a unique gift to each of them.

    But the bank wasn’t finished yet. The video has undoubtedly gone mega-viral because of what happens in the second half. That’s when the bank kicked it up several notches and delivered an additional, heartfelt gift to each of the customers.

    A single mom, who said she has never been able to take her kids anywhere, was given a trip to Disney Land.

    An elderly mother was given tickets to visit her daughter battling cancer in Trinidad.

    And an avid Blue Jays fan was greeted by a player at the bank who told him he’d be throwing the first pitch out at a baseball game.

    “Wow, just wow.”
    Share:

    Footage of each surprise has proven so captivating that it has received more than 2.5 million views on YouTube.

    “Wow, just wow,” one person commented.

    “This is so touching,” another echoed.

    The bank’s generous act was part of a “#TDThanksYou” campaign. On July 25, the bank also gave a $20 bill to each of their customers in more than 1,000 locations.

    Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter

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  • Rats! There Are Rodents Among the Rodins at the Gardens of the Louvre
    Posted July 30, 2014 at 8:32 pm by Mike Opelka

    Comments (16)

    The rats are running wild in the famous Tuileries Garden attached to the Louvre Museum in France.

    Image: Screen capture Telegraph.co.uk

    Image source: Telegraph

    The manicured gardens are one of the museum’s most popular locations for picnics and just quiet contemplation. But thanks to picnicking tourists and garden visitors leaving scraps of food in the area, the local rat population has skyrocketed.

    Image: Screen capture - BFMTV.com

    Image: Screen capture – BFMTV.com

    The Associated Press reported that the rat population has exploded, despite the efforts of an outside exterminator brought in two months ago.

    There are also reports that animal activists are upset that the rats are being targeted and have been digging up the poison placed inside the rat holes.

    Watch the report from the Telegraph:

    This isn’t the first word of the rat problem at the Louvre; last August, American tourist Steve Voetsch and his son were visiting the gardens and documented the vermin infestation.

    _

    Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter

  • ‘Lone Survivor’ Marcus Luttrell Responds to Jesse Ventura’s Lawsuit Against Chris Kyle Like Only He Can
    Posted July 30, 2014 at 8:30 pm by Jason Howerton

    Comments (557)

    Former U.S. Navy SEAL and “Lone Survivor” author Marcus Luttrell responded harshly to Jesse Ventura’s $1.8 million legal victory against “American Sniper” Chris Kyle’s estate in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

    In a meme featuring the former Minnesota governor, Luttrell made it clear where he stands on the issue.

    (Facebook)

    (Facebook)

    The post had more than 66,500 likes and over 43,000 shares as of Wednesday evening.

    He later uploaded two more memes bashing Ventura. He also wrote, “I don’t want to formally say anything because I don’t want to get sued but this about sums it up…”

    It’s safe to say Luttrell, who was close to Chris Kyle and remains close with his family, would like to say a lot more than what is written in these memes.

    (Facebook)

    (Facebook)

    (Facebook)

    (Facebook)

    As previously reported by TheBlaze, Ventura claims Kyle deliberately lied about punching him at a bar after he said the Navy SEALs deserved to “lose a few.” Ventura sued Kyle for defamation and continued to pursue the lawsuit even after Kyle died in 2013. He has been strongly criticized for not dropping the lawsuit out of respect for his widow and children after Kyle was murdered.

    A jury awarded Ventura $1.8 million in damages on Tuesday after six days of deliberations. Before he died, Kyle said in videotaped testimony that his story was accurate.

    Ventura was asked what he planned to do with the nearly $2 million settlement on Wednesday, to which he replied, “pay my lawyers.”

  • Israeli Foreign Minister Calls Gaza Conflict Just the Latest Example of the ‘Clash of Civilizations’
    Posted July 30, 2014 at 7:30 pm by Sharona Schwartz

    Comments (58)

    Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman is describing the conflict between Israel and Hamas as just the latest manifestation of the “clash of civilizations” between the free world and radical Islam.

    Meeting with German lawmakers visiting Jerusalem Wednesday, Liberman asserted that this clash of civilizations was “the world’s biggest challenge since World War II.”

    Smoke from an Israeli strike rises over Gaza City, in the northern Gaza Strip, Sunday, July 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

    The foreign minister emphasized Israel’s proximity to the Middle East tempest and its position front and center to the civilizational conflict whose other manifestations could be found in Libya and Iraq.

    “Beyond the moral aspects of the case, Israel is the first line on this front because it represents Western values, and that is why Islamic extremists are fighting us,” Liberman said according to a Times of Israel report on the meeting.

    The hawkish Israeli politician lambasted European critics of Israeli actions in Gaza, saying that for years Israel answered the calls of the international community and in 2005 even withdrew its forces and citizens from Gaza, handing control fully to the Palestinians.

    “But instead of peace and stability we received radical Islam, which attacks Israel from there with missiles and other terrorist activities almost every day since the disengagement” from Gaza.

    Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in a violent takeover in 2007 and since then has invested millions in constructing a vast terrorist infrastructure including long-range rockets that can reach as far as northern Israel cities and attack tunnels.

    “Hamas doesn’t talk about the establishment of a Palestinian state or the two-state solution, but rather of the establishment of one big Islamic state,” Liberman added according to the Times of Israel.

  • Congressman Massie: There Will Be ‘Anger, Frustration and Embarrassment’ When Redacted Pages of 9/11 Report Come Out
    Posted July 30, 2014 at 7:15 pm by Erica Ritz

    Comments (282)

    Congressman Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) is one of a number of lawmakers urging the government to declassify 28 redacted pages of a report investigating the attacks of September 11, 2001.

    Massie said at a press conference earlier this month that when he read the redacted pages of the report, titled “Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001,” he had to stop “every couple pages” to try to rearrange his “understanding of history.”

    “It challenges you to rethink everything,” he said.

    Massie appeared on The Glenn Beck Program Wednesday to speak more on the subject and — though he couldn’t reveal any details — he said there will be “anger, frustration, and embarrassment when these 28 pages finally come out.”

    Congressman Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) speaks on The Glenn Beck Program July 30, 2014. (Photo: TheBlaze TV)

    Congressman Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) speaks on The Glenn Beck Program July 30, 2014. (Photo: TheBlaze TV)

    “I was gravely disturbed by your description, where you said you had to stop and re-figure history,” Beck said. “Can you give us any other description other than that?”

    “Absolutely,” Massie responded. “When 9/11 happened and shortly thereafter, we were all like sponges. We were trying to absorb as much information [as possible] to understand the who, the what, the why, the where. But at some point you quit collecting information because there’s no more information to be had — or you think there’s no more information — and it all sort of sets up like concrete in your brain.”

    “As I was reading these 28 pages, I had to try to take apart that concrete that had set up, my own understanding of what had led up 9/11 and what had enabled it,” Massie continued. “What really hurt me was to wonder, why did my government keep this from me for 13 years? What were their motives?”

    Beck asked: “Is this stuff that will deeply tear us apart or will it be just — has our government been worse than just sloppy and greedy at times?”

    “This will not tear our country apart,” Massie responded. “It will be embarrassing. It will not endanger us to release this information. But the American public needs to have it.”

    Massie said that “if we’re going to use 9/11 as a motivation to get involved in these civil wars in the Middle East,” the American public and the lawmakers in Washington “need to read these pages and understand what truly caused 9/11 and who our friends are and who our enemies are.”

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  • Four Years Ago, a Ship Was Discovered Buried 20 Feet Below the World Trade Center Site — Now Scientists Have an Explanation
    Posted July 30, 2014 at 6:40 pm by Oliver Darcy

    Comments (98)

    Four years ago, archeologists made a chilling discovery while examining the excavation site of the former World Trade Center — they found the skeleton of an ancient sailing ship buried 20 feet below the ground’s surface.

    With a hose and gloves, they began to dig. They had limited time to remove the ship before construction resumed on an area slated to house vehicle ramps leading to parking beneath the new World Trade Center. (Image source: Lower Manhattan Development Corporation)

    With a hose and gloves, they began to dig. They had limited time to remove the ship before construction resumed on an area slated to house vehicle ramps leading to parking beneath the new World Trade Center. (Image source: Lower Manhattan Development Corporation)

    After making the ghostly discovery in July 2010, historians offered various theories on how a 30-foot piece of the vessel made its way to lower Manhattan.

    No one was, however, able to say with confidence where it came from and the mystery largely endured — at least until today.

    With a hose and gloves, they began to dig. They had limited time to remove the ship before construction resumed on an area slated to house vehicle ramps leading to parking beneath the new World Trade Center. (Image source: Lower Manhattan Development Corporation)

    With a hose and gloves, they began to dig. They had limited time to remove the ship before construction resumed on an area slated to house vehicle ramps leading to parking beneath the new World Trade Center. (Image source: Lower Manhattan Development Corporation)

    Tree ring scientists at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory analyzed the ship’s remains and concluded this month that a forest in the Philadelphia area provided the white oak for the vessel’s frame.

    According to their findings, published in the journal Tree Ring Research, the trees were likely cut in 1773 — just years before the American revolution.

    Wood sampled from Philadelphia’s Independence Hall matched those of the ship, indicating the two probably came from the same region.

    Several ring patterns matched oak timbers found in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were signed. Lamont-Doherty scientist Ed Cook sampled Independence Hall in the late 1980s while amassing his North American Drought Atlas; those records would be crucial in tracing the World Trade Center ship’s timbers to a dense, old-growth forest near Philadelphia. (Image source: Library of Congress)

    Several ring patterns matched oak timbers found in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were signed. (Image source: Library of Congress)

    Scientists believe that the ship was, thus, built in Philadelphia. It appeared to have been designed to carry Dutch passengers and cargo over shallow waters.

    The ship was identified as a Hudson River Sloop, designed by New York’s first European settlers, the Dutch, to carry passengers and cargo in shallow, rocky waters. In the 1970s, folk singer and activist Pete Seeger built a Hudson River Sloop replica named Clearwater, and used it as a platform to lobby for the removal of toxic PCBs and other pollutants from the Hudson. (Image source: Anthony Pepitone)

    The ship was identified as a Hudson River Sloop, designed by New York’s first European settlers, the Dutch, to carry passengers and cargo in shallow, rocky waters. (Image source: Anthony Pepitone)

    The vessel likely found it’s final resting place on Manhattan’s lower west side, but was buried as the shoreline gradually pushed further west, according to experts.

    Scientists say by 1918, the ship would have vanished from site completely until it was later discovered buried during the examination of the 9/11 site.

    Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter

     

  • House Passes Resolution to Authorize Lawsuit Against Obama Alleging He Exceeded Constitutional Powers
    Posted July 30, 2014 at 6:30 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (69)

    The House voted Wednesday evening to authorize civil legal action against President Barack Obama for his failure to implement Obamacare as it was passed by Congress.

    The 225-201 vote means Republicans, led by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), can immediately begin work on filing legal action against Obama. Boehner spoke on the floor just before the vote, and said the resolution is needed so the House can defend the Constitution against Obama’s attempt to ignore and even re-write portions of duly enacted law.

    Speaker of the House John Boehner of Ohio, arrives for a meeting of the Republican Conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    “Are you willing to let any president choose what laws to execute and what laws to change?” Boehner asked. “Are you willing to let anyone tear apart what our founders have built?”

    “Think not only about the specifics of the oaths you took, but think about how you took it, as one body, standing together,” he said. “That’s all I’m asking you to do today — to act as one institution to defend the Constitution on behalf of the people that we serve.”

    The GOP has argued for the last few years that Obama has failed to uphold the law in a number of areas, either by ignoring it or selectively enforcing parts of it.

    “The president has waived work requirements for welfare recipients, unilaterally changed immigration laws, released the Gitmo Five without properly notifying Congress, which is the law, and ignored the statutory requirements of the Affordable Care Act,” House Rules Committee Pete Sessions (R-Texas) said.

    The resolution approved Wednesday only allows the House to file a suit against Obama over his decisions to Obamacare. While some Republicans were hoping for a broader authority to allow suits on other issues, Sessions said Republicans believe their best chance of success in the courts is to focus on Obamacare.

    Obama has unilaterally delayed several portions of Obamacare over the last few years, including the employer mandate to offer health insurance. Republicans have opposed these actions in part because they didn’t give Congress a chance to provide its input into the change, and in part because of suspicions that some delays were political in nature, and were meant to boost Democrats in the 2012 election.

    Democrats have tried to ignore those aspects of the delays, and have instead argued that the lawsuit makes no sense because Obama is delaying parts of a law that Republicans oppose.

    “It is somewhat ironic that the Republicans want to sue the president for not enforcing a law that they want to repeal,” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said during floor debate. “How ironic.”

    “It is somewhat ironic that the Republicans want to sue the president for not enforcing a law that they want to repeal.”
    Share:

    But Republicans said the issue is much broader than just the implementation of Obamacare, and gets to the heart of how Congress and the White House need to work together under the Constitution.

    “Without enforcement of the law, there cannot be accountability under law, and political accountability is essential to a functioning democracy,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodatte (R-Va.).

    Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) added that opponents of the health law want to see if fully enforced so it can be shown how harmful it is to the economy, which would help build support for its repeal. “The best way to end a bad law is to enforce it strictly,” he said.

    Democrats have also argued that Republicans are using the lawsuit as a possible springboard to impeaching Obama. Hoyer said some GOP leaders have not ruled out impeachment proceedings, although Boehner said Tuesday that the GOP has “no plans to impeach the president.”

    Sessions further dispelled the idea of impeaching Obama by saying the House impeached former President Bill Clinton because he committed a felony — lying to an FBI agent and a federal grand jury. But Obama’s failure to implement the laws does not rise to a felony, which means impeachment is not the appropriate remedy.

    “So for the gentleman to suggest that this is going to lead to [impeachment] is simply not true,” Sessions said.

  • MSNBC Host Repeatedly Tries to Get Rand Paul to Talk About Past ‘Controversial’ Comments — Watch His Plan Backfire
    Posted July 30, 2014 at 6:06 pm by Jason Howerton

    Comments (97)

    Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) called out MSNBC on the air Wednesday after Ari Melber repeatedly tried to get him to explain how he has “evolved” on parts of the Civil Rights Act, referencing comments he made to Rachel Maddow in 2010.

    After making it clear that he has never been opposed to the Civil Rights Act, Paul suggested that MSNBC is too unfair in its political coverage to host an open and honest philosophical discussion on the subject.

    Melber brought up Paul’s past “controversial” comments out of the blue during a discussion on criminal reform with Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.). Despite the host’s repeated attempts to get Paul to explain how he “evolved,” Paul didn’t bite.

    MSNBC

    MSNBC

    “What I would say to be fair to myself, because I like to be fair to myself, is that I’ve always been in favor of the Civil Rights Act,” Paul responded. “People need to get over themselves writing all this stuff that I’ve changed my mind on the Civil Rights Act. Have I ever had a philosophical discussion about all aspects of it? Yeah, and I learned my lesson: To come on MSNBC and have a philosophical discussion, the liberals will come out of the woodwork and go crazy and say you’re against the Civil Rights Act, and you’re some terrible racist.”

    “And I take great objection to that, because, in Congress, I think there is nobody else trying harder to get people back their voting rights, to get people back and make the criminal justice system fair,” he added. “So I take great offense to people who want to portray me as something that I’m not.”

    Melber then asked, “But when you said, well, here’s where the rules for private businesses are concerning, why not explain that you’ve evolved on that?”

    Paul argued that he is “not willing to engage with people who are misrepresenting my viewpoint on this” and claimed he’s been smeared by “half-a-dozen people on your network trying to say I’m opposed to the Civil Rights Act.”

    Still not moving on, Melber then referenced the specific parts of the Civil Rights Act that Paul discussed back in 2010 in an attempt to steer the conversation, only to be interrupted.

    “The honest discussion of it would be that I never was opposed to the Civil Rights Act and when your network does 24-hour news telling the truth, then maybe we can get somewhere with the discussion,” Paul concluded.

    (H/T: Mediaite)

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