The BlogRSS Feed

  • She Was a Lesbian Porn Star Until She Claims a ‘Vision’ Shook Her to the Core — and Led Her to Evangelical Christianity
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 12:22 pm by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (185)

    Once a lesbian porn star, Teresa Carey’s transformation from purveyor of smut to devout evangelical Christian speaker is a story ripe to captivate and intrigue audiences.

    Carey, 36, who is expecting her first child with husband Scott Carey, opened up in a recent interview with Barcroft TV about her religious conversion five years ago and the reasons she willingly left her porn past behind.

    “The way I became a Christian is not kind of the usual way someone becomes a Christian,” she said, highlighting her uncommon path toward biblical understanding.

    (Image via YouTube)

    Teresa Carey singing Christian worship music (Image via YouTube)

    Carey, who is from Great Britain, said that her journey into porn was a gradual one.

    While she began as a portrait model, her career eventually transitioned to nudes; she has been featured in Penthouse, Hustler and Playboy, among other well-known magazines.

    She later began doing porn, a career that spanned more than a decade — until something changed.

    “I enjoyed doing what I was doing, because I was working with girls. Everything was friendly and good,” she said, noting, though, that she eventually started feeling badly about her job. “It was more to do with me inside. It was a slow process of me, feeling it inside my own heart of, ‘What am I doing?’”

    Both Teresa and Scott Carey described a pivotal moment in their journey toward God. It involved a shared vision they say they had — a so-called “religious epiphany,” during which they both claim to have come face-to-face with Jesus.

    They said that the emotional experience lasted for about three or four minutes and that they came out of it with tears streaming down their faces.

    “It shook us to the core,” Teresa Carey said.

    After that, they devoted their lives to God, with Carey — who slept with more than 100 women on camera between 1998 and 2009 — closing down her successful website in 2009 and leaving the porn industry for good.

    “I was earning a lot of money for doing very little and I could have continued that for years,” Carey explained, though she said that she knew that leaving it all behind was the right thing to do.

    Watch her describe her transition from porn to evangelical Christianity below:

    Now, the former porn star is traveling around to colleges and churches as part of her “Porn Again Christian” speaking series to share her story and testimony.

    We’ll leave you with a video of Carey performing Christian worship music:

  • Incredible Video Captures the Moment Shots Rang Out Inside the Canadian Parliament Building
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 12:14 pm by Jonathon M. Seidl

    Comments (79)

    Canada’s Globe and Mail has video of the moment shots rang out inside the Canadian Parliament building in Ottawa. It’s unclear what became of the shots or who fired them. The end of the video shows police appearing to huddle around someone or something. Some reports say a gunman was killed inside the building:

    For up-to-the-minute developments, you can read our initial story.

  • Video of Little Girls Dropping ‘F-Bombs for Feminism’ Causes a Stir
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 11:47 am by Mike Opelka

    Comments (220)

    A video of young girls wearing princess dresses and swearing up a storm apparently in the name of feminism has gone viral.

    Image: FCKH8.com

    Image: FCKH8.com

    The clip, “Potty-Mouthed Princesses Drop F-Bombs For Feminism” was posted on Tuesday by an Ohio-based company called FCKH8.

    Why did they make the video? The company explains:

    Facing a future where women are still paid 23% less than men for the same work, and where 1 in 5 women are raped or sexually assaulted in gender-based violence, little girls between 6 and 13 years-old dressed as pretty pink princesses drop F-bombs to draw attention to society’s continued sexism. Asking the question, “What’s more offensive? A little girl saying f*ck or the sexist way society treats girls and women” these adorably articulate little ladies in sparkling tiaras turn the “princess in distress” stereotype on its head and contrast the F-word with words and statistics society should find shocking such as “pay inequality” and “rape.” The video also features a 12 year-old boy wearing a pink gown standing up against sexism saying, “When you tell boys not to ‘act like a girl,’ it’s because you think it’s bad to be a girl.”

    Image: FCKH8.com

    Image: FCKH8.com

    The clip urges viewers to buy merchandise from the FCKH8 website, which sells a variety of merchandise for various causes.

    Image: FCKH8.com

    Image: FCKH8.com

    FCKH8 describes itself as a “for-profit T-shirt company with an activist heart.” It says it’s given over $250,000 to the “equality cause.”

    A representative from the company did not immediately return a request for comment from TheBlaze.

    Watch the (unbleeped) video:

    FCKH8: Princesses from Jose Ho-Guanipa on Vimeo.

    Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter.

  • Bikers Pop Wheelies, Speed Right in Front of Cop. The Surprising Thing That Didn’t Happen Next.
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 11:46 am by Liz Klimas

    Comments (60)

    A motorcycle gang was filmed via a headcam cruising down a highway doing dangerous stunts. Fortunately, a cop was there to stop them before someone got hurt — except that’s not what happened.

    The officer followed the motorcyclists, who the video identified as part of the group Streetfighterz, but none of them pulled over despite his flashing lights and siren. Some of the motorcyclists even taunted the cop, doing wheelies at high speeds past him.

    Image source: YouTube

    Image source: YouTube

    Image source: YouTube

    Image source: YouTube

    At one point, the officer got close enough to exchange words with one of the motorcyclists. It was unclear what exactly was said, but it sounded like the motorcyclist said something like “it’s not working, you better go.”

    Image source: YouTube

    Image source: YouTube

    Surprisingly, the cop did leave — or at least he seemed to. The cyclists took this as a good sign and waved him off, pumping their fists in the air with victory.

    Watch the footage to see the incident titled “Cop Chases Bikers Then Biker Makes Cop Leave”:

    Some have identified this incident as happening in California. The officer does appear to be a member of the California Highway Patrol, based on comparisons of his uniform. CHP did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheBlaze.

    Someone in the comments on the video suggested two potential scenarios for how this could have turned out:

    “Cop drives ahead” Biker’s catch up ten minutes later and there is a police road block lol.

    Less likely story:
    “Cop’s ego was torn” Bikers catch up only to have all their tires popped by a clever spike strip..   Officer gets his monthly quota in one day.

    On Reddit, where the video has gotten some attention, someone condemned the bikers for “f***ing around on a public highway doing dangerous stunts that could get them or others hurt and when a cop tries to pull them over they intimidate him and shoo him away.”

    What do you think happened in the end? Did they get away or were they caught later down the road. Let us know by taking our poll.

  • Released: Listen to the Graphic Audio From the Night of the So-Called ‘Palin Family Brawl’
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 11:29 am by Jonathon M. Seidl

    Comments (137)

    New audio has surfaced from the night of the Palin family brawl, everything from the 911 call to the police interviewing Palin family members.

    The Alaska Dispatch has more:

    The Sept. 6 melee was initially reported by police as a fight involving around 20 people at a South Anchorage home. Homeowner Korey Klingenmeyer ​was hosting a birthday party for his son and twin brothers Marc and Matthew McKenna. Palin’s husband, Todd, a friend of the McKennas, was also celebrating his 50th birthday. 

    According to witnesses, the Palin family arrived at Klingenmeyer’s home in a Hummer limousine and were involved in the brawls that took place later that evening.

    At least two fights took place, according to witness statements — one in the street in front of the home involving Todd Palin and son Track, and another behind the home, where multiple witnesses said they watched daughter Bristol Palin punch Klingenmeyer repeatedly in the face.

    Detailed events of the evening were outlined in a police report released Oct. 9. The audio clips released Tuesday mirror the police report, offering sometimes-conflicting witness statements.

    Gawker has a transcript of a conversation between an officer and daughter Bristol Palin [redacted]:

    I walk back up. “Did you push my sister?” And some guy gets up, pushes me down on the grass, drags me across the grass. “You slut, you [f***ing c**t], you [f***ing] this.” I get back up, he pushes me down on the grass again. And I have my five year old, they took my $300 sunglasses, they took my [f***ing] shoes, and I’m just left here?

    A guy comes out of nowhere and pushes me on the ground, takes me by my feet, in my dress—in my thong dress, in front of everybody—”Come on you [c**t], get the [fu**] out of here, come on you slut, get the [fu**] out of here.” I don’t know this guy.

    Here is the extensive audio, in which it seems you can hear Sarah Palin talking in the background (CONTENT WARNING: Graphic language):

    So far no charges have been filed.

  • Embattled Pastor Mark Driscoll Reveals the Terrifying Incident That Recently Led Him to ‘Flee Into the House’ and Call the Police
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 10:43 am by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (78)

    Just days after resigning from the church he founded, Pastor Mark Driscoll emerged at the Gateway Leadership & Worship Conference Monday, with the embattled preacher — known for his oft-times tough guy image — revealing during brief, extemporaneous remarks that he’s “cried a lot lately.”

    Mark Driscoll (Image source: YouTube)

    Mark Driscoll (Image source: YouTube)

    But the former pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington, also shared some of the alleged threats that he and his family have faced in recent months.

    “We’ve moved three times for safety issues,” Driscoll told the audience. “People arrested at our home, death threats, [threats] posted online. … more recently it’s gotten very severe.”

    The pastor said that he recently found rusty nails placed all over his driveway, among other troubling issues at the family home.

    After he, his wife and their five children — who are all between the ages of 8 and 17 — decided to leave town for a few days to get away from the chaos, they returned to face yet another terrifying incident.

    Driscoll said that his children insisted one night in camping out in the yard. Despite his hesitation, he said he complied and stayed in the tent with them, but what happened early the next morning forced him to call the police.

    “Huge rocks about the size of baseballs come flying at my kids,” he said. “Call the police, flee into the house for their safety.”

    These details in mind, Driscoll asked his fellow conference attendees to pray for his family, describing the issues he has faced in recent months as “a very trying season.”

    “I’ve cried a lot lately,” he admitted, adding that he had come to the conference to “sing, to pray, to learn, to grow, to repent [and] to heal.

    Watch Driscoll’s comments below:

    Driscoll, who was originally going to deliver the keynote at the annual event before stepping aside, had attended Monday’s event as participant. He was invited to the stage by Robert Morris, pastor of Gateway Church, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

    Read more about Driscoll’s resignation here.

    (H/T: Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

  • Canadian Soldier Shot at War Memorial, Gunfire Reported in Parliament Building
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 10:31 am by Madeleine Morgenstern

    Comments (221)

    UPDATE 3:15 p.m. ET: From the White House:

    President Obama spoke by phone with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to express the American people’s solidarity with Canada in the wake of attacks on Canadian Forces in Quebec on October 20 and in Ottawa on October 22. President Obama condemned these outrageous attacks, and reaffirmed the close friendship and alliance between our people. The President offered any assistance Canada needed in responding to these attacks. Prime Minister Harper thanked the President and the two leaders discussed the assault and agreed to continue coordination between our governments moving forward.

    UPDATE 2:22 p.m. ET: Authorities are instructing the public to stay away from the Parliament Hill area and to remain inside amid the continuing investigation and search for a possible second suspect.

    UPDATE 2:02 p.m. ET: Canadian police say the soldier and a suspected gunman both have died.

    Police say they believe there is more than one shooter, according to the Associated Press.

    Police in Canada say a gunman shot and killed a soldier standing guard at the National War Memorial in Ottawa and that gunfire occurred in and near the Canadian Parliament building. One gunman is dead.

    A shots-fired report at the memorial came in at 9:52 a.m. local time, according to the Toronto Star. The gunman then reportedly ran toward Parliament Hill.

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper left the area and is safe, according to the Associated Press.

    Dramatic video captured the scene as shots rang out inside Parliament.

    Police have warned people in Ottawa to stay away from windows and roofs. Initial reports that gunfire also broke out at a nearby shopping mall were incorrect.


    Canadian Soldier Shot at War Memorial, Gunfire Reported in Parliament Building

    A Royal Canadian Mounted Police intervention team walks past a gate on Parliament hill in Ottawa Wednesday Oct. 22, 2014. A soldier standing guard at the National War Memorial has been shot by an unknown gunman and there have been reports of gunfire inside the halls of Parliament. Emergency responders are still on the scene as paramedics performed CPR on the soldier before he was taken away by ambulance. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Adrian Wyld)

    The situation unfolded two days after Canadian police shot and killed a man they said was influenced by radical Islam and who struck two members of the Canadian military with his car.

    Developing.

  • ‘High Treason’: Palestinian Authority Cracks Down on Selling Homes to Israelis to Keep East Jerusalem Free of Jews
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 10:22 am by Sharona Schwartz

    Comments (75)

    In an effort to prevent Jews from moving into Arab neighborhoods in east Jerusalem, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered Palestinians who sell or rent real estate “to an enemy state or one of its subjects” — that is, Jewish Israelis — be sentenced to hard labor for life, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

    The new penalty follows recent purchases of homes by Jews in Silwan, a predominantly Arab neighborhood near Jewish holy sites in east Jerusalem, purchases that have been met with fierce criticism by both Palestinians and the Obama administration.

    The White House and State Department earlier this month accused Israel of working to “poison the atmosphere” with the Palestinians by allowing east Jerusalem homes to be built for and purchased by Jewish Israelis. No similar criticism was issued regarding any Palestinians moving into the predominantly Jewish western part of the city.

    Jewish settlement activists inspect homes that were occupied by settlers this week in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem, on Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. The entry into seven buildings with more than 20 apartments was the largest expansion of Jewish settlement in the volatile area in decades. (Quique Kierszenbaum/MCT via Getty Images)

    Jewish settlement activists inspect homes that were occupied by settlers this week in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in east Jerusalem, Oct. 1, 2014. (Quique Kierszenbaum/MCT via Getty Images)

    Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.

    Over the weekend, Jewish residents moved into two buildings in the Silwan neighborhood that had been purchased by Arab middlemen to mask the identity of the buyers. Palestinians who have sold homes to Jews in the past have faced reprisals, including murder.

    The process of purchasing real estate by Jews in neighborhoods populated mostly by Arabs is a process that, as described by the Palestinian Ma’an news agency, is “shrouded in mystery” due to the use of middlemen and straw companies.

    The Fatah Revolutionary Council issued a statement Monday accusing Palestinians who sell their Jerusalem real estate of committing “high treason,” the Times of Israel reported.

    The body called on Palestinians to “boycott and humiliate them on all popular levels.”

    “Those whose sick souls allowed them to sell their land or homes, or enable such sales to the enemies of the Palestinian people, are a gang of traitors to their nation and religion,” Fatah spokesman Osama al-Qawasmi said, according to the Wafa news agency and quoted in the Times of Israel. “They have brought shame and scorn upon themselves in this world and in the afterlife.”

    “One would rather die than sell his honor and betray the most sacred land in the world, saturated with the blood of prophets and martyrs throughout history,” he said. “Those traitors are destined to die a humiliating death.”

    Fatah is the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

    The Times of Israel noted that the PLO’s Revolutionary Penal Code of 1979 lays out the death penalty to Palestinians accused of “transferring positions to the enemy.”

    Since the late 1990s, Palestinian courts have handed down death sentences to those convicted of selling their properties, though the executions have not been authorized by Abbas since 2004, the Times reported. A public intimidation campaign was launched in recent days, with photos and other details about alleged Palestinian sellers being posted on social media.

    Israeli law is the law of the land in east Jerusalem, so officially at least, Palestinian dictates are unenforceable. That has not stopped vigilantes in the past from kidnapping suspected sellers and transporting them up the road to the West Bank where Palestinian law applies.

    Bassem Eid, a Palestinian civil rights activist, told the Times of Israel that Jerusalem Arabs have been kidnapped and moved to Ramallah where they have been tortured to death by the Palestinian Authority’s Preventive Security Agency.

    Jews who wish to live in the area filled with Jewish history often move in overnight to avoid attack by Palestinian residents who don’t want them there.

    Ma’an tracked down the seller of one of the properties in Silwan who thought he was selling to a Palestinian buyer.

    Zuheir al-Rajabi said, “I hate myself for selling, people are accusing us of knowingly selling” the real estate.

    His family posted an ad in a widely read Palestinian newspaper with an image of the sale contract that displayed the name of an Arab buyer in an effort to show they didn’t know they were selling to Jews, Ma’an reported.

    “We should have been more careful but we cannot take it back. The settlers are like a cancer which spreads through the body until it dies,” Rajabi said.

  • Here’s What You Need to Know About the Ebola Situation Today
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 10:21 am by Liz Klimas

    Comments (42)

    The Ebola situation both in the U.S. and abroad continues to be a moving and continually developing target. Here are a few things to catch you up on heading into Wednesday:

    1) Liberian in isolation after flying into Newark: A Liberian man who flew from West Africa to Brussels to Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey, just outside of New York City, was taken to the hospital for evaluation “as if he has Ebola” Tuesday,  WNBC-TV reported. This news came the same day the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would require out travelers coming out of Ebola-stricken countries to pass through one of the five U.S. airports that have instituted added screening measures, Newark being one of them.

    Masked customs officers look on during a screening area for international passengers. (AP/Northjersey.com, Viorel Florescu)

    According to WNBC, the man’s travel history was discussed when he was passing through customs and it was found that he had a fever at the time. The patient is in isolation at the hospital monitoring him.

    2) Health status: Two American Ebola patients who were brought back to the U.S. for care were discharged this week as Ebola free. One was an unnamed patient who was cared for at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. The second, NBC photojournalist Ashoka Mukpo who was treated at Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, will be released today.

    Nina Pham, one of the Texas Presbyterian Health Dallas nurses who tested positive for Ebola after caring for the since-deceased patient Thomas Eric Duncan, has been upgraded from fair to good at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, where she was transferred last week. The status of the second nurse to test positive, Amber Vinson, at Emory is unknown at this time.

    3) Vaccine testing ramps up: Two potential Ebola vaccines — one by Johnson & Johnson, the other by GlaxoSmithKline — could begin testing in Africa in January. Both companies expect their vaccine to start trials in the West Africa countries hardest hit by the viral outbreak, which has no specific drug treatment or previous vaccine.

    Johnson & Johnson says it will start safety testing in early January on a potential vaccine combination that could protect against a strain of the deadly Ebola virus. (AP/Matt Rourke, )

    Testing will go forward only if vaccines prove safe and trigger an adequate immune-system response in volunteers during clinical trials that are either underway or planned in Europe, Africa and the United States.

    Another vaccine being tested was developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada. According to NPR, it was most recently sent to the U.S. Walter Reed Army Institute of Research where it is being tested on volunteers.

    4) T-minus six months: A top Red Cross official said he is confident the Ebola epidemic can be contained within four to six months. The secretary general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Elhadj As Sy, said at news conference in Beijing on Wednesday that the time frame is possible if there is “good isolation, good treatment of the cases which are confirmed, good dignified and safe burials of deceased people.”

    Health workers wears protective gears before entering the house of a person suspected to have died of the Ebola virus in Port Loko Community situated on the outskirts of Freetown, Sierra Leone, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014.  (AP/Michael Duff)

    The Ebola outbreak has killed more than 4,500 people since it emerged 10 months ago. Most of the deaths have been in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

  • There’s One Simple Reason Why T. Boone Pickens Has Never Tasted Coffee
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 9:46 am by Zach Noble

    Comments (51)

    He just wanted to grow up tall.

    T. Boone Pickens, chief executive officer of BP Capital Management LP, during a Bloomberg Television interview in New York,, Oct. 9, 2014. (Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

    T. Boone Pickens, the billionaire oil and gas mogul, told Business Insider this week that he owes a lot to his grandmother’s advice — but that she was wrong about coffee.

    “One thing she was wrong on — if I didn’t drink coffee or smoke cigars like my dad — those would both stunt my growth — I would be 6 feet tall,” Pickens said. “I never had a cup of coffee to this day. Never tasted coffee. I never smoked a cigar either.”

    Pickens, now 86 years old, is 5 foot 10.

    “I went to [my grandmother] when I was 20 and I said, ‘I didn’t drink coffee and I never smoked a cigar either and I’m not going to be 6 feet tall,’” he said. “She said, ‘Sonny, if you had, you might not be 5 feet tall.’”

    Still, Pickens’ grandmother’s health advice has gotten him this far, and the business magnate reportedly keeps up a daily workout routine he’s said makes the U.S. president’s exercise look “pitiful” by comparison.

    Pickens also said that he values his grandmother’s guidance on issues of honesty, sharing the story of how when he was a young boy, he found a man’s wallet on the street and when he returned it to him, the man gave him a $1 reward — but Pickens’ grandmother made him return the dollar because he hadn’t “earned” it.

    “Everything she told me as far as advice was concerned pretty well played out like she said it would,” Pickens told Business Insider. “You know, work hard, you get results. Always, if you tell somebody you’re going to do something, always do it. Things like that.”

    Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

  • VA Official Who Tried to Cover Up the Legionnaires’ Outbreak in Pittsburgh Is Getting a Promotion
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 9:44 am by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (29)

    The Department of Veterans Affairs on Tuesday promoted an official who worked to cover up the outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at the Pittsburgh VA Healthcare System.

    The VA named David Cord as the next director of the Erie VA Medical Center. Cord has been the deputy director of the Pittsburgh System, where 16 veterans were stricken with Legionnaires’ disease — an aggressive form of pneumonia.

    Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald has said he would bring discipline back to the VA, but his department just promoted an official who tried to cover up a disease outbreak in Pittsburgh in 2012. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

    At least six veterans died from the disease, and the outbreak forced the VA to put the director of the Pittsburgh office, Terry Wolf, on administrative leave. Wolf has since been recommended for removal from the VA because of the scandal, although she has not been fired yet.

    Earlier this year, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review obtained emails showing that Cord favored hiding the outbreak from the public. According to those emails, Cord said he didn’t want to publicize the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak unless “we received a specific inquiry” from the press.

    Additionally, when a nurse said the Centers for Disease Control and prevention wanted information about the outbreak, one email obtained by the Tribune-Review said Cord asked, “Do they have any intention on disclosing this info to anyone?”

    The Tribune-Review said their investigation showed that Wolf ultimately rejected Cord’s proposal to hide the outbreak.

    The emails indicated that other officials also wanted to keep it a secret. For example, the former public affairs director, David Cowgill, said a news release revealing the disease was found in a veteran who died would not be sent to the press until late Friday, to minimize press exposure.

    “They don’t want this on the 6:00p news,” he wrote.

    Despite these problems, the VA praised Cord’s ability in a statement announcing his promotion.

    “We are excited to bring Mr. Cord on board as the new director of the Erie VA Medical Center,” said Gary Devansky, Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 4 interim director. “His unique leadership experience and insight as an Air Force Veteran will be valuable assets for the facility, the employees and volunteers, and most importantly, for the Veterans we are honored to serve.”

    The decision to promote Cord is likely to fuel more criticism that VA Secretary Bob McDonald is not being hard enough on senior VA officials after various failures to provide health care to veterans. Congress has passed legislation to allow the secretary to immediately fire senior officials for misconduct, but so far, McDonald has not used this authority.

    Instead, he has given employees several days to respond to proposals that they should be fired, which has allowed two senior officials to opt for retirement.

    When pressed on the question of discipline, McDonald has said repeatedly that he has asked VA workers to pledge to work harder for veterans, and often sports a pin on his jacket that says, “I CARE.”

  • The Way This Atheist Author Is Taking Aim at a Popular Story About a Boy Who Claims He Nearly Died and Visited Heaven
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 9:40 am by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (216)

    A new children’s book is taking direct aim at “Heaven Is For Real,” the bestselling book and feature film about a young boy who claims he ascended to heaven, met Jesus and interacted with dead relatives during a near-death experience.

    Rather than focusing on theological themes surrounding God or the afterlife, “Me & Dog” — a book about a little boy named Sid and his dog Murphy that was written by Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten and illustrated by Eric Shansby — focuses primarily on secular ideals.

    Weingarten, an atheist, told TheBlaze Tuesday that he was motivated to write the book based on experiences he had with his own dog (who, coincidentally, is also named Murphy). But that wasn’t the only reason the writer penned his first kids’ book.

    Simon and Schuster/Gene

    Simon and Schuster/Gene Weingarten

    Weingarten’s frustration over certain “phony” themes that are presented to children in popular books and movies like “Heaven Is For Real” also served as a motivating factor.

    “It bothers me particularly when the most impressionable people who will take a message away are children [being told] that the kid died on the table and came back to life — and in the meantime visited Jesus,” he said.

    While Weingarten said he’s not hostile toward religion and has no contempt for people of faith, it’s stories like “Heaven Is For Real” that leave him flummoxed, specifically when they target kids.

    “I have some anger and frustration in me over what sells when the subject is religion, and if you go to Amazon.com and look up books about religion for children, there is no end to them and they basically are all about teaching your children about having to have faith … and none of that bothers me,” he said. “I have no contempt for people of faith, but it is the nature of the things that sell that bothers me.”

    As you can imagine, “Me & Dog” can be read as more than a mere story about a boy and his pup. In fact, in an op-ed last month, Weingarten delved a bit deeper into the subject matter, explaining the themes embedded in the book and revealing the multiple ways readers might interpret the plot.

    “It does seem to be arguing that if ours IS a world that is not ruled by magic, there is enough secular magic and beauty in observable reality to keep things fun and joyful and safe,” Weingarten wrote.

    The author also said that there are a few different ways in which people could read “Me & Dog.”

    The first option is that they can view it as “a sweet little book about a boy who goes on a walk with his dog, and accidentally steps on the dog’s tail, and the dog apologizes because it has an adorable, fundamental misunderstanding about the nature of existence.”

    Simon and Schuster/Gene Weingarten

    Simon and Schuster/Gene Weingarten

    Or, Weingarten said that the book can be viewed as “an insidious, deviant little parable brainwashing vulnerable innocents into doubting the existence of God.”

    There’s also the middle ground approach in which readers walk away with both of these sentiments, he argued.

    Either way, the author made it clear in both his interview with TheBlaze and his column last month that the book is an “antidote” to stories like “Heaven Is For Real,” which Weingarten also described as “foul load of phony, credulous, opportunistic crap.”

    The author told TheBlaze that he’s hoping the book’s take-away for children is “whatever the parents encourage them to take away from it.”

    “I think it is the beginning of a dialogue that any secular humanist parent could have with their children if they choose to use,” Weingarten said.

    (H/T: Christian Post)

  • Eight Trends to Watch for on the November Ballot That Have Nothing to Do With Congress
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 8:53 am by Fred Lucas

    Comments (51)

    While the question of whether Democrats or Republicans will be in control of the Senate is the midterm elections question that’s received the most attention, ballots across the country have high-stakes initiatives that could have ramification reaching beyond individual states.

    Legalized marijuana, minimum wage increases, personhood for the unborn, Second Amendment issues, hunting, prison reform, taxes and health care are all on the ballot in different parts of the country.

    A worker cultivates a special strain of medical marijuana inside a greenhouse in a remote spot in the mountains west of Colorado Springs, Colo. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

    The National Taxpayers Union is closely following state ballot issues related to the minimum wage and tax proposals.

    “I trust the people more than the politicians,” organization spokesman Pete Sepp told TheBlaze. “They say ballot measures are too risky because we are leaving it to amateurs. Well the professionals haven’t done a very good job. Plus, a ballot measure can’t go into office and break a political promise.”

    The minimum wage and marijuana legalization could bode well for Democratic turnout, while gun issues and tax cuts might turn out Republican voters. Abortion could invoke passions on both sides — or it might not make a any difference, said Geoffrey Skelley of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.

    “In all likelihood, none of these referenda will dramatically alter the shape of the electorate, so unless a race is extremely tight, it’s tough to see them changing outcomes,” Skelley told TheBlaze. “Granted, if a contest such as the Alaska Senate race is being decided by a razor-thin margin, having minimum wage and marijuana questions on the ballot could prove to be a difference maker for Mark Begich’s re-election chances against Dan Sullivan.”

    Skelly pointed to 11 states that voted in 2004 to block gay marriage, which some pundits credited for President George W. Bush’s re-election, a theory later research cast doubt on

    “The most I can really say is that it’s possible that turnout in states with referenda may be slightly higher than the typical midterm turnout in those states, simply because each referendum provides another reason for some marginal voters to turn out,” Skelley said.

    Here are eight trends that are showing up on ballot initiatives across the United States.

    1. Marijuana Legalization

    Alaska, Florida, Oregon and Washington, D.C., could either legalize or lift restrictions on marijuana. Washington state has a ballot measure to impose an excise tax on marijuana after voters there legalized recreational use in 2012.

    Alaskans will decide on a proposal to “tax and regulate the production, sale, and use of marijuana.” It would be legal only for people 21 and older.

    The Washington, D.C., ballot initiative would make it legal to possess 2 ounces of marijuana for personal use, grow no more than six cannabis plants, and “transfer” — but not sell — up to 1 ounce of marijuana.

    Oregon voters will decide whether to allow possession, manufacture and sale of marijuana in the state.

    Florida is taking a more modest approach, and is considering only medical use if a licensed Florida physician signs off.

    2. Constitutional Rights for Unborn

    Three states – Colorado, North Dakota and Tennessee – will have abortion on the ballot, and could potentially set up a legal battle that might force the Supreme Court to take another look at Roe v. Wade.

    WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 25: Anti-abortion protesters attend the March for Life on January 25, 2013 in Washington, DC. The pro-life gathering is held each year around the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. Credit: Getty Images

    Anti-abortion protesters attend the 2013 March for Life in Washington, D.C. (Getty Images)

    The Colorado ballot language reads: “the words ‘person’ and ‘child’ in the Colorado Criminal Code and Colorado Wrongful Death Act must include unborn human beings.”

    The North Dakota proposal is to “provide that the inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.”

    The Tennessee initiative does not go as far as the other two, stating rather that “nothing in Constitution of Tennessee secures or protects right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion” and that the state lawmakers can “enact, amend or repeal statutes regarding abortion.”

    3. Minimum Wage Hikes

    President Barack Obama has been pushing to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, but has failed to get it through Congress. On Election Day, voters in five states will consider a hike, though none of the proposals are as high as Obama’s desired amount.

    The Alaska measure would raise the wage from $7.75 to $8.75 per hour. In Arkansas, voters will decide whether to gradually raise the state’s minimum wage from $6.25 per hour to $8.50 by 2017. In Illinois, voters in an advisory question will decide if the wage should rise from $8.25 to to $10. Nebraska voters will decide on gradually raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 per hour by 2016. South Dakota is considering an increase of $7.25 to $8.50 per hour.

    Two Washington state cities have surpassed Obama’s desired level with $15 per hour for certain employees, and the results have not been good, Sepp of the National Taxpayers Union said.

    “Minimum wage hikes go against economic common sense,” Sepp said.   “The data is already in from the Seattle-Tacoma minimum wage increase from 2012. The signs were predictable. Employers are hiring less or cutting basic benefits.”

    4. Gun Rights

    Washington state voters have an interesting choice with two competing ballot measures.

    Initiative 594, backed by gun control groups, would strengthen background checks on gun purchasers to include gun shows and online sales.

    On the other hand, Initiative 591, backed by pro-gun groups, would prohibit background checks by the state unless they conform to federal background check laws. Initiative 591 would also explicitly prohibit “confiscation,” which advocates say is essentially what has occurred in New York and Connecticut where gun registries were established.

    A customer shops for a handgun at Freddie Bear Sports in Tinley Park, Ill., June 16, 2014. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

    The National Rifle Association is remaining neutral on 591 in order to focus on defeating 594.

    “Initiative 594 would mean millions of law abiding gun owners in Washington state would be turned into criminals,” NRA spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen told TheBlaze. “It would not make Washington state any safer. It would just mean more bureaucratic pile on.”

    The NRA is also backing a measure in Alabama, where voters will decide whether to codify the right to bear arms in their state constitution. The measure also confronts the potential for international limitations on gun rights. The ballot language reads, “every citizen has a fundamental right to bear arms and that any restriction on this right would be subject to strict scrutiny; and to provide that no international treaty or law shall prohibit, limit, or otherwise interfere with a citizen’s fundamental right to bear arms.”

    5. Hunting Measures

    The NRA is also backing “right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife” amendments in Alabama and Mississippi.

    Alabama state Rep. Mark Tuggle, a Republican, pushed the ballot measure through the legislature, saying he wanted to enshrine the right to hunt and ensure that hunting is the primary means of thinning the herd of animals, not alternative methods of population control such as poison or sterilization.

    Advocates for the Mississippi amendment say they are responding to a national movement among animal rights advocates to restrict hunting.

    Already 17 states have the right to hunt in their state constitutions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

    Voters in Maine will decide whether to ban the hunting of bears. The NRA is also opposing this ban, Mortensen said, contending the advocates are only using emotional arguments.

    “Sound animal and wildlife management should allow the hunting of bears,” Mortensen said.

    6. Health Care

    In South Dakota, voters will decide on an initiative that seeks to ensure patients have their choice of doctor – a pushback against a chief concern about Obamacare. Under the proposal, doctors that agree to the conditions of the insurance plans, such as payments, could not be restricted from joining the insurer’s network. Patients pay less for in-network providers than for those outside the network of an insurance plan. The state’s medical association and hospitals reportedly favor the initiative, while insurance companies oppose it.

    Getty Images

    Getty Images

    California voters will decide if there should be required drug and alcohol testing for doctors. The measure would also require doctors to report other doctors whom they suspect of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The ballot measure further adjusts with inflation the state’s current $250,000 cap on pain and suffering awards resulting from medical malpractice suits.

    Arizonans will decide on a ballot measure to allow terminally ill patients to have access to drugs that have not yet been approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or dugs known as “investigational drugs.” Under the proposal, these medicines will have completed the first phase of clinical trials.

    7. Criminal Justice

    California voters could roll back the prison sentences for nonviolent felony convictions. The initiative would change from a felony to a misdemeanor: petty theft, receiving stolen property and forging or writing bad checks for $950 or less. The initiative, if approved, would also require decreased sentences for certain drug possession offenses.

    In New Jersey, the state’s constitution could be amended to allow a court to order someone be detained in jail without the right to post bail.

    8. Taxes

    In five states, voters will be deciding on tax policy.

    Tennessee doesn’t have an income tax, but the debate on implementing one comes up in the legislature often enough. So voters are considering amending the state constitution to permanently ban such a policy from every being enacted.

    Georgia voters have the opportunity to freeze state income taxes. The initiative would prohibit the legislature from hiking the tax and require a popular vote to determine if people are willing to pay more.

    On the opposite spectrum, Illinois voters will decide on a “millionaires tax,” which would impose an additional 3 percent tax on those earning more than $1 million. The ballot language says the revenue would go to schools, but Sepp is skeptical.

    “Illinois has so many financial flaws that a millionaires tax is not going to fix a broken pension system and out of control spending,” Sepp said. “A millionaires tax is a gimmick.”

    Voters in Nevada will decide whether to impose an extra 2 percent tax on businesses with revenues of more than $1 million. Sepp said a similar tax in Texas passed in 2008 and fell far short of the projected revenue estimates.

    In Massachusetts, sometimes ridiculed as “taxachachusetts,” a citizen-initiated referendum would eliminate the automatic increase in the state’s gasoline tax, which is currently tied to inflation. Instead, the state legislature would have to actively raise the tax.

    “It would be an important gain for the taxpayers in the state,” Sepp said. “It would take the gas tax off autopilot and introduce more accountability into the system for the legislature who would have to raise the tax rather than relying on the economy.”

  • When a Woman Saw This Shocking Photo of an Alleged Robber, She Had to Say Something — but It’s Who She Is That Makes Things Even More Stunning
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 8:31 am by Liz Klimas

    Comments (46)

    Police in Florida were hunting down a man who allegedly attacked a woman while she was at a bank ATM Monday. A day later they received a big break from an unexpected source: the suspect’s girlfriend.

    WKMG-TV reported that West Melbourne police were following leads for a man, who was captured on a Bank of America surveillance camera with his arms around a woman’s neck Monday night. Police put out this image publicly, and it was later seen by a woman who said she was the girlfriend of 44-year-old Scott Deason.

    Scott Deason, 44, of West Melbourne, Florida, was arrested Tuesday after his girlfriend called 911, saying he looked like the suspect in an ATM robbery that took place Monday. (Image source: West Melbourne Police Department)

    Scott Deason, 44, of West Melbourne, Florida, was arrested Tuesday after his girlfriend called 911, saying he looked like the suspect in an ATM robbery that took place Monday. (Image source: West Melbourne Police Department)

    The woman called 911 when she saw his face come on the TV and confirmed the likeness with the man’s parents.

    “I need a police officer. I believe I have the suspect that you guys are looking for the ATM robbery — I’m almost positive — he’s my boyfriend,” the girlfriend told a 911 dispatcher. “And he was out all night on a drinking binge and we had no idea where he was.”

    The woman said her boyfriend was sleeping at the time when she made the call.

    The suspect was pictured on the ATM surveillance camera with his arm around the woman's neck. (Image source: West Melbourne Police Department)

    The suspect was pictured on the ATM surveillance camera with his arm around the woman’s neck. (Image source: West Melbourne Police Department)

    According to the West Melbourne Police Department, the unnamed victim was approached from behind by a male who demanded cash while she was at an ATM Monday around 8:30 p.m. He wrapped his arm around her throat and threatened her. WKMG added that the victim said the man had a hammer.

    The victim, at this point, pushed the panic button on her car alarm, prompting the suspect to flee without any money.

    After the tip came in from the suspect’s girlfriend, Deason was arrested and charged with armed robbery and false imprisonment, according to a news release from the police department.

    Watch WKMG-TV’s report on the arrest:

    video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

  • YouTube Stars Claim an NYPD Cop Forcibly Frisked Them Due to Their Islamic ‘Cultural Clothing’ — but Now They Have a Major Admission
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 8:18 am by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (129)

    Just days after posting a video that purported to show a New York City cop racially profiling two men in Islamic garb, the producers of the clip — who also star in it — have admitted that “it was a dramatization” and that it was not “an actual event.”

    Image via TrueStoryASA/YouTube

    Image via TrueStoryASA/YouTube

    “We sincerely apologize to [anybody] who may have been misled that this was an actual event. It wasn’t, it was a dramatization, a re-enactment of what happened to us whilst filming in our traditional clothing on,” YouTube stars Adam Saleh and Sheikh Akbar said Tuesday in a description accompanying an apology video.

    The filmmakers said that they didn’t intend to make the NYPD look bad.

    They also apologized to the media outlets that ended up covering the clip, to their management team and to the Muslim community at large, insisting that they were simply trying to bring awareness to an important issue.

    “All we were trying to do was raise the fact that racial profiling does happen in some places,” the they continued.

    Selah went on in the video apology to claim that he and Akbar have been racially profiled by police officers in the past while wearing their “cultural clothing.” The two implored viewers not to be scared if they, too, ever find themselves being unfairly targeted by authorities.

    “If you guys ever get racially profiled, don’t be afraid to speak out,” Akbar said.

    Watch the video apology below:

    As TheBlaze previously reported, the duo uploaded a video Sunday to their “TrueStoryASA” YouTube page, alleging that it exposed a police officer unfairly targeting them due to their Islamic garb.

    The central premise of the clip was that Saleh and Akbar — known for making prank videos — were able to walk by a police officer in Queens while wearing jeans and T-shirts and while verbally and nearly physically fighting with one another without the cop intervening or saying a word.

    But when they returned 20 minutes later and walked by the same policeman again — this time in robes, head coverings and “cultural clothing” — he intervened in their spat and ended up forcibly frisking them.

    Even before Saleh and Akbar admitted that the video was staged, numerous outlets and critics suspected that it wasn’t authentic. The dialogue, the frisking method and other elements seemed questionable, they said.

    Their suspicions have now been substantiated.

    Read the original story for more about the video.

  • Will Your Doctors, Nurses Be Willing to Come to Work in an Infectious Disease Outbreak? The Answer Might Surprise You
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 8:08 am by Liz Klimas

    Comments (42)

    Ebola might not be considered an outbreak in the United States, but with hospitals around the country preparing in case the deadly disease were to enter their town, it begs the question: If there were a risky, infectious disease flare-up of any kind, would health care employees still show up to work?

    According to recent studies, a significant number of those we all rely on for help during illnesses might choose not to work if a disease were running rampant.

    A study published four years ago in the journal BMC Public Health revealed that 32 percent of hospital workers said they would be “unwilling to respond in the event of a more severe pandemic influenza scenario.”

    Registered nurse Keene Roadman, stands fully dressed in personal protective equipment, as he and registered nurse Fred Serafin, right, demonstrate proper protective procedures to doctors and nurses during a training class at the Rush University Medical Center. With hospital workers increasingly in the spotlight of concern over the spread of the Ebola virus, the hospital held a training session for a team of medical professionals with expertise in intensive care and infection control. (AP/Charles Rex Arbogast)

    Dr. Daniel Barnett, an associate professor of environmental health sciences at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health who was involved with this study, told TheBlaze that we’re already seeing some of this sentiment with the current Ebola situation.

    “I hope it’s not the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “I do think that this is, if not the tip of the iceberg for Ebola, it certainly represents the tip of iceberg for potential scenarios of future influenza pandemics. This represents a teachable moment for us nationally and globally.”

    Some countries in West Africa saw strikes among health workers who felt like they were not being adequately compensated for the hazard they face in the Ebola outbreak. In the U.S., Dallas officials initially had a hard time finding a cleanup crew equipped and willing to take on the task of the apartment where the first U.S. diagnosed Ebola patient stayed and became infectious. In Spain, employees used a variety of excuses to avoid coming to work.

    “They are saying they’ve got their period, that they’re getting dizzy, that they’re claustrophobic … people get anxious and they can’t work like that, being so nervous,” a health worker told the newspaper El Pais, according to The Guardian.

    Research conducted by Johns Hopkins in cooperation with their colleagues at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, not only revealed the extent to which health workers might be willing to risk their lives, but also what can be done to improve the likelihood that they’ll be there to help in the event of a pandemic or other dangerous health situation.

    “Willingness to respond is not the same as ability to respond,” Barnett said.

    Liberian health workers queue to enter one of the largest Ebola treatment units at the Island Clinic Monrovia ,Liberia. Monday, Oct. 13, 2014. Some nurses in Liberia defied calls for a strike on Monday and turned up for work at hospitals amid the worst Ebola outbreak in history. In view of the danger of their work, members of the National Health Workers Association are demanding higher monthly hazard pay. The association has more than 10,000 members, though the health ministry says only about 1,000 of those are employed at sites receiving Ebola patients. (AP Photo/ Abbas Dulleh)

    Liberian health workers queue to enter one of the largest Ebola treatment units at the Island Clinic Monrovia ,Liberia. Monday, Oct. 13, 2014. Some nurses in Liberia defied calls for a strike on Monday and turned up for work at hospitals amid the worst Ebola outbreak in history. In view of the danger of their work, members of the National Health Workers Association are demanding higher monthly hazard pay.  (AP Photo/ Abbas Dulleh)

    “Training someone who to wear [personal protective equipment] does not necessarily mean that person will be willing to come to work to wear that PPE,” he added. “We historically made an assumption that training someone in knowledge and skills will translate to a willing workforce response and that is a mistaken assumption.”

    In the 2010 study, all hospital departments reviewed saw some employees show an unwillingness to work in a pandemic situation. But nurses, it found, were even less likely than doctors to want to come in to work. Those who said they would be hesitant to work additional hours were also 17 times less likely to respond during a health crisis.

    While an unwillingness to respond was tracked, willingness was reviewed as well, revealing some factors that could help change the minds of other health workers who would otherwise stay home in the hope of protecting themselves and their families.

    The study found that 60 percent of workers who thought their peers would come to work in an emergency were then 10 times more likely to say they’d show up themselves. If an employee saw themselves as having high efficacy, which Barnett explained meant confidence in their abilities, he or she was nearly six times more likely to respond to help.

    “Health workers need to have a clear sense that they, individually, play a significant role in the context of the overall response,” Barnett said, explaining that some people, like a receptionist, for example, might not really see how vital his or her role would be in such an event.

    Registered nurse Keene Roadman, fully dressed in personal protective equipment, simulates treating a patient with Ebola, to doctors and nurses who are part of the core care team that would treat Ebola patients, during a training class at the Rush University Medical Center. (AP/Charles Rex Arbogast)

    “The other part of training that needs to be factored into the preparedness picture is giving employees a sense of confidence that they can perform their roles effectively,” he said.

    Other factors, that can boost health care worker willingness to respond include having plans for their families, providing an adequate amount of personal protective equipment and offering the appropriate vaccines or beneficial drugs for all the hospital’s employees.

    Taking it a step further in another study, Barnett and his colleagues showed how certain types of training can increase a willingness to respond by 30 percent. This study, published in the journal Heath Communications last year looked at health department workers willingness to respond in the event of a radiological dirty bomb.

    “That is actually a significant increase when you consider an all-hands-on-deck kind of response,” Barnett said of the effect training can have.

    “Ebola is not the only threat that is out there,” Barnett said. “There’s MERS, H7N9, H5N1 …  all of these threats still exist even if Ebola, hopefully, does not materialize into a type of widespread event in U.S. We are not out of woods in terms of our readiness [when it comes to] other threats that are concurrent and may materialize in our country.”

    In light of the U.S. response to Ebola within its border, Barnett said we are in the midst of a “teachable moment for preparedness training.”

    “We need to take a more holistic approach in training heath care workers. Not only train them in what to do, but we also need to factor in their perspective as human beings who are facing a frightening scenario,” he said.

    “We need to consider training not just to knowledge and skills … but also to address attitudes,” he said.

  • New Report on Michael Brown Case Offers Three Explosive Revelations
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 1:46 am by Oliver Darcy

    Comments (294)

    The publishing of Michael Brown’s official autopsy report, as well as a St. Louis Post-Dispatch source’s description of officer Darren Wilson’s account of events, offered new revelations to the already controversial Ferguson case Tuesday night.

    An unidentified source told the Post-Dispatch that Wilson testified to investigators 18-year-old Brown struggled for his firearm before eventually charging at him.

    Two experts not directly involved with the case added to the newspaper that the official autopsy report appears to support Wilson’s claim that a struggle did take place before the fatal shooting.

    Further, a toxicology report revealed that Brown tested positive for marijuana.

    Wilson’s Account

    A source with knowledge of officer Wilson’s statements offered the Post-Dispatch his account of events, in a story published Tuesday night.

    According to the unidentified individual, Wilson had just completed an unrelated call when he spotted Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson walking in the middle of a public street. Wilson quickly ordered them to move to the sidewalk, the source said, before recognizing Johnson’s clothing matched a recent radio alert about a nearby robbery.

    FILE – In this Feb. 11, 2014 file image from video provided by the City of Ferguson, Mo., officer Darren Wilson attends a city council meeting in Ferguson. Police identified Wilson, 28, as the police officer who shot Michael Brown on Aug. 9, 2014 in the St. Louis suburb. The incident sparked racial unrest and numerous protests, including some that turned violent. (AP Photo/City of Ferguson, File)

    Wilson called for backup before driving his vehicle to confront the two, the source told the Post-Dispatch. After placing the SUV in park, Wilson said he tried to exit the vehicle, the source said. That’s when he contends Brown suddenly slammed the door shut and punched him in his face through the open window, according to the source.

    Unable to reach for his baton, and because the close-range made the use of pepper spray also dangerous to him, Wilson drew his gun, the source told the Post-Dispatch. An altercation took place and Brown, who Wilson described as very strong, attempted to take control of his firearm, according to the individual’s account of Wilson’s testimony.

    Wilson was struck again and almost lost consciousness, according to the source, as Brown moved for his gun. Wilson apparently attempted to pull the trigger, but the gun did not fire, the source told the Post-Dispatch. Wilson attempted again, this time successfully. He told investigators that he thought the bullet hit Brown in the hand, according to the source.

    As the two continued to fight, additional rounds were fired, Wilson testified, according to the source. Eventually, Brown tried to escape and Wilson started to chase him, the source told the Post-Dispatch.

    According to Wilson, Brown eventually stopped and turned around before charging toward him and ignoring orders to halt, the source said.  As Brown ran toward him Wilson fired multiple shots, mortally wounding the 18-year-old, the source told the Post-Dispatch.

    The Autopsy Report

    Brown’s official autopsy report was published by the Post-Dispatch Tuesday night and appears to corroborate elements of Wilson’s testimony.

    St. Louis city medical examiner Michael Graham reviewed the report for the Post-Dispatch — though he’s not formally part of the investigation — and said it “does support that there was a significant altercation at the car.”

    Protestors continue a vigil for 18-year-old Michael Brown across the street from the police station on October 20, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

    Further, Judy Melinek, a forensic pathologist in San Francisco, told the Post-Dispatch that it “supports the fact that this guy is reaching for the gun, if he has gunpowder particulate material in the wound.”

    “If he has his hand near the gun when it goes off, he’s going for the officer’s gun.”
    Share:

    “If he has his hand near the gun when it goes off, he’s going for the officer’s gun,” she added to the newspaper.

    Melinek also noted to the Post-Dispatch that she did not believe the autopsy supported claims made by witnesses that Brown was shot while surrendering with his hands up.

    Toxicology Report

    A toxicology test conducted on Brown revealed that the 18-year-old had tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly referred to as THC, in his blood and urine.

    “…he may or may not have been impaired at the time of his death.”
    Share:

    “The detection of THC in the postmortem blood of Michael Brown really indicates his recent use of marijuana (within a few hours) and that he may or may not have been impaired at the time of his death,” Alfred Staubus, a forensic technology expert at Ohio State University, told the Post-Dispatch.

    Dissent

    Critics of the Ferguson Police Department told the Post-Dispatch that Wilson’s testimony was not in accordance with the facts of the case.

    Brown family lawyer called it “absurd from beginning to end,” adding that it was a “connoted version of events that nobody supports.”

    Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter

  • Federal Government Awash in Waste: Rabbit Massages, Paid Vacations, Billions Lost to Fraud
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 12:02 am by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (161)

    Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) on Wednesday released a grim report that finds the federal government guilty of wasting billions of dollars of taxpayer money each year — in many cases, the report argues, because federal agencies have completely lost sight of their missions.

    Coburn’s fifth Wastebook Report will be his last as a sitting senator, as he will retire at the end of the current Congress. But he’ll leave after handing Congress another blueprint on how to save money, if anyone cares to implement it.

    “Washington politicians are more focused on their own political futures than the future of our country,” Coburn wrote in the introduction to the report. “And with no one watching over the vast bureaucracy, the problem again isn’t just what Washington isn’t doing, but what it is doing.”

    Coburn noted that as the world becomes more dangerous and chaotic — due to Russia’s military aggression, Ebola and the Middle East, among other factors — many federal agencies seem to be squandering precious federal dollars, while Congress has done little to get them back on track.

    One example of Washington’s mixed priorities can be found in NASA, Coburn wrote.

    “NASA no longer has the ability to send astronauts into space,” he said. “The agency now pays Russia $70 million per passenger for a round trip fair to the international space station where the ‘design and creation of better golf clubs’ is among the studies being conducted.”

    U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn on Wednesday released his latest report on government waste, which outlines the spending patterns of a federal government that long ago lost its way. (AP Photo/The Oklahoman, Nate Billings)

    Similarly, the Coast Guard has reduced drug and migrant interdictions, and instead offers free patrols for private yacht parties. The National Institutes of Health said it lacks funding for an Ebola vaccine, but spent money giving Swedish massages to rabbits, the report added.

    And money may soon be running out, if the actions of the IRS are any warning. “While the IRS was politically targeting Tea Party groups by putting the nonprofits under excessive scrutiny, the agency readily handed over $4 billion to identify thieves because it neglected to spot thousands of bogus tax returns,” Coburn wrote.

    Coburn’s report has plenty of examples of petty waste — those useless government activities that cost only a few hundred thousand dollars. Aside from spending $387,000 to massage rabbits, the government spent $331,000 to see if people would stab voodoo dolls when angry and hungry at the same time.

    It spent $171,000 to study the gambling habits of monkeys. That study showed that monkeys share “our unfounded belief in winning and losing streaks.”

    And, it spend $371,026 to see if mothers love dogs as much as they love their children.

    But the report said the waste can be counted by the millions and billions of dollars. Below are some of the more expensive examples of waste found in the report:

    DOD Tries to Build Real-Life Iron Man Suit

    The report said the Defense Department has set aside $80 million to build a Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, and is collaborating with Hollywood costume designers along the way.

    The initiative has $80 million to spend over four years, but one industry source said $1 billion would be needed just to make a prototype.

    Paid Vacations for Bureaucrats Gone Wild

    Just this week, the Government Accountability Office said 236 workers took 1 to 3 years off in paid leave over the last three years. Coburn noted that many get paid time off for being bad guys, and said the Department of Veterans Affairs is of particular concern in this area.

    “Other VA employees were put on paid administrative leave for sexually abusing a female patient, causing a fatal car crash as a result of driving drunk, sexting on government computers, paying for booze and personal items on government charge cards, taking a patient being treated for addiction to a crack house and hooking him up with drugs, and failing to do their jobs,” it said.

    Food Stamps Traded for Cash and Drugs, Go to People Who Hide Higher Incomes

    The report cited examples in several states, including Tennessee, where someone created fake food stamp accounts that she traded for cash. Fraud schemes elsewhere net people millions of dollars. The report estimated the level of waste related to food stamp fraud at about $3 billion.

    Promoting U.S. Culture Around the Globe with Nose Flutists

    Coburn cited the $90 million spent by the State Department each year on cultural exchange programs, which he said recently included a musical exchange that involved a nose flutist. In 2012, State gathered musicians from around the world in Florida, where they participated in a flash mob.

  • Watch This Guy’s Awesome Reaction to His ‘Price Is Right’ Wheel Spins
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 11:30 pm by Mike Opelka

    Comments (31)

    Winning big money on the highest rated game show on TV can make some people react in a very entertaining ways.

    Image: YouTube

    Image: YouTube

    When Eliot, a contestant on “The Price if Right” manages to hit the coveted $1 spot on the big wheel, he won $1000. The excitement sent him into a dancing tizzy.

    Image: YouTube

    Image: YouTube

    Eliot’s victory also earned him a second spin of the big wheel an a chance at an additional $25,000.

    The big man stepped up to the wheel, gave it a healthy spin and won the big prize.

    Eliot followed up with a second victory dance, some “air guitar,” and general jubilation.

    Image: You Tube

    Image: You Tube

    Enjoy:

    __

    Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter.

  • Man Recording Swerving Vehicle Knew Something Bad Could Happen and ‘Out of Nowhere’ it Did
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 11:19 pm by Oliver Darcy

    Comments (126)

    A Pennsylvania man and coworker were recording a car driving erratically in front of them when “out of nowhere” the vehicle crashed and sent their vehicle hurtling toward it.

    According to WPXI-TV, Kaecieo Bass and Kevin Denney were driving back form a delivery when they noticed the car ahead of them swerving on the road.

    The duo decided to start recording the car, with the intention of reporting the driver’s behavior to authorities.

    WATCH: Erratic driver causes accident — skip to 2:00 minute mark (content warning: language):

    “I don’t know if she’s drunk or what’s going on,” Bass said in the video. “They need to get their mind right. I hope nothing happens to them.”

    For a few minutes, the driver is seen in the video continuing to drive erratically.

    “It was a head-in collision, man. I am really blessed be here right now.”
    Share:

    “I hope they’re not falling asleep,” Bass said. “Please put a hand of protection on that car father God.”

    Bass then told his coworker to “slow down” so they would not be involved in a potential accident. Yet, that just wasn’t enough.

    “Out of nowhere, she just cut off the car and the car riccoched off of us. It was a head-in collision, man. I am really blessed be here right now,” Bass told WPXI.

    Image source: YouTube

    Image source: YouTube

    Image source: YouTube

    Image source: YouTube

    Image source: YouTube

    Image source: YouTube

    Both Bass and Denney appeared to escape the accident without any major injuries. According to WPXI, the female driver was taken to the hospital as a precaution and no one else involved was seriously hurt.

    Authorities told the local news outlet they aren’t sure why the woman was swerving and are continuing to investigate the accident.

    Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter

  • Swedish Officials Think They Know Where This ‘Foreign Vessel’ Came From: Report
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 11:15 pm by Jon Street

    Comments (47)

    The search is on for a possible Russian submarine off the coast of Stockholm, Sweden, and officials there think they might know who sent it.

    As the search 44 miles into the open Baltic Sea continues, Russia is denying responsibility and  instead passing blame along to the Netherlands. However, Russia hasn’t convinced the Swedish defense ministry, Foxtrot Alpha reported.

    Swedish forces released the following photo Sunday showing what it claims to be a “foreign vessel” off the coast of Sweden’s capital. A person wearing all black and a backpack also emerged from the water onto land.

    A partially submerged object is visible in the water at center, in the Stockholm archipelago, Sweden. The Swedish military said Sunday it had made three credible sightings of foreign undersea activity in its waters during the past few days amid reports of a suspected Russian intrusion in the area. (AP Photo/Swedish Armed Forces via TT News Agency)

    “Subsequently, the military and police dog handlers searched the area where the observations were made,” read one Swedish newspaper Sunday, translated by Google Translate. But defense ministry spokesman Mattias Robertson couldn’t offer any information on the finding.

    The NS Concorde ship arrived off the coast of Sweden Oct. 4 and is operated by the Russian state-owned shipping company whose CEO is a close friend to Russian President Vladamir Putin. Another Russian research vessel, Professor Logachev, has since appeared in Baltic waters although its transponders appear to now be off, Foxtrot Alpha reported

    If the ship does turn out to be associated with the suspected Russian submarine, it wouldn’t be the only one Russia has stationed near Sweden. The Kremlin has several other submarines positioned near Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave just across the Baltic Sea from Sweden. Russia also submarines stationed near Murmansk on the Kola peninsula, a part of Russia which is only separated from Sweden by Finland, BBC reported.

    Image source: Google Maps

    Kaliningrad (Image source: Google Maps)

    Image source: Google Maps

    Murmansk (Image source: Google Maps)

    (H/T: Foxtrot Alpha)

    Follow Jon Street (@JonStreet) on Twitter

  • When Asked ‘Yes or No’ Obama Question, Dem Senate Candidate Provides an Answer That Leaves Audience Laughing
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 10:48 pm by Jason Howerton

    Comments (145)

    CONCORD, N.H. (TheBlaze/AP) — New Hampshire Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) was unable to provide a simple “yes or no” answer when asked if she approves of President Barack Obama’s job performance.

    “Imagine you are at home wearing your New Hampshire citizen hat, and you get a call from a pollster asking the following question: Do you approve of the job President Obama is doing?” the moderator asked. “Now, there will be a chance to follow up, but this is a yes or no answer. Do you approve, yes or no?”

    “In some ways I approve and some things I don’t approve,” Shaheen replied, sparking laughter from the audience.

    She went on to argue that many times there aren’t “simple answers” for policy makers.

    Watch the video below:

    Shaheen’s opponent is former Massachusetts Republican senator Scott Brown, who has criticized the Democrat for voting with Obama.

    Obama’s has a low approval rating nationwide, but likely voters in New Hampshire also give the president bad marks, which is probably why Shaheen wasn’t ready to answer “yes” to the debate moderator’s question.

    As Shaheen did in a previous debate, she cast Brown as an outsider who doesn’t understand New Hampshire. He repeatedly called her a rubber stamp for President Barack Obama’s administration, reminding voters she has voted with Obama 99 percent of the time.

    Shaheen emphasized other numbers, however, including hundreds of workers at a federal prison she helped open in northern New Hampshire, 1,200 people her office has helped avoid foreclosure and 129,000 veterans who can get health care closer to home thanks to a provision she and Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte sponsored.

    “What we need is a senator who’s going to work for New Hampshire, who’s going to make sure we address the concerns we hear from our constituents, who’s going to be willing to work with Democrats, Republicans, independents – anybody in Washington who can help us get the job done for this state,” she said.

    Brown responded, “She just described me,” saying he was once the most bipartisan member of the Senate.

    U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, right, and her Republican challenger, Scott Brown talk during a live televised debate hosted by New England Cable News, the Concord Monitor, and the University of New Hampshire at the Capitol Center for the Arts, Tuesday Oct. 21, 2014 in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Concord Monitor, Geoff Forester, Pool)

    When Shaheen later criticized him for not backing a comprehensive border security and immigration reform bill she and Ayotte supported, he said he opposed it because it would have given incentives to people who have been in the country illegally.

    “That’s what it’s like to be an independent senator: You can disagree with your party,” he said. “I’m not going to rubber-stamp a bill that doesn’t work.”

    Brown has been arguing that the rise of the Islamic State group in the Middle East points to the need for greater border security in the U.S., a position Shaheen called “grandstanding.” And she said his attempt to tie concerns about the spread of the Ebola virus to border security were “fear mongering.”

    Asked about the Obama administration’s decision to tighten the nation’s defenses against Ebola by requiring that all arrivals from the disease-ravaged zone in West Africa pass through one of five U.S. airports, Shaheen said she’s open to the idea of a travel ban only if it becomes clear that it would improve the situation. Brown said that a ban is overdue and that the administration has acted too slowly.

    Given a chance to question each other, Shaheen asked Brown, “Why in the world would you support outsourcing American jobs?” She said he voted to provide tax credits for companies that ship jobs overseas when New Hampshire was losing a high number of jobs to China.

    Brown, who denied voting to outsource jobs, said voters should consider other meanings of the word.

    “You said you’d be an independent senator, but you outsourced that independence when you voted with the president over 99 percent of the time,” he said.

    This story has been updated.

  • White House on Dem Senate Candidates: ‘It’s Ultimately Their Campaign’
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 10:28 pm by Fred Lucas

    Comments (29)

    White House press secretary Josh Earnest said President Barack Obama may get some credit or blame regarding Democratic fortunes on Nov. 4, but stressed that in the end, the Democratic senators and candidates are responsible for their own campaigns.

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

    Earnest made the assertion one day after Obama told Al Sharpton that even Democratic senators and candidates that are distancing themselves from the president are really on his side

    “Each of these candidates will make their own case about what their priorities are,” Earnest said in explaining Obama’s comment. “The president was simply making the observation that he was strongly supportive of candidates that are strongly supportive of policies that benefit middle class families.”

    Earnest spent much of the press briefing Tuesday walking a fine line of not tying endangered Democrats too closely to Obama, while not distancing too much.

    The Washington Post has given Republicans a 95 percent chance of winning a majority in the Senate, while most other election models favor the GOP by a more modest margin. Still Earnest said Obama and the White House is “not really” making any plans for dealing with a Republican-controlled Senate because the president is confident Democrats will maintain control.

    “There are people running in red states that have a strong track record, Democratic candidates who have a strong track record getting elected in their states,” Earnest said. “So, it should be their decision. It’s ultimately their campaign. It’s their name that’s on the ballot.”

    Only when pressed further if he was then blaming the Democratic incumbents and challengers for a potential bad election night did Earnest concede there would be blame and credit to go around.

    “I’m confident if Democrats are able to hold onto the majority in the United States Senate, there will be plenty of credit to go around,” Earnest said. “I think someone like the president, who has made an aggressive case for the policies that benefit middle class families that so many Democrats support, I’m confident the president will get his fair share of credit. I’m also confident if things don’t turn out as we hope and expect, the president will get at least his share of the blame.”

    Earnest stressed that Obama has helped Democratic candidates.

    “Ultimately campaigns have to make their own decisions about how they can best benefit from the president’s leadership, whether that is benefiting from money he is raising to support the committees that support their campaigns or whether that is benefiting from technology or other organizational techniques that benefited the president two years ago that benefit Democrat this time,” Earnest said.

  • PayPal Co-Founder Is Skeptical of Man-Made Global Warming for This Reason
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 9:55 pm by Erica Ritz

    Comments (131)

    PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, often considered one of the most influential people in Silicon Valley, said Tuesday that he is skeptical of man-made global warming because many refuse to allow debate the subject.

    “Whenever you can’t have a debate, I often think that’s evidence that there’s a problem,” Thiel said on The Glenn Beck Program. “When people use the word ‘science,’ it’s often a tell, like in poker, that you’re bluffing. It’s like we have ‘social science’ and we have ‘political science,’ [but] we don’t call it ‘physical science’ or ‘chemical science.’ We just call them physics and chemistry because we know they’re right.”

    Thiel said no one will be upset if you ask questions about the periodic table, because it is actually science. But referring to man-made climate change as “science” tells you “that people are exaggerating and they’re bluffing a little bit,” Thiel said.

    “The weather has not been getting warmer for the last 15 years. The hockey stick that Al Gore predicted in the early 2000s on the climate has not happened,” he remarked. “And I think as this monolithic culture breaks down, you can have more debates.”

    PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel speaks on The Glenn Beck Program October 21, 2014. (Photo: TheBlaze TV)

    PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel speaks on The Glenn Beck Program October 21, 2014. (Photo: TheBlaze TV)

    Thiel, the first outside investor in Facebook and a self-described Libertarian, said he favors free market economics but is liberal on most social issues.

    “I believe, basically, that individual freedom is very important,” he said.

    Thiel said there are countless instances where excessive government intervention and regulation stifled growth or led to economic bubbles.

    Technology has been “very lightly regulated” in recent decades, and the world has seen extraordinary advances in the field, he said. But almost every other industry has been heavily regulated, and as a result, has seen very little growth.

    “If you’re trying to develop a new drug, that costs you a billion dollars to get through the FDA,” Thiel remarked. “If you want to start a software company, you can get started with maybe $100,000.”

    Thiel said America “could be curing cancer,” but because the government has made the cost of developing medicine so high, people are dedicating their time and energy to the tech industry instead.

    Complimentary Clip from TheBlaze TV

    Beck and Thiel also discussed the similarities and differences between Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C.

    Thiel said most innovators in Silicon Valley have libertarian instincts, “but the politics end up being liberal because that’s what’s cool.”

    “For us, politics is about ideas,” he said. “It’s about changing things. But there’s also this other mode where politics is about fashion, and that’s always the risk you have in Silicon Valley. That’s why Hollywood’s so liberal. It’s not that the people have thought things through in Hollywood.”

    Thiel said the political system will be changed from the outside, as will many of America’s other issues.

    He specifically referenced the skyrocketing cost of education, and how many students are not learning enough to justify hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. Many have focused their energy on replacing poor professors, but Thiel believes there is going to be a “reformation” the way there was in the Catholic church hundreds of years ago.

    “It’s very hard for us to see it right now, because we can’t imagine anything different,” he remarked. “We believe you will only be ‘saved’ if you go to college. … When you’re scared of the future, you often retrench, and that gets taken advantage of. That’s why the millennials are graduating with a trillion dollars of debt now.”

    Thiel said he doesn’t believe there will be a “single alternative system,” but the current system will undeniably change.

    Complimentary Clip from TheBlaze TV

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

  • Back to the Future: California Company to Deliver World’s First Production Hover Boards…You Guessed It: Oct. 21, 2015
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 9:25 pm by Jon Street

    Comments (7)

    CEO and co-founder Greg Henderson of the California-based company Arx Pax said he has developed the Hendo hoverboard and expects the first ones to be delivered exactly one year from today – Oct. 21, 2015, which is also the day Marty McFly arrives in the future in the timeless classic, “Back to the Future.”

    Image source: Kickstarter.com

    Image source: Kickstarter.com

    Image source: Kickstarter.com

    Image source: Kickstarter.com

    Image source: Kickstarter.com

    Image source: Kickstarter.com

    While many might suspect the movie is exactly where Henderson’s idea came from, he said that’s actually not the case: “It came from the idea of hovering a building out of harm’s way. If you can levitate a train that weighs 50,000 kilograms, why not a house?” he told Engadget

    Henderson explained that such technology could theoretically be used to minimize the damage earthquakes can cause by simply lifting buildings (and the people inside of them) off the ground when tremors strike.

    But the new technology is about even more than minimizing the damage from earthquakes: ”The most important piece of it all for me is the idea of taking away the limitations of how we think about problems in general. Not just thinking outside the box, but off the page. When you do that – when you approach problems that were seemingly impossible in different ways – you’ll never cease to be amazed by the solutions you can come up with,” Henderson said.

    The hoverboard developer is also using the project to encourage other entrepreneurial minds by selling a developer kit for $299. The kit will include a complete hover engine and enough hover surface space to let innovative minds run wild (or fly high?).

    If you’re not on board with the hover board yet, you can try it out for yourself.

    The collapsed Pyne Gould Guinness Building, located in central Christchurch (AP)

    The collapsed Pyne Gould Guinness Building, located in central Christchurch (AP)

    The first 250 people to donate $100 or more will be eligible for a five-minute ride on one of the prototype boards. Those donating $1,000 or more will be eligible for up to one hour on the hoverboard with a private coach.

    Henderson said the startup is seeking to crowd-fund the revolutionary Hendo hoverboard on Kickstarter. The first 10 people to donate $10,000 or more to the campaign can expect their very own hover board to arrive exactly one year from today- landing them, perhaps not in-coincidentally, “Back to the Future.”

    Check out the video to learn more about the world’s first-ever product hoverboard:



    (H/T: Engadget)

    Follow Jon Street (@JonStreet) on Twitter

Restoring Love