When football fans get tackled by football players, usually the fans are asking for it — figuratively speaking:
It’s quite the rare occasion when a football fan literally asks an NFL player for a tackle — and said player obliges. But that’s just what A.J.Hawk of the Green Bay Packers dished out recently.
A fan at the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship Tournament in Lake Tahoe requested Hawk lay a hit on him, and the linebacker — with a crowd standing by licking its collective chops — fulfilled the wish, Fox Sports reported.
More from Fox Sports:
The fan, wearing sunglasses, a white tank top and perhaps a few layers of beer padding, seemed to relish the bro-opportunity to get sacked by Hawk, who is playing in the event this week along with Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The 6-foot-1, 240-pound Hawk set himself before jogging at and laying a pretty good lick on his willing victim.
All was well, apparently, as Hawk hugged the happy fan after the tackle and high-fived satisfied onlookers.
Check out the fun:
A Florida father who said he walked in on an 18-year-old man molesting his son Friday beat the individual unconscious and left him in a pool of blood.
“I just walked in on a grown man molesting—,” the 35-year-old unidentified father told a 911 dispatcher, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal. “And I got him in a bloody puddle for you officer.”
Asked by the dispatcher if he had used any weapons, the father responded, “My foot and my fist.”
“I didn’t proceed to ask him any questions sir,” he said. “He is nice and knocked out on the floor for you. I drug him out to the living room.”
“He stood up and his pants were around his ankles and nothing else needed to be said,” the father added to the dispatcher. “I did whatever I got a right to do except I didn’t kill him.”
The father then advised the dispatcher to deploy paramedics.
“Send an ambulance. He is going to need one,” he said.
Police responded to the scene at about 1:00 a.m. and found Raymond Frolander, 18, motionless on the floor, bleeding profusely from his mouth, the arrest report stated, according to the News-Journal.
Daytona Beach police chief Mike Chitwood said the father was not charged with a crime.
“Dad was acting like a dad. I don’t see anything we should charge the dad with,” Chitwood said. “You have an 18-year-old who has clearly picked his target, groomed his target and had sex with the victim multiple times.”
According to Chitwood, Frolander lived next door and “was almost like a family member.” The arrest affidavit added that he later told police “I’m guilty,” according to the News-Journal.
The child told authorities that he had been playing video games with friends when Frolander told him to sit on his lap and took him to the back room, the report said, according to the News-Journal. He then sexually abused him, the boy said, adding it had been ongoing since he was 8-years-old.
“When (the victim) sat on the 18-year-old’s lap, he knew what was next,” Chtiwood said. “The young man was in fear that if he didn’t comply, he would get hurt.”
Frolander has since been charged with sexual battery on a victim under 12 and is being held without bail, county jail records show, according to the News-Journal.
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Parents out there concerned about your their middle schoolers’ texting habits — particularly with what those habits may indicate — take note.
Middle school students who send 100 or more text messages per day are more likely to be sexually active, Betabeat reported, citing a recent study in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The study in Pediatrics also looked at sexting behavior, noting that students who text at least 100 times per day were more likely to report both receiving and sending sexts.
In addition students who sent sexts, and students who received sexts, were more likely to report sexual activity. And excessive texting and receiving sexts were associated with both unprotected sex as well as condom use.
Oddly researchers found that about 20 percent of middle school students have received a sext, only five percent said they’d sent one.
Additional data of note:
The researchers concluded that doctors “should discuss sexting with young adolescents because this may facilitate conversations about sexually transmitted infection and pregnancy prevention.”
(H/T: The Daily Dot)
Barnacles might be an annoyance to boaters and even some planners, who find the crustaceans clogging up pipes, but scientists have long been fascinated by their supremely sticky substance.
It has been more than 150 years since the famed biologist Charles Darwin described the cement glands of barnacles and their adhesive properties. Since then, it has been a target to create a synthetic glue that is just as strong underwater and develop surfaces to which barnacles cannot stick, especially as they cause $7.5 billion a year in wasted fuel for the global shipping industry. But scientists had to understand how they do it first.
“The ocean is a complex mixture of dissolved ions, the pH varies significantly across geographical areas and, obviously, it’s wet. Yet despite these hostile conditions, barnacle glue is able to withstand the test of time,” Dr. Nick Aldred, a research associate at Newcastle University, said.
While the science regarding just how they manage to stick onto structures in a watery environment has been progressing, more recent research published in the journal Nature described how barnacles secrete lipids and proteins in such a way to “maximize adhesion.”
“Lipids, secreted first, possibly displace water from the surface interface creating a conducive environment for introduction of phosphoproteins while simultaneously modulating the spreading of the protein phase and protecting the nascent adhesive plaque from bacterial biodegradation,” the study authors wrote.
Aldred said that science about the two-component gluing system has been known for a while now, but what they didn’t know was how the glue was able to make adequate contact with the surface already under water.
“We now know that these two substances play very different roles – one clearing water from the surface and the other cementing the barnacle down,” Aldred said. “It’s an incredibly clever natural solution to this problem of how to deal with a water barrier on a surface. It will change the way we think about developing bio-inspired adhesives that are safe and already optimised to work in conditions similar to those in the human body, as well as marine paints that stop barnacles from sticking.”
Aldred emphasized that how this was done remained a mystery until now because the technology wasn’t advanced enough to witness it.
“The key here is the technology. With these new tools we are able to study processes in living tissues, as they happen. We can get compositional and molecular information by other methods, but they don’t explain the mechanism. There’s no substitute for seeing things with your own eyes,” Aldred said. “In the past, the strong lasers used for optically sectioning biological samples have typically killed the samples, but now technology allows us to study life processes exactly as they would happen in nature.”
Front page image via Shutterstock.
Glenn Beck said Friday that “nobody” in the media is covering Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) decision to join Mercury One’s border relief effort because the media is already starting to play “presidential games.”
Mercury One, the charity Glenn Beck founded, will be in McAllen, Texas, on Saturday, passing out roughly $2 million in food, water, clothing and toys to illegal immigrant children. Beck and a number of volunteers will be there to help.
But as Beck said, while many news outlets, including MSNBC, have reported on the relief effort, few have said anything about Cruz’s involvement.
“Why is nobody covering this?” Beck asked on his radio program Friday. “This came out yesterday. This is a big deal. Why is no one covering that Ted Cruz is going down to the border for a relief program?”
Beck said Cruz’s involvement is scarcely being mentioned because the left has to paint the senator as a “hater,” and some on the right don’t want to help a conservative that is not part of the Republican “establishment.”
“They cannot cover Ted Cruz going down to the border,” Beck said. “This gives Ted Cruz the ammo to be tough on immigration, to be tough on justice. Once you have mercy established, you have credibility to talk about justice.”
“If [former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush] were going down, I guarantee you Fox News would be covering it,” Beck added. “NBC would have cameras there.”
“It’s amazing,” Beck said. “And the lack of coverage should tell you everything you need to know: We are already playing presidential games. We’re already playing presidential games. Can’t we not play games?”
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Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) is looking to kick the government out of the business of celebrating love and romance.
Salmon proposed legislation Thursday that would end funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Popular Romance Project. That initiative has produced films and set up websites to study romance novels, and has spent nearly $1 million since 2010.
“When I first read about the Popular Romance Project, even I was surprised that the National Endowment for the Humanities would waste money on a project like this,” Salmon said Friday. “My question is simple: Why would we continue wasting our money on a pet project that gives nothing worthwhile to the taxpayer?”
According to the project’s website, “popular romance sells,” and the project is meant to explore “the fascinating, often contradictory origins and influences of popular romance as told in novels, films, comics, advice books, songs, and internet fan fiction, taking a global perspective — while looking back across time as far as the ancient Greeks.”
The project has produced a documentary called Love Between the Covers, which interviewed people who read or write romance novels.
It also hosts a website allowing readers to “see romance novels in a broad context across time and place.”
Salmon’s bill would terminate the program entirely. The legislation states flatly: “The National Endowment for the Humanities may not provide funds to carry out the Popular Romance Project or any similar project relating to love or romance.”
Pastor Tullian Tchividjian, senior pastor at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, believes that evangelical Christianity has been tarnished by its association with the religious right.
Tchividjian told TheBlaze that the relationship between Christianity and certain political movements and leaders has led to false impressions among nonbelievers surrounding what the faith truly represents.
“I think the impression that most non-evangelicals have is that [evangelicalism is] a political movement — it’s a culturally warring movement,” he said. “Closely associating the core message of the Christian faith with a political ideology has always been a huge mistake.”
As the grandson of famed evangelical leader Billy Graham, Tchividjian has had a firsthand look at the movement.
“My take on it having grown up in the evangelical world … the sort of rise of the religious right and its close association between the church and politics has done big-time damage to the brand of Christianity in the public sphere,” he said.
Tchividjian said that if he were to strike up a conversation with a non-believing stranger about the word “evangelical,” he believes the person would likely associate the term with social and political stances, based on overall public perception.
“As important as those things might be to discuss, that’s not the central message of what it means to be an evangelical,” he said. “Historically speaking, evangelicals were good news specialists and because we’ve become so closely aligned with political ideologies and culture warring issues, what’s been lost is the core good news message of the Christian faith.”
While Tchividjian, who also noted that the word “evangel” means “good news,” said he’s not sure what can be done to fix the perception problem, he believes pastors need to stick to their calling if they want to undo “the damage that has been done to the brand of evangelicalism” — that is, preaching the Christian gospel.
He has recommended in the past that pastors consider spending the next five years refusing to talk from the pulpit about anything other than the Bible. He said it’s not that pastors can’t have opinions, but he highlighted the importance of compartmentalizing and being careful how ideas are shared.
“I have lots of opinions … on just about anything. I basically almost refuse to make any kind of public commentary on anything other than the gospel [from the pulpit],” Tchividjian said, adding that it is a pastor’s job to “diagnose and deliver sinners, not champion a political or social agenda.”
He continued: “For the last 40 years we’ve talked more about what’s going on in our culture … than we have preaching Christ and him crucified.”
Tchividjian’s comments follow recent survey results showing that evangelical Christians are viewed positively by the majority of Americans.
But while evangelicals received an average of 61 on the Pew Research Center’s ”feeling thermometer,” reflecting a fairly positive overall view, the average number dropped to 52 when measuring how non-evangelicals view the Christian cohort.
Considering that only 30 percent of respondents had a highly favorable view of evangelicals, with 27 percent falling in the lowest range, Tchividjian expressed his concerns.
Read TheBlaze’s previous interview last year with Tchividjian in which he discussed additional problems in the faith and outlined how Christians can get their personal faith back on track.
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When Kansas City, Missouri, Police Officer Todd Templeton’s police cruiser pulled over upon seeing three kids playing basketball in a local neighborhood, he had no idea that someone with a camera would capture what he did next. But that’s exactly what happened this week.
In a time when video cameras easily highlight questionable actions by law enforcement officers, what Templeton and two of his colleagues did with the three neighborhood kids shows not all videos involving cops go viral for bad reasons.
See, Templeton and two other officers decided that they would get in on the hoops action, and decided to play a little three-on-three with the kids. Samuel Lockridge was nearby with his video camera and captured it all.
“It was very special. That’s why I felt like it was important and I felt obligated to record it,” Locklidge told KMBC-TV. “Ain’t seen too many police officers do this.”
Templeton told the outlet he wants introduce local kids to good interactions with police instead of bad ones.
“We’re doing it for the kids. We love the kids out here. We try to do our best interacting with the kids,” he told the station. “They see enough of the bad stuff that goes in the neighborhoods just like we do, and we need to get their mind off of that.”
As for the kids, one of which was 11-year-old Clark Woods, it seems Templeton’s goal is working.
“It was a nice experience for me to play with the police because I like to play basketball a lot, so it would help me get to the NBA level because I have more experience,” he said.
You can watch what Loocklidge caught on camera below:
This isn’t the first time TheBlaze has highlighted such actions by officers. A similar story about a cop stopping to play catch with a child in January garnered over 84,000 shares.
While the Obama administration has urged Israel to limit the scope of its ground operation in Gaza to only striking tunnels used by terrorists, Canada’s Conservative Party-led government has expressed unbridled support for Israel as it faces Hamas’ threats.
The contrasting approaches over the past 10 days of the Israel-Hamas conflict have been seen in a series of statements, diplomatic exchanges and tweets.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after Israel sent ground troops into Gaza Thursday to expand the Jewish state’s effort to combat the firing of Hamas and other terrorist group rockets at Israeli communities.
Kerry reaffirmed the U.S.’ “strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorist threats emanating from tunnels into Israel and expressed our view that this should be a precise operation to target tunnels, as described in a statement from the Israeli Defense Forces,” the State Department said.
Kerry also “emphasized the need to avoid further escalation” and “the importance of doing everything possible to prevent civilian casualties.”
Kerry’s words of caution stood in contrast to a stream of 10 uncompromisingly pro-Israel tweets Friday morning from Canada’s ambassador to Israel Vivian Bercovici:
Is Israel just supposed to allow relentless barrage of rocket fire v proudly initiated by #hamas to continue? No country can tolerate that
— Vivian Bercovici (@VivianBercovici) July 18, 2014
Ask #Hamas y they encourage civilians to offer themselves up as human shields while leaders r in shelters or Qatar
— Vivian Bercovici (@VivianBercovici) July 18, 2014
— Vivian Bercovici (@VivianBercovici) July 18, 2014
She also slammed self-professed human rights activists who have been hammering Israel with criticism:
— Vivian Bercovici (@VivianBercovici) July 18, 2014
— Vivian Bercovici (@VivianBercovici) July 18, 2014
Leaving no confusion as to which side she sympathizes with, Bercovici hashtagged some of her tweets #IsraelUnderAttack and #OperationProtectiveEdge, noting the Israeli military operation name.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird also tweeted support for Israel after the ground operation was announced.
— John Baird (@HonJohnBaird) July 18, 2014
In the days leading up to Thursday’s expansion of Israel’s 10-day air and sea campaign on terrorist groups, the Obama administration consistently called for “de-escalation from both sides” of the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper launched an online campaign unconditionally declaring: “Stand with Israel.”
A video titled “Through Fire and Water” released Wednesday featured Canadian leaders in Israel intercut with statements from Harper and the foreign minister strongly voicing their unequivocal support for the country.
“Canada’s government, under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, has been a leading voice defending Israel’s right to self-defense against Hamas and Islamic Jihad attacks,” the Times of Israel observed.
The Israeli news site noted that the video’s title was taken from Harper’s speech to the Knesset earlier this year in which he vowed: “Through fire and water, Canada will stand with you.”
“Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Canada’s Conservatives stand with Israel — are you with us?” read a banner posted on the Conservative Party’s website.
“There must be no moral equivalence between Hamas, a listed terrorist organization, and its blatant disregard for human life, and the liberal democratic State of Israel’s duty and obligation to defend its people from cowardly and indiscriminate attacks,” Baird said in a statement before the ground operation.
President Barack Obama has also said Israel has a right to defend itself from those launching rockets on its towns.
“As I’ve said repeatedly, Israel has a right to defend itself from rocket attacks that terrorize the Israeli people. There’s no country on earth that can be expected to live under a daily barrage of rockets,” Obama said Wednesday.
But in contrast with the Canadian government, representatives from both the White House and the State Department appeared to suggest Israel was not trying hard enough to avoid Palestinian civilian casualties.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said this week, “What we would ask the Israelis to do is to exhibit some concern for the safety and welfare of innocent civilians who are at risk of being caught in the cross-fire.”
Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, suggested Thursday that Israel was not doing enough to avoid civilian casualties.
The IDF has released footage is says shows pilots aborting bombing runs after seeing civilians near terrorist targets and has also dropped tens of thousands of leaflets warning Gaza civilians of imminent strikes.
“We are increasingly concerned about the safety and security of civilians on both sides. We continue to urge all parties to do all they can to protect civilians, and we have been heartbroken by the high civilian death toll in Gaza,” Psaki said Thursday before Israel’s ground operation.
Referring to the deaths of four Palestinian boys playing on a beach Wednesday, Psaki said, “The tragic event makes clear that Israel must take every possible step to meet its standards for protecting civilians from being killed …we will continue to underscore that point to Israel.”
Even as Israel was fighting the onslaught of more than 1,300 Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets, former President Bill Clinton in an interview with India’s NDTV Wednesday said Israel is “isolating itself” by not moving forward with the peace process.
“Over the long run it is not good for Israel to keep isolating itself from world opinion because of the absence of a viable peace process,” Clinton said before the ground operation was announced.
“But in the short to medium term, Hamas can inflict terrible public relations damage on Israel by forcing it to kill Palestinian civilians to counter Hamas,” he added.
Clinton criticized Hamas for hiding behind Palestinians civilians: “They have a strategy designed to force Israel to kill their own civilians so that the rest of the world will condemn them.”
The former president supported Israel’s right to defend itself and placed the blame on Hamas for the current round of fighting.
“It’s a miracle to me that they [Hamas] fired 1,000 rockets [at Israel] and more people weren’t killed,” he said.
An op-ed posted on the Jewish news site the Algemeiner called on Obama to follow Harper’s lead.
“[T]his past week, as hundreds of Hamas rockets rained down upon the Jewish State, and Israel really needed an ally to have its back, President Obama called Prime Minister Netanyahu to demand that Israel show ‘restraint,’” wrote Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn of Religious Zionists of America. “By pressing for ‘restraint’ and a ‘truce,’ Obama and Kerry are, in effect, trying to save Hamas from being crippled or destroyed by Israel. Is that their idea of ‘having Israel’s back?’”
“The difference between us is that we’re using missile defense to protect our civilians and they’re using their civilians to protect their missiles,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday. “So naturally, they’re responsible for all the civilian deaths that occur accidentally.”
“We’re sorry for any accidental civilian deaths, but it’s the Hamas that bears complete responsibility for such civilian causalities,” he told CBS News’s “Face the Nation.”
While glossy magazines tout having the top 10 ways to heat up things up in the bedroom, a scientific study suggests that when talking about the actual room temperature we should turn the thermostat down.
According to a new study published in the journal Diabetes, sleeping in a colder environment could increase a person’s levels of brown fat. Now, before you wonder why you would ever want to increase fat levels, brown fat actually burns energy instead of storing it. Brown fat is common in newborns, helping them maintain a high enough body temperature, but until recently it was thought adults didn’t have it. Then doctors found small amounts of brown fat in the necks and near collarbones of younger, thin adults.
Given its calorie-burning potential, as it is involved in regulating temperature in rodents and in infants, scientists wondered if there was a way to increase levels in adults. In an experiment with five male individuals who slept in a temperature-related room each night for four months, scientists found, there is a way to increase the presence of brown fat.
The study subjects slept with only light coverings in a room that for the first month was 75 degrees. The following months, the thermostat was set at 66, 75 and 81 degrees, respectively. During this time, researchers measured various factors, including blood-sugar and calories burned, and at the end of each month measured brown fat levels.
According to the New York Times, the coldest sleeping temperature resulted in nearly double the amount of brown fat. Insulin sensitivity, the Times reported, was also improved. Sleeping at the warmest test temperature resulted in lower brown fat levels than when the study began.
“These were all healthy young men to start with, but just by sleeping in a colder room, they gained metabolic advantages,” senior author Francesco Celi the Virginia Commonwealth University told the Times, noting that it could lessen their risk for diabetes and other issues over time.
The men did burn more calories during the day after sleeping at at a colder temperature, but it wasn’t signficant enough lose weight.
Front page image via Shutterstock.
Initially the police chief in the little town nestled on Lake Onalaska wouldn’t cop to the grimy act.
When Tim Kelemen was questioned by a sheriff’s investigator in May, the big badge in Campbell, Wisconsin, claimed he knew nothing about emails a local Tea Party leader was receiving from gay dating, porn and healthcare websites.
But officials had tracked some online activity to a computer in the police chief’s home — not to mention the Campbell town hall — according to the Associated Press, citing an incident report.
So Kelemen soon came clean, admitting he used a computer to sign up Greg Luce on the sites — retaliation against the Tea Party activist with whom he’d been locking horns for months in the 4,000-strong burg that sits on the border with Minnesota.
But even after prosecutors on Thursday charged Kelemen with a misdemeanor — unlawful use of a computerized communication system — noting he did so during working hours, according to the LaCrosse Tribune, a conviction for the admitted misdeed wouldn’t necessarily cost the chief his job.
Sure, he might have to fork over up to $1,000 in fines and could spend up to 90 days behind bars after the final gavel comes down, but Kelemen could still stay on the force, according to the AP. Why?
Only those with felony convictions or misdemeanor convictions related to domestic violence are precluded from holding jobs as police officers, the AP reported, citing the state Department of Justice.
Still the town board on June 12 placed Kelemen on paid leave after hearing from community members that the chief had lost credibility, the Tribune noted, adding that an internal investigation is underway.
The Tribune explained that since the town lacks a police and fire commission, state law permits the town board to appoint a panel of outside representatives to consider discipline against the chief, depending on the investigation’s outcome.
Kelemen will plead no contest to the misdemeanor at a later date and enter into a diversion agreement to avoid a conviction, his attorney Jim Birnbaum told the Tribune. The charge will be dismissed in two years if Kelemen avoids new crimes, continues counseling and completes 40 hours of community service.
“This is a very quick, easy solution to achieve the result that’s excellent,” Birnbaum told the Tribune.
Monroe District Attorney Kevin Croninger spoke with The Associated Press Thursday morning before he filed the charge and said he didn’t choose identity theft or misconduct in office as charges because he didn’t feel comfortable he could prove them beyond a reasonable doubt. Croninger also said he felt Kelemen wasn’t acting in his official capacity when he signed Luce up for the sites.
“There’s not really any factual dispute about what took place. It’s just how those facts fit the statutes,” Croninger said. “This is more of a harassing situation than to harm someone’s reputation. That is the distinction I see.”
Things heated up last fall in Campbell, which is about 150 miles northwest of Madison, between Kelemen and the La Crosse Tea Party when the group used a pedestrian overpass across Interstate 90 for protests, the AP noted.
Kelemen deemed the protests a distraction to drivers and in October persuaded the town board to pass an ordinance banning signs, banners and flags on the bridge.
Luce and another Tea Party member argued that the ordinance violated their rights, so they filed a federal lawsuit, the Tribune reported. But both Kelemen and Birnbaum have charged that Luce also urged supporters across the country to bombard Campbell’s five-officer police department with harassing phone calls and threats.
Kelemen insisted he felt helpless because he received no assistance beyond an offer to bolster the department’s computer firewalls, the AP said.
Then in January and March, Kelemen used Luce’s name, address, phone number and email address to create accounts on the gay dating, porn, and healthcare websites, according to police reports. Luce’s amended lawsuit accuses Kelemen of violating his right to petition without retaliation, invasion of privacy and civil identity theft, the Tribune noted.
“It is unfortunate that Chief Kelemen exercised such poor decision making,” Luce’s attorney, Erin Mersino, told the Tribune. “The victim in the case is pursuing justice and protection of his constitutional rights through a civil case as well.”
Circuit Judge Dale Pasell on Thursday set a $1,000 signature bond for Kelemen with a condition that prohibits him from contacting Luce.
Birnbaum received exceptions to the no-contact order, including lawful contact if Kelemen is working as chief, if the chief wants to report Luce for intimidation or harassment, and if Kelemen files a harassment injunction to protect his family “if that is necessary,” the Tribune added.
Here’s a YouTube clip from last December of protesters on the bridge — and an officer instructing one that he’s violating the town’s new ordinance:
This story has been updated.
A video making the rounds Friday shows Elizabeth Warren being confronted by someone asking her thoughts on Israel and it’s ground invasion of Gaza. Her response? A raised hand, a shake of the head and a beeline down the hall.
“Senator, as you know, Israel invaded Gaza today and we just wanted to get your thoughts on that,” Capitol City Project’s Joe Schoffstall is heard saying in the video:
To be fair, the senator could have been in a rush and unprepared for the question. That said, it’s not that odd to expect a major public figure to comment on world affairs, if only briefly. And some have noted this is common practice for her.
The possible 2016 presidential contender was attending the liberal Netroots Nation conference.
Eight U.S. state constitutions still explicitly bar atheists from holding public office. While their inclusion in the documents may be surprising, these bans on non-theists have not been actively enforced for decades.
The states in question are: Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas.
Each, to varying degrees, have constitutional texts that proclaim that nonbelievers are simply not welcome in the political sphere.
Consider the Arkansas constitution, which was adopted in 1874 and reads, in part, “No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any Court.”
And the Mississippi constitution, adopted in 1890, has similar language: “No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this State.”
The Tennessee constitution, though, offers up a twist concerning this paradigm. Not only does it mention atheists and those who deny “a future state of rewards and punishment” as being ineligible for elected office, but it also bans pastors and ministers.
“Whereas ministers of the Gospel are by their profession, dedicated to God and the care of souls, and ought not to be diverted from the great duties of their functions; therefore, no minister of the Gospel, or priest of any denomination whatever, shall be eligible to a seat in either House of the Legislature,” it reads. “No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishment, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state.”
But, again, while these bans are on the books, they stopped being enforced after the Torcaso v. Watkins Supreme Court battle in 1961, as the Washington Post reported.
The case centered on atheist Roy Torcaso, who was denied an appointment to be notary public due to his non-belief. After he sued, the Supreme Court ruled that a religious test violated his religious freedom, effectively rendering bans on atheists serving in public office unconstitutional.
You can read more about the debate and all eight constitutional bans here.
Front page image via Shutterstock.com
Ancient footprints said to belong to a human man, woman and child in a Romanian cave discovered in the 1960s might be thousands of years older than originally thought, according to a new study.
Dr. David Webb, an anthropologist at Kutztown University, and the other study authors believe, based on new dating, that the footprints are not 10,000 to 15,000 years old as previously thought, but could be up to 36,500 years old.
— Science News (@ScienceNewsOrg) July 17, 2014
When the prints in the Carpathian Mountain cave were initially discovered in 1965, there were more than 400 human footprints. Since that time though, much of the human evidence and that of the cave bear, a species now said to be extinct, were destroyed. Researchers returned to Ciur-Izbuc Cave in 2012 to analyze footprints that were left — only 25 percent originally described remain, according to the study.
In addition to more recent radiocarbon dating of the cave bear bones that suggest the footprints in the cave are older than originally thought, other long-held theories about the prints might be debunked as well, including that only three individuals created them.
“It is impossible to confirm some of the original conclusions. The footprints do not cluster about three different sizes, and the number of individuals is estimated to be six or seven,” the study authors wrote. “Two cases of bears apparently overprinting humans help establish antiquity, and C-14 dates suggest a much greater age than originally thought.
“Unfortunately, insufficient footprints remain to measure movement variables such as stride length. However, detailed three-dimensional mapping of the footprints does allow a more precise description of human movements within the cave,” they said in the study published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.
In a poster presentation this team made of the same findings last year before publication, they suggested that scientists conduct “the most thorough scientific analysis possible at the outset, especially where land usage rights do not permit restricted access to them” in case destruction later makes the original find more difficult to analyze, as it did in this cave.
Science News pointed to other recent research that dated another a human footprint as 120,000 years old (though this has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal) and others of human ancestors dated at nearly 1 million years old.
Front page image via Shutterstock.
At least one American was killed on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that went down over eastern Ukraine, President Barack Obama confirmed Friday.
Obama said that while the exact circumstances are still being determined, the evidence so far indicates that the passenger plane carrying nearly 300 people was shot down by a surface-to-air missile in a pro-Russia separatist stronghold, likely with Russian support.
“A group of separatists can’t shoot down military transport planes, or they claim shoot down fighter jets, without sophisticated equipment and sophisticated training. and that is coming from Russia,” Obama said.
He called for an immediate cease-fire so that a full “credible international” investigation can begin into the “global tragedy.”
“Obviously, we’re beginning to draw some conclusions given the nature of the shot that was fired,” Obama said. “There are only certain types of anti-aircraft missiles that can reach up 30,000 feet and shoot down a passenger jet.”
He said that the United States does not have a definitive judgment yet, but has increased confidence the missile came from the area controlled by separatists. He added Russia must take some responsibility for that.
“What we do know is that the violence that’s taken place there is facilitated in part, in large part, because of Russian support,” Obama said.
Obama said U.S. officials have been combing through flight records and have identified one person who was definitively either a U.S. citizen or a dual citizen. He identified the passenger as Quinn Lucas Schansman.
Obama said he couldn’t say with “absolute certainty” that there were no additional Americans on board.
“That does nothing to lessen our outrage about all the families, regardless of nationality,” Obama said.
Malaysia Airlines has identified 189 passengers as being from the Netherlands, 44 from Malaysia, 27 from Australia, and other passengers from Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, the Philippines, Canada and New Zealand.
About 100 passengers were AIDS researchers traveling to a conference in Australia.
“They dedicated their lives to saving the lives of others and they were taken from us in a senseless act of violence,” Obama said.
Obama spoke by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday as the first reports about the downed plane began to emerge. Obama and Putin were discussing the latest round of economic sanctions against Russian transactions for Russia’s backing of the separatists in Ukraine.
Obama took considerable criticism for attending two Democratic fundraisers in New York after the crash, after also continuing with an event in Delaware to tout his infrastructure plan.
Madeleine Morgenstern contributed to this report.
This post has been updated.
A London-based correspondent for Russia Today resigned Friday over what she called the Kremlin-funded network’s “total disregard” of the facts surrounding Thursday’s Malaysia Airlines crash, saying RT is “spreading lies” for Vladimir Putin.
Sara Firth said in her resignation announcement that while she has respect for “many on the team,” she’s “for the truth.”
Firth told BuzzFeed she believed RT was “disrespectfully” trying to blame the crash on the Ukrainian government.
“When this story broke I ran back into the newsroom and saw how we were covering it already and I just knew I had to go,” she said. “It was the total disregard to the facts. We threw up eyewitness accounts from someone on the ground openly accusing the Ukrainian government (of involvement in the disaster) and a correspondent in the studio pulled up a plane crash before that the Ukrainian government had been involved in and said it was ‘worth mentioning’.”
“It’s not worth mentioning. It’s RT all over, it’s flirting with that border of overtly lying. You’re not telling a lie, you’re just bringing something up. I didn’t want to watch a story like that where people have lost loved ones and we’re handling it like that,” she said. “I couldn’t do it any more, we’re lying every single day. Every single day we’re lying and finding sexier ways to do it.”
She added a quip on Twitter referring to RT’s “style guide”:
Firth’s resignation came about two hours after she said on Twitter that RT anchors “do work for Putin” and spread “lies” in a conversation with RT London correspondent Polly Boiko, the Huffington Post noted. Firth alleged that the network asks its anchors to “obscure the truth.”
RT made similar headlines in March when anchor Liz Wahl resigned live on air, saying she could not “be part of a network that is funded by the Russian government that whitewashes the actions of (Vladimir) Putin.”
Firth said inexperienced RT staffers would be assigned to important stories so they wouldn’t veer away from the company line.
“The way it works with a story like this is first of all the people who are assigned are the very obedient. The second you start to question or report honestly then you’re a problem,” she told BuzzFeed. “The first thing that happens is they assign the usually least experienced in RT, the second is everyone else who’s involved [starts] phoning guests that have a particular viewpoint and are going to say a particular thing.”
More from BuzzFeed:
She insists she never lied in any of her reports but became concerned about the airtime given to her journalism and was concerned her reports were “lending credibility” to the channel’s other output. She alleges she was pulled out of Syria by channel bosses the day after filing a report highlighting the suffering of civilians in areas opposed to the Assad regime, which is backed by President Putin.
Firth said she had immense respect for her “talented” colleagues and said the vast majority of journalists at the channel were working hard to tell the truth but the management “ignore that and push the rubbish.”
“It’s great team, so talented. But at the heart of that organisation it’s rotten. Until they have people operating at the top level who want to tell the truth and tell the facts then it’s not going to change.”
Russia Today spokeswoman Anna Belkina said in a statement to TheBlaze that Firth had “recently informed us that she was likely to take an offer from another firm.”
“The plane crash is an absolutely terrible tragedy, there are a lot of questions that surround it and everybody is looking for answers. More than 15 RT journalists are working on this story – from Moscow, from the Russian-Ukrainian border, London, Berlin, Washington. RT Spanish journalist Francisco Guaita was one of the first TV correspondents to get to the scene late last night. Our reporters are in the Netherlands and Malaysia. Sara was never involved in reporting on this event,” Belkina said.
“Sara has declared that she chooses the truth; apparently we have different definitions of truth,” she continued. “We believe that truth is what our reporters see on the ground, with their own eyes, and not what’s printed in the morning London newspaper. In our coverage, RT, unlike the rest of the media, did not draw conclusions before the official investigation has even begun. We show all sides of the story, even if everyone else has already decided which side is to blame.”
Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson ordered a “rigorous” investigation into how a hospital in New Mexico handled the collapse and death of a veteran in its cafeteria. What Gibson concluded is that the VA followed the appropriate procedures.
Jim Garcia, a 71-year-old veteran of the Vietnam War, had a heart attack in the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center’s cafeteria on June 30. He lay on the floor while 911 calls were made for an ambulance to take him to an emergency room that was 500 yards away.
Bystanders, some of whom were part of an Air Force medical group, gave Garcia CPR and paramedics arrived 11 minutes later.
Garcia’s death renewed outrage against the VA from those who say vets around the country face long wait times and die waiting to see a doctor.
“We called our rapid response here at the hospital but unfortunately they won’t respond to him because he’s out of the main medical building,” one caller to 911 said of Garcia’s situation last month.
“Paramedics are already on their way out there,” the dispatcher told her.
“There’s a table of doctors sitting right next to him and none of them are doing s**t,” the woman said.
“The fundamental question I ask myself is, ‘Did we do everything we reasonably could do in difficult circumstances to save this veteran’s life?’” Gibson said Thursday, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
After reviewing what went on, Gibson said that it might seem “counterintuitive” to call an ambulance to help someone already on a medical campus, but he noted there are “very good reasons” in place why this happens.
The Journal has more the procedure:
A 4-year-old local VA policy establishes certain areas of the 100-acre VA campus in Southeast Albuquerque in which a VA “Code Blue Team” is to respond to emergencies.
The cafeteria lies about 500 yards from the medical center, where there is an emergency room, but the cafeteria isn’t included in the response area.
Locations outside the designated code blue areas are to be served by Albuquerque paramedics.
Gibson’s statement about the situation echoes what VA spokeswoman Sonja Brown said about the procedure last week after 911 calls were released.
“Regardless of who was sitting at nearby tables, VA staff along with Kirtland AFB personnel immediately responded in providing basic life support to this veteran. The staff were heroic in their attempts to save the life of this veteran,” Brown said.
Dr. Tom Lynch, assistant deputy undersecretary for health for clinical operations, said Thursday alongside Gibson in New Mexico that the VA plans to learn from this experience and see what they can do to “deliver better care to veterans in the future,” the Journal reported.
In addition to improving policies that could save lives, Gibson said that the VA, in this situation, could have done more to be transparent.
“I think we have sort of a reflex action that when something bad happens we sort of close up,” he said.
Watch KOAT-TV’s report about the acting secretary’s comments Thursday:
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations blamed Russia for creating unstable conditions that allowed an advanced missile to take down a Malaysian passenger plane over Ukraine, and possibly for providing the technical expertise needed to fire the missile to Russian separatists.
“The context for yesterday’s horror is clear,” U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said at a UN Security Council meeting Friday morning. “Separatist forces backed by the Russian government continue to destabilize Ukraine, and undermine the efforts of Ukraine’s elected leaders to build a democratic Ukraine that is stable, unified, secure, and able to determine its own future.”
Power called out Russian President Vladimir Putin in particular for continuing to send troops and materiel to Ukraine and neighboring areas, despite Putin’s pledge to seek peace in the region.
“Russia says that it seeks peace in Ukraine, but we have repeatedly provided this council with evidence of Russia’s continued support to the separatists,” she said. “Time after time, President Putin has committed to work toward dialogue and peace — in Geneva in April, in Normandy in June, and in Berlin earlier this month — and every single time, he has broken that commitment.
“Most Council members and most members of the international community have been warning for months about the devastation would come if Russia did not stop what it started, if it did not rein in what it unleashed.”
Power said that while information is still being gathered about the missile that took down Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, she said the U.S. cannot rule out that Russia provided a heavy-duty surface-to-air missile system to Russian-backed separatists.
“Because of the technical complexity of the SA-11, it is unlikely that the separatists could effectively operate the system without assistance from knowledgeable personnel,” she said. “Thus, we cannot rule out technical assistance from Russian personnel in operating the systems.”
She also said Russian separatists have show down other planes and helicopters over the last several weeks, and said the shooting down of the Malaysian passenger plan “follows a pattern.”
“If indeed Russian-backed separatists were behind this attack on a civilian airliner, they and their backers would have good reason to cover up evidence of their crime,” she said.
Power said Russia’s failure to help control the situation in Ukraine is what has led the U.S. and other countries to impose sanctions against Russia. But at the same time, she called on Russia to help the international community secure the area so a full investigation of the downed plane can take place.
Among other things, Power said a full cease-fire is needed to allow investigators to examine the remains of the plane. “Russia needs to help make this happen,” she said.
“This war can be ended. Russia can end this war. Russia must end this war.”
Move over Duggars. There’s yet another American family with 19 children capturing both headlines and intrigue. Meet the Bates, a family in Knoxville, Tennessee, that jokingly describes its hectic home as sometimes resembling “a 3-ring circus.”
Gil and Kelly Bates are evangelical Christians who don’t use birth control, believing that God is fully in control of the family’s size and scope. All of their 19 children — 10 girls and nine boys — were, in fact, conceived biologically, according to Charisma News.
“God has blessed us with 19 children. We’re not a perfect family! We have the same struggles that other families have, only multiplied!,” the Bates proclaim on their official website. “But in spite of extra laundry, extra chores, extra diapers, and extra noise; we have an extra measure of laughter, an endless supply of fellowship, and an added dose of faith to get us through it all!”
Their oldest son, Zach, is 25 and their youngest Jeb is 2. The other 17 children are: Michael, Erin, Lawson, Nathan, Alyssa, Tori, Trace, Carlin, Josie, Katie, Jackson, Warden, Isaiah, Addaliee, Ellie, Callie, Judson.
A full profile on each family member, including Johnny and Kitty, the family pets, is available here.
Gil, a preacher who also runs a tree-cutting business, supports the frugal family. And while Kelly, 47, has said that she’s still open to having additional children if that’s what God wants, she recognizes that the clock is ticking.
Some will certainly wonder why the family has chosen to have so many kids — a question they tackle in-depth on their website, explaining that they didn’t want to limit their faith in God.
“The more we studied and prayed, the more God began to move on our hearts that children really are a blessing. And knowing that, we agreed, why should we tell God to limit our blessings?,” Gil and Kelly Bates write. “If those blessings came in the form of money, we’d all say, ‘Fill the pot!’ So we asked God to give as He saw fit and with each child, He has given us an extra measure of grace . . . to cope, to love, and to enjoy!”
A recent “Good Morning America” report highlighted the family’s uncommon size and experience, focusing on the wedding of daughter Alyssa, 19, who married John Webster, son of Florida congressman Daniel Webster, back in May.
According to the report, Alyssa, the third child to marry among the 19, was subject to the family’s strict rules while dating Webster. During their year-long engagement the two were never alone together and they had barely any physical contact before their union.
Also, anyone who plans to marry a Bates child must share in the family’s strong Christian values, including Webster.
Much like the family’s size, Alyssa’s wedding guest list was massive, with 600 people being invited to witness the nuptials. And among them: the Duggars, stars of TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting,” who are friends with the Bates.
But unlike their famed reality star friends, the Bates don’t have a TV show. In fact, they don’t even own a TV set. That said, they’ve developed a massive following online, according to “Good Morning America.” Find out more about the family here.
(H/T: Charisma News)
CNN has removed one of its reporters covering the Israel-Hamas conflict after she tweeted that Israelis cheering missile strikes in Gaza and whom she said threatened her were “scum,” the Huffington Post reported.
Diana Magnay reported live Thursday night as Israel commenced its ground operation in Gaza while around her, a group of Israelis cheered the missile strikes in the background. She tweeted afterward, ”Israelis on hill above Sderot cheer as bombs land on #gaza; threaten to ‘destroy our car if I say a word wrong’. Scum,” later deleting it.
“After being threatened and harassed before and during a liveshot, Diana reacted angrily on Twitter,” a CNN spokeswoman told the Huffington Post in a statement.
“She deeply regrets the language used, which was aimed directly at those who had been targeting our crew,” the spokeswoman said. “She certainly meant no offense to anyone beyond that group, and she and CNN apologize for any offense that may have been taken.”
Magnay has been reassigned to Moscow, the spokeswoman said.
“I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.”
That’s what Eric Garner struggled to say as one New York Police Department officer held him by the neck from behind while others found the hands of the 43-year-old father of six, cuffing them behind his back.
“I didn’t do nothing,” Garner initially argued with a plain clothes officer on Staten Island Thursday afternoon.
“I didn’t sell anything,” he added a moment later.
The New York Daily News reported that the police said Garner has a history of selling untaxed cigarettes and has been arrested for doing so before. The New York Post reported that Garner had 30 arrests on his record for selling the cigarettes illegally. This is what police said they saw Garner doing Thursday, sparking the altercation.
“I’m tired of it. Every time you see me you want to mess with me. This stops today,” Garner said. ”Everybody standing there will tell you that I didn’t do nothing. I didn’t sell nothing. …I’m minding my business, officer. I’m minding my business. Please just leave me alone.”
In that moment, one of the plain clothes officers engaging with Garner put his hands on him. Garner struggled and almost half a dozen other officers quickly descended upon him, bringing him down to the ground, one holding him in a chokehold and later pressing his face into the pavement.
“Once again, police beating up on people,” Ramsey Orta, who filmed video of the incident and provided it to the Daily News, said. “All he did was break up a fight. And this is what happens for breaking up a fight. This s*** is crazy.”
It was difficult to see what else happened to Garner later in the footage with several police officers standing around him and others demanding that Orta back up.
Watch the video of the incident:
“They jumped him and they were choking him. He was foaming at the mouth,” Orta told the Daily News. “And that’s it, he was done. The cops were saying, ‘No, he’s OK, he’s OK.’ He wasn’t OK.”
Garner could be heard telling police he couldn’t breathe at least eight times.
The NYPD would only tell the Daily News that Garner was “placed in custody, went into cardiac arrest and died” at the hospital where he was transported.
Garner’s wife, Esaw, isn’t buying it though.
“They’re covering their asses. He was breaking up a fight,” Esaw Garner told the Daily News. “They harassed and harassed my husband until they killed him.”
A man who only wanted to go on the record with the Daily News with his first name, Douglas, described Garner as an “intimidating” man because of his size but said he was really “just a big teddy bear.”
“He’s the nicest guy. I can’t believe what I saw. That’s no way to do an arrest,” Douglas told the newspaper.
The site Photography Is Not a Crime, which advocates for the legal right to film officers performing public duties, said “the video speaks for itself. He was killed by the NYPD.”
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki came under criticism from Fox’s Shepard Smith on Thursday afternoon for the way she started her daily press briefing, and now she’s under fire for a tweet she sent out Thursday night.
The tweet in question? At the end of a day filled with major world events including the attack on a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet and a ground invasion of Gaza, Psaki sent out a message touting a former colleague’s op-ed in the Washington Post defending women’s magazines and their mix of serious and fun articles. The title of the article is, “Being informed and fashionable is natural for women.”
A quick look at Psaki’s Twitter account Friday morning shows she sent one tweet about the Malaysian Airlines crash on Thursday. She sent no messages regarding Israel’s ground invasion of Gaza.
Critics noticed. The responses to her tweet were passionate:
By the time of publication on Friday morning, Psaki sent out one more tweet, but it was about John Kerry’s trip to Afghanistan last weekend.
(H/T: Weasel Zippers)
Foreign policy expert Joshua Muravchik believes that American liberals — once among the strongest supporters of Israel — began opposing the Jewish state when they started viewing modern political struggles as being rooted in battles between racial and ethnic groups.
Muravchik, a fellow at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, told the Christian Post that this worldview now dominates liberals’ ideology, replacing the class-based and poverty focus that was once predominantly seen as the culprit.
“Leftists/liberals/progressives believe that the great moral drama of our era is ‘the rest against the West’ or the ‘people of color’ against the ‘white man,’” he told the Post. “This has replaced poor-against-rich or worker-against-capitalist as the core idea of progressive thought.”
According to Muravchik, this ideology leads many on the left to see Israel as being on the “Western” and “white” side of the battle, with the Palestinians being seen as the “people of color” who are under assault.
He addressed these themes in a Washington Post interview this week as well, claiming that American liberals were impacted by the global left’s turn against Israel.
“This began with the recognition by the Arabs that their legacy of affiliation with Axis in World War Two was a political liability; and so Fatah, under the leadership of Arafat who had been mentored by the Nazi-collaborator Amin al-Husseini, exchanged that legacy for a new revolutionary anti-colonial identity that they absorbed by apprenticing themselves to the Algerian FLN and the Vietnamese Communists,” Muravchik explained. “Also, in the latter half of the 20th-century the old leftist paradigm of class struggle was superseded by national/ethnic struggle.”
In contrast, he said American conservatives see the situation quite differently.
“On the other side, conservatives value Israel as a free country, a democracy, and an ally of the United States,” Muravchik added.
Despite these shifts, the foreign affairs expert doesn’t see the U.S. government’s support for Israel slipping away any time soon, as he noted that polls show the American public is strongly supportive of the Middle Eastern nation.
“President Obama has been cooler toward Israel that any other president in recent memory, saying in his first year that he wanted to ‘put daylight’ between the U.S. and Israel, and he has done that, but still he has not changed U.S. policy radically,” he told the Post.
Consider a 2013 Gallup poll that found that 78 percent of Republicans hold a favorable view of Israel compared to 60 percent of Democrats. While there’s clearly a disparity, majorities of both party adherents hold favorable views of the country.
Muravchik’s comments come as Israel is in an ongoing battle with Hamas.
Read the rest of the Post’s interview with Muravchik, who recently released his new book “Making David into Goliath: How the World Turned Against Israel,” here.
(H/T: Christian Post)
Front page image via Shutterstock.com
SYDNEY (AP) — In an almost incomprehensible twist of fate, an Australian woman who lost her brother in the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 learned on Friday that her stepdaughter was on the plane shot down over Ukraine.
Kaylene Mann’s brother Rod Burrows and sister-in-law Mary Burrows were on board Flight 370 when it vanished in March. On Friday, Mann found out that her stepdaughter, Maree Rizk, was killed along with 297 others on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which U.S. intelligence authorities believe was shot down by a surface-to-air missile.
“It’s just brought everyone, everything back,” said Greg Burrows, Mann’s brother. “It’s just … ripped our guts again.”
Burrows said his family was struggling to understand how they could be struck by such horrible luck on two separate occasions with the same airline.
“She just lost a brother and now a stepdaughter, so…” he said of his sister, his voice trailing off.
Rizk and her husband Albert, of Melbourne, were returning home from a four-week holiday in Europe, said Phil Lithgow, president of the Sunbury Football Club, with which the family was heavily involved. Albert, a real estate agent, was a member of the club’s committee, Maree was a volunteer in the canteen and their son, James, plays on the club’s team.
“They were very lovely people,” Lithgow said. “You wouldn’t hear a bad word about them – very generous with their time in the community, very community-minded, and just really very entertaining people to be with.”
The club members planned to wear black armbands and observe a minute of silence to honor the Rizks at their game on Saturday, Lithgow said.
Despite the twin tragedies, Burrows said he holds nothing against Malaysia Airlines.
“Nobody could predict they were going to get shot down,” he said. “That was out of their hands.”