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  • Off-Duty Texas Police Chief Shot in Head While Working Security at Nightclub
    Posted November 2, 2015 at 3:37 pm by Jon Street

    Comments (64)

    A Texas police chief is in critical condition after being shot in the head while working security at a nightclub early Sunday.

    Marlin Police Chief Darrell Allen was in uniform but off-duty while working at Laid Back Lounge II in Temple, across the street from the police station. Allen was shot after getting into an alteration with a suspect he was trying to detain, NBC News reported.

    The suspect, 24-year-old Derrick Wayne Gamble, was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Gamble is being held at Bell County Jail on $750,000 bond.

    Derrick Wayne Gamble (Image source: Bell County Jail)

    Derrick Wayne Gamble (Bell County Jail)

    It was not immediately clear why Gamble and Allen got into the altercation.

    Allen has been a law enforcement officer since 1994 and has served as police chief in Marlin since 2009.

    The Thrall Police Department, a town located about 70 miles away from Marlin, posted a message to its Facebook page asking others to keep Allen in their prayers.

    Marlin Police Chief Darrell Allen is in critical condition after he was shot in the head while working an off-duty security job at a bar in Temple. Lets keep him in your prayers folks.

    Posted by Thrall Police Department on Sunday, November 1, 2015

    More from NBC News here:

    (H/T: NBC News)

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  • Legal Experts: ‘Utterly Irresponsible’ Not to Conduct IRS Impeachment Probe
    Posted November 2, 2015 at 3:31 pm by Fred Lucas

    Comments (54)

    While bringing impeachment charges against Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen could seem an audacious move, some constitutional law experts believe it’s the only responsible step for members of Congress to take.

    “Impeachment is a remedy to deal with grave offense in the abuse of office — whether or not someone committed private wrongs that warrant being put in jail,” Andrew McCarthy, former chief assistant U.S. attorney in New York, told TheBlaze. “If there have been abuses of power committed by public officials, it would be irresponsible to leave them there.”

    IRS Commissioner John Koskinen is sworn in before testifying before a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill April 15, 2015 in Washington, DC. On the sixtieth anniversary of the Internal Revenue Services April 15th deadline the committee is hearing testimony on the IRSs challenges in implementing the Affordable Care Act. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

    IRS Commissioner John Koskinen is sworn in before testifying before a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill April 15, 2015, in Washington, D.C. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

    McCarthy, best known for leading the prosecutions of the culprits in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, is the author of “Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.” The book, in part, argued against impeaching a president without having the public and a bipartisan majority in Congress behind it — the mistake behind the failure of the 1998 impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

    However, McCarthy said that does not apply to an unelected federal official.

    “Political concerns are much more heightened when you were talking about a president elected twice by the American people. If you can’t go forward with a political case to the American people and a case to pressure the opposition party, it’s not worthwhile,” Mccarthy said.

    “With the IRS on the other hand, this was not an elected official, and the IRS is the most unpopular government bureaucracy even in the best of times — and it’s certainly not the best of times,” McCarthy continued. “For the Republicans, this politically tees up well. Democrats in the Senate might put pressure on him to resign if they don’t want a trial and be put in the political position of defending the IRS.”

    Koskinen took the post to lead the IRS in 2013 to clean up the mess left behind from scandal that saw the IRS apparently targeting conservative groups. However, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee say he was not honest with investigators and failed to comply with congressional subpoenas.

    House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and 18 other Republican members of the committee signed onto an impeachment resolution that was referred to the House Judiciary Committee just four days after the Obama Justice Department announced there would be no prosecutions against Lois Lerner or other figures in the Tea Party targeting scandal.

    “Impeachment is one of the few checks the legislature has on executive power. High crimes and misdemeanors don’t have to be felonies,” John Eastman, a law professor and director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence at Chapman University. “When a public official won’t comply with the law, it is the only option left. If Congress doesn’t conduct proper oversight, they are part of the problem.”

    McCarthy agreed.

    “The concept of high crimes and misdemeanors doesn’t mean felonies but is based on English law of what’s expected of those with a public trust and is similar to concepts of military justice regarding offenses such as dereliction of duty or conduct unbecoming,” he said.

    Specifically, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee members cited the following offenses as impeachable:

    • Failed to comply with a subpoena resulting in destruction of key evidence. Commissioner Koskinen failed to locate and preserve IRS records in accordance with a congressional subpoena and an internal preservation order. The IRS erased 422 backup tapes containing as many as 24,000 of Lois Lerner’s emails — key pieces of evidence that were destroyed on Koskinen’s watch.

    • Failed to testify truthfully and provided false and misleading information. Commissioner Koskinen testified the IRS turned over all emails relevant to the congressional investigation, including all of Ms. Lerner’s emails. When the agency determined Ms. Lerner’s emails were missing, Commissioner Koskinen testified the emails were unrecoverable. These statements were false.

    • Failed to notify Congress that key evidence was missing. The IRS knew Lois Lerner’s emails were missing in February 2014. In fact, they were not missing; the IRS destroyed the emails on March 4, 2014. The IRS did not notify Congress the emails were missing until June 2014 — four months later, and well after the White House and the Treasury Department were notified.

    Though Koskinen was not involved in the targeting scandal itself, his actions likely prevented the truth from surfacing, said David Rivkin, who formerly served as a deputy director in the Reagan Justice Department and as a legal adviser in White House Counsel’s office

    “He didn’t cause this, but just as prosecutors bring a case to send a message, this could be done to make a point,” Rivkin, now a partner at the Washington law firm Baker Hostetler LLP., told TheBlaze. “There is a broader narrative in the context of how this administration has violated separation of powers.”

    Rivkin said that the purpose of impeachment is not to punish — or even fire — a public official. Rather, it’s to protect the public trust.

    “If Congress does nothing, it is de facto approval,” Rivkin said. “It would be utterly iresponsible and utterly dangerous to civil liberties and the balance of powers for the House to do nothing.”

    The House has impeached two presidents: Clinton and Andrew Johnson — both acquitted in the Senate. The House also impeached one Supreme Court justice, Samuel Chase, also acquitted in the Senate. Numerous federal judges have been impeached, some removed by the Senate.

    However, it’s rare that lower level executive branch officials have faced impeachment. Perhaps the closest parallel to Koskinen would be the Grant administration’s Secretary of War William Belknap, impeached for alleged kickbacks in 1876. Though he resigned the day the House was scheduled to vote, the House proceeded to bring the impeachment charges anyway. The Senate, unsure if it had the authority to try a private citizen, acquitted him.

    Based on impeachment history and tradition, experts agreed that holding federal officials accountable doesn’t require a crime in the conventional sense.

    “A democratic body is political and being political does not taint a process,” Rifkin said. “The question comes if a process is unduly political or bereft of merit.”

  • Alleged Drunk-Driving Suspect Takes Mugshot Wearing Theatrical Makeup
    Posted November 2, 2015 at 2:58 pm by Jon Street

    Comments (29)

    An man accused of being impaired when he struck and killed a pedestrian with his car was wearing theatrical makeup resembling blood in his mugshot.

    Image source: KOIN-TV

    Image source: KOIN-TV

    Matthew Tyler Freeman, 21, was booked at Multnomah County Jail in Portland, Oregon, early Sunday after police say his vehicle struck another car and a pedestrian. The pedestrian, 27-year-old Nicholas Glenn Horsey, was found dead at the scene, the Portland Tribune reported.

    Police say Horsey was lying in the intersection where the crash occurred. Horsey was initially believed to have been a passenger in the car that was struck.

    Cops found the driver of the second vehicle inside the car. The condition of that victim was not immediately clear.

    Police said Freeman was traveling at a high rate of speed and that he exhibited signs of impairment.

    Freeman was arrested and charged with criminally negligent homicide, second-degree manslaughter, DUI, reckless driving and reckless endangerment.

    The makeup could have been part of Freeman’s costume as the incident happened just hours after Halloween.

    (H/T: KOIN-TV)

    Follow Jon Street (@JonStreet) on Twitter

  • Mayors Unequivocally Deny ‘Anonymous’ Reports That They Are KKK Members: ‘I Don’t Think the KKK Would Want Anything to Do With Me’
    Posted November 2, 2015 at 2:52 pm by Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Comments (126)

    On Monday, the online hacking group Anonymous began to release the names of 1,000 people and elected officials who are allegedly members of the Ku Klux Klan — but already several mayors have denied the accusations.

    Both Democrats and Republicans were among those the group accused of being members of the controversial KKK.

    Anonymous

    Mayor Madeline Rogero (D) of Knoxville, Tennessee, matter-of-factly denied the claim that she was involved with the group in a lengthy Facebook post Monday afternoon and demanded a retraction of “irresponsible and slanderous” Anonymous posting.

    “Given my background, my interracial family, my public record and my personal beliefs, this would be hilarious except that it is probably being seen by a lot of people who have no idea who I am,” Rogero wrote on her public Facebook page.

    “I began my political career working for the rights of farm workers with Cesar Chavez. I have spent decades working for causes of social justice and equality. As Mayor, I have pushed for diversity in our workforce and outreach to and inclusion of people of all backgrounds in our community,” she continued. “In concert with President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper program, I began the Save Our Sons initiative to increase opportunities and reduce violence-related deaths among boys and young men of color. I have advocated publicly for LGBT civil rights, and I was the only mayor in Tennessee to sign onto the mayors’ amicus brief for the plaintiffs in the Supreme Court’s marriage equality case. In short, I don’t think the KKK would want anything to do with me.”

    Democratic Mayor Paul Fraim of Norfolk, Virginia, also denied the claims in a Facebook post and unequivocally called the accusations “a hoax and absolutely false.”

    Mayor Jim Gray (D) of Lexington, Kentucky, denied the accusation that he was a member of the KKK in a series of tweets Monday morning.

    WKMG-TV reporter Erik Sandoval said on Twitter that Ocala, Florida, Mayor Kent Guinn (R) also denied the charges by Anonymous and said the police are investigating.

    The group also accused North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis (R), Texas Sen. John Cornyn (R), Georgia Sen. John Isakson (R) and Indiana Sen. Dan Coats (R) of being members of the KKK.

    Coats denied the allegations on Monday in his own series of tweets.

    In a press release from a group claiming to be associated with Anonymous, the group said they do not plan to “oppress” or strip away any constitutional rights from the KKK; instead, the press release said the hacking group simply plans, somewhat ironically, to strip the group of their anonymity.

    The press release also announced that the “hacktivist” group plans to kick off a social media campaign against the KKK on Nov. 4 called “Hoods Off.”

    According to Raw Story, Twitter user Amped Attacks has taken credit for the list of supposed KKK members. The user said it took nine days to gather all of the information.

    “I got the information from several KKK websites when I [hacked] them and was able to dump their database,” Amped Attacks told Tech Crunch. “I went through many emails that was signed up with these sites and a few of the emails that sparked my interest was the ones of the politicians in question there would be no reason for them to be signed up on any KKK website unless they supported it or was involved in it.”

    (H/T: Raw Story)

  • Glenn Beck’s Theory on Why George W. Bush Doesn’t Like Ted Cruz
    Posted November 2, 2015 at 2:41 pm by Tré Goins-Phillips

    Comments (171)

    Glenn Beck revealed on his radio show Monday why he believes former President George W. Bush dislikes GOP presidential hopeful Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

    Former President George W. Bush speaks at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Hiring Our Heroes program and the George W. Bush Institute's Military Service Initiative national summit, Wednesday, June 24, 2015, at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington.  The summit focuses on creating employment opportunities for post-9/11 veterans and military families.  (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

    AP photo/Molly Riley

    “I just don’t like the guy,” Bush reportedly said of Cruz last month at a small gathering of donors for his brother former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s presidential bid.

    Beck noted that the former president has never “attacked” President Barack Obama, saying, “[He's] the same sitting Democratic progressive Marxist president who has made a career out of attacking and blaming him for everything — nearly daily — for eight years now.”

    According to Beck’s theory, the former president’s disdain for Cruz is linked to a 1993 rape and murder case, where Cruz sided against Bush on an international stage.

    José Medellín and five other young men brutally raped and murdered Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Peña, two teenagers from Houston, Texas, in June 1993, when the two girls stumbled upon the men’s gang initiation on their way home.

    Within three hours of his arrest, Medellín admitted to the crimes with which he had been charged and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice issued him a death sentence. However, Medellín appealed his execution, saying he informed the police he was a Mexican national, but was never given the chance to confer with the Mexican consulate.

    Medellín issued an appeal regarding the issue in 1998, but it failed.

    Several years later, the International Court of Justice issued a ruling, siding with Mexico, stating the hearings be held because Medellín had been denied his consular rights. However, the ICJ demand for a hearing also failed.

    Following the case closely, then-President Bush involved himself in the case, siding with Mexico and the International Court in 2005, requesting the hearings be held.

    “Frankly, it was at this moment that was my final straw with George W. Bush,” Beck said. “It was at this moment that I said, ‘There’s something wrong here. This guy is not who we think he is.’”

    After Texas had already denied Medellín’s request and the International Court’s appeal, the case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to battle the president’s request.

    “So Governor Rick Perry and Texas, again, said ‘no’ to Bush and the International Court,” Beck said. “It became Medellín v. Texas.”

    Cruz, the 37-year-old solicitor general of Texas at the time, argued the case for the state, “against the brutal killer, Mexico, and the International Court, and George W. Bush.”

    In the end, the Supreme Court ruled only Congress had the power to order hearings to be held, and in July 2008, Medellín was executed.

    “Along with Rick Perry, it was Ted Cruz who saw that it was justice that was served against the full-frontal efforts and attacks of George W. Bush,” Beck concluded.

    Complimentary Clip From TheBlaze TV

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  • ‘The Mistress of Deception’: Judge Napolitano Breaks Down Implications From Latest Hillary Clinton Email Dump
    Posted November 2, 2015 at 2:02 pm by Jason Howerton

    Comments (53)

    Judge Andrew Napolitano labeled Hillary Clinton the “mistress of deception” on Monday during his reaction to the latest document dump of the former secretary of state’s emails.

    Fox News

    Fox News

    Critics immediately pointed to an email showing the State Department was specifically warned against conflating the 2012 Benghazi attacks with the anti-Islam video initially blamed by the Obama administration. The email also asserted that few Libyans had even seen the video.

    Napolitano said Clinton still has legal “wiggle room” because it’s unclear if she actually read the email, but the inconsistencies could have a negative impact on her perceived trustworthiness.

    “Yes, there’s wiggle room legally. But she is the mistress of deception. She used words so carefully chosen to create the impression that she was not lying when she said this was done as the result of a video,” he told “America’s Newsroom.” Monday.

    Watch the full segment below:


    (H/T: Fox News Insider)

  • Wounded Veteran Finds ‘Sense of Normalcy’ in Unlikely Place After Losing Both of His Legs in IED Explosion
    Posted November 2, 2015 at 1:59 pm by Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Comments (4)

    As Sgt. Andrew Smith lines up his golf club to tee off, he isn’t so much worried about his swing or his aim. For the young U.S. veteran, it’s all about balance.

    On March 8, 2012 — to hear him tell it, the day that really kickstarted his affair with the game of golf — Smith stepped on a pressure plate IED during his first deployment to Afghanistan. He lost both of his legs and suffered multiple massive internal injuries, including a broken pelvis.

    It was during his long, excruciating physical therapy, when Smith persevered and learned how to walk again with the use of prosthetic legs, that his therapist decided one day to throw a golf club at him and made him swing it back and forth multiple times in an effort to help him relearn how to keep his balance. But that golf club exercise did more than just help him regain balance and control; it propelled him into discovering a new passion, one that he can share with his wife and family — the game of golf.

    Sgt. Andrew Smith, who lost both of his legs in Afghanistan, has become quite the golf aficionado ever since his physical therapist had him pick up a club to practice balancing a couple of years ago. Now the veteran is set to compete at the VGA Championship beginning on Nov. 8. (Image provided to TheBlaze)

    Sgt. Andrew Smith, who lost both of his legs in Afghanistan, has become quite the golf aficionado ever since his physical therapist had him pick up a club to practice balancing a couple of years ago. Now the veteran is set to compete at the VGA Championship beginning on Nov. 8. (Image provided to TheBlaze)

    A few weeks after practicing his balance with the therapist, Smith and his wife — who he affectionately refers to as his “rock” during his recovery — drove out to a local golf course near the hospital, and he began to swing — this time to connect with a ball.

    “It wasn’t pretty, but it was fun to be able to not fall over, and I saw that with a lot of practice and patience, that I’d be able to learn to hit it pretty well and be able to play golf,” Smith, who had played golf occasionally with his father and brother before his injury, told TheBlaze in an interview.

    Now, Smith is preparing for the Veteran Golfers Association Championship tournament held in Pinehurst, North Carolina, at the historic golf course over Veteran’s Day weekend. The tournament will host 80 of the nation’s best veteran golfers in two divisions — wounded and non-wounded — and getting there was no easy feat for Smith.

    Smith tried twice to qualify for the tournament — both times to no avail. His first attempt left him shy of qualifying by 10 strokes; his second attempt was shy by only eight strokes.

    Even though he heartbrokenly did not qualify for the tournament twice in a row, his perseverance paid off as a member of the Pinehurst Resort noticed his tenacity, and once he had heard his story, he flew Smith to Connecticut for free where he could try to qualify one last time. It was there in Connecticut that Smith sank a 20-foot birdie putt and scored his ticket to Pinehurst.

    To prepare for the tournament, Smith said he’s working on his short game and executing a consistent drive which includes spending a lot of time on the putting and chipping greens. Distance is also a challenge for Smith who said he can’t always hit the ball as far as he would like as he can’t rotate or use force from his lower body.

    “For me, the biggest challenge is always going to be balance and consistency just because with prosthetic legs, even though I’m able to play and swing the golf club, there’s still always that [possibility] if I take my swing back, I’ll begin to fall backwards sometimes, so it’s always just maintaining consistency and having a repeatable swing with balance being an issue,” Smith said, adding that uneven terrain can also throw off his balance.

    Image source: YouTube

    Image source: YouTube

    “Even though it’s challenging, it’s been interesting as I learn to play more and more just figuring out how to hit different golf shots and adapting how I swing and how I have to stand to be able to hit it,” Smith said.

    Smith said that while he has enjoyed the opportunity provided to him by the VGA to play golf — and play golf at historic and venerable courses, at that — it’s the opportunity to meet with other veterans that has really helped him throughout life after his injury.

    “It’s been cool to be at these tournaments and meet veterans not just from post-9/11 but from the first Gulf War era, the Vietnam era veterans, just to hear their stories and even though we’re from different generations, we have similar experiences and it’s just cool to build that camaraderie on the golf course. Obviously we love the same game, so we’re playing golf and talking about the military and just being veterans in general. So just being able to connect with other veterans has been a big part of it for me.”

    Smith’s service and sacrifice to his country was almost a no-brainer for the history buff. He told TheBlaze that he could distinctly recall sitting in his freshman high school math class on Sept. 11, 2001 when terrorists hijacked four planes and left almost 3,000 people dead.

    “That was kind of the impetus for me, but even before that and especially afterwards, I have a love of history and American history in particular,” Smith said. “Outside of what happened on 9/11, hearing stories of guys in our past who answered calls to duty and stepped forward when they needed to, I felt like that it was my turn, that I had to do it.”

    After high school, Smith received a history degree from Lee University — where he would meet his wife — before he joined the military.

    “There were guys younger than me that had already been deployed a bunch of times to Iraq and Afghanistan, and I just felt like it was my turn, and I had a duty to do so I did it,” Smith said.

    The game of golf has had a significant impact on not only Smith, but also his wife as they were married two months prior to his injury. Smith met Tori in college where the two became best friends and would enjoyed playing sports and competing with one another.

    “We would always play sports together, and we’re competitive with each other and we’d always have fun playing different sports,” Smith said. “Afterward, once I started to be able to play golf and we’d go to the driving range and go to the course by the hospital together, we could get back to that sense of normalcy that we had before the injury. Golf is something we can both do. I don’t have to have any specialized equipment. I can just grab my golf clubs, put them on the golf cart and get out there just like every other able-bodied person, and my wife can go out there, and we can compete and have fun and laugh at each other.”

    Image provided to TheBlaze. (KIMBERLY KENTTA PHOTOGRAPHY)

    Image provided to TheBlaze. (KIMBERLY KENTTA PHOTOGRAPHY)

    Joshua Peyton, VGA president and a retired Army Captain and Army Ranger, established the organization after he, too, was injured while deployed in Iraq in 2011 and almost lost his right hand. Peyton said he met several veterans who loved the game of golf while he was recovering at Walter Reed which eventually led to the launch of VGA in 2015.

    “When I recovered enough to leave Walter Reed and go to Fort Bragg and come back to active-duty status, I kind of lost that camaraderie with the guys that I had gotten close to up in the D.C. area, and I wanted to put together an organization that could bring veterans and the game of golf together,” Peyton told TheBlaze in an interview.

    Peyton said that even though his organization is fairly new, it has received mounds of support from elected officials such as Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) as well as military support from Vice Admiral Robert Conway, Major General Chuck Swannack and Major General Zannie Smith.

    “I think that a lot of these guys and girls, they use golf as an escape, a 4-hour escape to go relax and just enjoy themselves,” Peyton said. “Some people are suffering from PTSD and they’re trying to tap into their competitive spirit and golf gives them an avenue to do so. Really all we’re trying to do is give them the vehicle and the opportunities to play golf at a higher level. And in a lot of circumstances, it inevitably changes a lot of people’s lives.”

    Image provided to TheBlaze. (KIMBERLY KENTTA PHOTOGRAPHY)

    Image provided to TheBlaze. (KIMBERLY KENTTA PHOTOGRAPHY)

    As evident with Smith, golf and the VGA tournament has changed his life, but even as he told his story of his injuries, his positivity shone through.

    “For me, the biggest thing that helped me was my awesome support system and my faith in God — that there’s a plan for everything,” Smith said. “Persevere and endure through all of your struggles because there’s definitely a plan for everything. Even through my injury and tragedy that my wife and I had to go through, we’ve seen so many blessings and came out the other side of it changed.”

  • Actor Was Suicidal, Using Drugs and ‘Deep in Sin.’ Here’s What Happened After He Started ‘Looking for Answers’ — and Found God.
    Posted November 2, 2015 at 1:58 pm by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (98)

    Nickelodeon star Kel Mitchell performed on popular shows like “All That” and “Kenan & Kel” throughout the 1990s, but when his career came to a standstill and his first marriage began to crumble, the entertainer felt entirely lost and adrift.

    “I felt like I’d hit a wall,” Mitchell recently told People Magazine. “I was like, ‘Okay, I need to figure out what I need to do in my life.’”

    It was that difficult point that led the actor — whose grandfather was a pastor — to return to the Christian faith that he followed as a child — and it’s a decision that he said has since brought him profound peace.

    Kel Mitchell arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater on Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

    Kel Mitchell arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater on Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

    “I was trying to figure it all out on my own. But what I needed to do was turn to him,” Mitchell told People. “Once I found that clarity with Christ, I knew everything would work out.”

    And work out it has. The comedian and actor is back on Nickelodeon starring in a new show called “Game Shakers,” he’s remarried and he’s connected to his two children, 16 year old son Lyric and 14 year old daughter Allure, People reported.

    Mitchell shares more specific details about his past struggles on his personal blog, where he wrote that he has had many “ups and downs,” including: ”Suicidal [thoughts], divorce, drug and alcohol usage, deep in sin, dealing with the lost of love ones to gang violence, debt, hurt, pain, vanity, lust, heartbreak, feeling LOST looking for answers.”

    While he has always known God, Mitchell said  that he now has a “true understanding” of the almighty, encouraging others to embrace the Bible and allow for the same change in their own lives.

    Kel Mitchell, Asia Lee

    Kel Mitchell, left, and Asia Lee arrive at Nickelodeon’s 28th annual Kids’ Choice Awards at The Forum on Saturday, March 28, 2015, in Inglewood, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

    “God’s WORD is your LIGHT, when everything seems dark in your life. PLEASE let the Holy Ghost in so you can let God lead you in the right direction and avoid making and getting in the wrong type of situations and attracting the wrong type of people that will temp you to make wrong choices,” Mitchell wrote.

    The actor goes on to encourage people to say the “Sinner’s Prayer,” describing it as a “words spoken by a person when he or she has recognized their sin and their need for a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.” Read more about Mitchell’s past struggles here.

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  • Uber Driver’s Dashcam Recorded the Moment a Man ‘Too Drunk to Give Me Directions’ Attacked and How the Driver Fought Back
    Posted November 2, 2015 at 1:06 pm by Liz Klimas

    Comments (54)

    It was 8 p.m. on Friday night — the start of the Halloween weekend.

    Prime time for drivers giving rides using the popular Uber app to hit the road.

    Edward Caban was one such driver. He thought it was early enough that he would avoid some of the antics one might expect of passengers in the late-night, early-morning hours, but he was wrong.

    The passenger was ultimately arrested and charged with two misdemeanors. (Image source: YouTube)

    The passenger was ultimately arrested and charged with two misdemeanors. (Image source: YouTube)

    Caban’s dashcam video captured the moment an allegedly drunk passenger turned violent, followed by the quick action he himself took for protection.

    The first couple of minutes from the video shows Caban’s view of the road ahead, the audio revealing that he was having trouble with directions from the passenger.

    “Dude, you got to give me directions,” Caban told the man in the backseat, who seemed to struggle with figuring out where he was.

    Generally, Uber riders input their destination address in the app, but Caban said in the video that the passenger “refused to.”

    “Well, you better turn you ass around,” the passenger said as Caban got into a left-turn lane, stopping at the red light.

    After about a minute, Caban turned the camera to face the backseat.

    When the light turned green and Caban got going, the camera captured the passenger in the back slumping from side to side with the motion of the car.

    And with that Caban had had enough.

    “Alright, man, I’ve gotta kick you out,” he said, as he pulled to the side of the road.

    “You’re too drunk to give me directions, man,” Caban added when the man protested.

    The pair continued to argue about the status of the car ride for a few more moments with Caban threatening to call the police if he didn’t exit. When the passenger seemed to finally accepted that he had to beat it, he opened the door but instead of hitting the road, he hit Caban.

    “Let me tell you something you little s**t,” the man said as he slapped Caban in the head.

    Image source: YouTube

    Image source: YouTube

    The man then proceeded to hit Caban, pulled his hair and swore at him.

    Caban, though, managed to grab his pepper spray, and hit the man with a stream.

    Image source: YouTube

    Image source: YouTube

    “Call the police! Yeah, that’s what happened. Call the police,” Caban said as they both exited the car. “You got maced.”

    Watch the footage (Content warning: strong language):

    The passenger was identified by Costa Mesa, California, police as 32-year-old Benjamin Golden. He was arrested for public intoxication and for attacking a cab driver, according to KABC-TV.

    As for Caban, he told the news station, “I didn’t think something like this would happen this early in the night. That’s why I stopped driving 2 a.m. shifts, for this very reason.”

    He added to KNBC-TV, “I have lost so much money on people like him and I’m done dealing with it. They take the food right out of my mouth.”

    Uber as a company banned Golden from using the app again and is paying to clean the pepper spray out of Caban’s car, according to the news station.

  • Here’s How ‘Duck Dynasty’ Star Korie Robertson Responded When Asked About Obama’s Handling of Faith
    Posted November 2, 2015 at 12:50 pm by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (98)

    “Duck Dynasty” star Korie Robertson believes that America has “turned away from God” and that the ramifications have been profound, telling The Church Boys podcast that the decision to separate from God is leading to confusion among the masses.

    “We’ve turned away from God. We’ve said to God, basically, ‘No thank you. I think we know better,’” said Robertson, author of the new book “Strong and Kind.” “And … it’s showing in the way that our young people are growing up and the respect that our young people have for authority, and the way that people are acting towards each other.”

    In discussing her book, which focuses on helping parents instill character in their children, Robertson also said that there’s a dearth of positive character traits among many of the most prominent members of our society, including politicians.

    “I think we’ve excused politicians for way too long,” she said. “We’ve not held them up to be people of character, people of good values, people we’d want our children to be.”

    And when asked how President Barack Obama’s administration has handled faith, Robertson was candid.

    “Well, I don’t think they really have handled faith. I think that they’ve shied away from it and I think that we are seeing the results of that,” she said. “When we shy away — when we turn away from God — we do see the results of that.”

    Listen to Robertson discuss her new book “Strong and Kind” and her feeling that America has turned away from God starting at the 18:50 mark below:

    Subscribe to The Church Boys for free on iTunes

    Robertson was careful to note that she would never want a president who would legislate Christianity.

    “I don’t want anybody imposing their beliefs on me … but I do think we need to have a president [who] loves God and honors him and has the values that he tells us [are] right,” she said.

    With turning away from God, has come profound confusion about right and wrong — something that Robertson believes has contributed to the rapid moral decline that many believe has taken root in America.

    “We’re all so confused about what’s right and wrong, what we value, and what we consider heroic and what we consider important,” she said. “And we’ve actually lost confidence in the truth and in who we are.”

    FILE - This Feb. 24, 2013 file photo shows Willie Robertson, left, and Korie Robertson, of the reality TV show, "Duck Dynasty", before the Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. The nominees for this year's Academy of Country Music Awards will be announced via Twitter and Facebook in a series of videos by TV personalities. Fox Sports broadcaster Erin Andrews, Willie and Korie Robertson from "Duck Dynasty," Beth Behrs from "2 Broke Girls" and hosts from "CBS This Morning," ''Entertainment Tonight," ''The Talk" and "The Insider" will make the announcements on Jan. 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Terry Renna, File) AP Photo/Terry Renna, File

    This Feb. 24, 2013 file photo shows Willie Robertson, left, and Korie Robertson, of the reality TV show, “Duck Dynasty”, before the Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Terry Renna, File)

    She’s hoping that “Strong and Kind” will help inspire parents to instill character in their children — something that Robertson believes is badly needed in today’s day and age.

    “I think character is about who you are when nobody’s looking,” she said. “It’s about how you live your life, how you go through your day and how you live with the values and virtues you know are important.”

    Find out more about “Strong and Kind.”

    Follow the author of this story on Twitter and Facebook:

  • Elderly Couple Among the Victims of Latest Palestinian Stabbing Spree in Israel
    Posted November 2, 2015 at 12:36 pm by Associated Press

    Comments (41)

    JERUSALEM (AP) — A Palestinian stabbed and wounded a 70-year-old man in northern Israel before being shot by officers, police said Monday just hours after another Palestinian knifed several people, including an 80-year-old woman, in a stabbing spree near Tel Aviv, the latest attacks in more than a month of violence.

    The attacks came after Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian who they say tried to stab a soldier in the West Bank.

    A Palestinian stabbed and wounded a 70-year-old man, seriously wounding him as he walked down the street in the northern city of Netanya, police said Monday evening before he was shot and wounded by police.

     Israeli rescue personal evacuate a woman from a stabbing attack site in Rishon Lezion, Israel, Monday, Nov. 2, 2015.  Israel’s emergency rescue service said two people were seriously injured and one lightly in the attack in Rishon Lezion near Tel Aviv. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

    Israeli rescue personal evacuate a woman from a stabbing attack site in Rishon Lezion, Israel, Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. Israel’s emergency rescue service said two people were seriously injured and one lightly in the attack in Rishon Lezion near Tel Aviv. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

    Earlier, Israeli police said a Palestinian stabbed an 80-year-old woman in the back on a street in Rishon Lezion near Tel Aviv Monday afternoon and then stabbed a man in the chest before continuing to run down the street and carrying out another attack. Police Spokeswoman Luba Samri said that after stabbing the first two people, the Palestinian, a 19-year-old from the West Bank city of Hebron, tried to enter a clothing shop but a woman in the store slammed a door on him. The Palestinian then went into a cosmetics store and stabbed another man. Bystanders managed to tackle and apprehend the attacker. Police then arrived on motorcycles and detained him.

    Yitzhak Scharf of Assaf HaRofeh Medical Center said that 80-year-old woman was stabbed in the back and waist and sustained damage to blood vessels and fractured her hip. A 40-year-old man was stabbed multiple times in the chest. Another person was lightly wounded he said.

    The military said the earlier incident in the West Bank was the third attempted stabbing near the checkpoint between the West Bank and Israel in recent weeks. After soldiers approached two Palestinians at a gas station, one attempted to stab a soldier with a knife before the soldiers shot him, the army said.

    Forces treated the wounded Palestinian at the scene, the army said, but he died of his wounds. Palestinian officials said he was 16 years old. The other Palestinian was arrested. The official Palestinian news agency Wafa said he was wounded in the incident.

    Video later emerged of a Palestinian smashing a female tour guide over the head with a bottle and then running away outside Jerusalem’s Old City. Police said they later apprehended the Palestinian.

    A series of Palestinian attacks linked to tensions over a sensitive Jerusalem holy site began in mid-September. In addition to the near-daily attacks, violent demonstrations have erupted in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, with Palestinian stone-throwers clashing with Israeli troops.

    Eleven Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks, mostly stabbings. Sixty-nine Palestinians have died by Israeli fire, including 44 who Israel says were involved in attacks or attempted attacks.

    In the West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday, Palestinian security forces held a military salute at a funeral ceremony for two Palestinians killed by Israeli fire. One had tried to grab a soldier’s rifle in Jerusalem, and the other had tried to stab a soldier at a West Bank checkpoint, according to the Israeli military.

    The Palestinian Authority has been holding official funeral parades in recent weeks in order to prevent militant groups like Hamas from using such ceremonies to whip up popular support, a senior Palestinian security official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the practice.

  • Why the Alleged Mistress of Slain Texas Deputy Darren Goforth Will Be the Focus of Court Hearing
    Posted November 2, 2015 at 12:36 pm by Jon Street

    Comments (38)

    The alleged mistress of slain Texas Deputy Darren Goforth is now at the forefront of the suspect’s capital murder hearing.

    This undated photo provided by the Harris County Sheriff's Office shows sheriff's deputy Darren Goforth who was fatally shot Friday, Aug. 28, 2015. (Harris County Sheriff's Office via AP)

    Deputy Darren Goforth was fatally shot Aug. 28, 2015. (Harris County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

    Anthony Osso, who is representing alleged murderer Shannon Miles, is asking that investigators turn over all documents related to the woman who witnessed the shooting and claimed to have been having an extramarital affair with Goforth, KTRK-TV reported.

    Osso is arguing that if the deputy was at the gas station to meet the woman then he was not on duty. And Goforth wasn’t on duty, that could help Osso convince the court to downgrade Miles’ capital murder charge.

    Osso is also asking why it reportedly took police nearly two weeks to inform the district attorney’s office of the witness. Questions have been raised as to whether the woman may have been let go because of her alleged relationship to the deputy.

    “We want to know who spoke to her, who instructed her, if anyone instructed her to leave the scene or transported her from the scene. We want to know about it,” Osso told KTRK-TV.

    “I haven’t been given an explanation for the delay, and you would think in a police-related shooting your district attorney would have this information available to them immediately,” Osso added.

    (H/T: KTRK-TV)

    Follow Jon Street (@JonStreet) on Twitter

  • 5 Big Obamacare Problems as Open Enrollment Begins
    Posted November 2, 2015 at 12:23 pm by Fred Lucas

    Comments (63)

    Open enrollment for the Obamacare exchanges at the state and federal level began Sunday and will last through Jan. 31, 2016, at a time when the troubled health care law continues to face criticisms.

    Here are five recent problems for the embattled Affordable Care Act the as open enrollment begins:

    The Healthcare.gov website is displayed on a laptop computer arranged for a photograph in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Nov. 4, 2013. The race to construct an online insurance exchange by Oct. 1 spurred the Obama administration to use an expedited bidding system that limited its choice of a builder to just four companies, including CGI Group Inc. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    1. Far Below Expectations

    In 2014, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the biggest surge in enrollment would come in 2016 when exchanges were expected to reach 20 million enrollees. The CBO projected the number would keep increasing before leveling off at 22 million in 2025.

    Even after an adjusted prediction in March, the CBO said the 2016 number would be 11 million, which is even above what the administration is now predicting.

    The Obama administration is projecting 10 million will sign up for 2016, an increase of 100,000 from the previous year.

    Health care analyst Robert Laszewski told the New York Times, ”Enrollment of 10 million people is not sustainable. You need almost twice that number to have a viable pool of policyholders with enough healthy people to pay for the sick.”

    In 2014, the administration had touted 8 million enrollees, only to see it reduced to 6.3 million by the end of the year.

    The five largest health insurers reported in their third-quarter earnings for 2015 an 8.3 percent decline in Obamacare exchange enrollees.

    The CBO previously was more enthusiastic than reality, projecting 13 million enrollees for 2015, when only 9.1 million signed up.

    Still, one incentive (something many critics call a coercive tactic) that will keep the number of enrollees from dipping too low is an increased fine for not purchasing insurance. For 2015, the fine was $325 or 2 percent of income, whichever was greater. For 2016, the fine will be $695 or 2.5 percent of income, whichever is greater.

    2. Costs Still Rising

    One key promise of the Affordable Care Act was that it would make health insurance affordable.

    Nevertheless, premiums increased an average of 7.5 percent for a benchmark plan across the 37 states that use the federal exchange, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

    The HHS report focused primarily on premiums for the silver plan, which is most widely purchased. The price hikes are hitting Oklahoma the worst, with a 36 percent increase. Meanwhile, Alaska, Montana and New Mexico are expected to see a 25 percent increase. Indiana, though, is actually expected to go down by 13 percent.

    3. Collapsing Co-Ops

    The House Energy and Commerce Committee will conduct a hearing Thursday looking at the failure of 11 out of 23 health co-ops that were set up across the country with the promise of saving money and creating competition but wound up costing taxpayers $1.1 billion after their implosion.

    The loss of these co-ops also means hundreds of thousands of Americans will have to enroll into higher-cost plans for 2016.

    When a “public option” was removed from the original Affordable Care Act legislation, the most liberal wing of the Democratic party, some who wanted a single-payer system, demanded something in its place. Thus, federally subsidized consumer operated health insurance plans were added to the final bill.

    On Sunday, a health care co-op in Arizona folded, the latest in a round to do so. This year, co-ops in Iowa, Nebraska, Louisiana, Nevada, New York, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina and Utah also went under.

    The HHS Office of Inspector General recently reported that most of the remaining co-ops are losing money and have lower than expected enrollment.

    4. Facing Defunding Vote in Senate

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said the Senate will vote in November on the budget reconciliation bill that passed the House in October.

    Because reconciliation is not subject to regular filibuster rules, there is no need to persuade 60 senators to come along: The bill could clear the Senate with a simple 51-vote majority.

    The measure that passed the House repeals the penalties for the individual and employer mandate; eliminates the 40 percent excise tax on high-cost health plans, also referred to as the “Cadillac tax”; eliminates the medical device tax; and repeals the preventions and public health fund.

    The bill furthers prohibits federal funding — including Medicaid dollars — for one year to abortion providers while the House investigates Planned Parenthood, redirecting funding to community health centers.

    While President Barack Obama will almost certainly veto the defund measure, it could mark the first time Congress has been able to send a measure to his desk and some Republicans feel could force the president to the negotiating table.

    5. Limited Access to Specialists

    A study last week published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that Obamacare exchange plans at both the federal and state marketplaces could significantly limit access to specialists, Reuters reported.

    About one in seven ACA health insurance plans didn’t provide access to a specialist inside the network. The study examined 135 health insurance plans in 34 state marketplaces. Researchers looked for in-network specialists, including OBGYN, dermatologists, cardiologist and oncologists in each plan. Out of this survey, researchers found that 18 plans in nine states did not provide coverage for at least one specialist within a 100-mile radius, while 19 lacked coverage for a specialist with in a 50-mile radius.

  • Texas Supreme Court Takes on Case That Could Dramatically Change Home Schooling in the State — Outcome Hinges on One Key Question
    Posted November 2, 2015 at 11:39 am by Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Comments (247)

    Just where is the line drawn between the right to educate one’s own child according to one’s religious beliefs and the state’s obligation to ensure home-schooled children are actually learning? The Texas Supreme Court is gearing up to find out.

    According to KRGV-TV, Texas’ highest court will begin to hear arguments this week involving an embroiled legal battle with a couple who is being accused of not properly educating their children as they waited for the second coming of Jesus.

    Photo credit: Shutterstock

    Photo credit: Shutterstock

    It all started when Laura and Michael McIntyre began to homeschool their nine children more than 10 years ago inside a vacant office of the motorcycle dealership in El Paso that the couple ran along with other relatives. Because the pair home-school their children, they are not required to register with education officials at either the state or local level. They also were not required to teach their children state-approved curriculum or issue standardized tests.

    However, Michael’s twin brother Tracy, who’s also co-owner of the dealership, has reported that he has never seen the children reading, doing math or using computers. He said the only educational study he has witnessed the children doing is playing instruments and singing.

    In fact, according to Tracy, he heard the McIntyres saying that learning isn’t necessary as “they were going to be raptured.”

    The family’s oldest daughter, Tori, also ran away from home at age 17 and said that she wanted to go to school. When she was placed in the ninth grade, school officials were unsure that she could handle the work.

    According to the lawsuit, the McIntyres maintain that the El Paso School District, which eventually asked the family to provide proof of their children’s education and led to the lawsuit, is biased against Christians. They accused school officials of mounting a “startling assertion of sweeping governmental power.”

    The McIntyres contend that they use a religious-based curriculum to educate their children, which they got from a private religious school in El Paso that their children attended before they were home-schooled.

    “Parents should be allowed to decide how to educate their children, not whether to educate their children,” Rachel Coleman, executive director of the Massachusetts-based Coalition for Responsible Home Education, told KRGV.

    “No parents have ever prevailed in any reported case on a theory that they have an absolute constitutional right to educate their children in the home,” Texas 8th Court of Appeals Chief Justice Ann Crawford McClure wrote in ruling against the family last year, according to KRGV.

    The case goes to the all-Republican Supreme Court Monday. The McIntyres also contend that the brother is biased because of a separate lawsuit over the ownership of the now-defunct motorcycle dealership business.

    Stephen Howsley, a Texas Home School Association public policy analyst, said that his state is “the most home school-friendly,” but the Texas Supreme Court will soon determine just how friendly it is and affect hundreds of thousands of students.

  • Al Qaeda Leader in New Recording: ‘Those Who Support Israel Should Pay in Their Blood’
    Posted November 2, 2015 at 11:06 am by Liz Klimas

    Comments (48)

    In a recording released Sunday, Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called upon Muslim extremists to “unite to liberate Jerusalem” and launch attacks against “the West.”

    Different outlets have reported snippets of the audio.

    In this in this 1998 file photo made available Friday, March 19, 2004, Ayman al-Zawahri speaks to the press in Khost, Afghanistan. In a recorded message posted on militant websites late Friday, April 4, 2014, the leader of al-Qaida endorsed a previous call for Islamic arbitration by the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front over the death of Abu Khaled al-Suri, who it and its allies say was killed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. (AP/Mazhar Ali Khan)

    In this in this 1998 file photo made available Friday, March 19, 2004, Ayman al-Zawahri speaks to the press in Khost, Afghanistan. (AP/Mazhar Ali Khan)

    Here’s some from the Cairo Post:

    The “liberation of Jerusalem” requires beating the west “in their own backyard” and hitting the economy to show the “price of support for crimes by Israel against Muslims and Islam,” said al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in an audio recording aired Sunday on an al-Qaeda-affiliated network, Youm7 reported.

    [...]

    “The Americans and the Russians and the Iranians and the Alawites and Hezbollah are coordinating their war against us.”

    Reuters out of Cairo (via Al Arabaya) expanded upon this latter quote and then included more:

    “The Americans, Russians, Iranians, Alawites, and Hezbollah are coordinating their war against us — are we not capable of stopping the fighting among ourselves so we can direct all our efforts against them?” Zawahiri said in an audio recording released on the Internet on Sunday.

    [...]

    “My mujahideen brothers in all places and of all groups … we face aggression from America, Europe, and Russia … so it’s up to us to stand together as one from East Turkestan to Morocco,” Zawahiri said.

    Vocativ has more as well:

    “Those who support Israel should pay in their blood and economy the price for supporting the crimes of Israel against Islam and Muslims,” he said.

    He also called on fighters to follow in the path of those who carried out the September 11, 2001 attacks, “and the attacks in Madrid, Bali, London and Paris.”

    Al-Zawahiri urged Muslims to unite, saying they must establish a Caliphate and an Islamic state in Egypt and the Levant, and that they must “liberate Palestine.” Muslims today face “American-European-Russian-Shiite-Alawite aggression,” he said, before calling on jihadist organizations worldwide to stop infighting and “stand in one line, from East Turkestan to Morocco, against the satanic alliance that attacks Islam, its nation and its house.”

    According to Reuters (via Al Arabaya), it’s unclear when exactly the audio was recorded, but the outlet noted that because of al-Zawahiri’s anti-Russian sentiment, it seems to suggest it could have been made shortly after Russia launched strikes against the Islamic State in Syria.

    The release of al-Zawahiri’s message comes a day after an Islamic State-affiliate claimed to have downed a Russian plane flying out of Egypt.

    James Clapper, the U.S. director of national intelligence, said he could not rule out that the Russian passenger plane which crashed in the Sinai was brought down by Islamic State extremists.

    Clapper told reporters in Washington that “we don’t have any direct evidence of any terrorist involvement yet” in the crash Saturday that killed all 224 people on the Metrojet.

    But he noted that the Islamic State group, which has claimed responsibility, has a significant presence in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Asked if Islamic State extremists had the capabilities to bring down a passenger jet, he said, “It’s unlikely, but I wouldn’t rule it out.”

    Alexander Smirnov, deputy general director of Metrojet, said at a news conference Monday in Moscow that the airline had ruled out a technical failure or pilot error for the crash, which killed all 224 people on board.

    “The only possible explanation could be an external impact on the airplane,” Smirnov said.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

  • ‘Shocking and Incredible’: Former Prosecutor Says He’s ‘Never’ Seen Gov’t Agency React Like This to Investigation
    Posted November 2, 2015 at 11:00 am by Jason Howerton

    Comments (100)

    The cost for the U.S. Department of Defense to build a gas station in Afghanistan should have totaled around $500,000. The government apparently spent just under $43 million in taxpayer dollars to build it.

    SIGAR

    SIGAR

    But a former federal prosecutor claims the “outrageous” waste of taxpayer funds isn’t even the most concerning thing about the Defense Department’s $800 million “ghost program” that was supposedly intended to jumpstart the Afghan economy — it’s the fact that the government is pretending like they don’t know anything about it.

    John Sopka, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, is currently leading an investigation into widespread allegations of “criminal activity” within a now defunct DoD program known as the Task Force for Stability and Business Operations.

    “I have never in my lifetime seen the Department of Defense or any government agency clam up and claim they don’t know anything about a program,” Sopko told Fox News.

    “Who’s in charge? Why won’t they talk?” he added.

    Not only is the government claiming ignorance about the program, he said, officials are also reportedly claiming none of the task force’s employees still work for the Defense Department.

    “We have received more allegations about this program than we have received about any other program in Afghanistan,” Sopko said.

    The former federal prosecutor, appointed by Obama in 2012 to monitor Afghanistan spending, said he still has no idea who approved the nearly $43 million in funding to build a gas station in Afghanistan that should’ve required no more than $500,000.

    “It is totally incredible that you now have a ghost program in the Department of Defense,” Sopko told FoxNews.com.

    While he said it’s “shocking and incredible” that the Defense Department maintains it “no longer has any knowledge about TFBSO,” Sopko intends to “continue” his investigation.

  • ‘A Grave Betrayal’: Vatican Arrests Two — Including a Priest — Amid Yet Another Leak Probe
    Posted November 2, 2015 at 11:00 am by Associated Press

    Comments (40)

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — A monsignor and a woman who had served on a financial reform commission set up by Pope Francis have been arrested in the probe of yet another leak of confidential information and documents, the Vatican said Monday.

    A statement from the Holy See’s press office said that Vatican prosecutors on Monday upheld the arrests of the two, who had been interrogated over the weekend. It identified the woman as Francesca x and the monsignor as the Rev. Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda. The monsignor is still a Vatican employee while Chaouqui had served on a commission that had been set up by Pope Francis in 2013 as part of his drive to reform the Holy See’s finances. Vallejo Balda had also served on the commission, now defunct.

    A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, said Vallejo Balda was being held in a jail cell in Vatican City. Chaouqui was allowed to go free because she cooperated in the probe, the Vatican said.

    Pope Francis blesses the faithful at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

    Pope Francis blesses the faithful at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

    “In the context of judicial police investigations carried out by the Vatican gendarmerie, or police force, and begun several months ago because of the removal and lead of confidential information and documents, on Saturday and Sunday (the) two persons were summoned to be interrogated on the basis of elements and evidence that had been gathered,” the Vatican statement said.

    While Francis is intent on modernizing the Vatican and making its finances more transparent, the arrests were the latest confirmation that scandal and intrigue still swirl, as they have for centuries, through the largely closed world of the tiny city-state’s administrative bureaucracy.

    Current and past papacy efforts to clean house at the Vatican have sparked resentment and found resistance in the Holy See’s entrenched bureaucracy, a perfect combination of factors to foster leaks.

    Leaks of confidential documents from retired Pope Benedict XVI’s papers in 2012 led to the arrest and trial of a papal butler and a Vatican computer technician.

    “One must keep in mind that the leaking of confidential information and documents is a crime” under a law enacted in the first months of Francis’ papacy, the Vatican statement said.

    Last week, Italian news reports said the Vatican police were investigating to see who had tampered with the computer of the top Holy See’s auditor, Libero Milone, who was appointed a few months ago by Pope Francis.

    The Vatican confirmed that there was an investigation into the tampering, but declined to say if that incident was related to the two arrests.

    Later this week, two expose books by Italian journalists about the Vatican’s long-murky world of finances are being published, and the Vatican contended that such publications only hamper Pope Francis’ clean-up drive.

    Pope Francis waves to school children as he walks towards them after arriving at the Apostolic Nunciature, the Vatican's diplomatic mission in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, after an address to a joint meeting of Congress. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

    Pope Francis waves to school children as he walks towards them after arriving at the Apostolic Nunciature, the Vatican’s diplomatic mission in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, after an address to a joint meeting of Congress. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

    “Publications of this nature do not help in any way to establish clarity and truth, but rather generate confusion and partial and tendentious conclusions,” the Vatican said. “One must absolutely avoid the misunderstanding of thinking that’s a way to help the pope’s mission.”

    The Vatican described the soon-to-be published books as “fruit of a grave betrayal of the trust given by the pope, and, as far as the authors go, of an operation to take advantage of a gravely illicit act of handing over confidential documentation,” the Vatican said.

    Without specifying if the latest arrests were linked to those books, the Vatican said Holy See prosecutors are weighing “further measures, involving, if it is the case, international cooperation.”

    Some Vatican-watchers have theorized that Benedict decided to be the first pope in hundreds of centuries to resign largely because he was morally dismayed by the leaks and intrigue behind the Vatican’s closed doors and felt that in his advancing years, he wouldn’t be up to the task of grabbling with the scandals

  • Gawker Publishes ‘Vile’ Headline About Fred Thompson Hours After Former GOP Senator’s Death — and the Internet Doesn’t Hold Back Criticism
    Posted November 2, 2015 at 10:49 am by Jon Street

    Comments (67)

    A headline run by the website Gawker just hours after the death of former Sen. Fred Thompson was so “vile” and “disgusting” that it made the satire website The Onion “look like the New York Times.”

    That’s what users on Twitter are saying after Gawker published this headline on Thompson’s passing Sunday evening: ”Actor, Former Senator, and Predatory Home Refinancing Shill Fred Thompson Dead at 73.”

    Image source: Gawker

    Image source: Gawker

    Gawker was referring to Thompson’s role as a spokesman for American Advisers Group, often seen on TV commercials promoting reverse mortgages, which allow seniors 62 and older to convert the equity in their homes into cash.

    Gawker tweeted the article shortly after publication, prompting a number of social media users to express their distaste with the website’s choice of words. Here are a few replies:

    Thompson, who was a Republican senator from Tennessee, ran for president in 2008. He was also an actor cast in a number of roles, including his role as a senator in “Born Yesterday” and as New York district attorney in NBC’s “Law and Order.”

    Thompson died Sunday. He was 73.

    (H/T: BizPacReview)

    Follow Jon Street (@JonStreet) on Twitter

     

  • The Most Christian-Friendly Companies Revealed — but Pay Close Attention to Their Scores
    Posted November 2, 2015 at 10:31 am by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (89)

    The premiere group that researches the buying and spending habits of American Christians has revealed the top seven brands that are most in-tune with Bible-believers, using an innovative, new system to rank how compatible each company is with faithful consumers’ wants and needs.

    Faith Driven Consumer has officially launched the Faith Equality Index — a new index that ranks more than 300 major brands to see which are the most likely to cultivate Bible-minded buyers.

    The top seven companies that ranked highest in the first wave of the index are as follows: Chick-fil-A, Hobby Lobby, Interstate Batteries, Tyson Foods, Cracker Barrel, Walmart, and Thrivent Financial, though none of these companies came close to a perfect index score of 100.

    A screen shot from Chick-fil-A's review page

    A screen shot from Chick-fil-A’s review page

    Brand strategist Chris Stone, founder of Faith Driven Consumer, is hoping that the Faith Equality Index helps connect businesses with Christians who are highly motivated by their faith in how they buy and spend, as he contends that there are 41 million Christian consumers who spend $2 trillion annually — a substantial force that companies can tap into.

    “Faith Driven Consumers want America’s brands to include them at parity with their other prioritized communities,” Stone told TheBlaze. “The Faith Equality Index provides a transparent baseline for both brands and consumers to measure the relative degree which brands choose to engage Faith Driven Consumers and allow [them] to steward their spending by preferring companies that welcome, embrace and celebrate them.”

    Faith Driven Consumer has repeatedly noted that it believes that tens of millions of Americans are deeply motivated by their biblical worldview and will, in turn, make consumer decisions based upon that paradigm.

    That in mind, the concept behind the Faith Equality Index isn’t all that different from other indexes created by special interest groups, including the Human Rights Campaign, which runs the Corporate Equality Index — a ”national benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.”

    Clearly, Stone and his Faith Equality Index have starkly different end goals from that of Human Rights Campaign and its Corporate Equality Index, but that hasn’t stopped Stone from calling the Human Rights Campaign a “gold standard” in the ranking arena.

    Screen shot from the detailed scorecard for Hobby Lobby

    Screen shot from the detailed scorecard for Hobby Lobby

    “They have been fabulously successful in getting companies to prioritize both their Corporate Equality Index and their community. We simply ask corporate America to extend their equality proof of performance to Faith Driven Consumers,” Stone said. “Brands that have neither prioritized our community nor the Faith Equality Index habitually prioritize other communities.”

    The Faith Equality Index rates companies on a scale from zero to 100, though a quick look at the top seven companies in the first wave of the index might cause some pause. Chick-fil-A, which tops the list, comes in at just 63, with Hobby Lobby at 62, Interstate Batteries at 61, Tyson Foods at 60, Cracker Barrel at 53, Walmart at 51 and Thrivent Financial at 50.

    None of these companies come close to a perfect score of 100 on the Faith Equality Index, with Stone explaining that this is due to an overall lack of effort — even among the top brands in the index — to court the faith community.

    “Some companies have a culture that is naturally compatible with Faith Driven Consumers; however, few if any of the companies in the survey are overtly engaging Faith Driven Consumers with any level of parity to their other communities,” Stone told TheBlaze. “They have not prioritized Faith Driven Consumers. The scores from the other rating validate that clearly.”

    In order to get closer to 100, brands like Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby, among others, will need to “look at their engagement gaps and proactively fill them,” according to Stone.

    “Their Faith Equality Index score effectively measures the quality of and the priority they place on their engagement with Faith Driven Consumers,” he said.

    Find out more about the Faith Equality Index here.

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  • Shocking Classroom Video Will Leave You Hoping for a Hero to Put Teacher’s Out-of-Control Bully in His Place — but That Moment Never Comes
    Posted November 2, 2015 at 10:18 am by Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Comments (425)

    As an unruly student verbally berates a teacher, upends classroom furniture and tosses objects at the teacher, the rest of the rowdy students laugh and egg him on — and it was all captured on a student’s cellphone video.

    In the video, obtained by the Daily Mail, a black male student walks around the classroom lifting furniture and yelling at the teacher. The small black female teacher, whom the students referred to as Ms. Cox, simply remains despondent throughout the video and appears visibly weary.

    Image via screen grab from the Daily Mail video

    Image source: Screen grab from Daily Mail video

    “I’m going to smack her ass with a whole bag of M&Ms,” the male student says and appears to actually throw a bag of the candy at the teacher while other students laugh.

    One female student appears to attempt to hold the male back, but she does so laughing.

    In the video, the teacher eventually stands up and attempts to regain control of the classroom, but the male student comes behind her desk alongside her, looking through her desk drawers and demanding to get the M&Ms back. The teacher picks up a pile of paper and tries to discuss an assignment, but the male student wouldn’t let her.

    “Sit your ass down in your chair,” he demands.

    Image via screen grab from the Daily Mail video

    Image source: Screen grab from Daily Mail video

    The teacher calmly asks someone else in the classroom to get security.

    “OK, young lady, I’m going to ask you to have a seat. Have a seat,” the teacher, who looks visibly tired, told the girl filming the altercation at one point.

    Eventually, another female student comes behind her desk and yells at the teacher — apparently for letting the other students talk to her in an unkind way. The female student punched the blackboard behind the teacher with her fist as she yells at her.

    Image via screen grab from the Daily Mail video

    Image source: Screen grab from Daily Mail video

    The video eventually ends when it sounds like someone else entered the room and other students are heard saying, “Be quiet.”

    As the Daily Mail reported, it is unclear where this incident took place.

  • ‘Water on the Knee’ Could Be a Sign of This Disease
    Posted November 2, 2015 at 10:03 am by Liz Klimas

    Comments (11)

    The bull’s-eye rash that develops after a tick bite might be the most common, well-known sign of a Lyme disease infection, but one study is reminding doctors of a more obscure thing to watch out for.

    “Water on the knee,” or “spontaneous knee effusion” as they called it, could present itself in a Lyme disease case even without the more traditional bull’s-eye rash. The researchers are saying that this swelling around the knee joint could be used to help identify a case of Lyme disease and begin treatment before more serious symptoms develop.

    “It is important to catch and treat Lyme disease early because the symptoms get progressively worse over time,” Dr. Elizabeth Matzkin, assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at Harvard Medical School, said in a statement. “However, the lab tests used to diagnose Lyme disease can take time to process, and there are certain circumstances in which immediate antibiotic treatment may be recommended before the lab results are complete.”

    The study suggests doctors consider testing for Lyme disease when they diagnose knee effusion, especially if they are in areas with ticks carrying the bacteria that causes the disease. (Photo credit: Shutterstock)

    The study suggests doctors consider testing for Lyme disease when they diagnose knee effusion, especially if they are in areas with ticks carrying the bacteria are common. (Photo credit: Shutterstock)

    “Half of patients do not recall a tick bite or observe a rash, and early symptoms are not always detected when a physician diagnoses a knee effusion,” Matzkin, lead author of the literature review published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, continued. “One of the most notable differentiating factors is, while septic or arthritic knees usually come with significant pain, knee effusions caused by Lyme disease are often very large, not activity-related and mostly pain-free.”

    The study authors suggest that doctors keep Lyme disease in mind as a possible cause of spontaneous knee effusion when they are issuing such a diagnosis and test for it accordingly.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 30,000 Lyme disease cases reported each year, but it believes over 300,000 cases are diagnosed in the country. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused, most commonly, by Borrelia burgdorferi, which is transmitted by ticks. It can cause “fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes.”

    If not treated early on, more severe symptoms of the disease range include rashes, severe joint pain, inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, heart problems and more.

    In addition to the bull’s-eye rash and swollen knees, the CDC says facial palsy, or paralysis of facial muscles, could be a sign as well.

    Possible signs of Lyme disease. (Image source: CDC)

    Possible signs of Lyme disease. (Image source: CDC)

    In most cases, Lyme disease can be treated successfully with antibiotics.

  • Her Daughter Wanted a Piece of Halloween Candy After Dinner. She Realized Something Was Wrong Just in Time.
    Posted November 2, 2015 at 9:33 am by Kaitlyn Schallhorn

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    A mother in Massachusetts handed her young daughter a piece of Halloween candy, but something didn’t feel quite right to her.

    And she was right. Ennette Figueroa said she unwrapped the piece of candy and inspected it as her daughter waited impatiently. And that’s when she found a small sewing needle stuck inside of it.

    “When I opened it, it was right there,” Figueroa told WWLP-TV. “Visible. You could see it.”

    Image source: WWLP-TV

    Image source: WWLP-TV

    Figueroa said she, along with her cousin, mother and sister, took her daughter trick-or-treating to dozens of houses in the neighborhood — houses they have visited before on Halloween.

    “I just can’t believe people. How could they do something like that?” Figueroa said.

    Though Figueroa found the sewing needle in Springfield, Massachusetts, police in Philadelphia also warned parents of similar tampering of Halloween candy during the holiday. WREG-TV reported that police were investigating several reports of Halloween candy with sewing needles in them.

  • Palestinian Fathers Celebrate After Agreeing to Marry Off Their Children — But There’s a Major Catch
    Posted November 2, 2015 at 9:21 am by Sharona Schwartz

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    The father of a Palestinian man killed while carrying out a stabbing attack on Israeli soldiers last week made the unusual move of asking the father of a female Palestinian assailant killed in similar circumstances if they could posthumously marry off their deceased children.

    The bizarre scene played out during the Sunday funeral of the dead groom, who was described by the father as a “martyr in Paradise.”

    The embrace following the agreement to marry off the dead assailants described as "martyrs." (Image source: YouTube)

    The embrace following the agreement to marry off the dead assailants described as “martyrs.” (Image source: YouTube)

    After the father of the so-called bride, Dania Ersheed, 17, agreed in her name, mourners at the funeral for Raed Jaradat, 22, burst out in celebration, raising the two fathers on their shoulders and screaming cries of joy and “Allahu akbar,” or “Allah is the greatest.”

    Funeral attendees hoisted the men in celebration after the betrothal was announced. (Image source: YouTube)

    Funeral attendees hoisted the men in celebration after the betrothal was announced. (Image source: YouTube)

    The mourners along with the fathers shouted "Allahu akbar," or "Allah is the greatest." (Image source: YouTube)

    The mourners along with the fathers shouted “Allahu akbar,” or “Allah is the greatest.” (Image source: YouTube)

    Celebratory music not normally heard at funerals blared in the background.

    The Middle East Media Research Institute translated an excerpt of the celebration that was posted on Palestinian social media:

    The Israeli news site NRG observed, “Usually, 72 virgins are promised in the afterlife to them [terrorists], but the father of Raed Jaradat, the terrorist who carried out the stabbing attack in Beit Anun [near Hebron] last week, apparently decided to take care of a decent match for him in this world too.”

    Ersheed, the female assailant, was buried a day earlier at a mass funeral in Hebron, along with four other Palestinians killed when they were attacking Israelis.

    The Times of Israel, quoting the Israel Defense Forces, reported that she was shot after she tried to stab soldiers near Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs last week.

    On Sunday, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lambasted the Palestinian Authority for providing military honors at terrorist funerals.

  • After Taking Leave of Absence to Recover From Knee Surgery, Veteran Returns to His NY Home to Make Truly ‘Shocking Discovery’
    Posted November 2, 2015 at 9:18 am by Jon Street

    Comments (134)

    Phil Williams, a 69-year-old veteran from West Hempstead, New York, got out of the hospital after having knee surgery to find what WLNY-TV anchor Cindy Hsu called a “shocking discovery” – his house, along with all of his possessions had literally vanished.

    The town of Hempstead had deemed Williams’ home a “zombie house” and demolished it, leaving nothing more than an empty lot.

    Image source: WLNY-TV

    Image source: WLNY-TV

    “They went too far – this house should not have been demolished, and they went too fast,” Williams’ attorney, Bradley Siegel, told WLNY-TV. “They had all the signs to know that someone was living here.”

    Williams is now suing the town of Hempstead, but city officials say they “followed all proper procedures” before carrying out the demolition, including sending letters to Williams beginning back in October 2014 before the house was torn down in May.

    The 69-year-old veteran said he wasn’t getting his mail while he was recuperating from knee surgery at a hospital in Florida, but had been paying his mortgage. The town held a hearing on the house in February but Williams said he was never notified of that happening.

    Neighbors said the house looked abandoned, having broken windows, leaks and “lots of trash.” While Williams acknowledged the house was in need of some repairs, he denied that it was a “zombie house,” as the city had deemed it.

    “Somebody could have called me, somebody could have notified me and said ‘hey listen here is whats going on,’” Williams said. “But the town, they took everything, its just gone.”

    (H/T: WLNY-TV)

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  • Atheist Richard Dawkins Lambastes Ben Carson on Evolution: ‘That’s a Disgrace’
    Posted November 2, 2015 at 9:14 am by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (865)

    Atheist biologist Richard Dawkins continued his attacks on Republican presidential candidates over the weekend, taking specific aim at Dr. Ben Carson’s rejection of evolution during an appearance on “Fareed Zakaria GPS.”

    “You’ve just told me that all the Republican candidates except one say they don’t believe in evolution. I mean that’s a disgrace,” Dawkins said. “But for a senior, a very eminent distinguished doctor, as he is, to say that — it’s even worse, because, of course, evolution is the bedrock of biology. And biology is the bedrock of medicine.”

    The atheist leader when on to say that it is especially problematic that a doctor as prominent as Carson doesn’t understand the “fundamental theorem of his own subject.”

    “That is a terrible indictment,” Dawkins said.

    Watch his comments below:

    As TheBlaze previously reported, Carson has spoken out about his views on evolution and creationism in the past, telling Fox News host Bill O’Reilly last month that he doesn’t know “how old the Earth is.”

    “I know a lot of people say that I believe the earth is 6,000 years old, and they have no basis for saying that. I don’t know how old the Earth is,” Carson said on Monday night. “[Genesis] says, ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth’ — and then there’s a period there.”

    He continued, “You don’t know how much time elapsed.”

    Carson also discussed the subject of evolution in a recent interview with Time Magazine.

    The outlet questioned a 2011 speech in which it said that Carson “seemed to imply that Darwin’s evolutionary theory was inspired by Satan” and asked him to explain what he meant during that address.

    “Well, you wouldn’t understand it, no one would understand it unless they believe that there were forces of good and forces of evil,” Carson responded. “If you don’t believe that, then that would be a nonsensical statement to you.”

    Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson gestures as he discuss his new book 'A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do To Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties' at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on October 9, 2015. Republican White House hopeful Ben Carson said he stood by controversial comments linking gun control to the Holocaust, as he argued for arming staff in schools to prevent future mass shootings. AFP Photo/PAUL J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

    Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

    The candidate went on to explain that by “forces of evil” he meant that there are forces at work trying to make people reject the existence of God — something that many see the theory of evolution as having accomplished.

    “I believe in micro evolution. I believe in natural selection. But I have a different take on it,” Carson said. “The evolutionists they say there, that’s proof that the theory of evolution is true.”

    He continued, “I say that’s proof of an intelligent and caring God who gave His creatures the ability to adapt to their environment so He wouldn’t have to start over every 50 years.”

    This isn’t the first time that Dawkins has attacked candidates’ views on creation and evolution, as he made similar claims earlier this month, telling Fox News’ Alan Colmes that it is “disgraceful” that presidential hopefuls would reject evolution, as it is a “fact” that “you can not seriously disbelieve.”

    Colmes also asked if there’s a religious culture that’s “sicker than another” — and Dawkins held little back.

    Richard Dawkins, founder of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science,promotes his new book at the Seymour Centre on December 4, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. Richard Dawkins is well known for his criticism of intelligent design. Credit Don Arnold/Getty Images

    Richard Dawkins, founder of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (Don Arnold/Getty Images)

    “I don’t think it’s unfair to say that, if we’re looking for the maximum toxicity in religions in the world, it’s got to be Islam,” he said. “It’s partly that they are taught to believe that the Koran is literally true.”

    Dawkins continued, ”The Bible itself is as toxic as the Koran, but most Christians are not taught to believe it literally.”

    (H/T: Examiner)

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