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  • Four Marines Killed in Military Attacks in Tennessee; Gunman Also Killed
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 3:51 pm by Oliver Darcy

    Comments (143)

    CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — A gunman unleashed a barrage of gunfire at two military facilities Thursday in Tennessee, killing at least four Marines and wounding a soldier and a police officer, officials said. The suspect also was killed.

    Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said five people died in all, including the gunman.

    U.S. Attorney Bill Killian said officials were treating the attacks as an “act of domestic terrorism,” though FBI Special Agent in Charge Ed Reinhold said authorities were still investigating a motive.

    Two U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, told The Associated Press four U.S. Marines were among the dead. A soldier was being treated at a hospital for a gunshot wound to the leg, according to one of the officials. The other official said a police officer also was wounded.

    “Lives have been lost from some faithful people who have been serving our country, and I think I join all Tennesseans in being both sickened and saddened by this,” Gov. Bill Haslam said.

    “Lives have been lost from some faithful people who have been serving our country…”
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    A facility 7 miles away on Old Lee Highway also was attacked. Brian Lepley, a spokesman with the U.S. Army Recruiting Command in Fort Knox, Kentucky, said his recruiters there were told by law enforcement that the shooter was in a car, stopped in front of the facility, shot at the building and drove off.

    The Army recruiters at the facility told Lepley they were not hurt and had evacuated; Lepley said he had no information about recruiters for the other branches at the facility.

    Sgt. 1st Class Robert Dodge, 36, is the center leader for U.S. Army recruiting at the facility on Old Lee Highway. He said four Army personnel were in the office at the time. He said the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and National Guard all have their own offices right next to each other. Around 10:30 or 10:45 a.m., Dodge and the others heard a gunshot, “which kind of sparked our attention,” he said.

    “Shortly after that, just a few seconds, the shooter began shooting more rounds. We realized it was an actual shooting,” he said. They then got on the ground and barricaded themselves in a safe place. Dodge estimated there were 30 to 50 shots fired.

    He did not see the shooter or a vehicle.

    The Army recruiting office was not damaged, but doors and glass were damaged at the neighboring Air Force, Navy and Marine offices.

    Reinhold said all the dead were killed at the Navy Operational Support Center and Marine Corps Reserve Center Chattanooga. It sits between Amnicola Highway and a pathway that runs through Tennessee RiverPark, a popular park at a bend in the Tennessee River northeast of downtown Chattanooga. It’s in a light industrial area that includes a Coca-Cola bottling plant and Binswanger Glass.

    The two entrances to the fenced facility have unmanned gates and concrete barriers that require approaching cars to slow down to drive around them.

    Marilyn Hutcheson, who works at Binswanger Glass just across the street, said she heard a barrage of gunfire around 11 a.m.

    “I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many,” she said. “It was rapid fire, like pow pow pow pow pow, so quickly. The next thing I knew, there were police cars coming from every direction.”

    “It was rapid fire, like pow pow pow pow pow, so quickly.”
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    She ran inside, where she remained locked down with other employees and a customer. The gunfire continued with occasional bursts she estimated for 20 minutes.

    “We’re apprehensive,” Hutcheson said. “Not knowing what transpired, if it was a grievance or terroristic related, we just don’t know.”

    They’ve seen dozens of emergency vehicles rush by: bomb teams, SWAT teams, and state, local and federal authorities.

    The Armed Forces Career Center on Lee Highway sits in a short strip between a Cricket Wireless and an Italian restaurant with no apparent additional security.

    Near the other shooting location on Lee Highway, Nicholas Donohue heard a blast of gunshots while working at Desktop Solutions. But he had music playing and wasn’t quite sure what the noise had been. He turned off the music and seconds later, a second blast thundered. He took shelter in a back room.

    “Even though it knew it was most likely gunfire I heard, you also don’t want to believe it’s happening in the moment,” he said. “Since I didn’t see anything, I couldn’t be sure.”

    By the time he emerged, police were cordoning off the area.

    Click here to see how the incident unfolded live.

  • Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush Bundlers Have Second Jobs That Could Be Problematic
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 3:19 pm by Fred Lucas

    Comments (62)

    Two bundlers for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and one bundler for Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush are registered as foreign lobbyists, BuzzFeed reported.

    All three individuals work for the Washington law firm DLA Piper.

    Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, listen as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks before the presentation of the 2013 Liberty Medal September 10, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Liberty Medal was established in 1988 to commemorate the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution. Given annually, the medal aims to recognize leadership in the pursuit of freedom. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

    Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, listen as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks before the presentation of the 2013 Liberty Medal September 10, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Liberty Medal was established in 1988 to commemorate the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution. Given annually, the medal aims to recognize leadership in the pursuit of freedom. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

    Matthew Bernstein bundled more than $45,000 for Clinton, a former secretary of state.

    John Merrigan bundled more than $24,000 for Clinton.

    Bernstein’s Foreign Agent Registration Act documents show he has lobbied the United States on behalf of the United Arab Emirates and for the German State of Rheinland-Pfalz.

    Merrigan’s registration shows he lobbied for the UAE and for Saudi Arabia.

    A 2008 report by Center for Investigative Reporting and ABC News said Merrigan and Bernstein bundled for Clinton in her previous presidential campaign and arranged a meeting with her and her senate colleagues while they lobbied for the UAE.

    The Clinton campaign declined to comment to BuzzFeed.

    As for Bush, it’s a family connection.

    Ignacio Sanchez was a Treasury Department official for President George W. Bush. He now works for same firm, DLA Piper.

    The filings show he has lobbied for Saudi Arabia and for the UAE.

    Sanchez has bundled $32,400 for Jeb Bush, a former Florida governor. He also donated $5,000 to Bush’s Right to Rise PAC, and gave $2,700 to Bush’s presidential campaign.

    “Gov. Bush is focused on his own agenda and isn’t influenced by special interests,” a Bush campaign spokeswoman told BuzzFeed.

  • Obama After Prison Tour: They ‘Made Mistakes That Aren’t Different from Mistakes I Made’
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 2:59 pm by Fred Lucas

    Comments (175)

    President Barack Obama met with six federal inmates at an Oklahoma prison Thursday who were all charged with drug offenses, as he called for “job training, college degrees, drug counseling” to replace long sentences.

    Obama is the first sitting president to ever visit a federal prison, as he seeks to push through criminal justice reform, a legacy issue that has actually gained bipartisan support.

    “When they describe their youth, these are young people who made mistakes that aren’t that different from the mistakes I made, and the mistakes that a lot of you guys made,” Obama told reporters. “The difference is that they did not have the kind of support structures, the second chances, the resources that would allow them to survive those mistakes.”

    President Barack Obama, alongside Charles Samuels (R), Bureau of Prisons Director, and Ronald Warlick (L), a correctional officer, tours a cell block at the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Oklahoma, July 16, 2015. Obama is the first sitting US President to visit a federal prison, in a push to reform one of the most expensive and crowded prison systems in the world. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

    President Barack Obama, alongside Charles Samuels (R), Bureau of Prisons Director, and Ronald Warlick (L), a correctional officer, tours a cell block at the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Oklahoma, July 16, 2015. Obama is the first sitting US President to visit a federal prison, in a push to reform one of the most expensive and crowded prison systems in the world. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

    Criminal justice reform is primarily targeted at non-violent drug offenders, but could regard shorter sentences for other non-violent crimes, and potentially restoring voting rights for convicted felons.

    “Every single one of them emphasized the fact that they had done something wrong, they are prepared to take responsibility for it, but they also urged us to think about how society could’ve reached them earlier on in life to keep them out of trouble,” Obama said in remarks after the meeting at the El Reno Federal Correctional Institute, outside of Oklahoma City.

    Many Republicans, including several GOP presidential contenders, such as Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, have backed some type of justice reforms. In the House, Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and ranking Democratic Rep. John Conyers have agreed on principles for sentencing reform legislation.

    Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has previously expressed skepticism, and appeared to be a roadblock, but now said he is committed to negotiating legislation.

    “For several months a group of senators, including Republicans and Democrats, has been working in good faith on a possible criminal justice bill that encompasses a range of issues, including both front-end solutions such as safety valves and reductions in mandatory minimums in certain situations, and back-end solutions such as prison reform,” Grassley said in a statement Thursday. “Legislating takes a lot of hard work. We’ve had hours of meaningful discussions up to this point, and those of us in the room are committed to trying to reach an agreement that can gain wide bipartisan support.”

    Several states, including Oklahoma, have enacted reforms.

    “A lot of this though is going to have to happen at the state level,” Obama said at the prison. “My goal is that we start seeing some improvements at the federal level and we’re then able to see states across the country pick up the baton.”

    Obama said young Americans spending decades in prison should not be accepted by society as normal.

    “We have a tendency sometimes to take for granted or think it’s normal that so many young people end up in our criminal justice system,” the president said. “It’s not normal, it’s not what happens in other countries. What is normal is teenagers doing stupid things. What is normal is young people who make mistakes and we’ve got to be able to distinguish between dangerous individuals who need to be incapacitated and incarcerated versus young people who are in an environment in which they are adapting.”

  • ‘It Was One Shot and Then It Was Endless Shots’: Witnesses Describe Horrifying Moment Tennessee Shooter Opens Fire
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 2:48 pm by Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Comments (41)

    Two women, who were nearby the Naval Recruitment Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee when a shooter opened fire, said they heard several “pops” at first.

    One woman, an employee at a salon, told CNN that she went to the front door when she heard the shots and saw someone in a “silver convertible Mustang” who was “unloading some type of large rifle.”

    “Once we realized what was going on, we were like ‘call 911 and get to the back of the building,’” she said. “I mean, that was the only thing that we thought of and just right now we’re just thanking God that we’re safe, that all of us are safe, that it could have been us at any moment so we’re just thankful right now.”

    Another woman, who was parked outside the salon and waiting for her appointment, said that when the shooting began, she saw her hairdresser come to the door. She said she tried to wave her and other onlookers back into the building before she drove off to around the back of the salon as the shooter had allegedly seen her.

    “It was one shot and then it was just endless shots, one after another, just unloading into the army,” she told CNN Thursday afternoon.

    Tennessee’s Gov. Bill Haslam said Thursday that “lives have been lost from some faithful people who have been serving our country,” but did not say how many had died.

  • Nature Reserve Officer Thought She Spotted a Plastic Bag in a Tree. A Closer Look Revealed It as a ‘Rare’ Sight.
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 2:10 pm by Liz Klimas

    Comments (52)

    A nature reserve officer in the U.K. thought she saw a plastic bag in a tree, but upon closer inspection, she saw a network of hexagons, the trademark work of bees.

    Still, the white hanging structure was unusual. So Sarah Gibbs, a senior reserve officer at Northamptonshire’s Pitsford Water Nature Reserve, snapped a photo.

    This "pop up" comb was likely created by a swarm of honeybees as they moved on from their original colony to start a new one. (Photo credit: Sarah Gibbs courtesy of the Wildlife Trusts of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire)

    This “pop up” comb was likely created by a swarm of honeybees as they moved on from their original colony to start a new one. (Photo credit: Sarah Gibbs courtesy of the Wildlife Trusts of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire)

    “Whilst walking within one of the woodland compartments at Pitsford Water Nature Reserve I noticed something unfamiliar hanging about two meters up in a hawthorn bush,” Gibbs said, according to the Wildlife Trusts for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire’s website, which described the comb as a “pop up comb.” “It was about the size and width of my hand and looked to be a bright white honeycomb. No signs of bees or wasps were present but I was intrigued to know what would create such a beautifully fragile and exposed structure.”

    Here's a closer look. (Photo credit: Sarah Gibbs courtesy of the Wildlife Trusts of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire)

    Here’s a closer look. (Photo credit: Sarah Gibbs courtesy of the Wildlife Trusts of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire)

    Gibbs went on to say that she contacted a bee expert who told her this comb was likely created by a warm of honeybees, looking to establish a new colony.

    “Unable to find a suitable place such as a cavity in a tree, the swarm chose this spot and automatically went in to cell building mode,” Gibbs said. “The structure would have only been temporary as a colony would not have survived any bad weather and the risk of predators such as woodpeckers. Hopefully they managed to locate somewhere more suitable nearby.”

    The Wildlife Trusts reached out to David White with the Northamptonshire Beekeepers’ Association, who said he thinks the bees probably did move on to a better location.

    “This is a wild comb generated by a swarm of honey bees; when bees swarm they top up with a three day supply of food from the hive that they have just left, and using their wax glands will generate a comb in the wild,” White told the Wildlife Trusts. “The fact that the comb is still there suggests that the colony of bees was possibly spotted by an active beekeeper who gave them the opportunity of a permanent home.”

    According to the University of Arkansas, honeybees will swarm when a colony gets too large and crowded in one location. The bees will start to rear a new queen bee and when she’s almost mature, the old queen bee will leave the hive with some of the others to find a new home.

    This is what a honeybee swarm looks like when the bees are present. (Photo credit: Shutterstock)

    This is what a honeybee swarm looks like when the bees are present. (Photo credit: Shutterstock)

    The university explained that moving a swarm of bees is not difficult. If the queen is collected, the others will follow.

    (H/T: io9)

    Front page image via Sarah Gibbs courtesy of the Wildlife Trusts of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire.

  • Watching This Video, Can You Tell How Woman’s Wallet Was Stolen?
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 2:06 pm by Erica Ritz

    Comments (27)

    Police in Plano, Texas are looking for a man who stole a woman’s wallet while she sitting down to eat at a restaurant. He was so surreptitious in how he carried out the theft, neither the woman nor the people she was eating with noticed it.

    Watching the video below, would you have known what the man was doing?

    Do you know these people? The Plano Texas Police Department says this video shows a man hiding his arm in his jacket as he steals a woman's wallet from the purse on the back of her chair at the Blue Goose Cantina on West Park Boulevard. If you have any info, you're asked to call Plano police at 972-941-5555.

    Posted by WFAA-TV on Thursday, 16 July 2015

    First the man moved the chairs as though he was expecting other people, or was just trying to get more comfortable. In reality, he seemingly positioned his own chair so the purse of the woman sitting behind him was exactly where he wanted it.

    Then the man seemingly fumbled with his jacket, using the article of clothing to conceal how he was rummaging through the woman’s purse. The theft was both surreptitious and, once you know what he is doing, appallingly brazen.

    Police are urging anyone with information to call 972-941-5555.

    (H/T: WFAA-TV)

  • The Best Part of Kid’s Trick Shot Isn’t That He Made It — It’s His 25 Second Celebration Right After
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 1:29 pm by Erica Ritz

    Comments (26)

    Sports Center posted an impressive video of a boy making a one-handed trick shot from the porch of a home to a basketball hoop quite a distance away. But the best part of the video isn’t that he made the shot — it’s his wild, 25-second celebration right after. In fact, the video was tagged as one of Sports Center’s top 10 videos of the day.

    You can see the video, below:

  • Hollywood Director Wasn’t Afraid to Share This Post Showing What He Really Thought of Caitlyn Jenner’s ESPYs Courage Award
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 1:28 pm by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (183)

    Hollywood producer and director Peter Berg is under fire over an image that he shared on his Instagram account on Wednesday that takes aim at the selection of Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, as the recipient of this year’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs.

    Berg, who created TV show “Friday Night Lights” and directed the film “Lone Survivor,” posted a picture of a soldier next to a separate image of Jenner. The caption read, “One Man traded 2 legs for the freedom of the other to trade 2 balls for 2 boobs. Guess which Man made the cover of Vanity Fair, was praised for his courage by President Obama and is to be honored with the ‘Arthur Ashe Courage Award’ by ESPN?”

    The soldier in the photo was Gregory Gadson, who played in Berg’s film “Battleship,” according to the Washington Post.

    Yup.

    A photo posted by Peter Berg (@pberg44) on

    The meme was seemingly created and shared by the Main Stream Media Sponsor Boycotts Facebook page on June 3. It came with a message from the individual posting it that read, “I am neither condemning nor condoning Bruce Jenners ’transformation,’ I am merely pointing out that I think the hoopla surrounding BCJ is misplaced.”

    Berg’s Instagram followers quickly reacted, with some bashing the director for posting the image, and others explaining where he might be coming from on the contentious matter.

    “I’m confused by your photo post. Are you implying that in order to receive the Ashe Award you have to be a man?” wrote user TQuad64. “One thing that I’m not confused about is your lack of tolerance. #NoRoomForHate.”

    Another user named Ejbelisle3 wrote, “Him loosing his legs has nothing to do with ESPN or Sports or him being an athlete.”

    Neeshiminaj added, “Praising Caitlyn Jenner is an isolated event. It has nothing to do with the man you can’t even name. Why can’t we acknowledge both successes? There’s one award. For one person. But there’s plenty of other opportunities to acknowledge other people’s accomplishments instead of berating one person for one success.”

    Still, others defended the message that is embedded in the controversial meme.

    “The Arthur Ashe award is an award for courage. [Berg] isn’t saying anything about gender, he’s just enlightening us on how f**ked up our country can be,” wrote user ryan.marcus. “I’ll give it to Jenner, what she did does take courage, but not as much courage as the soldier who lost both of his legs in battle, competes with people with no disability, and wins. Or Lauren Hill, who was battling cancer and put up a hell of a fight while continuing her dream of being a college basketball player. Those acts take courage.”

    Some expressed their belief that changing one’s gender isn’t heroic. Read more of the responses here.

    (H/T: Washington Post)

  • Once You See What’s Attached to the End of This Drone, You May Think It’s the Coolest or Scariest One Ever
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 1:22 pm by Liz Klimas

    Comments (54)

    The video is only 14 seconds long, but its content has some calling it “extremely disturbing” and “scary.”

    The footage appears to show a drone — the remote-controlled, quadrotor kind that are becoming increasingly popular among the general public — and attached to it is a handgun.

    Image source: YouTube

    Image source: YouTube

    In the video, the gun appears to fire several times. The setup for how the trigger is pulled, if real, is unclear.

    Though posted with few details by YouTube user Hogwit, he did write that the weapon is semiautomatic and the “length from the muzzle to the rear of the frame is over 26 [inches].”

    Watch the footage:

    The Verge might have tracked down the YouTuber’s identity:

    Howgwit, the YouTube user who uploaded the recent 14-second clip, also references another video showing a CGI quadcopter with a mounted machine gun on his Google+ account, commenting: “Too bad it’s fake… though I have a real one in my channel.” Hogwit appears to be Austin Haughwout, a US drone hobbyist who was involved in a drone-rage incident last year. While flying a video-equipped drone at a beach, Haughwout got into a confrontation with a woman, Andrea Mears, who felt she was in danger from the craft. Footage of the incident went viral, and Mears was charged with third-degree assault before being granted probation.

    Hogwit (Haughwout) did not immediately respond to TheBlaze’s request for more information about the drone.

    As for the legality of such a device, Jim Williams with the Federal Aviation Administration a few years ago referenced already established rules that “would prohibit weapons from being installed on a civil aircraft.”

    That hasn’t stopped people from trying it though. Check out the “TaserDrone” from a few years back.

  • Check Out Georgia Sheriff’s Sharp Response to Complaint About Confederate Flag Display
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 1:19 pm by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (61)

    The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint Tuesday about Confederate flags displayed on county property, so Chief Deputy J. Lee Weems said he personally went to investigate.

    Image source: Shutterstock

    Image source: Shutterstock

    What happened next led the Georgia sheriff to post a pointed response on his office’s Facebook page.

    First of all, Weems said the flags were on private property.

    “One flag is the 1864 Confederate National Flag,” he wrote, “and the other is the 1956 Georgia State Flag.”

    But even if they were on county property, Weems said the display wouldn’t be criminal.

    “We are well known around here for being supporters of the Second Amendment. We’re pretty fond of the First Amendment as well,” he continued. “In fact, the only Amendment we really aren’t fond of is the 16th Amendment. (Now you all you folks that didn’t pay attention in 7th grade Civics have to look that one up. I’m sneaky that way).”

    At least the call came in on a non-emergency line.

    A few detractors replied to Weems’ post, but most comments were decidedly enthusiastic:

    Image source: Facebook

    Image source: Facebook

    Oh, and regarding Weems’ lack of fondness for the 16th Amendment“The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”

    (H/T: Right Wing News)

    Follow Dave Urbanski (@DaveVUrbanski) on Twitter

  • Shooter Opens Fire on Military Buildings in Tennessee, Killing Four Marines
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 12:15 pm by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (184)

    3:03 pm ET: “Today is a nightmare for the city of Chattanooga,” Chattanooga Mayor Andy Burke said at a press conference on Thursday afternoon. He added that the gunman “viciously attacked — at two different locations — people who proudly served our country.”

    In addition to praising first responders, Burke said that four individuals were killed and that the shooter was also killed at the scene. The hospitalized police officer was shot in the ankle and treated, he added.

    “There were some other individuals who were shot and have also been treated,” Burke said. “It is incomprehensible to see what happened and the way that individuals who proudly served our country were treated.”

    U.S. Attorney Bill Killian who also appeared at the event initially said that the crime would be treated as an act of domestic terrorism, but FBI special agent Ed Reinhold said that all these cases are treated as terrorism until proven otherwise, and that this has not officially been determined to be “domestic terrorism.”

    Killian then came back to the podium to encourag people to hold off on labeling the crime. Local police will be working with Homeland Security, the FBI and ATF in moving forward on the investigation.

    Specific details about the shooter and the victims were not given.

    2:55 pm ET: US official tells AP: “5 dead in Tennessee shooting, including 4 Marines and sole gunman.”

    2:28 pm ET: Additional witnesses speak out about what they saw:

    2:20 pm ET: Times Free Press reports that four Marines were killed, but CNN is reporting that three died.

    1:59 pm ET: The shooter is reportedly dead, according to WRCB-TV.

    1:53 pm ET: Authorities will hold a 2 p.m. ET news conference.

    1:30 pm ET: Police confirm: “Active shooter situation is over. Details forthcoming.”

    1:26 pm ET: AP confirms: “At least two military facilities in Tennessee were attacked”:

    The U.S. Navy said in a tweet that there was a shooting at a Navy recruiting building on Amnicola Highway in Chattanooga.

    Law enforcement officials told recruiters at a facility 7 miles away on Old Lee Highway that they were also attacked by a shooter in a car. The shooter stopped in front of the recruiting facility, shot at the building and drove off, said Brian Lepley, a spokesman with the U.S. Army Recruiting Command in Fort Knox, Kentucky.

    1:15 pm ET: There is reportedly no longer an active shooter, though details are sparse on what that means. WTVC-TV reported: Federal officials say there is currently no confirmation or indication the shooting is terrorism.

    1:10 pm ET: I was out on break and all of the sudden I heard about 10 or 15 pops, just really fast pop, pop, pop and … I said that sounds like gunfire and the next thing I knew there was police everywhere,” witness Marilyn Hutcheson tells WRCB-TV.

    1:04 pm ET: A photo uploaded to Facebook purports to show the entrance to a Navy building after the shooting:

    Pic of the army recruiting place

    Posted by April Grimmett on Thursday, July 16, 2015

    1:00 pm ET: “There has been several (shootings) at several different locations. It’s a fluid situation,” Tennessee Highway Patrol spokesman John Harmon told Reuters; there is no confirmation on whether they are related.

    12:56 pm ET: The Department of Homeland Security has reportedly activated a strike team to find the shooter.

    12:50 pm ET: Witnesses claim that shooter was a white male. Erlanger Hospital remains on lockdown, and shell casings were reportedly found outside of a requirement center, according to WRCB-TV.

    12:43 pm ET: CBS News is reporting that four U.S. Marines and one police officer were shot during the incident.

    12:40 pm ET: Police are investigating two separate shootings, one at a Navy reserve center on Amnicola Highway and another at a Navy building in the city, CNN reported.  

    Original story below.

    A police officer has reportedly been injured in an incident that unfolded on Thursday at the Naval Recruitment Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, according to WTVC-TV.

    Authorities are investigating an “active shooter” incident, with Chattanooga Mayor Andy Burke tweeting, “Horrific incident in our community. We will release details as they are confirmed. Prayers to all those affected.”

    Around 12 p.m. ET, the U.S. Navy also tweeted that officials are looking into the matter, writing, “#USNavy investigating report of shooting in #Chattanooga, TN. No confirmation. More to follow.” That tweet was followed up with a subsequent message that read, “#USNavy confirms shooting at building on Amnicola Highway.”

    Details into the incident are still sparse, but one witness told CNN that she saw a man with a “high-powered rifle” fire shots from a silver Mustang; authorities are reportedly looking for the vehicle.

    “I don’t know how many shots he fired, but it was a lot,” Gina Mule said.

    Chattanooga State Community College issued a tweet to its community as well that referenced a “confirmed shooting. It read, “Tiger Alert!!! Main Campus: Confirmed shooting. Stay away from Riverpark. Everyone stay inside, close doors.”

    The local hospital is also being heavily guarded, with some reports claiming that the injured police officer could be inside.

    “There are two heavily armed police officers … guarding the ER entrrance at Erlanger Hospital,” WRCB-TV reported around 12:30 ET.

    Watch live coverage below:

    WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather

    This is a breaking news story. Stay tuned for updates.

  • After Cop Illegally Enters Home, Video Captures Him Handcuffing Terrified Woman Who’s Wearing Only a Towel — and Right in Front of Her Teen Daughter
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 11:41 am by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (308)

    A cellphone video has surfaced showing a police officer handcuffing a woman in her home while she’s wearing only a towel — which repeatedly fell off — and she and her teen daughter are screaming for him to stop.

    Image source: KNXV-TV

    Image source: KNXV-TV

    But that may not be the worst of it.

    An internal investigation by police in Chandler, Arizona, found that arresting Officer Doug Rose entered Esmeralda Rossi’s home illegally on March 25, didn’t turn on his body camera and failed to document important details regarding probable cause and use of force — and that Rossi was naked except for a towel.

    Image source: KNXV-TV

    Image source: KNXV-TV

    Now Rossi is planning to sue, KNXV-TV reported.

    “I felt helpless. I felt violated,” Rossi told the station. “And honestly, I felt molested.”

    Esmerelda Rossi (Image source: KNXV-TV)

    Esmerelda Rossi (Image source: KNXV-TV)

    Rose retired on May 29 with a full pension, KNXV reported, and he hasn’t been charged with any crime.

    On the day Rose showed up at her door with Officer David Selvidge — regarding a domestic complaint from her ex-husband after the pair argued at his house — Rossi told KNXV she was in the shower.

    “My daughter came to the shower and said there are two officers at the door,” she told the station. “So I just grabbed a towel.”

    Rossi said Rose was behaving aggressively, making her “very uncomfortable,” so she told him to wait at the door so she could retrieve a cellphone — then she said she closed the door.

    “I turn to go into my living room, and I probably get about five steps in, and all of a sudden I just hear boots running in after me, telling me stop or I’ll arrest you,” Rossi recounted to KNXV.

    That’s when Rossi and her daughter began recording the incident on their cellphones.

    Video showed Rose telling Rossi to put her hands behind her back and that she was under arrest, and he began trying to handcuff her. At that point her towel began falling off, and Rossi and her daughter were screaming for Rose to stop.

    “You have absolutely no clothes on?” Rose asked Rossi as he attempted to cuff her. Rossi’s daughter was instructed to “go get your mother some clothes.”

    Image source: KNXV-TV

    Image source: KNXV-TV

    “Don’t take the attitude with cops, because we don’t play,” Rose told Rossi. “When a cop shows up, you’re not the one in charge. I don’t care if this is your house.”

    Doug Rose (Image source: KNXV-TV)

    Doug Rose (Image source: KNXV-TV)

    After her arrest, Rossi was “un-arrested,” reports showed. She wasn’t charged with any crime. Rossi added that her daughter was made to remove her handcuffs.

    “This was not the proper treatment of a citizen,” Marc Victor, Rossi’s attorney, told KNXV. “This was disgusting. This was barbaric.”

    The other officer on the clip, David Selvidge, went to his supervisor to note concerns about Rose’s actions. Selvidge’s body camera recorded the incident and he’s been cleared of wrongdoing, KNXV said.

    Rossi also said the incident brought back memories of being molested as a child.

    Follow Dave Urbanski (@DaveVUrbanski) on Twitter

  • Man Hunting Down the Loch Ness Monster for 24 Years Thinks He Finally Has the Answer
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 11:32 am by Liz Klimas

    Comments (66)

    Steve Feltham has been camped out on the beach of Lake Loch Ness in Scotland for more than two decades, hunting down the legendary monster some say lurks in the depths.

    But now, the man who actually holds a world record for “longest continuous vigil for hunting the Loch Ness monster,” thinks he knows what it is and shared his thoughts on why Nessie could soon be no more.

    A view of the Loch Ness Monster, near Inverness, Scotland, April 19, 1934. The photograph, one of two pictures known as the 'surgeon's photographs,' was allegedly taken by Colonel Robert Kenneth Wilson, though it was later exposed as a hoax by one of the participants, Chris Spurling, who, on his deathbed, revealed that the pictures were staged by himself, Marmaduke and Ian Wetherell, and Wilson. References to a monster in Loch Ness date back to St. Columba's biography in 565 AD. More than 1,000 people claim to have seen 'Nessie' and the area is, consequently, a popular tourist attraction. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

    A view of the Loch Ness Monster, near Inverness, Scotland, April 19, 1934. The photograph, one of two pictures known as the ‘surgeon’s photographs,’ was allegedly taken by Colonel Robert Kenneth Wilson, though it was later exposed as a hoax by one of the participants, Chris Spurling, who, on his deathbed, revealed that the pictures were staged by himself, Marmaduke and Ian Wetherell, and Wilson. References to a monster in Loch Ness date back to St. Columba’s biography in 565 AD. More than 1,000 people claim to have seen ‘Nessie’ and the area is, consequently, a popular tourist attraction. (Keystone/Getty Images)

    Though some hold to the existence of a plesiosaur-like creature in the lake, Feltham, who moved to Dores beach in 1991 to fulfill his childhood dream, told the Herald Scotland he now believes Nessie to be a very large catfish.

    “It is known they were introduced into English lakes by the Victorians for sport,” he told the newspaper, adding that he thinks the monster of lore is specifically a Wels catfish. 

    According to National Geographic, this type of fish can grow up to 15 feet in length and weigh up to 660 pounds, living for as long as 80 years.

    An angler carries a 38.5 kg sheatfish, a European catfish, which was caught near the village of Pererov in the river of Pripyat some 280 km south-west of Minsk on June 24, 2011. AFP PHOTO / VIKTOR DRACHEV (Photo credit should read VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images)

    An angler carries a 38.5 kg sheatfish, a European catfish, which was caught near the village of Pererov in the river of Pripyat some 280 km south-west of Minsk on June 24, 2011. (VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images)

    Feltham told the Herald Scotland he believes the number of the catfish have declined in the lake to a point where there are just one or two left.

    “They also eat other catfish and may have eaten breeding females over time. Nessie is destined to be no more, I’m afraid,” he said.

    Feltham did not immediately respond to TheBlaze’s request for comment about his theory and next steps.

    (H/T: Huffington Post)

  • Here’s What Happened When a Pastor and a Satanist Sat Down to Hash Out Their Differences
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 11:32 am by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (151)

    As debate continues over a monument that the New York-based Satanic Temple is set to release later this month in Detroit, Michigan, a Christian pastor recently faced-off against a representative of the group in a heated segment that aired on WJBK-TV.

    Jex Blackmore, president of the Detroit chapter of the Satanic Temple and Pastor David Bullock of the Greater Saint Matthew Baptist Church in Highland Park, clashed last week over the definition of Satanism and the statue, which features a giant goat-headed deity.

    The proposed monument has stoked controversy since its design was unveiled last year after a controversial Ten Commandments display was previously installed on the Oklahoma state capitol grounds.

    A court ruled earlier this month that the Judeo-Christian-themed symbol must be removed, leading the Satanic Temple to announce plans to possibly place its monument in another state.

    “The statue is supposed to create a dialogue?” Bullock said, calling the monument polarizing. “Well, statues don’t talk and if you wanted to have a dialogue with other faiths — I mean why not send an email in advance?”  

    But Blackmore hit back, claiming that it was the pastor who is being polarizing.

    “You’ve already made decisions about who we are, you’ve defined us for us, you’ve effectively taken our voice away from us and said that we are bringing evil to Detroit,” she shot back, with Bullock responding, “No, you’re putting words in my mouth now — I said mockery.”

    Watch the heated debate below:

    Fox 2 News Headlines

    The clash continued, as Blackmore alleged that there are many misconceptions surrounding Satanists.

    “There is deep misunderstanding about Satanism as a religion in all of its various forms, because Satanism and the term satanic has been used as a political tool … throughout history,” she said, going on to share the definition. ”We attempt to assert ourselves and our Satanic rights … we understand Satan not in the Judeo-Christian concept, but in a literary and philosophical history in which Satan is a cultural hero, a liberator, the ultimate rebel against tyranny.”

    Bullock pushed back against that definition, though, saying that it seemingly makes no sense.

    “Why call it satanism?” he asked. “If it’s a political agenda, if you’re a nontheist and you believe Satan is a literary figure … if you don’t believe in the devil, why call yourself a Satanist?”

    The unveiling of the controversial statue, which was slated for release on July 25, will now be held in private due to reported threats, according to Raw Story.

    (H/T: Raw Story)

  • New Study Finds Some Bad News Related to Doctor Choices Under Obamacare Exchanges
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 11:22 am by Fred Lucas

    Comments (54)

    The number of doctors available on average Obamacare exchanges is more than one-third fewer than it would be on an average private health insurance network, a new study found. For cancer specialists, the decline is even more pronounced.

    The study by Avalere Health, a health care consulting firm, found “health insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) include 34 percent fewer providers than the average commercial plan offered outside the exchange.”

    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)

    For cancer treatment, the number declines further, while the number of choices for a heart specialists is about a quarter fewer under the Obamacare marketplace than under private insurance.

    “Specifically, the analysis finds that exchange plan networks include 42 percent fewer oncology and cardiology specialists; 32 percent fewer mental health and primary care providers; and 24 percent fewer hospitals. Importantly, care provided by out-of-network providers does not count toward the out-of-pocket limits put in place by the ACA,” the study says.

    The exchanges had been in the forefront of the news when the Supreme Court voted 6-3 last month in deciding that the ACA law intended for the federal exchange, healthcare.gov, to be available in states where a state government didn’t establish an Obamacare marketplace.

    The study was done evaluating the top five states affected by the health exchanges: Florida, California, Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina. It compared the average number of providers in the ACA exchanges with the number of doctors in commercial networks in those states.

    “Plans continue to test new benefit designs in the exchange market,” Avaler CEO Dan Mendelson said in a statement. “Given the new requirements put in place by the ACA, network design is one way plans can drive value-based care and keep premiums low.”

  • TLC Just Dealt the Duggars a Huge Blow
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 10:50 am by Associated Press

    Comments (99)

    NEW YORK (AP) — After weeks in limbo stemming from revelations of sexual misconduct by one of its stars, the TLC reality show “19 Kids and Counting” is officially dead.

    TLC is not moving forward with an 11th season of “19 Kids” featuring the Duggars, whose show “will no longer appear on the air,” the network told The Associated Press on Thursday.

    “We spent the past month and a half in thoughtful consideration about what is the best way forward here,” said Marjorie Kaplan, group president of TLC, Animal Planet and Velocity networks

    In a move to redirect the attention and public outcry, TLC also announced it has teamed with two prominent child-protection organizations for an ongoing campaign to raise awareness about child sexual abuse.

    The multi-platform initiative will begin with a one-hour, commercial-free documentary likely airing in late August, the network said. It will include the participation of Jill and Jessa Duggar, two of the sisters Josh Duggar touched inappropriately, as well as other survivors and families affected by such abuse.

    Since 2008, the series – TLC’s most watched, averaging 3.2 million viewers – had chronicled the family life of Arkansas couple Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their children, now numbering 19. It was pulled from the network in May when reports surfaced that 27-year-old Josh Duggar, the oldest child, had fondled four of his sisters and a baby sitter a dozen years earlier, when he was a teenager. He has never been arrested or charged in connection with the molestations.

    Josh Duggar apologized for unspecified actions on a Facebook post and resigned from the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group, where he had worked as a lobbyist.

    Two weeks later, the Duggar parents were interviewed on Fox News Channel, as were Jill and Jessa Duggar, who said they weren’t aware the fondling had happened until Josh confessed years later and their parents told them about it.

    The show had ended its 10th season when the scandal broke; Hulu quickly pulled it from its offerings.

    “We took it as an opportunity to step further than just `How do we protect ourselves?’ and step into `How do we protect our audience and protect children?’” Kaplan said. “Our hope is to do more of that, in a way that’s thoughtful and respectful of the victims of child abuse – in the Duggar family and across America.”

    TLC is partnering with Darkness to Light, whose mission is providing interested parties with techniques for protecting children from sexual abuse, and RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), which describes itself as the nation’s largest anti-sexual-violence organization.

    “We anticipate this will be a long-term partnership with them,” Kaplan said.

    “The goal is to take what has been a difficult and painful experience, and focus that attention on the really critical issue of child protection and child sexual abuse,” she said, adding that several filmmakers are under consideration for the planned documentary.

    Kaplan admitted to having been “completely unaware” of the pervasiveness of child abuse.

    “I have learned a lot about this issue since,” she said, citing incidence figures as high as one among every 10 young people.

    “This is a fundamental problem in this country, so we’ve become quite passionate (at TLC) about making sure that we educate people,” she said. “We feel like we have a real obligation and an opportunity to create a moment here for people to be educated and for victims to find ways to come forward.”

    When asked the Duggars’ response to having their long-running show axed, Kaplan pointed to the expected participation in the documentary by two of the family’s affected daughters.

    “They’re interested in putting the focus on this issue, too,” she said.

    While it’s hardly typical for any network to drop its biggest show, this is not the first time Kaplan has pulled the plug on a successful series suddenly caught up in scandal.

    Last October, TLC yanked its reality series about child beauty-pageant contestant Honey Boo Boo and her Georgia family after the completion of filming an upcoming season of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.” While the network didn’t identify a reason for the cancellation, it came after published reports that the family matriarch, June Shannon, was dating a convicted child molester.

    “TLC is faithfully committed to the children’s ongoing comfort and well-being,” TLC said in a statement.

    TLC is in the midst of repositioning itself as “a brand with purpose,” said Kaplan, since 1997 an executive with parent Discovery Communications who took over TLC a year ago.

    One example: “I Am Jazz,” a sensitive, illuminating unscripted series about transgender teen Jazz Jennings and her close-knit family. It premiered this week.

    “It’s no secret that `19 Kids and Counting’ was a really, really hit show,” said Kaplan, acknowledging the scale of that loss. “But we have some other great shows, both on the air and in the pipeline.”

    —–

  • ‘Swatting’ Prank Ends Horribly for Victim — and He Has the Injury to Prove It
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 10:26 am by Liz Klimas

    Comments (84)

    The prank known as “swatting” is not only costly — taking up law enforcement’s time and resources to investigate false reports — but it can have disastrous consequences for the prank’s target as well.

    Take 20-year-old Tyran Dobbs of Ellicott City, Maryland, for example.

    According to WJLA-TV, five months ago a Howard County Police SWAT team descended upon his apartment building. In the incident, Dobbs was shot with a rubber bullet in the face and has had to endure surgeries as a result.

    It turns out Dobbs did nothing wrong. He had been “swatted.”

    Tyran Dobbs was shot by a rubber bullet in the face after a "swatting" call was made and brought a police SWAT team to his apartment. (Image source: WJLA-TV)

    Tyran Dobbs was shot by a rubber bullet in the face after a “swatting” call was made and brought a police SWAT team to his apartment. (Image source: WJLA-TV)

    Swatting is when someone makes a 911 call reporting an emergency — a fake one — that would result in a response from law enforcement.

    According to the FBI, swatting incidents often result in the “deployment of SWAT units, bomb squads and other police units, as well as the evacuations of schools, businesses and residences.”

    The initiators of swatting calls face federal charges and in a 2013 post from the FBI about the issue, Dallas Division assistant special agent Kevin Kolbye said it was “only a matter of time before somebody gets seriously injured as a result of one of these incidents.”

    Like Dobbs.

    Dobbs wants the county to pay for the medical treatment he's had to receive after he was hit with two rubber bullets in an incident involving a 911 call he never made. (Image source: WJLA-TV)

    Dobbs wants the county to pay for the medical treatment he’s had to receive after he was hit with two rubber bullets in an incident involving a 911 call he never made. (Image source: WJLA-TV)

    In a statement to WJLA, Howard County Police explained that a man who claimed to be Dobbs called 911, saying he had three hostages that he would execute if he were not given $15,000 within a certain timeframe.

    When police arrived at the apartment, they determined that Dobbs was inside with three women. Contacting the person on the lease, Dobbs’ father, the police were told he could not tell if the threat was credible or not and noted that there was a gun in the apartment.

    Here’s more from the police statement regarding Dobbs’ activity before he came outside that might have made police more wary, despite a woman telling them from the front door that there was no emergency:

    Mr. Dobbs was initially seen by officers crawling on the floor in front of a sliding glass door. He then came to the open slider twice and both times police repeatedly directed him to come out and show his hands. Mr. Dobbs did not comply and walked back into the apartment.

    The third time he walked to the glass slider, Mr. Dobbs was given the same direction by officers,  but kept his hand inside the lower front of his shirt. Before he could again walk back toward the  bedroom, where a woman who may be a hostage was still inside, he was struck with two non-lethal rubber rounds to prevent him from retreating back inside the apartment.

    The police statement went on to say that after Dobbs was struck, treated and transported to the hospital, the apartment was searched with consent and a small amount of drugs were found.

    “This is relevant because after interviewing all of the parties involved, it was clear that the people inside the apartment believed the drugs were the reason the police were at the residence. They were not aware of the alleged hostage situation. It was determined that this was a swatting incident,” the statement said.

    This was the fourth case of swatting in Howard County within a year, the other calls determined to be a hoax without any physical harm done, according to police.

    The police department is still trying to track down who was responsible for the false call in Dobbs case. He not only wants justice for this person but from the police department as well.

    “I want them to pay for my medical damages and I want whoever shot me in my face to have to do some time,” he told WJLA.

    The police statement said the county’s attorney’s have received his lawyer’s request for medical payment for his injuries.

    “Without question, Mr. Dobbs was targeted and victimized in this case by a fellow online gamer,” the police stated. “The incident demonstrates the extreme risk and danger of swatting calls. Police would urge  people to never provide personal information online. Police also urge anyone who is contacted  by officers to comply with their requests, even if they are confused about the police presence and don’t know or understand the reason for the contact.”

    An FBI agent, who said swatting was a “widespread issue” around the country, told WJLA if you’re threatened by another person saying they’re going to “SWAT your house,” you should tell your local police department.

    “So if they are responding then they will know that there is a threat out there, and they will try to make a telephone call into the house and see what the situation is before responding with a SWAT team,”Jennifer Leonard in the D.C. field office advised.

    Watch WJLA-TV’s report:

  • Crooks Have a New Way of Stealing Your Car, and It All Starts When You Pull Up to a Red Light
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 10:23 am by Jonathon M. Seidl

    Comments (79)

    Police in the Milwaukee area are warning the public about a new carjacking method they’re seeing, and it all starts when a driver pulls up to a red light.

    “They generally target females,” said West Allis, Wisconsin, Police Lt. Jeff Nohelty told WTMJ-TV. When the driver stops, a car then taps the driver’s bumper from behind. That the ruse is on.

    “So when the person gets out to talk about the accident, the juveniles will jump into their car and take their car,” Nohelty explained.

    In the last week alone, WTMJ reports, Milwaukee police have reported six such carjackings. They usually happen in the evening.

    So what are you to do if you get hit from behind? Police say you are not required to exit your vehicle. You can call them and just wait until they arrive.

  • Counselor at Well-Respected Christian College Makes Surprising Revelations on Her Blog — and Resigns
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 9:04 am by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (653)

    A Christian counselor who worked in the chaplaincy office at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, has resigned her position after revealing that she supports same-sex relationships.

    (Julierodgers.wordpress.com)

    Julie Rodgers (Julie Rodgers’ WordPress)

    A gay Christian, Julie Rodgers spoke with the Washington Post last December, telling the outlet that she doesn’t believe in reparative therapy — the umbrella term for controversial efforts aimed at curbing same-sex attraction — but that she personally embraces celibacy.

    She also told the outlet that she “can’t get behind” the idea that God would bless gay relationships. Months later, things have seemingly changed. 

    Rodgers’ role at Wheaton — which lasted only one year and surprised the evangelical world when her hiring was first announced — was to help students who experienced same-sex attraction as an associate for spiritual care in the chaplaincy office, Christian Today reported.

    But in a blog post published on Monday, Rodgers shared her story as well as her evolution on the issue of homosexuality, specifically critiquing the way in which celibacy has been negatively handled by some believers.

    “Because I care about the gaybies and it’s right to keep it real even if it comes at a cost, it seems like a good time to share some of the ways my thinking on how to best love and support sexual minorities has evolved through the years,” she wrote. “I’ve been troubled by the way human stories are often used to further one agenda or another in the culture war, and honest, nuanced, untidy stories seems like one way to avoid that happening (quite as much).”

    Rodgers continued, “Though I’ve been slow to admit it to myself, I’ve quietly supported same-sex relationships for a while now. When friends have chosen to lay their lives down for their partners, I’ve celebrated their commitment to one another and supported them as they’ve lost so many Christian friends they loved.”

    She said that she tells people to follow Jesus and to honor him with their sexuality, which she believes will lead some with same-sex attraction to lifelong celibacy, and others to make divergent choices. Rodgers said, though, that she believes that the Christian message that all gays should be celibate is problematic.

    “No matter how graciously it’s framed, that message tends to contribute to feelings of shame and alienation for gay Christians,” she wrote. “It leaves folks feeling like love and acceptance are contingent upon them not-gay-marrying and not-falling-in-gay-love.”

    Rodgers was careful to say that she doesn’t believe that most Christians hate gay people and explained that, in fact, most of the Bible-believing people that she knows love individuals with same-sex attraction, though they fail to see the burdens foisted upon them.

    “We’re made for long-term, committed relationships that bind us to one another and cost us something. Relationships are where we realize how selfish we are and begin to delight in setting our wills aside to nourish another,” Rodgers wrote. “They’re where we grow in tenderness, having received grace in our ugliest and most embarrassing moments. They’re where we energize one another with a love that overflows into hospitality as we welcome our neighbors into our homes.”

    For most, she said that these elements and dynamics will be found in a spouse, noting that many Christian communities have simply refused to allow same-sex couples to remain part of the collective if and when they come together. Speaking as a celibate gay, she said that she has faced “fire … [as she has] sought to live into the traditional ethic” that has made her “question whether this is about genuinely held beliefs or straight up homophobia.”

    “My goal now is the same as it’s always been: to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with the God who’s been my first love all along,” she wrote. “When it comes to this conversation, my goal has been to help Christians create the kinds of communities that make LGBT people feel wanted — where we can worship God, use our gifts, serve our neighbors, and find a family to share in the joys and sorrows of living in a world where so many people are so lonely.”

    Wheaton College released a statement on Monday affirming that Rodgers recently resigned her position, but not mentioning her sexuality.

    “Julie Rodgers recently held a position at Wheaton College. Her work schedule was consistent with the academic year and as such, she finished her time on campus in May,” it read. “Today, Julie notified the College that she is resigning her position, effective immediately, and will not be returning in August.”

    Photo credit: Shutterstock

    Photo credit: Shutterstock

    Rodgers addressed the controversy over same-sex relations in her December interview with the Washington Post, describing the battle that evangelicals face as they try to navigate the difficult issue.

    “Evangelicals are really trying to figure out what to do. There is a real panic about how to move forward. How do we think and talk about sexuality?” she said at the time. “We haven’t had a robust understanding around celibacy in the past. We are trying to find a congruence between faith and spirituality that does not try to align with traditional marriage but does recognize that we can live without sex, but we can’t live without intimacy.”

    Both Rodgers’ initial hiring and her decision to step down have been viewed as controversial moves that come amid an ongoing discussion and debate about faith and sexuality.

    As TheBlaze previously reported, some gay Christians have opted for celibacy in an effort to reconcile their faith and sexuality. Read some of their stories here.

    (H/T: Christian Today) 

  • ‘Epic Aerial Battle’ Between a Bald Eagle and Two Seagulls Is a Must See
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 8:35 am by Liz Klimas

    Comments (67)

    David Canales, a transplant from Texas in Alaska, keeps a visual log of his exploratory adventures of what’s often considered America’s last frontier.

    What he captured on camera and posted on the photo-sharing site Instagram earlier this week has the world talking.

    He snapped a photo of a bald eagle carrying a seagull as it snipped at his talons. Above the eagle, another seagull, seemingly defending his friend, attacked at the feathers behind the bird-of-prey’s neck.

    A photo posted by David Canales (@dcanak1) on

    “One of the most epic sights I’ve ever seen,” Canales wrote. “Had just switched on my 400mm lens seconds before I captured this on my kayak. Eagles in Valdez don’t mess around.”

    The U.S. Department of the Interior took notice of the photo, posting it on its own Facebook page.

    “Check out this epic aerial battle between a bald eagle & two seagulls,” the department commented. “David Canales captured this once-in-a-lifetime photo from his kayak on Prince William Sound in Alaska while on an 11-day expedition from Valdez to Whittier.”

    Check out this epic aerial battle between a bald eagle & two seagulls. David Canales captured this once-in-a-lifetime…

    Posted by U.S. Department of the Interior on Tuesday, July 14, 2015

    Other websites in the U.S. and around the world also began to share the photo this week.

    Canales didn’t immediately respond to TheBlaze’s request for comment.

    (H/T: io9)

    Front page image via Shutterstock.

  • CNN Reporter Says Major Garrett ‘Crossed the Line’ With Question That Visibly Frustrated Obama
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 8:11 am by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (156)

    CNN correspondent Dana Bash weighed in on a controversial question that CBS White House correspondent Major Garrett asked President Barack Obama during a press conference about Iran on Wednesday, saying that she believes the reporter “crossed the line.”

    “You do want to be tough, but there’s a fine line … between asking a tough question and maybe crossing that line a little bit and being disrespectful,” Bash said while appearing on CNN to address the matter. “And I think that that happened here.”

    As TheBlaze previously reported, Obama appeared visibly agitated by the framing of the Garrett’s question about four Americans who are still detained in Iran despite a nuclear agreement that was reached this week.

    “Can you tell the country, sir, why you are content with all the fanfare around this deal to leave the conscious of this nation, the strength of this nation, unaccounted for in relation to these four Americans?” the correspondent asked.

    Obama grew visibly frustrated and told Garrett that he should “know better” than to ask that.

    Watch Bash’s comments below:

    Others, too, have weighed in on Garrett’s back and forth with Obama.

    “Basically what he was saying is, ‘Man, look here, are you out of your damn mind?’” Don Lemon quipped while recounting Obama’s reaction. “I was at home watching it, going, ‘Wait a minute, it was a little out of school.’ I thought that was the next thing that coming, like, ‘What is wrong with you?’ That’s what I thought [Obama] was going to say.”

    Garrett responded to the controversy later on Wednesday, saying that he was not suggesting that Obama was content with the four Americans continuing to be detained, but that he wanted to seek an answer regarding their fate.

    “Politicians, especially those elected as president, are very adept at creating straw men. Taking something that they feel rhetorically works to their advantage and using it. That’s exactly what the president did,” Garrett said. “My question did not suggest he was content with the captivity of those four Americans. My question was about the contentment, or the satisfaction, or the realization that it was necessary within the context of this deal to leave them unaccounted for. That was the essence of the question.”

    (H/T: Mediaite)

  • Pluto’s Close-Up Photo Reveals Something Scientists Say ‘Could Be a Game Changer’
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 7:46 am by Liz Klimas

    Comments (190)

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (TheBlaze/AP) — Mankind’s first close-up look at Pluto did not disappoint Wednesday: The pictures showed ice mountains on Pluto about as high as the Rockies and chasms on its big moon Charon that appear six times deeper than the Grand Canyon.

    Especially astonishing to scientists was the total absence of impact craters in a zoom-in shot of one otherwise rugged slice of Pluto. That suggests that Pluto is not the dead ice ball many people think, but is instead geologically active even now, its surface sculpted not by collisions with cosmic debris but by its internal heat, the scientific team reported.

    A close up of Pluto's surface. (Image source: NASA-JHUAPL-SwRI)

    A close up of Pluto’s surface. (Image source: NASA-JHUAPL-SwRI)

    “This is one of the youngest surfaces we’ve ever seen in the solar system,” Jeff Moore of the New Horizons Geology, Geophysics and Imaging Team said in a statement.

    Breathtaking in their clarity, the long-awaited images were unveiled in Laurel, Maryland, home to mission operations for NASA’s New Horizons, the unmanned spacecraft that paid a history-making flyby visit to the dwarf planet on Tuesday after a journey of 9 1/2 years and 3 billion miles.

    “I don’t think any one of us could have imagined that it was this good of a toy store,” principal scientist Alan Stern said at a news conference. He marveled: “I think the whole system is amazing. … The Pluto system IS something wonderful.”

    A heart-shaped image seen on Pluto. (Image source: NASA-JHUAPL-SwRI)

    A heart-shaped image seen on Pluto. (Image source: NASA-JHUAPL-SwRI)

    As a tribute to Pluto’s discoverer, Stern and his team named the bright heart-shaped area on the surface of Pluto the Tombaugh Reggio. American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh spied the frozen, faraway world on the edge of the solar system in 1930.

    Thanks to New Horizons, scientists now know Pluto is a bit bigger than thought, with a diameter of 1,473 miles, but still just two-thirds the size of Earth’s moon. And it is most certainly not frozen in time.

    The zoom-in of Pluto, showing an approximately 150-mile swath of the dwarf planet, reveals a mountain range about 11,000 feet high and tens of miles wide. Scientists said the peaks – seemingly pushed up from Pluto’s subterranean bed of ice – appeared to be a mere 100 million years old. Pluto itself is 4.5 billion years old.

    “Who would have supposed that there were ice mountains?” project scientist Hal Weaver said. “It’s just blowing my mind.”

    Scientists react to seeing photos from the flyby. (Image source: NASA-JHUAPL-SwRI)

    Scientists react to seeing photos from the flyby. (Image source: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

    John Spencer, like Stern a scientist at the Southwest Research Institute, called it “just astonishing” that the first close-up picture of Pluto didn’t have a single impact crater. Stern said the findings suggesting a geologically active interior are going to “send a lot of geophysicists back to the drawing boards.”

    “It could be a game-changer” in how scientists look at other frozen worlds in the Kuiper Belt on the fringes of our solar system, Spencer said. Charon, too, has a surprisingly youthful look and could be undergoing geologic activity.

    Pluto (left) and its moon, Charon, (right) in false color. (Image source: NASA-JHUAPL-SwRI)

    Pluto (left) and its moon, Charon, (right) in false color. (Image source: NASA-JHUAPL-SwRI)

    “We’ve tended to think of these midsize worlds … as probably candy-coated lumps of ice,” Spencer said. “This means they could be equally diverse and be equally amazing if we ever get a spacecraft out there to see them close up.”

    Here is some video from NASA’s news conference:

    The heat that appears to be shaping Pluto may be coming from the decay of radioactive material normally found in planetary bodies, the scientists said. Or it could be coming from energy released by the gradual freezing of an underground ocean.

    As for Charon, which is about half the size of Pluto, its canyons look to be 3 miles to 6 miles deep and are part of a cluster of troughs and cliffs stretching 600 miles, or about twice the length of the Grand Canyon, scientists said.

    Charon, one of Pluto's moons. (Image source: NASA-JHUAPL-SwRI)

    Charon, one of Pluto’s moons. (Image source: NASA-JHUAPL-SwRI)

    The Charon photo was taken Monday. The Pluto picture was shot just 1 1/2 hours before the spacecraft’s moment of closest approach. New Horizons swept to within 7,700 miles of Pluto during its flyby. It is now 1 million miles beyond it.

    A pixelated look at Hydra, another of Pluto's moons. (Image source: NASA-JHUAPL-SwRI)

    A pixelated look at Hydra, another of Pluto’s five moons. (Image source: NASA-JHUAPL-SwRI)

    Up until this week, the best pictures of Pluto were taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, and they were blurry, pixelated images.

    Scientists promised even better pictures for the next news briefing on Friday. Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory is in charge of the $720 million mission.

    To put the cost of the mission into perspective, WCCO-TV noted that it’s less than the $1 billion NFL Vikings stadium.

    Ron Schmidt, a NASA ambassador, responded to questions about spending that kind of money in spac.e

    “People are talking about why are you going to spend money in space?” he said, according to WCCO. “Well actually, we’re not spending it in space. It’s all spent down here. Jobs, people, building the probes. People designing them, that’s all in our economy just like anything else.”

    Watch WCCO’s report:

  • Caitlyn Jenner Accepts ESPYs Award for Courage: ‘It’s About All of Us Accepting One Another’
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 6:54 am by Liz Klimas

    Comments (195)

    LOS ANGELES (TheBlaze/AP) — Caitlyn Jenner accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs on Wednesday night, saying her mission going forward is to “promote a very simple idea: accepting people for who they are.”

    Jenner received a standing ovation from some of the sporting world’s biggest stars after her 10-minute speech during the annual awards honoring the year’s top athletes and moments.

    Image source: ESPYS 2015/YouTube

    Image source: ESPYS 2015/YouTube

    “This transition has been harder on me than anything I can imagine,” said Jenner, who revealed she was in the process of becoming a woman in a televised interview with Diane Sawyer in April on ABC.

    From the stage, Jenner thanked Sawyer, whom she called a friend.

    Noting her powerful celebrity platform, the 1976 Olympic decathlon champion and current reality TV star vowed “to do whatever I can to reshape the landscape of how transgender people are viewed and treated.”

    Abby Wambach of the U.S. soccer team that won the Women’s World Cup presented the trophy to Jenner, whose voice broke as she thanked members of her famous family, including stepdaughters Kim and Khloe Kardashian. Tears welled in the eyes of Jenner’s younger daughter, Kylie, whose sister, Kendall, wiped a tear from her eye.

    “I never wanted to hurt anyone else, most of all my family and my kids,” said Jenner, wiping her eye.

    Image source: ESPYS 2015/YouTube

    Image source: ESPYS 2015/YouTube

    She admitted that until earlier this year she had never met another transgender person.

    The 65-year-old told the audience about trans teenagers who are bullied, beaten up, murdered or kill themselves. Jenner mentioned two people by name whose deaths particularly touched her.

    Speaking about the hardships faced by those who are different and in the transgender community, Jenner said “trans people deserve something vital.”

    “They deserve your respect,” she said, the crowd issuing an applause. “From that respect comes a more compassionate community, a more empathetic society and a better world for all of us.”

    Watch Jenner’s acceptance speech:

    Jenner urged the crowd that included football, basketball, baseball and hockey superstars to remember what they say and do is “absorbed and observed by millions of people, especially young people.”

    “My plea for you tonight is one join me in making this one of your issues as well,” she said.

    Many in the crowd watched intently as Jenner spoke with little reaction on their faces.

    “If you want to call me names, make jokes and doubt my intentions, go ahead because the reality is I can take it,” she said. “But for thousands of kids out there coming to terms with the reality of who they are they shouldn’t have to take it.”

    A video narrated by “Mad Men” actor Jon Hamm traced Jenner’s life from the time when she was known as Bruce Jenner to her current transition. She mentioned she once considered ending her own life with a gun she owned.

    She was shown applying makeup, buttoning her blouse in her closet and fastening the strap on her heeled shoes.

    With her trembling hands clasped in front of her, Jenner joked with the audience about her struggle to select the cream gown she wore.

    “OK girls, I get it,” she said, as the audience laughed. “You’ve got to get the shoes, the hair, the makeup, it was exhausting. And the fashion police, please be kind on me. I’m new at this.”

    Image source: ESPYS 2015/YouTube

    Image source: ESPYS 2015/YouTube

    “So for the people out there wondering what this is all about, whether it’s about courage or controversy or publicity. Well, I’ll tell you what it’s all about: it’s about what happens from here,” Jenner said, concluding her speech. “It’s not just about one person, it’s about thousands of people. It’s not just about me, it’s about all of us accepting one another. We’re all different, that’s not a bad thing, that’s a good thing. And while it may not be easy to get past the things we always don’t understand, I want to prove that it is absolutely possible if we only do it together.”

    Jenner didn’t walk the red carpet outside the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles, and she didn’t appear backstage to talk with reporters, as most of the previous Ashe award recipients have done. ESPN said Jenner wanted her onstage comments to stand.

    Reaction among Jenner’s sporting peers on the red carpet was mixed.

    Little League baseball pitcher Mo’ne Davis called Jenner “brave.”

    “She’s really brave to have the courage to get through a lot of those things,” said the 14-year-old who won best breakthrough athlete. “I know a lot of people give her a hard time about it, but just for her family to give her that support is amazing.”

    Former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield said, “I just know that’s Bruce Jenner and I’ll leave it at that.”

    Here’s Jenner’s full moment including Wambach’s introduction:

    RadarOnline.com reported Wednesday that Jenner’s representatives approached ESPN suggesting the network give her the Ashe award in exchange for plugs on her upcoming E! docuseries. ESPN and ABC are owned by Disney.

    “That rumor is completely false,” ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said. “The Arthur Ashe Courage Award and ABC interview were never connected.”

    Jenner’s publicist Alan Nierob called the report “utterly false” and had no further comment.

    Jenner’s selection to receive the Ashe award named for the late tennis player who died in 1993 after contracting AIDS from a blood transfusion generated strong debate online.

    “I met Arthur Ashe a few times. I know how important education was to him,” Jenner said. “Learn as much as you can about another person to understand them as well as you can.”

    Online critics said college basketball player Lauren Hill, who died of brain cancer in April, was deserving of the Ashe honor.

    But Hill’s mother, Lisa, attended the show and said her daughter would not have welcomed the controversy and made no judgment of others.

    Lauren Hill was honored by NBA MVP Stephen Curry with the award for “Best Moment”:

    “If she were here today standing on this stage, she would ask you not to sit on the bench,” Lisa Hill told the crowd. “Please don’t wait until you’re personally affected by cancer to start kicking cancer’s butt.”

  • Reporter Went Undercover as Homeless Outside de Blasio’s Mansion. Moments Later, He Was Confronted
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 2:11 am by Oliver Darcy

    Comments (120)

    A New York Post reporter who went undercover outside New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s mansion Wednesday was confronted by a police officer moments after arriving, the newspaper reported.

    “You see that big house up there? That’s the mayor’s house,” the cop reportedly told the undercover reporter, suggesting he move away.

    “You see that big house up there? That’s the mayor’s house.”
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    The officer added, according to the Post, “Here’s the thing: You try to panhandle in front of the mayor’s house, he’s going to have you moved.”

    The reporter asked if the liberal mayor would really request he be moved out of the area.

    “Yeah, you’re going to be moved,” the cop reportedly replied. “You’re in front of the mayor’s house. Think about it. How does it look, somebody panhandles in front of the mayor’s house? You see what I’m saying?”

    Andrew Burton/Getty Images

    Andrew Burton/Getty Images

    Soon after, the Post reported that additional officers arrived on the scene with a police wagon, flashing their emergency lights. Following a brief huddle, the original cop went back and told the undercover reporter it was OK for him to remain in the area with his “HELP THE HOMELESS” sign.

    The Post reported that earlier a different officer had told him to “keep walking” past the residence.

    The Post’s investigation comes after de Blasio blasted the paper for “fear-mongering” on the issue of homelessness. The newspaper had previously reported on a man publicly urinating in the streets of New York City who officials refuse to do anything about.

    On Wednesday, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said the homeless “have ever bit as much right” to use public benches and parks as others.

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  • Man Assaults Female Cop During Arrest & Tries to Flee, but One Bystander Made Sure He Didn’t Get Far
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 1:39 am by Oliver Darcy

    Comments (61)

    An officer in southern California was assaulted during a routine arrest Wednesday afternoon, but thanks to the actions of a quick-thinking bystander, the suspect didn’t get far, officials said.

    The San Diego Police Department said the female officer was attempting to make an arrest for trespassing on railroad tracks when he punched her in the head and attempted to flee the scene.

    A bystander saw the incident unfold and immediately ran after the suspect, eventually tackling him to the ground. He remained on top of the individual until other officers arrived and took the man into custody.

    “For somebody to assault a lady, any female, I don’t care if it was a cop or somebody homeless — anybody assault a lady is just, it’s not the thing to do,” the bystander, who remained anonymous, told KFMB-TV. “For all those guys that are walking by and didn’t stop, that could have been your mother or your sister, so just take that into consideration next time.”

    The injured officer was wearing a helmet at the time of incident and was not severely injured, KFMB reported.

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