He’s About to Reveal Something Shocking About His Faith Using Only His HandsPosted February 10, 2014 at 8:44 am by Billy Hallowell
Pastor Justin Vollmar has spent the past few years releasing sign-language videos explaining Biblical concepts, but the preacher recently made a stunning revelation that will end his ministry: he’s now an atheist.
A Facebook page for Vollmar’s Virtual Deaf Church describes his initiative as “an online church for deaf people.” Through the Internet church, Vollmar has been releasing theology videos for quite some time.
But over the past few months, the online preacher has been posting fewer of his sign-language clips.
While he posted two last week, there was a five-month gap between those clips and the previous sermon he posted to the Virtual Deaf Church’s YouTube channel.
In his latest video, titled, “I Have Become an Atheist,” Vollmar admits that he has abandoned his Christian faith.
After noting that he has stopped posting sermons and Biblical commentaries, Vollmar makes his stunning revelation and explains why he’s leaving the faith behind.
“A profound wonderful change occurred in my life. My mind just completely shifted to the other side,” he said, noting that he could not allow himself to continue posting Bible-based videos. “After a long and mighty struggle, the answer finally became clear. This may shock you completely. Yes, I have become an atheist.”
Vollmar explained that, after studying the Bible closely in seminary, he noticed and struggled with many perceived contradictions in Christianity — issues he said couldn’t be ignored.
He was inevitably apologetic to his fans and viewers, saying that he knows his announcement might be upsetting to them, but that it is something he believes he needed to come forward with.
“In the end, I have [been] completely convinced that there is truly no God,” Vollmar added. “It is all nonsense.”
Watch his stunning admission below:
Vollmar said that, prior to his announcement, he joined the Clergy Project, a secretive organization that serves as a support group and a rehabilitation program of sorts for pastors looking to escape the pulpit and embrace atheism.
The former pastor did say he might continue posting videos, though it’s unclear what his “ministry” will look like now that he’s an atheist.
(H/T: Friendly Atheist)
Message From Above? The Mysterious Ways a Paralyzed College Student Says God Told Him He’d Walk Again…and He Says It WorkedPosted February 10, 2014 at 8:23 am by Billy Hallowell
It was a workout like any other — until Joel Haler heard what he described as a “loud pop” in his back.
Within 24 hours, Haler, a 20-year-old college student at Hope College in Holland, Mich., said he found himself paralyzed from the waist down.
It all started last October when he was in health class doing the Insanity workout, a popular exercise routine. At first he thought nothing of the popping sound and since he had back problems since he was a child, the initial pain wasn’t all that foreign.
But then he lost strength in his legs and it became difficult to walk. Later that night, Haler went to the emergency room and doctors, unable to do much, sent him home with pain medicine.
The next day Haler says he woke up paralyzed from the waist down, with doctors unsure of what, exactly, was happening. After they reportedly found no physical damage to his spine that would cause paralysis, he was inevitably sent home in a wheelchair.
“At first I was in complete shock and I was just like, ‘Wait a minute. What just happened?’” he told TheBlaze. “I’ve never suffered that traumatic of an event. Mentally, at first I was trying to replay everything … I quickly realized, ‘I’m paralyzed. I’m just going to have to start getting used to this.’”
Over the course of three months, Haler saw numerous doctors but to no avail. His life, in many ways, was on hold. While his professors allowed him to finish the semester at home in New Castle, Ind., he decided to take medical leave for the spring semester.
Despite his Christian faith and his personal quest to come to terms with the situation, Haler, the son of a pastor, felt the impact of his new-found limitations.
“At first my faith was extremely high. I just had a real sense of peace about the situation, but then as I got out of the hospital and things started to progress [it] spiraled me down into almost a depression,” he said.
“God, why are you doing this to me?” Haler remembers asking.
But while he felt despair as he wondered if he’d ever be able to walk again, the athlete said he soon experienced signs that he would soon recover — messages he believes came straight from God.
Messages From God?
This is the part that some will find hard to believe.
Sometime in early January, Haler said he had a dream in which he saw a big banner that simply read “J23.” He awoke confused and turned to his faith for the answers.
“I tried figuring it out and my dad alongside with me. We started looking in the Bible … at books that began with a ‘J’ and then looked at chapter 23 [in each],” Haler said.
He and his father, Pastor Eric Haler of New Covenant Worship Center, New Castle, Ind., couldn’t find anything. But then Haler said something else happened — yet another sign that helped put the pieces together.
“Literally that next week a little boy at church [named Braxton], 4 years old, came up to me and was like, ‘Joel you’re going to walk on a Thursday,” Haler recalled.
While some would have surely dismissed the child’s claim as nothing more than a silly prediction, Haler said he began thinking about the dream and then the child’s message and felt that the boy might actually be right.
“I know God told him this for a reason,” Haler said.
TheBlaze spoke with Braxton’s mother, Angela, who corroborated Haler’s account and said that her son first made the Thursday proclamation while the family was singing praise and worship music at their home last month. While they were praying for Haler, Braxton said something his mother wasn’t quite sure about at first.
“I asked him if he felt God was telling him anything,” she said of Braxton. “He said that Joel was going to walk on a Thursday.”
Angela continued, “Honestly, I thought it would be really cool if he was right, but I almost thought it was a little crazy, just because kids can say anything.”
That said, the next time the family saw Haler at church, the young boy let him know.
After hearing the boy’s prediction, the paralyzed athlete began looking at the calendar, wondering if he’d walk again on a Thursday as the child had promised.
Then, he remembered the J23 he so vividly saw in his dream and began pondering whether the “J” was a reference to a month; if so, perhaps the “23″ was the day of that month.
“I looked into June and July and of course it didn’t fall on a Thursday and that’s why my dad was like, ‘Why don’t you just take a peek in January?’” Haler recalled.
Alas, Jan. 23 would be a Thursday. Rather than hold onto skepticism, Haler said that he jumped right in and believed wholeheartedly that he would regain feeling in his legs.
“I was really standing on faith. I had fasted. I was like, ‘This is going to be the day,’” Haler said. “I really trusted God and I put my faith and everything in this. I wish that people could experience that. I have never been so confidant in something in my entire life.”
Haler felt immense comfort in the days leading up to Jan. 23. And then, he claimed, “it” happened.
“I didn’t sleep at all that night. If this is going to happen, I wanted to be awake for it,” he recalled.
Around 3 a.m. on Jan. 23, Haler said he began feeling tinging in his toes. Then, pain began working its way up his legs, taking about an hour and a half to reach his hips.
“And that’s when I pinched myself, [thinking] ‘Wow this is the real deal. This is really happening right now,’” he said. “So I swung my legs and I started walking.”
Considering that he had been wheelchair-bound for three months, Haler considers it a miracle that he was able to instantly walk again.
After all, muscle atrophy often sets in — and doctors had reportedly told Haler that even if he walked again, he’d need to relearn the mechanics.
Haler claims he was able to immediately hop out of bed, strut into his parents’ bedroom and wake them up. Ecstatic over seeing their son on his feet again, they immediately embraced him.
Weeks later, Haler is still walking and the pain has totally dissipated. He’s calling the entire thing a miracle and he’s giving all the credit for his recovery to God.
“There are people who will say this is impossible. I want to encourage them,” he said. “All of these elements are coming from God clearly and science cannot back this up … I don’t know how people can doubt this.”
Haler has been speaking at churches about his experience since it unfolded. He believes God wants him to spread his testimony and to share the challenges he faced.
“This has really changed my life for the better,” he said. “The maturity that has gone on inside of me. This is something God wanted to do in me.”
The Impact on His Family
Eric Haler, too, spoke to TheBlaze, detailing his family’s struggles with his son’s paralysis, noting that Joel’s plight essentially put the family’s life “on hold.”
Not long after the paralysis set in, church members helped build a ramp at the family home and Joel began using his parent’s bathroom, as his wheelchair wouldn’t fit into his.
The changes were profound.
Eric said he and his wife were left thinking, “Where do we go from here?” While they had questions, the family rallied around their son — and Eric said his faith actually intensified.
“I began to do more prayer and fasting and seeking God,” the pastor said.
Throughout the ordeal, Eric said he had a sense that God was using the tragedy to help refine his son’s faith.
“I think you’re paralyzed in you’re legs because sometimes you’re paralyzed in making choices,” Eric recalled telling Joel.
Eric, too, said he had a dream of his own the day after that little boy reportedly approached his son and predicted he’d walk again.
“I had actually a dream … that [a rehabilitation center] called me and when I’m on the phone with them in my dream Joel walks out of his room … and I told them, ‘My son is walking,’” he said. “‘I don’t know if I’m going to need your services.’”
Eric believes that this, too, was a sign that his son’s paralysis would come to an end.
What Doctors Say
Some will surely be skeptical of the story, which the Haler family anticipates.
TheBlaze reached out to Sarah Hughes, a local nurse who attends Haler’s church. She said she believes Joel’s story, noting that she wasn’t quite sure what to think when she first heard it all.
That said, she realized back in October that Haler was truly in bad shape.
And after seeing how he went from wheelchair bound to up and walking overnight, Hughes said she was truly moved as she hadn’t quite seen anything like it.
“Medically, he should have had no muscle tone to be able to walk after three months in a wheelchair,” she said. “There were no feelings whatsoever in his legs.”
Hughes said that the church has been given “a renewed sense of faith” as a result of Haler’s recovery.
Haler’s doctors were not willing to speak with TheBlaze about their patient’s case despite numerous attempts and Haler telling TheBlaze he gave his doctors permission to do so (although we couldn’t verify that claim with the doctors because they wouldn’t talk).
We did, however, reach out to orthopedic surgeons and doctors unaffiliated with the case who shared some insight.
Family physician Dr. Bola Oyeyipo said that it is possible to walk after three months in a wheelchair, but that the person would need “extensive physical therapy” to be able to fully use muscles again. Usually, recovery is gradual.
“We treat some fractures with casts that can stay on for 12 weeks or more,” Oyeyipo said. “When the cast is removed, these folks can usually walk albeit slow and guarded till they build muscle strength.”
Dr. Levi Harrison, an orthopedic surgeon based in Los Angeles, Calif., said that a patient confined to a wheelchair for three months would not be able to get up and immediately walk again.
“They would suffer from joint contracture (shortening of a muscle of joint) and the inability to ambulate,” he said. “They would also have poor proprioception in their ankles, knees and feet, making gait (normal pattern of movement) next to impossible.”
Harrison also said that a person who spent too much time in a wheelchair would have needed “high-powered physical therapy and a full-body conditioning program.” Haler was receiving Robotic Walking Treatment leading up to regaining feeling, though it is unclear how that might have played a role in his recovery.
“I have never seen a patient simply get up and walk well after having dense paralysis and being wheelchair bound for three months,” Harrison said.
Still, he didn’t rule out that no medical explanation could mean a truly divine one: “Miracles happen every day, though. This shows us that medicine has some answers but God has all the answers.”
Featured image via Joel Haler’s Facebook
See the Power of Mother Nature in a Mesmerizing, Five-Minute Video of an Avalanche as It Buries an Italian TownPosted February 10, 2014 at 8:16 am by Liz Klimas
An avalanche that occurred in northern Italy last week appears to be so slow moving it’s almost as if the footage taken of it is in slow motion. But it’s its speed that might have a saving grace for the inhabitants of the town nestled in the Alps.
For five long minutes, snow buried the area in the Passiria valley in South Tyrol, Italy, which is near the Austrian border.
According to the BBC, the event occurred Thursday after the area experienced record snowfall. It did not result in any casualties.
Thomas Ennemoser, who posted the video on YouTube, wrote (via Google Translate) that the inhabitants of the Oberpamer-yard pass were outside at the time, but “when they saw the avalanche, they fled before the snow.”
Watch the footage:
Three inns in the area were evacuated with people being rushed out by car or helicopter. The Oberpamer farm was partially buried.
The area, according to Ennemoser is prone to avalanches, rockfall and debris flows.
Obama Grants Asylum-Seeking Aliens Who Gave Terror Groups ‘Limited Material Support’ Easier Access to U.S.Posted February 10, 2014 at 5:34 am by Elizabeth Kreft
The Obama administration relaxed its rules this month for potential asylum seekers and refugees to the U.S. who may have terrorist links or who have given “limited material support” to groups classed as terrorist organizations, the RT Network reported.
The move is one of the first executive actions on immigration following President Obama’s promise to use more executive directives in his State of the Union address last month.
The Department of Homeland Security and the State Department published the new notice, dubbed the “Exercise of Authority Under Section 212(d)(3)(B)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act” Wednesday in the Federal Register.
The notice reads: “Following consultations with the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State have determined that the grounds of inadmissibility … bar certain aliens who do not pose a national security or public safety risk from admission to the United States and from obtaining immigration benefits or other status.”
The goal: if those seeking asylum gave unintentional support to the terrorist network, they can enter the United States.
The measures were introduced in the wake of 9/11 and affected everyone seeking to enter the US or extend a visa, if they were believed to have given such limited support and no exceptions were made, RT Network reported. Now, the Obama administration now wants to examine whether support could have been either limited or part of “routine commercial transactions or routine social transactions.”
According to 8 U.S.C. 1182, “material support” can include things like providing a safe house, transportation, communications, funds, false documentation or identification, weapons, explosives, or training, to any individual the actor knows or has reason to believe has committed or plans to commit a terrorist activity.
As a refresher, the code also defines “terrorist activity” as:
“… any activity which is unlawful under the laws of the place where it is committed (or which, if it had been committed in the United States, would be unlawful under the laws of the United States or any State) and which involves any of the following:
(I) The highjacking or sabotage of any conveyance (including an aircraft, vessel, or vehicle).
(II) The seizing or detaining, and threatening to kill, injure, or continue to detain, another individual in order to compel a third person (including a governmental organization) to do or abstain from doing any act as an explicit or implicit condition for the release of the individual seized or detained.
(III) A violent attack upon an internationally protected person (as defined in section 1116(b)(4) of title 18) or upon the liberty of such a person.
(IV) An assassination.
(V) The use of any—
(a) biological agent, chemical agent, or nuclear weapon or device, or
(b) explosive, firearm, or other weapon or dangerous device (other than for mere personal monetary gain), with intent to endanger, directly or indirectly, the safety of one or more individuals or to cause substantial damage to property.
(VI) A threat, attempt, or conspiracy to do any of the foregoing.”
The House and Senate Foreign Relations Committees did not immediately respond to TheBlaze for comment, but RT Newtork reported the Homeland Security Department said the rule change will not open the country to terrorists, as those seeking refugee status or a visa will still be subject to “thorough security checks.”
(H/T: RT Network).
Follow Elizabeth Kreft (@elizabethakreft) on Twitter.
Crack Pipe Vending Machines Debut in Canada — All You Need Is 25 CentsPosted February 10, 2014 at 12:47 am by Dave Urbanski
A nonprofit organization has installed Canada’s first-ever crack pipe vending machines in Vancouver in an effort to curb the spread of disease, according to Canada’s CTV News.
The machines dispense Pyrex crack pipes in exchange for just 25 cents.
“For us, this was about increasing access to safer inahalation supplies in the Downtown Eastside,” Kailin See, director of the Drug Users Resource Centre, told CTV.
While crack pipes have been dispensed by hand in the area, the rule of thumb has been one pipe per person per day, See noted. But vending machines let addicts buy as many pipes as they need.
“They don’t run the risk of then sharing pipes, or pipes that are chipped or broken,” See told CTV. “Everything from flu, colds, cold sores, HIV: If you cut your lip on a pipe that someone else has been using, there are risks there.”
The machines are adorned with colorful polka dots, a move to make the crack pipe vending machines “not look like a scary or stigmatized thing,” See told CTV. “This is a very important thing for the community and we thought we wanted to make it look really snazzy.”
The crack pipe vending machines are part of an overall program known as “harm reduction.”
“This is one piece of the larger puzzle,” See told CTV regarding the vending machines. “You have to have treatment, you have to have detox, you have to have safe spaces to use your drugs of choice and you have to have safe and clean supplies.”
Mariner Janes, a mobile needle exchange manager, said the response from the community has been positive.
“Through and through, the people that are using the machine and need the pipes are kind of in dire need of the supplies, and really it’s a health care kind of item,” he told CTV. “The pipes on the streets themselves can get very expensive, just because they’re kind of scarce.”
See said the machine at the drug users center typically sells out every week.
“I have had some people say to me, “Ah, only in Vancouver,” Janes told CTV. “I’d like to think that this is not the only place that this could happen. I’d like to see this idea go all over the place.”
The following report was produced by Vancouver’s Nadim Roberts, a Vancouver-based independent journalist:
(H/T: The Gateway Pundit)
‘The Hillary Papers’ Describe Former First Lady As a ‘Strong, Ambitious, and Ruthless Democratic Operative’: ReportPosted February 9, 2014 at 11:48 pm by Dave Urbanski
“The Hillary Papers” — a large archive of previously unpublished documents allegedly kept by Hillary Clinton’s friend and adviser Diane Blair — are seeing the light of day through a report The Washington Free Beacon posted Sunday night.
The archive paints Clinton, a former U.S. senator, U.S. secretary of state, and possible 2016 presidential candidate, as a ‘strong, ambitious, and ruthless Democratic operative,” the Free Beacon concluded. “The Hillary Papers” include “correspondence, diaries, interviews, strategy memos, and contemporaneous accounts of conversations with the Clintons ranging from the mid-1970s to the turn of the millennium.”
Blair, who died in 2000, was a political science professor Clinton described as her “closest friend,” the Free Beacon said, adding that Blair allegedly kept a record years of candid conversations with Hillary and Bill Clinton on issues ranging from single-payer health care to Monica Lewinsky.
More from the Free Beacon:
Diane Blair’s husband, Jim Blair, a former chief counsel at Tyson Foods Inc. who was at the center of “Cattlegate,” a 1994 controversy involving the unusually large returns Hillary Clinton made while trading cattle futures contracts in the 1970s, donated his wife’s papers to the University of Arkansas Special Collections library in Fayetteville after her death.
The full contents of the archive, which before 2010 was closed to the public, have not previously been reported on and shed new light on Clinton’s three decades in public life. The records paint a complex portrait of Hillary Clinton, revealing her to be a loyal friend, devoted mother, and a cutthroat strategist who relished revenge against her adversaries and complained in private that nobody in the White House was “tough and mean enough.”
The Free Beacon article offers an overview of the contents of “The Hillary Papers” divided into sections with titles such as:
- The Sex Files (dealing with Bill Clinton’s infidelities)
- All Those Whiney Women (issues with grassroots women’s groups)
- You Are Entering a World of Pain (the stress of media and political scrutiny)
- Single-Payer Necessary (Hillary’s failed attempt to establish universal health care)
Many notes on Hillary Clinton’s alleged attitudes toward and reactions to Washington politics are described in the Free Beacon piece. What’s most telling appear to be Clinton’s reportedly unvarnished personal assessments regarding her adversaries and political hurdles she had to overcome.
On health care:
“[Hillary] adamant; [Bill] must devise new outside strategy; we’re getting killed. Congress a bunch of whiners; no courage. Her health care plan will save billions in long run but will cost big $ up front. [Members of Congress] don’t work; only 3 days a week; only care for re-election,” wrote Blair. “[Bill] clearly not very happy w. his own crew and advisors. [Hillary] urging hard ball.”
On the Lewinsky scandal, specifically the day after Bill Clinton’s impeachment:
“[Hillary] sounded very up, almost jolly,” wrote Blair. “Told me how she and Bill and Chelsea had been to church, to a Chinese restaurant, to a Shakespeare play, greeted everywhere with wild applause and cheers—this, she said is what drives their adversaries totally nuts, that they don’t bend, do not appear to be suffering.”
Hillary Clinton’s “adversaries” included the media, Republicans, and top members of President Clinton’s staff, according to a Washington Free Beacon analysis of the contents of the Blair archive.
On the press:
“HC says press has big egos and no brains,” wrote Blair on May 19, 1993, during the White House travel office controversy. “That [the White House is] just going to have to work them better; that her staff has figured it out and would be glad to teach [Bill’s] staff.”
Hillary Clinton reportedly told Blair about many clashes with White House staff and administration, as well as with President Clinton. By the spring of 1994, Hillary was “furious” at Bill for “ruining himself and the Presidency,” the Free Beacon noted the files said.
“She keeps trying to shape things up, knows what’s wrong, but [Bill] can’t fire people, exert discipline, punish leakers,” Blair wrote on May 17, 1994. “Never had strategy for Whitewater, troopers, Paula [Jones]. … Inability to organize, make tough choices, drives her nuts.”
To read the full Free Beacon article, click here.
(H/T: Drudge Report)
North Korea Rescinds U.S. Envoy Invitation to Discuss Release of Jailed American BusinessmanPosted February 9, 2014 at 9:40 pm by Dave Urbanski
Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski
WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department says it is “deeply disappointed” in North Korea’s decision to withdraw for a second time an invitation to a U.S. envoy to discuss the release of a jailed American businessman.
Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki on Sunday called for Kenneth Bae’s immediate release and said the US would continue to work actively toward that end.
The decision apparently came in protest of upcoming regularly scheduled joint military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea, which Psaki said are not linked to Bae’s case.
Bae was quoted Friday in a pro-Pyongyang newspaper in Japan as saying he had been notified that the U.S. envoy on North Korean human rights issues would come to meet him as early as Monday and no later than the end of the month.
Bae has been sentenced to 15 years of labor for crimes against the North Korean state. Bae is described by friends as a devout Christian and a tour operator.
All-American College Football Player Says He’s Gay, Aiming for the NFLPosted February 9, 2014 at 9:14 pm by Dave Urbanski
Story by the Associate Press; curated by Dave Urbanski
Missouri All-American Michael Sam says he is gay, and the defensive end could become the first openly homosexual player in the NFL.
In interviews with ESPN, The New York Times and Outsports, Sam says he came out to his teammates and coaches at Missouri in August.
Sam says: “I am an openly, proud gay man.”
The 255-pound Sam participated in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., last month after leading the SEC in sacks (11.5) and tackles for loss (19), and he is projected to be a mid-round NFL draft pick.
He says: “It’s a big deal. No one has done this before. And it’s kind of a nervous process, but I know what I want to be … I want to be a football player in the NFL.”
Here’s a post-game interview with Sam from last season where he talks about his squad’s defense:
Snowboarder Fails to Make Finals in Olympic Event — So Why Is He Laughing and in Such High Spirits?Posted February 9, 2014 at 9:01 pm by Dave Urbanski
Russian snowboarder Alexey Sobolev didn’t make the Sochi Olympics slopestyle finals on Saturday.
And when the Games come around only once every four years, missing a chance at a medal can be a depressing prospect.
But the 22-year-old was laughing nonetheless.
Why? Turns out that after Sobolev plastered his phone number on his helmet a few days before, his iPhone had been blowing up with tons of messages.
Among them dozens of photos of naked (and provocatively dressed) women that they had sent Sobolev since acquiring the Olympian’s contact information.
“Yeaaaaah,” he said pointing to one female’s photo on his iPhone, noted Yahoo Sports. “She is really good.”
Another of Sobolev’s stunts during Thursday’s qualifying rounds was placing a caricature on his snowboard that evoked images of the anarchist band Pussy Riot, who ran into a bit of trouble with Vladimir Putin not too long ago.
The IOC made Sobolev cover his telephone number with black duct tape Saturday morning, but by then the digits had been all over the Internet and television…and voila, Sobolev’s newfound female fans.
“I’m definitely going to call them,” he told Yahoo Sports.
At one point Friday, he received so many messages and phone calls that his iPhone temporarily petered out.
It Was 50 Years Ago Today…Posted February 9, 2014 at 8:07 pm by Dave Urbanski
Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Right around this time of the night, on a Sunday, exactly half a century ago, four lads from Liverpool stood before a relatively small audience on the Ed Sullivan Show and played music the way they had been doing night after night for years.
The cultural-changing difference was that The Beatles’ rabidly anticipated appearance attracted a much larger number of onlookers than those lucky enough to have entered the television studio in New York City on Feb. 9, 1964.
About 73 million of them, in fact.
When the Fab Four played “All My Loving,” “‘Til There Was You,” “She Loves You,” “I Saw Her Standing There,” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” the impact was unexpected and rather immediate…and probably won’t ever happen again.
“The media has gotten so fragmented now … there’s 50 things in a marketing plan for an artist today,” said Revolt TV President (and former MTV executive) Andy Schuon. “The ability to fan that fire and to give it the kind of intensity that ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ could get doesn’t exist today.”
Nielsen says 45 percent of all TV sets in use at the time were tuned into the broadcast, with fans and the uninitiated alike gathered shoulder to shoulder in their living rooms. The Beatles landed on a trigger point when they hit America. It was a pop culture sonic boom spurred by talent, timing and luck that’s still rattling the windows.
“This was a seismic shift in American culture and it gave the teenagers not only a voice but a way of being, a way of thinking that had never occurred before,” Beatles biographer Bob Spitz said.
“Previous to the Beatles’ arrival here, teenagers were an appendage in the family. After that, the teenager became one of the dominant forces in the family. They became a marketable force and that didn’t happen with Elvis. This was pure.”
Grammy Awards producer Ken Ehrlich, who produced this Sunday’s TV special “The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to The Beatles” on CBS (8 p.m. EST), vividly remembers the electricity surrounding the British band’s appearance as he gathered with friends at a boarding house in Athens, Ohio, near the Ohio University campus to watch the show.
A generation of baby boomers — teenagers just turning 13 and 14 — was poised for the moment: The relatively new medium of TV, the growing media culture in the U.S. and a burgeoning post-war affluence that allowed millions of teens to bond through the black-and-white broadcast that began with a mop-top shaking version of “All My Loving.”
“Entire families wanted to see what was going on here because the phenomenon of The Beatles arriving here was so spectacular, so different from anything we’d ever experienced before, and everybody wanted to look at it,” Spitz said. “The kids wanted to look at it because they wanted to be like The Beatles and the parents watched it because they wanted to see what they were up against. Really. It was kind of like a morbid fascination.”
It was a unique opportunity. Millions of kids and the equally young medium of television were coming of age. The two found each other willing allies. They combined with factors that made the moment so startling and powerful it simply can’t be recreated in our hyper-media age.
“At this moment Paul and I are the only two people who know what that experience was like and it was incredible. Incredible,” Ringo Starr said. ” … The Beatles are The Beatles — let’s be honest. There was no bigger band in the land, and I don’t really believe there is any today, you know?”
Here’s the Beatles’ full musical performance (five songs) from Ed Sullivan’s live broadcast on Feb. 9, 1964, via Vimeo:
Bus Crash on Snowy Pa. Road Injures More Than 20Posted February 9, 2014 at 6:55 pm by Associated Press
CUMBERLAND VALLEY TWP., Pa. (AP) — Authorities say that a tour bus driving too fast on a snow-covered road crashed in southwestern Pennsylvania and more than 20 passengers were injured.
Western Maryland Health Systems spokeswoman Kathy Rogers says 15 patients were brought there and all but three with minor injuries are expected to be treated and released.
UPMC Bedford spokeswoman Susan Manko says 10 patients were treated and released from the hospital.
State police say the accident occurred around 2:20 p.m. on Route 220 near Black Walnut Farm Road in Cumberland Valley Township, about nine miles from the Maryland border.
Police say 65-year-old Terrence Harold Shultz lost control of the bus and struck an embankment.
Bedford County Director of Emergency Services David Cubbison says that it snowed all day in the area, causing numerous accidents.
‘I’m Not a Sitting Duck’: 59-Year-Old Woman Spots Burglars Outside Her Home, Grabs a Shotgun and Confronts Them — Their Reaction Is the Best PartPosted February 9, 2014 at 5:43 pm by Dave Urbanski
“You have to at some point in time take responsibility yourself for your own safety,” a homeowner told KTTV-TV in Los Angeles. “And that’s all I was doing.”
The homeowner is question, who gave KTTV only the name “Carla,” woke up at 3 a.m. earlier this week when she heard her dog barking.
Carla, a 59-year-old who lives in the L.A. suburb of Cheviot Hills, looked outside and saw a man in her backyard and another waiting by a car.
That’s when she took action.
Donned in her nightgown, Carla went outside with a shotgun. She told the KTTV reporter she heard one of them say, “Crazy b**ch has a gun!”
Carla let them know she meant business and fired once toward the ground to scare them off. The blast did the trick apparently, as the two men ran back to a white sedan and drove away.
“To let them know, ‘I’ve got a gun and I know how to use it,’” she told KTTV. “And hopefully this is going to tell these guys, ‘I’m not a sitting duck.’”
“I’m not a sitting duck,” Carla told KTTV, adding that her 90-year-old mother was in the house at the time of the attempted burglary.
Detectives said two male Hispanics broke into a house in Carla’s town, entering the residence through the garage and stealing several items while the homeowners slept. These men, presumably the same ones Carla confronted, robbed another nearby home as well.
(H/T: Hot Air)
Report: Star College Basketball Player Says Fan He Shoved Uttered Racial Slur (UPDATE: Marcus Smart Suspended for Three Games)Posted February 9, 2014 at 4:34 pm by Dave Urbanski
UPDATE, 6:35 p.m.
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma State star Marcus Smart has been suspended three games by the Big 12 for shoving a fan in the closing seconds of the Cowboys’ loss at Texas Tech on Saturday night.
Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford announced the suspension as he spoke in support of the All-American guard Sunday. Smart apologized for his actions prior to Ford speaking at the news conference on the Oklahoma State campus.
Smart will miss games against Texas, Oklahoma and Baylor.
Original story below
Oklahoma State University says it will hold a news conference Sunday at 6 p.m. ET in Stillwater with basketball team member Marcus Smart, coach Travis Ford and athletic director Mike Holder regarding an altercation with a Texas Tech fan the night before.
Late in Saturday night’s game at Lubbock, Texas, OSU was losing to Texas Tech 63-61 with six seconds left when Smart attempted to block a dunk and fell out of bounds. That’s when Tech fan Jeff Orr appeared to say something to the All-American guard, who then shoved Orr with two hands. Teammates quickly pulled Smart away as he pointed back in Orr’s direction.
Smart told Oklahoma State coaches that Orr called him a racial slur, a member of the basketball program confirmed to ESPN. Smart was “down and remorseful” after the game, the team official told the network, indicating the sophomore guard “got caught up in the moment.”
But Orr reportedly denied he called Smart a racial slur. The denial came in a text message conversation with a friend of Doug Gottlieb, a CBS basketball analyst, in which Orr does acknowledge saying something he shouldn’t have:
In a follow-up Tweet:
Smart was issued a technical foul and did not play the final seconds of the game. No decision has been announced on whether Smart will be punished.
Texas Tech said earlier Sunday it is investigating the incident, trying to speak with people who were in the area of the altercation.
Orr, an air traffic controller in Waco, Texas, is a kind of super-fan who travels thousands of miles to attend Tech basketball games, athletic department spokesman Blayne Beal told ESPN.
And player agitation doesn’t appear to be an atypical practice for Orr. A Twitter user posted a photo of what Orr apparently did during a game against Texas A&M, noted Footbasket:
Video of the above incident can be seen at the end of the below clip, as Orr appears to wag his tongue at the A&M player while also giving him the obscene arm gesture:
NBA player Metta World Peace — known for fighting with fans during the infamous “Malice at the Palace” incident in 2004 — gave some advice to Smart on Twitter, noting that ”all mistakes and missteps are a foundation for improvement. Sometimes the game is so intense, we forget it’s just a game.”
But former NBA forward Desmond Mason says there’s no excuse for Smart’s actions, Footbasket noted:
This story has been updated.
Two Sisters of Iowa State Rep. Found Dead of Apparent Gunshot WoundsPosted February 9, 2014 at 3:13 pm by Oliver Darcy
Story by the Associated Press; curated by Oliver Darcy.
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Two sisters of an Iowa state representative have been found dead of apparent gunshot wounds in the Pittsburgh home they shared, and police are investigating the case as a double homicide.
The bodies of 44-year-old Susan Wolfe and 38-year-old Sarah Wolfe were found Friday afternoon in their basement after they didn’t show up for work, authorities said. Police found Sarah Wolfe’s car around 1:15 a.m. Saturday parked nearly a mile away.
Sarah Wolfe was a psychiatrist for Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, and Susan Wolfe was a teacher’s aide at Hillel Academy in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood.
Pittsburgh police Lt. Daniel Herrmann said they don’t have a motive for the killings, and there were no signs of forced entry. Family members, most of whom live in Iowa, said they’re still trying to figure out what happened.
A sister, Mary Wolfe, is an Iowa Democratic state representative who lives in Clinton. Her website says she is the oldest of eight children, six girls and two boys.
On her Facebook page Saturday night, Rep. Wolfe thanked friends, neighbors and colleagues for their support.
“We are so grateful,” she wrote. “Heartbroken, but grateful.”
Dr. Claudia M. Roth, CEO of Western Psychiatric, said in a statement that she mourned the loss of both lives and said Sarah “was known as a very compassionate, warm, caring and bright physician who was praised by patients, families, staff and colleagues.”
Sarah Wolfe purchased the home in the East Liberty neighborhood on Dec. 3 for $210,000, Allegheny County records show. Susan Wolfe had recently moved from Iowa to Pittsburgh to live with her sister.
The medical examiner’s office has not released causes of death, but police say it appears the women had been shot.
Neighbors said the area is normally quiet and safe.
Popular Radio Host Fired From Her Job — the Reason Why Is Making HeadlinesPosted February 9, 2014 at 2:38 pm by Oliver Darcy
A popular Pennsylvania radio host claims she wasn’t fired from her job Tuesday because of poor performance, but instead was terminated because of the disruptive actions of her deranged ex-husband.
Nancy Lane told WJAC-TV that the past several years have been difficult on her, but things have amplified in the past few months with her ex-husband allegedly making violent threats against her and her former employer, Forever Broadcasting.
“Not only has my personal life been greatly affected and influenced, terror, fear, all of that, but I’ve worked very hard as a person in the public eye to maintain a certain reputation and now that’s been stripped from me as well,” she said.
Lane, who had a show on two Forever Broadcasting stations in Johnstown, says the termination letter she received — and partially read aloud to WJAC-TV — doesn’t mention poor performance as a factor in letting her go.
“Regrettably recent events involving your former husband has caused severe disruption to our business and has made this decision necessary,” the letter said, according to Lane.
“Regrettably recent events involving your former husband has caused severe disruption to our business…”
Authorities reportedly say her ex-husband, George Lane, who is currently sitting in jail for impersonating police, has threatened Nancy, her family and coworkers repeatedly — even hiring someone to slash the tires of several company vehicles last year.
“I guess what bothers me the most is I’ve overcome great obstacles and I’ve done my job,” the radio host told WJAC-TV.
Lane said that her coworkers have been very supportive of her troubles and instead placed blame for her termination on individuals at the corporate level.
“We’ve been through all of this. We’ve overcome through all of this,” she said. “We’ve worked as a team, we’ve functioned as a team and now I feel like when I need them most, they let me…the corporate offices let me go.”
According to WJAC-TV, a spokesperson from Forever Broadcasting was not provided for comment.
UPDATE: There appears to be a petition supporting Lane. You can view it here.
This story has been updated.
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What a Guy Mailed to Employers Who Turned Him Down Will Have You Shaking Your HeadPosted February 9, 2014 at 1:13 pm by Oliver Darcy
A St. Louis man was sentenced to two years of probation Friday for packaging up and sending cat feces to employers who turned him down for a job.
Jevons Brown, 58, pled guilty in August to a misdemeanor charge for mailing injurious articles, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“This is not a victimless crime,” Assistant U.S. Attorney John Bodenhausen reportedly said in court Friday.
Bodenhausen was referring to postal workers, people who had mail next to Brown’s packages and the employees that ultimately received the feces, the St. Louis Patch reported.
In court Friday, the 58-year-old apologized, reportedly saying, “I’m sorry. This will never happen again.”
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, federal sentencing guidelines recommended probation or up to six-months in prison.
His public defender was reportedly happy with the ultimate sentence.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Nearly 9 Million Pounds of Meat Recalled Because It Came From Some ‘Diseased & Unsound’ AnimalsPosted February 9, 2014 at 12:32 pm by Oliver Darcy
More than 8.7 million pounds of meat have been recalled from a Northern California company because the plant “processed diseased and unsound animals,” federal officials announced Saturday.
“Rancho Feeding Corporation, a Petaluma, Calif. establishment, is recalling approximately 8,742,700 pounds, because it processed diseased and unsound animals and carried out these activities without the benefit or full benefit of federal inspection,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in an online statement.
According to the agency, “The products are adulterated, because they are unsound, unwholesome or otherwise are unfit for human food and must be removed from commerce.”
The recall affects both beef and seafood items that were shipped from Jan. 1, 2013 to Jan. 7, 2014. Items were sent to retail locations in California, Florida, Illinois and Texas, according to officials.
There have been “no reports of illness due to consumption of these products,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture said, adding that anyone concerned should seek medical attention.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Saudi Family Says University Delayed Male Medics Treating Their Daughter Who Later DiedPosted February 9, 2014 at 11:57 am by Sharona Schwartz
The family of a student in Saudi Arabia says university authorities delayed emergency responders from treating their daughter who later died, because they didn’t want men in the women-only section of campus.
King Saud University officials denied the accusation, saying that Amna Bawazeer was treated immediately by medical personnel.
Media reports about the woman’s condition were conflicting. The Associated Press reported that Bawazeer suffered a heart attack, while Reuters reported that she suffered a stroke, “causing her heart and lungs to stop functioning.”
The Associated Press reported, “The Okaz newspaper said administrators at the King Saud University impeded efforts by the paramedics to save the student’s life because of rules banning men from being onsite. According to the paper, the incident took place on Wednesday and the university staff took an hour before allowing the paramedics in.”
King Saud University rector Badran Al-Omar denied the allegations, telling the AP that there was no delay in allowing paramedics access to the campus and that the university did all it could to save the life of Bawazeer who had a heart condition.
A university employee who witnessed the event told the AP that paramedics were not called immediately.
The unnamed staffer said the emergency responders were not given immediate permission to enter campus “and that it appeared that the female dean of the university and the female dean of the college of social studies panicked,” the AP reported.
Refuting that account, university rector Al-Omar provided a different timeline to the AP saying that campus health officials were called within minutes of Bawazeer collapsing and that paramedics were called about 25 minutes later.
“They called the ambulance at 12:35 p.m. and ambulance staff was there by 12:45 p.m. and entered immediately. There was no barring them at all. They entered from a side door,” he said.
The AP reported that thousands of Saudis have taken to social media to vent their anger over the report which was reminiscent of the 2002 fire at a girl’s school in Mecca during which religious police would not allow the young girls to escape because they were not wearing traditional Islamic headscarves. Other reports said police had sent some of the girls whose heads were uncovered back inside the building. Fifteen students were burned to death. Saudi morality police denied that they had blocked the girls’ exit.
The King Saud University faculty and Saudis writing on social media are now calling for an investigation and the setting of emergency protocols.
“We need management who can make quick decisions without thinking of what the family will say or what culture will say,” said Professor Aziza Youssef.
A Woman Says He Broke Into Her Home, Did Something Very Creepy, Then Left (Also…Why He Might Look Familiar To You)Posted February 9, 2014 at 10:43 am by Oliver Darcy
Denver police received some unsuspecting help in their efforts to catch an intruder — from the suspect himself.
According to KCNC-TV, a man walked into a home through the back door about 9:20 p.m. on Jan. 29, took a selfie of himself on the woman’s phone, then left the residence without taking a single thing.
Now, authorities are using the picture of the man — who bears an uncanny resemblance to “Breaking Bad’s” Walter White — to ask the public for help locating him.
According to Metro Denver Crime Stoppers, the suspect “has been seen walking in the neighbored in the past.”
“[H]e looks familiar to me, everybody else says they didn’t see him but he looks familiar to me, I know I’ve seen him before,” neighbor Richard Gardner told KCNC-TV.
“He doesn’t have glasses when you normally see him walking down the street,” he added. “Maybe they’re a disguise. I don’t know.”
The victim’s husband said that was the only picture the suspect appeared to take of himself. According to KCNC-TV, the woman didn’t even know the man had been inside her home until she discovered the photo the next day.
(H/T: Mail Online)
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Leading Iranian Official Calls Israel a ‘Cancer’ in the Middle East — Guess How the U.S. Delegation RespondedPosted February 9, 2014 at 9:49 am by Sharona Schwartz
The American delegation attending a ceremony in honor of Tunisia’s new constitution walked out after Iran’s parliament speaker called Israel a “cancer” of the region and accused the U.S. of devastating so-called Arab Spring revolutions.
“Even after the revolutions that happened in the region, the US and Israel tried to divert and devastate some of the revolutions so that Israel can benefit,” speaker of the Iranian parliament Ali Larijani said according to Iran’s official Press TV.
The U.S. embassy in Tunis said in a statement after the delegation left in protest.
“What was intended to be a ceremony honoring Tunisia’s achievements was used by the Iranian representative as a platform to denounce the United States,” it said.
The embassy was quoted by Reuters characterizing Larijani’s remarks as “false accusations and inappropriate comments.”
Iranian officials have previously slammed Israel as a “cancer” in the region that must be removed, which is one of the reasons the Israeli government has been so adamant about finding a way to halt Iran’s controversial nuclear program.
At his weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested that the decision by the Obama administration and European allies to ease sanctions on Iran have emboldened Iran to ratchet up its belligerent stance.
“The international easing of the sanctions against Iran have not led Iran to moderate its international aggression, the complete opposite has occurred,” Netanyahu said.
“The Iranian Foreign Minister recently met with the head of Islamic Jihad, Iran is continuing to supply terrorist organizations with deadly weapons, Iran continues to be complicit in massacres in Syria and to all this may be added the leader of Iran’s crude and sharp attack against the US, alongside sending warships to the Atlantic Ocean,” Netanyahu said according to a transcript posted on the Prime Minister’s Office website. “What is happening here is that the international community has reduced the sanctions on Iran and Iran is stepping up its international aggression. This is the real result of the steps up until now.”
Over the weekend, Iran announced that its warships in the Atlantic would for the first time travel close to U.S. maritime borders. In addition, the Islamic Republic’s state television broadcast a documentary simulating attacks on an American aircraft carrier and Israeli cities
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in 2012 said that Iran would help any nation or group that confronts the “cancer” Israel, and that Israel is a “cancerous tumor that should be cut and will be cut.”
Other top officials including France’s President Francois Hollande attended the ceremony on Friday marking Tunisia’s new constitution which the Associated Press characterized as “one of the most progressive in the region.”
Tunisia was the site of the first “Arab Spring” revolution which inspired uprisings in other Middle Eastern countries including Egypt.
Federal Agents Conduct Raid on ‘Machine Gun Preacher,’ ‘Totally Destroyed’ Charity’s ShipmentPosted February 9, 2014 at 9:26 am by Oliver Darcy
A man known internationally as the “Machine Gun Preacher” said Friday that federal agents interrupted his charity work in Africa when they raided his Pennsylvania home, business and warehouse Wednesday.
“They went into a container that was packed and ready to come to the orphanage and totally destroyed it,” Sam Childers, currently in Africa, told WJAC-TV over the phone. “I mean, destroyed it, and what’s so sad is that it was all children’s clothes.”
According to WJAC-TV, the FBI said they couldn’t elaborate on why they conducted the raid or comment on a pending investigation.
But, the “Machine Gun Preacher,” who was previously the recipient of the Mother Theresa Award, said that he thinks the joint FBI/IRS Wednesday raid stems from false allegations that he is smuggling firearms made by a former son-in-law. According to Childers, that son-in-law has stolen thousands of dollars from his Angels of East Africa nonprofit.
“This guy is in a lot of problems so what he’s been doing is he’s been telling the FBI that I’m smuggling guns and that I’m misusing funds,” Childers said. “To start with, it’s all lies and I’m telling everyone we’ve got nothing to hide.”
“I don’t have anything to hide, I mean, me smuggling guns? Come on, be for real,” he continued. “What of guns am I going to smuggle over here for a war? A deer rifle? That’s stupid.”
One of the charity’s volunteers added that the only person the feds are hurting are the children.
“They’re hurting the kids. This stuff is sent from all over the world and people’s hearts and they just come in and just treat it like it’s garbage,” Kim Growden told WJAC-TV. “When you do God’s work you have to you know, I’ll just start all over. That’s all I can do. It’s not for me or for us, it’s for the kids.”
Childers’ life story was the subject of the 2011 film “Machine Gun Preacher,” which according to IMBd is the incredible true story of a “former drug-dealing biker tough guy who found God and became a crusader for hundreds of Sudanese children.”
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The Prank Video Just About Guaranteed To Make You Smile — But Not Because It’s FunnyPosted February 9, 2014 at 8:29 am by Oliver Darcy
A new prank video uploaded to YouTube Friday is making the rounds on the Internet this weekend and it’s almost certain to make you smile — but not because it’s funny.
The video starts with what appears to be a rather mundane prank, showing an individual place fake parking tickets on vehicles to the outrage of drivers.
At the one-minute mark, however, things change. We don’t want to spoil the ending, so give the video a watch to see what happens.
At the time of publication, it had achieved more than half-a-million views on YouTube and warmed the hearts of many.
“Aww, it’s nice seeing all them smile,” wrote one individual.
“That was amazing,” commented another.
“This was so heart warming,” chimed in yet another.
Watch the viral video:
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The Shocking Simulation Involving a U.S. Aircraft Carrier and Israeli Cities that Iranian State TV AiredPosted February 9, 2014 at 7:46 am by Sharona Schwartz
Just one day after the commander of Iran’s Northern Navy Fleet announced that Iranian warships would for the first time travel close to U.S. maritime borders, the Islamic Republic’s state television broadcasted a documentary simulating attacks on an American aircraft carrier and Israeli cities.
First reported on by the Times of Israel, the documentary titled “The Nightmare of Vultures” was presented as demonstrating Iran’s potential retaliation to an American or Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Set to the backdrop of a dramatic Hollywood-like symphonic soundtrack, the simulation involved Iranian drones launching missiles at and destroying the USS Abraham Lincoln in the Persian Gulf as well as American military jets and helicopters taking off from the vessel.
The Times of Israel reported that the video “opens with Supreme Leader [Ali] Khamenei addressing military academy graduates in 2011, warning: ‘Anybody who thinks of attacking the Islamic Republic of Iran should be prepared to receive strong slaps and iron fists from the Armed Forces.’”
“And America, its regional puppets and its guard dog – the Zionist regime – should know that the response of the Iranian nation to any kind of aggression, attacks or even threats will be a response that will make them collapse from within,” Khamenei said in the clip.
The video then goes on to show military air strikes and multiple ballistic missile firings at Tel Aviv.
In a somewhat unrealistic scenario that dismissed any Israeli air defenses, the video demonstrated an Iranian aircraft flying unperturbed throughout Israeli airspace, dropping its powerful munitions one after another, wreaking destruction of Tel Aviv, Ben-Gurion International Airport, what appears to be an apartment building, Israeli Air Force bases, and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) command center in Tel Aviv.
As the Iranian warplane was bombing the IDF headquarters, the video showed file footage of a meeting with former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert which presumably meant to demonstration that Iran could strike the Israeli leadership.
Lest the target of the message be misunderstood, the locations of the strikes were conveniently subtitled in Hebrew.
To drill home the human toll of such a scenario, the Iranian film also included footage of Israelis being evacuated on stretchers by emergency responders.
The simulation emphasized the aspiration to strike strategic targets, including the refineries in the heavily populated coastal city of Haifa.
The film also showed the simulated attack of twin high-rises and Tel Aviv’s iconic Azrieli skyscraper complex, images chillingly reminiscent of September 11 attacks.
The Jerusalem Post wrote, “The film is yet another propaganda salvo unleashed by the Iranian regime, which has escalated its rhetoric in the past few days.” Besides the announcement of Iranian war vessels nearing the American coast, Khamenei said on Saturday that the U.S. government, with its “controlling and meddlesome” approach to Iran, would overthrow the Iranian regime if it could.
Watch the simulation here:
(H/T: Times of Israel)
U.S. Figure Skater’s Outfit Ruffles Some Feathers — But Offended Parties Aren’t the Usual SuspectsPosted February 8, 2014 at 11:47 pm by Dave Urbanski
Notice anything out of sorts with this U.S. figure skater’s attire?
No, we don’t mean Marissa Castelli. We’re talking about her pairs partner, Simon Shnapir.
If you missed it, look again:
Apparently some folks are in a snit because Shnapir was wearing a gun holster for the couple’s performance at the Sochi Games on Saturday.
Their theme music was from the the James Bond flick “Skyfall,” which likely had something to do with his choice of attire.
Some viewers thought the holster was a nifty move:
Button Man, your internal clock is astounding:
Here they are following the routine, and there’s Shnapir, right in front of the camera, in open-carry mode:
Thoughts, 007 fans? Let us know in the comments section below.
Mexican Vigilantes Say They’ve Breached Major Gang-Controlled City, Aiming to Drive Out Drug CartelPosted February 8, 2014 at 10:19 pm by Dave Urbanski
Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski
APATZINGAN, Mexico (AP) — Vigilantes who have driven a quasi-religious drug cartel from a series of towns in western Mexico entered a gang-held city on Saturday and were working with government forces to clear it of cartel gunmen, a leader of the movement said.
Dozens of vigilante group members, who wore white t-shirts to identify themselves, were seen by an Associated Press journalist speeding into Apatzingan in the back of pickup trucks. The city of 100,000 in Michoacan state has been under effective control of the Knights Templar cartel for several years.
“Federal forces are working with self-defense groups,” vigilante leader Hipolito Mora told The Associated Press by telephone from the center of Apatzingan. “Guys from the self-defense groups are moving around the city, cooperating in certain ways with the federal government. Many, many people have been detained.”
Mora said federal police controlled security in the city and both armed and unarmed member of the “self-defense” movement were working with them to identify Knights Templar hideouts. He said approximately 200 gang members were arrested, including the brother of one of its leaders, Enrique “Kiki” Plancarte. The government made no immediate comment.
The vigilantes’ presence in the city is both a symbolic and tactical boost for the movement.
The control of the Knights Templar group was once so complete that it would have been unthinkable for any rival to enter Apatzingan. The Knights Templar often traveled in vehicles marked with its symbol, a red cross, and sponsored demonstrations calling for the federal police to leave the city.
The cartel promotes itself as a mystic Christian order dedicated to protecting the population from abuse at the hands of the military and police. It ran “training schools,” including one in Apatzingan, that taught courses in leadership portraying cartel members as clean-living men of honor, steeped in Asian religion alongside Catholicism. Its members not only lived off methamphetamine and marijuana smuggling and extortion, but controlled much of the local economy.
In October, vigilantes tried to march into Apatzingan but were turned back by soldiers who said they couldn’t enter with weapons. A convoy of hundreds of unarmed self-defense patrol members returned the next day and successfully entered the city, where they were met by gunfire, presumably from the Knights Templar.
In apparent retaliation to the attempted incursion, suspected cartel members mounted coordinated attacks on vigilante positions, killing five, according to police. They also destroyed government electrical facilities, including power distribution plants and electrical sub-stations, in 14 towns and cities around Michoacan, cutting power to hundreds of thousands of people.
Mora told the AP on Saturday that this latest incursion was “a triumph.”
The vigilantes’ knowledge of the city is already boosting government operations against the Knights Templar, according to Mora, who said self-defense force members were going door-to-door pointing out suspected cartel members to federal police and helping police man check points on the roads in and out of the city.
“They’re all around the city watching to see if members of the Knights Templar are coming or going,” he said.
Mexico legalized the growing “self-defense” movement in Michoacan late last month, saying they would be incorporated into quasi-military units called Rural Defense Corps. Vigilante groups estimate their numbers at 20,000 men under arms.
Mora said vigilantes who have been formally incorporated into the Rural Defense Corps were armed, while those not yet registered had no weapons. He said he and his close associates were unarmed, and were there primarily to attend an afternoon rally for peace and the rule of law called by an Apatzingan clergyman who has opposed the Knights Templar.
Vigilantes began rising up last February against the Knights Templar reign of terror and extortion after police and troops failed to stop the abuses. Vigilante leaders have been asked to submit a list of their members to the Defense Department and are being allowed to keep their weapons as long as they register them with the army.
The military is giving the groups “all the means necessary for communications, operations and movement,” according to the agreement.
The following raw clip from YouTube shows the vigilante group members, armed, deploying to vehicles:
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