The Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service has released a video explaining why deer and other large animals often stay motionless on the road when approached by cars, and offered tips for avoiding collisions with these animals.
The 22-minute video, Avoiding Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions, explained that the eyes of a deer are stationary, so deer can’t move their eyes around as people do.
“So, to a deer, a car heading into its path may only seem like an object that’s increasing in size,” USDA said. “Deer also see less detail than humans. And a deer’s keen night vision results from an ability to take in a lot of light, which makes headlights blinding.”
The video was produced by Sandra Jacobson, a U.S. Forest Service wildlife biologist, and the Missoula Technology and Development Center. Jacobson said understanding how deer see the world could help people drive more safely on the road.
While deer eyes are different from human eyes, their work schedules are similar, a factor that USDA said leads to fatal collisions.
“Dawn and dusk are active times for many species of large animals which is, coincidentally, a time when people may be traveling to and from work,” USDA said. “Choice deer habitat may overlap with human routes of travel, and certain road features, including adjacent or intersecting waterways, tend to attract deer and other large animals.”
The video was made to help educate Forest Service employees, but USDA said the information is relevant to anyone who drives.
By making the video, the federal government has become an award-winning producer. The video won a bronze medal from the 36th annual Telly Awards, for excellence in the nature and safety categories.
You’ve been there: You’re stuck in traffic and your lane is ending. While you’re obediently crawling at 2 miles per hour in order to merge over, there’s that guy who flies past you on the empty road, then tries to sneak back in at the very last minute.
But on Wisconsin’s new “zipper merge” on I-94, officials say it’s actually better if people wait to merge. The fact that residents are “too nice” and merge early, WITI-TV reports, may actually be contributing to significant delays.
“I feel like that’s what a lot of jerks do when they’re driving,” Kendra Gordon told WITI-TV, explaining why she merges early. “They wait until the last minute before they merge over.”
Michael Pyritz of the state’s Department of Transportation agreed that the drivers’ kindness may be an issue with the new zipper merge.
“Wisconsin drivers, and people in general, are very polite,” he said. “We get in line early. We make sure everybody sort of follows the rules.”
Get the complete story at WITI-TV.
A Houston officer has sparked an internal police investigation after video of his confrontation with anprotester legally carrying a firearm was captured on video – but only after the man objected to the officer who at first tried to delete it.
“Got your ID?” the officer asked the man.
“No, sir. I do not,” he said.
The officer later told the man he needed to have his ID so he could tell who he was. The man then told the officer he could tell him who he was.
The officer then asked him, “How do I know you’re not lying to me?”
Moments later the officer demanded that the man take his gun off as the officer appears in the video to throw the man’s protest sign on the ground and then take the gun without the man’s consent.
“You are going to jail for failure to ID because you can’t tell me who you are, you can’t prove who you are. I’m tired of you idiots coming out here,” the officer said.
It was then that officer must have realized the man had been recording the entire incident.
“Take the phone off now because we are going to erase it because you’re recording everything,” the officer said.
But fortunately for the man involved, the officer tapped the button to end the recording twice, thus stopping the video and then starting it again.
The video was posted to YouTube December 6 but a police spokesman said the exact time and date of the incident cannot yet be confirmed because of the ongoing investigation.
David Amad of the gun advocacy group, Open Carry Texas, responded to the controversial encounter by accusing the officer of being an “un-convicted felon.”
“He may not ever get convicted, but the fact of the matter is this one particular officer broke the law big time,” Amad told KRIV-TV, while adding that he thinks this was an isolated incident of police misconduct and does not necessarily reflect accurately on the organization’s relationship with the Houston Police Department.
KRIV-TV legal analyst Chris Tritico called the officer’s actions “completely illegal,” and a “violation” of police policy.
“Someone calls up and says this makes me nervous, they were pointing the gun, whatever the complaint was, the police then have the right to come to you and investigate that complaint and so at that point they lawfully have the right to say give me that weapon while I talk to you and you have to give it up,” Tritico told the outlet.
No charges were filed against the man who was confronted by the officer, an HPD spokeswoman confirmed to TheBlaze on Wednesday. The spokeswoman said she believed the man was lawfully carrying the gun and was released at the scene but that information was not immediately confirmed by officials, who cited the ongoing investigation.
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Ignoring the rampant corruption within the Afghan government could unravel any gains made in the country and create a safe haven for terrorists as U.S.-led combat operations come to a close, the U.S. special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction warned Wednesday.
John Sopko, who has served for more than two years as the top watchdog for U.S. spending in Afghanistan, said dirty dealings at the highest levels of the Afghan government, a lack of transparency in how international money is being spent, and Afghanistan’s own flailing economy have led to increased support for militant and extremist groups in the region.
Sopko spoke to reporters and analysts in Washington at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace as his agency released a new report asking U.S. lawmakers to institute stricter controls on money lent to the Afghan government for reconstruction.
“International assistance should not be seen as a blank check. There must be strings attached to ensure it meets donor objectives and conditions,” Sopko said.
The report said $104 billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars have been invested in Afghanistan’s security forces, reconstruction and economic development.
“That is more money, adjusted for inflation, than we spent on the entire Marshall Plan that helped rebuild western Europe after World War II,” Sopko said. “Meanwhile, more than 2,000 U.S. military and civilian personnel have died in Afghanistan, while tens of thousands more have suffered physical or psychological wounds.”
A former senior U.S. military official told TheBlaze the failure “not only lies with the Afghan government, but U.S. officials, the White House and State Department who ignored the symptoms of corruption for years and continued to funnel money into projects that were unsustainable, while at the same time cutting deals with well-known corrupt Afghan officials and never holding them accountable.”
Sopko’s report is a “warning but failure to heed that warning is exactly, what I believe is going to happen,” the former official said.
The inspector general released a list of “high-risk areas” within the U.S. reconstruction of Afghanistan seen as “especially vulnerable to significant waste, fraud and abuse.” The issues include corruption, Afghan military capability, oversight access and Afghanistan’s illegal narcotics trade.
The report noted that the U.S. has committed the bulk of its reconstruction funds — nearly $62 billion as of September 2014 — “to build up the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), which consists of the Afghan National Army (ANA) and the Afghan National Police (ANP)” to keep Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for terrorists.
But, the report said, “under current and future plans, the ANSF is not fiscally sustainable.”
It cited a number of problems with the plan to sustain the security forces in Afghanistan. First, even if it reduced its size to NATO recommendations of 228,500 members in 2017, the cost to the Afghan government would still be $4.1 billion annually. Beginning in 2015, Afghanistan will be required to spend at least $500 million annually to sustain its forces, with the rest of the cost falling on the U.S. and NATO partners.
“However, Afghan officials told SIGAR that they see the Afghan government contributing 3 percent of GDP annually to security, growing their contribution as the economy grows,” the study warned. “Under even the most optimistic GDP growth scenarios, this contribution would not result in the Afghan government fully funding the ANSF by 2024.”
The SIGAR report also referenced the federally funded Center for Naval Analyses investigation, which predicted that the insurgency in Afghanistan “will be a greater threat in 2015–2018 than it is now, due to the reduction in U.S. and NATO forces and the continued presence of insurgent sanctuaries in Pakistan.”
The analyses “forecasts that the Taliban will keep pressure on the ANSF, expand its influence in areas vacated by coalition forces, encircle key cities, and conduct high-profile attacks in Kabul and other cities.” It also said that the Taliban will conserve resources in the short term as it recovers from years of coalition operations before launching “a larger and more intense military effort.”
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A U.S. Army chaplain claiming that he was unfairly punished after he shared his faith during a suicide prevention training is fighting back, demanding through a conservative legal firm representing him that a commander rescind a letter of concern that was issued over the incident.
The Liberty Institute is asking that Army Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade Commander, Colonel David G. Fivecoat withdraw his claims against Captain Joe Lawhorn, which were issued on Thanksgiving Day .
“You provided a two-sided handout that listed Army resources on one side and a biblical approach to handling depression on the other side,” the letter read in part, according to conservative commentator Todd Starnes. “This made it impossible for those in attendance to receive the resource information without also receiving the biblical information.”
The debate surrounds the contents of a suicide prevention training that was held November 20, during which Lawhorn reportedly handed out a faith-based document, shared how he used the Bible to combat the depression he once suffered and recited scripture.
One of the soldiers in attendance at the University of North Georgia event was offended by the mention of the Christian faith and subsequently reported the chaplain to the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, according to a press release.
That’s when Fivecoat, following negative press over the incident, reportedly responded with the letter of concern, alleging that Lawhorn had advocated for the Christian faith and, thus, violated Army regulations.
Former Army Captain Jason Torpy, an outspoken atheist, had posted a complaint online, which charged Lawhorn with using ”his official position to force his personal religious beliefs on a captive military audience” during the mandatory suicide prevention event.
The Liberty Institute is defending the chaplain, though, claiming that he was merely sharing his own personal experience and that the reprimand is a violation of Lawhorn’s constitutional and legal rights.
In fact, the firm claims that the National Defense Authorization Act, section 533, protected Lawhorn’s comments during the training session, according to Starnes.
“It is outrageous that an Army chaplain would have his career threatened because he cared so much about his soldiers that he opened up to them about his personal struggles, and what worked for him,” Liberty Institute senior counsel Mike Berry said in a statement. “That is the very definition of looking out for your soldiers. And to be punished for it on Thanksgiving Day adds insult to injury.”
The God and Country blog also claims that Fivecoat purportedly called Lawhorn back to give him a different version of the letter of concern two weeks after issuing the first one.
That second letter reportedly said that Lawhorn didn’t violate Army regulations, though the text still expressed concerns, which God and Country said could be evidence that “the commander might have gone too far” in issuing his initial rebuke.
(H/T: God and Country)
Front page image via Shutterstock.com
Hillary Maybery is a photographer and self-professed “California girl.” Her time in the Golden State left her thinking hunters were “barbaric, blood thirsty, gun lovers.”
That was before she moved to Idaho where hunting is engrained in the culture. There she began understanding “hunting has nothing to do with violence or aggression.” And that has culminated in a series of recent photographs showing a 15-year-old hunter out in the wilderness with her dad — pictures that are absolutely stunning.
The photography blog Wonderful Machine describes how Maybery came across Halee, and the story surrounding the antlers on her back:
Hillary came across Harlee (pictured above) when she was browsing Facebook for a teen model. She then saw a photo of Harlee standing over her first 6×6 point elk with her dad, Bryan. She had made a clean, 350-yard shot, hit the elk right behind the shoulder and it dropped. Hillary contacted Harlee, got the okay from her and her dad and set out before sunrise for the shoot.
It was in a conversation with Wonderful Machine that Mayber explained her conversion from anti-hunter to someone who has come to respect it:
I am totally a [Southern] California girl, I thought hunters were barbaric, blood thirsty, gun lovers. What I’ve learned moving to Idaho is hunting has nothing to do with violence or aggression. It’s a little like farming or gardening. People protect and care for their chickens and their vegetable plants, only to end up using them for food. Also, hunters support conservation of wild places and laws that protect wildlife populations. What I learned with Harlee’s family is that they want to know where their food comes from, have clean lean meat, they eat the whole animal, and share the meat with friends and family. I still would never be a hunter, but my perspective has shifted and learned hunters are more knowledgeable and thoughtful about animals and nature. It was a great morning!
But since her story started spreading on Facebook earlier this week, Maybery said a heated debate has broken out.
“There are TWO types of hunters: the ones who hunt for food and actually eat it and use all they can from the animal, and the barbaric, blood thirsty gun lovers that only want to shoot a beautiful animal to get a icture and a trophy,” a commenter named Mary wrote. “So her thought of hunters were only half wrong.”
Another named Jake responded: “I am a very avid hunter today, and often harvest multiple species of animals in a given year. I hunt for the sport of it, but my family and I benefit all year long because of the meat. It’s about sustenance, and a personal reverence for the animals life. I’d argue admittedly that those “hunters” who are blood thirsty killers and shoot animals and leave them to rot, are not hunters at all and in fact are CRIMINALS!”
How does Maybery respond? She told TheBlaze in an email that from what she’s seen, hunters are good people.
“The hunters I know and photograph stalk their animal, plan, and take its life for food, much like many predators do in any ecosystem,” she wrote. “The animal was able to live its life in its natural environment in its natural state. Factory farms on the other hand (more times than not) are raised in mass quantities, while being injected with steroids, to expedite their growing process. They are bred simply to be food and therefore are denied the chance to live their lives in any sort of natural environment. What I have learned from this whole experience: a deer killed by a hunter in the woods lives a much, much better life!”
You can see more pictures that Maybery took of Harlee on the photographer’s website.
Brooke Conti believed that her dog, Jackson was having a bad dream. The 1-year-old “double doodle’s” (a labradoodle/goldendoodle mix) nightmare was captured on video by her owner.
Conti’s video shows Jackson’s distress, as well as the moment that her other dog, Laika jumped into action, appearing to cuddle and calm Jackson.
Since Conti posted the recording on YouTube on Saturday, the clip has racked up almost a million hits.
Watch it below:
See more images of Jackson and Laika on Conti’s Instagram page.
Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter.
American street names are suffering from a bad case of “déjà vu all over again,” as Yogi Berra might say.
If you drive along a stretch of road such as, for instance, U.S. Route 30 passing through small towns all along the length of Pennsylvania, you’ll see Main Street after Main Street, and an analysis posted to Reddit on Tuesday by user darinhq reveals, that’s a nationwide trend: There are nearly 11,000 Main Streets in the U.S.
In fact, the 50 most common street names are dominated by trees, numbers and presidents.
Darinhq’s analysis, pulled from U.S. Census data, shows pervasive similarities in American thoroughfare monikers, with “Main” and “1st” being the No. 1 and No. 3 road names in the country and “2nd” coming in, fittingly, at No. 2.
The first tree on the list, “Oak,” pops up at No. 9, and “Washington” is the most common presidential street name at No. 13.
See the complete list below:
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Authorities arrested two suspects Tuesday following acts of vandalism at a Chicago-area church over the weekend that left parishioners “visibly shaken.”
The heads of Mary and Joseph statues were lopped off in a church garden and a nativity scene was egged, according to a parish priest.
Describing the suspects as juveniles, Pastor Anthony Brankin St. Odilo Church in Berwyn, Illinois, told TheBlaze that they have been arrested and could be charged with misdemeanors in a “spiritual blow” that has shaken the congregation.
“I noticed — just visibly — they were all visibly shaken and their faces visibly pained,” Brankin said of his congregation after he told them about what unfolded.
Nuns at the church became aware of the damage early Sunday morning — which was discovered in a convent garden — after hearing the perpetrators scream a “wild, ugly sound” before vacating the premises, according to Brankin.
He told TheBlaze that he believes the suspects selectively “targeted Jesus, Mary and Joseph,” leaving the rest of the church’s property untouched.
Brankin added that he is grateful for the support that the church has received and noted that repairs will likely cost St. Odilo Church a few hundred dollars.
A voice message left for Berwyn Police Department was not immediately returned to TheBlaze.
Wisconsin police officers performed a near-superhuman feat of strength after finding two men trapped beneath a vehicle on Saturday, according to WTXF-TV.
When they couldn’t find a jack to lift the car, the police realized they had only one option: to lift the 3,400-pound Mitsubishi Galant themselves.
The entire incident was caught on dash-cam video.
So how did the men end up trapped beneath the vehicle? That remains a mystery.
“All of the people that we talked to were quite intoxicated and we, at this point, are unable to make a determination as to how they got underneath the vehicle,” Captain Ben Bliven of the Wausau Police Department said.
One of the rescued men has minor injuries; the other suffered burns from the engine.
Watch the dash-cam video, below:
Police in Dell Prairie, Wisconsin spotted a truck crossing the center line on the highway and pulled the vehicle over to the side of the road.
The officer reportedly smelled alcohol on 75-year-old John Przybyla’s breath and noticed an empty beer can in the back of the truck. When asked if he had been drinking, Przybyla reportedly told the officer that he had not. Instead, he gave quite the excuse.
Przybyla failed a field sobriety test during this stop. The three-time OWI (operating while intoxicated) offender’s preliminary breath test registered 0.062. That number is not over Wisconsin’s legal limit. However, because of his past convictions, Przybyla is not allowed to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol level above 0.02. He’s been charged with OWI nine times before.
So what did he tell police? Przybyla reportedly told the officer that his elevated blood alcohol reading was not due to drinking, but rather the result of the beer-battered fish he had recently eaten.
Will Przybyla’s beer-batter defense hold up in court? It depends. How the food was prepared (the amount of beer used in the recipe) and the method used to cook the fish can have an effect on how much of the alcohol is lost due to evaporation.
According to a report on the Global Post, there is alcohol in beer battered foods, “People seeking to avoid even trace alcohol contact, such as diners whose religion prohibits it, should avoid beer batter, but those who just want to avoid being drunk should have nothing to fear.”
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A Palestinian government official died Wednesday after a clash with Israeli troops during a demonstration in the West Bank.
Israeli troops fired tear gas into the crowd; varying eyewitness accounts said Ziad Abu Ain inhaled gas or was hit by a gas canister. Others described him as getting hit in the chest with a rifle butt or a soldier’s helmet.
According to the Associated Press, the 55-year-old collapsed during the confrontation and received first aid, but died on the way to the hospital.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called Abu Ain’s death a “barbaric act,’” the Jerusalem Post reported. He pledged to take “necessary steps” after an investigation.
An Israeli television correspondent who was on the scene standing next to Abu Ain said he wasn’t struck by soldiers at all.
Some 100 foreign and Palestinian activists were headed to plant trees as part of a protest of an Israeli settlement when they met up with the soldiers, Reuters reported. According to the AP, the protesters were going to plant near the West Bank village of Turmus Aya, which is close to an Israeli settlement.
It was not immediately clear from conflicting details in Israel and Palestinian media reports what prompted the soldiers to fire tear gas.
Kamal Abu Sassaka, an assistant to Abu Ain who said he was with his boss when the clash occurred, told the AP that Israeli soldiers also fired stun grenades at the group.
The aide said that Abu Ain told an Israeli officer that the protest was peaceful, but the group was told it could not proceed to where it was headed.
According to his account, soldiers and marchers pushed and shoved each other, and soldiers fired tear gas toward the activists’ legs.
He also said that a soldier hit the cabinet member in the chest with his rifle butt.
The Times of Israel quoted senior Fatah official Mahmoud Aloul, who said Abu Ain was hit by a tear gas canister, though others did not describe that happening.
A spokesman for the Palestinian Authority committee against Israeli settlements that Abu Ain headed told the Palestinian news agency Ma’an that an Israeli soldier beat Abu Ain in the chest with his helmet.
Abu Sassaka said a soldier administered first aid before Abu Ain was transported to a Ramallah hospital, where he was declared dead.
The Israel Defense Forces said it was looking into what happened and would issue an update.
The Jerusalem Post quoted IDF sources who initially believed Abu Ain died of a heart attack. Abu Ain’s family told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that he suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure.
An Al-Arabiya reporter said Abu Ain had told him when the clash began that he would “embarrass Israel today,” the Jerusalem Post reported.
The Times of Israel reported that Abu Ain was previously extradited from the U.S. to Israel for a 1979 terrorist bombing in which two Israeli teens were killed. He was released from Israeli prison in a 1985 prisoner swap.
Chief Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat told the AP, “This new assassination will have severe consequences.”
A senior Palestinian official said the Palestinian Authority would move to suspend security cooperation with Israel following the incident, the Jerusalem Post and Times of Israel reported.
This video showed Abu Ain on the ground, appearing in distress, holding his chest:
Americans hold diverse ideas about how mankind came into existence, but there’s one key detail that the majority do agree on: that God or another being created humans, according to a new study.
In fact, 68 percent of respondents said that they embrace this notion, according to the National Study of Religion and Human Origins. Digging down a bit deeper into the data, though, there’s a great deal of debate surrounding how people believe the finer details came to fruition, as Deseret News reported.
Consider that just over half (51 percent) of Americans embrace that the Bible is actually God’s word, with 56 percent contending that Adam and Eve were real people. But these proportions become more complicated as additional details are taken into consideration.
“Thirty-seven percent [of Americans] are creationists, 16 percent are theistic evolutionists, and nine percent are atheistic evolutionists. If we consider only those that are very or absolutely certain of their views this falls to 29 percent, eight percent, and six percent,” the study contends. “This tells us that well over half the population are at least somewhat uncertain about what they believe.”
As specific parameters are added into the mix, the proportions change, making the general labels that dominate the discussion more diverse that some might expect. For example, consider what happens when Adam and Eve are taken into account.
“Creationists, both Old Earth and Young Earth, should believe that God directly and miraculously created a historical pair of individuals (Adam and Eve) that were the progenitors of the entire human race,” the study read. “If we add in these restrictions about how God created and the historicity of Adam and Eve, we will find that 25 percent of the U.S. population should be considered creationists. Twenty-two percent of the population fit this more restrictive definition and are certain of their views.”
The goal of the National Study of Religion and Human Origins study, which was composed by Dr. Jonathan Hill of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was to dig deeper than Gallup and other research firms have gone in the past to assess how Americans truly view human origins.
In the end, the results paint a more complex picture than many might assume.
“I conducted a nationally representative survey of more than 3,000 U.S. adults. This study, in addition to trying to parse the various positions on human origins, includes the tools to map the social context of these beliefs,” Hill explained in a blog post earlier this month. “Numerous questions about family, friends, religious congregation, and education were included to try to assess if they had an impact on beliefs about human origins.”
After combining the data points, the study claims that only 8 percent of Americans can be called young-earth creationists who hold that the world was created in 24-hour periods over the course of a week and that humans have only been around for 10,000 years.
This isn’t to say that other creationists don’t embrace or at least entertain these sentiments, though the report claims that the remaining two-thirds are unsure what they believe about the matter, according to the National Center for Science Education.
The study also found that only 9 percent of the public would be counted as “atheistic evolutionists” — that is, those who do not believe God was a part of the evolutionary process, though they, too, might still embrace the existence of a God.
In the end, Hill said that the biggest takeaway is as follows: “Individual theological beliefs, practices, and identities are important, but they only become a reliable pathway to creationism or atheistic evolutionism when paired with certain contexts or certain other social identities. These positions are not free-floating ideas that individuals snatch from the air after considering all the alternatives; rather, they are found in certain social locations, and they become most plausible when shared with others.”
Read the study for yourself here.
(H/T: Deseret News)
Front page image via Shutterstock.com
It’s a phone call Denver police don’t likely get every shift: A man reportedly had fallen through a restaurant’s ceiling late Tuesday night.
Not that he landed on tableful of cocktails or hot wings or anything — this guy landed behind a wall where water pipes and the HVAC system are housed, KMGH-TV reported. When firefighters arrived at the Yard House at the 16th Street Mall, they saw the man in the space for the pipes but then lost sight of him.
While police couldn’t find him above the ceiling area, KMGH said, they did find a bunch of bottle caps from various alcoholic beverages up there. Police said he stole items from restaurant and concluded he’d been living in the rafters.
Then a few hours later, there was an odd noise.
“There was moaning coming from one of the walls to the right of the front doors,” James Ballinger with the Denver Police Department told KMGH.
After authorities removed seats from one of the booths, they saw at least part of what they were looking for: the man’s feet behind the wall.
So firefighters used a chainsaw to cut a hole in the wall so they could get to the man, who was wearing only blue jeans. He was transported to a hospital with unknown injuries.
In addition to falling about 20 feet into the pipe space, KDVR reported, the man may have tripped or slipped. In the process he set off sprinkler valves, which flooded the restaurant and the lobby of the adjoining Sheraton Hotel and caused about $100,000 in damage, police told TheBlaze Wednesday.
The man faces criminal mischief and burglary charges, police told TheBlaze, adding there is no information regarding how long the man was living in the restaurant’s rafters. His name is undisclosed, police said.
Hillary Clinton hasn’t said whether she’s running in 2016, but she has an early backer in former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.
“Hillary Clinton is by far the most qualified person in the United States to serve as president. If she runs, I will support her,” the former Democratic National Committee chairman wrote in an op-ed for Politico.
A Clinton presidential campaign is expected to face contention from the progressive wing of the Democratic party; Dean ran as an anti-establishment Democrat in the 2004 presidential race.
“I am sure I will have disagreements with her as she focuses on getting Americans back to work and rebuilding an America that works for all of us,” Dean wrote. “I value and respect her enough that whatever differences may exist will be minimal compared to the tasks we really need to do for the good of restoring our country. We need a mature, seasoned, thoughtful leader at a time when maturity and thoughtfulness are increasingly rare commodities in Washington, D.C.”
Dean was the frontrunner for a time in a crowded Democratic primary field in the lead-up to the 2004 election because of his opposition to the war in Iraq. After a disappointing showing in the Iowa caucus, he infamously bellowed the “Dean scream” that haunted the rest of his ill-fated campaign.
Dean has long been a key figure among the more progressive Democrats, many of whom have expressed support for a bid by Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, or Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Dean said it’s important that Clinton be elected in order to fill future Supreme Court vacancies.
“One of the most important reasons I am supporting her is because Secretary Clinton understands the institutional requirements of the Supreme Court,” Dean wrote. “More than 73 percent of Americans think the Supreme Court is no longer a fair arbitrator and is influenced by political considerations. I am one of those 73 percent. This court has repeatedly made decisions that have harmed our country for the sake of extending a political and ideological agenda that is far outside the mainstream of American traditions — on issues like campaign finance, voting rights, the rights of women and religious freedom.
“America needs a thoughtful president who will appoint judges and justices who will stand up for the Constitution and the law instead of catering to the dictates of those who fund the right-wing Federalist Society,” Dean continued. “I am confident that Hillary Clinton will provide that leadership.”
What happens when the weather computer doesn’t work during a live weather forecast? WCIV-TV Chief Meteorologist Dave Williams in Charleston, South Carolina found out – but it wasn’t as bad as you might think.
“We’re looking at a mess in the northeast over the next several days and we’re looking at a mess right now with the weather computer. It seems to be locked up,” Williams said at the beginning of the weather segment while looking at a map of the huge nor’easter storm in the northeast region of the U.S.
“How long can we talk about watches and warnings in the northeastern United States? This is the only weather map we have to work with right now,” the South Carolina weatherman said.
But Dean, one of the other anchors at the station, had questions about the weather so Williams knew he had a way out of the awkward moment in case the computer still wasn’t working.
“We’ll take a look at our weather computer here and see if things are any better and indeed they’re not – they’re not at all,” Williams said.
So Dean asked the Williams his weather question: “Will there be rain?”
And then his second question: “When will we see the sun?”
But then it was time to give the temperatures for the next few days. That proved a little more difficult – at least for Dean, who was scribbling down the week’s temperatures as fast as Williams was talking.
“Alright. That’s all the time we’ve got,” Williams said once he finished the forecast. “Maybe – just maybe – we can kickstart that weather computer for a final weather later on. We’ll get a look at that full seven day forecast.”
The computer-less weatherman didn’t forget to acknowledge his colleague’s efforts, though.
“Thank you for saving the weather forecast,” he said.
It’s unclear as to when the segment aired.
Watch the full weather segment:
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An assistant manager at an American Eagle Outfitter location in Fort Worth, Texas, was allegedly brutally beaten and burned to death inside her apartment by two former employees late last month.
Police documents claim that Ashlea Harris, 31, was killed by Clarence Mallory, 19, and his girlfriend Carter Cervantez, 25, before they purportedly attempted to use her store keys to steal Black Friday earnings from a store safe, according to the Daily Mail.
Mallory and Cervantez have been charged with capital murder in the wake of the incident. The two had previously been fired from the store in August after Harris named them as suspects when $18,000 went missing; that theft was reportedly never solved or resolved.
Fast forward a few months and Harris, who worked late into the night on Black Friday, arrived home around 3 a.m. on November 28. A friend saw her alive after briefly visiting the apartment and leaving around 4:40 a.m., though it is unclear what time the alleged attack against Harris unfolded after that.
Sometime in the early morning, though, a neighbor reported hearing screaming and other noises before hearing his carbon monoxide alarm go off and seeing sprinkler water coming into his apartment, according to WFAA-TV.
That’s when firefighters arrived and discovered Harris’ body, which showed signs of trauma; her hands and feet were also bound with duct tape.
“Her body was partially burned along with several areas of her bedroom which included her mattress,” the affidavit reads, according to the Star-Telegram. “An empty bottle of rubbing alcohol was found near the body.”
After learning about the previous case involving Mallory and Cervantez from August, authorities began monitoring the couple and claim that Cervantez was seen on security cameras the morning after the murder using keys stolen from Harris to break into the American Eagle location.
The two, who reportedly denied being involved in the crime, were subsequently arrested and are being held on $500,000 bond for murder and a $100,000 bond for theft, WFAA-TV reported.
This follows another tragic story this week about a teenager who was also burned alive.
(H/T: Daily Mail)
Time magazine named the people fighting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa as its 2014 Person of the Year.
— TIME.com (@TIME) December 10, 2014
From Time Editor Nancy Gibbs:
Governments weren’t equipped to respond; the World Health Organization was in denial and snarled in red tape. First responders were accused of crying wolf, even as the danger grew. But the people in the field, the special forces of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the Christian medical-relief workers of Samaritan’s Purse and many others from all over the world fought side by side with local doctors and nurses, ambulance drivers and burial teams.
Ebola is a war, and a warning. The global health system is nowhere close to strong enough to keep us safe from infectious disease, and “us” means everyone, not just those in faraway places where this is one threat among many that claim lives every day. The rest of the world can sleep at night because a group of men and women are willing to stand and fight. For tireless acts of courage and mercy, for buying the world time to boost its defenses, for risking, for persisting, for sacrificing and saving, the Ebola fighters are TIME’s 2014 Person of the Year.
The Ferguson protesters came in at No. 2 on Time’s list, followed by Russian President Vladimir Putin at No. 3; Massoud Barzani, the president of Iraq’s Kurdish region, at No. 4; and Jack Ma, chairman of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, at No. 5.
A Christian printer who was found guilty of discrimination by a civil rights commission and told that his employees would need to attend diversity training after he refused to print shirts for a gay pride parade is fighting back, appealing the ruling in Kentucky state court.
Blaine Adamson, owner of Hands on Originals, a Lexington-based T-shirt company, filed the appeal through his attorneys with the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal firm, arguing that the messages he was asked to print violated his deeply held religious beliefs.
The challenge comes after Greg Munson of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission announced in October that Hands on Originals discriminated against the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization of Lexington when it refused to print the shirts back in 2012.
The civil rights commission subsequently officially adopted this sentiment in November, finding that Adamson — who regularly does business with and employs gays and lesbians — violated the local non-discrimination ordinance, according to a Alliance Defending Freedom press release.
“No one should be forced by the government to endorse or promote ideas with which they disagree. Laws that do that are fundamentally unjust,” senior legal counsel Jim Campbell said in a statement. “We are appealing the commission’s decision because the First Amendment protects the freedom of every American to decline to speak on any issue without fear of punishment.”
In this case, Campbell said that Adamson wasn’t opposed to the individuals requesting the shirts, rather he disagreed with the message.
The Alliance Defending Freedom has also raised another related issue: if Christians like Adamson are forced to print shirts that violate their religious beliefs, this would also mean that gay and lesbian-owned businesses will be forced to print messages from groups that they, too, disagree with — something the firm believes violates the First Amendment.
“In America, we don’t force people to express messages that are contrary to their convictions,” Adamson‘s co-counsel Bryan Beauman of Sturgill, Turner, Barker & Moloney, PLLC added in a statement. “America should not be a place where people who identify as homosexual are forced to promote groups like the Westboro Baptists and where printers with sincere religious convictions are forced to promote the message of the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization.”
This is the very issue that was raised last month by Kathy Trautvetter and Diane DiGeloromo, a lesbian couple who own and operate BMP T-shirts, a New Jersey-based printing company.
Trautvetter told TheBlaze that she and DiGeloromo — who spoke with TheBlaze.com and appeared on The Glenn Beck Program — launched their part-time business back in 2003 when they began doing graphic design and visual arts work for gay pride events.
Despite disagreeing on the finer details surrounding homosexuality, they support Adamson’s right to defend his Christian views and his business.
“The idea is that when you own your own business, it’s your own art and creation — it’s very personal … it takes a long time to build a business,” Trautvetter said. “When someone wants to force you to go against it — that’s what stuck me right in the heart. I really felt for Blaine.”
Speaking specifically about a civil rights commissioner’s call for Hands on Originals’ employees to attend diversity training as a result of the order refusal, she said that she doesn’t believe that the mandate will resolve the issue.
“To me, it’s like you can’t force acceptance, you have to gain acceptance,” Trautvetter said. “We’ve had a lot of people approach us on certain things … and we’ll tell them right up front, ‘We’re a lesbian-owned and operated [business]. This is what we do.’”
Read more about what she had to say here.
On Dec.1, 21-year-old gymnast and college student Brooke Baures was working at the WingDam Saloon and Grill in Fountain City, Wisconsin.
When the restaurant’s cook heard the food elevator descend, he went to check for dirty dishes — and found Baures dead.
On Tuesday, Fountain City police released their “final press release” on Baures’ case, revealing their disturbing conclusions: Baures, a senior at Winona State University in Minnesota, had her head crushed by a dumbwaiter that she herself had controlled.
The report notes that the food elevator operated quickly, giving operators only a few seconds to move out of the way, and, “due to the absence of doors on the cab specifically, an operator must physically stay clear of the device as it ascends or descends to avoid injury.”
The elevator has since been removed, the Daily Mail reported.
“It is our finding at this point that no crime occurred in this tragedy,” the report stated.
The gruesome death rocked the restaurant where Baures worked.
“I think one of my co-workers got squished in, like, our dumbwaiter,” the Daily Mail reported a coworker who called 911 as saying. “But I’m not willing to look close enough.”
Speaking of the grisly scene, Fountain City Police Chief Jason Mork said, “To explain more of her specific location, orientation or obvious injuries would require an extremely graphic explanation.”
Read the full report below:
During a candlelight vigil, her classmates at Winona State remembered Baures, the Daily Mail noted.
“She was the person that held us together,” said fellow gymnast Brooke Hiestand. “And if you had something that you didn’t know what to do…for some reason, she always knew the answer…always.”
Baures’s boyfriend, Winona State football player Joel Hinke, reportedly broke down in tears as he recalled his desire to marry her.
This story has been updated.
Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter
Nelson Mandela: anti-apartheid activist, South Africa’s first black president and…an inspiring athlete?
On Friday, a Canadian hockey player made it painfully clear that he had no idea who Mandela was — while he was at an event honoring Mandela — and the video went viral.
Attending a Toronto Raptors shindig honoring the late Mandela’s life and legacy, Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier was asked what he thought of the political figure.
Bernier’s awkward answer:
Well obviously he’s been a tremendous athlete, you know obviously what he means to all the sports, you know the world can be changed by the sports is pretty amazing and I think he’s definitely got a lot of respect in every sport and he was definitely one of the athletes I watched growing up as well.
The Raptors put the video online, but quickly removed it after Bernier started being ridiculed.
Bernier's composure under fire in the 3rd period reminds me of the time Nelson Mandela scored 3 goals just 21 seconds apart.
— Draglikepull (@draglikepull) December 10, 2014
"If Nelson Mandela got into the Hockey Hall of Fame before Phil Henderson, I'd be okay with that!" – Jonathan Bernier
— Free Woody (@CHEZ106WOODY) December 10, 2014
Bernier can’t believe he was scored on by Nobel Peace Prize winning African statesman Granlund.
— Chemmy (@felixpotvin) December 10, 2014
In Bernier’s defense, some have argued that athletes shouldn’t be expected to weigh in on politics — they should be expected to stick to sports.
Since making the public blunder, Bernier has apologized:
I’m embarrassed. I didn’t mean to offend [Mandela], his legacy. I got flustered with the red carpet and I was nervous. I think everyone makes mistakes and that was me that night.
(H/T: Huffington Post)
Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter
Israel’s Defense Minister told an audience of high school students that though the U.S. government is blocking Israel from building more homes in Israeli settlements, the Obamna administration “won’t last forever.”
Moshe Ya’alon spoke to religious seminary students in a West Bank settlement outside Jerusalem Tuesday, and excerpts from his remarks were obtained by Israel’s Army Radio Wednesday.
“I really want to approve plans and build more – right now this issue draws a reaction first and foremost from the Americans, and then threats from various sources,” Ya’alon said according to a translation of his quotes by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. “So, we are very cautious not to stretch the rope too much.”
“This government won’t last forever, and I hope that this is temporary,” Ya’alon added.
The defense minister lamented that every publication of plans to build homes in Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem leads to condemnation and attacks even from Israel’s friends.
Thus, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was taking a more cautious route, refraining from announcing new building tenders.
Despite the freeze on new construction, Ya’alon assured the students that Israeli communities in the West Bank were growing at a faster pace than other parts of Israel.
“Look at the past year – settlement in Judea and Samaria, and I know the numbers, grew by 20,000 people,” he said.
Ya’alon was speaking at a private meeting with students at the Makor Haim Yeshiva, and the Times of Israel reported that he was likely unaware that he was being recorded.
The Jerusalem Post quoted sources close to Ya’alon who said Wednesday in response to Army Radio’s airing of excerpts of the defense minister’s remarks that he believes the U.S. is Israel’s greatest friend and that the Obama administration in particular has contributed to Israel’s security.
“The scope and the depth of the strategic cooperation between them is unprecedented,” the source told the Jerusalem Post.
Israeli politicians are in high gear in advance of early elections set for March. Netanyahu’s Likud Party – also Ya’alon’s party – is vying for votes from Israelis living in settlements, who complain construction is being blocked by the government responding to U.S. pressure.
Ya’alon’s remarks might once again ruffle feathers in Washington following previous run-ins.
In January, the defense minister was quoted by an Israeli newspaper privately calling Secretary of State John Kerry “messianic” and out of touch with reality in his singular focus on striking a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.
The Obama administration was further annoyed when Ya’alon in March said the U.S. was projecting “weakness” on the issue of stopping Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Ya’alon apologized for both comments and publicly emphasized the importance of maintaining strong ties with the U.S.
In October, Israeli media reported that when he was in Washington, Ya’alon requested to meet with three top officials – Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice – but was rejected. Israeli media reported that the snub was a response to his previous critical comments.
NHL player Kevin Klein is proving why hockey players are considered so tough.
After a high stick in the first period Monday night, the New York Rangers’ player lost part of his ear — it’d take 13 stitches to repair, ESPN reported — but he stayed in the fight against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
It turned out his team would need him in a big way as the game went into overtime.
Hanging on 3-3, the Rangers needed a goal and with two minutes left in the overtime period, Klein gave them what they needed, whipping home a shot from center ice.
Watch the game highlights below:
“I don’t know if any of you saw his ear, but he lost a piece of it,” New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault remarked of his game-winning player. “We sewed it back.”
Klein tweeted a picture of his repaired ear on Tuesday morning, proclaiming, “Saw the plastic surgeon this morning it is all good.”
— Kevin Klein (@Realkevinklein8) December 9, 2014
Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter
Promoting his executive action on immigration policy in Nashville on Tuesday, President Barack Obama cited a seemingly non-existent Bible verse to justify his unilateral move.
“I think the good book says don’t throw stones in glass houses,” Obama said. He added, “or make sure we’re looking at the log in our eye before we are pointing out the mote in other folks eyes.”
As noted by Twitchy, reporter Charlie Spiering was one of the first to call the “verse” into question:
“I think the good book says don’t throw stones in glass houses” Obama says. #um
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) December 9, 2014
A word search for “glass house” in the Bible turned up zero results.
Obama also reportedly cited the Biblical story of Mary and Joseph being denied a room at the inn while Mary was pregnant with Jesus Christ as another analogy to support his executive action on immigration.
Follow Jason Howerton (@jason_howerton) on Twitter
A Phoenix police officer may very well have saved a woman’s life Monday.
“The 911 calls come in. She’s on the ledge. Someone said she appeared distraught and then there we ago,” one officer said.
Officer Brandy Thwing who has been on the city’s force for 13 years noticed a woman sitting on the edge of a roof four stories above the street in downtown Phoenix. That’s when Thwing crossed a narrow ledge, which officers reportedly said was unstable, and pulled her back to safety.
Arizona Republic reported the 19-year-old appeared to be wearing earbuds so when she raised her arms to put her hair in a ponytail, Thwing reached for her arms and pulled her away. It is unclear why the unidentified woman was on the roof in the first place but only that she was visiting with her mother from Texas.
Thwing, who ironically said she is afraid of heights, said she didn’t look down but kept looking “step by step”and focused on the direction where she was trying to go.
But even after overcoming her fears to potentially save a woman’s life, Thwing said she doesn’t consider herself a hero. Instead, she was just doing her job, she said.
Thwing’s partner, officer Josh Ramos, wasn’t surprised by her display of courage given her nature of humility.
“She was the first one in there. She got it taken care of, Ramos said.
Watch as Thwing heroically maneuvers her way to the edge of a building four stories above the street to rescue the woman who appeared “distraught”:
(H/T: Arizona Republic)
Follow Jon Street (@JonStreet) on Twitter