Archaeologists Uncover 1,500-Year-Old Christian Church During Israeli Construction ProjectPosted January 24, 2014 at 9:15 pm by Billy Hallowell
Relics and religious structures often help fill historical gaps and inform archaeologists about the customs and practices of centuries past. Most recently, experts working in Israel unearthed the ruins of a 1,500-year-old Byzantine church, complete with stunning mosaic designs.
The Israel Antiquities Authority announced the find this week after it was uncovered in Moshav Aluma, Israel, during construction of a new neighborhood. It is not uncommon for archaeologists to converge on construction areas to ensure that tidbits of history are not inadvertently destroyed.
After using an industrial digger, researchers noticed white tiles through a hole they dug, Live Science reported. That led them right to the church.
While most Byzantine villages had houses of worship, Davida Eisenberg Degen, who excavated at the site, told the outlet that this particular church’s location distinguishes it from other worship centers. Considering its central location near a main road, it likely served as a church that was used by a number of communities — not just locals.
“An impressive basilica building was discovered at the site, 22 meters long and 12 meters wide. The building consists of a central hall with two side aisles divided by marble pillars,” archaeologist Dr. Daniel Varga explained in a press release announcing the find.
He continued: “At the front of the building is a wide open courtyard (atrium) paved with a white mosaic floor, and with a cistern. Leading off the courtyard is a rectangular transverse hall (narthex) with a fine mosaic floor decorated with colored geometric designs; at its center, opposite the entrance to the main hall, is a twelve-row dedicatory inscription in Greek containing the names Mary and Jesus, and the name of the person who funded the mosaic’s construction.”
Archaeologists are still working at the site, but so far a mosaic, which contains a Christogram, a symbol that includes letters that form an abbreviation for the name of Christ, is among the most revered findings. It will be removed, conserved and displayed at a local museum.
There is not a cross on the mosaic floor, as Live Science noted that Byzantine Christians did not believe it was appropriate to step on Jesus’ most noted symbol. The mosaic design resembles a cross, but it is actually a display of Greek lettering that references Jesus’ name.
Find out more about the stunning find here.
(H/T: Live Science)
You Can Actually Smell Someone Who Is SickPosted January 24, 2014 at 9:00 pm by Liz Klimas
The idea of sniffing out an illness isn’t necessarily new; some scientists think dogs are able to smell cancer. A new study found humans might be able to smell someone who could be sick as well.
Researchers injected eight healthy people with either a toxin that would trigger their immune system to kick in or a control saline solution. Each person wore a T-shirt for four hours. They then had 40 other people smell and rate the worn T-shirts, which likely had absorbed some amount of sweat.
The study, “The Scent of Disease: Human Body Odor Contains an Early Chemosensory Cue of Sickness” published in the journal Psychological Science, found the T-shirts worn by those injected by the toxins were more likely to be rated as having a bad or unhealthy smell.
“This chemosensory detection of the early innate immune response in humans represents the first experimental evidence that disease smells and supports the notion of a ‘behavioral immune response’ that protects healthy individuals from sick ones by altering patterns of interpersonal contact,” the authors wrote in the study abstract.
Lead researcher Mats Olsson with the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden said in a statement about the research that the study could support “early, possibly generic, biomarkers for illness in the form of volatile substances coming from the body.”
What’s more, being able to pick up on these smells and have an averse reaction to them might be a way people avoid others with a potentially contagious illnesses.
Further research is needed to identify the compounds emitting these smells, but the Association for Psychological Science’s news release about the study noted that its findings “grants us a better understanding of the social cues of sickness, and might also open up doors for understanding how infectious diseases can be contained.”
Featured image via Shutterstock.
U.S. Citizen Arrested by Egyptian Authorities, Reportedly Being Held Without Charge in Undisclosed LocationPosted January 24, 2014 at 8:45 pm by Erica Ritz
UPDATE: Jeremy Hodge was released Sunday by Egyptian authorities, according to a USA Today report.
“The worst was that they handcuffed him to a chair for 36 hours,” said Drew Brammer, an American journalist in Cairo who is friends with Hodge. Brammer added that, based on their conversations, Hodge didn’t have access to food in that time and was unclear as to why he was being detained.
USA Today adds that a U.S. embassy official in Cairo confirmed that Hodge had been released, but had no further comment.
Jeremy Hodge, 26, is a U.S. citizen who has been studying and working in the Cairo area for several years. According to the Egypt Independent, Hodge was arrested at his apartment and has been detained without charge by the Egyptian State Security Investigations Service (SSI) since around 10:45 p.m. on January 22, 2014. Hodge’s friend, Egyptian filmmaker Hossam el Din Salman el Meneai, was arrested at the same time.
“The police came to the apartment that Jeremy had and they stayed there for hours asking him questions,” a friend of Hodge’s told Buzzfeed under the condition of anonymity. “When Hossam showed up they spoke longer and then took them away … The police were very curious about why Jeremy spoke such good Arabic, and they wanted to know why he had taken the time to learn Arabic; they were suspicious.”
Meneai, who was arrested with Hodge, has reportedly been making a film about Coptic Christians. Before Hodge’s phone was confiscated, he texted a friend that the authorities were asking Menai about “Sinai and his camera.”
Hodge texted another friend: “Hossam is being investigated, I’m waiting around.”
That was several days ago, and the two have not been seen since. Their lawyers say they tried to meet the young men at 11:30 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. on Thursday but were unsuccessful. By the evening the lawyers had concluded that the pair had likely been moved, but they did not know where. They have reportedly even begun filing missing persons and kidnap reports.
Originally from Los Angeles, Hodge has worked as a journalist and an Arabic-to-English translator. TheBlaze once wrote a story about his experience amid the uprisings, and full disclosure, TheBlaze’s Erica Ritz studied with Hodge at the American University in Cairo in the fall of 2010.
The Egypt Independent reports that Hodge’s mother, Lisa de Moraes in Los Angeles, spoke to Loghman Fattahi at the US embassy in Cairo Friday morning and was told that U.S. representatives had not been able to visit Hodge yet.
Hodge’s mother is deeply concerned about her son’s asthma, saying he is likely to have an attack without his medication. She reportedly told Hodge’s friends that the embassy “basically did not give her much information, except that [they] would not be able to see Jeremy until Sunday.”
Guess Which Hollywood Actor and Major Obama Supporter Mitt Romney Was Seated Next to for an Entire FlightPosted January 24, 2014 at 8:16 pm by Jason Howerton
UPDATE: It seems actor Zach Braff learned an important “life lesson” by sitting next to Mitt Romney on a flight to Utah. Just because two people may disagree politically, that doesn’t mean there is no common ground to be found.
LIFE LESSON: our politics are quite different, but @MittRomney and I are having the best conversation ever. Very cool dude.
— Zach Braff (@zachbraff) January 25, 2014
Read our original story below.
Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was ironically seated next to actor Zach Braff, a major supporter of President Barack Obama.
On Friday night posted a photo of his new “seat mate” on Twitter:
Seat Mates: pic.twitter.com/kq4WfzVZNM
— Zach Braff (@zachbraff) January 25, 2014
Before posting the photo, Braff tweeted about seeing Romney at JFK airport and “stalking” him.
“I feel like the odds of me and @MittRomney being on the same flight to Salt Lake City are good. I shall report back,” he wrote.
Romney then tweeted out his own photo, complete with a “Hunger Games” reference:
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) January 25, 2014
Braff was routinely critical of Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, though the two look entirely comfortable around one another. Romney’s son, Matt, even told his dad that he was “jealous” because he’s a big fan of “Scrubs,” the popular TV show Braff is best known for.
We’ll update this post of Braff or Romney reveals what the pair talked about on the flight. Both men were reportedly heading back to Utah, where the Sundance Film Festival is held.
Do You Have Any Idea How Much the Fed Gov’t Spends Every Year on Its Prisons? This Infographic Explains It AllPosted January 24, 2014 at 8:00 pm by Becket Adams
A handful of lawmakers, including Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), have in recent months raised concerns regarding mandatory minimum sentences, drawing attention to a much larger topic: The United States prison system.
Many Americans already know that the current system is very costly and that many are presently living behind bars in the United States.
But did you know that the federal government spends roughly $55 billion every year on its prison system?
Further, according the Paralegal Degree Center, a site dedicated to law education, did you know that there are currently 2.3 million people in federal prison?
If these facts surprise you, the following chart has more where that came from:
Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter
S.E. Cupp Backs Obama’s Former Deputy Campaign Manager Into a Corner Over Huckabee’s ‘Libido’ RemarksPosted January 24, 2014 at 7:42 pm by Jason Howerton
CNN host S.E. Cupp chastised the media over its reaction to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s so-called “libido” comments, saying she’s never seen “lazier, more intellectually dishonest analysis.”
The kind of analysis Cupp was specifically referring to was put on display when President Barack Obama’s former deputy campaign manager and “Crossfire” co-host Stephanie Cutter argued — or assumed — Huckabee must feel the same way towards women as he is accusing Democrats of feeling towards women.
“I’ve got to say that I feel like I’m in the ‘Twilight Zone.’ It is so 100 percent clear that Mike Huckabee was talking about the Democratic treatment towards women and not his own feeling or the Republican Party’s feeling about women,” Cupp began, also adding that she’s the first one to admit Republicans have not been good at connecting with female voters.
“I have never seen lazier, more intellectually dishonest analysis of this moment than I have today,” she added. “I mean, it’s shocking to me. It is clear what Mike Huckabee’s intention was here.”
When Cutter chimed in and claimed Huckabee was saying providing contraception to women makes them dependent on “Uncle Sugar,” Cupp read the former governor’s comments verbatim to add context:
“If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it.”
To which Cutter could only reply: “He’s the only one who is saying that about Democrats, that must be what he believes.”
“So the bottom line is, Republicans are on the wrong side of the issue and Huckabee did not help them out yesterday,” she concluded.
Cupp pushed back even further, saying she can’t believe even some Republicans are going along with the “made-up media narrative” that Huckabee was expressing his own views towards women. Huckabee was “clearly implicating Democrats,” she said.
Super Leech Has Adapted to Survive Insane ConditionsPosted January 24, 2014 at 7:37 pm by Liz Klimas
You’ve likely seen the rubber ball in liquid nitrogen demonstration. After just a few seconds in the super-cold liquid, it freezes to the point where it will shatter upon impact.
Now imagine how crazy resilient anything alive would have to be to withstand such temperatures. Meet Ozobranchus jantseanus, an obscure leech that’s a parasite of freshwater turtles.
Scientists recently published a study detailing how this super leech can survive after being submerged in -196°C — that’s -320.8°F – liquid nitrogen for 24 hours. Not to mention its ability to live for nearly three years in -90°C (-130°F) temperatures. After being frozen in such conditions, the leech was successfully reanimated after thawing.
To get an idea of why this is impressive — and if you have never seen the aforementioned effect of liquid nitrogen on a racket ball — watch this video demonstration:
The study published in the journal PLOS One this week describes the leeches “cryobiosis” — it’s ability to survive subzero temperatures — as exhibiting a “wider range of temperatures than those reported previously for cryobiotic organisms.” The authors go so far as to call it the “most robust cryotolerance ability reported to date.”
The researchers also exposed the leech to the low temperatures quickly, not allowing what would generally be considered sufficient time for it to initiate some sort of cyroprotection for its cells. The compounds generally seen in animals that can be frozen and then reanimated were not observed in the leeches, which indicated to the researchers that they “may be capable of tolerating physiological water freezing in their tissues.”
What’s more, these leeches are not thought to have this as an innate ability. The study says that “it is unlikely that O. jantseanus would encounter similar freeze-thaw cycles in its natural environment […] so it is suggested that the cold tolerance observed in this species has not arisen in response to some ecological need or that it is an environmental adaptation. Rather, it is likely that this cryotolerant ability has arisen in response to some as yet unclarified adaptation.”
Why should you care? According to the study authors, the ability to freeze and reanimate the leech in these conditions could make it useful in cryopreservation studies and “resuscitation of organisms that have been frozen underground in permafrost areas, on Antarctica, and possibly on other planets.”
Judge Orders Texas Hospital to Remove Life Support for Pregnant WomanPosted January 24, 2014 at 7:04 pm by Associated Press
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A judge on Friday ordered a Texas hospital to remove life support for a pregnant, brain-dead woman whose family had argued that she would not want to be kept in that condition.
Judge R. H. Wallace Jr. issued the ruling in the case of Marlise Munoz. John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth has been keeping Munoz on life support against her family’s wishes. The judge gave the hospital until 5 p.m. CST Monday to remove life support. The hospital did not immediately say Friday whether it would appeal.
Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant when her husband, Erick Munoz, found her unconscious Nov. 26, possibly due to a blood clot. Both the hospital and the family agree that she meets the criteria to be considered brain-dead – which means she is dead both medically and under Texas law – and that the fetus could not be born alive at this point.
But the hospital had not pronounced her dead and continues to treat her over the objections of both Erick Munoz and her parents, who sat together in court Friday.
“Mrs. Munoz is dead,” Wallace said in issuing his ruling, adding that meant the hospital was misapplying a state law that prohibits the removal of life-sustaining treatment from a pregnant patient.
Larry Thompson, a state’s attorney representing the public hospital, had told the judge the hospital had a legal responsibility to protect the unborn fetus.
“There is a life involved, and the life is the unborn child,” Thompson said.
But Jessica Hall Janicek and Heather King, Erick Munoz’s attorneys, accused the hospital of conducting a “science experiment” and warned of the dangerous precedent her case could set, raising the specter of special ICUs for brain-dead women carrying babies.
“There is an infant, and a dead person serving as a dysfunctional incubator,” King said.
Erick Munoz said he and his wife are paramedics who were clear that they didn’t want life support in this type of situation. Her parents agreed. He declined to comment as he left the courtroom, and King and Janicek did not say what they would do next, pending a potential appeal by the hospital.
The hospital said in a statement Friday that it “appreciates the potential impact of the consequences of the order on all parties involved” and was deciding whether to appeal.
The case has raised questions about end-of-life care and whether a pregnant woman who is considered legally and medically dead should be kept on life support for the sake of a fetus. It also has gripped attention on both sides of the abortion debate, with anti-abortion groups arguing Munoz’s fetus deserves a chance to be born. Several anti-abortion advocates attended Friday’s hearing.
Hospital officials have said they were bound by the Texas Advance Directives Act, which prohibits withdrawal of treatment from a pregnant patient. Several experts interviewed by The Associated Press, including two who helped draft the legislation, have said the hospital is misapplying the law because Marlise Munoz would be considered legally and medically dead.
“Marlise Munoz is dead, and she gave clear instructions to her husband and family – Marlise was not to remain on any type of artificial `life sustaining treatment’, ventilators or the like,” the lawsuit said. “There is no reason JPS should be allowed to continue treatment on Marlise Munoz’s dead body, and this Court should order JPS to immediately discontinue such.”
Earlier this week, Erick Munoz’s attorneys said that the fetus, now believed to be at about 22 weeks’ gestation, is “distinctly abnormal.” They attorneys said they based that statement on medical records they received from the hospital.
The hospital argued in a court filing Thursday that there was little evidence of what state lawmakers and courts thought of this issue, but recent laws passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature to restrict abortion made it clear that they wanted to preserve a fetus’ rights.
The Advance Directives Act “must convey legislative intent to protect the unborn child,” the hospital said in its filing. “Otherwise the Legislature would have simply allowed a pregnant patient to decide to let her life, and the life of her unborn child, end.”
Not much is known about fetal survival when mothers suffer brain death during pregnancy. German doctors who searched for such cases found 30 of them in nearly 30 years, according to an article published in the journal BMC Medicine in 2010.
Those mothers were further along in pregnancy – 22 weeks on average – when brain death occurred than in the Texas case. Birth results were available for 19 cases. In 12, a viable child was born. Follow-up results were available for six, all of whom developed normally.
‘So Ridiculous’: Actress Under Fire for Supporting Tea Party Candidate ‘Never, Ever’ Expected Such a BacklashPosted January 24, 2014 at 6:58 pm by Erica Ritz
Maria Conchita Alonso recently caused an uproar in California after appearing alongside GOP Assemblyman Tim Donnelly in a television ad as part of Donnelly’s bid for governor. The backlash was so severe that Alonso — an actress of Cuban and Venezuelan descent who was set to perform in a Spanish-language version of “The Vagina Monologues” — had to resign from her role.
The show’s producer is Eliana Lopez even commented: “We really cannot have her in the show, unfortunately … Doing what she is doing is against what we believe.”
Alonso and Donnelly both appeared on “Dana” Friday with Dana Loesch, saying they never expected to face such a backlash.
“Never, ever, anything like this crossed my mind,” Alonso said. She added that her little dog, Tequila has faced threats as well.
“It’s very strange, because I was born in Cuba. I was raised in Venezuela. We had to leave Cuba because of communism; now Venezuela is going through the same thing,” she remarked. “Now that I can’t talk and say something that most people in Hollywood believe … I’m sorry. Do I have to give away my SAG card…?”
Donnelly, often described as a Tea Party favorite for the race, added: “What happened to tolerance, and the ability to disagree respectfully?”
He added that “what’s at stake” in California’s 2014 gubernatorial election isn’t whether we agree on “100 percent of the issues, but whether we’re going to live free.”
“If you say the wrong thing and you speak the wrong ideology, then you’re not tolerated,” he said simply. “And no wonder people are leaving California and leaving this country searching for freedom elsewhere. We need to stand up and draw a line in the sand and say we are going to defend freedom in 2014.”
But despite all the chaos and controversy, Alonso doesn’t seem to have shaken in her views or her endorsement. She has not distanced herself from Donnelly, and described him as a “patriot.”
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People Will Either Love or Hate the Punishment Sheriff Arpaio Is Dishing Out to Inmates Who Desecrate the American FlagPosted January 24, 2014 at 6:30 pm by Jason Howerton
Outspoken Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio says he’s put 38 inmates on a diet of “bread and water” after they desecrated the American flags recently put inside jail cells.
As NBC News reports, the “regimen actually is a baked loaf of ground-up fruits, vegetables, milk powder, dough and other ingredients and, though it fulfills nutritional requirements, is decidedly unappetizing.”
Arpaio says he runs a “patriotic jail system” and any inmate who decides to destroy an American flag will find himself on the same diet — without utensils — for two weeks.
“I am somewhat disappointed that 38 inmates recently desecrated the flags, tearing them up and writing on them and throwing them in the toilet,” he said.
Preemptively defending the policy from criticism, the sheriff said it is not a “First Amendment situation” because when inmates “tamper with the flag, they are tampering with government property.” It’s unclear why inmates are destroying the American flags, though Arpaio said there doesn’t appear to be “any conspiracy.”
The Arizona American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) declined to comment on Arpaio’s new flag policy or punishment system.
Viral Video Blasts Big Government and Crony Capitalism in a Very Hilarious WayPosted January 24, 2014 at 6:00 pm by Becket Adams
Imagine if someone managed to anthropomorphize the institutions normally associated with crony capitalism, including the banking, defense and labor sectors, turning them into supposed superheroes.
Now, imagine if these characters had their own Saturday morning cartoon show and action figures.
Thanks to “The Kronies,” an awesome anti-corporatism campaign designed to look like a classic 1980s cartoon, you don’t have to imagine anymore.
The campaign, which hit the Internet earlier this week with a series of parody videos and an elaborate parody website, features five main characters: Bankor the Prophet, Ariel Stryker, Kaptain Korn, Parts & Labor and Big G.
“The Kronies are in action…Mandating, Tarrify-ing, Inflating, and Boondoggling their way to profits powered by their special konnection to the G-Force,” the video’s YouTube description reads. “Watch Big-G and his team stomp out competition!”
Oddly enough, no one seems to be claiming responsibility for the campaign.
“The incredibly amusing Kronies website says it is a project of Chimera Global Holdings, another parody site about a fictional company that has made billions by fleecing the American taxpayer,” The Federalist notes. “The WHOIS information for both the Kronies site and the Chimera Global Holdings site has unfortunately been hidden at the request of the owners of the domain names.”
The conservative website Hotair adds: “Someone put a lot of money and thought into this; the animation and music are of far higher quality than they need to be to make this joke…When I google for info, though, nothing turns up… A domain lookup reveals nothing either.”
Anyway, regardless of who is responsible for the the anti-crony capitalism campaign, the bottom line is the same: It is extremely well done.
Now, we could go into detail describing the characters and how they symbolize the worst of corporatism, but you really need to see for yourself:
But wait! That’s not all!
Each Kronie has his own video explaining his strengths and his background.
Here’s the background video on Bankor the Prophet:
And here’s the video for Parts & Labor:
If you enjoyed the above video, there’s more where that came from.
UPDATE: The creative geniuses behind “The Kronies” have identified themselves!
Watch the segment here.
Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter
Dinesh D’Souza Pleads Not Guilty, Released on $500,000 Bond as More Details Emerge on Alleged Campaign FraudPosted January 24, 2014 at 5:42 pm by Jason Howerton
NEW YORK (TheBlaze/AP) — Dinesh D’Souza, the conservative scholar who made the documentary “2016: Obama’s America,” pleaded not guilty on Friday to charges that he violated campaign finance laws and was released on $500,000 bond. His travel was also reportedly restricted to the United States.
A Republican candidate told government investigators that a conservative scholar and author lied to her about the source of donations made to her U.S. Senate campaign, a prosecutor disclosed at an arraignment Friday. The candidate, Wendy Long, made the statement to investigators as they were building a case against D’Souza, 52, Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Cohen said. Long lost to Democratic incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand in last year’s election in New York.
The prosecutor said that D’Souza was indicted after he directed an individual who worked for him and another person who lived with him to each make $10,000 in donations to Long’s campaign with the understanding that he would reimburse them for their contributions, which he did soon afterward.
Cohen made the disclosures as D’Souza, 52, of San Diego, pleaded not guilty to charges that he violated campaign finance laws. He was released on $500,000 bond and his travel was restricted to the United States.
His lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, told U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman there was not much dispute about what happened.
“I think there’s a dispute over how it happened and whether what happened violated federal law,” Brafman said.
He said he had been in discussions with the government for some time before his client was indicted and had hoped to convince prosecutors that criminal charges were inappropriate.
Outside court, Brafman said there was no corrupt intent, a necessary component of the law, in his client’s actions, and he said the $20,000 in donations fell short of the $25,000 required to bring a criminal case. He said it was a situation that was normally resolved with a fine rather than criminal charges.
He said there was no request by D’Souza that Long do anything, and the Senate candidate had no knowledge that campaign finance rules had been violated. Brafman said D’Souza and Long had been friends since college and “at worst, this was an act of misguided friendship by D’Souza.”
2016: Obama’s America” became one of the most successful political documentaries ever released, grossing more than $32 million.
Is This Something a Congressional Candidate Really Should Be ‘Liking’ on Facebook?Posted January 24, 2014 at 5:20 pm by Dave Urbanski
Erin Bilbray is a Democratic candidate for Nevada’s Third District in U.S. Congress.
And while now’s the time for political office seekers to let voters and constituents know what they stand for, especially using social media to get their messages across, Bilbray is coming under fire for apparently doing just that.
As noted by The Weekly Standard, Bilbray looks to have “liked” the following map on Facebook. (Content warning: Some of the words appearing on the cartoon may be offensive to some readers):
The map employs the N-word and, upon closer view, terms such as “Ching-Chong Ching” to refer, presumably, to Asians.
Here’s her like, as noted by The Weekly Standard:
One person commented: “Shame on you, ma’am! Shame on you! How dare you support such division in our country! Does it make you feel good to reinforce (sic) such offensively stereotypical ideas? Is that the message you’re going to spread in Congress? That all conservatives across the isle are ignorant, hate-filled racists?? We need unity and understanding, not the trash you’re ‘liking’. Shame on you!” The Examiner reported.
“How can you like a photo with racial slurs on it and alienate half the country by saying you agree that they think that way. How will you ever serve the people and make them come together when you support division,” another person commented, as noted by The Examiner.
“Southern Nevada deserves a representative who will always put people ahead of politics,” Bilbray notes on her website. “As your voice in Washington, I’ll work to make government accountable to you.”
Bilbray, who’s running against Republican Joe Heck, has made some news recently:
- Her campaign manager quit several days ago, saying he didn’t want to run a federal campaign, according to the Las Vegas Journal Review. Bradley Mayer will stay on as an informal adviser for Bilbray’s campaign, according to Mayer and Bilbray.
- The National Republican Congressional Committee noted Bilbray’s “3 Disastrous Moments” from an interview she gave on Nevada TV last October, after which the NRCC concluded “she is NOT ready for prime-time and will say and do anything to get elected.”
TheBlaze contacted Bilbray for comment regarding her apparent Facebook “like” but her campaign did not immediately respond. We will update this story if she does.
(H/T: Weasel Zippers)
The ‘Earth-Shattering’ News Rush Limbaugh Says the Media Ignored, but You Need to KnowPosted January 24, 2014 at 4:45 pm by Jason Howerton
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh expressed disgust, though not shock, that the mainstream media ignored an “earth-shattering” story out of Wisconsin that “should have caused a political earthquake.”
The state of Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is “rapidly falling” and the government’s budget ended the year with a $912 million surplus, Limbaugh explained. He says the dramatic turnaround is due in large part to the conservative policies of Gov. Scott Walker.
What’s even more amazing, he continued, is the fact that Walker is going to “rebate the money in the form of tax cuts to the people, who he said own the money.” Limbaugh says the news is “earth-shattering” because, in one of the bluest states, Walker was targeted for removal twice but continued to implement conservative policies that he was confident would help his state — and his strategy appears to be working.
“They did everything they could to gin up hate, anger, tried to destroy his reputation, his career, and his life,” he said. “He hung in there. The state of Wisconsin instituted his policy reforms, de-emphasizing the role of unions in the state.”
“He’s going to cut income taxes and property taxes, and he made the point that it’s not just a gimmick of budgeting or accounting. It’s the result of serious, significant policy changes,” Limbaugh argued.
“Now, folks, what I just told you was not reported once anywhere in what you would consider mainstream media. It was not reported on one cable network, much less all of them. It was not reported in the New York Times, the Washington Post, or the LA Times,” he added. “It was reported in Wisconsin. There was an AP story on it, maybe some local papers picked it up, but just as a filler.”
“And to me, for us as conservatives, Wisconsin and Governor Walker, I mean, everything that we want to happen, happened there,” the radio host concluded.
Listen to the segment via the Daily Rushbo:
Walker is proposing a $504 million property and income tax cut plan as a means to return some of the surplus money to the people of Wisconsin. Some Democrats and Republicans are already criticizing the plan and are calling for changes.
“The budget surplus is really your money,” Walker recently said at a meeting of the Wisconsin Grocers Association. “You earned it.”
However, some lawmakers are concerned that Walker’s tax cut plan would increase the state’s projected budget shortfall from $700 million to $800 million. The Republican governor argues the estimates don’t take into account any revenue growth, which he says will cover the difference.
The unemployment rate in Wisconsin dropped to 6.2 percent in December and has been dropping steadily since 2011.
Could an ‘Ecstatic Seizure’ Cause What Some Consider Religious Experiences?Posted January 24, 2014 at 4:30 pm by Liz Klimas
Anyone who has experienced a seizure or witnessed one would likely describe the event as terrifying, but this isn’t the only kind of seizure.
As New Scientist pointed out that Fyodor Dostoevsky, the Russian author, experienced an epileptic seizure he described as ”a happiness unthinkable in the normal state and unimaginable for anyone who hasn’t experienced it… I am then in perfect harmony with myself and the entire universe.”
It is this kind of seizure, called an “ecstatic seizure,” that some scientists are hoping to learn more about, thinking experiences of them are under reported. Not only that but they’re wondering if these seizures might be the cause of what some have described as religious experiences.
“I think that they are probably underestimated,” Fabienne Picard, a neurologist at the University Hospital in Switzerland, told New Scientist. “Because the emotions are so strong and strange, maybe they feel embarrassed to speak about them; maybe they think the doctor will find them mad.”
New Scientist reported that this type of seizure is likely a “focal” seizure, which focuses the “electrical storm” going on inside the brain to a small area, allowing the person to retain consciousness. Generalized seizures are the type where the electrical discharges are more widespread over the brain and can lead to a loss of consciousness. Sometimes a focal seizure turns into a generalized one.
Picard has been working with epileptic patients to record more about their experiences of these ecstatic, focal seizures. In doing so, she has create three main categories of what patients feel during such a seizure: heightened self-awareness, physical well-being and positive emotions.
“The immense joy that fills me is above physical sensations. It is a feeling of total presence, an absolute integration of myself, a feeling of unbelievable harmony of my whole body and myself with life, with the world, with the ‘All’,” a 64-year-old patient said of the experience, according to New Scientist.
The research by Picard and others raise questions on if what some have described as religions experiences could actually be seizures, such as these.
“Some of my patients told me that although they are agnostic, they could understand that after such a seizure you can have faith, belief, because it has some spiritual meaning,” Picard told New Scientist.
All in all, scientists are trying to learn more about the region of the brain where these feelings could be originating.
Picard’s collaborative work and research out of other institutions might have traced them to the anterior insula, a region of the brain that scientists think is associated with consciousness.
As scientists research activity in this region of the brain as it relates to disorders like ecstatic epilepsy, they think they might be able to understand more about a person’s self-awareness.
Read more details about the research into these seizures and the anterior insula region of the brain in New Scientist’s full article.
‘Insane Nonsense’: Beck Stands With Mike Huckabee Over Controversial ‘Uncle Sugar’ CommentsPosted January 24, 2014 at 3:54 pm by Erica Ritz
Glenn Beck has made no secret of the fact that former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is not his favorite politician, describing him on his radio show Friday as a “very crafty progressive.”
But though Beck may disagree with Huckabee on many issues politically, he still stood in defense of the former Republican governor against what he believes are new baseless attacks.
Huckabee was speaking at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting Thursday when he remarked: “If the Democrats want to insult women by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it.”
But a number of reporters seemingly misquoted Huckabee. NBC’s Kasie Hunt, for instance, tweeting: “Huckabee: Women ‘helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing them … birth control because they cannot control their libido.’” Though Hunt later clarified her tweet, Huckabee still made unflattering headlines at outlets like MSNBC and the Huffington Post.
“I want you to understand clearly, I am not a fan of Mike Huckabee,” Beck said. “I’m not here to sweep up after him. But the truth has no agenda. So while I don’t want Mike Huckabee to be president, and I would think that would be a very bad thing … let’s at least deal with the facts as they are.”
And as Beck sees it, Huckabee said the exact opposite of what much of the media are implying he said.
“What they are doing to him is wrong … and as long as you don’t have a press that is reporting the facts, as long as you have a press that has an agenda, we’re in trouble as a nation,” Beck said. “You have to find those people in the media that will tell you the truth, even if it goes against their own personal desires. Mike Huckabee is not a friend. Mike Huckabee is not helpful. But he’s being wronged. And I stand with him. And TheBlaze will help correct this insane nonsense put out by the other pieces of media.”
Huckabee himself has weighed in on the controversy, saying: “I’m always flattered when people on the far left manufacture a new version of being ‘offended … They can be quite creative in finding something that hurts their feelings.”
The full episode of The Glenn Beck Program, along with many other live streaming shows and thousands of hours of on-demand content, is available on just about any digital device. Get it all with a FREE TRIAL.
1 Student Injured in Shooting at SC State DormPosted January 24, 2014 at 3:36 pm by Associated Press
ORANGEBURG, S.C. (AP) — Officials at South Carolina State University say a student has been injured in a shooting at an on-campus dorm.
The university sent out an alert saying the student was hurt Friday afternoon at the Hugine Suites. The school says police think they know who fired the gun and are looking for the suspect. The name and condition of the student were not released.
University spokeswoman Sonya Bennett initially said the university campus was not on lockdown. But the school later sent out an alert saying the campus was locked down.
Bennett says more information will be released at a 4 p.m. news conference.
South Carolina State University is a historically black university with about 3,200 students in Orangeburg, about 40 miles south of Columbia.
Hot List: What Would You Do With a Billion Dollars?Posted January 24, 2014 at 3:31 pm by Amy Holmes
Amy Holmes takes a look at how billionaires spend their riches:
Here’s a Roundup of the Funniest ‘Planet Hillary’ Mockups From Around the InternetPosted January 24, 2014 at 3:19 pm by Becket Adams
The New York Times Magazine on Thursday revealed the artwork for an upcoming cover story on Hillary Clinton, titled “Planet Hillary”:
The artwork was met with confusion, skepticism and lots and lots of mockery. In fact, as the day wore on, mockery of the artwork turned from a few scattered jokes into an all-out campaign to see who could create the funniest mockup of “Planet Hillary.”
Here are some of the funniest (or terrifying, depending on how you look at it) examples from around the Internet:
And then there’s this sketch mocking the original New York Times Magazine artwork:
Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter
‘I’ll Make a Tri-Legged Minotaur’: The ‘Bad Lip Reading’ Guys Make Triumphant Return With Side-Splitting NFL VideoPosted January 24, 2014 at 3:03 pm by Jason Howerton
With the Super Bowl just around the corner, the “Bad Lip Reading” guys are back with a brand-new video featuring NFL superstars. We’re not sure how they do it, but the videos seem to get better and better each time.
Here’s a sneak peek at some of the bizarre phrases found in the soon-to-be viral video:
“I’ll make a tri-legged minotaur and we can go punch out those guys and face our phobia.”
“No more kung fu!”
“Kill Dracula at once, that’s what I would do immediately.”
“A half and a half ain’t an apple.”
Watch the video to see who said what in the “More NFL” edition of Bad Lip Reading:
Why Didn’t NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio Want the Press at His Meeting With a Large Pro-Israel Group?Posted January 24, 2014 at 2:54 pm by Erica Ritz
Why didn’t New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio want members of the press at his meeting with AIPAC, the powerful pro-Israel organization? According to Capital New York, the Thursday night meeting was left off the newly-seated mayor’s schedule, and when a reporter from the outlet snuck his way in, he was escorted out by security.
A brief recording obtained by the reporter indicates de Blasio had nothing but kind words for AIPAC, saying America has “no greater ally on earth” than Israel, “and that’s something we can say proudly.”
“Part of my job description is to be a defender of Israel,” de Blasio remarked, adding that AIPAC will always have “a friend and ally at city hall.”
You can listen to the complete audio below, though it should be noted that it appears to be edited:
So why didn’t de Blasio want the press and the city to know about the meeting? Gawker’s J.K. Trotter has implied that perhaps the mayor doesn’t want his pro-Israel stance to be publicized.
“Bill de Blasio wants you to know he shovels his own snow-encrusted sidewalk, arranging feel-good photo-ops to show off his civic pride,” Trotter wrote. “The New York mayor feels a bit differently, however, about wooing the powerful pro-Israeli lobbying group AIPAC, whose members he spoke to in a Manhattan hotel on Thursday night, for a speech omitted from his public itinerary.”
But that’s certainly not the only explanation.
The mayor has been hounded by the press since taking office, and has become embroiled in a small controversy with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo regarding raising taxes for universal pre-kindergarten. Furthermore, many aren’t pleased with the way de Blasio has dealt with the snow that has pounded New York since his election, accusing him of not clearing the snow on the wealthy Upper East Side of Manhattan with sufficient rapidity.
Perhaps the mayor simply didn’t want his meeting with AIPAC overshadowed by questions about unrelated controversies. Among the religious demographics surveyed by The New York Times in exit polls on Election Day, none had a lower turnout for de Blasio than Jews. It is certainly possible that de Blasio wanted to start off on the right foot with AIPAC, free from unrelated distractions.
Chuck Schumer Call on IRS to Crack Down on Tea Party Funding: ‘Redouble Those Efforts Immediately’Posted January 24, 2014 at 2:38 pm by Becket Adams
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Thursday that the Internal Revenue Service should be used more aggressively to keep Tea Party funding in check, explaining that this would help “weaken” and “exploit” the conservative movement.
Schumer during remarks to the Center for American Progress argued that Tea Party groups have an unfair financial advantage over left-leaning groups because of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, at one point even suggesting that President Barack Obama go around Congress to impose stricter campaign finance laws.
“It is clear that we will not pass anything legislatively as long as the House of Representatives is in Republican control, but there are many things that can be done administratively by the IRS and other government agencies — we must redouble those efforts immediately,” Schumer said.
“One of the great advantages the Tea Party has is the huge holes in our campaign finance laws created [by] the ill advised decision [Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission],” he added. “Obviously the Tea Party elites gained extraordinary influence by being able to funnel millions of dollars into campaigns with ads that distort the truth and attack government.”
The senator explained that the Tea Party is kept alive by those who are afraid the country will change in such a way that “white Anglo-Saxon men” won’t be “exclusively running” things in the future.
“The Tea Party rank-and-file know it’s a different America,” Schumer said. “It looks different; it prays different; it works different. This is unsettling and angering to some.”
Schumer’s call for increased scrutiny on Tea Party groups comes just days after it was first reported that the FBI’s review of the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups most likely will not result in any criminal charges.
It was revealed in 2013 after a public apology from Lois Lerner, the IRS’ former director of Tax Exempt Organizations, that the agency had been targeting and harassing conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
During the height of the agency’s targeting in 2012, a handful of Democratic senators signed off on a letter calling on the IRS to be more aggressive when investigating potentially politically active conservative groups.
Schumer was one of those Democratic lawmakers.
(H/T: Washington Free Beacon)
Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter
This post has been updated.
Knocked Off Gmail? You’re Not AlonePosted January 24, 2014 at 2:32 pm by Liz Klimas
If you were suddenly knocked of your Gmail account Friday around 2 p.m. ET and were feverishly trying to sign back in so you could finish your last Gchat with no success, you are not alone.
Many on Twitter also noted the issue.
Those trying to access Gmail received an error message that looked a little something like this (below).
The outage-checking website Down for Everyone or Just Me noted that it “looks down from here.”
Before 2:30 p.m., Google’s email service seemed to come back online.
Google’s Gmail Twitter account has not issue any updates regarding the apparent outage at the time of this posting.
Google told TheBlaze in an emailed statement it was investigating the issues experienced on some Google services and would post updates on its Apps Status Dashboard.
Featured image via AHMAD FAIZAL YAHYA/Shutterstock. This post has been updated.
Yet Another Reason to Worry About Obamacare: Property Seizures?Posted January 24, 2014 at 2:18 pm by Fred Lucas
Obamacare requires everyone to have health insurance. In more than half of the states in the country, that comes through an expansion of Medicaid, the joint federal-state program for the poor. Under a 1993 federal law, states can recoup the costs of Medicaid by seizing the property of deceased Medicaid recipients.
With the vast expansion of who can enroll in Medicaid under Obamacare, that could mean significantly more property. Though The Washington Post called it “scary but improbable,” the newspaper reported there are people who are concerned about it and that the federal government has not rejected it out of hand.
Before the expansion, it was an option rarely used, so there’s little national data. But in Oregon, from July 2011 to June 2013, the state snatched $41 million in assets from about 8,900 people, the Post reported.
“If you’re receiving a public benefit and the state is trying to support you, you should give back if you are able,” Judy Mohr Peterson, Oregon’s Medicaid director, told the Post in explaining the reasoning.
But Oregon’s Medicaid office opted to change its approach so people would not be afraid to sign up for expanded Medicaid.
“We needed to take another look at heath insurance coverage from the point of view of it not being a public benefit that’s voluntary,” Mohr Peterson said.
Aaron Albright, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said they “recognize [the] importance of this issue and will provide states with additional guidance in this area soon.”
The Post found two people who were eligible for the expanded Medicaid but were afraid to do so.
“I was leaning toward not getting Medicaid, because there is somewhat of a stigma,” said Steve Olin, 60, a former copy editor from Eureka, Ill. “Then, when I heard about the estate recovery, I was really sure.”
A 54-year-old former lawyer from New York City, who requested anonymity, owns an $850,000 apartment in the city that she hopes to leave to a family member.
“I don’t want my assets to be raided after my death,” she said. “The idea that someone can come after my house after I die — I just can’t do it.”
The Medicaid expansion under Obamacare is for people earning 138 percent of the poverty level, or $15,900 for an individual with no dependents.
Out of a concern over exploding Medicaid costs, Congress passed a law in 1993 that states must try to recover money from the estate of people who used Medicaid for long-term care. It further gave states the option to target the estate of all Medicaid recipients for any benefits they received after routine care.
Follow Fred Lucas (@FredVLucas3) on Twitter
If You Ever Find Yourself Battling a 78-Year-Old Driver Named Annie Mudrack for a Parking Space, Just Opt for the Longer WalkPosted January 24, 2014 at 1:36 pm by Dave Urbanski
It’s a familiar parking lot game: Spying for the best spaces and jockeying into them before the next driver beats you to it.
That’s apparently what 78-year-old Annie Mudrack was up to when she and another driver were circling a lot in Round Rock, Texas, about 20 minutes north of Austin.
According to the police report, the male driver parked in a handicap spot before Mudrack could, KTBC-TV in Austin reported.
That apparently led to some frustration for Mudrack, who parked in a nearby space, the Austin American Statesmen said.
A witness told police she saw Mudrack walk around the man’s truck with her arm extended, adding that she saw Mudrack wipe paint off her key, as if Mudrack had just keyed the offending car.
The witness, as well as the owner of the pickup, confronted Mudrack, who said she didn’t damage the truck, according to an affidavit, the American Statesman said.
Round Rock Police said Thursday that Mudrack was arrested for criminal mischief in connection with the Nov. 26 incident, KTBC said.
Mudrack was released from county jail on Jan. 16 after posting $7,500 bond, the American Statesman said.
The damage to the pickup was estimated at $3,585.84, the affidavit said.
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