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  • ‘Did I Say That Out Loud?’: Jeb Ignites VP Speculation With Conspicuous Comment
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 9:16 pm by Oliver Darcy

    Comments (208)

    Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush on Monday ignited speculation he would select a female running mate should he capture the GOP nomination.

    Speaking before a crowd in Waterloo, Iowa, the former Florida governor made a conspicuous comment.

    “Should I be elected president, I would have my vice president — I think she will be a great partner,” he said.

    Bush, seemingly in an attempt to walk back his comment, then asked, “I mean, did I just say that out loud?”

    “We always talk about this with one gender in mind,” he explained. “I think we’ve reached the point in our country where maybe we should be a little less gender-specific about this.”

    Bush, seen as the Republican frontrunner early on, has struggled to gain traction in a crowded GOP field that has been dominated for months by businessman Donald Trump.

    (H/T: The Hill)

  • Glenn Beck’s Guest Lists the Supplies Necessary to Survive a Crisis
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 7:48 pm by Tré Goins-Phillips

    Comments (246)

    While pop culture’s zombie apocalypse might not be a legitimate threat, preparedness for national instability or crisis is a necessity, according to Justin Wheeler.

    Justin Wheeler discusses emergency preparedness on "The Glenn Beck Program" Dec. 1.

    Justin Wheeler discusses emergency preparedness on “The Glenn Beck Program” Dec. 1.

    Wheeler joined Beck on The Glenn Beck Program Tuesday evening to discuss his preparedness plan, should a national crisis unfold.

    Wheeler, the brother of Beck’s chief of content, recently asked his family members in an email to do these things: fill the car with gas and check the oil, withdraw $500 cash from an ATM and buy one case of bottled water and some canned food.

    “Probably nothing, but run this as an exercise tonight if at all possible — tomorrow, early, if you can’t get that done — and, above all things, remember, remain calm, be at peace. We’re Americans. We’ll always win because we believe and defend liberty and freedom, so no worries,” Wheeler wrote at the end of the email.

    Wheeler told Beck that preparedness is part of his “heritage” and that, as a child who grew up in the 1970s, he remembers going through nuclear preparedness drills in school and having food storage at his childhood home.

    “As I increased my education level, an increased level of preparedness just became a rational response,” Wheeler said. “I think it is a very rational response. Very much the same way that if a weatherman said, ‘Hey, it’s going to rain,’ you would walk out of the house with an umbrella and no one would think twice about that.”

    According to Wheeler, the reason people have difficulty preparing for economic crisis is because, as a whole, the U.S. has not experienced that level of instability since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

    So Wheeler created a list of supplies necessary to cope for 30 days amid major national instability:

    1. 30-day food supply

    2. Five days water and water purification filters to last one year

    3. Vehicle toolkit

    4. Hatchet or machette

    5. Shovel and sledgehammer

    6. 50-foot extension cord

    7. Arctic-rated sleeping bags

    8. Eight-person tent

    9. Flashlights and batteries for the vehicle

    10. AM/FM weather radio

    11. Three wool blankets

    12. Winter coats

    13. One tin cloth coat

    14. 18 toilet paper rolls

    15. Ranch clothes

    16. Five gallons of gasoline

    Wheeler said he devised this list when he decided he wanted his family to be prepared for “more than just an earthquake.”

    “All the experts will say, ‘You probably don’t want to be in a major city in a disaster scenario,’” Wheeler told Beck. “So we want to be one of the first on the road, and that means being able to pack up, get ready to go, and go rapidly.”

    Wheeler added that it is important to have a plan as an entire family so everyone can meet up in a pre-determined area. Additionally, he said it is crucial to have out-of-state contacts, should the phone lines go down.

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  • Revealed: Why Planned Parenthood Shooting Suspect Was Registered to Vote As a Woman
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 7:34 pm by Oliver Darcy

    Comments (274)

    A country official revealed Tuesday that the suspected Planned Parenthood shooter was registered to vote as a woman in Colorado because of a simple clerical error.

    El Paso County chief deputy clerk and recorder Ryan Parsell told The Gazette Robert Lewis Dear Jr.’s gender was incorrectly recorded in Oct. 2014.

    “The Clerk and Recorder’s Office processes over 500,000 transactions a year,” Parsell told the newspaper. “Mistakes are going to be made, and it is a reminder to us of the important job that we do to see that a mistake made by us has had national implications.”

    Daniel Owen/The Gazette via AP, Pool

    Daniel Owen/The Gazette via AP, Pool

    Parsell said Dear did select “male” on the paperwork, but a worker incorrectly entered the data into the computer system.

    “Our employee inadvertently clicked on ‘female’ and gave the confirmation to Mr. Dear to review,” he told The Gazette. “He missed it and signed it.”

    Dear’s listed gender drew attention as many tried to speculate whether the Planned Parenthood shooting was politically motivated. To fight accusations that Dear is a conservative, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) pointed to his gender and cited a report that called the suspect a “transgendered leftist activist.”

    Last week’s shooting at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic killed three, including one police officer. Police still have not yet released what an official motive.

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  • ‘That’s the Culture Today’: Cops Reveal Everyday Challenges They Face in Aftermath of Ferguson
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 7:11 pm by Oliver Darcy

    Comments (102)

    Small-town police officers revealed in a new video posted Tuesday the challenges they encounter while performing their jobs since the events in Ferguson ignited anti-cop sentiment throughout portions of the country.

    The Independent Journal, which produced the video, said it featured a set of interviews with both seasoned and rookie officers.

    Monroe police officer J. Roelant explained he once encountered a man who dared him to “Mike Brown” him.

    “He just flips out on me and says, ‘Mike Brown me motherf***er! C’mon, all you f***ing pigs are just trying to beat up on me! C’mon, get me! Get me!’” Roelant told IJ. “We are not trying to do that. He kept on saying ‘Mike Brown me’ and how we are all racist and everything like that.”

    The officer added, “It had nothing to do with race. He was arrested because he beat up his significant other.”

    Other officers told their own stories.

    One black officer said racial slurs are often hurled at him. Another said when he waves to pedestrians on the street, he often gets the middle finger in return.

    “That’s the culture today,” echoed an additional officer, adding that the media always seems to portray officers as being in the wrong.

    Law enforcement officials have previously talked about the “Ferguson effect.” FBI Director James Comey suggested crime was spiking in part because there has been a “chill wind blowing through American law enforcement over the last year.” Comey’s claim, however, was dismissed by President Barack Obama who contended the data didn’t support it.

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  • Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg Announces Birth of Daughter, Then Drops Some Huge News
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 5:15 pm by Oliver Darcy

    Comments (245)

    Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the birth of his daughter Tuesday, then revealed he will donate 99 percent of his Facebook shares in his lifetime.

    The announcement came in the form of an open-letter Zuckerberg and his wife wrote to their new daughter Max.

    Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

    Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

    “Your mother and I don’t yet have the words to describe the hope you give us for the future. Your new life is full of promise, and we hope you will be happy and healthy so you can explore it fully. You’ve already given us a reason to reflect on the world we hope you live in,” the letter said.

    It added, “Like all parents, we want you to grow up in a world better than ours today.”

    “Like all parents, we want you to grow up in a world better than ours today.”

    Zuckerberg and his wife wrote that they had a “moral responsibility” to help solve some of the world’s greatest problems, such as curing disease, reducing poverty and expanding access to the Internet.

    “We will give 99% of our Facebook shares — currently about $45 billion — during our lives to advance this mission. We know this is a small contribution compared to all the resources and talents of those already working on these issues. But we want to do what we can, working alongside many others,” the letter said.

    Zuckerberg promised that more details would emerge in the next few months, adding that he would remain as CEO for “many, many years to come.”

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  • Nation’s Largest Health Care Insurer Regrets Entering Obamacare Marketplace: ‘We Should Have Stayed Out Longer’
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 4:52 pm by Chris Enloe

    Comments (182)

    UnitedHealth CEO Stephen Hemsley said Tuesday that he regrets leading his company into the Obamacare marketplace, saying that the decision will lead to more than a half billion dollars in losses to the company.

    “It was for us a bad decision,” Hemsley said at an investor meeting in New York, according to Bloomberg. “I take accountability for sitting out the exchange market in year one so we could in theory observe, learn and see how the market experience would develop.”

    Stephen Hemsley

    UnitedHealth CEO Stephen Hemsley (AP Photo)

    “In retrospect, we should have stayed out longer,” Hemsley added. “We did not believe it would form this slowly, be this porous, or become this severe.”

    UnitedHealth, the nation’s largest health care insurer, announced in mid-November their decision to potentially pull-out of the Obamacare marketplace for good by 2017.

    At the time, Hemsley said his company could not sustain the losses driven by the health care mandate. “We can’t subsidize a market that doesn’t appear at this point to be sustaining itself,” he said.

    The company was even cautious in their approach to the law, only beginning to sell their plans on the marketplace a year after the exchanges opened.

    Currently, UnitedHealth has only about 540,000 customers in the exchanges, which is relatively small compared to the company’s other businesses — all of which are doing much better.

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  • The Polish Government Is Paying Families to Have More Kids
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 4:24 pm by Jon Street

    Comments (72)

    WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s new government has approved a program of family bonuses that is intended to reverse the declining birth rate.

    Photo credit: Shutterstock

    Photo credit: Shutterstock

    The government of Prime Minister Beata Szydlo on Tuesday approved a program under which families will get monthly bonuses of 500 zlotys ($124) for every child beyond the first. The poorest families will be receiving bonuses for all children.

    The program, which had been promised during this year’s electoral campaign, will be submitted to public debate and will require parliament’s approval. It could take effect in April.

    The funding is to come from cutting VAT tax evasions and from new bank and supermarket taxes.

    Critics say the program, estimated to cost some 22 billion zlotys, threatens to increase the state budget deficit.

    Front page image via Shutterstock

  • Standing Desk Movement Heads Into Schools, Studies Reveal Increased Engagement and Calorie Burn
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 3:55 pm by Liz Klimas

    Comments (63)

    Mark Benden’s father owned a machine shop and when he was just 12 years old, he started to work alongside him.

    “I was probably the last generation of a true father-son apprentice in a trade situation,” Benden told TheBlaze.

    Many studies have shown the ill effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Further research is showing the benefit of standing on both calorie burn and engagement in school children. (Photo credit: Shutterstock)

    Many studies have shown the ill effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Further research is showing the benefit of standing on both calorie burn and engagement in school children. (Photo credit: Shutterstock)

    He also remembers very distinctly once sitting down on the job to work on a metal part. That’s when “old timers” called him out.

    “What are you doing?” he remembered them asking.

    When he explained to them the obvious, that he was sitting down while working, they said, “No you’re not, you can’t work sitting down.”

    “To them it was a complete insult that I would attempt to perform my job while seated. That’s for break and lunch time,” Benden, now an associate professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, said.

    “Stand up,” they said.

    Benden said he remembers a lot of the same mantras when he was in the U.S. Army, like “Get on your feet!’

    But between the time when Benden was working in his father’s shop and in the Army to present day, something shifted.

    Many jobs became more sedentary and focused around computer work. Outside of work, entertainment activities that encouraged sitting over movement — television, video games, tablets and the like — became more popular as well.

    And then there’s the fact that there was a whole movement to make chairs more comfortable and ergonomic for optimal sitting.

    In fact, Benden was part of that movement and said he now feels guilty about it.

    “We got carried away. We did a little bit too well,” Benden said of creating comfy chairs.

    Dozens of studies published in recent years have found that sitting too much can result in an increased risk for various diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and more.

    Benden has returned to his roots and is now researching the possible benefits of standing vs. sitting.

    He has not only published several studies and a book on the topic, but he says he now looks at how uncomfortable he can make a chair.

    “[I want people to] use it as a break, but you’re not in it all day,” he said.

    The standing desk movement has taken office culture by storm and is moving into other traditionally seated realms as well. A 2012 New York Times article reported that office furniture maker Steelcase saw a fivefold increase in sales for its standing and treadmill desks at the time.

    “It started out very small, but it’s not a niche market anymore,” Allan Smith, Steelcase vice president for product marketing, told the Times.

    Benden though takes it a step further, saying it’s not just standing that’s important but moving. In fact, he said if he had to rewrite his book — “Could You Stand to Lose? Weight Loss Secrets for Office Workers” — today, he would title it “Could You Stand to Move?”

    Photo credit: Texas A&M

    Photo credit: Texas A&M

    And Juliet Starrett count not agree more on this front.

    “We have a saying that your best position is your next position,” Starrett, a Crossfit gym owner in San Francisco who has championed bringing standing desks into school classrooms, said. “The goal is to create an environment where kids and adults alike can move a lot.”

    Founding Stand Up Kids, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing standing desks into schools, Starrett helped Vallecito Elementary School in San Rafael, California, become the first all standing desk school.

    For kids in these classrooms, standing is the norm and sitting the exception. Instead of standing still like a statue though, they’re moving side to side or using a wiggle bar, and that’s exactly what Starrett and Benden are going for.

    A study by Benden and other researchers at Texas A&M published in 2014 found that elementary school students who used standing desks burned 15 percent more calories than those using seated desks. Obese children saw an even more dramatic increase in calorie expenditure, burning 25 percent more.

    Knowing that childhood obesity and preventing other health issues are only one side of the coin, Benden and his team conducted research on the role of standing on cognition. The study involved IQ tests, measuring oxygenation levels, tracking brain activity and more.

    Benden said he and his colleagues saw the same increase in cognition in students who used standing desks as those who had an exercise-oriented after school program.

    On an anecdotal level, Edie Hedge-Dalton, a teacher who used standing desks for five of her 18 years in the field, said she noticed an increased level of focus among her students when they used them.

    “I always felt like they performed better on tests, they were more engaged and focused [when standing,]” Hedge-Dalton said.

    Benden’s research confirmed this too. In a study published earlier this year in the International Journal of Health Promotion and Education, the research team saw that elementary school students were 12 percent more engaged with in the classroom while at a standing desk. This, according to the study, translates to an extra seven minutes of attention to instruction per hour.

    Engagement was so strong in some of the classrooms participating in Bendon’s studies, he said, that a teacher called him out of the blue and told him she was mad at him.


    “This is first time I’m finishing one of my lessons before Thanksgiving, and I am mad because I’ve got to go write some more lessons,” Benden recalled the teacher saying.

    Hedge-Dalton also noticed that when a traditional seated desk was the only option, like in the computer lab, many of her first grade students of their own volition pushed their chairs aside and opted to stand. Parents were telling her that they had a hard time getting their child to sit even at the dinner table.

    Watch this report on the standing desks in elementary schools:

    Last year, moving from Texas to Arkansas, Hedge-Dalton said she was sad to leave the standing desks she had grown to appreciate behind.

    “It was really really difficult for me to teach that year. There were a lot of things different, … but I really missed the standing desks. I felt like they were an asset in my classroom,” she said.

    Don’t think you or your kids live a sedentary lifestyle? You might be surprised when you tally up all the time you spend sitting and Stand Up Kids has an online calculator to help you tabulate it.

    At this point, Starrett’s organization is hoping to raise $1 million in donations so it can receive a matching grant. If that goal is met, each time a teacher requests standing desks, their project will be 50 percent funded by the grant. The other 50 percent to purchase the desks, they will need to crowd-fund on their own.

    “This is a single fixed cost. They will last 15 to 20 years — that’s thousands of kids over the lifetime of the desks,” Starrett said. “This could have a significant, major health impact on kids’ bodies and minds.”

  • Pentagon Set to Send More Special Ops Forces to Fight the Islamic State: ‘We’re at War’
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 3:43 pm by Chris Enloe

    Comments (73)

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. will deploy a new special operations force to the Middle East to help fight Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Tuesday.

    Carter told the House Armed Services Committee that over time, these special operators will be able to conduct raids, free hostages, gather intelligence and capture Islamic State leaders. Carter said that will improve intelligence and generate more targets for attacks.

    Defense Secretary Ashton Carter (C) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr., December 1, 2015. (Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla)

    Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, center, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr. testify before the House Armed Services Committee Tuesday. (Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla)

    Carter did not offer troop numbers amid a growing call from some Republicans for more U.S. boots on the ground and a divide among war-weary Americans about the prospect of greater military involvement. He said the number in the expeditionary force will be “larger” than 50 but would not be more specific and didn’t say exactly where they would be based.

    There currently are about 3,500 U.S. troops in Iraq, and President Barack Obama had previously announced he was sending fewer than 50 special operations forces to Syria.

    Carter said the raids in Iraq will be done at the invitation of the Iraqi government and focused on defending its borders and building the Iraqi security force’s own capacity. But the force also will be in position to conduct unilateral operations into Syria, he said.

    Carter said the force might be American-only, but more likely would be a mixed force with perhaps Kurdish troops or others who are fighting the militants. He said the new force would conduct operations similar to ones executed earlier this year.

    He said it will be a “standing” force, meaning it will be stationed in Iraq and prepared to operate at any time. He called it a “new way of achieving our objective” of defeating the Islamic State.

    “And there will be more,” Carter said, in coming months.

    In October, U.S. special operations troops and Iraqi forces raided a compound in northern Iraq freeing about 70 Iraqi prisoners who were facing execution. One American service member was killed in the raid, the first American combat death in Iraq since the U.S. began its counter-IS military campaign in August 2014. In May, a Delta Force raid in Syria killed IS financier Abu Sayyaf, yielded intelligence about the group’s structure and finances, and his wife, held in Iraq, has been cooperating with interrogators.

    Polling after the attacks in Paris and Beirut found Americans divided over sending U.S. ground troops to fight IS. A Gallup survey said that 47 percent of Americans favored sending more ground troops to Iraq and Syria and 46 percent were opposed.

    Carter said the U.S. also is expanding attacks on the militants’ infrastructure and their sources of revenue, particularly from oil.

    “Over the past several weeks, because of improved intelligence and understanding of ISIL’s operations, we’ve intensified the air campaign against ISIL’s war-sustaining oil enterprise, a critical pillar of ISIL’s financial infrastructure,” Carter said, using another acronym for the Islamic State group. “In addition to destroying fixed facilities like wells and processing facilities, we’ve destroyed nearly 400 of ISIL’s oil tanker trucks, reducing a major source of its daily revenues. There’s more to come, too.”

    Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified alongside Carter, saying that in the past month or so, attacks on IS have disrupted 43 percent of its revenue stream.

    In a later exchange with Rep. James Langevin (D-R.I.) Carter elaborated on the prospect of using the expanded special operations force in Iraq to conduct raids inside Syria.

    “This is an important capability because it takes advantage of what we’re good at,” Carter said. “We’re good at intelligence, we’re good at mobility, we’re good at surprise. We have the long reach that no one else has. And it puts everybody on notice in Syria. You don’t know at night who’s going to be coming in the window. And that’s the sensation that we want all of ISIL’s leadership and followers to have.”

  • Kerry’s Simple Solution for Defeating Islamic State: ‘Get Our Act Together’
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 3:17 pm by Fred Lucas

    Comments (74)

    Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. can defeat the Islamic State “if we get our act together,” but added success might be up to Russia or Iran.

    In an interview with Rolling Stone, Kerry talked about numerous topics, including terrorism, Syria, Russia and climate change.

    Secretary of State John Kerry arrives to meet Egyptian Foreign Minister at Kerry's hotel in Paris, on December 1, 2015, on the sideline of UN climate talks. The heads of more than 150 nations gathered in the northern outskirts of Paris on Monday in a bid to inject political momentum into what many described as the last chance to avert climate calamity. / AFP / POOL (Photo credit should read /AFP/Getty Images)

    Secretary of State John Kerry arrives to meet the Egyptian Foreign Minister Tuesday on the sideline of U.N. climate talks in Paris. (AFP/Getty Images)

    Asked about what victory over the Islamic State looks like, Kerry said it would look similar to victory over Al Qaeda — taking out leaders and making the organization nonfunctional.

    “Obviously, you’ll have a few radicals around, but you terminate its ability to have a core, a state, as well as revenue-raising, paying salaries, hiring people, attracting people and giving orders to people,” Kerry said.

    “All of that can come to an abrupt end if we get our act together,” he added.

    When asked, “Do you feel like that’s possible?” Kerry responded,
 “Of course it’s possible. Whether it happens or not is up to Iran and Russia.”

    Also during the interview, when discussing COP21, the U.N. climate change conference in Paris, Kerry was asked, “Were the Paris terrorist attacks further evidence of the link between climate change, global instability and terrorism?”

    The secretary was hesitant to directly link global warming and the terrorism seen in Paris.

    “Well, it certainly underscores the global nature of Daesh. It’s not directly related to climate change, but it’s part of the web of global interconnectedness – and it shows how one security challenge is a challenge for everybody,” Kerry said.

    To read the full interview, click here.

  • Glenn Beck: Statue of Liberty ‘Not Even Close’ to Being a Muslim Woman
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 3:03 pm by Tré Goins-Phillips

    Comments (140)

    Glenn Beck voiced opposition Tuesday to the Smithsonian’s recent claim that the Statue of Liberty depicts a Muslim woman.

    “Is the Statue of Liberty a Muslim woman? No, she’s not a Muslim woman,” Beck said on The Glenn Beck Radio Program. “Did it start with an Egyptian woman — a different statue? Yes.”

    A view of the the  Statue of Liberty, as Liberty Island opens to the public on July 4, 2013 for the first time since Superstorm Sandy slammed into the New York area. The Statue of Liberty, one of America's most recognizable symbols, reopens just in time for the July 4 national holiday, after being repaired from damage inflicted last year by Hurricane Sandy. (AFP/Getty Images)

    AFP/Getty Images

    The Smithsonian’s claim arose from statue designer Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi’s initial design. Originally, after visiting Egypt in 1855, Bartholdi sought to create a statue of an Egyptian woman — who has been assumed Muslim — for the African country.

    The monument, tentatively named “Egypt Bringing Light to Asia,” was planned to be an 86-foot tall veiled and robed statue of a woman perched at the entrance of the Suez Canal, according to Smithsonian magazine.

    However, when Bartholdi was unsuccessful in pitching the sale to Egyptian leaders, who thought it was too expensive, he turned to the United States. Ultimately, Bartholdi scrapped his original idea in favor of designing a similar statue of a woman personifying liberty.

    Bartholdi worked with structural designer Alexandre-Gustav Eiffel on the new endeavor, which they named “Liberty Enlightening the World.” The Statue of Liberty, as it is known today, was intended to be a beacon for immigrants in search of the United States.

    The iconic statue was gifted by France to the United States and officially unveiled Oct. 28, 1886, by then-President Grover Cleveland.

    “The chain on her feet wouldn’t be broken [if she was a Muslim woman],” Beck said. “[H]ere’s the way the story should be: The guy who made the Statue of Liberty also had another plan for another statue.”

    Ultimately, though, Beck said there would be “no interest in that,” so Lady Liberty had to be a Muslim — a claim the radio host says just isn’t true.

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  • If You Receive an Official-Looking Letter From Walmart Worth $2,000, Here’s What It Means
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 2:53 pm by Jon Street

    Comments (76)

    There’s a new scam you should be aware of going into the busy holiday shopping season.

    Anita Roberts of Belmont, North Carolina, said she got a $1,997.15 check in the mail recently with a Walmart name and address. The attached letter instructed Roberts to sign into a website in order to activate the “check” and explained the money was upfront payment for a shopping job proposal.

    Image source: WBTV-TV

    Image source: WBTV-TV

    But something just wasn’t adding up.

    It seemed too good to be true — and it was.

    Roberts told WBTV-TV that a few small things stood out to her. Among them was a postage stamp from Madrid, Spain. Another was that the check said it was issued by Wachovia, which is no longer in business.

    Roberts said that after she realized it was a scam, she contacted her local Walmart store, which confirmed it as such. The store asked that she forward the check and the letter to them to be reported to Walmart’s corporate office.

    “It just makes me angry that people are out there like this,” Roberts said of the would-be scammers. “I think it’s a rotten thing to do. They shouldn’t be doing it.”

    So what can you do to make sure you don’t become a victim?

    “Look at the little things,” Roberts said.

    (H/T: WBTV-TV)

    Follow Jon Street (@JonStreet) on Twitter

  • Scientists Argue Appendix Might Not Be ‘Irrelevant’ to Our Health, Propose This as the Organ’s Current Function
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 2:38 pm by Liz Klimas

    Comments (208)

    The appendix has been dubbed a vestigial organ, thought to no longer perform any necessary function, but new research is supporting a previously proposed theory that it might still have a relevant purpose in the human body today.


    Photo credit: Shutterstock

    “Popular belief tells us the appendix is a liability,” Gabrielle Belz with Melbourne’s Walter and Eliza Hall Institute said in a statement. “Its removal is one of the most common surgical procedures in Australia, with more than 70,000 operations each year. However, we may wish to rethink whether the appendix is so irrelevant for our health.”

    In the U.S. appendicitis will affect over 5 percent of the population, the National Institutes of Health stated.

    Research by Belz and Eric Vivier with the the Centre d’Immunologie de Marseille-Luminy in France found that the appendix might play a role in helping maintain one’s immune system with a good microbiome.

    Their study published in the journal Nature Immunology explained that a specific type of immune cell called innate lymphoid cells help “control the composition of the microbiota and gut immune responses.” These cells help protect against bacterial infections in people with weak immune systems, the researchers found.

    And the appendix, Belz said, with protection from infection by ILCs might then “reseed ‘good’ bacteria within the microbiome — or community of bacteria — in the body.”

    “A balanced microbiome is essential for recovery from bacterial threats to gut health, such as food poisoning,” she explained.

    Australia’s Herald Sun described the role between the ILCs, the appendix and good gut health as follows:

    The new research, led by Prof Belz and leading French immunologist Prof Eric Vivier, has shown that innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) shield the appendix from harmful bacteria.

    This allows the small organ to act as a safe haven for “good” bacteria, which could then “reseed” the intestines and restore the health of the digestive system.

    Scientists at Duke University Medical Center proposed a similar theory several years ago as well:

    Drawing upon a series of observations and experiments, Duke University Medical Center investigators postulate that the beneficial bacteria in the appendix that aid digestion can ride out a bout of diarrhea that completely evacuates the intestines and emerge afterward to repopulate the gut. Their theory appears online in the Journal of Theoretical Biology.

    “While there is no smoking gun, the abundance of circumstantial evidence makes a strong case for the role of the appendix as a place where the good bacteria can live safe and undisturbed until they are needed,” said William Parker, PhD, assistant professor of experimental surgery, who conducted the analysis in collaboration with R. Randal Bollinger, MD, PhD, Duke professor emeritus in general surgery.

    According to the Mayo Clinic, appendicitis is caused by a “blockage in the lining of the appendix that results in infection is the likely cause of appendicitis.” If this infection causes significant inflammation, the organ could rupture, creating a potentially life-threatening situation.

  • Glenn Beck Compares One Presidential Candidate to Saul Alinsky
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 2:36 pm by Tré Goins-Phillips

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    During his self-titled radio program Tuesday morning, Glenn Beck compared Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump to Saul Alinsky, a famed socialist and alleged mentor to President Barack Obama.

    Beck made the comparison after radio co-host Pat Gray said of Trump, “Everybody is afraid of him. The media, I think, is afraid to talk about him right now. The other candidates are afraid to talk about him.”

    According to Beck, it is because Trump will “isolate” and “polarize” anyone who takes issue with him.

    Image source: TheBlaze TV

    Image source: TheBlaze TV

    “He is Saul Alinsky,” Beck said. “He will isolate and polarize you, and he will take you out.”

    Beck went on to say he believes the real estate magnate spends money with Tea Party groups and churches to “own them.”

    Later in the show, Beck said the GOP is “making themselves a horrible, horrible bed” if they “run campaigns against him.” Beck was likely referring to former Republican Party strategist Liz Mair’s proposed plan to rally other GOP candidates against Trump.

    “WSJ reports that GOP getting ready to treat me unfairly — big spending planned against me,” Trump tweeted last month after hearing about Mair’s proposition.

    Should the party launch an attack on Trump, Beck believes it clears the way for the billionaire to launch a third-party bid, which he ultimately said could be intentional in order to receive “massive payback” from the Clintons.

    “What are the odds that he is a spoiler?” Beck asked. “What are the odds that he got into this because he’s friends with the Clintons and he’ll get massive payback? … Can you imagine if Hillary Clinton gets in because he ran third party, do you know the favor they’re going to owe him?”

    Beck said that Trump’s candidacy “makes no sense” unless he’s looking for favors from the Clintons, claiming that the GOP hopeful does not actually believe the political things he’s saying on the campaign trail.

    “He doesn’t believe the things that he’s saying,” Beck said. “Like you said, 2012, ‘Mitt Romney is too extreme on the border.’ Now he is a ’round them up and put them in camps’ kind of guy. Where did that happen? How did that happen?”

    During the 2012 presidential cycle, Trump blamed the GOP’s “mean-spirited” rhetoric about immigration for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s loss.

    “It’s more logical to believe that [Trump is expecting massive payback] than he’s all of a sudden changed and he had no pivot point in his life to change like this,” Beck concluded.

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  • Obama Accused of Forgetting Something Major While Discussing the ‘True Meaning of Christmas’ During Charlie Brown Special
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 2:29 pm by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (437)

    President Barack Obama is being accused of ignoring the true meaning of Christmas during a brief appearance on Monday night’s ”It’s Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown,” an ABC special commemorating the popular holiday classic, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

    Both Barack and Michelle Obama briefly spoke about their love for the Christmas show, specifically referencing the famous scene in which character Linus Van Pelt recites Luke 2:8-14 in an effort to communicate the true meaning of Christmas to Charlie Brown.

    It was their characterization, though, of what Christmas is really all about that seemingly didn’t sit too well with Christian Post reporter Napp Nazworth, who accused Obama of forgetting that Linus proclaimed that “Jesus is [the] true meaning of Christmas” in his memorable speech.

    Linus explains the true meaning of Christmas (YouTube)

    Linus explains the true meaning of Christmas (YouTube)

    He pointed out that the Obamas failed to mention Jesus or the biblical narrative presented in the scene.

    “We want to wish a happy 50th anniversary to one of our country’s most beloved traditions, ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas,” President Obama said.

    Michelle Obama followed that up by noting that the beloved characters in the holiday special have helped bring people together for a half century to “teach us the true meaning of Christmas.”

    “They teach us that tiny trees just need a little love and that on this holiday we celebrate peace on Earth and good will toward all,” President Obama continued, with Michelle Obama adding, “Because — as Linus knows — that’s what Christmas is all about.”

    Nazworth pointed out that the president and first lady didn’t note the fact that Christmas is specifically about Jesus’ birthday.

    “The Luke passage and Linus speech does mention ‘peace on Earth and good will toward men,’” he wrote. “But that passage is not the answer to the question of the true meaning of Christmas.”

    The reporter went on to provide a transcript from the Linus scene in which Charlie Brown says he really doesn’t “know what Christmas is all about” amid frustration over his tiny tree.

    That’s when Linus responds by reciting Luke 2:8-14, concluding with, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

    Watch the scene below:

    Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz intentionally placed the Christian verses in the show, according to Lee Mendelson, executive producer of ”A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

    “”He said, ‘If we’re going to do a Christmas special, we’ve really got to do it the right way and talk about what Christmas is all about,’” Mendelson told USA Today. ”[Director] Bill [Melendez] and I looked at each other, and I said, ‘There’s never been any animation that I know of from the Bible. It’s kind of risky.’ Then Mr. Schulz said, ‘Well, if we don’t do it, who will?’”

    Read Nazworth’s piece here. What do you think? Did the Obama’s leave out the real meaning of Christmas? Let us know your thoughts below.

    (H/T: Christian Post)

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  • Obama Claims Islamic State Is ‘Contained’ — but New Report Shows Radical Group Gaining ‘Unprecedented’ Recruitment in U.S.
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 2:20 pm by Fred Lucas

    Comments (40)

    Despite recent claims from President Barack Obama that the Islamic State isn’t gaining strength, a new report from George Washington University asserts the group has had an “unprecedented” rate of recruitment inside the United States.

    The report was published less than three weeks following the Islamic State attack on Paris, after which Obama had told ABC News of the fight against the radical Islamic group, “I don’t think they’re gaining strength. What is true is that from the start our goal has been first to contain, and we have contained them.”


    Marwan Ibrahim/AFP/Getty Images

    The GWU Program on Extremism report, “ISIS in America: From Retweets to Raqqa” by professors Lorenzo Vidino and Seamus Hughes, was released Tuesday and said that, since March 2014, 71 people linked to the Islamic State have been charged with terror-related activity in the U.S. — 56 of those arrests came in 2015.

    “White not as large as in many other Western countries, ISIS-related mobilization in the United States has been unprecedented,” the GWU report says. “As of the fall of 2015, U.S. authorities speak of some 250 Americans who have traveled or attempted to travel to Syria/Iraq to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and 900 active investigations against ISIS sympathizers in all 50 states.”

    The reference in the report’s title to Raqqa comes from an example given of Hoda Muthana, a young Yemeni-American woman from Hoover, Alabama, who became involved with extremists online before she moved to Raqqa, a city in Syria, and has been involved in sending online messages targeted to Americans. Among the messages she has sent include, “Veterans, Patriot, Memorial etc Day parades . . . go on drive by’s + spill all of their blood or rent a big truck n drive all over them. Kill them.”

    Of those arrested, the average age is 26, while 86 percent are male, and activity has occurred in 21 states, the report found. A slim majority of those arrested had attempted to travel abroad, while almost one third of those arrested were involved in plots to carry out attacks on U.S. soil.

    The report says that a dozen Americans were killed in Islamic State-related activity abroad, while three were killed inside the United States.

    “Some members of this online echo chamber eventually make the leap from keyboard warriors to actual militancy,” the report says.

    It’s not just a social media problem, the report warns.

    “While instances of purely web-driven, individual radicalization are numerous, in several cases U.S.-based individuals initially cultivated and later strengthened their interest in ISIS’s narrative through face-to-face relationships. In most cases online and offline dynamics complement one another,” the report says.

  • Ted Cruz’s ‘Favorite Rabbi’ on Syrian Refugees: ‘Jewish Community Knows What It’s Like to be Refugees Who Are Not Wanted’
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 1:59 pm by Leigh Munsil

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    Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, an Orthodox author and television host, counts Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) among his friends — but that doesn’t mean they always agree.

    For example, on Cruz’s call for the U.S. not to take in refugees from Syria due to concerns over terrorism, Boteach said he takes a different approach.

    “The Jewish community knows what it’s like to be refugees who are not wanted, which we experienced in the most brutal way at the hands of the State Department during the Holocaust,” Boteach told TheBlaze. “[The U.S.] shut down Jewish immigration almost specifically through Breckinridge Long, who worked at the State Department and was an anti-Semite … who did everything he could to put hurdles in the path of Jewish refugees.”

    From left, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, a survivor of the Holocaust, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, participate in a dialogue on keeping Iran from having nuclear weapons, hosted by a group fighting discrimination against Jews, on March 2 in Washington. (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

    From left, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) discuss keeping Iran from having nuclear weapons March 2 in Washington. (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

    He added, “We know what that’s like, and we dare not ever, ever forget that.”

    Boteach, who The Daily Beast dubbed Cruz’s “favorite rabbi,” clarified that he’s not a spokesman for Cruz and isn’t focused on defending or criticizing the Texas senator’s policies.

    “My relationship and friendship and admiration for Senator Cruz is not based on us agreeing on every issue,” Boteach said. “He gets this rap of being ultra-conservative and not sensitive to the views of those who disagree with him, and the truth is he’s a Harvard- and Princeton-educated lawyer. I’ve disagreed with him on endless issues; we laugh together; we talk together; we reason together; we disagree without being disagreeable.”

    Still, Boteach put much of the blame for the current situation in Syria on President Barack Obama for not intervening sooner and more forcefully in the Syrian civil war.

    “The situation has so deteriorated that this is the greatest refugee crisis since the second world war,” Boteach said.

    Jewish refugees were properly vetted after World War II, Boteach said, and only three were found “undesirable.” Similarly, the Syrian refugees should be vetted thoroughly — but they shouldn’t be barred from entry to the U.S., he added.

    “Nobody wants a Paris-style attack on our streets,” Boteach said. “We have to make sure that American lives are protected because of the terrible terror attacks, but we have to accept refugees. … That’s what the Statue of Liberty is, a woman holding a lamp. Give me your tired masses. We’ve always been a haven for the oppressed.”

    Still, emptying Syria, with refugees leaving behind families and homes, is not the ideal situation, he said. “The ideal situation from the outset was to stabilize the situation in Syria by not allowing Assad to kill 250,000 people.”

    The rabbi hasn’t yet made an endorsement in the 2016 race. When asked which candidates besides Cruz are friends to Israel, Boteach mentioned several: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. 

    On Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, “the jury is out,” Boteach said. “As secretary of state, she was a strong friend of Israel, but what worries me is how she was bragging that the Iran deal was of her making, that she was a principal architect of the Iran deal. And that was very disturbing.”

    A vast majority of the Israeli people were against the Iran deal, and 73 percent said they were “sure” or “moderately sure” that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was right when he said the deal posed an “existential threat” to Israel by paving the way to a nuclear Iran.

    Cruz has been a vocal opponent of the Iran deal, as well as a vocal critic of the Federal Aviation Administration’s decision to ban all flights to Israel during the Gaza War in summer 2014, both of which Boteach cited as reasons he considers Cruz a friend to Israel.

    “It’s not about Democrats and Republicans — it’s about individual actions and statements of leaders,” Boteach said.  ”I don’t know who I’ll endorse or whether I’ll endorse or when I would endorse: Not everything’s political, especially when it comes to the survival of the Jewish people.”

    But in the wake of the Iran deal, Boteach argued that the Jewish people will need champions in American politics more than ever.

    “The Jewish people in general and Israel in particular are facing a growing onslaught of hostility, anti-Semitism and terror attacks on Jews in the Holy Land,” he said. “Those who stand up for the human rights of Israel’s innocent victims are men and women who champion American values in every part of the world, and that is the basis of my deep respect and friendship with Senator Cruz.”

  • Ben Carson Slams White House: ‘Height of Hypocrisy’ to Ask Turkey to Close Borders but Not Close Our Own
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 1:46 pm by Chris Enloe

    Comments (46)

    Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson ripped the White House Tuesday, labeling a recent Obama administration request of Turkey the “height of hypocrisy.”

    According to a report from the Wall Street Journal last week, the White House recently asked Turkey to seal a 60-mile stretch of their border that allegedly acts as a gateway for Islamic State fighters. While Turkey has yet to respond to the Obama administration’s request, the report said that Turkey agrees that they need to tighten their border control.

    Speaking to “Fox and Friends” early Tuesday, Carson applauded any effort to thwart Islamic State fighters from entering Turkey, but questioned the administration’s request, given the United States’ own “porous” southern border.

    “Yes, it would be good to seal off the border so that there wasn’t such a flow of people into the ranks of ISIS,” Carson said. “But by the same token, you look at our border, it is completely porous.”

    “Terrorists can come here also. I’ve been down there,” the retired neurosurgeon added. “I mean, I was astonished by how little protection there is and all of the drugs that are coming through.”

    “So for us to sit there and proclaim sanctimoniously that you should close your border while we haven’t done that to protect the American people seems to me the height of hypocrisy,” he concluded.

    Carson recently made a trip to Jordan, where he visited the Azraq refugee camp. While there, Carson said he did not detect a desire from the refugees to come to the United States. Instead, Carson said, most of the refugees have a desire to be repatriated to their home country when the war ends.

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  • ‘Goliath the Gator’ Defends His Golf Course
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 1:26 pm by Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Comments (56)

    A recent battle occurred on a Florida golf course — but it wasn’t between people.

    According to the Myakka Pines Golf Course’s Facebook page, a well-known alligator, affectionately dubbed Goliath by local golfers, defended his territory recently when he encountered another gator on the course.

    Golfer Lynn Sarles took photos of the altercation, which have been shared online and with local news outlets.

    Image via Facebook/Myakka Pines Golf Club

    Image via Facebook/Myakka Pines Golf Club

    Image via Facebook/Myakka Pines Golf Club

    Image via Facebook/Myakka Pines Golf Club

    Goliath kept control of his territory…strolls back to his pond, apparently uninjured!Photo by Lynn Sarles

    Posted by Myakka Pines Golf Club on Monday, November 30, 2015

  • Five Injured From Explosion Near Istanbul Subway Station – Mayor Says It Was a Bomb
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 1:12 pm by Jon Street

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    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — An explosion on a highway overpass near a subway station in Istanbul on Tuesday wounded five people and was caused by a bomb, a local mayor said.

    Image source: Twitter

    Image source: Twitter

    The bomb was left on barriers on the overpass, said Atilla Aydiner, the mayor for Istanbul’s Bayrampasa district. Earlier, Istanbul’s governor said one person was slightly injured in the blast.

    The explosion occurred at 1530 GMT (10:30 a.m. EST) at an overpass near the city’s Bayrampasa subway station, on the European side of Istanbul. Several ambulances and police vehicles were sent to the area.

    The Dogan news agency said it was a hand-made cluster bomb. Dogan also obtained closed-circuit TV footage showing an explosion looking like a firework display in the night sky. The agency’s footage also showed a white van on the overpass, with large holes in its windshield, apparently damaged in the explosion. The Anadolu Agency identified an injured person as a 36-year-old man and said he wasn’t in serious condition. It wasn’t immediately clear if he was in the vehicle at the time of the explosion.

    Subway services at Bayrampasa and elsewhere were briefly disrupted following the explosion.

    Kurdish rebels fighting Turkey for autonomy in the mainly Kurdish southeast of the country have carried out bombings in Istanbul in the past. Fighting between rebels belonging to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and government forces flared up again in July, killing hundreds of people and derailing a fragile peace process with the Kurds.

    Two suicide bombings, blamed on a local cell of the Islamic State group, killed 130 people in a town near the border with Syria in July, and in the capital, Ankara, in October. A banned left-wing group is also active in Istanbul.

  • Palestinian President Abbas Uses U.N. Climate Change Speech as Vehicle to Bash Israel
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 1:03 pm by Sharona Schwartz

    Comments (24)

    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas pledged at COP21, the U.N. climate change conference, Monday to “positively contribute” to international efforts to combat climate change. But it wasn’t his environmental agenda that dominated his speech at the international conference in Paris.

    Abbas’ primary focus was to bash Israel over alleged violations against Palestinians.

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivers his statement at the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivers his statement at COP21, the U.N. climate change conference, in Paris Monday. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

    According reporting from the official Palestinian news agency Wafa, Abbas devoted much of his speech to issues having nothing to do with climate change, the main objective of the huge gathering of world leaders. Here’s the climate change part of the speech, as reported by Wafa:

    Abbas addressed the issue of climate change, saying it has become a national challenge for all countries all over the world.

    He said, “The state of Palestine, which is a full member in many international organizations and agreements, continues its preparations to join the United Nations Framework Convention on climate change, and to simultaneously and positively contribute and hold its responsibilities as a member state in the near future.”

    Abbas informed the audience about Palestine’s serious steps to tackle climate change and to protect the environment. He said Palestine has made considerable progress in enacting laws and necessary strategies for this purpose.

    The Palestinian Authority leader accused Israel of several violations, including confiscating natural resources — claims Israel vehemently denies.

    “Our resources are being usurped, our trees are being uprooted, our agriculture is being destroyed,” Abbas said.

    The Palestinian leader said that Israel has “undermined all peace chances,” and he threatened to abandon his own commitments to past peace agreements with Israel. He also called on the international community to pursue “freedom and independence” for Palestinians.

    At the same time, Abbas said, “Our hand is still extended in peace to our neighbors.”

    While at the conference, Abbas shook hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the first time in years in an unplanned group gathering. (The moment was captured on camera but was unwittingly “photobombed” by  President Ikililou Dhoinine of Comoros.)

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, talks with Palestine's president Mahmoud Abbas before a group photo as part of the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. More than 150 world leaders are meeting under heightened security, for the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11), also known as "Paris 2015" from November 30 to December 11. (Martin Bureau/Pool Photo via AP)

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, talks with Palestine’s president Mahmoud Abbas, right, before a group photo as part of COP21, the U.N. climate change conference, in Paris, Monday. The two men shook hands for the first time in years, but the photo handshake was accidentally blocked by President Ikililou Dhoinine of Comoros. (Martin Bureau/Pool Photo via AP)

    Netanyahu later told reporters the handshake “was purely protocol, not a working meeting,” though he added he is always willing to hold peace talks with the Palestinians.

    “It’s important for the world to see that we’re always willing to talk. But, on the other hand, I have no illusions about Abu Mazen,” Netanyahu said, using Abbas’ nickname.

    Since September, Israel has faced a wave of multiple daily Palestinian terrorist attacks, which it has blamed largely on the Palestinian Authority for inciting.

  • Pastors’ On-Air Clash Over Trump Meeting Gets Heated: ‘He Probably Should Have His Ministerial Credentials Revoked’
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 12:48 pm by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (57)

    Two pastors clashed during a heated CNN segment on Monday night while discussing Donald Trump’s meeting with 100 black pastors, with one of the preachers doubling down after calling his fellow clergy “prostitutes” for agreeing to meet with Trump.

    Pastors clash (CNN)

    Pastor James Davis and the Rev. Jamal Bryant clash (CNN)

    The back-and-forth between Pastor James Davis, who attended the Trump event and the Rev. Jamal Bryant, who criticized his fellow faith leader for doing so, was pretty uncomfortable at moments — particularly during an exchange during which the word “prostitute” was thrown around.

    “Dr. Bryant has gone so far to go out on Twitter and call the people who were in that room ‘prostitutes,’” Davis said, noting that Bryant compared the preachers’ pulpits to poles.

    Rather than back away from these comments, Bryant doubled down.

    “I want to apologize, because prostitutes get money, and the 100 that went in there walked away with nothing,” he said. “They did it for free, so there’s another word for that and I would not use that language on a family channel.”

    Earlier during the exchange, Bryant called Davis a “pawn” and said that he vehemently opposes Trump, who he claimed has been ”outlandishly offensive to every minority group in the country.”

    Davis, though, explained that the meeting with Trump, despite previous claims made by the campaign, “was never about endorsing” the Republican presidential candidate, and said that history was made, as 100 black faith leaders had met with a GOP hopeful.

    “He absolutely listened to us,” he said of Trump, proceeding to blame President Barack Obama and other leaders currently serving for the blight of African Americans. “Right now, under this administration, black folks are worse off than we’ve ever been.”

    In the end, Davis wasn’t willing to let the “prostitute” debate go either, saying that he believes that Bryant should lose his pastoral credentials.

    “He probably should have his ministerial credentials revoked, because I wouldn’t call any of my brothers that name.”

    Watch the heated segment below:

    (H/T: Mediaite)

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  • Eyes Turn to Cruz and Rubio: One Is Seeing a Polling Surge, the Other an Endorsement Surge
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 12:45 pm by Fred Lucas

    Comments (85)

    Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) has racked up 19 endorsements from members of Congress — three of which came from the Senate Republican caucus where campaign rival Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) is not all that popular.

    However, Cruz has had some positive polling numbers lately, having surged to second place in recent Iowa polls.

    “Rubio was good in the debates and seems to be a good candidate, and though he’s not overly experienced, that’s an issue with Cruz, as well. Cruz has likewise done very well in the debates and has taken a stronger stand on socially conservative issues,” University of Iowa political science professor Tim Hagle told TheBlaze.

    Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, right, speaks during a news conference with Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, following a vote in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Sept. 27, 2013. The U.S. Senate voted to finance the government through Nov. 15 after removing language to choke off funding for the health care law, putting pressure on the House to avoid a federal shutdown set to start Oct. 1. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, left, and Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

    Their lack of experience has been likened to that of President Barack Obama before he was elected, Hagle noted, but the two senators still have more government experience than outsiders Trump, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina.

    “Some people who were backing the outsiders are backing up and maybe thinking, we want someone with a little bit of experience in how government works,” Hagle added. “As Rubio said, the problem with Obama is not his experience, it’s his polices. Rubio was the speaker of the Florida House and Cruz was the Texas solicitor general, so both arguably have more experience than Obama’s couple of years in the Senate.”

    Though he has received endorsements from 11 House Republicans, with six from his home state of Texas, Cruz has yet to pull in a U.S. senator endorsement. “I would suspect Cruz sees that as a badge of honor,” Hagle said.

    One reason for the surge in endorsements for Rubio — including nods from Sens. James Risch of Idaho, Steve Daines of Montana and Cory Gardner of Colorado — is a fear the party “establishment” has of a Cruz nomination, Politico reported.

    “The Republican establishment does increasingly see Rubio as perhaps their best opportunity to win,” Geoffrey Skelley, political analyst for the University of Virginia Center for Politics, told TheBlaze. “Rubio contrasts well with Hillary Clinton, and a lot of Senate Republicans still don’t like Senator Cruz because of electability concerns.”

    Cruz has taken on the Republican establishment during his first term in the Senate, pushing the House to defund Obamacare, and leading to a temporary partial government shutdown. He also called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) a liar on the Senate floor. This has hardly endeared him to Republicans.

    Nominating Cruz would be the “test case” for the argument that Republicans can win if they are willing to nominate a conservative, Skelley added.

    “Ted Cruz’s track record has a lot to attack, with the government shutdown, but that’s not to say Ted Cruz can’t win a general election,” Skelley said. “But that is a serious concern for a lot of Republicans who see a good opportunity to win since they see Hillary Clinton as very beatable.”

    While Rubio is running ahead with endorsements, Cruz has a stronger position in the polls, Skelley said. “Rubio hasn’t actualized that support, while Cruz is gaining support in Iowa, which is what he needs to do if he is going to make his move.”

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush remains the overall leader in endorsements, with 29 members of Congress backing him, including Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine and Dean Heller of Nevada. Yet, only seven of those endorsements came since September, whereas all but one of Rubio’s backers stepped up since then, so momentum seems clearly on the senator’s side in the endorsement primary.

    Lately, the two have taken aim at one another over the National Security Agency data collection and Libya policy.

    “I stand strongly on behalf of the ability of this government to gather intelligence on our adversaries and our enemies, especially terrorists, but also other nation states. Those keep us safer,” Rubio told Fox News. “There are Republicans, including Senator Cruz, that have voted to weaken those programs. That is just part of the record, it is nothing personal.”

    Cruz said in an interview with Bloomberg News, “Senator Rubio emphatically supported Hillary Clinton in toppling [Muammar] Qaddafi in Libya. I think that made no sense,” Cruz told Bloomberg Politics while in Iowa.

    Unlike Rubio, Cruz said has refrained from going after Trump. But, on Monday, Cruz said that Trump would not be the nominee. There has been much speculation that if Trump falters or drops out of the race, many of his supporters will go to Cruz.

    Hagle, of the University of Iowa, said he doesn’t want to write off Trump since it’s been done so many times already. But he said from his own observations, Trump doesn’t have the same ground game in Iowa as Cruz or even Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who has been floundering in national pools.

    Despite momentum for any candidate, Trump is still leading in both Iowa and New Hampshire, Skelley pointed out. ”It would be bold and premature to count Trump out at this point,” Skelley said. “At the end of the day, he’s still the leader.”

  • ‘Any Apologies?’: Donald Trump Quadruples Down on 9/11 Claim — This Time, He Presents What He Claims Is Proof (UPDATED)
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 12:39 pm by Jason Howerton

    Comments (245)

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is remaining defiant and refusing to recant his claim that thousands of Muslims celebrated in New Jersey after the World Trade Towers were brought down on Sept. 11, 2001. On Tuesday, he presented what he considers to be evidence and invited critics to apologize to him.

    Trump presented a Sept. 14, 2001, opinion column authored by Fred Siegel who wrote, “In New York, it was easy to get angry listening to Egyptians, Palestinians and the Arabs of nearby Paterson, N.J., celebrate as they received word of the murderous attacks in New York and Washington.”

    No other concrete evidence of Muslim celebrations in New Jersey appeared to be included in the op-ed.

    In another tweet, Trump posted a video of WABC radio host and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa references cheering following the 9/11 attacks.

    In an archived 2001 article from The Star-Ledger, Sliwa is quoted as saying small group of teenagers — not thousands — shouted “revenge” following the terror attacks.

    “They got put in their place by the elders – they were clobbered. The reaction of the community as a whole, that’s really the story they should tell instead of this complete denial. There are a lot of American flags flying down there now,” he reportedly said.

    UPDATE: Curtis Sliwa responded to Trump on Tuesday, offering him “no apology.”

    (H/T: Mediaite)

  • ESPN Anchor Says NFL Tight End Travis Kelce Wasn’t Criticized for Touchdown Dance Because He’s ’Not Black’
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 12:15 pm by Chris Enloe

    Comments (79)

    SportsCenter anchor Robert Flores ignited controversy on Monday after he questioned why Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was vilified for dancing in an opponent’s endzone, but other players are not.

    Talking over highlights from last Sunday’s Bills-Chiefs game, which showed Chiefs tight-end Travis Kelce dancing in the endzone following a touchdown reception, Flores pondered aloud why there have been no letters to the editor ripping Kelce’s dance.

    “I’m wondering why there’s no letters to the editor or why First Take’s not doing ‘Should Travis Kelce be dancing in the end zone?’” Flores questioned, referencing a scathing letter published by the Charlotte Observer following the Panther’s week 10 victory over the Tennessee Titans.

    That letter’s author questioned Newton’s status as a role model because of a fourth quarter endzone celebration. The author also labeled the dance as “arrogant” and “in your face taunting.”

    “Are you sure they didn’t?” fellow anchor Jay Crawford asked Flores in response.

    “They didn’t,” Flores shot back. “I wonder why they’re not doing that? Oh, because he’s not black. That’s probably what it is.”

    Some on twitter were quick to react to Flores’ comments, but Flores was also quick to shoot back:

    Others applauded Flores:

    Despite his critics, Newton continues to dance and celebrate each touchdown. He even gives each Panthers touchdown ball to a young Panthers fan sitting near the endzones.

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