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  • She Was Forcibly Sedated by Social Workers – But What Reportedly Happened Next Is ‘Unprecedented’
    Posted December 1, 2013 at 8:09 am by Oliver Darcy

    Comments (167)

    An Italian woman visiting the U.K. on a work trip was reportedly sedated and forcibly given a caesarean section last year after social workers obtained a court order saying the mother had suffered a mental breakdown.

    She Was Forcibly Sedated by Social Workers. But What Reportedly Happened Next Is Unprecedented.

    A woman was reportedly forcibly sedated and given a caesarean section in the U.K. after social workers obtained a court order saying she had suffered a mental breakdown. (Image source: Shutterstock)

    The incident was first reported in Sunday’s edition of The Telegraph which noted that 15 months later the child is still in the care of social services, despite the mother’s claims that she has made a full recovery.

    “I have never heard of anything like this in all my 40 years in the job,” the woman’s British lawyer, Brendan Fleming, told The Telegraph.

    “I have never heard of anything like this in all my 40 years in the job.”
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    “I can understand if someone is very ill that they may not be able to consent to a medical procedure, but a forced caesarean is unprecedented,” he continued. “If there were concerns about the care of this child by an Italian mother, then the better plan would have been for the authorities here to have notified social services in Italy and for the child to have been taken back there.”

    The 2012 incident occurred after the Italian woman, visiting on a work trip, suffered a mental breakdown likely related to an existing bipolar condition, according to The Telegraph.

    The woman was reportedly detained under the country’s Mental Health Act and social workers eventually obtained a court order for the birth “to be enforced by way of caesarean section.” After five weeks of forced detention, the woman then says she was forcibly sedated and had her baby removed from the womb, according to The Telegraph.

    John Hemming, a British lawmaker, said he plans to present this case to parliament.

    “I have seen a number of cases of abuses of people’s rights in the family courts, but this has to be one of the more extreme,” he reportedly said.

    “It involves the Court of Protection authorising a caesarean section without the person concerned being made aware of what was proposed,” Hemming continued. “I worry about the way these decisions about a person’s mental capacity are being taken without any apparent concern as to the effect on the individual being affected.”

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    • Actor from ‘Fast & Furious’ Movie Franchise Dies in Car Crash
      Posted November 30, 2013 at 10:44 pm by Dave Urbanski

      Comments (189)

      Actor Paul Walker, known around the world for his starring roles in the popular “Fast & Furious” series of car-focused heist movies, died today in a car crash, according to ABC News, citing Walker’s representative. He was 40 years old.

      Actor Paul Walker from Fast & Furious Movie Franchise Dies in Car Crash

      Paul Walker (Image source: Facebook)

      “Sadly I must confirm that Paul did pass away this afternoon,” Ame Van Iden said in an email, ABC reported.

      TMZ reported that Walker was in a Porsche when the driver lost control and crashed the vehicle into a tree.

      The Santa Clarita Signal reported that a red Porsche crashed into a light pole and tree and burst into flames.

      The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station confirmed in a statement to Us Weekly that there were two fatalities in a traffic collision at approximately 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

      A vehicle engulfed in flames was found and extinguished by the Los Angeles County Fire Department, noted KNBC-TV in Los Angeles. Authorities found two people inside the vehicle after the fire was extinguished, officials said, adding that the two victims were pronounced dead at the scene.

      Walker’s official Facebook page issued the following post:

      It is with a truly heavy heart that we must confirm that Paul Walker passed away today in a tragic car accident while attending a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide. He was a passenger in a friend’s car, in which both lost their lives. We appreciate your patience as we too are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news. Thank you for keeping his family and friends in your prayers during this very difficult time. We will do our best to keep you apprised on where to send condolences. – #TeamPW

      Actor Paul Walker from Fast & Furious Movie Franchise Dies in Car Crash

      First responders gather evidence near the wreckage of a Porsche sports car that crashed into a light pole on Hercules Street near Kelly Johnson Parkway in Valencia on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013. A publicist for actor Paul Walker says the star of the “Fast & Furious” movie series has died in a car crash north of Los Angeles. (Image source: AP/The Santa Clarita Valley Signal, Dan Watson)

      Actor Paul Walker from Fast & Furious Movie Franchise Dies in Car Crash

      First responders gather evidence near the wreckage of a Porsche sports car that crashed into a light pole on Hercules Street near Kelly Johnson Parkway in Valencia on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013. A publicist for actor Paul Walker says the star of the “Fast & Furious” movie series has died in a car crash north of Los Angeles. (Image souree: AP/The Santa Clarita Valley Signal, Dan Watson)

      Walker was working on the latest “Fast & Furious” movie at the time of his death. He also starred in the suspense drama, “Hours,” a movie that is set for release this month.

      Here’s a short announcement from CNN on Walker’s death:

      The Associated Press contributed to this story.

      This post has been updated.

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      • Montana Appeals Teacher’s 30-Day Prison Sentence for Raping 14-Year-Old Girl
        Posted November 30, 2013 at 10:26 pm by Dave Urbanski

        Comments (89)

        Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski

        HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana attorney general’s office on Friday asked the state Supreme Court to throw out a 30-day sentence given to a teacher who raped a 14-year-old girl, saying the punishment was illegally lenient.

        The state formally filed its arguments in the appeal of the highly criticized sentence for Stacey Rambold, who was released from Montana State Prison in September.

        Montana Appeals Teachers 30 Day Sentence for Raping 14 Year Old Girl

        Stacey Rambold stands in the courtroom Monday after sentencing by Judge G. Todd Baugh. Rambold received 15 years in prison, with all but 31 days suspended, for sexual intercourse without consent. He will also get credit for one day already served. (Credit: Paul Ruhter / Gazette Staff)

        District Judge G. Todd Baugh sparked outrage when he commented in August that victim Cherice Morales was “older than her chronological age.” Morales killed herself before the case went to trial.

        The judge later apologized and said his comments were based on videotaped interviews with Morales that have not been publicly released.

        Montana Appeals Teachers 30 Day Sentence for Raping 14 Year Old Girl

        Montana District Judge G. Todd Baugh reads a statement apologizing for remarks he made about a 14-year-old girl raped by a teacher in Billings, Mont., Wednesday Aug. 28, 2013. But Baugh defended the 30-day prison sentence given to the teacher as appropriate. Credit: AP

        The state argues the child was not legally capable of consent and that the judge’s sentence was illegal.

        The brief argues the minimum legal sentence would have been two years in prison. But prosecutors said they still believe a sentence of 20 years in prison, with 10 years suspended, would be appropriate.

        Baugh relied on a different section of the same law cited by prosecutors when he gave the defendant 15 years with all but 31 days suspended and a one-day credit for time served.

        Rambold’s attorney, Jay Lansing, has not responded to repeated requests for comment on the case. His office said Wednesday that he had no plans to do so.

        The attorney general’s office said Rambold’s sentence should be vacated and remanded for sentencing.

        Prosecutors said that “there is no legitimate hypothetical that allows blame to be placed on a 14-year-old student who has been victimized by her 47-year-old teacher.”

        Recently, several advocacy groups asked the Supreme Court to be allowed to file supporting arguments in the appeal. They argued they can provide expertise in legal and social advocacy for women’s rights.

        The judge’s statements reflected “stereotypical, prejudicial, and generally false beliefs regarding sexual assault,” the groups say.

        Rambold has registered as a level 1 sex offender, meaning he’s considered a low risk to reoffend. He will remain on probation through 2028 unless the original sentence is overruled.

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        • Televangelist Paul Crouch Dies at 79; Founded Trinity Broadcasting Network, Known as World’s Largest Christian TV Enterprise
          Posted November 30, 2013 at 9:56 pm by Dave Urbanski

          Comments (209)

          Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski

          COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — Paul Crouch, the televangelist who built what’s been called the world’s largest Christian broadcasting network, has died. He was 79.

          Televangelist Paul Crouch Dies at 79; Founded Trinity Broadcasting Network, Known as Worlds Largest Christian TV Enterprise

          Image source: YouTube raw video

          Crouch died at his home in Orange, Calif., on Saturday after a decade-long fight with degenerative heart disease, his grandson Brandon Crouch told The Associated Press.

          “He was an incredible businessman, entrepreneur, visionary; he built something that impacted the world,” he said.

          Trinity Broadcast Network had reported that Crouch fell ill and was taken to a Dallas-area hospital in October while visiting the network’s facility in Colleyville, Texas. He later returned to California for continued treatment of “heart and related health issues.”

          “We mourn Paul’s passing and he will be greatly missed. But we know, as the old hymn reminds us, soon enough we will see him again in that great ‘meeting in the air,’” the network said in a statement Saturday.

          Crouch began his broadcasting career while studying theology at Central Bible Institute and Seminary in his native Missouri by helping build the campus’ radio station. He moved to California in the early 1960s to manage the movie and television unit of the Assemblies of God before founding Trinity Broadcast Network in 1973 with his wife, Jan.

          They grew the network into an international Christian empire that beams prosperity gospel programming to every continent but Antarctica around the clock. The programming promises that if the faithful sacrifice for their belief, God will reward them with material wealth.

          Based in Costa Mesa, the network says it has 84 satellite channels and more than 18,000 television and cable affiliates as well as a Christian amusement park in Orlando.

          The Crouches faced criticism for what critics say was their extravagant lifestyle. Ministry watchdogs have long questioned how TBN spends the hundreds of millions of tax-exempt donations they receive from viewers.

          Last year, their granddaughter and her husband’s uncle filed lawsuits alleging $50 million in financial improprieties at the network and detailed opulent spending on private jets and 13 mansions and homes around the U.S. for the Crouch family’s use.

          The Crouches dismissed the allegations, and their attorney said the network’s spending was in line with its mission to spread the gospel throughout the world.

          He was survived by his wife and their two sons, Matthew and Paul Jr.

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          • Glenn Beck Delivers Special Message All the Way Across the Atlantic — for a Group You Probably Didn’t Know Exists (But You’ll Be Glad That It Does)
            Posted November 30, 2013 at 9:04 pm by Dave Urbanski

            Comments (90)

            Italy is widely known for many things the world over, but what not many likely know — including Americans — is that there’s a political tea party movement growing there, modeled after the one that revolutionized the 2010 midterm elections in the U.S.

            And the Italian tea party held a gathering recently, and none other than Glenn Beck participated through a video message, encouraging the Italians who are looking much the same things as tea party members in the States.

            Their motto? Less taxes and more freedom.

            Freedom of Entrepreneurship, Freedom in God: Glenn Beck Speaks to Italian Tea Party Gathering

            Image source: Italian TV station LA7

            Freedom of Entrepreneurship, Freedom in God: Glenn Beck Speaks to Italian Tea Party Gathering

            Image source: Italian TV station LA7

            An Italian TV news station covered the event and the growing tea party there, noting Beck’s contribution, along with that of FreedomWorks’ Matt Kibbe.

            A translation of Italian TV station LA7′s piece was provided to TheBlaze — here some of the highlights.

            A fundamentally disenchanted segment of the Italian population for the past two years has set up new political parties such as the Tea Party and Indipendenza Veneta (Veneto is one of the regions in the Northeast). It’s been spurred on in part to reduce certain taxes and fight a system that is strangling entrepreneurship in the region, its members say.

            “We see the fiscal pressure, the bureaucracy that kills our private sector companies, and are now witnessing our position as subjects within Europe’s centralized government,” said Alessandro Ciuti, Lombardy coordinator of Tea Party Italia. “Thus, today’s real problem is our inability to operate freely, work freely, and not to be oppressed by the central administration.”

            According to the broadcaster, the key word here is “independence” (“independentism”), as activists, entrepreneurs, and even some local municipalities are springing up to create an alternative to the traditional political system.

            As signs are seen onscreen that read “Freedom of entrepreneurship, freedom in God” and “Freedom from a central government, freedom from taxes,” it’s noted that the Italian tea party organized an event that was bolstered by two video messages from Glenn Beck and Matt Kibbe, “two men who are the key protagonists of the U.S. tea party.” The event attracted about 500 attendees, the report said.

            Freedom of Entrepreneurship, Freedom in God: Glenn Beck Speaks to Italian Tea Party Gathering

            Image source: Italian TV station LA7

            Freedom of Entrepreneurship, Freedom in God: Glenn Beck Speaks to Italian Tea Party Gathering

            Image source: Italian TV station LA7

            “This allows us to bring forth these principles in terms of individual liberty and corporate liberty,” Alessandro Ciuti said, adding that he wants to “spread the word, basically asking citizens if they are not sick and tired of the current situation.”

            The Indipendenza Veneta movement claims to have gathered 48,000 signatures for a referendum – allowed under the Italian constitution – for the creation of the Republic of Venice, which have been sent to the European Parliament to monitor the process, the news report said.

            “We hope to be able to vote in 2014,” Alessandro Ciuti said.

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            • ‘Hard-to-Fathom Finish’: Check Out Last-Second 109-Yard Touchdown Return That Just Toppled College Football’s #1 Team
              Posted November 30, 2013 at 8:15 pm by Dave Urbanski

              Comments (131)

              Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski

              AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Chris Davis returned a missed field-goal attempt more than 100 yards for a touchdown on the final play to lift No. 4 Auburn to a 34-28 victory over No. 1 Alabama on Saturday, upending the two-time defending national champions’ BCS hopes and preserving the Tigers’ own.

              Davis caught the ball about 9 yards deep in the end zone after freshman Adam Griffith’s 57-yard attempt fell short. He then sprinted down the left sideline and cut back with nothing but teammates around him in a second straight hard-to-fathom finish for the Tigers (11-1, 7-1 Southeastern Conference).

              ou DAuburn Beats Alabama on Last Second 109 Yard Touchdown Return

              Image source: CBS Sports via ESPN

              Auburn clinched a spot in the SEC championship game with the stunning victory over the powerhouse from across the state. The Crimson Tide (11-1, 7-1) seemed at several times poised to continue its run toward the first three-peat in modern college football.

              Instead, the Tigers put it away just when overtime seemed their best hope.

              Alabama had gotten 1 second restored and one more play after a review when T.J. Yeldon ran it to Auburn’s 39.

              That gave the Tide a chance to try the long field goal — and now it probably wished it never did.

              The entire field was flooded with orange shakers long after the climactic finale of one of the biggest Iron Bowls in the bitter rivalry’s 78-year history.

              It lived up to the billing — and then some.

              This finale even one-upped Auburn’s last-gasp win over Georgia two weeks earlier. A deflected 73-yard touchdown catch dubbed “The Immaculate Deflection” by Ricardo Louis with 25 seconds left set up only the second Top-5 Iron Bowl matchup and first since 1971.

              A team that went 3-9 last season and had been destroyed by Alabama 91-14 combined the past two seasons will play for an SEC title and perhaps a trip to the BCS championship game.

              Undefeated Ohio State, which was third in the BCS standings this week and figures to move up to second behind Florida State, will have something to say about which teams play for the national title. No doubt the Buckeyes, who won their own thriller against Michigan earlier in the day, were celebrating Auburn’s win almost as much as the Tigers.

              On the final play, Alabama turned to Griffith to replace Cade Foster, who had missed three field goals, with a potential clinching 44-yarder going low and getting blocked in the final minutes. Griffith was only 1 of 2 all season with a long of 20 yards.

              Nick Marshall had tied the game with a 39-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Sammie Coates with 32 seconds left after Auburn blocked a low field goal attempt. The Tigers moved 65 yards in 2 minutes all on the ground with Mason until that play.

              Marshall raced toward the line with two defensive backs coming after him. Then he pulled up just in time with the ball tucked in his left hand, deftly switching it to his right and lofting the pass to Coates standing all by himself.

              McCarron, a Heisman Trophy candidate, had staked Alabama to a 28-21 lead with a 99-yard pass to Amari Cooper for the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter.

              The Tide had a few chances to put the game away, but couldn’t convert a fourth-and-short deep in Auburn territory, had the third of four missed field goals and Cooper dropped a potential TD in the end zone.

              Check out the miracle at the last minute below:

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              • Tragic: Mother Aboard Crashed Alaska Plane Leaves Her Fatally Injured Infant to Look for Help
                Posted November 30, 2013 at 7:35 pm by Dave Urbanski

                Comments (44)

                Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski

                ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A mother on board a plane that crashed in remote southwest Alaska made a frantic phone call for help resuscitating her 5-month-old baby, then left the fatally injured boy to lead searchers hampered by cold and fog to the crash site.

                Melanie Coffee, 25, of Mountain Village walked nearly a mile toward lights in the village of Saint Marys to meet rescuers Friday night.

                Tragic: Mother Aboard Crashed Alaska Plane Leaves Her Fatally Injured Infant to Look for Help

                This image provided Saturday Nov. 30, 2013, courtesy of Alaska State Troopers shows the wreckage of a plane that crashed Friday near St. Marys, Alaska. Authorities said the pilot and three passengers died in this crash of the single-engine turboprop Cessna 208. (Image source: AP/Alaska State Troopers)

                “I believe she’s the real hero in this,” said Saint Marys Village Police Officer Fred Lamont Jr., one of the dozens from his community and surrounding villages who responded to the crash that killed four and injured six.

                The Hageland Aviation Cessna 208 turboprop left Bethel at 5:40 p.m. on a scheduled flight for Mountain Village and eventually Saint Marys.

                Saint Marys, like scores of other Alaska villages, is off the state road system. People routinely use small aircraft to reach regional hubs where they can catch another plane to complete trips to Anchorage or other cities.

                Megan Peters, a spokeswoman for the Alaska State Troopers, said the airplane would have been flying in freezing rain with a mile of visibility and a 300-foot ceiling. Lamont described conditions as ice fog with moisture that stuck to vehicles.

                The airplane never reached Mountain Village. It crashed around 6:30 p.m. four miles from Saint Marys, said Clint Johnson, head of the National Transportation Safety Board in Alaska.

                Pilot Terry Hansen, 68, passengers Rose Polty, 57, Richard Polty, 65, and the infant, Wyatt Coffee, died in the crash.

                The survivors included Melanie Coffee, Pauline Johnson, 37, Kylan Johnson, 14, Tanya Lawrence, 35, Garrett Moses, 30, and Shannon Lawrence. All were seriously injured and four were in critical condition, Lamont said. All but Hanson and Shannon Lawrence are from Mountain Village, troopers said.

                Tragic: Mother Aboard Crashed Alaska Plane Leaves Her Fatally Injured Infant to Look for Help

                Image source: CBS News

                Lamont, the village police officer, is also trained as a health aide and was working with an ambulance driver Friday. At about 7 p.m., he said, Melanie Coffee called another on-duty health aide to say the airplane had crashed and she needed assistance.

                “She was trying to do CPR to her newborn baby,” Lamont said. “She called for help.”

                Lamont and the driver headed out in the ambulance to look for the crash. Other health officials put out the call for responders. Two state troopers assigned to the community joined the effort. People from Mountain Village and Pitka’s Point, which are connected to Saint Marys by local roads, helped search by car and snowmobile.

                “Whoever had a vehicle was out there looking,” Lamont said

                Fog hampered the search and responders could not immediately locate the crash site despite speaking to the injured.

                “We had no clue,” Lamont said.

                Coffee, who suffered chest trauma, tried whistling to alert searchers, Lamont said. She considered starting a fire to get their attention but eventually decided to start walking toward village lights. A GCI communications tower with a red strobe led her three-quarters of a mile to the village landfill.

                “That’s where everyone found her,” Lamont said.

                She led searchers back to the crash site. It was not accessible by snowmobile. Rescuers put the injured on stretchers and carried them out on foot to the landfill where they could be transported by ambulance to the village and then flown out.

                A Coast Guard C-130 could not land because of fog but the injured were transported by a LifeMed Alaska flight and two other aircraft.

                NTSB Investigator Clint Johnson said the cause of the crash has not been determined.

                Hageland Aviation is part of the Era Group that includes Era Aviation. Hageland President Jim Hickerson said in a statement that the crash is “an unspeakable tragedy for us.”

                “Hageland is working to gather information to answer questions and do what we can to ease the suffering of those involved in the accident,” he said.

                Here’s a report from CBS News:

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                • Is All Hope Lost Since Lady Gaga Teamed with the Muppets on Thanksgiving Night?
                  Posted November 30, 2013 at 6:44 pm by Dave Urbanski

                  Comments (91)

                  Maybe you fell victim to yet another tryptophan-induced coma and missed it.

                  Or maybe you circled the date on your 2013 wall calendar with a big neon marker and wouldn’t have skipped it for all the meat dresses in vegan land.

                  But wherever you fall on that continuum, Lady Gaga actually performed with the Muppets on Thanksgiving night, and the postmortem hasn’t been terribly kind so far.

                  The preview for the ABC “Holiday Spectacular,” shown below in a clip from The View, depicts one of the kiddie-fave creatures, appendages all over Gaga’s bare leg, getting decidedly adult in conversation with the host:

                  But Gaga has her quickly fading new album “ARTPOP” to promote, so whatever works, some might say.

                  The Hollywood Reporter wasn’t happy with the quality of dialogue: “But just as it’s not easy being green, it’s not easy being scriptless either. Without checking the historical record, I can’t say for certain whether this script was literally borrowed from one of John Davidson’s old ’70s Christmas specials with the Muppets.”

                  Then THR goes for the jugular: “I do know he didn’t grope his own bosom during a musical number though, so at least Gaga established one new Thanksgiving tradition.”

                  Come again? She couldn’t have. But oh yes she did.

                  Gaga’s performance of “MANiCURE” during the special included a not-so-subtle hand-to-body move as she sang “touch me in the dark, put your hands all over my body parts…”:

                  Is All Hope Lost Since Lady Gaga Teamed with the Muppets on Thanksgiving Night?

                  Image source: ABC via YouTube

                  Gaga did remove her hand for the lines “throw me on the bed, squeeze, tease and please me–that’s what I said,” so there’s always that.

                  Still not convinced? Okay, here’s the clip.

                  (And check out the camera as it inches up her body during the aforementioned portion of the song, as well as those two curmudgeonly gents in the balcony who add more double-entendre flavor to what seems to have once been a family-friendly affair):

                  And a parting shot from THR: “If the 90 seemingly endless minutes of Lady Gaga and the Muppets Holiday Spectacular had a predecessor, it might be the long-suppressed Star Wars Christmas Special, though nothing here was so outrageously wrong (or right) that people will still be bootlegging this one in 35 years’ time.”

                  This post has been updated.

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                  • U.S. Urging North Korea to Release Detained American — He’s 85 Years Old and on Heart Meds
                    Posted November 30, 2013 at 5:38 pm by Dave Urbanski

                    Comments (65)

                    Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski

                    WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is urging North Korea to release an 85-year-old American who’s been detained for more than a month.

                    U.S. Urging North Korea to Release Detained American Merrill Newman Whos 85 Years Old and on Heart Meds

                    This 2005 photo provided by the Palo Alto Weekly shows Merrill Newman, a retired finance executive and Red Cross volunteer, in Palo Alto, Calif. (Image source: AP/Palo Alto Weekly, Nicholas Wright)

                    Retired finance executive Merrill Newman, who fought in the Korean War, was taken off a plane Oct. 26 by North Korean authorities while preparing to leave after a 10-day visit.

                    Newman’s son has said his father wanted to return to the country where he spent three years during the war.

                    National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden says that given Newman’s age and health — he’s on heart medication — North Korea should release him so he can be reunited with his family.

                    North Korea state media claims Newman apologized for alleged crimes during the war and for “hostile acts” against the North during his trip.

                    There was no direct word from Newman and the claim couldn’t be independently confirmed.

                    “After I killed so many civilians and (North Korean) soldiers and destroyed strategic objects in the DPRK during the Korean War, I committed indelible offensive acts against the DPRK government and Korean people,” Newman allegedly said in his statement provided by KCNA Saturday, CNN noted.

                    His statement ends: “If I go back to (the) USA, I will tell the true features of the DPRK and the life the Korean people are leading.”

                    More from CNN:

                    In addition to this statement, KCNA ran a story alleging Newman came to North Korea with a tourist group in October and afterward “perpetrated acts of infringing upon the dignity and sovereignty of the DPRK and slandering its socialist system.”

                    This story claimed that Newman tried to “look for spies and terrorists who conducted espionage and subversive activities against the DPRK.”

                    Investigators determined that, as a member of the U.S. military, he “masterminded espionage and subversive activities … and, in this course, he was involved in the killings of service personnel of the Korean People’s Army and innocent civilians.”

                    “The investigation clearly proved Newman’s hostile acts against the DPRK, and they were backed by evidence,” the KCNA story added. “He admitted all his crimes and made an apology for them.”

                    Pyongyang has been accused of previously coercing statements from detainees, the AP reported, and that it wasn’t clear what would happen to Newman now.

                    The U.S. is also concerned about another American held in North Korea, Kenneth Bae, who was arrested in November 2012 and sentenced in May to 15 years of hard labor, CNN reported. The North Korean government has said Bae, described by friends as a devout Christian, was found guilty of “hostile acts” and attempts to topple the government.

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                    • You Might Be Surprised by Who’s Angry Over ‘Giving Conservatism a Bad Name’
                      Posted November 30, 2013 at 5:00 pm by Dave Urbanski

                      Comments (256)

                      Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), no fan of tea party Republicans, doubled down on his distaste for those who support them, namely the Senate Conservatives Fund, saying they’re ”giving conservatism a bad name” and “participating in ruining the [Republican] brand.”

                      Sen. Mitch McConnell Says GOP Must Fight Against Republicans Giving Conservatism a Bad Name

                      In this Nov. 21, 2013, photo Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., joined by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., left, speaks to reporters after the Democratic majority voted to weaken filibusters and make it harder for Republicans to block confirmation of the president’s nominees for judges and other top posts, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Image source: AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

                      “What they do is mislead their donors into believing the reason that we can’t get as good an outcome as we’d like to get is not because of a Democratic Senate and a Democratic president, but because Republicans are insufficiently committed to the cause — which is utter nonsense,” McConnell said in an interview with the Washington Examiner Friday.

                      McConnell is concerned that outfits such as the Senate Conservatives Fund are married to an in-your-face and uncompromising point of view that makes it difficult for the GOP to govern, the Examiner reported.

                      “There were people who were basically afraid of [conservatives], frankly,” McConnell said of fellow GOP lawmakers during the October government shutdown over Obamacare. “It’s time for people to stand up to this sort of thing.”

                      McConnell’s ire also may be related to the SCF backing a Republican primary challenger against him in 2014, which means McConnell must spend time and cash just to win his party’s nomination in Kentucky for his sixth term, the Examiner added.

                      Matt Hoskins, SCF’s executive director and sole decision maker, had harsh words for McConnell, saying he’ll pay a political price for opposing the SCF, which earns a lion’s share of its support from grassroots party members.

                      “Grassroots conservatives are very worried about the direction of the country and they believe urgent action is needed to save it,” Hoskins told the Examiner. “This is why they’re not happy with politicians who vote with them most of the time. They want people who will actually stand up and fight for them.”

                      For his part, McConnell said anti-establishment Republicans pose a threat to the wider “brand” of the GOP.

                      “To have the kind of year we ought to have in 2014, we have to have electable candidates on November ballots in every state — people that don’t scare the general electorate and can actually win, because winners make policy and losers go home,” McConnell said. “We can’t just turn the other cheek and hope for the best. It didn’t work in 2010 and 2012 so we’re going to try something different in 2014.”

                      (H/T: The Huffington Post)

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                      • Guess What Happens to 76-Year-Old Woman While Rally to End ‘Knockout Game’ Wraps Up Nearby
                        Posted November 30, 2013 at 4:00 pm by Dave Urbanski

                        Comments (224)

                        While 76-year-old Yvonne Small walked along a Brooklyn, N.Y. street at 11:35 a.m. in Friday’s bright sunshine, an unknown assailant punched her in the back of the head and knocked her to the ground…and perhaps made her the 10th New York City victim of the infamous “knockout game.”

                        76 Year Old Woman May Be New York Citys 10th Knockout Game Victim

                        Surveillance photo may be of alleged attacker of 76-year-old Yvonne Small. (Image source: WPIX-TV)

                        Small was was treated at a hospital and discharged, and her attacker was being sought by police, according to the New York Daily News.

                        TheBlaze reported Friday on teens randomly attacking the elderly and has extensively covered the “knockout game” trend.

                        In a distressing bit of irony, as small was being attacked, a rally against the “knockout game” — in which thugs try to knock a stranger unconscious with a single punch then post video of the attack online — was finishing up in the same neighborhood.

                        “We’re not going to tolerate anybody striking, hitting or putting their hands on our women in any shape or fashion,” said Tony Herbert, president of the National Action Network Brooklyn chapter, at the rally. “It’s going to get you locked up.”

                        76 Year Old Woman May Be New York Citys 10th Knockout Game Victim

                        Image source: WPIX-TV

                        The Rev. Al Sharpton has also spoken against the “knockout game”: “We would not be silent if it were the other way around, and we will not be silent now. This behavior is racist, period. And we will not tolerate it,” he wrote in the Huffington Post on Monday.

                        The “knockout game” has already claimed lives in Syracuse, St. Louis and New Jersey, the Daily News noted, adding that one of the New York victims said he believes he was targeted because he’s an Orthodox Jew. Rev. Al Sharpton has also

                        Manhattan chef Diego Moya, 30, suffered a broken nose and fractured jaw when he was attacked during a trip to Philadelphia Tuesday, the Daily News reported. His jaw was wired shut after a three hour surgery; Moya believes his may have been a “knockout game” attack.

                        Here’s a report from WPIX-TV in New York:

                        (H/T: Drudge Report)

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                        • These Two Rappers Just Filmed a Music Video in an Unlikely Place
                          Posted November 30, 2013 at 2:51 pm by Associated Press

                          Comments (44)

                          BEIJING (AP) — Two aspiring American rappers say they have filmed a music video during a five-day visit to North Korea.

                          The rappers known as Pacman and Peso did not say where and how they filmed the video. Their fundraising proposal suggested the video would be shot on a karaoke party bus in Pyongyang. They raised more than $10,000 on the crowdsourcing site Kickstarter to fund their trip.

                          These Two Rappers Just Filmed a Music Video in an Unlikely Place

                          U.S. rapper Pacman wears a North Korean national flag pin on his jacket at the Beijing Capital Airport in Beijing, after returning from Pyongyang, North Korea Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

                          The Washington-area residents, whose real names are Anthony Bobb and Dontray Ennis, spoke to reporters after arriving in Beijing on Saturday.

                          They say the unusual move could jumpstart their music careers. They hope to release the video next month.

                          North Korea has detained at least six Americans in recent years, including an elderly tourist last month.

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                          • Prison Break: 40 Inmates Escape Libyan Prison After Attack by Gunmen
                            Posted November 30, 2013 at 2:35 pm by Associated Press

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                            TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — A Libyan security official says 40 inmates have escaped from a prison in the southern city of Sabha after it came under attack by unknown gunmen.

                            The local official said Saturday that the gunmen opened fire on the prison a day earlier and helped the inmates to escape after threatening the guards. He spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not allowed to brief reporters.

                            Libya’s state news agency LANA quoted prison director Shaaban Nasr as saying that scores of detainees later handed themselves in.

                            Jailbreaks are frequent in Libya, where the nascent police and army have been unable to secure the country and rely on armed militias who fought in the 2011 civil war that toppled dictator Moammar Gadhafi and often act above the law.

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                            • ‘We Don’t Know the Source’: Mystery Illness in Las Vegas Hospitalizes At Least 60
                              Posted November 30, 2013 at 2:11 pm by Oliver Darcy

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                              A mystery illness in Las Vegas has hospitalized at least 60 adults and children in town this weekend for the National Youth Football Championships.

                              “We don’t know the source,” Clark County Fire Department Captain John Steinbeck, said.

                              The mystery illness includes flu-like symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting, according to ABC News.

                              “It felt like we were in an outbreak movie,” Annalisa Johnson, a parent of the one of the players, said.

                              ABC News reported that at one hotel sick individuals climbed aboard a shuttle and were then offloaded at a hospital.

                              “I was very scared because I really didn’t know what was going on,” Alastair Jones, coach of a sick 7-year-old, told KTNV.

                              “I was very scared because I really didn’t know what was going on”
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                              Authorities say it is unlikely the individuals were food poisoned, since they weren’t all eating at the same place. Further, many are staying in separate hotels.

                              Dr. Richard Besser, chief health and medical editor for ABC News, says a Norovirus may be the culprit.

                              “It’s one of the nastiest germs around. It spreads through person to person contact, it spreads through food and also from contaminated surfaces,” Besser said. “It’s one of the most contagious ones we see.”

                              Regardless, parents and organizers say the football tournament will go on.

                              “None of our kids want to cancel the tournament,” Johnson said. “We fundraise for this, we earn this, and all of our kids want to play.”

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                              • What Was Piers Morgan Thankful For This Thanksgiving?
                                Posted November 30, 2013 at 1:37 pm by Oliver Darcy

                                Comments (85)

                                CNN host Piers Morgan jokingly tweeted on Thursday that this Thanksgiving holiday he was thankful for not being deported.

                                Wishing all my American followers a very Happy Thanksgiving. I remain very thankful that I wasn't deported.
                                What Was Piers Morgan Thankful For This Thanksgiving?
                                @piersmorgan
                                Piers Morgan

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                                • Top Scientist: Humans Emerged After Chimpanzee Had Sex With Pig
                                  Posted November 30, 2013 at 1:15 pm by Oliver Darcy

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                                  One of the world’s leading authorities on genetics says the human race was born into existence after a chimpanzee mated with a pig.

                                  Dr. Eugene McCarthy’s stunning claims were made in an online article, although it was not clear when the startling findings was initially published.

                                  According to the University of Georgia alumnus, while human beings share a number of characteristics with chimpanzees, there are others that don’t correspond with the primates.

                                  “What is this other animal that has all these traits? The answer is Sus scrofa – the ordinary pig,” he wrote.

                                  Top Scientist: Humans Emerged After Chimpanzee Had Sex With Pig

                                  A leading scientist suggests human beings emerged after a primate mated with a pig. (Image source: Shutterstock)

                                  “The tentative scenario that I picture is that human beings came into being via hybridization between a pig, whose best modern representative is Sus scrofa, and an ape, best represented today by the pygmy chimpanzee, Pan paniscus,” he added.

                                  McCarthy’s claims even initially stunned him.

                                  “I must admit that I initially felt a certain amount of repugnance at the idea of being a hybrid,” he stated. “The image of a pig mating with an ape is not a pretty one, nor is that of a horde of monstrous half-humans breeding in a hybrid swarm.”

                                  “The image of a pig mating with an ape is not a pretty one…”
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                                  “But the way we came to be is not so important as the fact that we now exist,” he concluded. “As every Machiavellian knows, good things can emerge from ugly processes, and I think the human race is a very good thing.”

                                  This post has been updated to reflect that, while McCarthy is an alumnus of the University of Georgia, the scientist is not a faculty member at the school.

                                  (H/T: Mail Online)

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                                  • Authorities: At least 8 Dead After Helicopter Crashes into Scottish Pub
                                    Posted November 30, 2013 at 12:21 pm by Associated Press

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                                    GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Scottish police say eight people are now confirmed dead following the crash of a police helicopter into a crowded Glasgow pub.

                                    Authorities: At least 8 Dead From Helicopter Crashes into Scottish Pub

                                    Scottish Fire and Rescue services at the scene on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013, following the helicopter crash at the Clutha Bar in Glasgow, Scotland. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)

                                    Chief Constable Stephen House says all those aboard the helicopter — two officers and a civilian pilot — died when the aircraft crashed into the roof of The Clutha pub and five other people were killed on the ground.

                                    He said Saturday that 14 injured people remain in Glasgow hospitals following the crash.

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                                    • Does Common Core Suggest Instructors Teach Students About the Gettysburg Address Without Mentioning the Civil War?
                                      Posted November 30, 2013 at 11:58 am by Oliver Darcy

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                                      The Common Core State Standards reportedly may suggest high school instructors teach students about President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address without mentioning the Civil War.

                                      According to a blog post published earlier this month in the Washington Post, three main architects of the controversial standards may think this is the best way for students to first learn of the famous 272-word text.

                                      “Imagine learning about the Gettysburg Address without a mention of the Civil War, the Battle of Gettysburg, or why President Abraham Lincoln had traveled to Pennsylvania to make the speech,” the post stated. “That’s the way a Common Core State Standards ‘exemplar for instruction’ — from a company founded by three main Core authors — says it should be taught to ninth and 10th graders.”

                                      Does Common Core Suggest Instructors Teach Students About the Gettysburg Address Without Mentioning the Civil War?

                                      (Image source: Shutterstock)

                                      According to the Post, “A Close Reading of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address” explains in 29 pages how teachers can instruct students on Lincoln’s historic address without mentioning the context it was delivered in.

                                      “The idea here is to plunge students into an independent encounter with this short text,” the instructional unit reportedly says. “Refrain from giving background context or substantial instructional guidance at the outset.”

                                      “Refrain from giving background context or substantial instructional guidance at the outset.”
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                                      “This close reading approach forces students to rely exclusively on the text instead of privileging background knowledge, and levels the playing field for all students as they seek to comprehend Lincoln’s address,” it adds.

                                      It should be noted, however, it is not uncommon for historians to examine famous texts in isolation from their historical context.

                                      Educational policy analyst Diane Ravitch, nonetheless, slammed the approach Friday as “a travesty.”

                                      “How is it possible for any student to understand the meaning of the Gettysburg Address without knowing the historical context in which it was delivered?” she asked in a blog post.

                                      (H/T: Fox News Insider)

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                                      • The Reason an Armed Robber Stayed Behind at a Crime Scene Might Bewilder You
                                        Posted November 30, 2013 at 10:51 am by Oliver Darcy

                                        Comments (84)

                                        A clumsy armed robber spent Thanksgiving day behind bars after police say he used a handgun to rob a Florida convenience store, but stayed behind at the crime scene.

                                        22-year-old Johnny Antron Love was captured on security camera footage appearing to demand money from a Miami Gardens store clerk Thursday, as reported by WSVN-TV.

                                        The store clerk, David Paul-Lamour, fearing for his safety, provided the man with the cash — but also said he invited Love to take some beer, hoping it would stall the crook and give police enough time to respond to the scene.

                                        Love happily took the beer, but on his way out the bag ripped, scattering the beer bottles all over the ground. The crook then spent the next several moments attempting to gather the beer bottles.

                                        This critical error gave authorities enough time to arrive. Love, who then attempted to flee the scene, was arrested and charged for the attempted robbery.

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                                        • Man Born to Rich Parents Endures Life of Poverty After Hospital Accidentally Gave Him to Wrong Couple at Birth
                                          Posted November 30, 2013 at 10:15 am by Oliver Darcy

                                          Comments (111)

                                          A Japanese hospital was ordered Tuesday to pay a man nearly half-a-million dollars after they made an error decades ago and accidentally gave the man who was really born to a wealthy family to a less fortunate couple.

                                          “I wondered how on Earth this could have happened,” the 60-year-old man, who declined to provide his name, told Japanese media. “I could not believe it. To be honest, I did not want to accept it.”

                                          Man Born to Rich Parents Endures Life of Poverty After Hospital Accidentally Gave Him to Wrong Couple at Birth

                                          Stock photo. (Image source: Shutterstock)

                                          The shock revelations were only uncovered after the wealthier family ordered DNA testing in 2011, following years of being perplexed as to why the man bore little resemblance to his family, according to The Telegraph.

                                          The child who was accidentally given to the wealthy parents lived an affluent life, enjoying a private tutor in his childhood and ultimately becoming the head of a real-estate company.

                                          On the other hand, the less fortunate man endured a life where he thought his father died at two and lived with several siblings in a one bedroom apartment, according to The Telegraph.

                                          The Tokyo District Court ruled Tuesday the hospital will have to pay the man a little over $370,000, according to The Telegraph. Still, it’s unlikely any monetary amount can make up for the opportunities in life the man missed.

                                          “The links between the man and his real parents were severed and the man was forced to grow up in a poor home,” Judge Masatoshi Miyasaka reportedly said in his ruling. “The mental anguish he went through was enormous.”

                                          “The mental anguish he went through was enormous.”
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                                          “There were far-reaching differences between the two family environments and the plaintiff suffered an unreasonable loss as a result,” the ruling reportedly added.

                                          “It is impossible to assess the scale of the pain and disappointment both the parents and the man had to suffer, as they were deprived of opportunities to enjoy their parent-child relationship for ever,” it continued.

                                          The man agrees, reportedly telling Japanese media he may “have had a different life” and just wants to “roll back the clock to the day that I was born.”

                                          The man’s three biological brothers say they want to forge a relationship with their long lost sibling, according to The Telegraph.

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                                          • Guess Which TV Show Just Got Its Own Line Of ‘Chia’ Heads?
                                            Posted November 30, 2013 at 10:06 am by Mike Opelka

                                            Comments (55)

                                            It was only a matter of time.

                                            If you have paid attention while shopping the “as-seen-on-TV” section of your local Walmart, you probably already know that two members of “Duck Dynasty’s” Robertson family have been immortalized in one of America’s longest lasting pop culture phenomenons — the Chia head.

                                            Duck Dynasty Stars Are Now Chia Heads

                                            Image: YouTube

                                            Duck Commander Willie Robertson and Uncle Si are now part of the long-standing kitschy collectible world of the Chia head. Chances are, you’ve even seen the TV commercial advertising the duo.

                                            While the introduction of the Uncle Si Chia is new, almost nine months ago, A&E actually used Willie’s Chia to promote the show’s new season.

                                            As stated above, the Robertsons are now among a pretty elite group of folks chosen for Chia-immortality. They have joined the likes of Mr. T., Homer Simpson, Sponge Bob, Scooby Doo and other television characters to be immortalized by Joseph Enterprises.

                                            But the Chia treatment is not just for entertainment. It also marks historic events.

                                            Less than three months after he was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama’s “chia” became a reality.

                                            During the 2012 election, Chia marketed both a Chia Romney and Chia Obama. The Chicago Tribune used the sales of each as part of their election prediction system.

                                            Duck Dynasty Stars Are Now Chia Heads

                                            Image: Chicago Tribune screen cap

                                            For the record, Obama outsold Romney 69% to 29% (Romney faired only slightly better in Illinois.)

                                            The Chia can also teach history. Chia.com now boasts a line of political Chia heads, some obvious, and some that may have you scratching your head.

                                            George Washington:

                                            Duck Dynasty Stars Are Now Chia Heads

                                            Image: Chia.com

                                            Abraham Lincoln:

                                            Duck Dynasty Stars Are Now Chia Heads

                                            Image: Chia.com

                                            We have to admit that the Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul Chias were a bit of a surprise.

                                            Duck Dynasty Stars Are Now Chia Heads

                                            Duck Dynasty Stars Are Now Chia Heads

                                            Image: Chia.com

                                            Which Chia head would you like to proudly display in your home?

                                            Follow Mike Opelka on Twitter – @stuntbrain

                                          • ‘Man v Cheetah’: 2 NFL Players, 20 Cameras, 1 Take…Who Won This Epic Race?
                                            Posted November 30, 2013 at 9:11 am by Liz Klimas

                                            Comments (84)

                                            Man versus cheetah in a running contest? Considering the spotted animal is the fastest known on land, you might go into this race thinking it’s really no contest at all.

                                            But, you might be surprised to learn that advances in technology could someday bring man up to speeds that before would otherwise be physically impossible.

                                            Not only that, but man’s intellect can give him an advantage in strategy over a cheetah’s instinct.

                                            For its Big Cat Week special, National Geographic set up about 20 cameras to capture all the angles of the race between the NFL’s Chris Johnson (Tennessee Titans) and Devin Hester (Chicago Bears) against Busch Garden’s cheetahs, Jenna and Nave.

                                            man v cheetah

                                            Although the cheetah might have an advantage in speed, human runners have the brain power to potentially give them a strategic advantage. (Image source: National Geographic)

                                            According to the Tampa Bay Times, National Geographic shot the races in just one take.

                                            “We wanted to do something really different that would push our understanding of the animals and be something that was relatable,” Jenny Apostol, the executive producer of “Man v. Cheetah,” told the Times. “We had no idea what was going to happen.”

                                            The football players sped alongside the animals on a 220-foot course with a 10-foot wall separating them.

                                            Watch this clip from the show:

                                            The race was only done once for each cheetah and football player to avoid stressing the cats.

                                            “We didn’t want to exhaust them,” Apostol told the newspaper.

                                            While a cheetah would undoubtedly win in a straight-shot race, NatGeo made the contestants turn around, giving the humans a bit more of a fair chance with agility and strategic planning, Chicago’s Red Eye reported.

                                            Johnson told USA Today he didn’t think the contest was anything crazy until he found out before taping the crew had to build a higher wall since the cheetah had jumped over the first one.

                                            “I thought it was something fun to do, just to test human vs. animal,” he said.

                                            “If he was to get over, it would just make me run faster,” Johnson told National Geographic.

                                            So who won, man or cheetah? As tweeted by NatGeoWild, it wasn’t the slow and steady in this case.

                                            Slow and steady wins the race? Not THIS time! #ManVCheetah w/ @ & @ tonight @ 9 EP #BigCatWeek http://t.co/WuMy7bSnQv
                                            NFL Players Race Against Cheetahs for National Geographic Special
                                            @natgeowild
                                            Nat Geo WILD

                                            “Man v. Cheetah” premiered Nov. 29, 2013, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Nat Geo WILD.

                                            (H/T: Daily Mail)

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                                            • Krauthammer: Obama Has Taken a ‘Very Cavalier Attitude’ Towards U.S. Constitution
                                              Posted November 30, 2013 at 8:47 am by Oliver Darcy

                                              Comments (210)

                                              Conservative political pundit Charles Krauthammer hammered President Barack Obama on Friday, saying he has taken a “very cavalier attitude” towards the United States Constitution and rule of law.

                                              “I’m talking about how the administration, particularly the president, seems to think that he has right to change duly passed statutes on his own, or to suspend whole parts of laws on his own,” Krauthammer told Fox News’ Harris Faulkner. ”I mean, the constitution is pretty clear, the president executes the law and the Congress passes the laws.”

                                              “…the constitution is pretty clear…”
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                                              “So, for example, a few months ago Obama decided that he wanted to suspend, to postpone the employer mandate of his own law of Obamacare,” he continued. “You’re not allowed to do that. You have got to change the law in Congress if you want to do it. And he did it without hesitation.”

                                              Krauthammer then hit the president over the process he used to make some court appointments.

                                              “A year ago, he did some recess appointments, you are allowed to do it if the Senate isn’t in session. The problem was the Senate was in session, and the courts have so ruled,” he said. “This is a very cavalier attitude.”

                                              Krauthammer released a book late last month detailing his three decades in politics.

                                              (H/T: Real Clear Politics)

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                                              • Here’s How Obama Responded After Barbara Walters Pressed Him On His Low Poll Numbers
                                                Posted November 30, 2013 at 8:24 am by Oliver Darcy

                                                Comments (424)

                                                President Barack Obama told ABC’s Barbara Walters Friday night in an exclusive interview that he is confident his low approval numbers will rise shortly.

                                                “The good thing about when you’re down is that usually, you’ve got nowhere to go but up,” the 44th president joked.

                                                Obama’s comments come on the heels of new polling this month that indicates he is in a low point in his presidency, following the disastrous roll out of his signature health care law.

                                                According to a recent ABC News / Washington Post poll, 55 percent of Americans disapprove of the job he is doing. That same poll also found that if the election were held today, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney would have ousted Obama.

                                                The Obama’s also responded to being booed at a recent college basketball game.

                                                “It’s part of the job,” first lady Michelle Obama told Walters.

                                                (H/T: Mediaite)

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                                                • Terrified, Confused Callers Dial 911 in Panic While Stuck on Swaying Bridge During Wind Storm
                                                  Posted November 30, 2013 at 7:56 am by Liz Klimas

                                                  Comments (48)

                                                  At the beginning of the month, a storm rocked a Seattle bridge so hard that drivers abandoned their cars and fled for safety. Now, the terrified 911 calls from motorists stuck on the bridge during the Nov. 2 storm have been released.

                                                  With the bridge swaying up to five feet out of place during the early November windstorm, up to 50 vehicles were abandoned before the Department of Transportation closed the Highway 520 bridge. Winds raged around 60 miles per hour that day, according to The Seattle Times.

                                                  seattle bridge

                                                  The Highway 520 bridge was eventually closed, but not before dozens of drivers abandoned their cars in fear. Gusts of over 60 mph were reached in parts of Seattle, knocking out power for more than 100,000 customers. (AP/The Seattle Times, Marcus Yam)

                                                  “I am stuck on the Evergreen Point Bridge going west, all the traffic stopped because the wind is blowing so much,” one driver told a 911 operator during the storm. “How do I get off the bridge, or what’s going on with the bridge? Are they closing it?”

                                                  At this point, the bridge had not been closed, so the operator responded saying “people should just be driving. I don’t know why cars are stopping.”

                                                  Another motorist called 911 to ask if it was safe to be on the bridge.

                                                  “It is really bad. We’re on it. I’m worried that I need to abandon my car,” the driver said.

                                                  The operator said at the time that the Department of Transportation was assessing the situation and the wind speed, determining if the bridge should be closed.

                                                  “I think they should everyone is abandoning their car,” a caller said. “…the bridge is shaking.”

                                                  Listen to the calls:

                                                  This ABC News report shows the storm in action:

                                                  The department’s policy is to close the bridge if winds reach at least 50 miles per hour sustained for 15 minutes.

                                                  (H/T: Fox News Insider, KCPQ)

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