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  • Jason Chaffetz Announces His Run for House Speaker
    Posted October 4, 2015 at 9:41 am by Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Comments (144)

    WASHINGTON (AP) — GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah says he’s running for House speaker in a longshot challenge to Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California.

    Chaffetz — chairman of the high-profile House Oversight and Government Reform Committee — says voters and the public want Republicans to fight. He says the current House leaders don’t deserve an automatic promotion.

    House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

    House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

    Chaffetz’s candidacy underscores turmoil in the House GOP little more than a week after Speaker John Boehner’s surprise resignation.

    Chaffetz says McCarthy lacks the support to become speaker following a gaffe in which McCarthy suggested the purpose of the House’s Benghazi committee is to drive down Hillary Rodham Clinton’s poll numbers.

    Chaffetz made the announcement on “Fox News Sunday.”

  • Hillary Clinton Sings and Jokes After She Pours Herself a Drink on ‘SNL’
    Posted October 4, 2015 at 9:20 am by Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Comments (141)

    Hillary Clinton served herself — or rather her doppelgänger — a drink Saturday night as she made some light jokes at her own expense during an episode of “Saturday Night Live.”

    Clinton met her “SNL” counterpart Kate McKinnon who portrayed the Democratic presidential candidate “blowing off some steam” at a bar during the show’s season premiere. Clinton played the bartender, Val, an “ordinary citizen who believes the Keystone Pipeline will destroy our environment.”

    As she’s battling to appear more likable and genuine during her campaign, the real presidential candidate earned some laughs during Saturday’s skit — especially for her impersonation of Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump.

    Image source: NBC

    Image source: NBC

    “Oh Val, I’m just so darn bummed,” McKinnon’s character said. “All anybody wants to talk about is Donald Trump.”

    “Donald Trump? Isn’t he the one that’s like, ‘Uh, you’re all losers?’” Clinton impersonated.

    Clinton also joined McKinnon in a hearty rendition of “Lean on Me” as the two women put their arms around one another to sway and sing.

    Darrell Hammond briefly appeared during the skit in a track jacket as Clinton and McKinnon discussed a vacation.

    “Did somebody say a vacation?” Hammond quipped in his Bill Clinton voice before looking at the two women. “Oh my god, they’re multiplying.”

    McKinnon’s character admitted to Clinton that she should have supported gay marriage and opposed the Keystone Pipeline earlier than she did.

    “This has been so nice. You are really easy to talk to, Val,” McKinnon said.

    “Oh, thanks. That’s the first time I’ve ever heard that,” Clinton responded.

    Clinton appeared on the comedy show in lieu of an opportunity to give the keynote speech at at the Human Rights Campaign event, according to a report prior to her appearance. Saturday was her second cameo on the show — the first time during the 2008 presidential campaign.

    Watch the 5 minute “SNL” skit below.

  • ‘That’s Called Journalism?!’: The Al Jazeera Headline on Jerusalem Terrorist Attack That’s Getting Lots of Criticism
    Posted October 4, 2015 at 8:23 am by Sharona Schwartz

    Comments (106)

    Update Sunday 9:20 ET: Al Jazeera on Sunday apologized for its language choice.

    Al Jazeera on Sunday said that its critics had a “valid” point that the original wording of the tweet advertising its story and the similarly worded headline “appears to minimize the killings of the Israeli victims and leaves out the context that the Palestinian man was their attacker.”

    “This criticism is valid and we regret the wording of a tweet written under the pressure of breaking news,” the network said in an editor’s note posted on its website.

    “Al Jazeera depends on accurate reporting and strives to promptly correct all errors of fact and misjudgements in tone. We are committed to accountability and transparency and are grateful for this feedback,” the network added.

    Original story below.

    Al Jazeera is under fire after running a headline on a Palestinian’s stabbing spree Saturday night that left two Israeli fathers dead.

    “Palestinian shot dead after fatal stabbing in Jerusalem; 2 Israeli victims also killed,” the headline read.

    Al-Jazeera-Headline-Jerusalem-Attack

    Following the outcry, the headline was revised to read, “Two Israelis killed in stabbing attack; Palestinian suspect shot dead.”

    People on social media skewered the Qatar-owned network for highlighting the Palestinian perpetrator’s death, with some imagining how Al Jazeera might have covered past criminal acts.

    Al Jazeera wasn’t the only network singled out for its misleading headline.

    BBC’s original headline on the same attack similarly glossed over the fact that the Palestinian was the perpetrator. It read, “Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attack kills two.”

    Screenshot: BBC

    Screenshot: BBC

    The British broadcaster’s headline was revised at least three times, prompting the pro-Israel media watchdog BBC Watch to comment, “In other words, professional journalists supposedly fluent in the English language had to make three changes to the article’s headline in not much more than an hour.”

    BBC Watch captured screenshots of the evolution of the headline.

    The two Israelis killed Saturday night were walking to Jerusalem’s Western Wall for prayers for the weeklong Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

    The knife-wielding Palestinian attacked the Jewish man, his wife and their toddler son along with a rabbi.

    The two slain men killed have been identified as Rabbi Nechemia Lavie, a father of seven, and the toddler’s father, Rabbi Aharon Benita. The mother and toddler were also wounded, Israeli police said.

    Israel police spokeswoman Luba Samri said the Palestinian attacker took a gun from one of the wounded men and began firing at police and tourists before being shot dead by Israeli police.

    Neither the BBC nor Al Jazeera described the incident as an act of terrorism.

    Featured image: AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean

  • Bon Jovi Tells Israeli Audience This Should Be the ‘Fight Song for Tel Aviv’
    Posted October 4, 2015 at 7:28 am by Sharona Schwartz

    Comments (93)

    At his Tel Aviv concert Saturday night, Jon Bon Jovi played his new song “We Don’t Run,” and had a special message for his audience.

    “This should be the fight song for Tel Aviv,” Israeli media and concert attendees reported Bon Jovi said.

    Israel has been facing a wave of terrorist attacks during this holiday week of Sukkot. It’s unclear if the rock star knew that shortly before the concert began, two Israeli men were stabbed to death and a toddler was wounded by a Palestinian attacker in Jerusalem.

    Saturday night’s attack followed the roadside ambush of an Israeli family driving in the West Bank Thursday night, when Palestinian gunmen shot to death Eitam and Na’ama Henkin in front of four of their young children.

    Whether or not he knew about the latest attacks, the lyrics felt significant to those at the concert, especially these lines:

    We don’t run

    I’m standing my ground

    We don’t run

    And we don’t back down

    Here’s an excerpt from the concert:

    Some felt empowered by the message:

    Bon Jovi told the Tel Aviv crowd that he had “waited a long time” to come to Israel.

    “We finally made it here. It took us a long time, and we still have a ways to go tonight,” he said.

    The musician told the Israeli press after landing Friday at Ben-Gurion Airport outside Tel Aviv that he had always wanted to visit and had “always heard what a wonderful place Israel is – the birthplace of all religions.”

    “I have been everywhere and Israel was a place that I’ve always wanted to visit, but it never worked out. This time I insisted that Israel must be on our list, and it happened,” he said.

    Featured image: Bon Jovi performing last month in Jakarta, Indonesia. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)

  • One Dead After Brooklyn Apartment Explosion
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 10:39 pm by Associated Press

    Comments (46)

    NEW YORK (AP) — Officials suspect a recently disconnected stove may have caused an apparent gas explosion Saturday that killed a woman and injured three others in Brooklyn.

    City Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said firefighters received a call around 1 p.m. reporting an explosion at a building in the Borough Park neighborhood. When emergency crews arrived, they found the entire front of the three-story building blown into the street, he said at a news conference Saturday evening.

    Firefighters work at the at the scene of an explosion at a three-story building in the Borough Park neighborhood in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro says the explosion apparently happened after a stove was disconnected. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

    Firefighters work at the at the scene of an explosion at a three-story building in the Borough Park neighborhood in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro says the explosion apparently happened after a stove was disconnected. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

    Officials suspect the explosion originated in an apartment on the second floor, where a tenant had recently disconnected a stove. The fire commissioner said no one had reported smelling gas in the area.

    “We are told that the tenant purchased a high-end stove and they were moving out of the apartment and were going to take that stove with them,” Nigro said.

    Councilman Brad Lander said the tenant who lived in that apartment had moved out about a week ago.

    Lander said the woman who died was a tenant in her 60s who was originally from the Dominican Republic. He said the woman lived in a third-floor apartment with her daughter, who was out of town at the time.

    The victim’s body was discovered in a stairwell near the second floor, close to the apartment where the explosion started, Nigro said. Her name was not immediately released.

    Firefighters work at the at the scene of an explosion at a three-story building in the Borough Park neighborhood in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. Firefighters in New York say one person is dead and three more have been injured in an apparent explosion and fire. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

    Firefighters work at the at the scene of an explosion at a three-story building in the Borough Park neighborhood in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. Firefighters in New York say one person is dead and three more have been injured in an apparent explosion and fire. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

    A man and his son who were walking by the building when it exploded were injured. A 27-year-old passer-by also was injured. Officials said the three had been hit by flying debris; their injuries were considered not life-threatening.

    Officials said at a news conference the man was 33 and the boy was 10, and police later gave the man’s age as 34 and the boy’s as 9. There was no immediate explanation for the discrepancy.

    Authorities are still trying to track down another person who lived in the building. Mayor Bill de Blasio said officials just wanted to confirm the person was not home at the time.

    Neighbor Harry Roth said a sign sprang off the building’s storefront before “the front of the building fell off and it started burning.”

    Shimon Fried was about five blocks away when he heard a boom.

    “I just saw plumes of smoke coming out,” he said. “It was scary.”

    The blast rocked the largely Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in the middle of a Sabbath afternoon.

    De Blasio, speaking on cable news station NY1, said the Sabbath could have saved lives because there are less people walking in the neighborhood.

    “Had it been the next day it would have been a much worse situation,” he said.

    A spokeswoman for National Grid declined to comment on the mayor’s remarks, but said the utility was assisting in the ongoing investigation.

    New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, second from left, Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro, second from right, and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams speak to reporters during a news conference near the scene of a fatal explosion in the Brooklyn borough of New York on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. Nigro says the explosion apparently happened after a stove was disconnected. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

    New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, second from left, Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro, second from right, and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams speak to reporters during a news conference near the scene of a fatal explosion in the Brooklyn borough of New York on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. Nigro says the explosion apparently happened after a stove was disconnected. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

    A message left at a possible phone number for the building’s owner wasn’t immediately returned.

    Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a statement saying the explosion was “the latest in a disturbing trend of incidents.” He said he ordered the state’s Department of Public Service, the agency that regulates utility companies, to launch an investigation into the cause of the incident.

    The building apparently was the latest in New York City to be rocked by a gas explosion in the last few years, though officials say the causes have all been different.

    In 2014, eight people were killed and 70 injured when two apartment buildings in East Harlem were leveled by a gas explosion. In March, an apparently illegally tapped gas line caused an explosion that killed two people, injured 19 more and destroyed three buildings. And three construction workers were injured in August when someone lit a match while working on a gas line at a high school in the Bronx.

    “The only common thread is natural gas and the dangers of natural gas,” said James Leonard, the chief of department for the Fire Department of New York.

  • Obama Says U.S. Will ‘Work Closely’ with Afghan Government in Doctors Without Borders Attack
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 9:25 pm by Kaitlyn Schallhorn

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    President Barack Obama announced in a statement Saturday evening that the U.S. would “work closely” with the Afghan government to investigate an airstrike that may have accidentally struck a Doctors Without Borders hospital.

    It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attack, but the U.S. military announced early Saturday morning that an airstrike in Kuduz, Afghanistan may have accidentally damaged a hospital in the city. The international charity organization said it believes the attack came from “international Coalition forces.”

    Injured Doctors Without Borders staff are seen after explosions near their hospital in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. (Image source: Médecins Sans Frontières via AP)

    Injured Doctors Without Borders staff are seen after explosions near their hospital in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. (Image source: Médecins Sans Frontières via AP)

    “The Department of Defense has launched a full investigation, and we will await the results of that inquiry before making a definitive judgment as to the circumstances of this tragedy,” Obama said in a statement Saturday evening. “I have asked the Department of Defense to keep me apprised of the investigation and expect a full accounting of the facts and circumstances.”

    At least 19 people died during the attack that occurred around 2:08 a.m. (2138 GMT). The organization said the hospital was helping approximately 100 patients at the time of the attack, and 30 people were still missing afterward.

    Seven patients from the intensive care unit — including three children — were reported dead, and a total of 37 people were injured.

    Obama’s statement reiterated Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s statement from earlier Saturday who promised a “full investigation into the tragic incident is underway in coordination with the Afghan government.”

    “The area has been the scene of intense fighting the last few days,” Carter said. “U.S. forces in support of Afghan Security Forces were operating nearby, as were Taliban fighters.”

    The president of the organization blasted the attacks as Doctors Without Borders called for an independent investigation.

    “This attack is abhorrent and a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law,” Meinie Nicolai said. “We demand total transparency from Coalition forces. We cannot accept that this horrific loss of life will simply be dismissed as ‘collateral damage.’”

  • Dozens Injured After Canopy Collapses at High School During Band Competition
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 7:54 pm by Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Comments (44)

    OLIN, N.C. (TheBlaze/AP) — An emergency medical services director says 25 people were injured when a concrete canopy collapsed on a group of high school band students gathered for a competition in North Carolina.

    Dr. Howard Bell of Iredell Emergency Medical Services confirmed the total to reporters after the collapse Saturday at North Iredell High School in Olin, about 55 miles north of Charlotte. Officials said initial reports indicated a box truck hit one of the canopy supports and the awning then fell, hitting students underneath it.

    Mooresville Fire Department said at least 20 children were under a “collapse zone,” in a tweet Saturday afternoon.

    Image via Twitter @WBTV_News

    Image via Twitter @WBTV_News

    Officials say at least one student was taken to a Winston-Salem hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries, but they didn’t provide further details.

    According to WBTV, injuries range from minor to life-threatening.

    WBTV reported that students were also taking the SATs Saturday.

    The band competition was canceled and emergency personnel were on the scene later Saturday, dismantling the damaged section of canopy.

  • Man Who Filmed Eric Garner Video Has Sickening Allegation Against Prison Officers
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 7:34 pm by Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Comments (109)

    The man who filmed New York City police officers placing Eric Garner into a chokehold has filed a lawsuit against the city and alleged that prison correctional officers were attempting to infect him with rat poison.

    According to a New York Daily News report in March, 19 Riker’s Island inmates reported that they had become ill after they ate meatloaf that was laced with rat poison. The inmates also alleged that officers attempted to confiscate the meatloaf in an effort to cover up the incident; the inmates filed a lawsuit in March.

    Ramsey Orta, 24, filmed Garner’s death in 2014 and filed his own lawsuit against the city on Wednesday, according to the Stanton Island Advance. He alleged that the prison’s correction officers worked with the NYPD to retaliate against him for filming the chokehold, and the poisoned meatloaf was really meant for him.

    Ramsey Orta appears in Manhattan Criminal Court on Wednesday, July 1, 2015. Orta, who filmed the Eric Garner choke hold video, was arrested for allegedly selling drugs to an undercover officer in the East Village. (Photo By: Jefferson Siegel/NY Daily News via Getty Images)

    Ramsey Orta appears in Manhattan Criminal Court on Wednesday, July 1, 2015. Orta, who filmed the Eric Garner choke hold video, was arrested for allegedly selling drugs to an undercover officer in the East Village. (Photo By: Jefferson Siegel/NY Daily News via Getty Images)

    Orta did not consume any of the contaminated meatloaf but suffered “severe personal injuries,” the lawsuit states.

    “The plaintiff sustained severe personal injuries, was rendered sick, sore, lame and disabled, sustained severe nervous shock and mental anguish, great physical pain and emotional upset, some of which injuries are permanent in nature and duration,” the lawsuit alleged.

    The lawsuit, filed in the Bronx Supreme Court against the city Department of Correction, also said that Orta will require further medical attention in order to be “cured of said injuries.”

    The NYPD, which has denied allegations of targeting, has maintained that the 24-year-old was arrested because he committed crimes as he has an arrest record for drugs and guns and has at least eight convictions.

    The Daily News reported that no charges have been filed in the case of the rat poisoning.

    Garner’s family agreed to a $5.9 million settlement with the NYPD in July.

  • Oregon Shooter’s Father Says What Could Have Prevented His Shooting Rampage: ‘What Right Do You Have…’
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 6:44 pm by Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Comments (944)

    The father of the 26-year-old who went on a shooting rampage at an Oregon community college apologized to the families of the victims Saturday as well as called for stricter gun control.

    Ian Mercer told CNN’s Ryan Young that his son, 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer, “will always be remembered for what he did on Thursday.” Mercer said he had “no idea” that his son owned any guns and thought the question of how he obtained them needed to be asked.

    “You know, they talk about gun laws, they talk about gun control. Every time something like this happens, they talk about it, and nothing is done,” Mercer said. “I’m not trying to say that that’s to blame for what happened, but if Chris had not been able to get ahold of 13 guns, it wouldn’t have happened.”

    Image source: YouTube

    Image source: YouTube

    On Saturday, Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said investigators found an additional gun at Harper-Mercer’s place of residence, bringing the grand total of his arsenal to 14. Harper-Mercer opened fire Thursday afternoon at Umpqua Community College and killed nine people before he killed himself.

    “You don’t see these kinds of mass shootings all over the world on a consistent basis like you do in the United States. So somebody has to ask the question, ‘how is it so easy to get all these guns?’ Mercer continued. “I’ve never held a gun in my life, and I never want to. But I know there are people that do.”

    Mercer added that he’s a “great believer” in that people should not buy guns and gun laws have to change.

    “Even people that believe in the right to bear arms, what right do you have to take people’s lives? That’s what guns are — the killers,” Mercer said. “It’s as simple as that.”

    He added that he wasn’t able to comment on his son’s mental state besides his belief that the 26-year-old must have had “some mental issue” in order to kill nine people.

    Of his relationship with his son, Mercer said, “he was my son.” According to him, there wasn’t any kind of “disharmony” between the two, and he lived with is mother.

    Watch CNN’s interview with Mercer below. 

  • Officials Release Details of Oregon Shooter’s Death
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 6:04 pm by Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Comments (118)

    The 26-year-old who went on a killing spree at Umpqua Community College Thursday died as a result of an apparent suicide, Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin announced Saturday.

    Chris Harper-Mercer was involved in an exchange of gunfire with police officers for approximately two minutes before there was a report of “suspect down,” according to a timeline of events released by investigators. Hanlin said during a press conference Saturday afternoon that he was authorized to release the cause of Harper-Mercer’s death determined by Oregon’s medical examiner.

    “The medical examiner has determined the cause of death of the shooter to be suicide,” Hanlin said. 

    This undated photo from a MySpace page that appeared to belong to Chris Harper Mercer shows him holding a rifle. Authorities identified Mercer as the gunman who went on a deadly shooting rampage at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. (MySpace via AP Photo)

    This undated photo from a MySpace page that appeared to belong to Chris Harper Mercer shows him holding a rifle. Authorities identified Mercer as the gunman who went on a deadly shooting rampage at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. (MySpace via AP Photo)

    Hanlin also announced that officials found an additional gun at Harper-Mercer’s place of residence, bringing the grand total of guns seized by law enforcement to 14.

    Nine people died after Harper opened fire at the community college in a rural Oregon area.

    (H/T: CNN)

  • University Sued for Not Allowing Former Football Player to Include This Inscription on His Locker Nameplate
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 5:35 pm by Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Comments (128)

    A former football player and school donor is suing his alma mater as it did not allow him to include two Bible verse references on his locker room nameplate.

    The lawsuit, filed by the conservative Christian nonprofit, the Alliance Defending Freedom, alleged that Colorado School of Mines offered donors who helped fund the public university’s new athletic facility the ability to include a brief inscription on personalized nameplates that would hang in the new football locker room. Michael Lucas Jr., a defensive nose tackle for the school from 1998 to 2002, requested that his nameplate include the words: “Colossians 3:23 & Micah 5:9″ and donated $2,500 to his school.

    Colorado School of Mines (Image source: KCNC-TV)

    Colorado School of Mines (Image source: KCNC-TV)

    However, the lawsuit said the research university rejected Lucas’ inscription because one of the verses references the “Lord,” even though the actual verses would not be written out on the nameplates. In a press release, ADF said university officials said the nameplates could not include the words “Lord,” “God” or “Jesus” or reference any Bible verses that contained those words as it would violate the First Amendment.

    Colossians 3:23 states, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,” according to the New International Version of the Bible. Micah 5:9 says, “Your hand will be lifted up in triumph over your enemies, and all your foes will be destroyed.”

    School of Mines alumnus requested two Bible verses referenced on his donor plaque. (Image source: KCNC-TV)

    School of Mines alumnus requested two Bible verses referenced on his donor plaque. (Image source: KCNC-TV)

    “Public colleges and universities should encourage, not shut down, the free exchange of ideas, especially in a forum like this,” ADF Legal Counsel Natalie Decker said in a press release provided to TheBlaze. “The school initially imposed no restrictions — or even guidelines — on the type of message a donor could include, and contrary to what the school is arguing, the First Amendment protects — not restricts — a simple reference to a Bible verse.”

    “It’s patently ridiculous to argue that a Bible reference that doesn’t include the text of the verse is somehow inappropriate simply because someone might look it up and see that ‘Lord’ is mentioned there,” Decker said.

    ADF said in the press release that over inscriptions included “Give ‘Em Hell,” “Take your whiskey clear” and “OK Gentlemen, it’s time to gird your loins.”

    According to KCNC-TV, a School of Mines official said in an email that the university has an unlawful discrimination policy that prevented Lucas’ inscription.

    In a compromise, Lucas allowed the school to print the entire text of Micah 5:9 on his nameplate.

    “Public colleges are supposed to be a marketplace of ideas,” ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer said. “We hope [the School of Mines] will end the need for this lawsuit and revise its policy so that it affirms the constitutionally protected freedoms of all alumni, regardless of their religious beliefs.”

  • ‘It Reminds You of the Darkest Times’: French School Investigated for Making Students Who Don’t Eat Pork Wear Special Tags
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 4:09 pm by Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Comments (113)

    A French school is under an investigation for forcing students who do not eat pork to wear a red or yellow tag.

    Parents have complained that Auxerre’s Piedalloues primary school placed red or yellow discs around pupils’ necks prior to lunchtime to signify that they are non-pork eaters, according to the Telegraph. Out of the school’s 1,500 students, 18 were required to wear the discs until parents’ complaints that the discs were reminiscent of the yellow stars Jews were required to wear in the Holocaust withdrew that practice.

    “It’s revolting,” Malika Ounès, a local counselor, told the Telegraph. “It reminds you of the darkest times. Practices like this are not acceptable. No one has the right to impose this on children.” 

    Opponants to the City Council meeting regarding a pork alternative menu, gather outside the Mayor's offices, on September 29, 2015 in Chalon-sur-Saone, eastern France. The end of the pork alternative menu in school canteens of Chalon-sur-Saône (Saône-et-Loire) was to be definitively endorsed on September 29, by the City Council before a new court battle. AFP PHOTO / JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK        (Photo credit should read JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK/AFP/Getty Images)

    Opponants to the City Council meeting regarding a pork alternative menu, gather outside the Mayor’s offices, on September 29, 2015 in Chalon-sur-Saone, eastern France. The end of the pork alternative menu in school canteens of Chalon-sur-Saône (Saône-et-Loire) was to be definitively endorsed on September 29, by the City Council before a new court battle. AFP PHOTO / JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK (Photo credit should read JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK/AFP/Getty Images)

    The Jewish Chronicle Online reported that the city of Auxerre has launched an investigation into the primary school’s practice. Director of communications for the mayor’s office, Christian Sautier, said the practice was “an isolated, clumsy, and unfortunate initiative” that was only for one day.

    Despite the investigation, some parents have reportedly pulled their children out of the school.

    However, other parents have defended the school’s “good intentions.”

    “The yellow tag doesn’t even correspond with the yellow star,” a mother only identified as Sonia told RTL Television. “I don’t think there’s a scandal here, just an error that doesn’t require all this rebuke.”

    Haaretz reported that the practice only signaled out Muslim and vegetarian students — not Jewish pupils.

    The issue of serving pork in schools has been a divisive argument in France lately as its a practice opposed by the far-Right Front Nationals. Contrarily, the mayor of Chalon-sur-Saône ordered schools to stop offering non-pork options to students on days when pork is served in the cafeterias, according to the Telegraph.

  • Palestinian Kills Two Israelis, Wounds Toddler in Jerusalem; Hamas Praises ‘Heroic’ Attack
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 3:00 pm by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (115)

    JERUSALEM (AP) — A Palestinian fatally stabbed two Israelis as they walked in Jerusalem’s Old City and seriously injured a toddler and a woman, before he was shot and killed by an officer on duty, police said Saturday in the latest in a series of Palestinian attacks.

    Jerusalem police chief Moshe Edri said the Palestinian “stabbed an Israeli man, his wife and the toddler” multiple times in an alleyway before stabbing another man.

    Both Israeli men succumbed to their wounds, he said, adding that the mother and the toddler are in serious condition.

    Police Spokeswoman Luba Samri said the Palestinian attacker took a gun from one of the wounded men and opened fire at police and tourists.

    The Palestinian attacker was then shot and killed by an Israeli police officer who rushed to the scene. Police later identified him as 19-year-old from Al Bireh, near Ramallah.

    Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza, issued a statement praising the attack which it called, “heroic.”

    It was the latest in a series of deadly Palestinian attacks against Israeli civilians.

    On Thursday, suspected Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli couple in front of their children as they drove in the West Bank.

    Multiple shots killed Eitam and Naama Henkin, residents of the Jewish West Bank settlement of Neria. Their four young children, including a four-month-old infant, were in the back seat of the car during the shooting but were unharmed.

    Hamas welcomed that attack as well, but no Palestinian group immediately claimed responsibility for it. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has not commented on the latest attacks.

    Israel forces were later deployed in the West Bank hunting for the gunmen.

    The Palestinian Red Crescent said earlier that eight people were wounded by gunfire early Saturday in the northern town of Nablus. A Palestinian security official said seven members of the Islamic militant group Hamas were arrested. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters.

    The Israel military said troops operated in the area but would not elaborate further.

    Tensions have flared between Israelis and Palestinians in recent weeks, with much of the unrest focused on Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, site of the Al-Aqsa mosque.

    The hilltop compound in Jerusalem’s Old City is a frequent flashpoint and its fate is a core issue at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is known to Jews as the Temple Mount, site of the two biblical Jewish temples. Muslims revere it as the Noble Sanctuary, where they believe the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.

    On Thursday, suspected Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli couple in front of their children.
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    Non-Muslim visitors are only allowed to enter the site at specific hours and are banned by police from praying there. Many Muslims view these visits as a provocation and accuse Jewish extremists of plotting to take over the site.

    Israel has promised to ensure the delicate arrangement at the site and insists it will not allow the status quo there to be changed.

    But Palestinians say that in the last two months, there has been a new development where Israel has intermittently restricted some Muslims from the compound when Jews visit. Israel says this is to reduce friction, but Palestinians claim that Israel intends to establish Muslim-free Jewish visiting hours. The site is so sensitive that even rumors are enough to trigger violence there.

    Israel has blamed Palestinian leaders for incitement. There have been several days of clashes at the site over the past few weeks as Muslim protesters barricaded themselves inside the mosque while hurling stones and fireworks at police. The unrest spread to Arab neighborhoods of east Jerusalem, where Palestinian protesters hurled stones at police and Israeli cars.

    An Israeli died when Palestinians pelted his car with rocks and several others were injured in other incidents. Dozens of Palestinians were wounded in clashes with Israeli forces in violence that followed the Jerusalem unrest then. Israel responded last week by approving harsher measures that would loosen the rules of engagement for police to respond to stone throwers.

    Israel captured the eastern part of Jerusalem, where the site is located, along with the West Bank in the 1967 war from Jordan, territory the Palestinians claim for their future state.

    Associated Press writers Fares Akram in Gaza City, Gaza Strip and Mohammed Daraghmeh in Ramallah, West Bank, contributed to this report.

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  • Survivor: Oregon Gunman Spared Student to Take Package to Police
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 2:18 pm by Associated Press

    Comments (88)

    ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) — As a 26-year-old killer gunned down victims inside a college classroom, he spared one student and gave him a package to deliver to authorities, according to the grandmother of a student who witnessed the deadly rampage in Oregon.

    The grandmother, Janet Willis, said her granddaughter Anastasia Boylan was wounded in the Thursday attack and pretended to be dead as Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer kept firing, killing eight students and a teacher.

    This undated photo from a MySpace page that appeared to belong to Chris Harper Mercer shows him holding a rifle. Authorities identified Mercer as the gunman who went on a deadly shooting rampage at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. (MySpace via AP Photo)

    This undated photo from a MySpace page that appeared to belong to Chris Harper Mercer shows him holding a rifle. Authorities identified Mercer as the gunman who went on a deadly shooting rampage at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. (MySpace via AP Photo)

    Willis said she visited her 18-year-old granddaughter in a hospital in Eugene, where the sobbing Boylan told her: “‘Grandma, he killed my teacher! He killed my teacher! I saw it!’”

    Boylan also said the shooter told one student in the writing class to stand in a corner, handed him a package and told him to deliver it to authorities, Willis recalled. So far, authorities have not said anything about such a package.

    Boylan, a freshman at Umpqua Community College, also told her grandmother the gunman asked students about their faith.

    “If they said they were Christian, he shot them in the head,” Willis said Friday night, citing the account given by her granddaughter.

    However, conflicting reports emerged about Harper-Mercer’s words as he shot his victims.

    Stephanie Salas, the mother of Rand McGowan, another student who survived, said she was told by her son that the shooter asked victims whether they were religious but did not specifically target Christians.

    Her son said the shooter had people stand up before asking. “‘Do you have a God? Are you Christian? Do you have a religion?’ It was more so saying, ‘you’re going to be meeting your maker. This won’t hurt very long.’ Then he would shoot him,” Sales told The Associated Press.

    Law enforcement officials have not given details about what happened in the classroom.

    Sheriff's deputies man a roadblock on the road leading to Umpqua Community College Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. (AP Photo/John Locher)

    Sheriff’s deputies man a roadblock on the road leading to Umpqua Community College Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. (AP Photo/John Locher)

    Harper-Mercer was enrolled in the class but officials have not disclosed a possible motive for the killings.

    Harper-Mercer wore a flak jacket and brought at least six guns and five ammunition magazines when he went to the campus that morning. He died in a shootout with police.

    The dead ranged in age from 18 to 67 and included several freshmen. They were sons and daughters, spouses and parents.

    Lucas Eibel, 18, was active in the Future Farmers of America and loved to play soccer. Kim Saltmarsh Dietz was a 59-year-old whose daughter was enrolled in the same school but was not injured the shooting.

    “We have been trying to figure out how to tell everyone how amazing Lucas was, but that would take 18 years,” the family of Eibel said in a statement released through the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

    The family of 18-year-old Quinn Glen Cooper said he had just started college and loved dancing and voice acting.

    “I don’t know how we are going to move forward with our lives without Quinn,” the Coopers said in a statement. “Our lives are shattered beyond repair.”

    Nine other people were wounded in the attack in Roseburg, a rural timber town about 180 miles south of Portland.

    Oregon’s top federal prosecutor said the shooter used a handgun when he opened fire on classmates and had stashed a rifle in another room but did not fire it.

    People embrace while preparing to get driven to Umpqua Community College to collect belongings, Friday, Oct. 2, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. (AP Photo/John Locher)

    People embrace while preparing to get driven to Umpqua Community College to collect belongings, Friday, Oct. 2, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. (AP Photo/John Locher)

    Several years ago, Harper-Mercer moved to Winchester, Oregon, from Torrance, California, with his mother Laurel Harper, a nurse. His father, Ian Mercer, originally from the United Kingdom, told reporters outside his Tarzana, California, home, “I’m just as shocked as anybody at what happened.”

    At an apartment complex where Harper-Mercer and his mother lived in Southern California, neighbors remembered him as a quiet, odd young man who rode a red bike.

    Reina Webb, 19, said Harper-Mercer’s mother was friendly and often chatted with neighbors, but her son kept to himself. Webb said she occasionally heard him having temper tantrums in his apartment.

    Harper-Mercer’s social media profiles suggested he was fascinated by the Irish Republican Army and frustrated by traditional organized religion.

    He also tracked other mass shootings. In one post, he appeared to urge readers to watch the online footage of Vester Flanagan shooting two former colleagues live on TV in August in Virginia, noting “the more people you kill, the more you’re in the limelight.”

    The Army said Harper-Mercer flunked out of basic training in 2008.

    Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Steven Dubois, Jonathan J. Cooper and Rachel La Corte in Portland; Tami Abdollah and Gosia Wozniacka in Roseburg; Michael R. Blood in Torrance, California; Rebecca Boone in Boise, Idaho; Eric Tucker in Washington, D.C., and AP researchers Rhonda Shafner and Adriana Mark.

  • Doctors Without Borders: 16 Dead in Afghan Clinic Air Strike (UPDATE: Death Toll at Least 19)
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 1:23 pm by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (87)

    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The international charity Doctors Without Borders said at least 19 people, including 12 local staffers, were killed when its clinic came under “sustained bombing” Saturday in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, where Afghan officials said helicopter gunships had returned fire from Taliban fighters sheltering in the facility.

    Injured Doctors Without Borders staff are seen after explosions near their hospital in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. (Image source: Médecins Sans Frontières via AP)

    Injured Doctors Without Borders staff are seen after explosions near their hospital in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. (Image source: Médecins Sans Frontières via AP)

    The group said the facility, which was treating more than 100 patients, came under attack at 2:08 a.m. (2138 GMT). The charity did not say whether insurgents were present, and it was not immediately clear whether the staffers were killed by the Taliban, government or U.S. forces. The group said another 30 people were still missing after the incident.

    The dead included seven patients from the intensive care unit, among them three children, it said. A total of 37 people were injured, including 19 staff members, and 18 patients and caretakers. Five of the injured staff members were in critical condition, it said.

    Afghan forces backed by U.S. airstrikes have been battling the Taliban street-by-street in Kunduz since Thursday, to dislodge insurgents who seized the strategic city three days earlier in their biggest foray into a major urban area since the U.S.-led invasion of 2001.

    The Ministry of Defense said “terrorists” armed with light and heavy weapons had entered the hospital compound and used “the buildings and the people inside as a shield” while firing on security forces. Brig. Gen. Dawlat Waziri, the ministry’s deputy spokesman, told The Associated Press that helicopter gunships fired on the militants, causing damage to the buildings.

    Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said 10 to 15 “terrorists” had been hiding in the hospital at the time of the strike. “All of the terrorists were killed but we also lost doctors,” he said. He said 80 staff members at the hospital, including 15 foreigners, had been taken to safety. He did not say what sort of strike had damaged the compound.

    But Doctors Without Borders said “all indications currently point to the bombing being carried out international coalition forces.” In a statement, the organization said the attack was a “grave violation of international humanitarian law” and demanded an independent investigation.

    Army Col. Brian Tribus, a spokesman for American forces in Afghanistan, said a U.S. airstrike on Kunduz at 2:15 a.m. ”may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility” and that the incident was under investigation. He said it was the 12th U.S. airstrike “in the Kunduz vicinity” since Tuesday.

    The Doctors Without Borders trauma center is seen in flames, after explosions near their hospital in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz. (Image source: Médecins Sans Frontières via AP)

    The Doctors Without Borders trauma center is seen in flames, after explosions near their hospital in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz. (Image source: Médecins Sans Frontières via AP)

     

    President Ashraf Ghani expressed his sorrow and said he and the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, U.S. Army Gen. John Campbell had “agreed to launch a joint and thorough investigation.”

     

    Doctors Without Borders, also known by the French acronym MSF, said its trauma center “was hit several times during sustained bombing and was very badly damaged.” At the time, the hospital had 105 patients and their caretakers, and more than 80 international and Afghan staff, it said.

     

    The U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said that if an investigation found the hospital was purposefully targeted, the incident could constitute a war crime.

     

    Calling the incident “tragic, inexcusable and possibly even criminal,” he said in a statement, “if established as deliberate in a court of law, an airstrike on a hospital may amount to a war crime.”

     

    The U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said an investigation is underway. “The area has been the scene of intense fighting the last few days. U.S. forces in support of Afghan security forces were operating nearby, as were Taliban fighters,” he said in a statement. “A full investigation into the tragic incident is underway in coordination with the Afghan government.”

     

    AP video of the compound showed burning buildings with firearms — automatic rifles and at least one Russian-made machine gun — on the windowsills pointed outward.

     

    Doctors Without Borders did not comment on the identities of the 30 missing people, but said all of its international staffers were alive and accounted for. It said it regularly updated its GPS coordinates with all parties to the conflict.

     

    It said that from 2:08 a.m. to 3:15 a.m. Saturday, the hospital was hit by bombs at 15-minute intervals. It quotes Kunduz-based doctor Heman Nagarathnam saying the planes repeatedly circled overhead during that time.

     

    “There was a pause, and then more bombs hit. This happened again and again. When I made it out from the office, the main hospital building was engulfed in flames,” Nagarathnam said according to the MSF statement. “Those people that could, had moved quickly to the building’s two bunkers to seek safety. But patients who were unable to escape burned to death as they lay in their beds.”

     

    Fighting raged throughout the day, and at around 2 p.m., the Taliban seized the medical compound, according to Sarwar Hussaini, the spokesman for the provincial police chief. “Fighting is continuing between Afghan security forces and the Taliban,” he said.

     

    Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid had earlier issued a statement saying there were no Taliban fighters in the hospital at the time of the bombing. He also accused Afghanistan’s intelligence service of deliberately directing airstrikes on the hospital.

     

    Adil Akbar, a doctor at the trauma center who was on duty at the time, told AP that the operating theater, emergency room and other parts of the hospital complex had been hit in the bombing. The clinic is a sprawling facility with numerous buildings situated in the east of the city, in a residential area close to the local office of the NDS intelligence service.

     

    “I managed to escape after the attack but I know that most of the staff and even some of the patients are missing,” he said.

    The burned Doctors Without Borders hospital is seen after explosions in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. (Image source: Médecins Sans Frontières via AP)

    The burned Doctors Without Borders hospital is seen after explosions in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. (Image source: Médecins Sans Frontières via AP)

     

    Doctors Without Borders, which operates in conflict zones across the globe, said it had treated 394 people wounded in fighting since the Taliban attacked the city. Afghan forces went in on Thursday, and the fighting has been underway since then.

     

    Sediqqi said Afghan forces were still sweeping the city for militants, conducting “meter to meter, house to house operations” that would continue until “all those bad elements” had been eliminated.

     

    Electricity and water have been cut off since the Taliban’s seizure of the city on Monday, officials and residents said. Food and medical supplies cannot get through because the Afghan military is still working to clear mines planted by the Taliban. Sporadic gunfights continued in various pockets of the city as troops advance.

     

    Most of the Taliban appear to have fled the city after the troops moved in on Thursday, taking looted vehicles, weapons and ammunition with them.

     

    Officials have reported that they have moved east, into Takhar and Badakhshan provinces, where a number of districts fell to the Taliban on Friday. The Defense Ministry said troops had retaken the Baharak district after retreating under fire Friday.

    Associated Press writers Rahim Faiez and Humayoon Babur contributed to this report.

    This story has been updated.

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  • Mike Huckabee Is Asked How Obama Would Have Reacted If Oregon Gunman Had Targeted Muslims. Here’s His Answer.
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 12:45 pm by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (179)

    Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee appeared on “The Steve Malzberg Show” Friday to discuss matters surrounding the Oregon community college mass shooting and gun laws.

    Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, speaks during the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. (Image source: Drew Angerer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

    Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, speaks during the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. (Image source: Drew Angerer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

    After several minutes Malzberg interjected a hypothetical question about President Barack Obama, who hasn’t yet addressed reports that the gunman targeted Christians.

    What if the shooter had said, ‘Are you a Muslim?’ and shot those in the head who were Muslim,” the host asked. “Do you think the president would have mentioned that yesterday?”

    The former Arkansas governor didn’t hesitate.

    “Of course he would have,” Huckabee replied. “The president always wants to be defensive and tell us there is no such thing as Islamic terrorism. These aren’t religious people even though we all know they are. But when it seems that the target is a Christian, he conveniently just ignores it, denies it or just moves on to something else. I do think it is incredibly significant that there was a religious intent and motive in this shooter’s attitude.”

    Here’s the exchange between Huckabee and Malzberg. The relevant portion begins just after the 4:30 mark:

    (H/T: The Gateway Pundit)

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  • Alabama Judges Cite Segregation-Era Law to Avoid Issuing Marriage Licenses for Gay Couples
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 11:47 am by Associated Press

    Comments (191)

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — As Alabama’s all-white Legislature tried to preserve racial segregation and worried about the possibility of mixed-race marriages in 1961, lawmakers rewrote state law to make it optional for counties to issue marriage licenses.

    Now, some judges who oppose same-sex marriage are using the long-forgotten amendment to get out of the marriage business altogether rather than risk issuing even one wedding license to gays or lesbians. In at least nine of Alabama’s 67 counties, judges have quit issuing any marriage licenses since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex unions in June.

    While the precise reason that lawmakers gave for making the 1961 change has been lost to time, the 54-year-old provision says probate courts “may” issue rather than “shall” issue wedding licenses.

    Nick Williams, a Baptist minister who also serves as probate judge in Washington County, is among those who have left the marriage license business. He says issuing a license for a same-sex union would violate his Christian beliefs.

    This Sept. 23, 2015, photo shows Alabama Probate Judge Nick Williams in a courtroom at the Washington County courthouse in Chatom, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

    This Sept. 23, 2015, photo shows Alabama Probate Judge Nick Williams in a courtroom at the Washington County courthouse in Chatom, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

    “It is a religious freedom issue, but more than that I believe it is a constitutional issue,” said Williams, who last month cited the arrest of Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis in asking the Alabama Supreme Court to declare that officials don’t have to allow same-sex marriage if doing so violates their religious beliefs.

    This Sept. 23, 2015, photo, shows a notification posted on a door saying "there will be no marriage licenses issued by the Washington County Probate Office." (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

    This Sept. 23, 2015, photo, shows a notification posted on a door saying “there will be no marriage licenses issued by the Washington County Probate Office.” (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

    Like Davis, Williams said he would go to jail before he would approve a marriage license for a gay or lesbian.

    Judges in three adjoining counties stopped issuing licenses for similar reasons, creating a region in southwestern Alabama where marriage licenses aren’t available for 78,000 people. As a result, Bo Keahey and fiance Hannah Detlefsen will have to spend nearly two hours on the road traveling to and from Monroe County before their November wedding because their native Clarke County has quit issuing licenses.

    “I pay taxes here and it’s kind of ridiculous that I can’t get a license here,” said Keahey, an attorney.

    Others have encountered similar problems. Daniel Hopkins and Whitley Jones drove 40 miles from their home in Mobile County to buy a marriage license at Williams’ office before finding out Washington County no longer issued them.

    Frustrated after the refusal, the two had to get back in the car for a 62-mile drive to the probate office in Mobile, which is issuing licenses under order of a federal judge.

    The drive might not be needed without that 1961 law.

    With then-Gov. John Patterson pushing to maintain segregated public schools and Freedom Riders crisscrossing the South in opposition to integration, two Alabama legislators, Reps. F LaMont Glass of Greenville and H.B. Taylor of Georgiana, introduced a bill to revamp the state’s marriage law in May 1961.

    Under a statue that went back decades, couples had to get marriage licenses in the county where the woman lived or where they planned to wed. The law had the effect of requiring each county to issue wedding licenses.

    “There’s a big difference between ‘may’ and ‘shall.’”
    Share:

    But that changed under Glass and Taylor’s bill, according to the Alabama Legislative Reference Service, which researches laws and drafts legislation.

    The new law, which records show passed unanimously, included this line: “Marriage licenses may be issued by the judges of probate of the several counties.” Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling, some same-sex marriage opponents have used that word “may” to avoid issuing marriage licenses. So far, no one has sued them.

    Whatever the stated reason for the 1961 bill, it clearly emerged from a pro-segregation legislature. Alabama’s Constitution had included a prohibition on mixed-race marriage since 1901. Not until 2000 did voters overturn the long-invalidated provision.

    In the early 1960s, Alabama historian Carl Grafton said, legislators were introducing a “host of bills” to hinder integration.

    While Grafton said he wasn’t familiar with the ’61 marriage law, he added, “It’s certainly consistent with the era.”

    The bill received virtually no news coverage at the time and its sponsors died years ago.

    Former Gov. Albert Brewer, who was a young House member in 1961, said neither Glass nor Taylor was known as a hard-core segregationist, and they may have introduced the bill simply as a favor to a judge who didn’t want to be bothered by issuing marriage licenses.

    Or, Brewer said, it could have been a subtle way to block mixed-race marriages.

    “Certainly they were talking about miscegenation at the time,” said Brewer, 86.

    Whatever the reason for its passage, the law plainly states that judges “may” issue licenses, Williams said.

    “There’s a big difference between ‘may’ and ‘shall,’” he said.

  • Donald Trump’s Latest Megyn Kelly Tweet Might Surprise You
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 11:18 am by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (302)

    After a lengthy period of attacking Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly since the first Republican presidential debate, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump tweeted a very different message to Kelly on Friday night:

    “Thank you @megynkelly for the nice things you said about Melania,” Trump wrote. “You will like her, great heart and smart — always wanting to help people!”

    During her program earlier Friday, Kelly blasted coverage of Trump’s wife Melania, who was referred to as a “mannequin” in New York Times piece. The same article also said that “were it not for her husband’s presidential aspirations, [Melania] might resemble that of any number of trophy spouses in New York …”

    Melania Trump and Donald Trump attend the Washington Capitals vs New York Rangers game at Madison Square Garden on May 13, 2015, in New York City. (Image source: James Devaney/GC Images)

    Melania Trump and Donald Trump attend the Washington Capitals vs New York Rangers game at Madison Square Garden on May 13, 2015, in New York City. (Image source: James Devaney/GC Images)

    “Really?” Kelly asked.

    “If somebody else did this about a Democrat, the New York Times would by crying sexism, but they can do it, it’s fair game because it’s Donald Trump’s wife and he’s running as a Republican,” Kelly added. “It’s really disrespectful.”

    Here’s the clip:

    (H/T: The Gateway Pundit)

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  • Weakness and Strength: Seven Snapshots of the U.S. Job Market
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 10:25 am by Associated Press

    Comments (59)

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. job market no longer looks quite so robust.

    Employers added a meager 142,000 jobs in September, the government said Friday. And the average job gain for each of the past three months — 167,000 — is well below the 231,000 average for the previous three.

    In this photo taken Wednesday, July 15, 2015, job seekers listen as Kaysara Mandry, center, talks about job opportunities at the Domino's booth during a job fair in Miami Lakes, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

    In this photo taken Wednesday, July 15, 2015, job seekers listen as Kaysara Mandry, center, talks about job opportunities at the Domino’s booth during a job fair in Miami Lakes, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

    All of which renews doubts about a job market in which steady hiring and the consumer spending it drives were expected to fuel continued healthy economic growth. But JPMorgan Chase now estimates that the economy grew at a mere 1.5 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter.

    The economy occupies a sensitive spot as the Federal Reserve considers whether to raise interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade. Vulnerabilities in U.S. manufacturing reflect a struggling global economy. Wages still aren’t growing much.

    Still, some signs of strength remain. Unemployment is just 5.1 percent, down steeply from the 10 percent it reached after the Great Recession. The construction and sale of new homes have advanced this year, supporting evidence of solid consumer confidence.

    Here are seven factors that explain the state of the job market:

    — GLOBAL SQUEEZE TIGHTENS

    For months, the U.S. job market cruised as the rest of the world struggled. Not so much anymore. Employers appear to be responding to some of the fears gripping the rest of the globe.

    Demand for energy and commodities has slid as China’s growth prospects have dimmed. Europe is struggling to sustain its growth. Emerging economies like Brazil are slumping. Fears of a worldwide slowdown, which shook the U.S. stock market in August, appear to have now spilled into the job market.

    Oil prices have plunged, leading energy companies to cut jobs. The mining sector, which includes energy drillers, cut 10,300 jobs last month. Refiners of coal and petroleum lost 1,100.

    The dollar has also risen in value against foreign currencies, thereby making U.S. goods costlier overseas and hurting U.S. manufacturers. Producers of metal products, machinery and computers — all key drivers of exports — shed a combined 10,800 jobs in September.

    Global pressures infected other sectors last month, too, with job losses in wholesale trade and transportation.

    — SOLID GAINS FOR COLLEGE GRADS

    The numbers show that employers want people with college degrees. The demand is part of a larger shift in the composition of the workforce: Nearly 35 percent of jobs now belong to college grads, up from 30 percent right before the recession began in December 2007 — an increase of 8.6 million jobs for the college educated. College grads also enjoy a scant unemployment rate of 2.5 percent, less than half the overall 5.1 percent rate.

    — LOSSES FOR THE LESS EDUCATED

    It’s a brutal job market for people with only a high school diploma or no diploma at all. Employers have cut these workers over the past year. Unemployment for high school dropouts rose last month to 7.9 percent, putting it substantially above the overall rate. And the percentage of high school graduates who either have a job or are looking for one — their labor force participation rate — is at just 56.9 percent.

    The participation rate for Americans as a whole is 62.4 percent, the lowest since 1977. The exodus of less educated workers — due either to retirement or discouragement — accounts for much of that drop.

    — JOB GROWTH SLOWS

    A hot streak in hiring appears to have ended. Friday’s report downgraded estimated job growth for July and August by a combined 59,000. The July-August-September average gain of 167,000 compares with 324,333 in the final three months of 2014.

    Some economists note that a decline in the pace of job growth was inevitable because it had been exceeding population growth.

    “The question is whether wage growth can pick up the baton,” said Gregory Daco, head of U.S. Macroeconomics at Oxford Economics.

    — WEAK INCOMES

    Pay growth has been close to stalling. A result is that many consumers are hesitant to spend more of their paychecks, thereby preventing the economy from accelerating.

    The pattern of tepid earnings growth defies what should normally happen when unemployment falls. Lower unemployment tends to reflect a competitive job market, and companies must usually raise pay to draw enough qualified workers.

    But average hourly wages have risen a subpar 2.2 percent over the past 12 months. In September, workers earned an average of $25.09 an hour.

    “The bottom line is you’ve got less spending power from the American consumer,” said John Silvia, chief economist at the bank Wells Fargo.

    — FEW LAYOFFS

    Despite high-profile layoff announcements by Caterpillar and Wal-Mart, most employers aren’t panicking by slashing jobs. Applications for unemployment benefits — which reflect the pace of layoffs — totaled just 277,000 last week. That level remains near historic lows, evidence that many businesses expect their customer demand to remain stable and the U.S. economy to expand for a seventh straight year.

    — MORE FULL-TIME WORKERS

    All the net job growth over the past 12 months came from full-time workers. Their ranks have swelled by 2.8 million. Conversely, there are 630,000 fewer part-time employees now. The decline in the proportion of part-time jobs has occurred because more Americans have managed to work 35 hours or more each week, meeting the definition of a full-time employee.

    The additional full-time workers represent a source of strength because they have more income to spend. The rise in their ranks is helping mend some of the lingering damage from the Great Recession, which forced a historically high proportion of workers into part-time positions.

  • Home Intruder Likely Figured He Held Upper Hand in Attack of Sisters, 75 and 64. Then One of Them Pulled Out a Lethal Surprise.
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 10:02 am by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (264)

    A suspected intruder attacked two sisters, 75 and 64, in their Georgia home earlier this week — but police said the younger sister pulled out a gun and fired three shots, killing him, WJAX-TV reported.

    Photo purportedly of Jonathan Green (Image source: WJAX-TV)

    Photo purportedly of Jonathan Green (Image source: WJAX-TV)

    Deputies told the station they received a 911 call about a burglary in progress at the Folkston home about 8 p.m. Tuesday, but when officers arrived they found the suspect — indentified as 40-year-old Jonathan Green, WJXT-TV reported — lying unresponsive near the street in front of the house.

    The 64-year-old sister told police she was attacked from behind after the suspect broke in, but she got away and armed herself with small-caliber pistol, WJXT reported. After she shot the suspect, he exited through the front door, the station added.

    The 75-year-old sister had a cut on her head; her younger sister received minor injuries. They were taken to a hospital to be checked.

    Police found blood in the house, on the front porch and in the yard, WJXT said.

    A woman claiming to be Green’s sister sent WJAX a photo purportedly of him and said she was planning to travel to the area to learn more because the circumstances don’t add up for her.

    Green’s cousin told WJXT she was shocked about the incident: ”He’s a very funny person, very well known, always joking,” she told the station. “I mean, it’s shocking … to hear say what happened. It’s hard to believe.” But she added that Green had been in trouble before.

    More from WJAX:

    The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said this is considered a homicide, which is a formality. While this appears to be a case of self-defense, the GBI said they will present the facts to the district attorney’s office and see if charges will be filed or not.

    (H/T: Weasel Zippers)

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  • Conservative Actor James Woods Asks Scathing Question About Obama’s Response to Oregon Shooting
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 8:41 am by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (296)

    Once reports emerged that the gunman in the Oregon community college massacre targeted Christians, conservative actor James Woods asked a scathing question about President Obama’s response in light of this detail.

    “Now that it is recognized that the terrible Oregon tragedy was an assault on Christians, will the President still sing Amazing Grace there?” Woods asked.

    Obama drew rave reviews following his eulogy and rendition of “Amazing Grace” at the funeral of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of nine people fatally shot at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in June.

    Woods added this tweet not long after:

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  • Vatican Fires Gay Priest on Eve of Meeting of World’s Bishops to Discuss Outreach to Gays, Others
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 7:54 am by Dave Urbanski

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    VATICAN CITY (TheBlaze/AP) — The Vatican has fired a monsignor who came out as gay on the eve of a big meeting of the world’s bishops to discuss church outreach to gays, divorcees and more traditional Catholic families.

    Monsignor Krzyzstof Charamsa was a mid-level official in the Vatican’s doctrine office. In newspaper interviews published in Italy and Poland Saturday, Charamsa said he was happy and proud to be a gay priest, and was in love with a man whom he identified as his boyfriend.

    In a statement Saturday, the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Charamsa’s public statements were “serious and irresponsible” coming on the eve of the synod and that he could no longer continue working at the Vatican or its pontifical universities.

    Despite his dismissal, Charamsa remains a priest.

    During Pope Francis’ trip to the U.S., he reportedly held a private meeting with a gay couple just one day before meeting with defiant Kentucky clerk Kim Davis and her husband.

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  • Maher, Dawkins Excoriate ‘Regressive Leftists’ for Political Correctness, Giving ‘Free Pass’ to Islam
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 2:45 am by Oliver Darcy

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    Comedian Bill Maher and world-renowned biologist Richard Dawkins railed against “regressive leftists” Friday night, contending their politically correct censorship and “free pass” the group gives to Islam are not in line with liberal principles.

    During Friday night’s episode of “Real Time,” Maher explained that “regressive leftists” are those “who don’t quite get it about being liberals in the world.”

    “I am shocked about the way on university campuses, the principle of free speech. When I think that the only university I went to, the University of California at Berkeley, the free speech movement in the 1960s — what a betrayal we are seeing right now,” Dawkins said. “With campuses all over the western world — American and Britain – denying people the right to come speak at campuses. If you can’t speak your mind at a university campus, where can you?”

    “It’s about being exposed to ideas that you haven’t met before, perhaps you are hostile to. If you only really get exposed to ideas you agree with, what kind of university would that be?” Dawkins asked.

    Maher then shifted the conversation to the criticism some face for questioning aspects of Islam.

    “But also this notion that somehow Islam and Muslim are this protected species that if we talk about them at all, or criticize them at all, it’s somehow hurting or humiliating Muslims,” the HBO host said. “It’s a ridiculous idea.”

    Dawkins agreed.

    “You are absolutely right that the regressive leftists give a free pass to Islam, where as they are kind of right about everything else … but in the case of Islam it just gets a free pass. And I think it’s because of the terror of being called racist,” he said.

    “Right. Or worse: an Islamophobe,” Maher said. “A silly word that means nothing. I mean it’s so dumb because all the people who are accused of being Islamophones … we are liberals. We are liberals about everything.”

    “And they applaud that, but if you say something about a woman who is forced to wear a beekeeper suit in the hot sun all day—” Maher added.

    Dawkins sarcastically interjected, “But that’s there culture, you have to respect it.”

    He added, “There is just this one exception. ‘It’s their culture.’ Well, to hell with their culture.”

    Maher and Dawkins, both atheists, have faced heavy criticism in recent weeks for their skepticism of the Ahmed Mohamed clock incident.

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  • U.S. Military: Airstrike ‘May Have’ Accidentally Hit Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Afghanistan
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 1:02 am by Oliver Darcy

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    The U.S. military said early Saturday morning that an airstrike in Kuduz, Afghanistan, may have accidentally damaged a Doctors Without Borders hospital in the city.

    “U.S. forces conducted an airstrike in Kunduz city at 2:15am (local), Oct. 3, against individuals threatening the force. The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility,” U.S. Army Colonel Brian Tribus, a spokesman for U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, said in a statement forwarded to TheBlaze. “This incident is under investigation.”

    The hospital said that three staff members were confirmed dead and 30 were still unaccounted for. It said the trauma center endured “sustained bombing and was very badly damaged.”

    Photos posted by Doctors Without Borders showed the hospital engulfed in flames.

    “We are deeply shocked by the attack, the killing of our staff and patients and the heavy toll it has inflicted on healthcare in Kunduz,” said Bart Janssens, the hospital’s director of operations. “We do not yet have the final casualty figures, but our medical team are providing first aid and treating the injured patients and MSF personnel and accounting for the deceased. We urge all parties to respect the safety of health facilities and staff.”

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  • An Impassioned Sheriff Clarke Proposes Law That ‘Can Be Changed’ to Reduce Deaths From Gun Violence
    Posted October 2, 2015 at 11:34 pm by Oliver Darcy

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    Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke appeared on the Fox News Channel Friday evening and offered host Megyn Kelly a solution aimed at reducing deaths caused by gun violence.

    Clarke’s suggestion came in response to a question Kelly posed to her other guest, Obama 2012 national field director Jeremy Bird, about what can be done to stop incidents like Thursday’s mass shooting which claimed the lives of nine victims.

    “I’ll answer your question on what law can be changed,” Clarke said. “We should get rid of these gun-free zones.”

    “We should allow people … to be able to play a role in their own safety,” the outspoken sheriff continued. “I think it’s heartless to expect people in these gun-free zones to be lined up and slaughtered with on way to defend themselves. These gun-free zones have become killing fields. That is the one constant in all of these mass murders.”

    The sheriff noted that there are “no absolutes,” but said things can be changed to save lives.

    “Here are some things that I think might work,” he said. “Here’s what I think should happen … citizens should be able to play a role in their own personal safety.”

    “The only thing that stopped that incident yesterday was when a good guy, a police officer with a gun showed up and they were able to neutralize that homicidal maniac,” Clarke noted.

    Clarke’s suggestion stands in contrast to President Barack Obama’s proposal which causes for the implementation of stricter gun-control measures.

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