A Georgia city has unanimously passed a resolution banning abortion clinics — but not abortions themselves, as long as they occur at hospitals by licensed physicians, are ruled necessary to save the mother’s life, and the babies wouldn’t survive outside the womb.
Teddy Harris, the mayor of Rossville, Georgia, told city council members on Monday the measure was necessary to curtail “drama” that clinic protesters would otherwise bring.
“We want to be a peaceful city,” Harris said, according to the Times Free Press, which reported there are no abortion clinics in town.
According to the newspaper, there were 19 abortion clinics in Georgia as of 2011. Ninety-six percent of Georgia counties don’t have clinics.
“I just don’t think [clinics] are appropriate for our city, ” Harris said.
(H/T: Addicting Info)
When a YouTube video showing 25-year-old Jorge Peña getting attacked on a New York City subway train went viral last week, Peña didn’t know if he would face charges for slapping a woman who just wouldn’t leave him alone.
He slapped the screaming woman after she first hit him in the head. In the aftermath of the incident, many were left to wonder which of them was at fault and who might be charged. But the Manhattan District Attorney’s office on Wednesday said Peña acted only in self-defense, clearing him from facing any criminal charges.
The now-Internet viral subway brawl began when one woman, egged on by two others, kept making fun of Peña’s 8-ball jacket and fur hat. It didn’t take long for the heated rhetoric to turn into an all-out fight after one of the women appeared to hit Peña in the back of the head.
Peña’ decided he wasn’t going to take it and hit back. He slapped one of the woman across the face so hard a very clear “pop” could be heard in the video right as it happened.
But Peña isn’t necessarily proud of what he did: “I never slapped anyone before. Especially a girl,” he said.
But, he said, “she attacked me like a man.”
Watch as the fight erupted right in the middle of this New York subway “F” train (content warning — strong language):
(H/T: New York Post)
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TheBlaze TV’s Dana Loesch made good on her vow to appear on MSNBC and debate Ed Schultz about Obamacare on Thursday — and things got tense in a hurry.
After starting with some friendly small talk about the Dallas Cowboys, Schultz pressed Loesch on why Republicans don’t have a health care plan to replace Obamacare. He argued that the GOP’s only plan is to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law.
“Because Harry Reid has hid it on his desk, that’s why,” Loesch replied. “You know that there are over at least nine plans that have been submitted by House Republicans and sent to the Senate — alternatives to Obamacare.”
The host and guest started to clash when the reality of Americans losing health insurance plans under Obamacare became the topic of conversation. Schultz claimed only “junk” plans were dropped because they no longer complied with federal standards, but Loesch disagreed.
“Remember, it was Politifact’s ‘Lie of the Year’ just recently that the president promised that if you like your health care plan you can keep it,” Loesch said.
“That’s not the question!” Schultz yelled as he and Loesch talked over each other. “I want you to tell my audience — Dana, I’m not gonna do this.”
When Schultz told Loesch that he was showing her “respect by doing the interview,” she snarked back, “I’m doing you a favor by doing this interview.”
Plenty of heated crosstalk continued, with Schultz telling Loesch at one point that she was being “rude” and “unworkable.”
Eventually, Schultz allotted Loesch 30 seconds to make her point.
“Do I believe that health insurance needed to be reformed? Absolutely,” Loesch said. “We could’ve increased portability, we could have decoupled business from people’s health insurance so that they could always maintain their health insurance.”
She also said there should be increased competition in the health care industry, which she argued would result in more choices for the American people.
“Excuse me, there are 25 percent… more competition in the market today offering plans. So that’s been taken care of in that regard,” Schultz shot back.
“No, having the federal government do it isn’t competition,” Loesch interrupted.
The MSNBC host’s “we had an election” line also slightly backfired as TheBlaze personality reminded him, “Yeah, and we had another one and we have a Republican Congress.”
At the end of the interview, Loesch revealed that she has a friend who is battling cancer and claimed the person has lost treatment options due to Obamacare regulations. Schultz immediately grew angry, proclaiming that he didn’t believe her and asked if he could interview the friend.
There’s plenty more to the interview. Watch it below via MSNBC:
A review of the White House intruder incident concluded that a series of “performance, organizational, technical” and other security failures eased the way for a man to make his way inside the executive mansion, the New York Times reported Thursday.
According to the Times, the review found that the Secret Service’s alarms and radios failed to work correctly during the September incident — and that several of the officers on duty did not initially see intruder Omar Gonzales climb over the fence.
The report found that the officer who could have halted Gonzales on the North Lawn was in fact distracted in his van talking on his personal cellphone and did not notice that an intruder had scaled the fence and broken the perimeter, the Times reported.
Further, the officer did not have his earpiece in, nor did he have a secondary radio on him, the report added, according to the Times.
The damning DHS review has not been released to the public, but members of Congress were briefed and provided the Times a review of the findings.
The incident, along with other security failures, led to the resignation of Julia Pierson, who served as Secret Service director at the time.
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The head of the U.S. Agency for International Development spoke urgently in support of the Obama administration’s request for $6.2 billion to tackle the Ebola crisis, warning that more resources are crucial to break the deadly virus’ grip on parts of West Africa.
Testifying Thursday before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said there are numerous clusters of Ebola infecting villagers in rural and remote areas and that rapid response is vital to handling the flare-ups and preventing them from spreading.
More than 14,000 people have been infected with the virus worldwide and more than 5,000 have died, according to the latest World Health Organization figures.
Shah, who has traveled to the region, said it’s vital to have U.S. Navy diagnostics labs to test potentially infected patients with greater speed in Guinea, Sierra Leon and Liberia, which are still hotbeds for the virus.
Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) pressed Shah on the multiple failures by the World Health Organization to tackle the virus early on, saying it “demonstrated deadly incompetence.”
Shah said there have been “very significant changes” made at the WHO in lieu of its failures in responding. He asked Royce to give his agency broad transfer authority of funding to deal with the outbreak.
Shah said USAID has already spent $500 million of its little more than $1 billion in yearly funding.
“We will not be able to sustain this effort without relief,” he said.
With 5,000 children orphaned from the Ebola epidemic, Shah told House members that legislation for food resources in the region is essential.
Shah said he met with first responders in Liberia as well as the 65 burial teams that are reducing transmission of the virus. Shah said virus transmission after death is the greatest challenge in fighting the outbreak: Burial-related infections have led to roughly 75 percent of infections in the region.
He said the new burial teams are trained to dispose of bodies in a dignified manner that has lowered the virus’s transmission rate. In Sierra Leon, health care workers are receiving the appropriate equipment to protect themselves. In Guinea, Ebola infections are at their lowest, affecting approximately 500 to 600 people, but reaching rural villages is still extremely difficult.
Royce and other members said the only way to halt the spread of the virus to the United States is to temporarily suspend travel visas to non-U.S. nationals in the region, but Shah disagreed: he argued that a visa ban would reduce the ability to track people who would simply choose to travel illegally instead.
Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) countered that there are still laws in place to protect U.S. citizens, even if a minority of people break them on occasion.
Michael Lumpkin, assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, said the Ebola outbreak constitutes a global national security threat.
Lumpkin, who recently visited the region, said he came away with the major observation that “we face a logistics crisis with a health care challenge.”
“[The] Ebola epidemic truly is a national security issue,” he said. Without containing and handling the logistical problems with the outbreak in Africa, he said, it will lead to more infections in the U.S. and across the globe.
“We cannot afford to let up and we cannot afford to do this alone,” Lumpkin said.
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Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) may have been caught off guard when a reporter asked her a seriously blunt question on Thursday about her chances in an upcoming Senate runoff election against her Republican opponent.
“Your leaders are not standing with you today. Are you a lost cause?” MSNBC political correspondent Kasie Hunt asked.
“I don’t believe I am,” Landrieu replied. “Of course I’ve stood against my leadership when I’ve had to, and this is one of those times.”
The reporter’s question wasn’t entirely shocking, even if it was seriously straightforward. Landrieu has seen campaign dollars pulled by the Democrats after the GOP’s sweeping midterm victories and she’s gone against her colleagues on the divisive Keystone XL pipeline.
Watch the video via MSNBC/Mediaite below:
Gym teachers across the country are finding ways to implement the Common Core State Standards into physical fitness, creating some concern that actual exercise time will be reduced and that teachers who aren’t prepared will be instructing students on English and math.
If Common Core instruction is not done properly, “it could be a distraction” to a gym teacher normally focused on physical fitness, said Michelle Ortiz, the senior program manager for the Society of Health and Physical Educators. SHAPE represents the nation’s gym and health teachers.
But Ortiz, a former physical eduction teacher in Washington, D.C., said SHAPE supports Common Core in health and PE classes as long as it is implemented correctly.
“For some teachers it might be overwhelming since their first objective for the teaching year is not math and reading,” Ortiz told TheBlaze. “But this is not asking health and physical education teachers to teach math and reading. It is rather reinforcing and helping students apply what they have learned in other classes.”
Among the ways to incorporate Common Core is to require students use language skills in writing food logs. In earlier grades, it involves allowing certain games to be scored by two points, five points or 10 points as a way of teaching children multiplication, Ortiz said.
A recent article in Slate that asked, “Is Common Core Ruining Gym Class?”, pointed to cases where principles concerned about tests are eager to get as much math and English instruction as possible into other subjects such as gym, art, music and other elective courses. The Slate piece further said that poorly trained gym teachers were cutting exercise time to push more Common Core instruction.
Some schools have told gym teachers to devote a certain amount of class time to math and reading skills, said Martha James-Hassan, director of physical education graduate programs at Towson University.
“That’s not necessarily the instructional shift outlined by the Common Core,” James-Hassan told Slate. “That’s a less-informed Band-Aid approach.”
New York-based instructional coach Michael Fisher said gym teachers aren’t trained to teach English and math, and tell him they feel unprepared, Slate reported.
But math and reading lessons should only be incorporated if they fit, Ortiz said: “Health and PE should be the first objectives, but if it fits into the PE lesson there are many ways teach it, it should be part of the course.”
SHAPE does not have statistics or numbers quantifying how many school districts have applied Common Core State Standards to health and PE classes.
Common Core in gym classes has been stirring some controversy since the summer. SPARK, a public health research arm of San Diego State University Research Foundation that focuses on fighting childhood obesity, has promoted implementing Common Core in PE nationally.
Glenn Beck on Thursday said those who claim the NFL uses players in the prime of their lives and then fails to care for their injuries should be saying the exact same thing about the federal government, because it sends soldiers into battle and rewards them with shameful health care when they return.
Beck said he has enormous respect for author Malcolm Gladwell, but objected to the inconsistency in his calling the NFL a “moral abomination” when the government is not held to the same standard.
“Our government is never ever held to the same standard they’re expecting others to be held to,” Beck said on his radio program. “A moral abomination? Here’s your moral abomination: we’ll fight a war — we don’t know what it’s about anymore — we know people will have traumatic brain injury, we know they’ll come back limping. They’re going to come back missing limbs. We know they’ll come back so morally, spiritually, physically scarred that they will not be able to function. We know their suicide rate will be through the roof.”
“Oh yeah, and we’re going to take care of them on, maybe, ‘future ticket sales,’” Beck added, continuing the analogy. “We don’t really have a plan for them.”
Beck said America has a government-run health care system to care for veterans, but it is “so corrupt” that people are dying and committing suicide before they have a chance to see a doctor.
“We would never put up with it [from any other industry],” Beck asserted. “The government would be all over that industry. It is time for the government to shut the hell up.”
“Until you can live by the same kind of standards you insist we have, shut the hell up,” Beck said. “You take care of your problems. You take care of all the issues and all of the pain and all of the destruction and all the brain injuries that you clowns in Washington have caused. When you start to feel the moral weight and the responsibility on your shoulders for all the suicides, all of the lost limbs and all of the people that cannot even function anymore because of your policies — and you show me where you have [the money to care for them] off to the side in a fricking lock box — I don’t want to see your future IOUs.”
“You start cutting on other things until you can show me the cash, that you take care of these guys until the day they drop dead from a natural disease,” Beck concluded. “Until you can do that, shut the hell up about my problems. Maybe that’s just me.”
The full episode of The Glenn Beck Program, along with many other live-streaming shows and thousands of hours of on-demand content, is available on just about any digital device. Click here to watch every Glenn Beck episode from the past 30 days for just $1!
ISTANBUL (AP) — Militant leaders from the Islamic State group and al-Qaida gathered at a farm house in northern Syria last week and agreed on a plan to stop fighting each other and work together against their opponents, a high-level Syrian opposition official and a rebel commander have told The Associated Press.
Such an accord could present new difficulties for Washington’s strategy against the IS group. While warplanes from a U.S.-led coalition strike militants from the air, the Obama administration has counted on arming “moderate” rebel factions to push them back on the ground. Those rebels, already considered relatively weak and disorganized, would face far stronger opposition if the two heavy-hitting militant groups now are working together.
IS – the group that has seized nearly a third of Syria and Iraq with a campaign of brutality and beheadings this year – and al-Qaida’s affiliate in Syria, known as the Nusra Front, have fought each other bitterly for more than a year to dominate the rebellion against Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The Associated Press reported late last month on signs that the two groups appear to have curtailed their feud with informal local truces. Their new agreement, according to the sources in rebel groups opposed to both IS and Nusra Front, would involve a promise to stop fighting and team up in attacks in some areas of northern Syria.
Cooperation, however, would fall short of unifying the rival groups, and experts believe any pact between the two sides could easily unravel. U.S. intelligence officials have been watching the groups closely and say a full merger is not expected soon – if ever. A U.S. official with access to intelligence about Syria said the American intelligence community has not seen any indications of a shift in the two groups’ strategy, but added that he could not rule out tactical deals on the ground. The official insisted on anonymity because he said he was not authorized to speak publicly about the subject.
According to a Syrian opposition official speaking in Turkey, the meeting took place Nov. 2 in the town of Atareb, west of Aleppo, starting at around midnight and lasting until 4 a.m. The official said the meeting was closely followed by members of his movement, and he is certain that an agreement was reached. The official said about seven top militant leaders attended.
A second source, a commander of brigades affiliated with the Western-backed Free Syrian Army who is known as Abu Musafer said he also had learned that high-ranking members of Nusra and IS met on Nov. 2. He did not disclose the exact location, but said it was organized by a third party and took place in an area where the FSA is active.
According to Abu Musafer, two decisions were reached: First, to halt infighting between Nusra and IS and second, for the groups together to open up fronts against Kurdish fighters in a couple of new areas of northern Syria.
The Nusra Front has long been seen as one of the toughest factions trying to oust Assad in a civil war estimated to have killed more than 200,000 since 2011. The Islamic State group entered the Syria war in 2012 from its original home in Iraq and quickly earned a reputation for brutality and for trying to impose itself as the leading faction in the rebellion behind which all pious Muslims should united. Al-Qaida initially rejected IS’s claims to any role in Syria, and Nusra and other factions entered a war-within-a-war against it. But the Islamic State group swelled in power and became flush with weapons and cash after overrunning much of northern and western Iraq over the summer.
According to the opposition official, the meeting included an IS representative, two emissaries from Nusra Front, and attendees from the Khorasan Group, a small but battle-hardened band of al-Qaida veterans from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Also reported present at the meeting was Jund al-Aqsa, a hard-line faction that has sworn allegiance to IS; and Ahrar al-Sham, a conservative Muslim rebel group.
The official said IS and the Nusra Front agreed to work to destroy the Syrian Revolutionaries Front, a prominent rebel faction armed and trained by the United States and led by a fighter named Jamal Maarouf. They agreed to keep fighting until all of the force, estimated to be 10,000 to 12,000 fighters, was eliminated, the official said.
During the meeting, IS also offered to send extra fighters to Nusra Front for an assault it launched last week on Western-backed rebels from the Hazm Movement near the town of Khan al-Sunbul in northern Syria, the official said. IS sent about 100 fighters in 22 pickup trucks but Nusra ended up not needing the assistance, he said, because Hazm decided not to engage in the fight. Sixty-five Hazm fighters defected to Nusra, he said.
Tom Joscelyn, an American analyst who tracks terror groups for the website Long War Journal, said he hasn’t seen any messaging that would confirm that the two groups have formally joined forces on the battlefield. But he said there has been information emerging before the reported Nov. 2 meeting “that would seem to fit in with that being what they were driving at. There has been a big push on the al-Qaida side to get this (alliance) through.”
If they work together, the jihadis will be more effective in Syria, he said. “If there is less blood being spilled against each other and they don’t have to worry about that, that’s going to make it easier for the jihadis to go after Assad or any western-backed forces.”
An elementary school student who claimed last year that his first-grade teacher told him that “Jesus is not allowed in school” before removing a religious story he affixed to candy canes he intended to give out to peers is going to court to try and stop something similar from happening this holiday season.
Isaiah Martinez, 7, and his family are requesting a preliminary injunction in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to prevent the West Covina Unified School District — and, more specifically, Merced Elementary School in West Covina — from stopping his candy cane distribution.
As TheBlaze previously reported, the battle began last year on Dec. 13, 2013, when Martinez reportedly brought the gifts into the classroom for his peers.
These holiday treats “consisted of a traditional candy cane with a message attached that recited the legend of the candy cane,” according to Advocates for Faith and Freedom, a conservative legal group representing the child and his family.
The problem from the school’s perspective was the fact that the story affixed to the candy canes focused on a candy maker who, legend says, created the red and white treat in an effort to memorialize Jesus’ life — a supposed historical account that some dispute.
According to the legal group, when Martinez presented the gifts, he was met with major resistance from his teacher, who reportedly removed the Christian stories affixed to the candy canes and threw them in the trash.
“After conferring with the school principal, the teacher told Isaiah that ‘Jesus is not allowed in school’ and, at the apparent direction of her principal, ripped the candy cane message from each candy cane, threw the messages in the trash, and handed the candy canes back to Isaiah for delivery to his classmates,” a press release claimed. “Isaiah then nervously handed the candy canes to his classmates in fear that he was in trouble for trying to bring a little Christmas cheer and ‘good tidings’ to class.”
The Martinez family fought back, taking the case the federal court and claiming that Isiah’s free speech rights were trampled. According to Advocates for Faith and Freedom, all options have been exhausted in terms of trying to get the school to change its mind on the matter, leading to the current court battle.
“The school has neglected to correct its actions, and after exhausting all options to avoid a lawsuit we were left with no choice but to file a complaint in federal court,” attorney Robert Tyler said in a press release. “We are asking the court to protect Isaiah’s rights and the rights of others like him from having their religious speech censored.”
(H/T: Christian Post)
Last year, Toxa Avdeyev took his son out for a crazy spin in his Subaru drift car and the then 3-year-old’s reaction was hilarious.
Well, the boy is now another year older. Let’s see how he takes to another ride on the Mobilex race track with his dad.
Watch the footage:
If you missed what the ride looked like last year, here’s that video:
The young boy actually looked more terrified the second time around at an older age. There was far more screaming than there was nervous giggling like last year.
According to the father, the stunts took place on a closed track with no other cars around.
An Alabama man whose family owns a firearms business posted a volatile Facebook message trashing vets on Veterans Day, saying they never fought for his freedoms and are not real heroes.
“YOU WANNT MEET HERO’s????” Michael Schuette’s message read. “Well, shake hands with CIVILIAN EMTs, nurses, firefighters, lawyers and anyone in the ACLU.”
Schuette’s message began:
To all vets…you are NOT hero’s. You got paid to learn how to fight and kill for profit. You “Served” your leader…You followed the rules and made it out of whatever country you terrorized alive…You got a check and a holiday. YOU NEVER FOUGHT FOR ANY OF MY FREEDOMS!!!!! You fought for corporate interests…You never sacrificed for this country…You did so for your government owners…
Schuette deleted the message, but Yellowhammer News posted a screen shot:
Schuette told WIAT-TV that he regrets posting the message and that his business, Outlaw Gun Repair and Hydrographing in Anniston, is suffering.
“Im so glad all us worthless soldiers are willing to fight to defend your freedom of speech,” one commenter wrote on the company’s website. “As you can see we also have freedom of speech. Whats funny is even though you spit in my face i would die for you if necessary. Why? BECAUSE IM A SOLDIER.”
Schuette said he disagrees with war and the way veterans are treated when they come home, so he wanted to “de-glorify” their struggles.
“I’m staying up all night talking to veterans all over the United States,” he said. “I’m very humbled in what I’ve been told and the stories that I’ve been told. I understand now the repercussions of what I said and I fully retract everything that I said hurtful to veterans because they’re the victims in all this.”
Schuette said he received more than 20 death threats, and asked that anyone who is angry at him not take it out on his family or the family business.
“I’m sorry for what I said, but I’m taking responsibility for what I’ve said. If anyone is angry, please be angry at me,” he said. “My phone has been open and everybody’s got my phone number.”
Mark Naumovitz and Brian Nelli were fishing out of their kayaks last Friday off the coast of Florida near Palm Springs, when Nelli released something in the water. The two friends weren’t alone: trailing the pair was 13-foot hammerhead shark.
The shark wasn’t just around for a quick glance. Instead, Nelli and Naumovitz said the shark trailed them for two miles, even bumping their kayaks.
“It’s not really a huge thing to see sharks,” Naumovitz told the Sun-Sentinel. “But when you have a dorsal fin trailing you like its Jaws, it’s a different story.”
“It freaked me out a little,” Nelli said, adding, “I was reminding myself there was a shark in the water and not to fall out.”
Watch the incredible video they captured of the encounter:
So why was the shark following them? The pair had caught a 16-pound Mahi earlier in the day and it’s possible the shark smelled it.
Democrats voted Thursday to have Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) lead them in the Senate next year, even though Reid’s performance as Senate majority leader was widely seen as a contributing factor to the Democrats’ crushing midterm election losses last week.
Democrats emerged from a four-hour meeting Thursday morning to announce that Reid would remain in his leadership post, in a Senate that is expected to see a 54-seat GOP majority. Democrats also elected to give Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) a communications role among Senate leaders, a bid to give her a higher profile in light of her popularity with Democrats.
The meeting stretched for hours because 28 Democrats got up to spoke about why they lost the election, and what they need to do to win the Senate back. Reid and other Democrats said it was a constructive meeting, and said they would refocus on ways to help the middle class.
“We have to create an atmosphere where the middle class feels that we’re fighting for them,” Reid said.
From the outside, it looks like a replica train engine with a wood-stoked fire that generates steam for a working whistle, but when the gentlemen who took three years to build it walks to the side and lifts the lid, you’ll find it barbecuing.
Instead of a chef’s hat, the man who made the unique settup wears a conductor’s cap.
“This is the barbecue steam smoker I’ve been working on, on and off, for three years,” the man said.
He numbered the smoker 97 after the country song “Wreck of the Old 97″ famously sung by Johnny Cash and others.
Most of the components for the smoker were “built from scratch,” according to the Reddit user going by DrewCIL, who posted the video tour his father gave of the invention on the social news site.
Check it out:
“The fire box is from an old farm house wood stove and the wheel rims are from cut up fence posts. He built the water tank and whistles himself from scratch,” DrewCIL wrote.
Living in California, DrewCIL wrote that the last time he saw the smoker at his parent’s house in Illinois, it was “just a hunk of rust that made some damn good ribs.”
“He impressed the hell out of me with this video,” DrewCIL wrote.
President Barack Obama is poised to announce a plan that would protect up to 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation, the New York Times is reporting:
One key piece of the order, officials said, will allow many parents of children who are American citizens or legal residents to obtain legal work documents and no longer worry about being discovered, separated from their families and sent away.
That part of Mr. Obama’s plan alone could affect as many as 3.3 million people who have been living in the United States illegally for at least five years, according to an analysis by the Migration Policy Institute, an immigration research organization in Washington. But the White House is also considering a stricter policy that would limit the benefits to people who have lived in the country for at least 10 years, or about 2.5 million people.
Extending protections to more undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children, and to their parents, could affect an additional one million or more if they are included in the final plan that the president announces.
Mr. Obama’s actions will also expand opportunities for immigrants who have high-tech skills, shift extra security resources to the nation’s southern border, revamp a controversial immigration enforcement program called Secure Communities, and provide clearer guidance to the agencies that enforce immigration laws about who should be a low priority for deportation, especially those with strong family ties and no serious criminal history.
A new enforcement memorandum, which will direct the actions of Border Patrol agents and judges at the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and other federal law enforcement and judicial agencies, will make clear that deportations should still proceed for convicted criminals, foreigners who pose national security risks and recent border crossers, officials said.
Obama had vowed to take executive action on immigration reform by the end of the year, while imploring Congress to act as well. Speaking on the Senate floor Wednesday, Republican leader Mitch McConnell warned that unilateral action taken by Obama would seriously undermine his relationship with the new GOP-led Congress.
“Working together requires trust,” McConnell, who will become the new majority leader when the GOP assumes control of the Senate in January, said Wednesday. “I think President Obama has the duty to help build the trust we all need to move forward together, not to double down on old ways of doing business.”
A group of women in New York City are being called “con artists” who use their children as tools to collect money from sympathetic citizens who believe that they are poor or homeless, allegedly swapping their children throughout the day as they beg.
At least nine women are said to be a part of a purported network of individuals who plead for money each day, reportedly rejecting government aid and traveling to the same Brooklyn apartment building each night, according to the Daily Mail.
The purportedly coordinated panhandling group was uncovered after WNBC-TV followed the women for a month, during which time they noticed that they were accompanied by toddlers and infants as they panhandled on sidewalks and inside subway stations.
“The women commute together, splitting up to beg for money,” the report read, also noting that the group appears to have lunch together and to commute home on the same train. “They change their children’s diapers on the pavement and display signs claiming they’re jobless or hungry.”
When WNBC-TV attempted to interview the women, though, the outlet was met with resistance, as they either walked away, got physical with reporters or delivered a “lewd gesture.”
George McDonald, a former Republican New York City mayoral candidate and the founder of the Doe Fund, a group that helps the homeless, said that his organization has been monitoring these women and they they have repeatedly refused help.
“This is a scam — a business. It’s a group of women who who trade off the same children. They work in shifts,” he told WNBC-TV. “We have a network of service providers who would help them if they wanted help, which they do not.”
While these women are legally permitted to panhandle on the streets, begging isn’t allowed in the subway system — and there’s apparently a state law in New York that bars them from panhandling with children, treating it as a misdemeanor.
But that apparently hasn’t stopped them, as some wonder if the use of children for money collection borders on child labor.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio responded to the WNBC-TV investigation by noting that he was disturbed by it and by subsequently directing the NYPD to look further into the women and their alleged tactics:
As TheBlaze previously reported, a pregnant panhandler in San Diego, California, was also recently seen driving off in a Benz after begging for money.
(H/T: Daily Mail)
In the end, one can only hope Thanksgiving birds turn out crisp and golden brown on the outside while remaining juicy and flavorful on the inside. But how to achieve this result is a strongly debated topic.
What’s the better cooking method for the estimated 46 million birds that will be consumed two weeks from now: fried or oven roasted?
When it comes to time spent cooking, it’s no contest. Fried turkeys take significantly less time to cook all the way through — try three to four minutes per pound — compared to slow roasting, which takes up to 20 minutes per pound.
Fryers will miss out on the smell of turkey wafting through the house as it cooks though because most deep frying operations take place outside. What’s more, Norma Farrell with the National Turkey Federation told TheBlaze you have to take extra steps if you want turkey gravy, making the gravy out of drippings from cut wing tips or other turkey pieces instead.
“The deep frying, which started in the South has been continuing north and west and, I suppose even east, for a couple of decades actually,” Farrell said, adding that it often becomes a community affair with neighbors and other family members gathering to fry their birds together. “It’s the party before the Thanksgiving party.”
Compared to roasting a bird, which can use something as simple as a disposable aluminum pan and the usual dressings, frying one requires different equipment and preparation. The federation recommends those without indoor friers, use a 30 to 40-quart pot with several gallons of boiling oil outdoors. The turkey must be dried off and carefully lowered into the pot to avoid any oil explosions.
Farrell also warned fryers against using turkeys that are larger than 12 pounds as well because of the boiling oil the bird will displace and the lack of control a person could have when lowering a heavier turkey.
In the end — time, safety and smells aside — it’s all about the flavor.
Weigh in on this national debate about how you’ll be cooking your Thanksgiving turkey in a couple of weeks:
Front page image via Shutterstock. This story has been updated to include more information.
Here’s a CEO really putting all his trust in the product.
Texas Armoring Corporation released a video Monday of an employee firing a dozen AK-47 rounds into an SUV — with the boss inside.
Lawrence Kosub, the company’s sales and export compliance manager, fired an AK-47 at a Mercedes-Benz that Texas Armored Cars had outfitted to be bulletproof. To prove his confidence in their product, company president and CEO R. Trent Kimball took the driver’s seat first.
The video showed that even after a dozen bullets were fired directly at the front window, the glass didn’t shatter, and neither did Kimball’s nerves of steel: The CEO barely moved at all while the bullets smashed into the glass, just inches from his face.
“When it comes to assuring our clients’ safety, we take product testing extremely seriously,” Kimball said on camera, just before stepping into the vehicle.
Texas Armoring Corporation has created buzz before: the company recorded a man beating on one of their armored car windows with a helmet, mirroring a 2013 attack in New York City. Unlike the window on the SUV in that attack, the TAC-treated window doesn’t break.
The company’s website lists some stats that might make the average SUV driver tempted to soup up their vehicle with this kind of protection:
• 80 – 90% of terrorist attacks occur while the victims are traveling by automobile.
• In recent years over 4,000,000 violent crimes have occurred in the United States alone.
• It is believed that between 40,000-60,000 kidnappings take place each year. . . Almost 70 percent of those kidnappings are resolved by paying the demanded ransom.
Though they take the product testing and protection of their clients seriously, the company isn’t without a sense of humor — the last few frames of the video show one of the employees shaking his head in disbelief at the mess the team made of the sleek car.
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The watchdog agency charged with rooting out waste, fraud and abuse in the Environmental Protection Agency has faulted itself for more than $36,000 in improper credit card bills.
The report, released this week, reviewed $62,012 in purchases by the EPA’s Office of Inspector General and found that $36,488 “met the definition of improper purchases.”
The audit discovered that 46 of the 48 “high-risk transactions” had internal control weaknesses. The office’s investigation of itself found no intentional wrongdoing but rather poor record-keeping.
“We did not find any fraudulent or prohibited transactions,” the report stated. “This does not mean that items purchased with the cards could not have been purchased if proper procedures were followed.”
The report said availability of funding wasn’t determined by employees before placing an order; that employees did not get supervisor approval before making the purchase; and said there should be third-party verification beyond the staffer making the purchase and the supervisor approving the purchase.
The OIG, which has autonomy from the EPA for the purpose of conducting independent investigations, does not have consistent procedures with the agency’s contracts management manual.
The report acknowledged the irony of its watchdog role.
“The percentage of improper purchases is over half of the transaction dollars,” the report said. “OIG should lead by example in accountability for responsible use of government funds.”
Specific purchases weren’t mentioned, but the report said unverified funding made up 33 purchases and another 15 purchases were made by unauthorized personnel. No prior approval was given for 11 purchases and in no receipt was kept in four purchases.
The leader of an education organization that advocates for responsible entertainment is speaking out about what he says is an unprecedented level of raunchy and inappropriate television content airing during the primetime hours.
“What we’re seeing, especially on primetime, is content that never, ever would have made it to air on primetime broadcast TV as recently as five or 10 years ago,” Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television Council, recently told TheBlaze. ”The HBOs and Cinemaxes and Showtimes of the world are trying to compete against the Internet.”
But he said the dynamic goes well beyond that, with basic cable companies also trying to battle “the HBOs of the world” and with broadcast networks joining in on the content war.
Winter said that constant pressure on all of these fronts has led to increasingly graphic content and profanity coming on TV earlier and earlier in the day, calling the situation “very concerning.”
While some in Hollywood might blame parents for allowing their children to watch inappropriate programs, Winter also decried what he believes is an ineffective television ratings system — one that he said does not actually educate parents on what should be avoided.
“Every single TV series on broadcast TV is rated as appropriate for a 14-year-old child or younger by the industry’s own tools for parents,” he said. “The TV networks decide for themselves what the age content rating is. There is no regulatory oversight.”
But it’s not only about programming, as inappropriate advertisements for shows have also posed problems, he said.
Winter specifically pointed to a recent scene from the hit show “Scandal” that aired on ABC immediately following the “Charlie Brown” Halloween special last month — an incident that he recently railed against.
The infusion of all of this explicit content into the mainstream is extremely concerning, Winter argued, noting that some adults may even be getting desensitized to it.
“We look at this as a very classic case of the frog and the kettle where the boiling water heats up and you don’t even notice, because they whole environment is becoming more explicit,” he said.
Winter also noted a recent study that found that parents are possibly becoming desensitized to explicit content and that, in turn, they may be allowing their young kids to watch inappropriate shows.
“I really fear for the next generation of children who are consuming TV and seeing morals and behavior without consequences,” Winter said.
The safe entertainment advocate noted that family friendly shows like “The Middle” and “7th Heaven” have traditionally done well, despite their rare presence in Hollywood.
“In the history of entertainment media going back a couple thousands years, a story that is well-directed, well-acted usually is successful,” Winter said. ”That is every bit of true today as it has always been.”
And as for those who claim that the public craves raunchy content, he noted that the top broadcast shows are generally more benign like NFL football, “The Voice,” “Dancing With the Stars” and other similar programs. Nielsen ratings for the week of October 20 corroborate Winter’s claim.
“I think that it’s a fase premise that people want more of this [raunchy content],” he said.
Part of the problem is that the entertainment industry is led by people who “are inherently narcissistic” and “overwhelmingly consumed by ego,” he said.
Hollywood latches on to someone who is creating edgy content and they then become the “it” person for a time until someone else comes along. Right now, Winter said that person is Shonda Rhimes, creator and/or producer of “Scandal,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “How to Get Away With Murder.”
Winter encouraged parents to get involved and to make their voices heard when they see unpalatable content airing at inappropriate times. In addition to encouraging them to be involved in their kids’ media consumption, he encouraged them to voice their complaints to the FCC.
“It’s unfortunate today that a parent cannot allow a child to sit in front of the TV during the 8 p.m. hour,” he added.
Find out more about the Parents Television Council here.
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The man seen standing on an overpass above Interstate 15 in Utah wanted to remain anonymous.
He wasn’t photographed up close Tuesday morning — Veterans Day — in Lehi, and he wore sunglasses to help conceal his identity.
“I don’t want anybody to know who I am if I can help it,” he told KSL-TV in Salt Lake City.
So what did this man do that prompted so many emotional folks to call up a news station? He simply stood on the overpass in his Army uniform, an American flag beside him, and saluted motorists as they rolled by.
“I’m not here to make any big, grand statements for anybody,” he told KSL. “Just enjoying the day.”
Of course, when reporters are with somebody making news, getting the person’s name is the first order of business — but the man politely declined on camera: “No, I’m good. Thanks, though — I appreciate it.”
But the solider did talk about other people — namely the thankful civilians that he and countless others have protected over the course of American history, often with their lives.
“I had a guy stop, an older gentleman — here he was all crying already,” the soldier told KSL. “[He] got out of his car and shook my hand. It about made me all tear up.”
Some have speculated who the man might be: several commenters noted that his uniform signifies a warrant officer — an “adaptive technical expert, combat leader, trainer and adviser,” according to the U.S. Army website.
But others noted that not knowing his name is just fine: his request to remain anonymous goes hand-in-hand with the makeup of a soldier, and even more genuinely reflects the sacrificial nature and selflessness of all those in America’s armed forces, past and present.
Still, for this man, the appreciation others have given back hits right to the heart.
“It means a lot to me,” he told KSL. “It means a lot to a lot of people.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday tried to downplay comments by an architect of Obamacare, who was caught talking about the “stupidity of the American voter,” by saying she doesn’t even know who he is, even though her office has relied on his analysis before.
“I don’t know who he is,” she told reporters. “He didn’t help write our bill.”
“So, with all due respect to your question, you have a person who wasn’t writing our bill, commenting on what was going on when we were writing the bill, who has withdrawn some of the statements that he made,” she added. “So let’s put him aside.”
But shortly after she spoke, the Washington Post later reported that in 2009, Pelosi’s office noted Gruber’s analysis of what would happen under an earlier version of the Obamacare legislation. In December of that year, her office noted that Gruber’s analysis showed that the bill would lower health insurance premiums for millions of Americans.
A Pelosi spokesman later tried to clarify Pelosi’s remarks by saying she meant to say that she didn’t “know who he is,” and not that she has “never heard of him.”
Jonathan Gruber has been credited with writing parts of the Affordable Care Act before its passage in 2010. He’s since been caught in a video from 2013 saying the “stupidity of the American voter” helped pass the bill into law.
In a second video, Gruber said “American voters are too stupid” to understand the process of passing the legislation.
Pelosi also tried to downplay Gruber’s remarks by saying they are old, and that he has moved away from them.
“Mr. Gruber’s comments were a year old, and he has backtracked from most of them,” she said. “That’s really important.”
On Tuesday, Gruber appeared on MSNBC and said he regretted making these comments, but did not go as far as apologizing for them.
— This story was updated at 1:32 p.m.
Do not expect to see best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell at the Super Bowl in Arizona on February 1.
In a new interview with Bloomberg‘s Emily Chang, Gladwell unleashed on pro football, calling it, “a moral abomination.”
Citing statistics from the NFL, he wonders, “Can you point to another industry in America which, in the course of doing business, maims a third of its employees?”
The comments from Gladwell are not exactly new. Back in 2009, he wrote a piece for the New Yorker titled, “Offensive Play.” In that opinion piece, Gladwell asked if there was a difference between “football and dog fighting?”
The entire interview with Malcolm Gladwell airs tonight on Bloomberg’s “Studio 1.0″ at 8:30pm ET tonight.
Watch the clip from Bloomberg:
Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter.
No more calls please, we have a winner for this week’s “dumbest criminal” award.
On October 28, security cameras at Treasure Coast Lawn Equipment in Port St. Lucie, Florida, captured Anthony Ballard attempting to steal a $600 chainsaw by stuffing the very large power tool down his pants. It all happened within a few feet of a store employee.
The would-be crook was chased out of the store. The New York Daily News has more on what happened next:
Ballard, who’d initially gone into the store and asked the cashier if he had change for a dollar, is then reported to have hopped on a bicycle and furiously pedaled away.
Store staff gave chase and Ballard allegedly tossed the machine into a wooded area, before cycling off even faster.
So how was he caught? TC Palm explains how he helped with his own capture:
About 30 to 40 minutes later, workers at Treasure Coast Lawn Equipment called 911, saying they spotted the accused chainsaw thief looking for the saw in the woods along Southwest Molloy Street.
When police apprehended Ballard, he said he stole the saw and put it in the woods.
“He later had a change of heart so decided to go get the saw and return it to the store,” a report states.
Watch the store security video:
Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter.