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  • 8 Award-Winning Photos That Showcase the Smallest of the Small
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 6:45 pm by Liz Klimas

    Comments (32)

    There’s a whole world of fascinating images that people so rarely get the opportunity to see. That’s why Nikon Microscopy hosts a photo contest each year — to bring the average person who doesn’t have access to a microscope the stunning images of what things like human brain tissue or dinosaur bones look like up close.

    The camera manufacturer recently announced the winners of its 39th annual Small World contest, which features specimens like marine diatoms, Hippocampal neuron, retina cells, Annelid larva and desmids, among other subjects.

    Here are the top honors:

    marine diatom

    First place went to Wim van Egmond’s marine diatom close up. (Image source: Wim van Egmond via Nikon)

    retina

    A close up of retina cells — cells within the eye — taken with an interference contrast treatment. (Image source: Dr. Joseph Corbo via Nikon)

    marine worm

    Dr. Alvaro Migotto earned third place for his marine worm taking on a darkfield. (Image source: Dr. Alvaro Migotto via Nikon)

    These are a few other images cited as winners by Nikon:

    dino bone

    A close up slice from a dinosaur bone. (Image source: Ted Kinsman via Nikon)

    Motor neuron and skeletal muscle

    Motor neuron and skeletal muscle. (Image source: Dr. David Ward via Nikon)

    sheet weaver spider parasite

    A sheet weaver spider with a parasitic larva on it. (Image source: Geir Drange via Nikon)

    peacock feather

    A peacock feather like you’ve likely never seen it before. (Image source: Charles Krebs via Nikon)

    annelid larva

    An annelid larva (Image source: Christian Sardet via Nikon)

    Check out more of the winners and honorable mentions on Nikon’s Small World contest website.

    (H/T: Ars Technica)

  • One Woman’s Life Story That’s Filled With so Much Tragedy — and Inspiration — That You Just Have to Read It
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 6:15 pm by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (35)

    The young girl awoke scared and hungry on a cold, hardwood floor. After being torn away from the only parents she had ever known, she now found herself alone and chained to an old metal radiator.

    It was only the beginning. Six-year-old Carolyn would be trapped and forced to sustain abuse for three years at the hands of a supposedly brutal woman.

    One Womans Incredibly Wild Journey of Redemption After Hiring a Hitman to Kill Her Husband

    Credit: Carolyn Huebner Rankin

    In many ways, Carolyn Huebner Rankin’s story of personal anguish, incarceration and redemption started when she was a child in that cold, dingy room. Her personal recollections, codified in her book “Falling Through Ice,” reads like riveting fiction — but she says her story is very real.

    The nearly unbelievable life of a child who faced insurmountable challenges started with what she says was a childhood filled with abuse, desperation and long-lasting scars, and has led to true redemption rooted in genuine faith.

    Rankin’s journey is characterized by highs and lows. First, there’s a traumatic childhood filled with an unquenched thirst for love. Then, there’s a young adulthood marked by fame and prestige — both of which she inevitably lost.

    Where It All Began

    Rankin’s heartache began early on. During the first years of her life, her paternal grandparents, George and Betty Shaw, raised her. But when she was 6, they lost custody of Rankin to a woman named Rose.

    Rose was Rankin’s birth mother, but she allegedly hadn’t paid her daughter much attention up to that point, until for some reason she suddenly took an interest in taking her back. The three abuse-ridden years that followed were truly scarring.

    In an interview with TheBlaze, Rankin described Rose as “a very evil, vindictive person.” It was Rose who chained her in that awful room, treating her more like a pet than a human being — let alone her own daughter.

    “It was terrible and as a child, I didn’t know who she was. All I know is I woke up and this horrible person had me (chained up),” she told TheBlaze.

    After years of abuse, Rose eventually returned Rankin without reason to her grandparents. But during the three years she’d been gone from the Pennsylvania town where she once lived, she didn’t see or interact with the grandparents she had known and loved. And when she returned home to them, life there just wasn’t the same.

    She had escaped the horrors she experienced living with her mother, but additional trauma and tragedy were in store.

    Back home with her grandparents, Rankin said she quickly realized that Betty Shaw had grown increasingly cold. The love that was once so very present from her grandmother had dramatically dissipated. Before long, Rankin was being sent to live with other relatives for various lengths of time.

    At one point, she stayed with her birth father, Art, but his sexual abuse of her only compounded the trauma, adding layers of pain and suffering that would haunt her well into her adult life.

    Her Next Struggles

    Flash forward a decade to her 20s, when Rankin had married Larry Huebner — a decision she said was made “for all the wrong reasons.” During that time of her life, too, she faced a litany of challenges. The two had a daughter, Audra, and experienced some joy, only to be followed by a great deal more of tragedy.

    “It’s very unfortunate. I married him for all the wrong reasons. And I make that clear in the book,” she told TheBlaze. “And the night before we were to get married, I told him I couldn’t go through with it. I remember the conversation like it was yesterday.”

    But go through with it she did, leading to some unpalatable consequences.

    Despite her personal problems, Rankin launched a successful career. Touched and impacted by what she went through as a child, she created her own nonprofit, Texas Child Search Inc., an organization to track down missing children.

    Rankin gained notoriety in Texas, where she was living at the time: she recovered 59 children alive through her work.

    One Womans Incredibly Wild Journey of Redemption After Hiring a Hitman to Kill Her Husband

    Carolyn Rankin and her daughter, Audra (Credit: Carolyn Huebner Rankin)

    “I was good at what I did … to do that in five years with little funds and to do it with and without police assistance was really incredible,” she said. “But why I was successful was the fact that I knew what these children were possibly suffering and this is why I never gave up. I could never stop. I would follow every rat down every hole. I didn’t care where it led me.”

    She was so revered for her work that she was inevitably nominated “Woman of the Year” by the San Antonio Light newspaper in February 1987. But something happened that same year that permanently derailed her success and caused a public fall from grace so monumental that it landed her in tabloids across the nation.

    How She Ended Up in Prison

    While Rankin had become a media darling known for finding kids in need, little did she know that the pains of her own childhood were preparing to collide with her professional and personal life. An incident with her husband, Larry, changed her marriage and set the stage for the series of events that eventually landed her in prison.

    One night, Rankin said, she discovered her husband masturbating while the couple’s young child lay on the bed next to him. Rankin panicked and had flashbacks of her own sexual abuse come rushing back. An intense rift grew between her and Larry as the walls of trust came tumbling down.

    While the alleged incident didn’t involve molestation and Larry chalked it up to poor judgement, Rankin’s anger over what she observed never subsided. It was the perfect storm.

    Rankin, who said she was so angry by her life experiences at the time, said she “wanted every man on the face of the earth dead,” and did the unthinkable: She contacted a hitman and made arrangements to have her husband, in her mind a child predator, murdered.

    “I was not well. I was in the deep trenches of a burnout, breakdown,” Rankin told TheBlaze. “And I think where you get to the place where you’re dealing with your own demons and then you’re in a position where you have to deal with other people — and the evil you have done and you feel you’re on the right side … you get up against the wall.”

    To set her plan in motion, Rankin set up an elaborate trip for Larry and herself in New Orleans. While she told her husband it was a romantic getaway, it was really a ploy to meet the hitman whom she had arranged to pay $10,000 in exchange for taking Larry’s life.

    But when they arrived at their hotel, Rankin was met by authorities and taken into custody. The arrest of the well-known child advocate accused of trying to have her husband killed became big news.

    Looking back, Rankin says her actions were the result of not being well at the time, but she has also maintained that her plan was never truly a serious one.

    Rankin said she did not take the money needed to pay for the hit, nor did she have a photograph of the intended target — both of which were requested by the hitman upon her arrival in New Orleans.

    “I wasn’t serious and I think that’s the one thing that the people who really knew me, including my husband, knew then,” she said. “If I wanted someone dead I would just do it myself and leave no witnesses.”

    To this day, despite admitting her culpability, Rankin believes there were suspicious circumstances surrounding the entire affair. At the time of her arrest, she was working for District Attorney Fred Rodriguez in San Antonio, Texas, and had recently attempted to blow the whistle on a potential bribe she claims to have observed (we have reached out to Rodriguez to learn more about his perspective, but have not yet heard back).

    Plus, there’s her claim that the hitman originally reached out to her. One year before Rankin set up the murder-for-hire, she said a man who later turned out to be an FBI informant randomly called her and “planted the seed,” offering his services for anyone she might be seeking to kill.

    While she brushed him off at the time, she followed up with him the next year in her confused and desperate state and took him up on the offer.

    “(His initial call) wasn’t unusual, because I had … the KKK call me with hit services too,” she said. “I was very public. I was finding children. People would get upset and make calls.”

    Today, Rankin wonders whether that initial call was an intentional move to put the idea in her head — one that she eventually acted on. Regardless of how serious she was or how impeded her mental state at the time, Rankin pleaded guilty, having refused to testify against others who were involved, and landed in federal prison.

    “Prison was the bottom of the pit for sure and how I got there, you know, was both political and the fact that I did break the law,” she told TheBlaze. “The law that I broke was interstate commerce — using a long-distance telephone call to say I wanted somebody dead.”

    How She Healed

    It was behind bars that Rankin said her healing truly took form. While she was raised going to church with George and Betty Shaw, and “always knew of Jesus,” she said she did not fully embrace her faith until after her arrest in 1987. With time to reflect behind bars, Rankin realized she had to forgive those who had wronged her — Rose, Art, Betty and Larry.

    “The wounds that happened to me in my soul could only be healed by the creator of my soul,” she said. “Really, for me, I had to give it to the Lord. I had to put it all down at the foot of the cross.”

    Following her arrest, Rankin served three years behind bars and was released in 1990. Her husband, Larry, stood by her side during the legal drama and her incarceration. Upon her release, they continued their lives together until he died in 1994.

    Today, Rankin is a strong Christian who believes God has transformed her heart and life.

    One Womans Incredibly Wild Journey of Redemption After Hiring a Hitman to Kill Her Husband

    Carolyn, her husband Jim and her daughter Audra (Credit: Carolyn Huebner Rankin)

    After losing Larry, she married Jim Rankin, a man whom she had known during her early years living with her grandparents in Pennsylvania. Jim told TheBlaze his wife is an amazing woman. Both Carolyn and her husband praised their intensely close marriage.

    As for the demons that once haunted Carolyn, they are gone, and her work with Texas Child Search Inc. is also in the distant past. While she’s proud of her accomplishments, she has moved on with her life and is a certified art and antiques appraiser.

    Carolyn also regularly shares her story with those willing to listen — a journey from darkness to light that she hopes will inspire others who face similar struggles rise above it all.

    “The real purpose — the main purpose — for sharing all the bloody details was that I wanted people to know that you can come out of it no matter how deep the sewer. You can come out of it,” she said.

    Read more about her story in “Falling Through Ice” and learn more about her faith journey through Rankin Family Ministries.

    Editor’s Note: The details and claims in this story have not been independently verified.

  • New Details Emerge on LAX Shooting Suspect, Threat Note
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 6:09 pm by Associated Press

    Comments (61)

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — A suspected gunman was in custody following a shooting at Los Angeles airport that killed a TSA officer and wounded others. This is what AP reporters on the scene Friday are learning about the events unfolding:

    SHOOTER’S FATHER WAS CONCERNED

    A New Jersey police chief says the suspect had apparently made references to suicide. Pennsville Chief Allen Cummings says Paul Ciancia’s father had called him Friday saying another of his children had received a text message from the suspect “in reference to him taking his own life.” Cummings says the elder Ciancia, also named Paul, asked him for help locating his son.

    HOTELS FLOODED WITH TRAVELERS

    Travelers by the hundreds have streamed into hotels near LAX. The lobbies of the Sheraton and Radisson at the airport’s entrance overflowed onto sidewalks. Ronald Dauzat, owner and headmaster of a Los Angeles private school, was on his way to Berlin for an educational conference. He had resigned himself to spending most of the day at the Sheraton. “I’m dealing with it the best I can,” he said. “We just have to wait it out.”

    FIRST TSA OFFICER KILLED

    Union and TSA officials say the TSA officer shot at LAX was the first ever killed in the line of duty. J. David Cox Sr., national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, says the officer was one of the behavioral detection officers stationed throughout the airport looking for suspicious behavior.

    LAX Shooting

    In this aerial video frame grab provided by CBS-LA, fire and rescue personnel gather at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday Nov. 1, 2013. Shots were fired Friday at Los Angeles International Airport, prompting authorities to evacuate a terminal and stop flights headed for the city from taking off from other airports. (AP Photo/CBS-LA)

    SOURCE: NOTE THREATENED `TSA AND PIGS’

    A law enforcement official tells The Associated Press that 23-year-old suspect Paul Ciancia is from New Jersey and was wearing fatigues and carrying a bag containing a hand-written note that said he “wanted to kill TSA and pigs.” The official requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

    AT THE HOSPITAL

    Three of the six people hospitalized are being treated at Ronald Regan UCLA Medical Center.

    A hospital official says one was in critical condition and two were in fair condition. Two were wounded by gunshots and the other suffered other injuries. All are male.

    Dr. Lynne McCullough, an emergency medicine physician, says the hospital was capable of taking up to 50 patients. “As it turned out, very thankfully, we received only three” patients, she said.

    CELEBS AT LAX

    James Franco was among the travelers caught up in the chaos. The actor tweeted that “some (expletive) shot up the place.” His publicist confirmed Franco was on a flight that landed shortly after the shooting occurred. Singer Nick Jonas tweeted about waiting on board a plane and said he was praying for the victims.

    SHOOTER IDENTIFIED

    Law enforcement officials identify shooting suspect as 23-year-old Paul Ciancia.

    LATEST ON VICTIMS

    The Transportation Security Administration says multiple officers with the agency were shot, one fatally. The agency declined to provide further information, saying additional details would be given by the FBI and police.

    UNION: SHOOTER NOT TSA AGENT

    Tim Kauffman, a spokesman for American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 45,000 TSA screeners, says the airport shooter was not a TSA officer.

    PARKING LOT SEARCH

    Police tell KNX Radio that officers are looking at the hundreds of vehicles in the parking structure near Terminal 3 but weren’t sure how the shooter got to the airport.

    ALERTS

    The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says it has increased its airport patrols as a precaution in the wake of the LAX shooting. Chief Security Officer Joseph Dunne says the stepped-up patrols are not expected to affect flight operations.

    BAM , BAM, BAM

    Xavier Savant was waiting in the security line at the terminal where the shooting occurred and he and other passengers dropped to the floor in panic. He described it as a “bam, bam, bam” burst of gunfire.

    “We just hit the deck. Everybody in the line hit the floor and shots just continued,” he said.

    He said the shots subsided and people bolted through the metal detectors and ran into the terminal, eventually making their way out to the tarmac.

    “My whole thing was to get away from him,” said Savant, an advertising creative director in Hollywood who was heading to New York City with his family.

    HANDS UP

    Ben Rosen, 30, was sitting at the Starbucks in Terminal 3 eating oatmeal when he heard gunfire erupt and people start running in all directions and crouching on the floor.

    Police arrived with guns drawn and shouted “This is not a drill, hands up,” he said. Everyone raised their hands and were led out of the terminal.

    As they were led out they saw broken glass from a window that looked like it’d been shot out. Rosen left his bag behind.

    “It was scary. I’ve never experienced anything like this before,” he said. “I definitely felt underprepared. In retrospect, you have all these fire drills in school but you don’t really have gunman drills.”

    DISBELIEF IN TERMINAL

    Grant Imahara of the Discovery show “Mythbusters” was in an airport lounge area when he heard gunfire in the terminal and saw police and terrified passengers react. “It was fairly tense and particularly after we heard the shots ring out, like `oh my God this is really happening,’” he said.

    HEROICS

    LAX Police Chief Patrick Gannon said actions of responding officers were heroic. “They did not hesitate, they went after this individual, they confronted this individual in our airport,” Gannon says.

    START OF SHOOTING

    Gannon says the gunman entered the terminal, pulled an assault rifle from a bag and began shooting at a screening checkpoint before entering the secured area. Officers took him into custody after a shootout. “As you can imagine, a large amount of chaos took place in this entire incident,” he said.

    SEVEN PEOPLE TREATED

    Interim Los Angeles Fire Chief Jim Featherstone says paramedics treated seven people at the scene, and six were taken to hospitals.

    LONE GUNMAN

    Gannon says there was a lone shooter who approached a TSA agent who was checking passenger documents and opened fire.

    TSA OFFICER KILLED

    Tim Kauffman, a spokesman for the American Federation of Government Employees in Washington, confirmed that a TSA officer was killed in the incident at Los Angeles International Airport. He said the union’s information comes from their local officials in Los Angeles.

    AVOID AIRPORT

    Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti urges public to stay away from the airport for the time being.

    WAYLAID PASSENGERS

    Evacuated passengers were loaded onto buses by the dozens, while others decided to walk off the airport grounds.

    People trailing rolling suitcases were seen on the normally quiet streets and sidewalks outside LAX.

    Brian Livesay, 44, said when he arrived on a business trip from Atlanta the airport seemed unusually quiet. The film and TV production designer didn’t realize there was a problem until he saw heavily armed police on the airport beltway. He decided to walk the 3-or-so miles to the rental car facilities.

    “If there was anything moving on four wheels besides a police car, I would be in a cab,” he said. “I have a room full of CBS executives waiting for me.”

    HOLDING PATTERN

    Flights heading for Los Angeles, which had not yet taken off, were held at their gates by the Federal Aviation Administration. Others in the air – including three JetBlue flights from the East Coast – diverted to other airports.

    Flight tracking site FlightAware.com said that as of 11 a.m. Pacific there were 12 flight cancelations and 132 flight delays in Los Angeles.

    Travelers hoping to fly out are unable to reach Los Angeles airport because of road closures.

  • The Sad Reason an NFL Player Slammed His Food Tray Down, Left His Teammates and Reportedly Drove ‘Straight to a Hospital’
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 5:43 pm by Jason Howerton

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    Speculation ran wild after reports of Miami Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin slamming his food tray down in the cafeteria and leaving his team after his teammates pulled a practical joke on him. Now it appears that the prank, which involved players getting up to leave when Martin went sit with them, is part of a pattern of what is being described as bullying.

    Martin has had to deal with an “abusive environment” during his season-and-a-half with the Dolphins as he has been regularly bullied and teased by his teammates, Fox Sports reports. Some of the teasing reportedly included personal and family insults and the nickname “Big Weirdo.”

    Miami Dolphins Tackle Jonathan Martin Leaves Team After Alleged Bullying

    Miami Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin in interviewed after an NFL football practice, Monday, July 22, 2013, in Davie, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

    It may sound like what happens in high school, but these are grown men.

    Martin reportedly went “AWOL” after the cafeteria incident and hasn’t been seen by the team since. He was inactive for Thursday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals and it’s unclear when or if he plans to return to the team.

    The NFL Network reported that Martin drove “straight to a hospital with the hope of getting some treatment.” He is now believed to be with his family, though details of any potential treatment were not available.

    Miami Dolphins Tackle Jonathan Martin Leaves Team After Alleged Bullying

    AP

    More from Yahoo! Sports:

    There is typically minor rookie hazing in the NFL but Fox Sports said this went beyond that for Martin, a 6-foot-5, 312-pound tackle who was Miami’s second-round pick out of Stanford last year. Fox Sports’ Alex Marvez wrote that it’s believed the team knew about the bullying but didn’t step in, and the team’s veterans didn’t step in either. The team didn’t comment on whether they knew about the abusive environment.

    You’d think that teammates would support one of their own, a player who had started every game at tackle this season before he left the team and missed Thursday night’s game. Or that they would at very least act like adults and professionals. It sounds like that was too much to ask of the Dolphins players.

  • ‘God, Guns & Giving’: The Three Things That Are Bringing Glenn Beck, a Hero Navy SEAL and a TV Star Together in Texas
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 5:10 pm by Jason Howerton

    Comments (34)

    Glenn Beck’s charity organization, Mercury One, is bringing together a team of remarkable people for its first annual “God, Guns & Giving” event in Dallas, Texas, this weekend.

    Joining Beck for a sporting clays shooting event on Saturday are former Navy SEAL and “Lone Survivor” author Marcus Luttrell, Rick Harrison of “Pawn Stars,” national shooting champion Scott Robertson and many others. The event will raise funds for Mercury One’s charitable endeavors.

    Harrison told TheBlaze that he got involved in the event not only to help contribute to charity, but also for the shooting.

    “I’ve had shotguns my entire life,” the “Pawn Stars” star said. “It’s one of those things where it makes your family have to go out with the kids…it gets fathers, sons, moms, the whole family together.”

    “It’s family fun, and you can teach kids safety and hopefully one day they’ll teach their kids,” he added.

    Mercury One God, Guns & Giving Event Brings Glenn Beck, Marcus Luttrell, Taya Kyle Together

    The sold-out event starts at 8 a.m. Saturday, starting with a required safety brief at 8:30 a.m. followed by the sporting clays shooting event at 9 a.m. There will also be a kid’s shooting event so people can bring the whole family. Scott Robertson, of Team Beretta, will then give a special shotgun exhibition show at 12:30 p.m.

    TheBlaze will be on scene, so expect a lot of great pictures and coverage this weekend.

    Additionally, the “God, Guns & Giving” dinner and silent auction is set for Friday at the Omni Hotel in Dallas where a number of great speakers were scheduled, including Taya Kyle, widow of slain Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, and David Barton.

    For more information or to donate, visit MercuryOne.org or the charity’s Facebook page.

  • How Switching to a ‘Dumbphone’ Could Help Your Marriage
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 5:00 pm by Liz Klimas

    Comments (30)

    Instead of lamenting with her husband over the expense of a dropped and subsequently shattered smartphone, Timothy Kim’s wife “screamed for joy.”

    To Kim’s wife, a broken HTC First meant her husband might no longer give in to the irresistible “chirps and buzzes” as he chose to focus on his device instead of her.

    flip cellphone

    Timothy Kim reverted back to an old cellphone and a modern tablet to replace his smartphone when it broke. He said the switch actually improved parts of his social life. (Image source: Shuttterstock)

    So in the moment while his smartphone lay in pieces on the bathroom’s tile floor, Kim wrote that he “decided to buy a dumbphone for the first time in six years.”

    Before you start judging Kim, know that he bought a supplementary tablet for “data purposes” too.

    The Washington Post developer detailed how this decision not only helped his marriage, but his social life as well.

    “I no longer stare at my phone during dinner time or bedtime,” he wrote in a recent feature. “I converse more when hanging out with my friends. And my wife is a lot happier. (Happy wife, happy life.)”

    Buying a $20 Motorola Razr — a slim flip phone popular back in the day — from eBay and a $349 Nexus 7 tablet, Kim was ready to go.

    But how is he re-adjusting to old school things like texting on the flip? Kim said instead of using T-9 on the small keypad, he signed up for Google Voice and composes texts through his tablet instead. Sounds a bit inconvenient, but it seems to be an acceptable alternative for Kim.

    Kim admitted having to carry two devices is a downside, but acknowledged “being the geek that I am, I used to carry a cumbersome laptop for quick e-mails and tweeting.”

    “Now, I carry a dumbphone in my pocket and the tablet in my bag,” he wrote. “If I really need to do some computing, I take my tablet out of my bag instead of my pocket.”

    He found that he now tends to check Twitter less, giving him the opportunity to spend “more time with people around me.”

    Another benefit is that Kim said he spends significantly less money on his mobile device plans now.

    But the best part?

    “Battery life,” he wrote. “These days, you are lucky if your smartphone lasts throughout your workday. But this 7-year old Razr will last up to four days without charging!”

    Another benefit that Kim doesn’t tout but in light of recent revelations regarding domestic spying and other tracking known to take place on smartphones and through apps, some have touted the ability to remain more off the grid with a “dumb” phone than with the more modern, high-tech variety.

     Featured image via Shutterstock.

  • ‘Do You Believe in Angels?’: Deceased Teen’s Sister Opens Up About His Heavenly Visions and the Touching Message He Left Behind
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 4:30 pm by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (186)

    Ben Breedlove inspired millions when he created unique videos that detailed his near-death experiences and what he said were heavenly encounters he had during life-threatening cardiac arrests and seizures. The 18-year-old suffered from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a heart disease that inevitably claimed his life on Christmas Day 2011.

    In particular, there were two videos that commanded a great deal of attention. Both clips were posted just days before the teen’s untimely death. Their contents were so stirring, in fact, that Glenn Beck once collectively called them “one of the most powerful God messages that I’ve ever seen.”

    Now, nearly two years later, the teen’s harrowing life story has been documented in, “When Will the Heaven Begin?: This Is Ben Breedlove’s Story,” a book written by his 21-year-old sister, Ally.

    This week, we had the chance to talk with Ally about Ben and her personal motivation for sharing his touching story with the world.

    Experiencing Heaven

    Before hypertrophic cardiomyopathy claimed his life, Ally said that her brother had four severe health crises during which he nearly died; three of these were cardiac arrests and one was a severe seizure. The first of these experiences occurred when Ben was a small child.

    “When he was four, he had a life threatening seizure that he almost didn’t make it out of,” Ally explained. “After he was revived he was on a stretcher and he said, ‘Mom look at that bright light’ and my mom said, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’”

    And that’s when the heavenly experiences began.

    Ben Breedloves Sister Ally Speaks Out About His Heavenly Visions | When Will the Heaven Begin?

    Ben Breedlove holding up an index card in viral “This Is My Story” video (Image source: YouTube)

    The light was apparently only visible to Ben and he later told his family that he saw it throughout the aftermath of the traumatic experience. Following the incident, Ben said he didn’t remember feeling scared during the seizure; he also didn’t recall any of the details surrounding the health crisis — only the bright light that sustained him throughout.

    “It gave him this deep sense of peace that he couldn’t explain,” Ally said of that light. “He described it as being the center of his attention.”

    While Ben did relay these details to his family when he was a child, he did not speak openly about them again until penning a college essay when he was 18. It was in that text that his parents and siblings learned more details about a key moment in his life.

    This wasn’t his only experience with angels and the Almighty, though.

    During his senior year of high school, Ben’s heart stopped for three minutes. It was during this time that he recounted ascending to a heaven-like realm.

    “During the cardiac arrest he said that he awoke in a white room that had no walls and went on forever — and he felt that same peaceful feeling,” Ally told TheBlaze. “He said he felt more confidant than he had ever felt in his entire life. Somehow he knew he was ready for something more important.”

    It was this moment that Ally claims her brother truly believed he was going to heaven.

    The details of this particular experience were, again, relayed to Ben’s family and were also included in his viral videos. As TheBlaze reported last year, Ben described himself in a beautiful room and standing in front of a full-length mirror next to his favorite rap artist Kid Cudi.

    Here’s how he described the experience in his viral videos:

    “I was wearing a really nice suit and, so was my fav rapper, Kid Cudi. [...]

    I then looked at myself in the mirror, I was proud of MYSELF, of my entire life, everything I have done. It was the BEST feeling. [...]

    I didn’t want to leave that place. I wish I NEVER woke up.”

    After relaying this experience to his family and sharing it with the world, Ally told TheBlaze that the family believes the vision was God’s way of reaching out to Ben amid his many struggles.

    Ben’s Intense Faith

    Ally said that her brother was a Christian who was taught by their parents at an early age to “have a personal relationship with [God].” Ben accepted Christ and became a follower just once month before his first near-death experience at the age of 4 — something that she said is ironic.

    Ben regularly asked God to alleviate any fear he might have as a result of his life-altering condition. As a result of his faith, Ally said her brother viewed these heaven-like experiences as an “answer to prayer.”

    Eventually, he made the decision to share his faith — and these visions — with the world.

    It was on Dec. 18, 2011 that Ben posted the two clips, both entitled, “This Is My Story.” He shares his life story by holding up notecards with text on them (there is no audio).

    Ally said that the family did not become aware of these videos until they started going viral following his death. But she recalls having a serious conversation with Ben just days beforehand.

    Ben Breedloves Sister Ally Speaks Out About His Heavenly Visions | When Will the Heaven Begin?

    Ben Breedlove holding up an index card in viral “This Is My Story” video (Image source: YouTube)

    “Ben was really questioning, ‘Why did I come back, why am I here,’” she said. “And I told him, ‘If you came back, it’s for a reason.”

    Ally said that her brother suffered another cardiac arrest the weekend after the two talked about his purpose on this earth. During that experience, his heart, again, stopped beating. He survived and it was the next day that he created the videos about his life.

    Seven days later, Ben died on Christmas day.

    “I wasn’t even thinking abut how many people had seen [the videos],” Ally said about her emotions when she first discovered them. “I was just shocked to see that he had made this video in such earnestness. In a way, I felt like it was such a gift.”

    The first part of Ben’s story has been viewed nearly eight million times on YouTube and the second portion has more than five million views.

    At the end of his clips, Ben’s cards read, “Do you believe in Angels or God? I do.”

    Watch part one here:

    And here’s part two:

    Losing her brother, Ally said, was the hardest thing her family has ever experienced, but they feel at peace with the situation, especially considering the message that Ben left behind.

    “We believe he’s now more alive than he ever has been,” she said.

    Ally wants the public to know that Ben, who was known even before his passing for his popular YouTube advice videos, was fun and playful — a side she said many in the public didn’t get to see due to the serious nature of his “My Story” videos. Ally said Ben never allowed his disease to limit him.

    The Breedlove family is hoping that “When Will the Heaven Begin?” will inspire people to live their lives more fully.

    “I believe that life is a gift and Ben lived his life that way everyday, despite his suffering and the things he went through,” she said. “He chose to focus on the good in life rather than his negative circumstances. That’s a decision people can make every day.”

    Read more about Ben’s story here.

  • Dashcam Video: Former Marine Cop Gets Shot in the Face …and She Still Chases After Suspects
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 4:10 pm by Liz Klimas

    Comments (63)

    A Texas police officer was shot in the face last week when she stopped to question men in a vehicle, but she didn’t let that stop her from trying to chase them down.

    Why?

    “I had to stay in that fight because I am a mom,” the 40-year-old former Marine Ann Carrizales told NBC’s Janet Shamlian.

    ann carrizales

    Ann Carrizales spoke at a press conference Thursday with a bandage covering the gunshot wound on her face. (Image source: KRIV-TV video screenshot)

    Carrizales with the Stafford Police Department stopped to speak with three men in a car after 3:30 a.m. Saturday. While questioning the driver, a passenger shot her — twice.

    Lt. Dusting Claborn told KTRK-TV Carrizales was shot in the face and the chest.

    Carrizales returned fire as she backed away toward her own car for cover, and the suspects fled. Once back in her patrol car, she followed them all the way to Houston.

    Back in her car, Carrizales’ dashboard camera records her saying she had been hit and that since she was still conscious, she would pursue them. Pulling onto a main road, Carrizales gunned it and blared her siren after the men.

    After several minutes keeping a dispatcher informed of the chase, Carrizales said the subject was still firing shots and she was now keeping her distance. At one point, she said she lost the men and that she wasn’t going to pursue them further down the street.

    ann carrizales

    Carrizales gets out of the car after she lost the suspects and other officers soon come on scene to help her. (Image source: YouTube video screenshot)

    Meeting up with other officers in the area shortly afterward, she said “tell them to watch your back.”

    Watch the dashcam video showing what happened after Carrizales was hit:

    “I was born to be a protector. I have always been a protector. It would be nothing for me to give my life for yours. I wouldn’t think twice to do it. I didn’t think twice to do it in the past and I wouldn’t think twice to do it in the future. But sometimes even we protectors, we seek protection,” Carrizales said in a press conference Thursday, her first public appearance since the incident, according to KRIV-TV.

    The shooter, identified as 21-year-old Sergio Rodriguez, was later caught, but police are still hunting for 28-year-old Freddy Henriquez, who is thought to be an illegal immigrant and member of a gang, and Daniel Cruz, also going by Jose Luis Cruz.

    There is a $10,000 reward out for information that leads to felony charges for the others involved in the case, KTRK reported.

    The message from Carrizales husband, Chris, to those who could be hiding these other two men?

    “If they could shoot a cop with no regard for life, they are not worth it. They are not worth your protection because they don’t care about you,” he said, according to KRIV.

    This isn’t the first violent incident Carrizales has endured, the Houston Chronicle reported that the officer with a comrade last year was dragged by an SUV after they broke up a party.

    Watch KRIV-TV’s report with footage from Carrizales’ press conference:

    Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

    (H/T: LiveLeak)

  • Taliban Leader Behind Killings of US Troops and Planned Times Square Bombing Reportedly Killed in Drone Strike
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 4:07 pm by Sara Carter

    Comments (15)

    Taliban Leader Behind Killings of US Troops and Planned Times Square Bombing Reportedly Killed in Drone StrikePakistani Taliban Chief Hakimullah Mehsud — responsible for planning strikes against the United States and killing U.S. troops —  was killed by a U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan Agency, Pakistani security forces and Pakistani officials confirmed to numerous news agencies on Friday.

    U.S. Counterterrorism officials told TheBlaze that they are not releasing information on the drone strike or confirming one way or another on the death of Mehsud, as the situation is still fluid on the ground.

    A Pakistani official, however, who spoke with TheBlaze, said the terrorist leader was on his way to the town of Danda Darpakhel, near Miranshah, the largest city in North Waziriztan, when he was hit by the CIA drone.

    Meshud was calling a “meeting with other (Tehreek-e-Taliban) commanders to discuss a peace strategy talks with the Pakistani government,” the Pakistani official said. “When he reached his house in Darpakhel area a U.S. drone hit his vehicle.”

    He was seriously injured after the attack and was rushed to Miranshah Hospital but died from his injuries after he arrived.

    Mehsud, who was head of the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) since he took over the group in 2009, had been involved in the planning and killing of U.S. and Afghan military personnel in Eastern Afghanistan.

    In early October, U.S. military officials in Afghanistan confirmed the capture of Latif Mehsud, a secondary commander in Hakimullah’s organization. Latif is not related but has the same common last name.

    “We’ve been plagued in Eastern Afghanistan by the TTP for some time,” said a U.S. military official familiar with the organization. They spoke on condition of anonymity due to the nature of their work.

    “Killing Mehsud definitely puts a dent in their operations but it hasn’t wiped them out because they have help from officials inside the Pakistan government. The TTP is the tiger Pakistani officials can’t really control but need.”

    According to sources in the TTP a commander by the name of Said Khan, also known as Sajna meaning darling friend, is going to take over leadership of the group.

    “He is the one all the commanders in the TTP respect and he also has support of Al Qaeda,” a Pakistani source, based in Peshawar told TheBlaze.

    The TTP, a terrorist organization based in Pakistan’s lawless Federally Administered Tribal Area, claimed responsibility for the attempted bombing of New York City’s Times Square in 2010, and continued to make threats to attack the U.S. homeland again,

    The group was also responsible for attacking our diplomats in Pakistan and attacks that have killed countless Pakistani and Afghan civilians, according to the U.S. State Department.

    Tariq Mehsud, his bodyguard and driver, and his cousin Abdullah Mehsood, who was Vice President of the organization and two other commanders were with him in the vehicle, were among the six killed.

    According to a senior U.S. Official who spoke to the Associated Press the U.S. intelligence community received positive confirmation Friday morning that Mehsud had been killed.

    Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said the drone strike was the U.S. attempts to sabotage his government’s plan to hold talks with the Taliban, as reported in the Pakistan media.

    There have been two drone strikes since Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited the U.S. last month. Sharif demanded that the U.S. stop the strikes.

  • Jay Carney: ‘President Never Considered’ Dropping Biden in 2012
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 3:40 pm by Fred Lucas

    Comments (58)

    The White House dismissed the notion that the Obama campaign every considered dropping Vice President Joe Biden from the 2012 reelection ticket, as reported in a recent book.

    Jay Carney says Obama never considered a Hillary for Joe Biden VP swap

    US Vice President Joe Biden (R) and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney attend a meeting between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, September 30, 2013. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

    “Pollsters as part of campaigns test a lot of things,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said during the press briefing Friday. “What I can tell you without a doubt is that the president never considered that and had anyone brought that idea to him, he would have laughed it out of the room.”

    The book, “Double Down: Game Change 2012” by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann said the Obama campaign conducted polling to decide whether to replace Biden with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

    “Joe Biden has been an asset to this president in two campaigns and throughout the five years of this administration,” Carney said, citing the stimulus act and negotiations with Congress Biden participated in. “Joe Biden has been an excellent partner in the president’s view. And then as a candidate, if you look at the role he played in 2012 and you look at the job he did in his debate I think there is little doubt that he was an enormous asset to the entire cause. And I think that’s how the president feels.”

    Carney also said Obama supported Clinton as secretary of state, having asserted she was never seriously considered for vice president.

    “I think you all know that he believes that Hillary Clinton did a magnificent job as secretary of state,” Carney said. “He believes he made the right choice in a runningmate, the right choice in a secretary of state and when it comes to 2012, I think the fact that the president is the first person to win more than 50 percent of the vote consecutively since Ronald Reagan tells you a lot about how effective that ticket was.”

    Of the previous two-term presidents, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton both carried less than 51 percent of the vote in their reeelection victories.

    A reporter asked if Obama knew the campaign was testing numbers on Biden as a vice presidential candidate.

    “I’m not aware that he was aware of it,” Carney said. “I know for a fact that the suggestion people periodically floated in the press that this was something under consideration was not something he took seriously, ever.”


  • In the Marketplace: Why ‘American Made’ Matters (Part 5 of 5)
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 3:11 pm by Colin Balfe

    Comments (20)

    Editor’s note: This article was written by Colin Balfe, director of The Marketplace by TheBlaze, and is part of a series of stories highlighting businesses in TheBlaze’s eCommerce channel.

    In the Marketplace: Why ‘American Made’ Matters (Part 5 of 5)

    In this five-part series on American-made small businesses, we’ve introduced you to The Marketplace by TheBlaze and our goal of assembling the world’s finest collection of unique small businesses. The Marketplace looks for quality products but more importantly, we look for quality people—entrepreneurs living their own version of the American Dream.

    We’ve introduced you to Minuteman Watches, designed, assembled and tested in the U.S. with a portion of profits supporting America’s veterans. We told you about ChristWreath – the ultimate symbol to help put Christ back into Christmas. Part three of the series shared Constitution Quest with you, a smart, engaging and entertaining board game used by teachers and families across America. Part four of the series told you about Nebraska Star Beef, a family-owned small business for generations.

    In the Marketplace: Why ‘American Made’ Matters (Part 5 of 5)

    We’ve highlighted the achievements these small businesses have made and we’re proud to offer their products in The Marketplace. These small businesses refuse to lower their standards, despite the obstacles they face. Thanks to their commitment, we enjoy the benefits that come from manufacturing within American borders—job creation, less foreign dependence and keeping money circulating in our own country.

    While the American-made movement has been around for years, there is an ever-growing list of resources available to support American businesses and manufacturers. Aside from the American Made collection in The Marketplace, we’re pleased to join an array of small businesses, agencies and nonprofit organizations—all dedicated to promoting and continuing the American made movement. We’ve assembled our favorites below:

    In the Marketplace: Why ‘American Made’ Matters (Part 5 of 5)

    Maker’s Row: Dedicated to simplifying the manufacturing process, Maker’s Row has compiled an exceptional, visually impressive database of American-made manufacturers. They put USA-made manufactures on the map, literally, with in-depth, location-specific profiles. Maker’s Row manufacturers are divided into two categories: Apparel/Accessories and Furniture/Home Decor, with more industries being added. Discover how it works and why Maker’s Row is one of the best ways to support the American-made movement.

    In the Marketplace: Why ‘American Made’ Matters (Part 5 of 5)

    Made in America Movement: The Made in America Movement is dedicated to encouraging consumers to buy American made products. The MAM provides its members with resources to expand their use of USA-made products. They work to connect American manufacturers, suppliers, production companies and distributors across the country and lobby for these businesses, while striving to tell Washington to bring American jobs home.

    In the Marketplace: Why ‘American Made’ Matters (Part 5 of 5)

    American Made Matters: This organization’s mission is to educate consumers that buying USA-made products strengthens the American dream. They also connect consumers with American made retailers and wholesalers through a massive compilation of American made businesses on their website. You may shop by product category or by company. Check out their website for compelling reasons to buy American and eye opening American manufacturing statistics.

    Whether you support the American-made small businesses through The Marketplace or by joining one of the above organizations, when you support the American-made cause, we all win. To learn more about the remarkable entrepreneurs in The Marketplace, take a look at all of our small businesses here.

  • Video Captures Trucker Barreling Into a Police Cruiser and Killing a Cop — What He Was Reportedly Ogling On His Phone at the Time Is Startling
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 3:05 pm by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (237)

    A truck driver was looking at his cell phone — specifically at Facebook “photographs of several women in provocative positions, wearing little clothing” — when he plowed into three police cruisers and two fire trucks, killing one officer, records show.

    The truck driver, Jorge Espinoza, is charged with second-degree murder and other crimes for his role in the Interstate 8 wreck in Yuma County, Ariz. on May 6 in which Officer Tim Huffman was killed, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

    Espinoza was also looking at Facebook photographs “of a woman in a low cut dress” and a man “smoking something” around the time of impact, according to records; on other occasions Espinoza used his phone to look at female escort web pages, porn sites and other web pages when logged in as driving, investigators said.

    Trucker Was Looking at Scantily Clad Women on Facebook at Time of Deadly Arizona Crash, RCecords Show

    Espinosa has already hit Officer Huffman’s cruiser and is about to hit another. (Image source: Arizona Department of Public Safety via YouTube)

    The investigation report was made public Thursday after a Daily Star public records request.

    Espinoza was driving his empty fuel tanker at 65 mph with the cruise control activated at the time of the crash, records show, and at first told investigators he didn’t see the police cars because he was looking in his mirror at a passing truck

    Espinoza also told investigators he never uses his phone while driving because it’s against company policy, but information taken from his phone indicates Espinoza was indeed using the Internet at the time of the crash.

    In fact, dashcam video shows Espinoza’s Samsung Galaxy 3 phone fly out of his hand when the crash occurred, the Star reported.

    Trucker Was Looking at Scantily Clad Women on Facebook at Time of Deadly Arizona Crash, RCecords Show

    Notice the white rectangular object in midair in the top-left portion of the screengrab, just after Espinoza hits Officer Huffman’s cruiser. (Image source: Arizona Department of Public Safety via YouTube)

    The report added that Espinoza apparently tried to obscure the fact that he was looking at his phone by standing up his wallet in front of the dashcam, police say.

    In the image below, notice the wallet that obscures Espinoza’s face and most of his body just before the crash; Officer Huffman’s cruiser is just ahead:

    Trucker Was Looking at Scantily Clad Women on Facebook at Time of Deadly Arizona Crash, RCecords Show

    (Image source: Arizona Department of Public Safety via YouTube)

    Officer Huffman, who had responded to an earlier accident on the highway, was sitting in his patrol car when Espinoza’s truck slammed into it. Emergency workers who were with Huffman pulled the windshield and dash off his car to try to help him, and a Jaws of Life tool was taken from one of the wrecked fire trucks, but Huffman died in the patrol car, reports indicate.

    “Espinoza would have been able to perceive the danger in the roadway and not cause the death of Officer Tim Huffman, endangered the lives of 11 other emergency responders and destroyed six vehicles, including a new semi-tractor and trailer owned by his employer, if he had not chosen to distract himself while accessing Facebook from his cellular telephone while operating his assigned commercial vehicle,” investigators noted.

    Here’s Espinoza’s dashcam video showing the moment of impact inside the truck and outside facing the police cruisers and fire trucks, from the Arizona Department of Public Safety via YouTube:

    (H/T: Arizona Daily Star)

  • Hot List: Where Did the Term ‘Obamacare’ Actually Come From?
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 2:32 pm by Amy Holmes

    Comments (36)

    Amy Holmes takes a look at the history behind the term we all know so well: “Obamacare.”

    Read today’s top story: This may be one of Jimmy Kimmel’s best pranks yet…and it involves Obamacare

  • Christian Student Forced to Remove Jesus Halloween Costume Over Fear He’d Offend ‘Religious Sensibilities’
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 2:25 pm by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (101)

    Administrators at Highland Park High School in Highland Park, Ill., were reportedly so worried that a teenager’s Jesus Halloween costume would so offend “religious sensibilities” or promote the Christian faith that they initially pulled him from class and told him to remove it.

    Marshon Sanders, a senior at the school, later told media that his costume was merely an attempt to idolize Jesus, not to disparage the religious figure.

    “[Christ is] the most influential person in my life,” the teen told WBBM-TV.

    Sanders is a practicing Christian who regularly attends church and was baptized over the summer. After going to school dressed as rapper Snoop Dogg last year which was apparently permitted by school officials, his mother, Angenetta Frison, told her son to choose someone more positive — and so he did.

    But the district has a policy against Halloween costumes that could offend or create stereotypes surrounding gender, sexual orientation, heritage or religion, so Sanders’ holiday disguise created concern among school leaders, The Chicago Tribune reported.

    The teen told WGN-TV that he was called out of class and down to the office during first period, where the dean chastised him for dressing as the Christian savior. He also indicated that the situation wasn’t just rooted in fear that he might offend, but that there also may have been a concern over him potentially promoting religion.

    “I was taken down to the dean’s office and she said my costume was offensive,” he said. “That I was promoting religion, which wasn’t my intent, so that’s when she made me take off the crown, she made me take off the crucifix.”

    Sanders’ costume included a toga, a cross and a crown of thorns — all sentiments associated with Jesus. While he was asked to remove these elements, school officials investigated the situation and later changed their minds.

    “Upon further review, we realized the student did not intend to be offensive,” Melinda Vajdi, a spokeswoman for District 113, told the Tribune. “Therefore, the school communicated to the student that he could wear the costume.”

    Despite the about-face, Frison said her son chose not to put his Jesus garb back on.

    She also wondered in an interview with The Chicago Sun-Times if the fact that Sanders is an African American had anything to do with the school’s initial protest.

    “Race is an issue in our country. We still struggle with racism,” she said. “I don’t know if that was a factor, but it may have been. Would a Caucasian student dressed as Jesus have had the same effect?”

    (H/T: Chicago Tribune)

    Featured image credit: WBBM-TV

  • Sportscaster Who Witnessed L.A. Shooting Recalls Heartbreaking Moment He Called His Wife to Say Goodbye: ‘I Thought I Was Going to Die’
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 1:53 pm by Erica Ritz

    Comments (81)

    Fox Sports national columnist Bill Reiter said he thought he was going to die during Friday’s shooting at Los Angeles International Airport, and even called his wife and children to “say goodbye.”

    Reiter called into Fox News, saying he was at the airport for an early morning flight when all of the sudden he heard “screaming and people running toward me … followed by what was clearly gunshots.”

    He said people started crying and diving under benches, and he did the same, though “it was a pretty futile attempt.”

    Reiter was able to live-tweet throughout much of the chaos:

    After the initial burst of gunfire and hiding, people started jumping over one another, jumping off chairs, pushing each other. Chaos & fear
    Fox Sports Writer Bill Reiter Describes LAX Shooting
    @foxsportsreiter
    Bill Reiter

    While under the bench Reiter said he called his wife to say he loved her, and to pass on the same message to his children.

    “The fact is … that in those moments when I was under that bench – I’m sure this was true for everyone – I thought I was going to die,” he told Fox’s Shephard Smith. “It felt like a very Columbine-like moment. It’s why I called my wife to say goodbye.”

    I've never been so glad to have been home early from work last night to have time with my kids in my life. Most special Halloween ever, now
    Fox Sports Writer Bill Reiter Describes LAX Shooting
    @foxsportsreiter
    Bill Reiter

    Eventually — Reiter couldn’t put a time on it, saying things seemed to slow down and speed up at the same time — “hundreds” escaped the terminal and onto the tarmac.

    “It’s the safest place I’ve ever felt in my entire life,” he described it, despite the active airplanes in every direction.

    Reiter added that the scene was “pretty chaotic,” and “people were pushing each other.”  Some were able to control themselves and not push past children, he said, and others weren’t.

    Listen to the interview courtesy of Fox News:

  • Watch Friday’s BlazeCast Rewind: When FLOTUS Is Displeased
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 1:47 pm by Scott Baker

    Comments (3)

    This broadcast with TheBlaze Editor-in-Chief Scott Baker will begin at 2pm ET.

    To join the chat — there is a button on the top right of the player window or you can hover your cursor over the player window for options.

    To ask a question — click the button at the bottom. We’ll be able to display your question or comment in the player window!

    And as always you can leave other comments in the regular comment section below!

  • Obama Signs Executive Order to ‘Prepare Nation’ for Effects of Climate Change
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 1:21 pm by Fred Lucas

    Comments (318)

    President Barack Obama signed an executive order Friday to “prepare the nation” for the dire consequences of global warming by establishing a new task force aimed in part at steering local communities toward making “smarter” investments to prepare for climate change-caused catastrophes.

    “The impacts of climate change—including an increase in prolonged periods of excessively high temperatures, more heavy downpours, an increase in wildfires, more severe droughts, permafrost thawing, ocean acidification, and sea-level rise—are already affecting communities, natural resources, ecosystems, economies, and public health across the Nation,” the executive order states.

    Obama Signs Executive Order to Prepare Nation for Effects of Climate Change

    AP

    The 10-page order establishes the Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience to advise the Obama administration. One of the goals of the order seems to be to set ground rules for cooperative development goals at the local level.

    The order says to “identify opportunities to support and encourage smarter, more climate-resilient investments by States, local communities, and tribes, including by providing incentives through agency guidance, grants, technical assistance, performance measures, safety considerations, and other programs.”

    The task force is comprised of seven Democratic governor of states, and one Republican governor of a territory, Gov. Eddie Calvo of Guam.

    The Democratic governors are Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, Jerry Brown of California, Jay Inslee of Washington state, Jack Markell of Delaware, Martin O’Malley of Maryland, Pat Quinn of Illinois and Peter Shumlin of Vermont. The task force also includes local officials, including 14 mayors, two county officials and two tribal officials.

    The order also tells federal agencies to identify changes to land and water policies and regulations “to strengthen climate resilience.” Additionally, it requires federal agencies to increase the amount of information with local communities to be prepared for climate problems.

    “The E.O. instructs federal agencies to work together and with information users to develop new climate preparedness tools and information that state, local, and private-sector leaders need to make smart decisions,” a White House statement said. “In keeping with the president’s Open Data initiative, agencies will also make extensive Federal climate data accessible to the public through an easy-to-use online portal.”


  • TSA Agent Killed After Gunman Opens Fire at LAX
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 1:02 pm by Liz Klimas

    Comments (206)

    Watch live local coverage | LATEST UPDATES:

    5:10 p.m. An unidentified law enforcement official told the AP suspect Paul Ciancia from New Jersey had a note in his possession that said he “wanted to kill TSA and pigs.”

    4:35 p.m. NBC News and the Associated Press reported officials identifying the shooting suspect as 23-year-old Paul Anthony Cianci.

    BREAKING: Law enforcement officials identify LAX shooting suspect as 23-year-old Paul Ciancia.
    Shooting at Los Angeles International Airport
    @AP
    The Associated Press
    JUST IN: LAX shooter - 23-year-old Paul Anthony Ciancia, US citizen and resident of Los Angeles area -@
    Shooting at Los Angeles International Airport
    @NBCNews
    NBC News

    Watch NBC’s video regarding what is known about the alleged suspect:

    NBC reported that the suspect might have had materials suggesting he held anti-government views.

    4:23 p.m. The Los Angeles Times backed off of its earlier report that the gunman had been killed. It later reported sources saying he was listed in critical condition.

    3:55 p.m. Associated Press: Tim Kauffman, a spokesman for the American Federation of Government Employees in Washington, confirmed Friday that a TSA officer was killed. Kauffman said the union’s information comes from their local officials in Los Angeles.

    3:50 p.m. A director at Ronald Reagan Medical Center said in a press conference that it accepted three male patients. She restated what other officials said regarding the condition of the adults, confirming that one patient is in critical condition while the other two are in fair. Two of the patients are being treated for gunshot wounds while the other is being treated for another unspecified injury.

    3:18 p.m. A union official told the Associated Press a  TSA agent was killed in LAX shooting. This information was not confirmed by law enforcement at an earlier press conference.

    3:10 p.m. Law enforcement and civil officials held a press conference around 2:45 p.m. Friday. Chief of Airport Police Patrick Gannon confirmed that a gunman arrived at Terminal 3 at 9:20 a.m. where he “pulled an assault rifle out of a bag and began to open fire in the terminal.”

    Gannon said the gunman, who was not identified by authorities, then proceeded up into the screening area, where TSA screeners were, and he continued shooting. From there, the gunman went back through airport itself.

    Gannon said police engaged with in gunfire with the man, thought to be a lone shooter, and successfully took him into custody. As for the condition of the gunman, officials said they would not discuss the extent of anyone’s injuries or specifics as to their identity.

    Jim Featherstone, serving his first day as interim fire chief for the L.A. department, said seven people were treated for some sort of injury, six were transported to area medical centers.

    The FBI is leading the investigation into the incident.

    "@: #FBI getting information on #LAX shooter and will release details once they are confirmed." #LAPD #poltwt
    Shooting at Los Angeles International Airport
    @911LAPD
    LAPD Communications

    As for flights coming in and going out, Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director with Los Angeles World Airports, said the airport is still accepting incoming flights, but at less than half its normal arrival rate.

    Some passengers who were waiting to depart the airport have done so. Others who were already at the airport for flights remained. Lindsey asked those with plans to travel out of the airport Friday afternoon avoid coming until further notice. Gannon said this is not for safety reasons but due to the ongoing investigation.

    2:50 p.m. KCBS’s live feed showed a person being led away by authorities in handcuffs. It is unclear if they were involved with the shooting in any way.

    someone in handcuffs

    This man was being led away in handcuffs a couple hours after the shooting incident at LAX. It is unclear if he was involved with the shooting in any way. (Image source: KCBS video screenshot)

    2:45 p.m. NBC, ABC and The Los Angeles Times reported gunman is dead. This information is not officially confirmed by law enforcement. What is confirmed is that the gunman was in police custody and was reportedly wounded.

    Alleged #LAX gunman is dead, law enforcement sources tell @. Post coming.
    Shooting at Los Angeles International Airport
    @latimes
    Los Angeles Times
    JUST IN: LAX gunman killed by law enforcement
    Shooting at Los Angeles International Airport
    @NBCNews
    NBC News
    Detail: LAX gunman was U.S. citizen in his early 20s, officials say
    Shooting at Los Angeles International Airport
    @NBCNews
    NBC News
    Breaking: Law enforcement sources tell @ News gunman in LAX shooting is dead
    Shooting at Los Angeles International Airport
    @ABC
    ABC News

    2:41 p.m. Police said three were shot the by gunman using semi-automatic weapon at LAX Friday, according to the Associated press. Prior reports listed two victims shot, one who has since been reported dead. The gunman is said to be in custody.

    2:37 p.m. CNN anchor Jake Tapper tweeted information from Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center that said it had received three male victims from the shooting. One was critical when he came in. The other two were in in fair condition.

    Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center: We received three male victims from LAX, 1 in critical condition and two in fair condition.
    Shooting at Los Angeles International Airport
    @jaketapper
    Jake Tapper

    One TSA agent reportedly received fatal wounds in the shooting.

    2:32 p.m. Some images from the evacuation scene at LAX after the shooting.

    LAX Shooting

    In this photo provided by Natalie Morin, people stand on the tarmac after being evacuated from Los Angeles International Airport, Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, in Los Angeles, after shots were fired at Terminal 3, prompting authorities to evacuate the terminal and stop flights headed for the city from taking off from other airports. (AP Photo/Natalie Morin)

    LAX Shooting

    In this aerial video frame grab provided by CBS-LA, fire and rescue personnel gather at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday Nov. 1, 2013. Shots were fired Friday at Los Angeles International Airport, prompting authorities to evacuate a terminal and stop flights headed for the city from taking off from other airports. (AP Photo/CBS-LA)

    LAX Shooting

    Passengers evacuate the Los Angeles International Airport on Friday Nov. 1, 2013, in Los Angeles. Shots were fired at Los Angeles International Airport, prompting authorities to evacuate a terminal and stop flights headed for the city from taking off from other airports. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

    2:25 p.m. With the current air travel ground stop at LAX, locals and travelers are being told to avoid coming to the airport. Some exits on the highway nearby have been closed.

    .RT @: UPDATE: all exits to LAX from the 105 and 405 freeways are now closed or in the process of closing. Avoid area.
    Shooting at Los Angeles International Airport
    @LAX_Official
    LAX Airport

    2:20 p.m. Fox News reported a law enforcement official saying the gunman has a connection with TSA.

    2:17 p.m. Some have been sharing a photo tweeted by a man going by Tom Donnelly. It is not known if this is the firearm used by the gunman.

    rifle on floor

    (Image source: @TJD19083/Twitter)

    2:05 p.m. The White House said President Barack Obama was briefed of the situation at LAX.

    2:00 p.m. Witness Brian Keech said he heard “about a dozen gunshots,” according to the Associated Press, in the shooting that occurred at LAX Friday morning.

    1:59 p.m. NBC News reported one TSA agent was killed in the shooting. A second TSA agent was wounded and taken to the hospital.

    UPDATE: One TSA employee killed, one wounded in LAX shooting
    Shooting at Los Angeles International Airport
    @NBCNews
    NBC News

    1:57 p.m. Fox Sports national columnist Bill Reiter was near the shooting at LAX Friday and tweeted some updates. In a brief phone call to Fox News, Reiter said he ducked under benches, called his wife and told her he loved her, thinking he was “going to die.” Check out more of Reiter’s account.

    1:52 p.m. A press conference with airport police and LAPD will take place at 2:30 p.m.

    Suspect is now in custody. Multiple victims. Press conference at 11:30 am at Sepulveda Blvd/Century Blvd w/ Airport Police & LAPD Chiefs
    Shooting at Los Angeles International Airport
    @LAX_Official
    LAX Airport

    1:45 p.m. According to The Los Angeles Times, the suspected gunman was wounded in the incident and has since been taken into custody.

    The shooting occurred at the security checkpoint of Terminal 3, which services Allegiant Air, Frontier, JetBlue, Spirit, Virgin America and Virgin Australia.

    1:37 p.m. Only already arriving flights will be allowed into the airport. All other departing air traffic has stopped. Security at nearby Burbank airport has been heightened.

    Other than arriving flights, flight operations have been temporarily held.
    Shooting at Los Angeles International Airport
    @LAX_Official
    LAX Airport

    1:31 p.m. Airport terminals were evacuated after the incident, some people being brought into the tarmac and bused elsewhere.

    All upper/departures level roadways are temporarily blocked by law enforcement. General public are being held back at law enforcement block
    Shooting at Los Angeles International Airport
    @LAX_Official
    LAX Airport
    They're bringing in more people in whatever area we're being held, still no information of any kind or any authority figures around.
    Shooting at Los Angeles International Airport
    @foxsportsreiter
    Bill Reiter
    passengers evacuated

    Passengers boarding buses for evacuation. (Image source: KNBC-TV video screenshot)

    1:30 p.m. KCBS-TV reporter John Miller said the suspect (or suspects), wearing camouflage , targeted TSA employees. A box of ammunition was found on LAX property.

    1:27 p.m.: KNBC reported a TSA spokesperson saying a TSA agent was shot in the leg. This agent was the one checking documents as the first step at the security checkpoint.

    1:22 p.m. LAX officials on Twitter said a ground stop is in effect for outgoing airplanes. KNBC reporters said planes coming in still seem to be landing.

    According to reports, ground stop now in effect at LAX after shooting in terminal.
    Shooting at Los Angeles International Airport
    @LAX_Official
    LAX Airport

    The FAA’s website puts LAX destined traffic being delayed at its departure point at this time.

    1:16 p.m. Fox Sports columnist and radio co-host Bill Reiter happened to be on the scene and tweeted about the scene.

    First came the gunfire. Then people including me hiding our seats. It felt very Columbine. A new kind of fear, at least for me
    Shooting at Los Angeles International Airport
    @foxsportsreiter
    Bill Reiter
    After the initial burst of gunfire and hiding, people started jumping over one another, jumping off chairs, pushing each other. Chaos & fear
    Shooting at Los Angeles International Airport
    @foxsportsreiter
    Bill Reiter
    It's weird how in that moment time could be so fast and so slow at the same time. My God.
    Shooting at Los Angeles International Airport
    @foxsportsreiter
    Bill Reiter
    And of course to all my friends and family, I love you all.
    Shooting at Los Angeles International Airport
    @foxsportsreiter
    Bill Reiter

    1:14 p.m. Here’s a live, local feed of the situation at LAX:

    1:12 p.m.: Federal officials told KNBC the situation had ended, meaning the shooter has been caught. The local news station has been reported witnesses saying the weapon looked like a rifle. It also said at least two people have been taken to the hospital.

    1:07 p.m. Nick Pugh while on the mezzanine in Terminal 3 in the security line when he heard shots fired. Speaking with KNBC, Pugh said the shots sounded like they came from a high caliber gun, but he couldn’t see the shooter.

    A shooting has been reported at Los Angeles International Airport Friday morning.

    KNBC-TV reported witnesses said the incident occurred near the airport’s Terminal 3, which houses Virgin America and other domestic airplanes. Shots were heard around 9:20 a.m. local time.

    A TSA spokesperson told KNBC the shooting occurred at a security checkpoint.

    Airport officials confirm police incident began at 9:30 a.m. @ Terminal 3 at LAX. More info to come.
    Shooting at Los Angeles International Airport
    @LAX_Official
    LAX Airport
    airport shooting

    Emergency responders on the scene at LAX Friday. (Image source: KNBC video screenshot)

    Local news live feeds showed officers running with weapons drawn.

    Footage included victims “covered in blood.”

    Visit KNBC’s website for a live feed of the latest information.

    This is a breaking news story. Updates will be added.

  • Reince Priebus Laughs in Disbelief at MSNBC Anchor’s Obamacare Suggestion
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 12:41 pm by Eddie Scarry

    Comments (239)

    Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus had a difficult time keeping himself together Friday when MSNBC anchor Chris Jansing suggested to him that problems with Obamacare may be the fault of the GOP.

    “Is there a little bit of disingenuousness,” Jansing said to Priebus, reading a critique of the health care law from the conservative Tea Party Patriots website, ”to hammer the Obama administration over problems that they clearly wanted to happen and wanted to contribute to?”

    Priebus responded between resigned chuckles.

    Reince Priebus Laughs In Disbelief at MSNBC Chris Jansings Obamacare Suggestion

    RNC Chairman Reince Priebus talked about Obamacare with MSNBC anchor Chris Jansing Friday. (Image source: MSNBC)

    “Well, I don’t think the (new health care) website not being able to sign up six people is a problem with the Republicans not liking Obamacare,” Priebus said. “They spent millions of dollars — tens of millions of dollars — on a website that doesn’t work. That has nothing to do with the Tea Party Patriots. It has to do with incompetency at the (Department of Health and Human Services) and a president who is totally aloof, doesn’t know what’s going on and finds out his news the same time you and I do. Reading speeches by somebody else, making promises to the American people that they buy into only to find out that all of those promises aren’t true– that’s not on the Tea Party Patriots, that’s on the president of the United States.”

    Obamacare came under renewed fire after large parts of the law began to take effect Oct. 1 and the government website meant to help Americans purchase new health insurance plans essentially became nonfunctional. Subsequent reports surfaced that many people were having their current insurance plans terminated as a result of the law, something the Obama administration specifically said would not happen.

    Watch:

    Follow Eddie Scarry (@eScarry) on Twitter

  • Blaze Mag Exclusive Excerpt: Takeover–Who Represents the Small-Government Movement Now?
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 12:01 pm by Chris Field

    Comments (61)

    The Democratic Party is totally owned by progressives. The GOP isn’t far behind.

    The progressive movement has blurred the distinctions between the Republican and Democratic Parties. How did they do it? Where do we go now?

    For our November issue, author and Washington Times news writer Cheryl Chumley looks at the history of the takeover, what it means and where it’s going.

    Every issue of TheBlaze Magazine contains exclusive content not found anywhere else — online or in print. The magazine’s stories, research and special reports are reserved for subscribers to the print and/or digital edition.

    Below are few small excerpts from the in-depth November 2013 cover story, “Takeover.” Get the full story ONLY in the newest issue of TheBlaze Magazine.

    If you sign up today, you’ll get the digital version of this issue absolutely free.

    Blaze Magazine: Progressive Takeover  Who Represents the Small Government Movement Now?

    In August, the nonprofit government watchdog Judicial Watch revealed documents it had obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request that depicted conservatives as crazies, Founding Fathers as radicals and America’s colonists as extremists.

    The documents were training materials for the Department of Defense.

    More specifically, this is what the FOIA found: The Department of Defense offers an Equal Opportunity Advisor Course, or EOAC, at a diversity center it partially funds at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida, called the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute. The DEOMI’s most recent training manual and student guide for the advisor course, dated January 2013, defined extremism this way: “In U.S. history, there are many examples of extremist ideologies and movements. The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule and the Confederate states who sought to secede from the Northern states are just two examples.”

    Really?

    ****Click here to subscribe and get a FREE issue today****

    “It’s craziness,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, relaying his initial reaction on reading the training manual. “When you look at the document in its entirety, it’s incoherent, it’s lunacy, and what’s even scarier, it looks like it’s policy.”

    What it’s not is an anomaly. Unfortunately, the document is an apt indicator of the nation’s current political wind.

    From an Internal Revenue Service that can’t keep its regulatory fists off all things Tea Party—relegating nonprofit status applications from conservative groups to bureaucratic purgatory—to the ghastly federal chokehold called ObamaCare that’s wound about our medical providers’ necks, a subtle mood has wafted into our once proudly independent and free nation. It’s infected both political parties, churned up our Constitution and spit out our Founding Father principles.

    Democratic-republic, meet progressivism.

    NOT JUST ON THE LEFT

    Progressivism is an anti-American mindset that purports to be, as its name suggests, a forward movement—a maturity of political thought, a steady walk toward cultural improvement, an advancement of general welfare. But what it’s really done is turned upside down and inside out the very “givens” that used to guide our nation’s belief systems, our core values, moral compasses and political endeavors.

    ****Click here to subscribe and get a FREE issue today****

    What used to be generally accepted belief is now challenged as radical. What once served as commonsense principle is now mocked and derided. What previously served as part and parcel of our proudest heritage—the American Revolution, the founding documents, the forging of our nation as the shining city upon a hill—is dismissed as extremism, labeled as dangerous by our own military.

    […]

    If only it stayed confined to the Left, to the radicalized hard-line Democratic Party’s base—or to the Socialist Party, where it truly belongs—but it doesn’t.

    Blaze Magazine: Progressive Takeover  Who Represents the Small Government Movement Now?

    Thanks can go to Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson for bringing the progressive movement to the big-gun bureaucracy of the federal government, via the New Deal and the Great Society plan. Roosevelt served 1901-1909 in the White House as a Republican; Wilson, 1913-1921 as a Democrat.

    And it’s fitting, too, that, while both these men were historical legends of progressive leadership, they also hailed from different political parties—because that’s how the progressive movement works today.

    Progressivism has gained a foothold and, in some cases, an outright stronghold, in both Democratic and Republican camps in present-day politics, which is curious for an ideology that more often than not marches in lockstep with socialist principles and platforms. But that would explain why many in the Republican Party hate the Tea Party with nearly as much vigor as most in the Democratic Party—they’re viewing the “Taxed Enough Already” movement through the same lens of progressive politics.

    ****Click here to subscribe and get a FREE issue today****

    Here’s an example of how deeply the progressive mindset has sunk into America’s political system:

    The now-latent group Republicans for Obama, formed as a nonprofit campaign tool to re-elect Obama in 2012, states on its website that Republican leaders and activists “have written moderates out of the party and have refused to work with the other side.” At the same time, the group states, “President Obama has shown himself to be a common-sense centrist,” cutting taxes “when necessary,” protecting the environment, and—here’s an eyebrow raiser, for sure—“aggressively pursu[ing] Islamic extremists who threaten America.”

    “Most notably,” the group says, Obama’s given us ObamaCare, a “Republican-inspired health-care plan.”

    The group counted among its members at least one former GOP senator, as well as former Ronald Reagan voters, who concluded: “Obama would fit in well as a Republican.”

    The name alone, Republicans for Obama, should serve as an obvious example of how the Right’s swung Left, while the Left’s swung even farther Left, and what used to be considered liberal is now centrist—in some cases, even called conservative. But the nugget of truth in the group’s praises of Obama and attempt to paint him as a moderate is this: The ability of government to mandate individuals to obtain health care did make its entry via a Republican door named Mitt Romney.

    GOVERNMENT IS THE ANSWER?

    What constitutional clause gives the government the authority to require Americans to purchase a health-care plan? General welfare? Necessary and proper—also known as the elastic clause? …

    ****Click here to subscribe and get a FREE issue today****

    Regardless, when Hillary Clinton tried to push her government-run health-care package in 1993 during her stint as first lady, conservatives howled, decrying the idea as liberalism run amok and painting her as a socialist.

    Fast-forward a few years to when Romney was making his run for the White House, facing uncomfortable questions about his passage of RomneyCare but simultaneously stated objection to ObamaCare, Republicans flocked to his defense, making a 10th Amendment case that states have the right to impose regulations where the federal government cannot. In all the back-and-forth that ensued in this matter, though, the larger issue was often overlooked: Government is not the solution. It is, more often than not, the problem.

    Blaze Magazine: Progressive Takeover  Who Represents the Small Government Movement Now?

    To progressives, though, government is the be-all and end-all answer to all problems.

    […]

    A couple decades ago, when self-reliance and hard work were still revered traits across most of America and government was not seen as the cure for all of society’s ills, calling government-mandated, taxpayer-funded health care a “need” would be alternately mocked and condemned—and loudly so. Just ask Hillary.

    Nowadays, the Republican Party’s most touted members are standing up to their waists in Democratic Party principles, wrapping arms around formerly liberal policies that actually hail from progressive-minded ideology—yet calling themselves staunch Republicans and masquerading as conservatives. …

    After 40 votes to defund ObamaCare, frustrated Tea Party people concluded it was the Republicans, led by House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio, that were to blame for the voters’ failure. Yet on this issue, Republicans continue to speak out of both sides of their mouths, promising to turn back time on the massive health-care overhaul yet simultaneously shaking their heads in helplessness and wringing their hands in defeat when it comes time to act on those promises. But still, they …

    […]

    ****************

    We expose much more about the progressive takeover—especially in the GOP—and what it means. And it’s not just ObamaCare that’s a danger—it’s the overall push for larger government in our schools, border security, culture, military and much more. Find out more of the ugly truth of progressivism’s infestation.

    Read the full piece only in the pages of the November issue of TheBlaze magazine—which you can get for FREE.

    Click here to get a FREE digital version today!

    Follow Chris Field (@ChrisMField) on Twitter

  • AP Editors: White House Pushes Propaganda Photos
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 11:53 am by Madeleine Morgenstern

    Comments (58)

    Top Associated Press editors criticized the Obama administration for essentially pushing propaganda photos rather than allowing news organizations independent access to photograph the president.

    AP Editors: White House Pushes Propaganda Photos

    Official White House photographer Pete Souza takes photos of President Barack Obama greeting family members of the victims and survivors of the 9/11 attacks during a ceremony at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2013. (Getty Images)

    AP Vice President and Director of Photography Santiago Lyon said the AP has been allowed to photograph Obama in his office just twice, and called the White House’s tight control over access and its use of official photos basically propaganda, according to Knoxville News Sentinel digital director Jack Lail.

    The comments came Wednesday at the Associated Press Media Editors’ national conference in Indianapolis. The Obama White House has often billed itself as the most transparent in history, but Lyon said previous administrations have allowed greater access.

    It’s common practice for the White House to distribute its own images of the president during significant moments, such as the famous “Situation Room” photo taken during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, but also during less intense times such as signing legislation at his desk or meeting with comedian Carol Burnett. White House social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr allow the administration to release such images directly to the public, rather than rely on the filter of news organizations.

    “This works because newspapers use these handout photos,” AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll said, going on to urge newspaper editors not use the White House’s “press release” photos.

    The AP criticized the “Obama image machine” in an article in April, writing that through the lens of the administration, “Obama’s family is always photogenic, first dog Bo is always well-behaved and the vegetables in the South Lawn kitchen garden always seem succulent.”

    (H/T: Daily Caller)

  • ‘Duck Dynasty’ Patriarch Phil Robertson Explains the Simple Love Note That Helped Save His Marriage
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 11:05 am by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (39)

    The “Duck Dynasty” crew is known for creating a fair bit of laughter, but the Robertson family has also repeatedly made it known that they face the same plights and challenges as everyone else. In a recent interview with “Extra,” patriarch Phil Robertson admitted that his bad behavior once put in jeopardy his 47-year marriage to his wife, Kay — and he revealed how a love note inevitably helped sustain their wedded bliss.

    Phil detailed some of the steps he took to get the couple’s relationship back on track during its tainted years. After finding God, he said his worldview and marriage dramatically changed. But he also spoke about how a short note he once wrote played a big role in helping maintain his now-strong relationship with Kay.

    Phil told “Extra” reporter  Maria Menounos that the note originated long ago when his wife asked him if he loved her.

    “I said yes and she said, ‘Write it down.’ So I scribbled, ‘Miss Kay, I love you. I always have and I always will,’” he explained.

    That note is still taped over the couple’s headboard, serving as a daily reminder to them both.

    Duck Dynasty Patriarch Phil Robertson Reveals How a Simple Love Note Helped Save His Once Troubled Marriage

    Credit: Extra

    So, despite their on-screen love, like any married couple, Phil and Kay have had their share of fights and problems. The Daily Mail noted that the couple began dating in 1964 when Kay was just 14 and that they married two years later.

    Along the way, they hit some speed bumps.

    “He had about 10 hard years,” Kay told Menounos of the troubles the Robertsons experienced. “He didn’t act nice like he does now, especially when he was drinking. He was real selfish and didn’t want to be responsible.”

    Phil chimed in an added that his behavior came at a time “when there was no Jesus” in his life.

    “I was following the ways of the world. I was raised in the ’60s,” he added.

    Watch the two describe their marriage — and the note they claim helped save it — below:

    Phil and Kay aren’t the first “Duck Dynasty” cast members to share their personal struggles. Despite his oft-times goofy nature, Si Robertson, too, has opened up about his wife’s difficulty conceiving children and his son’s mental health struggles.

    (H/T: Daily Mail)

  • ‘Kick His A**! Stomp Him!’: You Might Be Shocked by Who Encouraged These Little Kids to Brawl in Disturbing Video
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 10:47 am by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (93)

    The merciless voices encourage the pair of combatants, one of them shirtless: “Kick his a**!” “Stomp him! Stomp him!” “He gon’ break his neck!”

    It’s the kind of audience reaction you might expect to hear in the cheap seats of an MMA cage match — but the venue for this brawl is a patch of grass in a neighborhood, and the fighters aren’t giant warriors but two young children, possibly toddlers, egged on by what sound like adult voices.

    Police Investigating Origin of Disturbing Video Depticting Little Kids Egged on to Fight by Older People

    Image source: KARK-TV

    The voices in the video also yell racial slurs and crying is heard, according to KLRT-TV in Little Rock, Ark. One fighter is seen attempting to flee, but believe it or not, someone bigger and older brings the child back while voices call out for another child to resume the beating.

    Police Investigating Origin of Disturbing Video Depticting Little Kids Egged on to Fight by Older People

    Image source: KARK-TV

    Professor and sociologist Terry Richard of the University of Arkansas Little Rock watched and listened closely to the video, and told KARK-TV that some communities view fights of this nature as a way to toughen up youngsters.

    Instead, Richard said it leads to damage down road when kids “are beating up individuals and assaulting individuals and they think this is right.”

    The incident was captured on cell phone video and posted to Facebook but soon removed. A tipster sent the clip to KLRT, which passed it on to police and the Department of Human Services.

    Police are trying to determine if the video was recorded in Little Rock and have shared it with juvenile detectives, KLRT reported, while DHS called the child abuse hotline.

    “You can see some of the objects around in the neighborhood, the recycle bin, the front of vehicles and things of that nature, nothing really to determine exactly where this occurred,” Sgt. Cassandra Davis of the Little Rock Police Department said. “It’s really sad that you would have an adult that should know better that would promote such activity among children.”

    Davis did not immediately return a request for comment from TheBlaze Friday about an update on the investigation.

    Police Investigating Origin of Disturbing Video Depticting Little Kids Egged on to Fight by Older People

    In this screenshot, two much larger people are seen in the background watching the fight. (Image source: KARK-TV)

    “It hurts so much to look at this and know there is nothing we can do without information,” Kate Luck, a DHS spokesperson, told KLRT.

    “Encouraging another child to hurt someone, it’s not acceptable at all,” Luck added to KARK. “It’s something we would want to look at the home make sure kids are safe and being treated well, that they’re happy.”

    Here’s a report from KARK:

    Here’s a report from KLRT:

    Here’s raw video of the fight via KLRT:

  • China Unveils Nuclear Submarines That Could Reportedly Reach U.S.
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 10:40 am by Liz Klimas

    Comments (96)

    Earlier this week China unveiled its first-generation nuclear submarine, which it was decommissioning after more than 40 years. But later iterations of warhead-equipped submarines operated by the country’s People’s Liberation Army were also revealed to have the capability to strike the United States, according some reports.

    China Decommissions and Declassifies First Generation Nuclear Submarine

    This undated picture shows a nuclear-powered submarine of the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s North Sea Fleet preparing to dive into the sea. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

    Want China Times, the English news website of the Taiwan-based China Times News Group, pointed out that the photos released of the country’s submarine fleet by the state-run news agency focused more on the older Xia-class nuclear submarines than the newer Type 094 Jin-class ballistic missile submarine.

    Global Times, a paper published by the country’s Community party, noted military expert Du Wenglong saying that the release of the photos served to show the world that China is capable of launching ballistic missiles like other world powers.

    Although not mentioned in the Global Times article, Want China Times reported that a JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile could reach the western United States if fired from the Bohai Sea. In a separate article, the same publication elaborated that the range of a JL-2 missile is 8,000 kilometers, making them a “considerable threat to U.S. national security.”

    The Washington Times gave even more details about attacks on the U.S. from Chinese submarines, sourcing a Global Times article that inexplicably did not appear available on the site:

    In 2010, a new class of missile sub, the Type 094 Jin class, entered the service. It is capable of launching 12 to 16 JL-2 missiles with a range of about 8,700 miles, covering much of the continental U.S. with single or multiple, independently targetable re-entry vehicle warheads.

    Chinese calculations for nuclear attacks on the U.S. are chillingly macabre.

    “Because the Midwest states of the U.S. are sparsely populated, in order to increase the lethality, [our] nuclear attacks should mainly target the key cities on the West Coast of the United States, such as Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego,” the Global Times said.

    “The 12 JL-2 nuclear warheads carried by one single Type 094 SSBN can kill and wound 5 million to 12 million Americans,” the Global Times reported.

    map showing radiation range

    The Washington Times included this map from the Global Times report showing what could represent the range of radiation if a nuclear missile were to be launched against the western United States. (Image source: Washington Times via Global Times)

    The Foreign Times reported Xinhua issued photographs about the “declassified” the Xia-class submarines Sunday, saying they could “gallop to the depths of the ocean, serving as mysterious forces igniting the sound of thunder in the deep sea.” Xinhua added that the subs are like “assassin’s mace that would make adversaries tremble.”

    China Nuclear Submarine Fleet

    This black and white photo taken in 1977 and released by the Chinese Navy on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, shows China’s Long March 2 nuclear submarine during a launch ceremony in China. (AP Photo)

    The country was decommissioning these first-generation submarines, which were launched in the 1970s. According to the Global Times, Chairman Mao Zedong in the 1950s initiated the program to build nuclear submarines to prevent “nuclear blackmailing and monopoly.”

    China Nuclear Submarine Fleet

    In a sign of growing confidence, China’s navy gave Chinese media on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013 unprecedented publicity on its first nuclear submarine fleet, one of its most secretive military programs. (AP)

    While some considered this show a statement of the country’s military muscle, China Daily reported it was intended as an opportunity for transparency:

    As a responsible power and peace-loving country, China is increasing its military transparency step by step. In its national defense white paper in April, the Chinese military for the first time made public its military strength and composition, and the media coverage of the nuclear submarines is another step toward greater transparency. It’s really ridiculous for some countries and their media to call on China to increase its military transparency on the one hand, and criticize China’s efforts to do so as flexing its military might on the other.

    In fact, this week’s coverage was not the media debut of the nation’s nuclear submarine fleet. As early as the 1980s, the People’s Daily reported on the fleet and its underwater rocket launching capabilities.

    Hence, the latest reports are not China’s military suddenly revealing their muscles, as the fleet and its capabilities are not some secret weapon suddenly being revealed to scare other countries.

    china submarine

    This undated picture shows Chinese navy soldiers standing on a nuclear-powered submarine of the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s North Sea Fleet at an undisclosed location. Beijing has put its nuclear-powered submarine fleet on public display, with state media on Oct. 29, 2013 touting the move as unprecedented and necessary to show other countries China’s strike capabilities as territorial tensions mount. CHINA OUT AFP PHOTO (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

    Check out this footage released from China showing the fleet:

    Taylor Fravel, a Chinese security expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told the Foreign Times he believes this transparency showed that the People’s Liberation Army “has become more willing to discuss its capabilities.”

    A Pentagon spokesperson told Foreign Times it “welcomes increased transparency from China as it helps reduce regional tensions and promotes stability.”

    This year, the Chinese navy completed is fourth-generation nuclear submarines.

    (H/T: Washington Times)

  • Revealed: What’s Happening on Those Secret Google-Owned Barges
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 10:35 am by Liz Klimas

    Comments (96)

    Secretive, Google-owned barges at opposite ends of the United States piqued the world’s interest this week, but now some answers about their intended purpose may have emerged.

    Mystery Barge Construction Project Rumored To Google Project

    A barge under construction is docked at a pier on Treasure Island on Oct. 30, 2013 in San Francisco. (Getty Images/Justin Sullivan)

    KPIX-TV reported a source familiar with the project said the barge in the San Francisco Bay will house “dazzling showrooms” and a “party deck” to market the tech giant’s products, like Google Glass. Visitors will be allowed on board by invitation only.

    Watch KPIX-TV’s report on the mystery barge:

    The U.S. Coast Guard said in a statement Thursday that its personnel have inspected the barge moored at Treasure Island to ensure compliance with various regulations. The Coast Guard was unable to reveal details regarding what it saw on the barge because it said it has an obligation to protect sensitive proprietary information.

    Mystery Barge Construction Project Rumored To Google Project

    Mystery barges with construction of shipping containers have appeared in San Francisco and Portland, Maine, prompting online rumors that the barges are affiliated with a Google project. (Getty Images/Justin Sullivan)

    There is a similar barge now in Portland, Maine, that was at one point earlier this month located in Connecticut’s New London harbor.

    Connecticut’s The Day reported documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request revealed the barge is intended to travel from place to place.

    And there could be two more structures out there somewhere. The barges registered with a Delaware corporation as BAL0001, BAL0010, BAL0011 and BAL0100. In binary code used in computing, the numbers spell out “one,” ”two,” ”three” and “four.” Currently, Nos. 1 and 2 are on the water in San Francisco and No. 3 is in Portland Harbor.

    It is unclear whether all the barges will be used as exclusive showrooms, as the source said of San Francisco’s floating structure.

    More and more people are being invited to join the Google Glass Explorer Program, the user testing phase of Google’s futuristic glasses. This week the Glass Accessory Store opened with many criticizing the cost of an extra earbud or charger.