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  • Notice Anything Odd About This U.S. Postal Service Ad for Holiday Stamps?
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 12:17 pm by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (175)

    Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and…gingerbread house?

    U.S. Postal Service Holiday Ad Mailer Allegedly Uses Gingerbread House Stamp to Represent Christmas

    Image source: Twitter/@RennaW

    Twitter user @RennaW posted the above photo with the caption: “Don’t forget those three American holidays: Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and…..gingerbread house.”

    That’s the message she took from a U.S. Postal Service mailer she received for holiday stamps, calling attention to the gingerbread house stamp featured instead of a more traditional Christmas one.

    The USPS does offer Christmas-themed stamps with religious themes.

    Still, reactions to the gingerbread stamp in the ad were swift and strident:

    @ Shhhhhhh! We can't say the "C" word.
    U.S. Postal Service Holiday Ad Mailer Allegedly Uses Gingerbread House Stamp to Represent Christmas
    @ChrisBarnhart
    Chris Barnhart
    @ What happened to Christmas?
    U.S. Postal Service Holiday Ad Mailer Allegedly Uses Gingerbread House Stamp to Represent Christmas
    @KRMullins1964
    Kevin R Mullins
    @ oh yeah, because Christians celebrate the Holy Day of Gingerbread House, seriously? this is awful.
    U.S. Postal Service Holiday Ad Mailer Allegedly Uses Gingerbread House Stamp to Represent Christmas
    @BossyMother
    BossyMother
    @ @ I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very Merry Gingerbread House. All the best.
    U.S. Postal Service Holiday Ad Mailer Allegedly Uses Gingerbread House Stamp to Represent Christmas

    The U.S. Postal Service apparently took notice and got into the Twitter fray as well:

    @ the holiday stamp collection varies each year. We do have the Holy Family, Virgin & Child, Santa & Poinsettia stamps.
    U.S. Postal Service Holiday Ad Mailer Allegedly Uses Gingerbread House Stamp to Represent Christmas
    @USPS
    U.S. Postal Service

    (H/T: Twitchy)

  • Just Take a Second to Look at the Diaper-Wearing Goat Cops Came Across in Jose Conseco’s Car After Pulling Him Over
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 11:55 am by Mike Opelka

    Comments (43)

    On Wednesday, former baseball player turned author and reality TV star Jose Canseco was driving in Nevada, reportedly en route to shoot a documentary about fainting goats, when the police pulled him over. The officer was probably surprised to find Canseco and his girlfriend — model Leila Knight –riding with two goats in the back of their car — and one of the four-legged creatures was wearing a diaper.

    Why Jose Canseco and diaper wearing goats are going viral

    Image source: Twitter

    Canseco and Knight both tweeted the photo and reported that the cop “laughed at our poor goats.”

    Why Jose Canseco and diaper wearing goats are going viral

    Image source: Twitter

    Jose’s Twitter feed also teased the documentary and urged people to visit his and Leila’s YouTube channel for a preview:

    Why Jose Canseco and diaper wearing goats are going viral

    Image source: Twitter

    TheBlaze visited the couple’s YouTube channel in hopes of catching a glimpse of the goats and possibly the traffic stop that involved them. Unfortunately, it appears that those clips may have been deleted. Despite being promoted by Canseco and linked on his Twitter feed on Nov. 20, the latest two clips on the channel are no longer available. In fact, the earliest clip that can be seen is from July of this year:

    Why Jose Canseco and diaper wearing goats are going viral

    Image source: YouTube

    Until the fainting goat documentary is finished or clips are posted online, Jose Canseco fans will have to be satisfied by following his Twitter feed or looking at some of his classic tweets. If you’re looking for Canseco witticisms, you can visit Favstar, the site that gathers some of the most entertaining tweets on the web and puts them all on one page. That’s exactly where we found these Canseco gems from the past.

    Almost two years ago, Canseco had a “close encounter” that he claimed gave him “the lottery numbers.” We don’t recall hearing that he won a big jackpot:

    Why Jose Canseco and diaper wearing goats are going viral

    Image source: Favstar

    Jose also had a realization about melting icebergs, and the possibility that global warming might have prevented the Titanic from sinking:

    Why Jose Canseco and diaper wearing goats are going viral

    Image source: Favstar

    How much does Mr. Canseco love Twitter? He’s hoping that heaven has social media:

    Why Jose Canseco and diaper wearing goats are going viral

    Image source: Favstar

    (H/T: Bleacher Report)

    Follow Mike Opelka on Twitter – @stuntbrain

  • It’s Still Unclear How This Giant Airplane Ended Up at the Wrong (and Tiny) Airport
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 11:47 am by Liz Klimas

    Comments (53)

    WICHITA, Kan. (TheBlaze/AP) — A jumbo jet that landed at the wrong airport Wednesday evening and was potentially stuck there due to its size is set to take off around 1 p.m. ET Thursday.

    But it’s still rather unclear just how the pilots of a Boeing 747 Dreamlifter landed at Col. James Jabara Airport instead of its intended target — the McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita — about eight miles away. Jabara’s runway is just 6,101 feet long, much shorter than is ideal for an aircraft of that size.

    dreamlifter

    A Boeing 747 LCF Dreamlifter sits on the runway after accidentally landing at Jabara airport in Wichita, Kan., Wednesday night Nov. 20, 2013, thinking it was landing at McConnell Air Force Base. (AP/Wichita Eagle)

    Roger Xanders, chief of the Wichita Airport Authority’s police and fire department, told KMBC-TV that nonetheless the plane should be able to take off around noon Thursday. The plane, operated by Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, has been turned around by a tug to prepare for departure, said Brad Christopher of the Wichita Airport Authority.

    “We’ve been in contact with Atlas company headquarters in New York. They’ve assured us they’ve run all the engineering calculation and performance and the aircraft is very safe for a normal departure at its current weight and conditions here,” Christopher said.

    “It’s a good thing we don’t have tall buildings. The vertical lift is not that fast on that plane,” R.J. Martin, a former pilot who helped design Denver International Airport, told The Wichita Eagle.

    Atlas Air spokeswoman Bonnie Rodney did not immediately return early Thursday calls and an email from The Associated Press seeking comment. Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel said he could not immediately provide any information on how or why the jumbo jet landed at Jabara.

    The Wichita Eagle reported McConnell spokesman Stefan Bocchino saying Thursday that the pilots had been in contact with the air force base’s tower control before landing.

    “The tower was in contact with the pilot,” Bocchino told the newspaper. “They were the ones who told him where he landed. From what I understand, the guy just landed and had no clue where he was landing.”

    The two-person crew was not injured and the airplane and airport property were not damaged, Christopher said.

    Watch this report from KAKE-TV about the situation:

    The modified 747, one of a fleet of four that hauls parts around the world for the production of the Dreamliner, was bound for McConnell because it is adjacent to Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems, Birtel said. Spirit makes the forward section or nose area of the Dreamliner’s fuselage.

    These jets, which the company refers to as Dreamlifters, are crucial to the Dreamliner’s construction. Boeing is using a global network of suppliers to develop and build most of the new plane’s parts in locations as far away as Germany, Japan and Sweden. Boeing says the Dreamlifter cuts delivery time down to one day from as many as 30 days.

    The final aircraft is assembled at plants outside Seattle and in North Charleston, S.C.

    It is not the first incident of a large aircraft landing at an airport ill equipped to accommodate a plane of that size.

    In July last year, a cargo plane bound for MacDill Air Force base in Tampa, Fla., landed without incident at the small Peter O. Knight Airport nearby. An investigation blamed confusion identifying airports in the area and base officials introduced an updated landing procedure to mitigate future problems.

  • Senate Debates Major ‘Nuclear Option’ Rule Change
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 11:10 am by Becket Adams

    Comments (67)

    UPDATE: The Senate voted Thursday afternoon to invoke the so-called “nuclear option.” You can read all about it here.

    The U.S. Senate voted Thursday to strike down long-standing filibuster rules for most presidential nominations.

    The vote alters nearly 225 years of Senate precedent, The Washington Post notes.

    “The so-called ‘nuclear option’ (allows) for swift confirmation of executive branch nominees and most selections for the federal judiciary without having to clear a 60-vote hurdle,” the Post notes.

    You can watch the breakdown of the vote here:

    Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

    This post has been updated.

  • Severely Disfigured Man Approaches Pope Francis and the Pontiff Does What Can Only Be Described as Awe-Inspiring
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 11:06 am by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (131)

    Pope Francis has done it again. Just weeks after inspiring and captivating the world by compassionately embracing a man covered in tumors, the pontiff provided comfort and joy to yet another severely disfigured individual.

    At the end of his address to the general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Wednesday, Francis spoke with a man whose face is severely deformed, embracing and blessing him and at one point gesturing toward the sky.

    The below image shows the embrace, however it does not offer a glimpse at the unnamed man’s face, which appears to have sustained major injury.

    Pope Francis Does It Again: Pontiffs Embrace and Blessing of Yet Another Severely Disfigured Man Will Move You

    Pope Francis hugs a sick or disabled person at the end of his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013. At the end of the general audience, Pope Francis dedicates a few minutes greeting sick or disabled people. (AP/Gregorio Borgia)

    Little is known about the man or how he lost major portions of his facial structure, however his touching interaction with the pontiff provides yet another memorable moment that will surely tug at the heartstrings of people around the globe.

    The following photo shows the man’s face as he speaks with Francis:

    Pope Francis Does It Again: Pontiffs Embrace and Blessing of Yet Another Severely Disfigured Man Will Move You

    Credit: Evandro Inetti/ZUMAPRESS.com

    Earlier this week it was revealed that the first individual who captured international attention earlier this month after interacting with the pope is 53-year-old Vinicio Riva from Vicenza, Italy.

    Riva told Panorama, an Italian magazine, that he suffers from von Recklinghausen’s disease, a disorder that impacts cell growth. In an exclusive interview, Riva shared information about his disorder, his background and what it was like to interact with Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square.

    Pope Francis Does It Again: Pontiffs Embrace and Blessing of Yet Another Severely Disfigured Man Will Move You

    Pope Francis embraces Vinicio Riva in St. Peter’s Square. (Credit: EPA)

    “I tried to speak to say something but I was unable to,” Riva said of his encounter with Francis, according to a translation of the interview provided by Time magazine. “The emotion was too strong. It lasted a little longer than a minute but it felt as if it were eternity.”

    The individual shown in Wednesday’s photos has not yet spoken out.

    (H/T: Daily Mail)

  • Steve Forbes Doesn’t Hold Back: Obama Doesn’t Have the ‘Understanding,’ ‘Love’ or ‘Appreciation of America that Reagan Did’
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 10:53 am by Sara Carter

    Comments (64)

    It’s not too hard to understand why so many people like Steve Forbes, the editor in chief of Forbes magazine. I met him a month ago in New York City when he was waiting in TheBlaze TV’s green room before an appearance on “Wilkow!” to discuss the economy. We started chatting and he seemed genuinely interested in my time as a war correspondent in Afghanistan. Not being an expert in economics, I was more interested in the man behind the empire.

    Forbes is the grandson of B.C. Forbes, who founded Forbes magazine in 1917 and struggled to keep it afloat during the Great Depression. The “larger-than-life” Malcolm Forbes, as Steve Forbes described his father to me, took over as publisher of the magazine and had enormous influence on the direction the younger Forbes would take with his life.

    Steve Forbes Says Hes Not Leaving Media Industry | Steve Forbes Q&A

    Steve Forbes, chairman and editor in chief of Forbes Media, speaks during an event May 22, 2013 in Philadelphia. (AP/Matt Rourke)

    Steve is the latest in a line of Forbes family members to helm one of America’s most famous and prestigious business magazines, but over the weekend, reports leaked that the Forbes Media empire, which has remained with his family for 96 years, is on the cusp of being sold.

    Last Friday, Forbes Media president and CEO Mike Perlis emailed employees to say the company had received “more than a few” indications of interest from potential buyers and that the “frequency and serious nature of these overtures have brought us to a decision point,” as reported by the Associated Press.

    Steve Forbes, a two-time Republican presidential candidate and author of multiple books, including last year’s “Freedom Manifesto: Why Free Markets are Moral and Big Government Isn’t,” spoke with TheBlaze about the possible sale of his company, why he thinks Obama doesn’t love America like Reagan did, growing up with his famous last name, some of the most important lessons he’s learned — and the one question he never wants to be asked.

    What’s in your future?

    I’ll know that when this process is done. I think things will work out in a way where I will be involved in the business. And if that doesn’t work out I will be involved in the business in another way. Retirement is — you retire when you go under the ground. Not before.

    What’s the future of media?

    We live in a world where there’s more information, more interaction, more communication than ever before. In traditional media days, you had professional journalists act as a screen between you and analysis and information. Now everyone can create content. And while it’s a lot like mining gold, there’s a lot of junk before you can get to the nuggets. But you have a lot of people now able to create content who have an area of expertise, insights and they can create content in a way that would have been impossible in the old days.

    In the old days you had to do letters to the editor — now you do it instantly. You get feedback, you hope you get feedback. Now it’s a new golden age. But it’s hidden by the fact that for 175 years we had a model of media that has been blown up by the web. So the tendency is to focus on what is now no longer with us, rather than the huge proliferation, flowering of analysis and information. … The books created by the printing press were all ugly compared to the (hand-illustrated) books before, but you had more of them and more flow of information and more communication, and a richer world for it. So you give up something but I think we’re gaining more, even if you have to change the way you do it.

    “You retire when you go under the ground. Not before.”
    Share:

     If you could recommend one book, what would it be?

    Well obviously, the big one, the Bible. There’s everything there of human nature, and while times and circumstances have changed, human nature does not and there are countless lessons to be learned.

    Who is the most interesting person you’ve ever met?

    Well, certainly outside of my family, it would be people like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher and Helmut Kohl, former chancellor of Germany. They all had various ways — various firm convictions, principles, plus the skills to get things done.

    Reagan had a wonderful sense of knowing what he wanted to focus on. One of my favorite stories about Reagan was in the early part of his administration, there was a breakout of the inevitable staff fighting you get, but this one was between State Department and White House staff … leaks all over the place, resignations and screaming everywhere. And two journalists, Evans and Novak, asked him, “What are you going to do about this?”

    Reagan, as he often did responding to a question, told a story, in this case it was the story of the two psychiatrists: a young one and the old one. They went to work together, commuted together and at the end of each day the younger psychiatrist was just drained, emotionally bedraggled, just worn out, and the older one looked as serene at the end of the day as he did at the beginning. So finally the younger one asked the older one, “How do you do it?” And the older one answered, “I don’t listen.”

    Who was the most influential person in your life?

    The most influential people in Steve Forbes’ life? His parents
    Share:
    My two parents. My father was a larger-than-life figure. We sort of sensed at an early age as kids that he was different from other fathers. … He was a strict disciplinarian and whenever we did something wrong we’d go to our mother … for clemency and protection, like you’d go to a medieval church for sanctuary. He was a no-nonsense disciplinarian, but the amazing thing was as we got older in our teen years, he knew how to pull back and give you rope, not enough to kill yourself but to start learning. Instead of trying to micromanage, and he would say as we got older, this is your life, you make your successes and hopefully learn from your mistakes but you have to take control.

    One example is two of my brothers went through a period where they forgot what bathtubs or razors were invented for, and my brother Bob had a beard down to his knees almost, and scruffy hippie clothes, and my father didn’t hesitate to take him where he was traveling to various business meetings. He said, “if you want to look like that, go ahead, it’s your life.” So he figured if you’re wise enough you’ll learn and shape up. If not, there’s not much he could do about it. So a combination of sternness and knowing when to pull back — in retrospect, it’s amazing.

    How did it work out for Bob?

    Fine, he makes me look like a liberal.

    And your mother?

    My mother was the complete opposite of my father, she hated the public limelight, deplored it. But she taught us the small things that make life work — the details of everyday life, from tending to sick kids to sewing in name tags when we were going off to camp or something, in your clothes. So we saw the larger-than-life figure and the essentialness of the small day-to-day things that make life and family work.

    What’s the one question you wish someone would ask you but they never have?

    (Laughs long and hard) What’s the one question? One thing about it is when you go to the public square is that you get asked everything. And so in my mind the question should be, what questions do you wish they wouldn’t ask? So I think I’ve been asked pretty much everything.

    So what question would you prefer not to be asked?

    One that I’m glad I wasn’t asked was about Bill Clinton when he observed about what he wore under his suits, remember that one on MTV? (The famous “boxers or briefs” question.) So thankfully, I wasn’t asked that question. That was one I wasn’t asked and glad I wasn’t.

    And you’re not going to answer it, right?

    Only my wife knows for sure.

    Can you compare the leadership of the past, particularly the Reagan administration, to the leadership of today?

    Obama saw himself as the anti-Reagan. You remember when he ran the 2008 campaign, he had earned the enmity of Bill Clinton by saying that even he, Obama, did not agree with what Reagan did. He appreciated that Reagan was a transformational president and then Obama went on to say that the fact we haven’t had a transformational president since, but he’s going to be another transformational president going in the opposite direction of Reagan.

    “Obama saw himself as the anti-Reagan.”
    Share:

    Clinton did not like being referred to as the seat-warmer between the two transformers. Their hugs at the 2012 convention had all the sincerity of two monsters hugging each other in a “Godfather” movie. And you saw that last week when Clinton, with a perfect sense of timing, said a president should keep their promises and forced Obama to start backtracking on Obamacare while providing cover for his wife and beleaguered Democrats.

    In terms of leadership, Obama wants to be transformational, he’s learning that just because you want to do something (it) doesn’t mean it’s going to happen, and he does not have the understanding of America or love of America or appreciation of America that Reagan did. And so Reagan’s rhetoric was substantive and resonated with the American people, while Obama’s is well-delivered with a teleprompter, but shallow. And that’s become painfully more evident now that the curtain has been stripped on the “Wizard of Oz.” The contrast is not going to be between two different philosophies between Reagan and Obama, but one understood his country, and the other did not.

    Steve Forbes: Obama doesn’t have the “understanding,” “love,” or “appreciation of America that Reagan did.”
    Share:

    What makes you so grounded? Do you ever feel misunderstood?

    Well, when things don’t go your way everyone feels misunderstood, from the time they reach consciousness as kids. First things kids learn from the time they’re 2 years old is the word “no.” And then in the teenage years it’s, “you don’t understand,” they throw at their parents repeatedly. So that’s an irrelevancy. So I think if you’re not grounded, the world will make you grounded soon enough.

    No one is master of the universe, and (that’s) one thing we learned while we were growing up from stories about our grandfather who started our company. He had reached success in the 1920s and was then being destroyed by the Great Depression. So success is ephemeral. And one of the things my father used to do while we were growing up was take us to various business functions, and as we got older, we were supposed to know who was there and why and to help out. And one of the lessons he was purporting was that success is not permanent, you have to work at it each day. It’s like tending a garden. You don’t tend to it, it isn’t going to last.

    Interview has been condensed.

  • Hunter Shoots Deer — 63 Seconds Later, Video Shows Him Getting the Absolute Scare of a Lifetime!
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 10:16 am by Liz Klimas

    Comments (164)

    A hunter climbed down from his tree stand and trekked a couple hundred feet to claim his prize — a deer.

    But as he approached it, he noticed that it appeared to still be breathing. The deer’s mouth was open and the leaves around it appeared somewhat bloody.

    deer

    The footage records the hunter saying he thought the deer was still breathing. (Image source: YouTube)

    Taking a step closer and giving the deer’s leg a little kick — bam! — the deer’s eyes opened and within an instant it was on its feet running, scaring the heck out of the hunter. The hunter ends up screaming like a little child.

    deer

    Even if the scene was recreated with computer graphics imagery, it’s startling none the less. (Image source: YouTube)

    “I knew it wasn’t dead and I knew it was not faking,” the YouTube user, Nick Faber, who posted the video last week wrote.

    But in an age when computer graphics imagery could be used to create such a scene, we have to question if the footage is real.

    Watch the starling video (Content warning: strong language):

    Fake or not, it’s not the first time a deer thought dead has startled humans. A Michigan man earlier this year put a deer he hit in the back of his truck to process it for meat. With a police car’s dashcam running, the deer, at one point during the questioning of the man, sprang up out of the truck.

    And as Deputy Managing Editor Jon Seidl explained to me, as an experienced hunter himself, after shooting any animal — especially a large one — it’s proper practice to wait a good amount of time (30 minutes or so) before investigating the shot. Why? So that you don’t startle it and chase it away before it expires. So this type of thing does happen.

    Let us know what you think about this video’s authenticity by taking our poll:

  • Cop Finishes Marathon, Turns Up Missing, Surfaces Three Days Later 1,300 Miles Away – Wait Until You Hear Why
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 10:01 am by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (16)

    Jeremy Varnell came in 2,075th place out of 2,672 entrants in Sunday’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon in San Antonio, Texas, finishing the 26.2-mile race just shy of six hours.

    Missing Texas Cop Jeremy Varnell Found Safe in Florida, Says He Wants to Start a New Life

    Jeremy Varnell (Image source: Facebook)

    Not world-class speed by any stretch. But then again the veteran cop with 19 years under his belt may have been conserving energy for the much-longer run he was about to embark upon.

    Varnell — a police sergeant in Flower Mound, Tex., about five hours north of San Antonio — never showed up for breakfast the morning after the marathon and wasn’t at the El Tropicano Hotel, either.

    Oddly while his blue Ford Focus was gone, the 43-year-old’s clothing and personal items were still inside his hotel room. No answer on his cell phone, and Varnell’s family had lost track of him.

    Varnell failed to show up for work on Tuesday, noted KXAS-TV in Fort Worth, and his family had already issued a missing person’s alert.

    Flower Mound Capt. Wess Griffin said Tuesday the department sent two detectives to San Antonio to help police with the investigation.

    “We are just very concerned for his well-being,” Griffin told KXAS. “He’s a super-loyal employee and a great guy.”

    By Wednesday morning, the search was over.

    About 1,300 miles away in the parking lot of a hotel in Lantana, Fla. — on the east coast of the state about 10 miles south of West Palm Beach — a patrol officer was running plates when he found a match to Varnell’s car.

    Missing Texas Cop Jeremy Varnell Found Safe in Florida, Says He Wants to Start a New Life

    (Image source: KXAS-TV)

    While the hotel had no Jeremy Varnell listed in its guest registry, management told the officer there was a Jack Lawson from Texas staying there. So the cop went to the corresponding room, knocked on the door, and Varnell answered, reluctantly offering his real name, according to KTVT-TV in Fort Worth.

    Varnell explained he was staying at the hotel with a man he met online a month ago, KTVT reported, and that he wasn’t happy with his life and wanted to leave his job and friends and start over. The officer asked Varnell several times if he wanted to harm himself, KTVT reported; Varnell said no and also declined mental health counseling.

    Note: While WFAA-TV in Dallas-Fort Worth and KXAS reported Varnell was found Wednesday morning, KTVT reported Varnell was found Tuesday evening.

    Flower Mound Chief Andy Kancel said Varnell’s discovery means the missing-person case is now a personnel matter, he told KXAS, adding that Varnell isn’t subject to criminal offenses nor is he under internal affairs investigation, although he may be disciplined for failing to report for duty.

    Missing Texas Cop Jeremy Varnell Found Safe in Florida, Says He Wants to Start a New Life

    (Image source: KXAS-TV)

    “Most jobs, you need to show up for work. You have to have an excused absence,” Kancel told KTVT. “Certainly we’re just on the front end of this. We just want to speak to our Sergeant and find out what’s going on.”

    Earlier Wednesday Kancel had expressed his confusion and worry. “It’s rare for a law enforcement officer to disappear,” he told KTVT. “Obviously that causes us concern. We consider ourselves one big family here in this department, in this town, and we want to take care of each other.”

    KXAS reporter Kendra Lyn noted during her on-air segment that she spoke to Varnell’s “domestic partner” who had gotten word that his “loved one” was safe and needed time to sort out the “confusing details.”

    Here’s a report from KTVT-TV in Dallas:

    The report from KXAS:


    (H/T: Dallas Observer)

  • See the Offensive ‘Rabid Dog’ Tweet Aimed at Israel Sent From the Account Said to Be Associated With Iran’s Supreme Leader
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 9:53 am by Sharona Schwartz

    Comments (85)

    After Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reportedly called Israel a “rabid dog” during a defiant speech on Wednesday, the Twitter account associated with the senior Iranian cleric reiterated the slur Thursday morning and to emphasize the point included a photo of Israel Defense Forces soldiers along with a dog and what appears to be a Palestinian woman.

    Here is the tweet along with the photo:

    Iranian Supreme Leaders Twitter Posts Photo of Israel Soldiers and a Dog After Calling Israel a Rabid Dog

    Iran experts believe the Twitter feed is managed by Khamenei’s office.

    Though news agencies reported that Khamenei called Israel a “rabid dog” during the speech, Al-Monitor Iran Pulse Editor Arash Karami wrote that Khamenei was referring specifically to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the “unclean rabid dog.”

    Characterizing Khamenei’s words as “harsher language than usual,” Iran watcher Karami posted this translation for the controversial quote, “Is the Islamic system after a war with others?” asked Khamenei. “Sometimes this is heard from the enemies of Iran, such as from the sinister mouth of the unclean rabid dog of the region in the Zionist regime,” he said, referring to Israeli’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, per Karami.

    Khamenei appeared to threaten Israel’s existence which Iranian officials have in the past articulated, saying, “The Zionist regime is an imposed regime, and whatever comes out of force is not durable and this regime will not endure.”

    “The Iranians deny our past and repeat their commitment to wipe the State of Israel off the map. This reminds us of the dark regimes of the past that plotted against us first and then against all of humanity,” Netanyahu said on Thursday during a visit to Moscow.

    Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman on Thursday reacted to Khamenei’s words, saying he is “someone who uses the words of Goebbels and Hitler when talking about the Jews.”

    The speech has shown that Iran “certainly does not aim to acquire nuclear power for peaceful purposes,” Liberman said according to the Times of Israel.

    Iran Wire reported that Khamenei stressed in his speech that Israeli leaders should not be called human. Besides the rabid dog comparison, Khamenei described the Israeli leadership as “savages” and “religiously unclean.”

    During his speech delivered to 50,000 Basij volunteer militiamen, Khamenei also lashed out at the U.S., which he called the “leader of the arrogance.”

    According to Ali Alfoneh, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Khamenei compared the U.S. to a different animal – not a dog – employing the phrase “camel-like American vengeance.”

    The crowd was heard repeatedly chanting “Death to America” and “Death to Israel,”  as Khamenei blasted the U.S. for transgressions ranging from slavery to the Abu Ghraib prison scandal to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    He even weighed in on the U.S. government shutdown. “Rather than military threats, go repair your ruined economy, do something so your government is not shut down for fifteen to sixteen days. Go repay your debts and think of bringing order in your economic affairs,” he said.

    BuzzFeed reported on Wednesday that a senior U.S. administration official would say only that Khamenei’s “rabid dog” diatribe was “uncomfortable”  but did not go so far as to condemn it as  unacceptable, as the French did.

    “Of course I don’t ever like it when people use rhetoric that in any way talks about the U.S. in ways that I find very uncomfortable and not warranted whatsoever,” the official told reporters on the sidelines of negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program in Geneva (see related post on TheBlaze blog).

    Israeli Foreign Minister Liberman on Thursday called on Western negotiators to “pay attention” to Khamenei’s words.

    ”The speech by Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, is the true face of the Iranian regime, not the false representation that [Iranian President Hassan] Rouhani and his people are showing the world,” Liberman said.

    Despite the soft American response to the Iranian rhetoric, Iran analyst Alfoneh wrote, “His speech, in fact, casts a shadow over the Geneva talks.”

    “Khamenei’s speech bodes poorly for the deal Western governments may strike in Geneva. If they remain focused on the softer words of Rouhani and foreign minister Javad Zarif, they do so to their own detriment. Ignoring Khamenei’s jarring display of defiance will haunt the West when it is Tehran’s turn to deliver on its promises and implement the Geneva agreement,” Alfoneh wrote.

    (H/T: Times of Israel)

  • We Can Almost Guarantee You’ve Never Heard of a Politician Carrying This in Her Purse for Protection
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 9:10 am by Sharona Schwartz

    Comments (109)

    Some women carry pepper spray for protection, but one Libyan member of parliament thought she needed to pack something a little stronger: a grenade.

    Libyan Member of Parliament Carries Grenade in Her Purse for Self Defense

    Getty Images

    Libyan Member of Parliament Souad Soltan was stopped Wednesday at Tripoli’s city hall after her handbag set off a metal detector. French news agency Agence France-Presse reported that Soltan said she carries the grenade for self-defense.

    Soltan was heading to a meeting when she placed her bag through a metal detector, the city government said on its Facebook page.

    “When the security officer asked her what was in the bag, she admitted there was a grenade that she carried for her own defense,” a government statement said, according to AFP.

    The grenade was confiscated by security officers who then permitted Soltan to attend her meeting.

    “After she left the meeting, she wanted the grenade back but the security officer refused,” the statement said.

    Libya has been gripped with violence and lawlessness since dictator Moammar Gadhafi was toppled two years ago.

    Protesters last week were fired upon by Misrata militia fighters while demonstrating against the militia and demanding it leave Tripoli. On Saturday, rival militias clashed in Tajoura east of Tripoli. At least 37 were killed during the new round of violence.

    The U.K. Guardian newspaper reported that the United Nations and the European Union evacuated non-essential staff from Libya over the weekend as a result.

    Last month, Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zidan was kidnapped in the capital Tripoli by gunmen who held him for several hours before setting him free.

  • New Rap Album From a Surprising Performer Warns About the Dangers of Removing God From American Society
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 8:59 am by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (59)

    When Fr. Claude Burns isn’t tending to his flock or weighing in on hefty theological issues, he’s spinning rhymes. Burns, a Catholic priest whose stage name is Fr. Pontifex, released “The Symphony and the Static” on Tuesday — a new rap album that he hopes will stir people ”to embrace the presence of God in their lives.”

    TheBlaze interviewed Fr. Pontifex this week to learn more about what fans can expect from the 11 tracks on his new album. In addition to aspiring to move fans’ hearts, Fr. Pontifex said that his new music directly confronts some of the more problematic shifts he sees in American culture — mainly the perceived removal of God from society.

    Read the interview below.

    THEBLAZE: What can listeners expect to hear on “The Symphony and the Static?

    FR. PONTIFEX: They can expect to hear a wide diversity in sounds and moods. The track production, by design, reflects the theme of the symphony and the static — that is the tension between hope and suffering. I spent almost a year writing lyrics and creating themes for this album. It has some tough cutting edge rhyme schemes and also thought provoking spoken word poetry. They will hear my experiences with the human drama and the hope I hold in my heart as I deal with [this experience].

    Catholic Priest Fr. Claude Burns Turned Rap Artist Confronts Societys Removal of God

    Credit: YouTube

    THEBLAZE: What are some of your favorite themes dealt with on the album?

    FR. PONTIFEX: The one theme that comes up throughout the album is perseverance. I find that in my own life when I deal with the drama of life that I am deeply motivated by the hope of beliefs. The drive of the Holy Spirit within the heart to keep going even in the midst of suffering and obstacles is a major theme that I love.

    THEBLAZE: Culture is changing rapidly in America. How do you confront that dynamic in this new album?

    FR. PONTIFEX: The track on the album “No Mercy” is really my lament over the state of our culture. The line in the song that says “What do we live for? What makes the soul soar? Doesn’t anyone fear God anymore” pretty much sums it up. We really have a crisis within our culture of moving God out of the way. Some people have a tendency to see God as a threat to freedom, which is simply not true.

    History has shown us over and over again that the further God is removed from the culture the more inhumane the culture becomes. Another song on the album “Mindfields” (spelled that way on purpose) begins by saying, “My culture has beauty but lament pervades, saturated with self and black parades.” Those two songs certainly represent the static of life and culture.

    Here’s a video preview of the album:


    THEBLAZE: So, where did you get the name — “The Symphony and The Static”?

    FR. PONTIFEX: The idea for “The Symphony and The Static” as a concept came to me during Christmas last year. I was going through a difficult time in my life and I had also walked with some people through some tough times — and yet it was Christmas, which is always a joyful experience for me. The feelings I had inside birthed in me the idea of the tension between hope and suffering, joy and pain, and peace and violence.

    One of the lines from “The Overture” sums it up: “We live in the tension of chaos and glory, chapters buried in time with so much more to the story.” My life feels like that and it’s what I observe and experience with my people. Not one of us is immune to the human drama. Each one of us experiences our own symphony and static.

    THEBLAZE: Tells us what your favorite song on the album is and why.

    FR. PONTIFEX: My favorite song on the album is “Walk On” … because it reflects the direction I want to go in stylistically as an artist and [because] the lyrics and feel of the track are the most heartfelt. It’s a really a dialogue between myself and anyone who may cross my path. It’s a song about the journey of life, sticking together in the struggle and the questions that arise from that struggle.

    The last song on the album “Own the Night” is a second favorite because it highlights the answer to the tension of the symphony and the static and that is Jesus. He owns the night.

    Catholic Priest Fr. Claude Burns Turned Rap Artist Confronts Societys Removal of God

    Credit: Fr. Pontifex

    THEBLAZE: What do you say to people who are surprised that a priest doubles as a rap artist?

    FR. PONTIFEX: St. Thomas Aquinas said that “Grace builds upon nature.” I grew up listening to and writing poetry. I loved Bob Dylan and Leonard Coehn and was fed that as a child. When hip-hop became a force in my neighborhood, I took notice. It was poetry with a pulse. The power of words has always been a passion of mine and I think my priestly character only makes that more unique and enriching. At least that is my hope anyway. For me it’s not a gimmick. It is an extension of who I am and what I stand for.

    THEBLAZE: If listeners could walk away with one message from your album, what would it be?

    FR. PONTIFEX: We all experience the human drama, our own symphony and static. Sometimes I think we deal with this tension on our own and we don’t talk about it. Through engaging this album and the visuals that will go with it, I hope people will be stirred within to embrace the presence of God in their lives as they wrestle with the joy and suffering of life.

    Again, Jesus is the answer in the midst of the tension. He is the answer to the deepest longing of the human heart.

  • Number of Americans Applying for Jobless Benefits Takes Sharp Downward Turn
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 8:49 am by Becket Adams

    Comments (54)

    Let’s take a look at our weekly jobless claims report:

    Applications for jobless benefits fell by 21,000 for the week ending Nov. 16, bringing the total to 323,000, down from last week’s revised figure of 344,000, the Labor Department announced Thursday.

    The four-week moving average, a “less volatile” figure, fell by 6,750, bringing the total to 338,500, down from the previous unrevised average of 345,250.

    “The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.2 percent for the week ending November 9, unchanged from the prior week’s unrevised rate,” the Labor Department report reads.

    “The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending November 9 was 2,876,000, an increase of 66,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 2,810,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,856,750, an increase of 6,500 from the preceding week’s revised average of 2,850,250,” it adds.

    The states with the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending Nov. 9 were California (+4,737), New York (+2,853), Pennsylvania (+2,711), Michigan (+2,271), and New Jersey (+2,210).

    Meanwhile, in Florida (-1,055), Kentucky (-580), Ohio (-409), and Kansas (-169) posted the biggest decreases in initial claims.

    Markets are opening mixed on unemployment claims and hints Wednesday that the Federal Reserve may soon draw down its billion dollar bond-purchasing program:

    The Number of Americans Applying for Jobless Benefits Takes Sharp Downward Turn The Number of Americans Applying for Jobless Benefits Takes Sharp Downward Turn The Number of Americans Applying for Jobless Benefits Takes Sharp Downward Turn
    The Number of Americans Applying for Jobless Benefits Takes Sharp Downward Turn The Number of Americans Applying for Jobless Benefits Takes Sharp Downward Turn The Number of Americans Applying for Jobless Benefits Takes Sharp Downward Turn
    The Number of Americans Applying for Jobless Benefits Takes Sharp Downward Turn The Number of Americans Applying for Jobless Benefits Takes Sharp Downward Turn

    Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

  • Airplane’s ‘Scary’ On-Board Malfunction Sparks Emergency Landing
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 8:46 am by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (13)

    Imagine soaring 30,000 feet in the air when an emergency slide inadvertently inflates inside your airplane, sparking fear and forcing pilots to make an immediate emergency landing.

    This is exactly what unfolded on JetBlue flight 1266 Wednesday afternoon after the airplane left Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers, Fla.

    While on its way to Boston’s Logan Airport, a slide deployed in the front of the plane, forcing a landing at Orlando International Airport instead, WBZ-TV reported.

    Catherine Leonard, one of the passengers on board, said that there was “a big noise” before the slide inflated.

    “It was a little scary at first,” she said.

    NECN-TV has more:

    No passengers were seriously injured, though a flight attendant who was knocked over when the slide deployed was taken to the hospital with a head injury.

    Upon landing, the 73 passengers and four crew members exited out the back door.

    The JetBlue customers were subsequently put on a different plane and arrived in Boston Wednesday evening. Those on board were refunded for the flight and given a free voucher for another.

    This is reportedly the first time a slide inflated mid-air inside of a JetBlue airplane. The plane has been taken out of service while the incident is investigated.

    (H/T: WBZ-TV)

    Featured image via WBZ-TV/Passenger photo

  • ‘There’s No Reason at All’: Three More Appear to Fall Victim to ‘Knockout’ Attack in Philly
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 8:26 am by Liz Klimas

    Comments (215)

    A Philadelphia man was reaching into his pocket to pluck out a cigarette for someone who had asked to bum one when, without warning, he was being attacked.

    mark cumberland

    Mark Cumberland was one of three victims in the Philadelphia region subject to a senseless attack that seems to be part of the growing “knockout game.” (Image source: KWY-TV)

    Mark Cumberland and two other men in Philadelphia fell victim to what appears to be part of the “knockout game,” a disturbing trend that seems to be spreading around the country involving teens who try to knockout people in a single punch.

    “There’s no reason at all. I mean, I didn’t get robbed, they didn’t take nothing from me. They just beat me up,” Cumberland told KWY-TV, noting that he now has trouble seeing and breathing after the attack.

    Police told the local news station an elderly man was attacked while walking his dog late last month — the suspects were apprehended in this case — and yet another older man was hit while mowing his lawn.

    Watch KWY-TV’s report:

    The neighbor of a 63-year-old victim, who was not identified in the report, told KWY such an incident was unexpected in the neighborhood.

    “I think it’s absolutely horrible. I think this is a beautiful neighborhood and I didn’t expect anything like that here,” Jeri Greenfield said.

    “It’s very sad that before you used to walk on the street with no worries whatsoever,” neighbor Al Ciavijo told KWY.

    Other cities seem to be experiencing similar senseless attacks. In Washington, D.C., police are investigating two attacks on women in the Columbia Heights neighborhood.

  • How Bad Are Things Between Israel and the U.S.? Israeli Foreign Minister Says It’s Time to Find New Allies
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 8:10 am by Sharona Schwartz

    Comments (162)

    Providing further evidence of the strain in relations with the Obama administration over Iran’s nuclear program and peace talks with the Palestinians, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said this week that Israel needs to look for other allies besides the U.S.

    Asked about U.S.-Israel relations at an academic conference in Sderot on Wednesday, Liberman said, “The link between Israel and its main strategic partner the United States has weakened.”

    “Israel’s foreign policy for many years went in one direction toward Washington, but my policy has more directions,” Liberman said, according to the Jerusalem Post.

    Reflecting Tension with Obama Admin, Israeli Foreign Minister Says Its Time to Find New Allies

    Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said the “link between Israel and its main strategic partner the United States has weakened.” (Getty Images)

    “There are enough countries that we can be a help to and therefore our foreign policy must be to search for allies,” the foreign minister said. “The Americans have a lot of problems and challenges around the world that they need to solve and they have problems at home. We need to understand them and our place in the global arena.”

    “We need to stop demanding, complaining, moaning and instead seek countries that are not dependent on money from the Arab or Islamic world and who want to cooperate with us in the field of innovation,” Liberman further said according to French news agency Agence France-Presse.

    “It’s naive to think that countries will help us because of altruism,” he added.

    Tension between Washington and Jerusalem has been high as the Obama administration is reported to be willing to accept a sanctions-easing interim deal with Iran that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called “bad and dangerous.”

    Israel is not the only country in the region to feel a cooling in relations with the U.S. After the Obama administration announced it was partially suspending military aid to Egypt following the ousting of Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated President Mohammed Morsi, Russia has reportedly been discussing a major arms deal with the North African nation.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry further miffed Israelis earlier this month by meting out harsh criticism of the construction of Jewish housing in West Bank settlements during an Israeli television interview. In the interview, Kerry also warned of a “third Intifada,” or Palestinian uprising, and of the potential for increased international pressure to boycott Israel, suggesting Israel needs to make painful concessions to the Palestinians.

    One Israeli government official speaking anonymously to Channel 2 called Kerry’s words “intimidation tactics.”

    In his Wednesday talk, Liberman slammed those calling on Israel to make “painful concessions,” saying those demands “come from people who don’t know the history or the facts.”

    “Settlements weren’t an obstacle for peace with Egypt or Jordan. On the other hand, we evacuated settlements in Gaza and got [rocket] fire. Historically, there is no connection between settlements and peace agreements,” he said.

    Labor Party Member of Knesset Nachman Shai accused Liberman of “throwing out the baby with the bathwater.”

    “Public arguments with the U.S. happened in the past, but there is no other country on Earth with such a broad common denominator with Israel or that is so important to us,” Shai said, according to the Jerusalem Post. “The U.S. stands next to Israel in dozens of incidents and issues every day and is our safest defensive shield.”

    The foreign minister returned to his position last week after being cleared of corruption charges.

  • Bishop Who Once Warned That Voting Dem Could Place One’s ‘Eternal Salvation…in Jeopardy’ Holds Public Exorcism Against Gay Marriage Law
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 8:01 am by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (134)

    Illinois became the 16th state to formally legalize gay marriage on Wednesday when Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn signed the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act. While some were pleased with the development, others were not so content.

    Among the detractors was Bishop Thomas Paprocki, a Catholic leader who held a public exorcism following Quinn’s signing. Paprocki performed the invocation at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield, Ill., making known his views against same-sex marriage.

    During the public event, he wore a purple robe and told the 500 person audience that, while he wasn’t attempting to say that Quinn or anyone else is literally possessed, he wanted to tackle and confront society’s evils, The Chicago Sun-Times reported.

    “I did not seek to enter any controversy and I don’t relish being part of one,” he told the audience. “But I have given this matter a great deal of thought and prayer, which has led me to the conviction that God is calling me to speak out and conduct these prayers.”

    Despite Paprocki’s opposition to gay marriage, the bishop also encouraged respect and sensitivity in the way that believers treat gays and lesbians.

    “The church loves homosexual persons and looks upon them with compassion,” he added.

    From there, he spoke about purging evil and darkness and took aim at the devil’s purported influence on the world. He referred to Satan as a “cunning serpent” who deceives the human race.

    “I exorcise you, every unclean spirit, every power of darkness, every incursion of the infernal enemy, every diabolical legion, cohort, and faction, in the name and power of our Lord Jesus Christ,” he said during the exorcism and prayer. “Be uprooted and put to flight from the Church of God from souls created in the image of God and redeemed by the precious blood of the divine lamb.”

    He continued, “Be gone Satan, father of lies, enemy of human salvation. … Give way to Christ, in whom you found no trace of your works. Give way to the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic church, which Christ himself won by his blood.”

    The Chicago Tribune reported that the “it’s unclear if Paprocki is exorcising the law, the state, the diocese or the legislature,” but a spokesperson for the Diocese of Springfield told the outlet “minor exorcisms” are performed frequency in the church.

    “These prayers that the bishop is using are from the rite of exorcism, but they are specifically designed to pray for the limitation of the work of the devil and the work of evil in the world,” spokeswoman Kathie Sass told the Tribune. ”This is not a Hollywood version.”

    Here’s how Paprocki described the invocation and exorcism he offered (read his entire exorcism commentary here):

    “Perhaps a large part of the negative reaction is because most people don’t know what the Church teaches about exorcism, since they get their misleading information and sensational ideas on this mainly from Hollywood. The fact is that a ‘minor exorcism’ takes place in every Baptism and Confirmation ceremony when we renounce Satan and all his works and empty promises. This prayer service will be along those lines. I’m not saying that anyone involved in the redefinition of marriage is possessed by the devil, which, if that were the case, would require the remedy of a ‘Major Exorcism,’ but all of us are certainly subject to the devil’s evil influences and in need of protection and deliverance from evil.”

    The event sparked protest from people coalescing outside the church. But this isn’t the first time Paprocki has sparked controversy.

    In a column and video posted in Sep. 2012 by Catholic Times, the official newspaper of the Diocese of Springfield, Paprocki targeted portions of the Democratic platform that “explicitly endorse intrinsic evils and warned that supporting certain politicians could place peoples’ “eternal salvation…in jeopardy.”

    While he noted that it’s not his job to to tell people who do vote for, the faith leader said that he has a duty to speak out about moral issues. Despite his stated problems with the Democratic Party platform — the initial removal of God, its stance abortion and its support of gay marriage – Paprocki spoke relatively favorably of the Republican platform.

    “I have read the Republican Party platform and there is nothing in it that supports or promotes an intrinsic evil or a serious sin,” he proclaimed at the time.

    (H/T: LifeSiteNews)

    Featured image via Catholic Times/YouTube

  • One Picture Captures How Bad Things Could Have Been for a Bus Full of Michigan Kids
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 7:22 am by Liz Klimas

    Comments (28)

    A Michigan bus driver sprang into action and did everything right when a fire broke out on the vehicle during the trip to school Wednesday morning, officials said.

    Twenty students were evacuated from the bus destined for Forest Hills Northern Middle School and High School around 7:25 a.m. when the driver smelled smoke, WZZM-TV reported. After the kids were off, the bus burst into flames.

    bus fire

    The end result of the bus fire. No on was injured. (Image source: WZZM/Facebook)

    “She handled it on scene very well,” the school district’s supervisor of transportation Darryl Hofstra told MLive of the bus driver who has worked for the school for two years.

    A spokesperson for the district told WZZM the cause of the fire is being investigated and the determination will be used to evaluate other buses owned by the district. They are still investigating what happened but for now think it was an electrical glitch.

    The incident occurred while students where being picked up from the Forest Hills Aquatic Center in Grand Rapids Township.

    Watch WZZM’s report with footage of the steaming bus:

    Take a look at more photos of the scorched bus on MLive.

  • Oregon Woman Aims to Please the ‘Touch Driven Person’ by Charging for Cuddle Time
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 11:59 pm by Oliver Darcy

    Comments (49)

    An Oregon woman is cashing in on her love for the act of cuddling.

    Samantha Hess, who considers herself a “professional cuddler” and says she “literally could cuddle 24 hours a day,” charges $60 per hour to cuddle with a growing list of clients.

    Samantha Hess Aims to Please the Touch Driven Person by Charging for Cuddle Time

    Samantha Hess is a professional cuddler who aims to please the “touch-driven person.” (Image source: KPTV)

    She says her services are aimed at anyone who is a “touch-driven person,” but cautions that clients must keep things appropriate.

    “The areas that I touch and that can be touched on me are very simple,” she told KPTV. “The guideline is basically anything that it would be OK to touch on a child is what’s OK in this kind of environment.”

    Samantha Hess Aims to Please the Touch Driven Person by Charging for Cuddle Time

    Samantha Hess charges $60 per hour for her services. (Image source: KPTV)

    “I require each client meet with me in person in a public place so we can sit down and chat,” Hess added. “They can ask me whatever business or personal questions they want and I can learn why they’re seeking my services and ensure that they’re looking for what I offer and nothing more.”

    According to KPTV, Portland Police say her business comes close to the state’s definition of sexual contact, but the don’t currently plan to charge her with anything.

    Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter

  • Famous Illusionist Freaks Out Hollywood Megastars With Reality-Defying Ice Pick Trick
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 11:26 pm by Jason Howerton

    Comments (42)

    Accomplished illusionist David Blaine successfully freaked out a number of huge Hollywood stars with a cringe-inducing ice pick through the hand trick, which aired Tuesday night on ABC’s “Real or Magic” special.

    Actors Will Smith, Jada Smith, Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul (of “Breaking Bad”) and rapper Kanye West were all thoroughly disturbed and perplexed after witnessing the amazing trick.

    We’re sure there’s a logical explanation for it — we just don’t know what it is.

    Watch the clip from “Real or Magic” via ABC below to find out what happens when the celebrities ask him to remove the ice pick from his hand:

  • GOP Rep. Busted for Cocaine Possession to Take Leave of Absence, Donate Salary to Charity
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 11:13 pm by Jason Howerton

    Comments (51)

    Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.) announced in a Wednesday press conference that he will take a leave of absence and donate his salary to charity after being busted for cocaine possession. After pleading guilty, Radel was sentenced to one-year probation.

    Rep. Trey Radel to Take Leave of Absence, Donate Salary to Charity

    This photo taken July 9, 2013 shows Rep. Henry “Trey” Radel, R-Fla. on Capitol Hill in Washington. Radel pleaded guilty Wednesday to misdemeanor cocaine possession. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    Radel made no excuses for his actions, saying he let down the country, his constituents. and his family. He also revealed that he has struggled with alcoholism in the years after his mother’s “terrible and tragic” death.

    “I hope, like family, southwest Florida can forgive me for this. I’ve let them down, but I do believe in faith, forgiveness and redemption and i hope to come out of this a stronger man, a better man, for all of you,” he said.

    The freshman GOP congressman has sought help for his addiction and will continue getting help while his staff continues to work in his absence.

    “Sometimes in life you need a wake up call. This is my wake up call,” Radel said.

    A Drug Enforcement Administration official said Radel bought cocaine in a Washington, D.C., neighborhood on Oct. 29. Later that night, federal authorities went to his apartment and informed him that he would be facing criminal charges. The charges were made public Tuesday.

  • MSNBC Panel Explodes After Professor Accuses Conservative Columnist of Deploying ‘White Privilege’ to ‘Silence a Black Man’
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 10:51 pm by Jason Howerton

    Comments (321)

    An MSNBC panel exploded on Wednesday after Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson accused conservative columnist Matt Lewis of deploying “white privilege” to “silence a black man” because he didn’t want to talk about race.

    The tense exchange occurred after Dyson cited and seemingly agreed with Oprah Winfrey’s recent claim that, in many cases, opposition to President Barack Obama is due to the color of his skin. The panel was debating Obamacare and immigration reform when Dyson suddenly brought up race.

    “It took ten minutes — ten minutes to get to the race issue,” Lewis interrupted.

    After some heated crosstalk, Dyson told Lewis not to “deploy the very principles of white privilege to silence a black man on the panel because you don’t want to talk about race.”

    “So be quiet!” Dyson added.

    MSNBC Panel Explodes After Georgetown Professor Accuses Conservative Columnist of Deploying White Privilege to Silence a Black Man

    (MSNBC)

    Outraged at his co-panelist’s accusation, Lewis asked host Martin Bashir if he would step in and call out Dyson over the remark. He did not get any support from the host.

    “Matt…please allow professor Dyson to speak,” Bashir said.

    “You can’t even talk about policy without bringing up race can you?” Lewis shot back.

    Bashir again urged Lewis to let Dyson talk, but the explosive crosstalk continued.

    “The vast majority of Republicans are mindless and incapable of articulating a solid, serious, intellectual conception, or a political fix or remedy to the problem we have here,” Dyson later argued, adding that “race plays a role in constantly contaminating the entire process.”

    “This is a joke!” Lewis retorted.

    Watch the exchange via MSNBC:

    (H/T: Ben Howe)

  • Watch What Happens When a Tea Party Senator Is Pressed on Whether He Will Endorse Lindsey Graham in 2014
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 10:09 pm by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (109)

    South Carolina will have two incumbent U.S. senators up for reelection in 2014: Republicans Lindsey Graham, seeking his third term, and Tim Scott, who was appointed to that seat by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley after former Sen. Jim DeMint’s departure.

    Sen. Tim Scott (R S.C.) Refuses to Say He Supprts fellow S.C. GOP Sen. Lindsey Grahams Reelection

    Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) (Image source: CNN via YouTube)

    Scott is a Tea Party favorite, while those constituents likely see Graham as not conservative enough, which could hurt Graham’s reelection chances.

    To that end, Van Jones, host of CNN’s “Crossfire,” asked Scott on Wednesday if he’d be supporting Graham’s reelection bid.

    Scott didn’t answer.

    “I am up for reelection next year myself,” he replied. “I’m going to make sure that Tim Scott gets out…and I’m going to allow for all the other folks on the ballot to represent themselves very well. But I’m going to continue to work hard for my election.”

    Not satisfied with Scott’s answer, Jones asked, “No endorsement for Lindsey tonight?”

    But Scott wouldn’t take the bait. “I’m certainly going to be working really hard for Tim Scott’s reelection,” Scott repeated. “Gotta win first.”

    Another guest, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), took the opportunity to pump up Democrats by saying that they may have “different views” but don’t “fear that the tent is so small.”

    Scott jumped in to offer this counterpoint: “Thirty nine Democrats broke with the president on Obamacare because they were in fear of their election,” Scott retorted. “The bottom line is simply this: that for us to sit here and pretend like there is not infighting in both parties is to look at the glass as if it’s a coffee cup or something. It’s just ridiculous. There’s infighting everywhere.”

    Here’s a clip from CNN that features Scott’s response regarding whether he’ll support Graham’s reelection:

    (H/T: Mediaite)

  • All Charges Dropped Against Two Teen Girls Accused of Bullying Classmate Who Ended Up Committing Suicide
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 9:50 pm by Associated Press

    Comments (81)

    ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Charges have been dropped against two teenage girls who a sheriff had accused of bullying a Florida classmate who later committed suicide, the girls’ attorneys said Wednesday.

    Last month, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd announced the arrest of a 12-year-old girl and a 14-year-old girl as juveniles on stalking charges. He said then that the two were primarily responsible for bullying Rebecca Sedwick, a 12-year-old who jumped to her death at an abandoned concrete plant in September.

    All Charges Dropped Against Teen Girls Accused of Bullying Rebecca Sedwick Before Suicide

    FILE – In this Monday, Sept. 16, 2013 file photo, pallbearers wearing anti-bullying T-shirts carry the casket of Rebecca Sedwick,12, to a waiting hearse as they exit the Whidden-McLean Funeral Home in Bartow, Fla.(AP Photo/Brian Blanco, File)

    Attorney Jose Baez demanded an apology on Wednesday from Judd for arresting his client, the 12-year-old. The lawyer said it was “reckless” for Judd to have brought a juvenile count of third-degree felony aggravated stalking against the girl.

    Separately Wednesday, attorney Ronald Toward told The Associated Press in an email Wednesday evening that the same count had been dropped against his 14-year-old client by the State Attorney’s Office in Polk County.

    At an earlier news conference in Orlando, Baez said an apology was in order from the sheriff for placing the 12-year-old’s name and mugshot before television cameras at news conference last month announcing the arrests.

    Baez on Wednesday described his client as a “troubled young girl” who had been bullied herself.

    “I found zero evidence having to do with my client that would rise to the level of a criminal act,” Baez told reporters.

    At a news conference in Winter Haven – just minutes after Baez’s news conference had ended – Judd said he didn’t regret anything he did. He said that he is happy with the outcome and that the girls will receive “the services they need.”

    “Our goal is that these kids never bully anyone again, never torment anyone again,” Judd said.

    Baez said his client hasn’t ruled out a lawsuit against the sheriff.

    Brian Haas, a spokesman for the State Attorney’s Office in Polk County, said Florida law prevented him from commenting on juvenile cases.

    At last month’s news conference announcing the arrests, Judd said the bullying began about a year ago after the 14-year-old girl started dating Rebecca’s ex-boyfriend. The older girl threatened to fight Rebecca while they were sixth-graders at a middle school in Lakeland, Fla., and told her “to drink bleach and die,” the sheriff had said. She also persuaded the younger girl to bully Rebecca, even though they had been best friends, the sheriff said.

    Though both teens had been identified by authorities, The Associated Press doesn’t generally name juveniles charged with crimes.

  • Who Really Killed President John F. Kennedy? Glenn Beck Hears Both Sides of an Explosive Theory
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 9:39 pm by Erica Ritz

    Comments (252)

    Who really killed President John F. Kennedy? Though the widely-accepted answer is Lee Harvey Oswald, conspiracy theories have abounded for decades.

    According to author Vincent Bugliosi, “42 groups, 82 assassins and 214 people” have been accused of having a hand in the assassination.

    Glenn Beck Hears Two Sides of Who Killed Kennedy Conspiracy   Was LBJ the True Killer?

    (Photo via TheBlaze TV)

    On the Glenn Beck Program Wednesday, Beck spoke with two men who hold wildly different views of how the event took place — one who believes former president Lyndon B. Johnson orchestrated the killing of JFK, and one who believes all the conspiracy theories represent “a giant mirror that we hold up to our own psyche,” revealing our own fears and enemies.

    Beck made it clear that he doesn’t agree with the former, but said he agreed to hear what Roger Stone had to say because many have vouched for him. And Stone held no punches throughout the interview, beginning with the explosive charge that Kennedy’s was not the only murder LBJ had a hand in.

    “I actually tie Lyndon Johnson to eight murders prior to JFK,” Stone remarked. “Murders to cover up … corruption of biblical proportions. Murder to cover up the theft of his first term in the U.S. Senate…Lyndon Johnson was a coarse, loudmouthed bully. He was a crude, nasty vindictive manic depressive. Someone given to deep depressions and wild outbursts of temper, but more importantly, he was greedy; he was corrupt; and he was ambitious. And in November of 1963, he was a man staring into the abyss.”

    Stone said at the time of JFK’s assassination, two major scandals threatened LBJ’s place on the ticket in 1964 that would have led to “political ruin” and possibly “prison.”

    The well-known political consultant, who worked with former President Richard Nixon, also claims that Nixon first began to doubt Americans were getting the complete truth when he saw Jack Ruby “blow away” Oswald.

    According to Stone, then-Congressman Lyndon Johnson had previously asked then-Congressman Richard Nixon to hire Ruby as a “part-time informant” for the House Un-American Activities Committee, and knew him as a “Johnson man.”

    Stone also asserted that a memo from J. Edgar Hoover to Lyndon B. Johnson was declassified in 1996, and it said that the KGB had conducted their own investigation into the assassination and concluded that Johnson was the killer. Stone added that Jacqueline Kennedy also asked the French to investigate her husband’s death, and they reached a similar conclusion.

    “I think there’s actual evidence … not just a theory,” Stone said.

    Watch the complete segment, which also includes more on who Stone believes the actual gunman was, below:

    Complimentary Clip from TheBlaze TV

    But Beck also spoke with Brad Meltzer, author of “History Decoded: The 10 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time,” who agrees that history has been changed – but not in the way Stone sees it.

    Rather than asking whether Lee Harvey Oswald was actually the assassin, Meltzer wants to know things like what Oswald was doing for “two years in Russia unaccounted for.”

    “One of the problems we have,” Meltzer explained, “when the Warren Commission first examined everything, the Kennedy family demanded utter secrecy.”

    In his opinion, the conspiracy theories surrounding the Kennedy assassination are actually a “giant mirror that we hold up to our own psyche”.

    He noted that in the 1960′s many believed the communists or “rich Texas millionaires” were responsible, in the 1970′s some thought the CIA had orchestrated the assassination, and in the 1980′s many blamed the mafia.

    “Decade by decade, if you want to know ‘who killed JFK,’ it is whoever America is most afraid of at the time,” Meltzer said. “To me the legacy of the JFK assassination is simply this – he’s the president who took so many people, and Americans all around, to heights of hope, and in his death reveals our greatest fears…Every conspiracy throughout history reveals our own fears.”

    Complimentary Clip from TheBlaze TV

    The full episode of The Glenn Beck Program, along with many other live streaming shows and thousands of hours of on-demand content, is available on just about any digital device. Get it all with a FREE TRIAL.

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  • ‘This Conversation Never Happened’: Latest Undercover Obamacare Video May Create Problems for ‘Nonpartisan’ Enroll America
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 9:02 pm by Jason Howerton

    Comments (137)

    The latest video from conservative activist James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas accuses the director of Enroll America of conspiring to release private data for political purposes.

    Latest Undercover Obamacare Video Project Veritas James OKeefe, Enroll America

    (YouTube)

    Alleging that Americans’ personal data is being “cross-pollinated” among various left-leaning groups for political purposes, a Project Veritas “investigator” posed as an official a fake progressive group and sat down with the communications director of Enroll America in Texas, Christopher Tarango.

    In the video, which is provided in edited and unedited form, the Project Veritas investigator inquires about obtaining a private list of Obamacare enrollee data to use for political purposes.

    “So then how do we get the list? I still don’t think we can get a list from Enroll America because of the 501 (c)(3) status. How do you suppose we get around that?” Tarango asks in the video.

    However, he later says he will “talk to one person that I think might be open to having this conversation behind closed doors.”

    “The person that I’m telling you, I’m to referring you to, is like me in a leadership position,” he later added. “And so he could export the list if he wanted to.”

    Tarango also assures the undercover Project Veritas staffer that “if we can do it, we’re going to get the list” and references what he calls rule number 17: “Do whatever it f***ing takes.”

    Due to Enroll America’s 501 (c)(3) status, Tarango at one point tells the fake official, “this conversation never happened.”

    The latest video again employs deceptive tactics, however, includes what is reportedly the full, unedited video after the produced version.

    Watch the whole video below via Project Veritas: