Boy in Cancer Remission Learns He’s Going Home and Knows the Occasion Calls for More Than High-Fives

Massive Volcano Exploding in Papua New Guinea Caught on Film

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Mount Tavurvur, a volcano in Papua New Guinea, erupted on Friday, propelling ash and fragments across the sky. The massive eruption started slowly, giving authorities time to evacuate the locals closest to it and to advise others to remain indoors. While no injuries were immediately reported, observers were quick to share photos showing just how powerful this volcano is:   2014-08-31_0737 2014-08-31_0737_002 2014-08-31_0737_001 2014-08-31_0736

Many locals, particularly residents of the town of Rabaul, are relieved that damage was limited. In 1994, the same volcano completely wiped out the town when it exploded at the same time as another nearby volcano, Mount Vulcan.

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17 Reactions to the ‘We Don’t Have a Strategy’ Gaffe That May Haunt the Rest of Obama’s Presidency

The optics for the Obama presidency have gone from bad to worse. The president gave a speech expressing his indignation following the brutal murder of American James Foley by the rampaging terrorist army ISIS, and then promptly hit the golf course minutes later.

Such a firestorm of disapproval from the right and left has given rise to this gaffe that may haunt Obama the rest of his presidency. When responding to a question about how to defeat the Islamic State of Syria (also known as ISIL or IS), President Obama bluntly responded: “We don’t have a strategy yet.”

The gaffe set off a cascade of reaction that crashed like a wave on the White House’s heads. The following are 17 of the top responses:

1.  Washington Post

“By now, President Obama’s remark that “we don’t have a strategy yet” has made the rounds. Republicans were quick to pounce on it, as well they should have.”

2. ABC‘s Martha Raddatz

“A stark admission, since the threat of ISIS has increased at an astonishing rate in the last year, seizing large swaths of territory in Iraq while establishing a safe haven in Syria.”

“That is creating a lot of concern given that ISIS has been gaining strength for years.”

3. CNN‘s Barbara Starr with Jake Tapper

“This is the president that doesn’t beat the war drum, but you have to wonder exactly what message he was sending here today. Let’s be very clear. ISIS heard all of this. …

Very blunt, very honest, absolutely where is the president is on all of this no question about that. But perhaps worth remembering that ISIS fighters, ISIS leadership will hear this statement that the U.S. right now has no strategy to deal with them. I don’t think anybody thought a military strategy was the whole answer, but no strategy? A little odd perhaps.”

4.  Fox News’ & Washington Post’s Charles Krauthammer

“Look, I thought the president could no longer surprise me,” Krauthammer told Fox News’ Bret Baier. “I was wrong. He shocked me today. The President of the United States, in the middle of a real crisis, a few days after the beheading of an American — deliberately sort of spitting in the face of the country and demonstrating his cruelty — the president gets in front of the world and says, ‘I don’t have a strategy.’

If that is true, don’t say anything!” he urged the president. “Why do you announce you don’t have a strategy?”

5. MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough

“The Bear would never show his hand… Is it worse if the president doesn’t have a plan or if he says I have a plan and this is exactly what I’m going to do?…This is straight out of the ‘Art of War.’

The president has a plan on ISIS. Does he know exactly where they are going to bomb in Syria? Maybe, maybe not. I suspect they probably do…”

6. Fox News’ Greg Gutfeld

“But, how do we know? Finally, maybe he’s learning. He’s tricking them. He’s saying we don’t have a strategy, and then they’re going ‘aha,’ and then he just unleashes hell… I doubt it, though. I’m just hoping that President Obama is learning that the world is a scary place and that with radical Islam, if you extend a hand, you get a stump in return. And so maybe he’s being clever. However, I know I’m wrong. I know I’m wrong.”

7. The Telegraph’s Raf Sanchez

“The remark is a gaffe in the classic sense: a clearly true statement that the politician who utters it immediately regrets.

Republicans seized on the line as evidence of Mr Obama dithering in the face of the jihadist threat, and the President’s men raced to the airwaves to try to walk it back.”

8. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest

“I just want to be clear about what our strategy is. This strategy is one that’s not going to solve this problem overnight. But he’s also clear about the fact that our strategy can’t only be the American military. We have a comprehensive strategy for dealing with [ISIS].”

9. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

“The president needs to develop a regional strategy, working with our allies, to defeat ISIL and to use the full extent of his authorities to attack this enemy force,” McConnell wrote in a statement. “But don’t forget, the threat from ISIL is real and it’s growing — and it is time for President Obama to exercise some leadership in launching a response.”

10. Fox News Contributor Karl Rove

As reported by Fox News:

Karl Rove, Fox News analyst and former George W. Bush administration adviser, said he was “appalled” by the president’s comment.

“He was warned about the role that ISIS was playing inside Syria, and he has had all that time to develop a strategy about what to do about ISIS in Syria and he still doesn’t,” Rove told Fox News.

11. Fox News Host Megyn Kelly


As reported by Fox News:

Don’t worry, there’s just a few Americans waiting to have their heads cut off in the custody of this terror group,” Megyn Kelly said tonight, apologizing for being flippant but calling the situation “disturbing.”

12. Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX)

As reported by the Daily Mail:

Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert told Fox News.on Thursday that Obama articulated ‘a pitiful foreign policy, and Barney Fife is in charge.”

‘I don’t know where he’s getting his information,’ said Gohmert. ‘Maybe it’s CIA Director [John] Brennan who said earlier this year that “No, these guys don’t want a caliphate”.’

‘He must have his head buried in a hole somewhere on the first green.’

13. Fox News’ Ed Henry

“There’s one word to describe what happened today and that’s – disaster. I know that because I was sitting there and I heard it with my own ears…

Ever since the president uttered it, the White House has been in damage control mode.”

14. The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes

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15. National Republican Congressional Committee

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16. Independent Women’s Forum

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17. Rep. Renee Ellmers (R – NC)

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While the major news media have often remained quiet during such clashes of rhetoric and reality, the hushed murmur of the disaffected has steadily risen into a banging clamor of disapproval for a Commander-in-Chief who refuses to command, and indeed, shrugs at the notion that he’s in charge.

But it was largely due to Obama’s actions that the terrorist leader of ISIS and now head of the Islamic State’s “caliphate” is roaming free across the Middle East on a murder spree. The same ISIS terrorist group that the president likened to a “JV team” has killed 192,000 people and threatens to kill more Americans.

Meanwhile, both the White House and the State Department refuse to say that the United States is at “war” with ISIS. Whether or not the Obama administration fully grasps this state of affairs, as a matter-of-fact, the terrorist army of ISIS is already at war with us.

Fox News Contributor Has a Novel Idea: U.S. Foreign Policy Should Promote American Interests

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Fox News contributor and Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson described what he thinks is wrong with the administration’s approach to foreign policy, as well as what its primary focus should be:

This is what happens when you have a foreign policy run by college sophomores like Samantha Power, whose driving instinct is to stop cruelty wherever it happens.

 

No, the driving force behind American foreign policy is to protect American interests. And again, chaos and craziness, which inevitably gives rise to lunatic groups like ISIS, always, everywhere, in every country, it always happens, that is contrary to our interests.

 

And so getting out there and saying, we’re going to topple this guy. Really? Because he’s mean? Do you know how many mean people there are around the world? I mean that’s crazy.

 

That’s children running the foreign policy of the United States.

Tucker’s point is that although it might feel really good to say we should stop all the bad people in the world, there are costs, trade-offs and unforeseen consequences. If you base U.S. foreign policy solely on “shoulds,” you’re going to get burned every time.

The purpose of a foreign policy is to advance an agenda that benefits and protects the United States, not encourages other nations of the world to become “free riders” who allow the U.S. to pay the entire price of leadership while they sit on their hands.

Such a disposition neither pressures nations to reform themselves, nor prods them to assertively and pro-actively solve the world’s problems.

The U.S. should lead by example, while signaling to other nations and terrorist groups that it is not to be trifled with.

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U.N. ‘Watchdog’ Seizes on Ferguson Shooting to Slam the U.S. for Racial Discrimination

The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination completed a report which “reviewed” the U.S. for evidence of racial bias and it released a statement today.

Salon reported on the U.N.’s condemnation and that “we are not doing so well.” (Apparently, when the U.N.’s bureaucrats of unimpeachable integrity speak out, Americans should be kept up late at night worrying about it.)

Here is the list that looks more in line with advancing a political agenda than a fact-based presentation. In addition, many of these items appear to call for more government control, which may not solve the problems:

  1. Lack of a national human rights institution
  2. Persistent racial profiling and illegal surveillance
  3. Prevalence and under-reporting of racist hate speech and hate crimes
  4. Disparate impact of environmental pollution in low income and minority communities
  5. Restrictive voter identification laws leading to unequal right to vote
  6. Criminalization of homelessness when homeless people are disproportionately minorities
  7. Discrimination and segregation in housing
  8. De facto racial segregation in education
  9. Unequal right to health and access to health care
  10. High number of gun-related deaths and “Stand Your Ground” laws, which disproportionately affect members of racial and ethnic minorities
  11. Excessive use of force by law enforcement officials
  12. Increasingly militarized approach to immigration law enforcement
  13. Violence against women occurs disproportionately more frequently for women from racial/ethnic minorities
  14. Criminal justice system disproportionately arrests, incarcerates and subjects to harsher sentences people from racial/ethnic minorities
  15. Youth from racial/ethnic minorities are disproportionately prosecuted as adults, incarcerated in adult prisons, and sentenced to life without parole
  16. Non-citizens are arbitrarily detained in Guantanamo Bay without equal access to the criminal justice system, while at risk of being subjected to torture
  17. Unequal access to legal aid
  18. Lacking rights of indigenous peoples (the report lists numerous different concerns)
  19. Absence of a National Action Plan to combat racial discrimination

In the U.N.’s 19 points of concern, the following points about the Ferguson shooting and riots were made:

The excessive use of force by law enforcement officials against racial and ethnic minorities is an ongoing issue of concern and particularly in light of the shooting of Michael Brown.

 

This is not an isolated event and illustrates a bigger problem in the United States, such as racial bias among law enforcement officials, the lack of proper implementation of rules and regulations governing the use of force, and the inadequacy of training and law enforcement officials.

As this “review” of the U.S. by the U.N. was not requested by any Congressional or Executive group, it should be treated as unsolicited advice and given the type of attention such things deserve.

The “unsolicited advice” fails to note that there is an ongoing investigation into the matter and numerous conflicting reports about what actually happened at Ferguson. Before U.N. officials latch onto explosive news stories that are still developing (and there is no evidence of racial bias on the part of the shooting officer Darren Wilson), perhaps they might want to refrain from giving them international attention with their commentary.

Ironically, this particular committee itself has drawn fire from news agencies like the BBC for the way it was created. As an example, the committee’s vice chairman Noureddine Amir hails from Algeria, which is itself a human rights cesspool, especially when compared to the United States.

If you look at the totality of the statistics of racial violence in America and police shootings statistics, the U.N.’s claims come off as more in line with their political agenda than a sober and helpful analysis of the actual situation in the United States.

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Another Perspective on Racial Violence in America: Facts and Statistics That Don’t Fit the Narrative

It’s time for an honest talk about racial violence in America based on the facts and not on the media hype. The overgeneralizations about people based on skin color or ethnicity are not helpful for anyone, whether that person is white, black, Asian, Latino or from any other cultural background.

In an article by Vox.com titled “What we know about who police kill in America,” the narrative presented is one that confirms there must be racial bigotry involved in police shootings of African-Americans. But the statistics do not bear this impression out upon closer examination.

For example, Vox reports that there is a disproportionate number of black Americans killed by police in the United States:

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In addition, Vox reports that according to the FBI’s records, there were 426 “felons killed by police.” The website points out that these statistics are based on “justifiable homicides,” and thus may be incomplete or for various reasons not entirely accurate. (For example, there are police shootings that involve the improper use of excessive force against innocent civilians.)

But these statistics that presumably reveal a disproportionate use of force against black Americans tell only one side of the story.

One video that attempts to put racial violence in perspective is from Bill Whittle and Truth Revolt (video follows below), Whittle states right up front that if Michael Brown was innocent and unjustly shot, that the police officer should be punished and jailed for life. The statistics and the discussion that follow have nothing to do with the particular as-yet-unknown facts of the case.

Whittle believes that the narrative of a violent “war” on blacks being carried out by whites and police officers is not borne out by statistics. A spreadsheet from the FBI backs this up:

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As far as homicide data from the FBI, in 2011 there were 3,172 whites killed, 83% by other whites and 14% by blacks. On the other hand, there were 2,695 blacks killed and 91% of these were killed at the hands of other black Americans.

Per the U.S. Census Bureau, whites make up 77.7% of the population, whereas African-Americans make up 13.2%. According to official statistics, there are six times as many white people in America as black people.

So as a matter of objective fact and not opinion, black Americans disproportionately murder more often than white Americans, based on their respective percentages of the U.S. population.

Whittle supports his assertions with several points:

  • According the National Crime Victimization Survey, an estimated 62,593 blacks were the victims of white violence, and 320,082 whites were the victims of black violence
  • Given the disparity in population, blacks attack whites at a level that is 25 times more frequently than vice versa

Before drawing his conclusion, Whittle again reiterates: None of these statistics would justify Michael Brown’s murder – and if it is found that he was murdered, the police officer responsible must pay for that. Here is his provocative video presentation of his views:

One doesn’t have to agree with Whittle’s verbage to grasp his deeper point: Facts and statistics are often cherry-picked to present a “narrative” that all white people are racist and all blacks are victimized by whites. These statistics suggest this is a biased view that serves only to exacerbate racial tensions.

Human beings should be presumed innocent until proven guilty and should not be lumped into categories that make them appear guilty of committing some crime that in many cases they had nothing to do with.

Editor’s note: This article was edited for content after publication.

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Afghan War Veteran May Have to Buy A New Prosethetic Hand After a Thief Stole His iPod

Imagine having a device that controls your prosthetic hand and gives you the freedom to move it freely. Now imagine that device getting stolen by a burglar.

Last week U.S Army former Staff Sgt. Ben Eberle, 27, woke up at his home in San Antonio, Texas, to find the window of his truck smashed in and his iPod Touch stolen.

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However, this wasn’t an average iPod Touch, because this device controlled Eberle’s prosthetic hand.

In November of 2011, Eberle suffered a serious injury when he was hit by an IED in the Tangi Vally of Afghanistan. When the bomb exploded, Eberle covered his face with his right hand, causing him to lose the hand and both legs.

As a part of his recovery, Eberle received a prosthetic hand. This is where the iPod Touch comes in. Eberle uses an app called i-limb to achieve hand movements that he would not be able to perform without it.

The hand and iPod are synced to one another; therefore, since the iPod was stolen, Eberle has been unable to use his prosthetic hand.

Now one might think why not go and get a new iPod touch - they only cost around $240. But since the iPod and hand are specific to one another, Eberle would have to get an entirely new prosthetic hand as well, which will cost close to $75,000.

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Sgt. Javier Salazar, a spokesman for the San Antonio police, urged the thief to come forward and do the right thing.

“I believe that we owe guys like this a lot more than this sort of treatment, as a society,” Salazar said. “We would ask that whoever did this recognize the gravity of their crime and do the right thing.

One can only hope that the word gets out to this burglar and he returns the iPod to Eberle. It’s bad enough that he had to lose his hand once, but to lose it twice is truly unjust.

To learn more about Ben and to stay updated on his story, check out his Facebook page.

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Taupe and Change: Obama’s Retro Fashion Statement Sparks a Flurry of Hilarious Twitter Flashbacks

President Obama’s attire at a critical foreign policy press conference Thursday has garnered nearly as much buzz as the actual content of the speech.

In case you’ve forgotten, six of the most frightening words of 2014 were uttered during that speech: “We don’t have a strategy yet” for defeating ISIS.

Yet what took over Twitter were slams on his “vacation time” tan suit. Phrases like “Yes We Tan” were uttered across the internet:

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Comparisons were bound to come up, starting with Mr. Rogers:

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Vlad Putin made a guest appearance, looking retro-KGB:

2014-08-30_1327Some took it a little more seriously than necessary:

2014-08-30_1329One commenter thought that the signaling might have went a bit awry:

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2014-08-30_1329Church ref, FTW:

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Speaking of church, another commenter noticed a striking similarity with Obama’s Easter attire:

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These gals had a funny flashback to Clint Eastwood’s famous “empty chair” routine:

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The winner, though, would be CNN’s Jake Tapper:

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Feel free to take our President to task regarding the content of his speech and policy failures in Syria, Iraq, Russia, and Ukraine. But is it really possible that the leaders in those countries take him less seriously because he’s wearing a tan suit?

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Not likely, but in a news cycle with a lot of serious events going on, the rampant speculation about the president’s attire gives the media a way to let off some steam, in addition providing an amusing diversion for those who might be paying attention to more serious matters.

ISIS Terrorists Were Driving Along in An Armed Truck Just Minding Their Own Business When… BOOM

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This might be an unexpectedly feel good video of the week, given the savagery and depravity of the targets at hand.

U.S. Central Command, releasing this video Friday, simply described it like this:

The video depicts a U.S. airstrike against an ISIL armed truck near Irbil on Aug. 26.

The only way this video could potentially be improved would be if it faded to black and ended with the words “Many more such airstrikes to come.”

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What a Bunch of Tea Partiers Did for People of Ferguson is Something Most News Media Won’t Report

Apparently, the St. Louis Tea Party missed the memo that the tea party is full of selfish people who just want to spread their misdirected ire in random ways, because that’s just the kind of Haterade drinkers they are.

According to the group’s Facebook page and BizPacReview, the group is organizing a “BUYcott” to help Ferguson businesses that were devastated by the riots. The group’s leader, Bill Hennessy, posted this exchange, showing the surprise that many had when the event occurred:

A gentlman (my age) in the salon (husband?) asked who we were with. I told him “St. Louis Tea Party.”

 

“Tea party?” he said. “You bad boys,” and chuckled. Then he looked at me, very serious. He said, “The tea party came up here to do this?”

 

“Oh, yeah,” I said. “we don’t want to see Ferguson go south.”

He laughed. And he looked at me. Then he was quiet, lost in thought for a minute. When he came out of it, he was like our best friend. Laughing, giving us crap about stuff, telling stories. He admitted baseball can be like “watching grass grow.”

 

In that moment of reflection, I’m sure he was trying to reconcile “tea party” with what he was seeing–four white people, ages 18 to 50, laughing, spending money, empathizing.

 

That moment made the whole event worthwhile.

 

In other shops, we’d get hard stares when we walked in and shopped. Once we told them “we’re with the tea party, and we’re here to shop,” these people actually shouted. “Thank you, thank you, thank you so much.” …

 

This wasn’t a big win in breadth, but it was monumental in depth.

Obviously, there hasn’t been much major news media coverage of this, nor is this tea party group clamoring for attention.

Neither is it surprising. It’s just a group of Americans helping out others, like people of all political persuasions do all the time.

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6 Crazy Things Happening In The Ukrainian-Russian Conflict People Need to Know About

Here’s what’s going on in the Ukraine while the U.S. media has been focused on the threat posed by the terrorist group known as ISIS (or ISIL/Islamic State).

1. According to the L.A. Times, an average of 36 civilians are dying each day.

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Image via news.kievukraine.info

2. Russian troops and Ukrainian troops are skirmishing around the border and fortifying positions.

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Map via WashingtonPost.com

3. In response to recent aggression where armored Russian columns entered their country, Ukraine is requesting full-fledged membership in NATO.

Ukrainian army troops receive munitions on the outskirts of Izyum

Image via The Guardian

4. And Putin just compared Kiev’s desire to reclaim their cities taken by Russian separatists to the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II.

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Image via The Telegraph

5. Oh yeah, and if that wasn’t enough rhetoric, Putin visited a youth camp in Moscow and told his impressionable audience, “Thank God, I think no one is thinking of unleashing a large-scale conflict with Russia. I want to remind you that Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers.” He followed up with, “It’s best not to mess with us.”

6. The State Department is paying attention, too. Because they just issued a warning urging Americans to avoid traveling to Ukraine.

With several lives being lost daily and a battle that keeps intensifying, we can only hope that the Ukrainian and Russian conflict dies down. Because the last thing the world needs is for this to erupt into a larger regional crisis.

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‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Star Rockets to the Rescue of Sick Child Who Believes ‘Fear Isn’t Real’

“Guardians of the Galaxy” star Chris Pratt is proving he isn’t just into saving lives on the big screen, he does it in real life too.

When Pratt heard about Joseph Henson, an 11-year-old boy suffering from a rare form of brain cancer, he was moved to share Joseph’s story.

Pratt posted on his Facebook page:

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Image Credit: Facebook

The selfless act from the Hollywood superstar made Joseph’s donations skyrocket.

Joseph’s story is touching, to say the least.

A few months ago Joseph was thrown a major curveball. The first came three years ago, when he lost his father in a car accident. But the second incident was a whole different kind of monster.

It started with vomiting and extremely painful migraine headaches. Then, Joseph lost his ability to walk. After going to the doctor, it turned out he had a massive brain tumor.  Fortunately, surgery was mostly successful, removing 75-90% of it.

According to a friend of Joseph’s:

The night before Joe’s brain surgery, his mother asked him if he was afraid. He said, “No mom, Dad always taught me that fear isn’t real, it’s all in your head.”

In addition, a crowdfunding campaign was set up for Joseph, and they have raised over $12,000 dollars with a $25,000 goal. One of the big themes of their campaign is a t-shirt they are selling with the caption, “Fear isn’t real.” The three little words had a strong enough influence that they once again enlisted the volunteer support of Chris Pratt.

On Friday, Pratt tweeted:

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Image Credit: Twitter

If that wasn’t enough already, Pratt went to Facebook to make sure his fans were getting the message:

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Image Credit: Facebook

We’re pulling for a full recovery for Joseph. And a big thanks to Chris Pratt for continuing to be a hero without the cameras rolling.

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What President Obama is Doing This Weekend Instead of Forming a Strategy to Defeat ISIS

The president has been taking a lot of heat in the press for announcing that “we don’t have a strategy yet” for defeating ISIS, but instead of  addressing questions that his behavior is lacking in leadership, he attended fundraisers in New York and Rhode Island. The Washington Examiner reported on Friday:

Planning strategy to deal with the terrorist rebels in Syria will take a back seat to fundraising Friday, as President Obama takes a two-state trip to raise cash for a couple of Democratic groups.

 

He will be raising money in Westchester, N.Y., for the Democratic National Committee and in Newport, R.I. collecting checks for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The President did cancel his plans to spend the night in New York and returned to Washington D.C.. However, the president will still be attending a wedding on Saturday:

President Obama broke the record for first-term fundraisers and also holds the record for most presidential golf outings. The president has spent much of the month of August vacationing, golfing and fundraising.

Today, the president will be relaxing at the wedding of one of his advisors, Sam Kass, who is marrying MSNBC host Alex Wagner.

The president, for whatever reason, appears to be ignoring charges of tone-deafness and bad optics ahead of the 2014 elections. Currently, only 23% of the electorate think America is heading in the right direction, and 69% think it is on the wrong track, according to Rasmussen Reports.

Given the serious challenges facing the United States in terms of the economy and national security, the president should consider putting off his fundraising, golfing,and vacationing until those issues are satisfactorily being addressed.

Brave: Mother of American Journalist Sends a Message to ISIS to Release Her Child

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After ISIS beheaded American journalist James Foley, their camera panned to an additional heart-wrenching scene. Steven Sotloff, another American journalist, had also fallen into the blood-stained hands of the terror group.

Then, the masked figure held up Sotloff’s collar and said, “The life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision.”

isisWhile the threat on Sotloff’s life struck Americans to the core, it hit Sotloff’s mother Shirley the hardest. On Wednesday, Shirley released a moving video plea to ISIS’ self-declared Caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, asking him to release her son.

The Daily Beast reports:

The mother of 31-year-old journalist Steven Sotloff has issued a direct plea to the leader of ISIS for her son’s release. “I am sending this message to you, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi al-Quraishi al-Hussaini, the caliph of the Islamic State. I am Shirley Sotloff. My son Steven is in your hands,” she says in a video. “You, the caliph, can grant amnesty. I ask you please to release my child.”

Since the knowledge of Sotloff’s capture became public, a White House petition called “Do everything possible to free American reporter Steven Sotloff from ISIS in Syria and save his life” has garnered over 11,000 signatures. However, the petition needs 100,000 signatures to warrant a response from the Obama administration.

While the chances of Shirley’s video being the catalyst in saving her son’s life are slim, we can’t give up hope just yet. After all, Peter Theo Curtis, held by terrorists in Syria for over two years, was recently released.

We can only hope that Sotloff is given the chance to live the same miracle…because a miracle is exactly what is needed right now.

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President Obama Calls The World A Messy Place & Blames Social Media for Making People Take Notice

President Obama recently stated at a fundraiser that social media and the nightly news are making the world look like it is “falling apart.” As reported by The Hill:

“The world’s always been messy … we’re just noticing now in part because of social media. If you watch the nightly news, it feels like the world is falling apart.”

The President made the remarks at a fundraiser tonight in Purchase, New York, for the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Mark Knoller from CBS News was there to relay the remarks via Twitter.

One of the benefits of the information age is that news and information have been broken down into a way that makes it more friendly to social media.

Social media is not causing the following national and international issues, it is merely reporting on them:

  • Workforce participation rates at a 36-year-low, along with rising national debt obligations now at $17.7 trillion, primarily due to social programs.
  • Russia’s ongoing “incursion” into the Ukraine, which is a de facto invasion of a sovereign country on the edge of Europe.
  • ISIS (or ISIL/IS) terrorists taking over the state of Iraq after the United States withdrew from the territory.

This is not the first time that President Obama has blamed the media for frustrating his political agenda. For some context, the President is currently struggling with a low approval rating in the 40s and bad optics of late because of his perceived lack of leadership confronting ISIS.

The President has variously blamed Fox News and conservative talk radio for misleading the American people and creating an unfair “caricature” of him. Obama has also blamed Bush for the stagnant economy, as well as his withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

On numerous occasions, the President has blamed the House Republicans for failing to move legislation through the Democratic-controlled Senate and the White House.

President Obama’s solution has been to use his ‘pen and phone’ to bypass or even override the American people’s representatives in Congress, by legislating from the executive branch.

Given that the President’s hallmark pieces of legislation – from so-called “Obamacare” to the exorbitant “stimulus” package – failed to produce the results that were promised, it is an unacceptable premise that Americans should jettison representative government.

The challenges of the presidency are both of enormous magnitude and entirely predictable. Those elected to become the leader of the free world must have extensive experience and must be fully prepared to deal with a world that is “messy.”

President Obama’s blaming of other politicians or the media for this state of affairs just further confirms what many Americans have suspected all along: he may simply not be up to the job. It is not the fault of social media that it is doing what other major news media have often failed to do, and that is tell the American people the straight truth.

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12 Most Unusual Professions of Politicians Before They Were Elected to Higher Office

The job of politician may be the only one in the world that is both highly coveted and really, really unpopular.

Here are 11 politicians who moved on from a presumably more popular profession to be elected to public office:

1.) Gerald Ford: 38th President of the United States

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Male model: He was featured on the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine.

2.) Al Franken: U.S. Senator

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Comedian: He was a former member of Saturday Night Live.

3.) James George Janos aka Jesse “The Body” Ventura: Former Governor of Minnesota

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Professional Wrestler: His motto was “Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat!”

4.) John Glenn: Former U.S. Senator

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Astronaut: He was the first American to orbit the planet.

5.) Jon Runyan: U.S. Representative 

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Photo credit: Redstate

Professional Football Player: He was an offensive tackle where he played for the Houston Oilers, the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Diego Chargers.

6.) Lincoln Chafee: Governor of Rhode Island

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Horse Podiatrist: He transferred from Brown University to Montana State University’s Horseshoeing School.

7.) Steve Largent: Former U.S Representative

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Photo credit: Thesportsfanjournal

Professional Football Player: He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1995.

8.) Arnold Schwarzenegger: Former Governor of California

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Professional body builder and actor: Does The Terminator ring a bell?

9.) Shelley Berkley: Former U.S. Representative

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Keno runner: She walked through casinos and collect the Keno wagers, as well as paid the winners. Keno is a game similar to the lotto.

10.) Kerry Bentivolio: Former U.S. Representative 

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Image credit: Business Insider

Reindeer Trainer: Before he was a lawmaker, he worked with a very different type of constituent.

11.) President Obama: 44th President of the United States

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Community Organizer: Before becoming president, Barack Obama was leading efforts to organize residents of a public housing project in Chicago.

12.) Ronald Reagan: 40th President of the United States

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Actor: Garnered 79 movie credits throughout his acting career.

Video: Off-Duty MP Fake Surrenders at Gas Station Before Revealing Deadly Surprise for Hostage Taker

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Earlier this month, a Brazilian news site ran a story of a gunman holding hostages at a Sao Paulo gas station, The hostage-taker was fooled by one of them, an off-duty military police officer, into thinking he had surrendered. But then he got a bullet for the mistake.

This story, which has been burning up Reddit and other social-sharing sites, has drawn extreme reactions: on one side folks are celebrating the officer’s heroism, while others decry the risk he took by shooting in such close proximity.

As with such cases, it’s best to look closely at what actually happened, and to make a judgment based on a complete picture of the situation.

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Results of Professor’s Bold No Email Policy Enforcement Will Give You Something to Think About

Spring-Serenity Duvall, an assistant professor at Salem College, was tired of spending hours and hours sifting through student emails that could be answered by what she had already covered in class, had been asked in class, or had simply already been written into the syllabus.

So Duvall came up with a bold policy, one that she was a little nervous to enforce: No emails unless you are scheduling an in-person appointment.

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Duvall told the InsideHigherEd she experienced “unqualified success.” Students came to class better prepared and were turning in papers that were much higher quality. Her email inbox was less full, and her office hours and one-on-one time spent talking and bonding with students was the highest it had ever been in her academic career.

She was, however, “afraid that maybe they were keeping their thoughts to themselves, and they would slam me on the evaluations on how much they hated the policy.”

But not the case at all. On the contrary, students rated her availability as “excellent” and overall evaluations were higher than ever before, with many students citing that they felt Duvall genuinely cared for their education.

Stick

Email is very convenient and fast, but for many situations, there really is nothing like talking things out face-to-face.

The White House Press Secretary Can’t Give America a Straight Answer if the U.S. is at War with ISIS

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White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest appeared on MSNBC’s “All In With Chris Hayes” in an effort to spin the ongoing PR disaster springing from ISIS’ rampage across Iraq. (Comment at 3:45.)

Hayes asked Earnest a simple question about whether or not the U.S. is at war with ISIS. Business Insider has what Earnest answered:

Earnest went with “no.”

 

“No, Chris. What we are doing is we are working very aggressively with international partners, with Iraqi and Kurdish security forces, to take the steps necessary to mitigate the threat that’s posed by ISIL,” he responded.

Following up on his rousing performance of academic Washingtonian doublespeak, Earnest then went on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and was asked again whether or not the U.S. was at war with ISIS. More spin:

“Does the president agree with [columnist] Eugene Robinson that we are, in fact, at war with ISIS even though it’s not a declared war?” host Joe Scarborough inquired.

 

Earnest again maintained the U.S. was simply trying to “mitigate the threat.”

 

“I think what the president would say is it’s very important that we take the necessary steps to mitigate the threat that ISIL poses to the United States of America,” he said.

Since August 8th, the U.S. has launched over 100 airstrikes against ISIS of varying levels of intensity. It’s safe to assume those planes are dropping bombs, firing missiles, the pilots who are flying these missions are risking their lives, and their loved ones waiting at home for them, would probably say the U.S. is at war.

As for ISIS (or ISIS/IS), the ruthless murderers have beheaded one American already and they’re threatening to kill more. In fact, ISIS threatened Americans again today while beheading a captured a Kurdish soldier.

The White House can debate if this is technically a “war” according to the dictionary definition,  but as far as ISIS is concerned, the war is on.

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We Looked Inside ISIS’ Laptop for Its ‘Strategy’ for Killing Americans & Here are 6 Chilling Things We Found

Earlier this year, a moderate Syrian rebel group obtained a treasure trove of documents and videos from the laptop of an ISIS fighter in northern Syria.

Foreign Policy verified that the computer belonged to a Tunisian university student, Muhammed S., who was studying chemistry and physics.

On the hard drive they found the standard jihad fare…with a twist:

  1. Videos of Osama bin Laden
  2. Manuals on how to make bombs
  3. Instructions on how to steal cars
  4. Lessons on how to use disguises in order to avoid getting arrested while traveling from one jihad hot spot to another
  5. 19-page manual on how to develop biological weapons
  6. 26-page fatwa, giving permission to use weapons of mass destruction against unbelievers

Before discounting the contents as the wishful thinking of madmen, consider two points.

First of all, in July, ISIS captured a former chemical weapons plant outside Baghdad that contained 2,500 degraded chemical rockets.

Secondly, as part of its ransom demands for an American woman it’s holding, ISIS demanded the US release “Lady al-Qaeda” Aafia Siddiqui, an MIT-educated neuroscientist. Plans for infecting people with Ebola and creating a dirty bomb were found in Siddiqui’s possession when she was arrested.

There is no evidence that ISIS currently has biological or chemical weapons, but all evidence points to their desire to gain and deploy such weapons.

In short, the longer the caliphate exists, the more likely it is that members with a science background will come up with something horrible. The documents found on the laptop of the Tunisian jihadist, meanwhile, leave no room for doubt about the group’s deadly ambitions.

We also know that ISIS members are recruiting Americans, who would have U.S. passports and the ability to travel back and forth to the Middle East.

Their strategy is becoming very clear.

CNN Talking Head Baffled Why Obama Announced He Has No Strategy to Defeat ISIS: ‘A Little Odd’…

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CNN’s Barbara Starr was talking with Jake Tapper on Thursday about the president’s line that “we don’t have a strategy yet” to defeat ISIS.

Here is what Starr said:

“This is the president that doesn’t beat the war drum, but you have to wonder exactly what message he was sending here today. Let’s be very clear. ISIS heard all of this.

 

So the president of the United States says we have no strategy yet. This is a little surprising because of course, the Pentagon has openly acknowledged they are working on military options. Military options to pursue what strategy? There must it be something out there or what are these options the Pentagon’s been scribbling away at for weeks now. Where are they headed? The president talked about degrading ISIS. Remember it was Chuck Hagel a couple of days ago that said ISIS was like “no threat we’ve ever seen.” There has been concern about a homeland threat from ISIS down the road and yet, no strategy to deal with it.

 

Very blunt, very honest, absolutely where is the president is on all of this no question about that. But perhaps worth remembering that ISIS fighters, ISIS leadership will hear this statement that the U.S. right now has no strategy to deal with them. I don’t think anybody thought a military strategy was the whole answer, but no strategy? A little odd perhaps.”

A little odd, indeed. But where has the president’s plan been on anything under this administration?

From the failed “stimulus” to “cash for clunkers” to the “Russian reset” to the “War in Iraq” to not having a plan to defeat ISIS after 9 months of its atrocities, this White House been flying by the seat of its pants the entire six years.

Only now are some passengers beginning to see that the pilot isn’t in the cockpit and the airplane readings say the plane is flying upside down.

When a Teacher Asked a Rapper for a Song Without Bad Words, He Responded Like a Boss

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Mac Lethal is a rapper from Kansas City, Missouri, who likes to tackle subjects that you wouldn’t normally find in a rap song; some of his previous titles include “Pancake Rap” and “Cook With Me Now.”

But this rap, which gives advice to teens to the tune of Mozart, may be the most unique of all. On his Facebook page, Mac shares his inspiration for the song:

About 2 weeks ago I received this email:

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“Dear Mr. Mac Lethal

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My name is Mrs. Francine, I’m a 53 year old high-school music teacher, and I love your YouTube videos. The problem is, I can’t play them for my students because they contain too many bad words. Would you consider making a fast rap video for my students, to inspire them to be great? With no bad words?

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Sincerely,
Mrs. Francine

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p.s. Do you like Mozart?”

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Here’s my response, Mrs. Francine!

Thus, the “INCREDIBLE MOZART RAP (To inspire teenagers)” was born. The internet loved it, but what about Mrs. Francine? She sent Mac another letter:

“Mac–

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I have no words for how excited my students were to see you made a video for them. We are all flattered beyond belief. I figured you wouldn’t even read the note I sent you, let alone respond with a fantastic video!

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We all thank you so much.

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-Mrs. Francine

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p.s. I have a student named Pierre, who is “harder to reach” than others. Even he was excited to learn that drinking water before drinking alcohol would reduce his hangover. lol :)”

While you may not agree with all of the advice in Mac’s rap, it is certainly a talented performance and a noble cause.

The world is filled with enough negativity and hate; it’s refreshing to see such a positive, fun message every now and then.