News of the Day

Government action comes only at the cost of personal liberty

Subscribe to The Blaze feed
Authentic. Unfiltered. Fearless.
Updated: 1 hour 34 min ago

Univ. of Oklahoma regent said it’s OK to for men to ‘sleep with little boys’ if it’s OK to be gay

3 hours 13 sec ago

Kirk Humphreys knew he was about to make a lot of people mad.

The former Oklahoma City mayor and current member of the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents said so before he made comments about gay people and pedophiles that have him under fire.

“Is homosexuality right or wrong?” Humphreys asked during a local TV public affairs show Monday. “It’s not relative, there’s a right and wrong. If it’s OK, then it’s OK for everybody and, quite frankly, it’s OK for men to sleep with little boys.”

Calls to resign

The backlash was swift and severe. OU President David Boren released a statement separating himself and the university from Humphreys’ comments.

“I do not share his views on this matter,” Boren said.

Multiple LGBTQ organizations condemned Humphreys and called for him to resign from the Board of Regents, calling his comments “disheartening and dangerous for LGBTQ youth.”

Humphreys apologizes

As Humphreys was widely criticized for his remarks, Humphreys bowed to the pressure and apologized late Monday, telling NewsOK that he didn’t mean to equate “homosexuality with pedophilia.”

He didn’t, however, back off of his belief that homosexuality is wrong.

“That was not my intention or desire,” Humphreys said. “I apologize for my lack of clarity and realize this has resulted in a strong reaction by some and has hurt people’s feelings. For clarification, my moral stance about homosexuality is that it is against the teachings of Scripture. Although, I know that upsets some people, it is my belief. In America, we have the right to believe as we choose and to freely express that belief.”

Humphreys’ controversial comments came shortly after the 7:30 mark in the below video, during a discussion about sexual misconduct among lawmakers.

(H/T The Oklahoman)

Breaking: Shocking surprise in Alabama election

3 hours 49 min ago

The election for Alabama’s U.S. Senate seat was called early for the Democrat Doug Jones, who has defeated Roy Moore, the Republican hindered by allegations of sexual harassment.

Exit polling showed that Alabama voters were divided along partisan lines about whether the allegations were true, and whether they made any difference in their voting. decision.

A poll before the election showed that a majority of Americans believed that Moore should be expelled from the Senate if he had been elected.

Moore benefitted from a late development in the earliest allegation made against him when his accuser admitted that she had written in the latter part of the yearbook inscription she had held up as evidence of their interaction. But it was not enough to take the seat.

Here’s Merriam-Webster’s word of 2017 — and what it really means is up for debate

4 hours 9 min ago

The word of 2017, according to Merriam-Webster, is “feminism.”

In a year that began with the Women’s March on Washington and is concluding with women rocking multiple industries by telling of their experiences as victims of sexual misconduct, millions of people went to the dictionary to answer one question:

What does feminism actually mean?

The first dictionary reference to the word came in 1841, by Merriam-Webster founder Noah Webster. Back then, the word referred to “the qualities of females” or “femaleness.” Decades passed before it took on the political connotations it has today.

The current definitions say feminism is the “theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes” and “organized activities on behalf of women’s rights and interests.”

“The word feminism was being use in a kind of general way,” lexicographer Peter Sokolowski said to Fox News. “The feminism of this big protest, but it was also used in a kind of specific way: What does it mean to be a feminist in 2017? Those kinds of questions are the kinds of things, I think, that send people to the dictionary.”

Online searches for the word spiked several times throughout the year:

  • The Women’s Marches after President Donald Trump’s inauguration
  • Usage of the word linking Hillary Clinton to suffragettes of the early 1900s
  • The “Me Too” movement that saw women revealing times they experienced sexual abuse of some kind
  • When Kellyanne Conway spoke at the Conservative Political Action Committee and pushed back against feminism as pro-abortion and anti-male

There were nine runners-up for word of the year, in no order:

  • Complicit
  • Recuse
  • Empathy
  • Dotard
  • Syzgy
  • Gyro
  • Federalism
  • Hurricane
  • Gaffe

“Surreal” was Merriam-Webster’s 2016 word of the year.

Live Decision Desk results from the Alabama special election

6 hours 25 min ago

The Alabama special election has taken on national attention after the numerous allegations of sexual harassment against Republican candidate Roy Moore, but polls show that he may have made up for the initial loss of support.

TheBlaze is proud to bring you results from the Decision Desk, one of the finest and most accurate election day compilers of voting data.

Pundits are eagerly awaiting results from the special election that will fill the Alabama seat in the U.S. Senate vacated by Jeff Sessions, who left to join the Trump administration as Attorney General.

What do the polls say?

Recent polls have swung widely, with some showing Moore as much as ten points behind Doug Jones, and others showing Moore recovering his support after an initial drop.

Early exit poll results show that Alabama voters are divided on whether the allegations against Moore are true or not.

Another recent poll shows a majority of voters believe Moore should be expelled from the Senate even if elected.

A test for Trump’s influence?

Some see the Alabama election as a test to see whether President Trump retains enough political power to help Republicans retain seats in Congress. However, this must be tempered by the fact that he endorsed Luther Strange in the Alabama primary, a GOP establishment pick.

After being previously reticent to weigh in on the election, Trump has been much more vocal recently in his support for Moore.

“The people of Alabama will do the right thing,” he tweeted Tuesday morning. “Doug Jones is Pro-Abortion, weak on Crime, Military and Illegal Immigration, Bad for Gun Owners and Veterans and against the WALL.”

“Jones is a Pelosi/Schumer Puppet. Roy Moore will always vote with us,” he concluded. “VOTE ROY MOORE!”

Trump’s lawyer calls for second special counsel to be named – here’s why

7 hours 6 min ago

Jay Sekulow, one of the personal lawyers for President Trump, called for a second special counsel to be named in order to investigate corruption in the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Why do they want a second special counsel named?

Sekulow told Axios that reports exposing conflicts of interest at the DOJ and the FBI had grown so egregious and numerous that another investigation was needed in addition to that of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

“The Department of Justice and FBI cannot ignore the multiple problems that have been created by these obvious conflicts of interests,” said Sekulow to Axios.

“These new revelations require the appointment of a Special Counsel to investigate,” he concluded.

What conflicts of interest are there?

Most recently, it was discovered that a Department of Justice official was demoted because he had not reported his connections to the primary persons behind Fusion GPS, the controversial opposition research organization that produced the infamous “Trump dossier.”

Then it was discovered that this official’s wife had worked for Fusion GPS during the 2016 election.

In another example, top FBI official Peter Strzok was taken off the investigation into Russian interference and collusion when it was discovered that he had sent anti-Trump messages on his phone. Then it was found that this same agent had been involved with the changing of the language in the report that former FBI Director James Comey used to announce that they would not recommend charges against Hillary Clinton.

More voices calling for a special counsel

Sekulow isn’t the only one to call for a second special counsel. On Friday, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) demanded that Attorney General Jeff Sessions name a special counsel or step down from his office. Others in conservative media have been calling for such an action in order to investigate Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the “Trump dossier.”

Colin Kaepernick spoke to Rikers Island inmates, and corrections officers are not happy

7 hours 36 min ago

New York City officials allowed former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick to bring his message about police brutality to inmates at Rikers Island on Tuesday, and corrections officers weren’t pleased, according to the New York Post.

“That’s crazy to me to have a person like Colin Kaepernick in prison talking about police brutality,” said one officer at the event. “It was insulting for me to be there. In the inmate’s eyes, we are the police when they’re locked up.”

Why was he invited?

City Hall spokesman Eric Phillips said Kaepernick should be applauded for his protests and example.

“This is a guy using his celebrity to help young adults turn their lives around, to his own significant professional cost,” Phillips said.

A spokesman for the Department of Corrections echoed that sentiment, saying Kaepernick brought a “message of hope and inspiration.”

What did he talk about?

Kaepernick spoke to two different groups of inmates during his visit. A source that attended the talks told the New York Post what he discussed.

  • He answered questions about life in the NFL
  • He discussed police brutality as the reason he began protesting during the national anthem
  • He said the NFL was keeping him out of football because of his protests
  • He told the inmates they could go on to do good things despite their current incarceration

Why did officers have a problem?

Some corrections officers believed Kaepernick’s visit and a message that some perceive as anti-police would lead to more violence from inmates.

“We’ve got enough issues in the facility with inmates assaulting staff,” said one officer. “His presence, what he stands for, certainly doesn’t help.”

The president of the Correction Officers Benevolent Association blamed New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for the situation.

“Once again, correction officers find themselves caught in Mayor de Blasio’s political con-game,” said Elias Husamudeen.

Exit polling from Alabama shows how many voters believe accusations against Roy Moore

8 hours 21 min ago

Exit polling from the special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat for Alabama shows how many voters believe the allegations against Roy Moore, the Republican endorsed by President Trump.

What do the polls say?

In a key indicator, a less than half of Alabama Senate voters say they believe the allegations against Moore are true or probably true (49 percent).

But more Republican voters believe the allegations are true than Democrats voters believe they’re false.

Here’s a graph from NBC News:

screen-shot-2017-12-12-at-2-56-42-pm

NBC News also reports that more Alabama voters believe the accusations against Moore are true than those that believe the accusations are false – 50 percent to 45 percent, respectively.

Alabama voters so far today said they are split on whether they think the sexual misconduct allegations against Republican Roy Moore are true, according to NBC News’ early exit poll results.

About a quarter of voters said the allegations were definitely true, with another quarter indicating they were probably true. Still, 29 percent said they thought the allegations were probably false and 16 percent said they were definitely false.

And while Alabama voters are fairly split on whether or not they believe the accusations to be true, only 7 percent said the allegations were the single most important factor to their vote.

CBS News Exit Polling

CBS exit polling has similar results: while a minority believe the allegations against Moore are false, only 40 percent say it was the most important factor in their vote.

The first exit polls are released, revealing Alabama voters divided on the validity of the allegations against Moore. More than four in 10 believe they are false. Most Jones voters believe the accusations, while most of Moore’s voters do not.

For about 40 percent of voters, the allegations were the most important factor in their vote, mostly for Jones voters. Moore voters were more motivated by their support for Donald Trump. Early exit polling shows Jones supporters more staunchly behind their candidate than those behind Moore.

The polls for the election close at 8pm Eastern time.

A 20-minute Uber to the hospital cost this man thousands — and Uber support said it was correct

8 hours 46 min ago

There are expensive Uber rides (thanks, surge pricing), and then there is the fare Hisham Salama of Toronto was charged Friday night.

Salama went to visit a friend in the hospital — about a 20 minute drive. When he got his receipt on the app, however, he found that drive cost him $18,518, or more than $900 per minute on the road.

How did Uber initially respond?

Salama did what anyone in his position would have done (besides pass out in shock). He contacted Uber support to get a solution to what was surely a mistake.

Here’s the response he received from Uber:

“Hisham,

I double checked your trip, and it looks like the destination of drop off wasn’t the destination initially entered in the app when the trip was requested.

The upfront fares are based on the exact pickup and drop off locations that you input, so when that trip is changed, our system switches to charging based on the time and distance of the actual trip instead, using the rates that apply to the vehicle option you selected, I can confirm that based on the pickup and drop off locations of the trip you took, this fare is correct.

Please let me know if I can help you with anything else.”

To recap, a man was charged nearly $20,000 for a 20-minute trip, and an Uber employee looked at that and somehow said “Yep, looks right to me!”

How did it get resolved?

Because of this embarrassing failure by Uber customer support, Salama had to take to social media to get some help with the situation.

In the end, he got a refund for the original fare, and a $150 credit to his account.

Salama told Vice News that the manager he spoke to said the first support representative “was confused with the trip and issue.”

As bad as it gets?

For reference on just how ridiculous Salama’s fare was, some of the highest fares come during New Year’s Eve.

One user recorded a fare of $1,114.71 for a ride of relatively short distance that took an hour because of traffic. The surge pricing on that ride was x8.9. Still not even close to Salama’s hospital trip.

(H/T Vice News)

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee dies of heart attack at 65

9 hours 5 min ago

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who aided the city’s tech-industry boom, died early Tuesday morning, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. He was 65.

Lee had a heart attack about 10 p.m. while shopping at a local grocery store, the paper said. An ambulance rushed Lee to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 1:11 a.m., with family and friends at his bedside.

San Francisco’s first Asian-American mayor, Lee got his start as a civil rights lawyer, then rose to the rank of city administrator, before being elected to mayor in 2011.

Residents of San Francisco will remember him for his role in increasing the minimum wage, reducing the homeless population, and cementing the city’s status as a sanctuary city. In May, he approved a $44 million project to build housing for teachers.

He was married and had two daughters.

Lee’s office announced that Board of Supervisors President London Breed will serve as acting mayor. Flags at City Hall were lowered to half staff.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Anita, his daughters Tania and Brianna, and his entire family,” Breed told reporters outside Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital early Tuesday.

When news broke that Lee had died, colleagues, friends and citizens responded with outpouring of grief and deference, recalling the mayor with fondness.

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) released a statement Tuesday: “On behalf of all Californians, Anne and I extend our deepest condolences to Mayor Lee’s family, his many friends and the entire City of San Francisco. Ed was a true champion for working people and epitomized the California spirit. He’ll truly be missed.”

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) knew Lee and valued his work.

“Ed was an excellent mayor of a great but sometimes challenging city,” Feinstein said. “His equanimity and quiet management style was effective and allowed him to solve problems as they occurred. My heart and thoughts are with Ed’s family and friends and the city I love.”

California state Sen. Scott Wiener (D) also released a statement Tuesday, commending Lee’s work as mayor and describing him as “a great leader.”

“Ed served as mayor during a period of unprecedented growth in our city and an unprecedented housing shortage,” Wiener said. “Ed never got the credit he deserved as arguably the most pro-housing mayor in the history of San Francisco, with a huge amount of affordable housing created or approved under his administration.”

Like so many of the people Lee worked with, San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen described his genuine charm.

“Sometimes he wasn’t the most brilliant public speaker and he didn’t seem super comfortable in that role, but when he talked to people on the street and in the Navigation Center, it was another side of Ed Lee,” she said. “He was comfortable and natural and respectful.”

Commentary: I’ve never had an abortion, but I’ve had a miscarriage. They’re not the same.

9 hours 30 min ago

Feminist writer Danielle Campoamor penned an article last week on Romper titled, “I’m Miscarrying Right Now, & It’s Only Strengthening My Beliefs About Abortion.”

In her article, Campoamor admitted to losing four pregnancies — three to miscarriage, and one to abortion.

Campoamor effectively wrote that, in her eyes, a loss to an abortion was no different than a loss to miscarriage.

What’s in her article?

Campoamor wrote the article in the messy, emotional throes of a miscarriage. A natural, unassisted miscarriage can last from hours to weeks.

There is a common misconception that the mom who miscarries is a very different person than the woman who aborts, but I’m here to say there is no difference. I am both of those women. I have had five pregnancies, one live birth, three miscarriages, and one abortion.

She later added that “miscarriage and abortion are sisters.”

Miscarriage and abortion are sisters. Just like my body knew what to do when an abnormal embryo implanted itself in my uterus, my mind knew what to do when a healthy embryo found its way to the soft lining of my uterine wall back when I was 23 years old, in an unhealthy relationship, living paycheck-to-paycheck, unwilling and unable to be a mother. … I do not regret my decision to have an abortion.

Not only does Campoamor not regret her abortion, she said that her most recent miscarriage has only strengthened her beliefs about abortion, but does not seem to offer a concrete reason as to why.

A woman can sit at her desk, 24 hours after losing a very wanted pregnancy, and still advocate for the right for women to abort their pregnancies.

This writer’s perspective

Any woman — or man — who has experienced this type of loss can sympathize with Campoamor.

I had a miscarriage a couple of weeks ago. My first miscarriage. I have two living children; this child would have been my third.

I can viscerally recall the moment the ER doctor told me that my surprise pregnancy was in the process of ending.

“No longer viable,” he said in a monotone, as if he were referring to something I’d planted in my garden in warmer months.

“No longer viable,” he said, as if I didn’t have enough of a down payment to close on a personal loan.

“No longer viable,” he said, as if we were casually discussing the economy.

Leaving, I can recall walking the antiseptic hallways of the hospital, tracing geometric patterns of the floor tile with my eyes as I tried to avoid making eye contact with passers-by.

I left the facility to drive myself home, where I’d have to explain to my husband, two children, and eventually family, close friends, and even acquaintences that there wouldn’t be a new addition to the family.

While Campoamor’s assertion that abortions and miscarriages are both types of loss, they couldn’t be more different in that one is a choice — one is not.

There is a sea of difference between abortion and miscarriage, and suggesting that they are the same — or even related — is hurtful and insensitive to women who have experienced the death of their unborn babies, and not by choice.

Here’s another perspective: the gnawing, dreading, heartbroken feeling that you know you’re losing your baby against your will is likely the same thing a baby might feel if they could rationalize that their mother was taking away its right to live.

All unborn babies are of value and deserving of love — not just the ones we want to keep.

At the end of the day, while both can be experienced simultaneously, guilt and grief are not interchangeable emotions.

Campoamor’s miscarriage may have strengthened her belief in abortion.

But my miscarriage strengthened my belief in God and His plan, even if it’s a plan that I don’t understand.

Poll: Americans say religious aspects of Christmas emphasized less than in the past

9 hours 45 min ago

Americans say the religious aspects of celebrating Christmas are declining and are emphasized less now than in the past, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

What did the survey find?

According to the survey, 56 percent of respondents said the religious parts of celebrating Christmas are less prominent now than in the past, while 12 percent said they are emphasized more. Another 30 percent said there hasn’t been a change.

Most say religious parts of Christmas are now emphasized less, but relatively few are bothered by it

Most Americans said they celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, including 46 percent who said it is more of a religious holiday than a cultural holiday and 9 percent who said they will celebrate Christmas as both a religious and a cultural holiday. Thirty-three percent said they celebrate Christmas as more of a cultural holiday.

A slim majority — 51 percent — said they will attend a church service for Christmas, while 45 percent said they will not.

The vast majority of Americans said they will gather with family and friends for the holiday.

Half of Americans plan to attend church on Christmas

A majority of Americans still believe that the biblical Christmas story reflects events that actually took place, although Pew noted this majority is declining.

Declining majority of Americans believe biblical Christmas story reflects historical events

The poll also found that a majority believes that Christian displays like nativity scenes should be permitted on government property during the Christmas season, either on their own or accompanied by symbols of other faiths. Another 26 percent said the displays should not be permitted on government property.

Fewer now say Christian displays should be allowed on government property without representation from other religions

‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Holidays’?

Over half of Americans say a business’ choice of seasonal greetings doesn’t matter to them, 32 percent said stores should greet customers by saying “Merry Christmas” and 15 percent said “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings.”

About half say it ‘doesn’t matter’ how stores greet customers for holidays

North Korean defector details horrific treatment: forced abortions and dead bodies fed to dogs

10 hours 1 min ago

North Korean defector Ji Hyeon-A described the horrific treatment she endured at the hands of the North Korean regime during an event on human rights Monday held by Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

According to Fox News, the panel, called “The Terrifying Experience of Forcibly Repatriated North Korean Women,” was sponsored by the U.S., the United Kingdom, South Korea, Japan, France, and Canada.

China, alongside Bolivia and Russia, reportedly attempted to stop the event.

What is Ji Hyeon-A’s story?

According to Ji Hyeon-A, now a human rights activist in South Korea, Chinese authorities sent her, a defector, back to North Korea three times.

During the event, Ji Hyeon-A detailed her forced abortion while incarcerated in a North Korean prison camp, among other instances that left her greatly disturbed.

“Pregnant women were forced into harsh labor all day,” she reported. “At night, we heard pregnant mothers screaming and babies died without ever being able to see their mothers.”

At one of the prison camps — which she said were “terrifying” prisons where “the Kims are carrying out a vast massacre” — Ji Hyeon-A said that many prisoners were starving to death and noted that when prisoners did finally die, their bodies were fed to guard dogs.

Ji Hyeon-A detailed her own pregnancy terrors at the hands of the regime.

She revealed that at three months pregnant, she was forced to have an abortion without the assistance of any medication, and reported that the incident occurred at a local police station.

“My first child passed away without ever seeing the world, without any time for me to apologize,” she recalled.

Ji Hyeon-A eventually found her freedom in South Korea in 2007, where she was reunited with her mother and siblings.

Russian-speaking cybercriminals uncovered, but not before they stole $10 million

10 hours 25 min ago

Group-IB, an international cybersecurity firm, recently uncovered a gang of cyberthieves who have hijacked more than $10 million from U.S. and Russian banks in less than two years, according to the firm’s new report.

The Russian-speaking hackers, dubbed by Group-IB as MoneyTaker, successfully attacked at least 20 financial institutions, legal firms, and financial software vendors in the U.S., United Kingdom, and Russia, the report said.

In 2016, there were 10 known attacks. Among those, six attacks were on U.S. banks; one on a U.S. service provider; one on a United Kingdom IT-company; and two on Russian banks. Ten more attacks have taken place this year. The targets were eight U.S. banks, one law firm, and one bank in Russia.

“Criminals have changed tactics and are now focusing on banks rather than their clients, as was [the] standard operating procedure in the past,” Dmitry Volkov, Group-IB co-founder and head of intelligence, told Bloomberg.

How did they do it?

MoneyTaker’s first known scheme was a debit card-processing attack that took place in May 2016, which Group-IB says is relatively simple to carry out.

The attackers take over the bank’s network and connect to its card-processing system. Next, they legally open or buy bank cards for the system they just hacked. The hackers then remove or increase the bank card withdrawal limits.

Money mules, criminals who make the cash withdrawals, take the activated cards and start withdrawing money from ATMs once the operation is activated.

“They understand that banks — especially community banks with limited resources — are the easiest marks,” Volkov told Bloomberg.

The average loss from one attack was about $500,000, Group-IB said in its report. The hackers also removed overdraft limits, which made it easier to overdraw even on debit card accounts.

How does MoneyTaker go undetected?

MoneyTaker continually changes its tools and tactics that bypass antivirus software. But most importantly, according to Group-IB, once it completes an operation, it carefully eliminates all traces of the transaction using malware that destroys itself after reboot.

In some of the cases, the Moscow-based hackers used the infamous Citadel and Kronos banking trojans. The latter was used to deliver point-of-sale malware dubbed ScanPOS, which obtains credit card and debit card information by reading the device memory from the retail checkout system.

“MoneyTaker uses publicly available tools, which makes the attribution and investigation process a non-trivial exercise. In addition, incidents occur in different regions worldwide and at least one of the U.S. Banks targeted had documents successfully exfiltrated from their networks, twice,” Volkov said in the report.

The hackers also created fake certificates using well-known brands such as Bank of America Corp. and Microsoft Corp. to cover their tracks.

What’s next?

It’s not immediately clear whether any person or persons have been identified as being part of MoneyTaker’s criminal group.

“The more we dig, the more we’ll find,” Group-IB’s Volkov said. “This report doesn’t represent the full picture, and I can say with 100 percent certainty that there are more victims that haven’t been identified yet.”

Home intruder fatally shot by 84-year-old was a relative. Here’s why he’s ‘glad’ he pulled trigger.

11 hours 1 min ago

When 84-year-old Don Lutz confronted two men who broke into his home after midnight Friday and fatally shot one of them, the Army veteran had no idea the dead intruder was his niece’s husband.

But Lutz still told KDKA-TV he’s “glad” he pulled the trigger.

Why?

The man he shot — Dennis Mercadante, 49 — had a long criminal record marked by drug abuse, police told the station.

 KDKA-TV video screenshotDennis Mercadante (Image source: KDKA-TV video screenshot)

“I knew he was no damn good before that,” Lutz told KDKA. “I’m glad I did it for my niece ’cause I felt that she was in danger all the time. I think if he ever had a fight with her, he would’ve killed her.”

What happened during the break-in?

Lutz — who told WXPI-TV he sleeps with his gun under his pillow — was awakened about 1:30 a.m. by the intruders breaking through the front door of his home in Ellport, Pennsylvania.

 WPXI-TV video screenshotImage source: WPXI-TV video screenshot

And the man, who spent 16 months on the front lines in the Korean War, didn’t hesitate using his .380 Taurus.

“I shot him, and in the darkness you couldn’t even see the hand in front of your face,” Lutz told KDKA. “And I didn’t have my glasses on or anything.”

Police are still searching for the other suspect who took off running, the station added.

 KDKA-TV video screenshotImage source: KDKA-TV video screenshot

No one was able to identify Mercadante at the crime scene, KDKA reported, adding that police took fingerprints and pictures of his tattoos.

“We had an officer drive the prints to the lab to try to ID him, and while he was on his way to the lab, we identified him through facial recognition,” Ellwood City police Lt. David Kingston told KDKA.

Lutz told KDKA he didn’t realize the intruder he killed was his niece’s husband until Saturday morning when police called him to the station and showed him a picture.

What was Lutz’s reaction after learning the dead man’s identity?

“It was quite a shock,” Lutz added to KDKA.

Police met with Mercadante’s wife and family, and Kingston told KDKA “they’re understanding of what happened.”

 KDKA-TV video screenshotImage source: KDKA-TV video screenshot

Lutz told the station that he knows why Mercadante and his accomplice broke into his home.

“I know one thing for sure: they came here to kill me,” Lutz told KDKA. “They came here to get a gun off of me, and they came here to kill me — and I know that now, and I didn’t have an alternative to do what I did.”

He also credited his faith as the reason he survived the ordeal.

“God has always been with me, and I’m a hard believer in God and Jesus Christ,” Lutz told WXPI. “And God is with me tonight. Believe me he’s there, honey — don’t ever doubt that he’s there.”

Liberal students condemn, trash Kate Steinle vigil setup by UC-Berkeley College Republicans

11 hours 15 min ago

Students at UC-Berkeley vandalized and trashed a memorial for Kate Steinle last week, ripping a poster of the murdered woman and trashing it.

What happened?

Last Thursday night, UC-Berkeley College Republicans held a vigil for Steinle, whose 2015 murder brought the issue of sanctuary cities to the national spotlight. Steinle was shot by an illegal immigrant while walking with her father and a friend along Pier 14 in San Francisco.

The students laid down flowers, spelled out Steinle’s name in candles and had a large poster of her smiling face. The students told the Daily Californian they held the vigil in light of Steinle’s killer, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, being acquitted of murder on Nov. 30. About 20 people attended the vigil.

While the vigil was ongoing, UC-Berkeley CR Vice President Naweed Tahmas told The College Fix, protesters showed up.

“They were shouting during my remarks, and throughout the vigil. Before, during and after,” he explained. “I couldn’t make out everything they were shouting, but it’s usually: ‘In the name of humanity, we refuse to accept a fascist regime.’”

To add insult to injury, the next morning, a member of the Republican group found the large poster of Steinle ripped and trashed.

What did the group say about the vandalism?

“This is typical at UC Berkeley, where honoring the legacy of someone who was killed by a 7-time felon and 5-time deportee is offensive,” the group posted on its Facebook page, along with photos of the vandalized poster.

Another UC-Berkley CR leader, Matt Roannau, told KNTV-TV what happened to the vigil was “very disrespectful.”

“Regardless of what your political views are, I don’t think that’s appropriate,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tahmas said intolerant liberal students won’t break his group’s spirit.

“The left’s ideological monopoly on campus is under threat and they are lashing out,” he told The College Fix. “They want to frustrate us and exhaust our spirit, but their intimidation tactics will not stop us. Our organization will continue to bring to light the issues that the left is trying to censor on campus.”

Who was responsible for the vandalism?

According to a member of the Republican group who spoke to Fox News, a group called “Refuse Fascism” was responsible.

“An Antifa organization, Refuse Fascism, sent a paid activist to basically desecrate the memorial, to interrupt it, call us fascists, bigots, whatever,” Troy Worden told Fox News. “Our message of honoring Kate was totally lost.”

Unfortunately, he said it wasn’t the first time the Republican group had been a target.

“This isn’t unique … a few days before the vigil we had actually put up at night posters with Kate’s face on them that said, ‘she had dreams too’ and unfortunately, those were taken down too,” he said.

What did Refuse Fascism say?

A member of the group, Raphael Kadaris, condemned the College Republicans and accused them of politicizing Steinle’s death.

He told the Daily Californian: “These people don’t care about Kate Steinle. They are using the tragic death of Kate Steinle to incite hatred and bigotry against immigrants.”

Port Authority bomber’s family expresses ‘outrage’ over the behavior of law enforcement

11 hours 31 min ago

The family of Akayed Ullah — the suspect in the Port Authority explosion, which injured four, including the suspect — on Monday said that they were not happy with the way law enforcement handled the investigation surrounding their relative.

What are the details of the Port Authority incident?

Ullah, a Bangladesh immigrant who lived in Brooklyn, partially detonated an “improvised low-tech explosive device” strapped to his body near a Port Authority bus terminal. Law enforcement reported that Ullah intended to completely detonate the device in a crowded passageway.

NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill was asked during a Monday news conference whether the suspect had any ties to the Islamic State. O’Neill admitted that Ullah “did make statements,” but declined to elaborate at the time.

However, former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton told MSNBC that the attack was ISIS-inspired, and the New York Daily News reported that Ullah told authorities that he attempted to execute the attack in retaliation for recent Israeli actions in Gaza.

Bratton said that Ullah “was supposedly setting the device off in the name of ISIS.”

Ullah on Tuesday was charged with a variety of offenses, including criminal possession of a weapon, support act of terrorism, and making a terroristic threat.

Federal charges, later announced, included providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, using a weapon of mass destruction, and bombing a public place.

What did Ullah’s family say?

In a statement provided to the New York Chapter Council for Islamic Relations, the family expressed their heartbreak and outrage.

“We are heartbroken by the violence that was targeted at our city today and by the allegations being made against a member of our family,” a statement from the family read via Albert Fox Cahn, the legal director for the N.Y. Chapter Council for Islamic Relations.

The statement continued, “But we’re also outraged by the behavior of the law enforcement officials who held children as small as 4 years old out in the cold and who pulled a teenager out of high school classes to interrogate him without lawyer, without his parents.”

“These are not the sorts of actions we expect from our justice system,” the statement added, and noted that the family has “every confidence” that the U.S. justice system would “find the truth behind this attack and that we will, in the end, be able to learn what occurred.”

Obama-era CIA director admits endorsing Hillary Clinton, ostracizing Trump was short-sighted

11 hours 45 min ago

Michael Morell, who served as the deputy head of the CIA in the Obama administration and was twice promoted to acting CIA director, believes the intelligence community was too harsh on President Donald Trump during the 2016 election.

What did Morell say?

In a recent interview with Politico Magazine, a reporter asked Morell whether his decision to endorse Hillary Clinton last year was a mistake. Morell said he doesn’t think he made a mistake but described the decision as very short-sighted.

“I was concerned about what is the impact it would have on the agency, right? Very concerned about that, thought that through,” Morrell said. “But I don’t think I fully thought through the implications.”

What were the implications?

Morell said that when he made the decision to go political, he didn’t put himself in Trump’s shoes to think about how the then-future president might see the political decisions of the intelligence community.

“So, let’s put ourselves here in Donald Trump’s shoes. So, what does he see? Right? He sees a former director of CIA and a former director of NSA, Mike Hayden, who I have the greatest respect for, criticizing him and his policies. Right? And he could rightfully have said, ‘Huh, what’s going on with these intelligence guys?’ Right?” Morell explained, adding:

And then he sees a former acting director and deputy director of CIA criticizing him and endorsing his opponent. And then he gets his first intelligence briefing, after becoming the Republican nominee, and within 24 to 48 hours, there are leaks out of that that are critical of him and his then-national security advisor, Mike Flynn.

And so, this stuff starts to build, right? And he must have said to himself, “What is it with these intelligence guys? Are they political?”

Then he becomes president, and he’s supposed to be getting a daily brief from the moment he becomes the president-elect. Right? And he doesn’t. And within a few days, there’s leaks about how he’s not taking his briefing. So, he must have thought—right?—that, “Who are these guys? Are these guys out to get me? Is this a political organization? Can I think about them as a political organization when I become president?”

“So, I think there was a significant downside to those of us who became political in that moment,” Morell said.

Morell finished by saying he doesn’t know if he would have made a different decision had he thought through the implications of endorsing Clinton.

He also said he is very encouraged by the positive relationship between Trump and CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Though Morell said he doesn’t know how intelligence briefings are going these days, he explained he is confident in Pompeo’s CIA.

Poll: Majority of voters say the Senate should expel Roy Moore if he is elected

12 hours 1 min ago

A majority of voters say the Senate should vote to expel Alabama Republican candidate Roy Moore if he wins Tuesday’s special election, according to a new Politico/Morning Consult poll.

What did the poll find?

According to the poll, 40 percent of registered voters said they find allegations of sexual misconduct against Moore credible. Another 40 percent said they were unsure, while 20 percent said they do not believe the allegations are credible.

Moore faces accusations from multiple women that he pursued sexual encounters with them when they were teenagers and he was in his early 30s. One of the women, Leigh Corfman, said that Moore molested her when she was 14. Moore has claimed that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) fabricated the allegations. After the allegations came to light, McConnell said Moore would immediately face an ethics probe if elected.

The poll found that 61 percent of voters said Moore should be expelled from the Senate if he wins the election. Just 17 percent said he should not be expelled, while 22 percent offered no opinion.

Seventy-seven percent of Democrats and 59 percent of independents said Moore should be expelled. A plurality of Republicans — 45 percent — said Moore should be expelled, while 29 percent of Republicans said he should not be kicked out.

According to the poll, 52 percent said it was wrong for the Republican National Committee to reinstate its support for Moore after initially cutting ties with him. Just 20 percent said it was right for the RNC to resume making financial contributions to Moore’s campaign.

Trump attacks Gillibrand after she calls for his resignation; Dems call remark sexually suggestive

12 hours 46 min ago

President Donald Trump attacked Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Twitter on Tuesday, a day after the New York Democrat called for the president’s resignation — and Democrats argued the president’s attack was sexually suggestive.

What did Gillibrand say?

Gillibrand told CNN on Monday that Trump should resign because multiple women have accused him of sexual assault.

“President Trump has committed assault, according to these women, and those are very credible allegations of misconduct and criminal activity, and he should be fully investigated and he should resign,” Gillibrand said.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at a Monday press briefing that Trump “has denied the allegations, as have eyewitnesses … several reports have shown those eyewitnesses also back up the president’s claim in this process, and again the American people knew this and voted for the president and we feel like we’re ready to move forward in this process.”

How did Trump respond?

Trump took to Twitter Tuesday morning to call Gillibrand “a total flunky” for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

He wrote that Gillibrand “would come to my office ‘begging’ for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them).”

Trump also hit Gillibrand for being “disloyal” to former President Bill Clinton. Gillibrand said last month that Clinton should have stepped down from the presidency following his affair with then-intern Monica Lewinsky.

Trump reportedly donated thousands of dollars to Gillibrand in 2007 and 2010.

What was the response?

Some characterized the president’s tweet as sexist and sexually suggestive.

Gillibrand responded to Trump on Twitter, writing, “You cannot silence me or the millions of women who have gotten off the sidelines to speak out about the unfitness and shame you have brought to the Oval Office.”

MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski said on “Morning Joe” Tuesday that Trump is “suggesting that Kirsten Gillibrand would have sex with him in order to get campaign contributions. The president actually tweeted that this morning.”

In a tweet, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) accused the president of attempting to “slut-shame” Gillibrand.

Professor says academic ‘rigor’ results in ‘dirty deeds’ and ‘white male heterosexual privilege’

13 hours 21 min ago

Academic “rigor accomplishes dirty deeds,” according to the head of Purdue University’s School of Engineering Education — among them “white male heterosexual privilege.”

“Understanding how rigor reproduces inequality, we cannot reinvent it but rather must relinquish it,” Donna Riley wrote in the abstract to her article in the scholarly journal Engineering Studies.

Campus Reform looked deeper into Riley’s argument, noting her declaration that rigor “has a historical lineage of being about hardness, stiffness, and erectness; its sexual connotations — and links to masculinity in particular — are undeniable.”

That said, Riley’s “visceral reaction in many conversations where I have seen rigor asserted has been to tell parties involved (regardless of gender) to whip them out and measure them already,” the outlet reported.

What else does Riley’s article say?

  • Riley also stated that academic rigor reveals “how structural forces of power and privilege operate to exclude men of color and women, students with disabilities, LGBTQ+ people, first-generation and low-income students, and non-traditionally aged students,” Campus Reform added.
  • Rigor also can “reinforce gender, race, and class hierarchies in engineering, and maintain invisibility of queer, disabled, low-income, and other marginalized engineering students,” she wrote, the outlet said.
  • Research also shows “a climate of microaggressions and cultures of whiteness and masculinity in engineering,” Riley noted, according to Campus Reform, adding that the discipline also harbors “inherent masculinist, white, and global North bias…all under a guise of neutrality.”
  • The professor also argued that “scientific knowledge” is “gendered, raced, and colonizing,” the outlet said.

What has Riley said in the past?

  • According to her faculty page at her previous position at Smith College, Riley said she wants to be “part of a paradigm shift” and move “diversity in science and engineering from superficial measures of equity as headcounts, to addressing justice and the genuine engagement of all students as core educational challenges.”
  • Riley also noted that she wants to “revise engineering curricula” by “integrating concerns related to public policy, professional ethics and social responsibility …”

What are others saying about Riley’s positions?

  • Another engineer professor criticized Riley’s point of view in an article for the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.
  • “Riley’s purpose seems not to be how best to train new engineers but to let everyone know how bad engineers have been, how they continue to ‘oppress’ women and persons of color, how much we need ‘diverse perspectives,’ and how the ‘struggle’ continues to level all distinctions and differences in society,” wrote Indrek Wichman, a professor of mechanical engineering at Michigan State University.

Campus Reform asked Riley multiple times for comment, the outlet said, but didn’t immediately receive a response.

Pages

The Blaze