Monday, September 1, 275760

Random Disclaimer: This is a blog.

9/23/14 EDIT: For in-depth video game information for various obscure RPGs, check out my gaming blog at

5/29/12 EDIT: I've just created a new blog exclusively for ponies and pony-related news, WITHOUT the stressful news articles on this blog.  It's no Equestria Daily, nor will it ever be, but it's still a pony blog. Feel free to check it out if you please...

If you're a brony and a Final Fantasy fan, and you want to play a game that combines ponies with Final Fantasy, I just thought you might like to know that an excellent fan game called Pony Fantasy 6 was released a few days ago.

If you are interested in this game, and would like to give it a try, please follow this link...

This blog contains some controversial posts concerning certain political issues and depressing news stories. If you find some of the content on my blog too controversial for your liking, or you're simply interested in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, go to That is my DailyMotion channel that is filled with every episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic so far. If a new epsisode of MLP:FiM comes on, expect to see it on there within a few hours. It might help to take the edge off from hearing or seeing too much stressful stuff (i.e. some of the posts on my blog), and you may walk away with the realization that not ALL things pertaining to My Little Pony suck. In fact, in the case of FiM, it's AWESOME.

BTW, since DailyMotion absolutely ADORES putting ads all over the place, often ruining perfectly good videos by placing ads at the beginning, end, and occasionally, even the MIDDLE of many videos, please consider installing Adblock Plus for maximum pony enjoyment. DailyMotion can be a great deal better and more enjoyable than YouTube, but only if you use Adblock to get around the horribly annoying ads.

If you're interested in MLP:FiM, but you don't want to go to DailyMotion, either because of the annoying random ads or because the videos play slower there than on other sites, there are dozens, if not hundreds of channels on YouTube that have the entire first and second seasons uploaded to their channels, and they're all ad-free, too. I was planning on creating another YouTube channel to upload pony videos to, but it wouldn't allow me to upload videos past 15 minutes unless I gave a mobile phone number, and I don't have a mobile phone, and I'm NOT breaking these videos into parts.

If ponies aren't your thing, I understand. At any rate, I cannot stress enough that there are PLENTY of depressing pieces of news and controversial opinions about certain subjects on here. But if you can get past this disclaimer, you might find that this blog is fairly interesting and informative. I do my best to post interesting articles from various news sources, many of which provide a glimpse into the harsh realities of the world. Some of them may be easily accessed by searching your favorite news site or clicking on CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, etc, whereas some other news stories are less known for various reasons.

BTW, I've noticed a few people have been searching for "Rainbow Dash Attack", basically a ponified version of the popular Adult Swim Flash game "Robot Unicorn Attack". If you want to play "Rainbow Dash Attack", follow the link below.

If you just want to play the original version, Robot Unicorn Attack, feel free to follow this link...

Saturday, December 31, 275555

A veritable encyclopedia of important links, including search engines, Pastebins, proxies, alternative news sources, etc.

Alternative Search Engines
009  (google)
011  (file search)
012  (library search engine)
019  (file search)
020 (free books)
021  (file search)
022 (file search)
025 (hide my ass)

Friday, January 3, 275000

A Comprehensive List of Suicide Crisis Hotlines across America

If you are feeling suicidal for any reason, please don't throw your life away. Instead, talk with someone you're close to or contact your local suicide hotline. Here is a comprehensive list of all the suicide hotlines across all 50 states.

 Information taken from . If you need more detailed information on the subject of suicide and how to deal with it, please go to the URL and check out any of the links on the left side of it. If you or a loved one or friend is expressing suicidal ideations or behavior, contact the hotline on the list that is nearest to you immediately.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

New London, Connecticut Man Arrested on Sexual Assault Charges

On Feb. 13 of this year, New London Police received a complaint that a juvenile victim was allegedly sexually assaulted by someone known to her and her family.

The alleged assaults took place on several different dates and times between October 2014 and January 2015, according to New London Deputy Police Chief Peter Reichard.

“The victim underwent a specialized forensic interview and detailed the assaults and abuse endured,” Reichard said.

An arrest warrant was granted and police arrested Frank Jimenez, 26, of West Street in New London, at approximately 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24.

Jimenez was charged with:
  • Sexual assault in the first degree
  • Two counts of sexual assault in the fourth degree
  • Three counts of risk of injury to a minor
He is being held at the New London Police Department, in lieu of a $500,000 court-set bond.

Video footage counters Philadelphia police version of fatal shooting

New footage from a 7-Eleven convenience store surveillance camera appears to contradict the stated rationale two Philadelphia, Pennsylvania police officers gave for the Dec. 15 shooting death of Brandon Tate-Brown.
The Philadelphia Police Department has maintained that Tate-Brown was pulled over by officers because the lights of his 2014 Dodge Charger were not turned on. They say one officer was knocked to the ground in a tussle with Tate-Brown, who was then shot and killed by another officer once he reached into the passenger side of his car for a stolen, loaded handgun.

Yet the new footage given to the Philadelphia Daily News by Brian Mildenberg, an attorney for
Tate-Brown's mother, Tanya Brown-Dickerson, revealed that Tate-Brown stopped at a 7-Eleven moments before his death. Identified by his mother, Tate-Brown had his car lights on in the footage.
"You see clearly that he pulls up in his white car with the headlights on. He gets out, walks into the 7-Eleven, walks around, and then drives off with his lights on the entire time," Mildenberg said.

The surveillance footage was accessed by private investigators, Mildenberg said, and made public by the Daily News first on Monday evening.
"We know from the video that his headlights were on, and we know that he wasn't reaching for a gun when they shot him," Mildenberg said. "Whether Brandon started the struggle or whether he had a gun is not clear, but we do know [that the Police Department] lied about two items."
Mildenberg also told the Daily News last week that surveillance footage accessed by police that he and Brown-Dickerson were invited to watch at the Philadelphia police’s Internal Affairs Division showed that Tate-Brown was not shot next to the passenger side of the car, nor next to a weapon, but from behind the trunk of the car after he fled across a nearby street.
"From the video, the moment he was shot, he was running away from the officer, across Frankford Avenue," Mildenberg said.
"He was behind his vehicle, near the trunk of the vehicle – not near any doors – when he was shot and dropped down."
"From the video, the moment he was shot, he was running away from the officer, across Frankford Avenue," Mildenberg said.
"He was behind his vehicle, near the trunk of the vehicle - not near any doors - when he was shot and dropped down."

The footage they viewed at police offices came from four different cameras set up at nearby businesses, the Daily News reported. The images come from a distance and are murky or indecipherable at times, according to the report.

Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said last week that the "quality of the tapes are not very good" and were not relied on completely during the department’s investigation.
"The investigation did not rely solely on the tape," he said. "You have the officers' statements, and statements from four independent eyewitnesses who actually observed the incident as it took place."

District Attorney Seth Williams is investigating the case locally. Mildenberg and Brown-Dickerson have called for the US Department of Justice to open its own probe into the fatal shooting. They also want the Philadelphia Police Department to publicly release the surveillance footage, in addition to witness statements, police radio communication, and other records of the shooting.

The footage they viewed at police offices came from four different cameras set up at nearby businesses, the Daily News reported. The images come from a distance and are murky or indecipherable at times, according to the report.

Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said last week that the "quality of the tapes are not very 
good" and were not relied on completely during the department’s investigation.
"The investigation did not rely solely on the tape," he said. "You have the officers' statements, and 
statements from four independent eyewitnesses who actually observed the incident as it took place."

District Attorney Seth Williams is investigating the case locally. Mildenberg and Brown-Dickerson have called for the US Department of Justice to open its own probe into the fatal shooting. They also want the Philadelphia Police Department to publicly release the surveillance footage, in addition to witness statements, police radio communication, and other records of the shooting.
"If you're running across Frankford Avenue, obviously that's not complying with the police officer, and we're not saying that's OK," Mildenberg said.
"But police aren't licensed to shoot every person that runs from them."

Ramsey said he would not release the officers’ statements, nor their names for that matter. He also said the department’s surveillance footage was off limits, and that he apologized to Brown-Dickerson for not notifying her when the officers were allowed back on patrol after being cleared of department violations.
"Believe me, I understand the loss of life, and the tragedy that goes along with it, but we also have to be very mindful to let the investigation take place," Ramsey said.
"This isn't trial by media, and it's not trial by public opinion. This has to be based on facts."
Allowing Brown-Dickerson and Mildenberg to view police footage was part of the department’s efforts at transparency in the case, Ramsey said, after they had requested that of police for two months since the shooting.

"We did let them see the tape. That's what was being asked, and we did see to that," Ramsey said. "We have nothing to hide."
The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania said Tuesday that in the Philadelphia Police Department, it had identified a "pattern and practice of stopping and frisking pedestrians without reasonable suspicion that the person was involved in criminal activity and disproportionately stopping African-Americans.”
“This report shows that while the police department has made some improvements in its stop and frisk practices, there are still far too many persons – tens of thousands each year – who are stopped and frisked without legal justification. In our view, the city must move very decisively to ensure that stops are made only where there is reasonable suspicion of criminal conduct. Failing such action, we will seek court intervention to secure full compliance with the consent decree,” said David Rudovsky of Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing & Feinberg, LLP.

NYPD cops call Eric Garner training ‘boring’ and ‘waste of time’

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $35 million “smart policing” training program instituted after the death of Eric Garner has consisted mostly of “boring” lectures and little hands-on training, according to a source.

The New York Police Department has reviewed half of the surveys filled out by the 4,000 police officers that have taken the three-day training program, according to the New York Post’s “high-ranking source,” and cops are reportedly calling the course a “waste of time.”

The training includes two days of mostly lectures on policing tactics and one day of training officers how to use a “high-low takedown” to subdue suspects rather than a chokehold, the source said. The NYPD began offering the training last year following the incident in which Eric Garner, an unarmed black man accused of illegally selling cigarettes, died after being placed in a chokehold by Officer Daniel Pantaleo.

Many officers have fallen asleep during the sessions, the Post added, as 16,000 others wait for their turn at the training.

Though maneuvers like the one used last July by Pantaleo on Garner are illegal for local police to use, a recent review found that officers were quick to employ the tactic and were rarely punished to a considerable extent for doing so.

READ MORE: New York City mayor promises to veto NYPD chokehold ban

“Officers thought they were going to get some real hands-on, quality training on how to deal with a hostile prisoner or arrestee,” the Post source said. “They didn’t get that.”

Eight-hour lectures at the NYPD’s $750 million academy in Queens – equipped with a mock bank, bodega, and police cars – have put some participants to sleep, he said.

“It’s three days, it’s boring and there’s no real tactics,” the source stated. “They’re not putting them in scenarios. Cops felt they would get more tactical training in light of the Eric Garner case.”

The first day of the training focuses on a workshop called 'Blue Courage,' which focuses on, according to the organization’s website, “self-improvement, increased engagement, stress-management, developing resilience, igniting culture change, combatting cynicism, while improving overall health and well-being.”

“It’s more of a self-reflection kind of course,” the source said. “Reflecting on how they can improve as police officers.”

The second day consists of discussions about the “the legitimacy of policing — why police officers do what they do,” he said.

The third day is held at a gym, as officers are taught the “high-low takedown” move that allows two officers to secure a suspect – one from behind the legs and one in front of the torso.

“There’s not enough tactical, hands-on training,” the source said. “This should be 100 percent hands-on training, not sitting in a classroom eating breath mints because it’s going to make you curse less.”

READ MORE: Take guns away from minority males - former NYC Mayor Bloomberg

Mayor de Blasio announced the training initiative in December as part of an initiative spearheaded with NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton’s stated effort to “refocus the department” after Garner’s death and amid widespread community anger over the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program, which was deemed by a federal judge to be a systemically racist policing strategy that violated constitutional rights.

“To refocus it requires training and the enhancement of skills that are so necessary to reach the commitment that we made to the community to police fairly, impartially and safely,” Bratton said in December.

The training program materialized after civil unrest and mass protests following a grand jury’s decision not to indict Pantaleo despite video evidence of the encounter with Garner. This decision came days after a Missouri grand jury chose not to indict Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. The subsequent protests and demonstrations that broke out nationwide following the dual decisions increased scrutiny on police aggression and militarization, racial profiling, and the overall devaluation of black lives in America.

READ MORE: NYPD arrests back up after weeks of 'slowdown' - report

Police officers and their supporters were at odds with de Blasio after the mayor offered sympathy to protesters while denouncing the kind of aggressive policing tactics that killed Garner. He said he shared the fears of the city's minority communities, as his son is half-black, and that danger could come to his son both from criminals and "the very people they (children) want to have faith in as their protectors."

“The training that’s going to happen here in this building will change the future of this city,” de Blasio said in December. “It will have not just an impact on thousands of people, it will have an impact on millions of people, because every interaction that every officer has with their fellow New Yorkers after they are trained again will be different.”

Two NYPD officers were fatally shot later in December, exacerbating divisions between the force and the mayor.

US Supreme Court: FISA surveillance stays secret

Defense attorneys for the Chicago teen arrested for terrorism in a 2012 sting will be not have access to government surveillance documents, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, upholding a lower court’s decision without comment.
Lawyers for Adel Daoud requested access to the surveillance application that prosecutors submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to show that the teenager was targeted by an FBI-orchestrated sting because of computer searches related to a term paper. Last January, US District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman ruled that for the first time such access ought to be granted. After the 7th Circuit Court overturned the ruling, Daoud’s lawyers appealed to the Supreme Court.
"Without access to FISA materials, it is virtually impossible for defendants to challenge the lawfulness of the government's surveillance of them," Daoud’s appeal said.
READ MORE: Ruling gives defense in terror case unprecedented access to govt spying request

Daoud, a US citizen of Egyptian origin, was arrested in September 2012 during a FBI sting operation. According to the federal prosecutors, he was contacted by undercover FBI agents posing as terrorists in May that year, and discussed a plot to kill a large number of Americans.

The government claims Daoud picked out the target – a popular Chicago bar – while the undercover
agents suggested and provided the means of carrying out the attack. The 18-year-old was arrested as
he was allegedly pressing the button on a fake detonator, intending to blow up the bar.
“The explosives that Daoud allegedly attempted to detonate posed no threat to the public…They were inert and had been supplied by undercover law enforcement personnel,” the US Attorney’s Office in Northern District of Illinois said in a statement following the arrest.

READ MORE: Would-be Jihadist Chicago teenager tries to blow up bar, arrested in FBI sting
Daoud’s defense has argued entrapment, alleging that the FBI targeted their client due to internet searches involving Osama bin Laden related to a high-school term paper. Defense lawyers in a number of other terrorism cases have pointed out that undercover FBI agents not only provided the means, but also incited the suspects to acts of terrorism.
A Human Rights Watch report from July 2014 criticized government agents targeting “vulnerable individuals… including people with intellectual and mental disabilities.” The report quotes Mona Daoud, who described her son as “not the person with a complete mind.” [PDF]
Since Congress created the FISA in 1978, no defense attorney has ever been granted access to its warrant applications.

Cop pepper-sprays grandma attempting to deliver cupcakes to school

A grandmother has filed charges after reportedly being pepper-sprayed and dragged from her car by a police officer for attempting to deliver cupcakes to her grandchildren, despite an alleged restraining order against her.

Mary Poole, 78, merely wanted to give the baked treats to her grandchildren while they were attending class at Kastner Intermediate School in Fresno, California. For several years, Poole was the legal guardian of her son’s two daughters, but a custody dispute between the girls’ parents left her unable to see the girls.

“I hadn’t seen my granddaughters for some time and I wanted to see them, and so I baked some cupcakes and bought some cookies for my granddaughters’ classroom,” Poole told reporters with a local ABC affiliate about last year's incident.

A police officer from Clovis Unified School District approached Poole outside one of the classrooms, informing her of a restraining order that had been filed against her and she “had to leave” the school grounds.

Poole obeyed the officer and drove her car off the school campus, parking on the street in front of the school where she placed a telephone call her son to explain the situation. At this point, the officer reportedly became aggressive and eventually pepper-sprayed the 78-year-old, who is less than 5 feet tall (1.5m) and weighs about 110lbs (50kg).

“He wouldn’t listen to anything I had to say, period. Every time I tried telling him anything…I mean, I was even telling him, ‘I’m 78 years old,’ before he grabbed me. He sprayed me with mace twice,” Poole said.

Poole said she was very frightened and told the officer to call the police, to which he responded, “I am the police.”

“He jerked me out of my car with my left arm with such great force, and then threw me on to the pavement. From there he dragged me by my left arm up to the school grounds,” she added.

Poole said she suffered more than $180,000 in medical bills as a result of her injuries, and has filed a lawsuit alleging police brutality and elderly abuse.

“The amount of force it took to inflict these injuries is testament to what happened that day,” Mark Coleman, Poole’s attorney, told an ABC affiliate.

Clovis Unified has not publicly commented on the lawsuit.

Such incidents of excessive force at the hands of US police officers are gaining greater attention. On Sunday, a YouTube video surfaced of a Fort Lauderdale police officer slapping a homeless man outside a bus terminal.

The police officer, Victor Ramirez, has been suspended with pay as investigators review the case.

Florida police officer suspended after slapping homeless man

A Fort Lauderdale police officer was suspended after a YouTube video surfaced of him slapping a homeless man.

The incident occurred Sunday afternoon when Fort Lauderdale Police Officer Victor Ramirez went to arrest Bruce Laclair, 58, possibly for loitering. In the video, the officer is seen escorting Laclair out of a bus terminal when Laclair seems to resist. The officer then pushes him to the ground.

Laclair can be heard swearing at the police officer, who responds with, “Relax. I am going to tell you what is going to happen right now. I am going to escort you out right now.

Laclair tells Ramirez he needs to pee, but the officer tells him he cannot. The officer then tells Laclair to get up, but then says, “I’ll push you to the ground and beat you if you [expletive] want to fight me.” The two argue for a few more seconds before the officer slaps Laclair, who falls onto his side.
“I’m not [expletive] around with you. Don’t [expletive] touch me,” the officer said.

The officer handcuffs Laclair and proceeds to check his pockets. After radioing other personnel, Ramirez finally walks away with Laclair.

Laclair was charged with trespassing. He pleaded no contest on arraignment and was released from jail on Monday, though he was ordered to pay a $300 fine.
READ MORE: Shocking video shows police tasering elderly man in Florida

A witness to the incident told Local 10 News that it began after Ramirez told Laclair to leave the bus terminal. While there are signs posted around the terminal that warn people against loitering, it is unclear if that is exactly why Laclair was asked to leave.

"There was a bunch of commotion," Gerald Schorder told Local 10 News, who said he saw the slap.
"The guy didn't raise his hand to the officer at all. The officer just knocked him down with his hands. The guy was defenseless."

After the video surfaced, the Fort Lauderdale Police Department launched an internal investigation. Ramirez has been suspended with pay.

Advocates for the homeless are speaking out about the incident, stating that situations like this one are becoming more and more commonplace.

"We've heard over the last 20 years that that kind of thing happens," Sean Cononie, founder of the advocacy group Homeless Voice, told Al Jazeera America. He said that Laclair’s alleged treatment was indicative of a city determined to rid itself of all homeless people. "They treat you like you're nothing but a piece of filth."
READ MORE: Florida judge lifts ban on feeding homeless in public

Homeless advocates like Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP) are campaigning for a bill called 'Right to Rest' in several states, which would put an end to laws targeting people who sit, eat, sleep, or stand in public places. The bill has been introduced in Oregon and Colorado, and organizers are looking for a sponsor in California.

“It doesn’t matter where you go. Everywhere you go you’re a broken window and cops need to get rid of you,” Paul Boden, executive director of WRAP, told Al Jazeera. “As a cop, if I see you in my town, and I don’t want people like you in my town, I’m going to use laws against standing, sitting, sleeping, eating — things we all do — to get you out of my town.”

A report by law students at the University of California, Berkeley discovered that the surge in laws targeting life-sustaining activities in public coincide with cuts in federal funding for affordable housing, which began in the early 1980s.
“Homelessness isn’t a criminal justice issue…it’s about lack of housing not lack of cops,” Boden said.

Dozens of cars crash in snowy pileup on Maine interstate

At least 11 people were sent to the hospital after more than 40 vehicles, including a school bus and a tractor trailer, were involved in a massive pileup on a snowy Maine interstate early Wednesday.
Authorities shut down a 30-mile stretch of Interstate 95 in Maine on Wednesday when traffic came to a standstill after heavy snow complicated the morning rush hour near the town of Etna, ME and a crash caused a chain reaction at around 7:30 am, Stephen McCausland, a spokesperson for the state’s Department of Public Safety, told reporters.

More than 25 vehicles were involved in the initial crash, McCausland told the Bangor Daily News, and other wrecks soon materialized on the stretch of the interstate leading up to the scene of the accident.
“Some of those other crashes involved two or three vehicles each, and then other vehicles went off the road to avoid collisions,” he said in a statement given to the paper less than 2 1/2 hours after the incident began to unfold.

Matthew Theriault, a 24-year-old contractor who said he was among the first to stop behind the pileup, told the Daily News that other drivers were “going way too fast for conditions” when the crash occurred.
“Nothing seems to be moving much,” Theriault told the paper. “It’s just a hunk of metal.”

Indeed, McCausland said one trooper described the scene of dozens of cars as resembling a “giant pile of metal.”

Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor told the Associated Press that it had received 11 patients at its emergency department by 10 am in conditions ranging from good to fair, and McCausland said there have so far been no reports of fatalities. Police told the AP that two of the injured were thought to be in serious condition.
“EMMC is providing appropriate care to all patients who have arrived at our Emergency Department, and we anticipate being able to meet the needs of any additional patients that may arrive,” the hospital told the Daily News on Wednesday morning.
Nineteen students were on the school bus involved in the pileup, the paper reported, but no one onboard suffered anything beyond a minor injury.
The National Weather Service expects affected parts of Maine to receive upwards of 9 inches of snow before Thursday.

Snow business: Massachusetts man sells bottled blizzard for $19.99

An American entrepreneur has found a way to turn Boston’s record-breaking snow month into a money-making machine, shipping snow from his yard all across the US for just $19.99 a bottle.

Kyle Waring, 27, launched his venture — — and has already filled 133 orders, according to the website.

Waring, from Manchester-by-the-Sea, became inspired while shoveling snow in his yard. His site promotes the experience of winter to southern states. His slogan is: “Our nightmare is your dream!”

People can order either a 16.9oz (480g) snow-filled bottle for $19.99 or a 6lb (2.7kg) box for $89, which is enough for about 10 to 15 snowballs. His latest offer consists of 10-pound packages for $119.
“I put the snow in a plastic bag, and put that in tinfoil,” Waring told “Then I put that package in an insulated container that’s an inch-and-a-half (3.8cm) thick, and ship it overnight. It’s sealed tight in Omaha steaks packaging.”

Waring is willing to ship anywhere in the US, except for northeast states, because “we're in the business of expunging snow!” he states on his website.

February in Boston is now part of the record books as the snowiest month in history, with 45.5 inches (116cm) of snow in total, according to the National Weather Service.

Waring is hoping his venture will spill over into other times of year, with an idea to sell some of the famous New England autumn leaves.

“At this rate, it's going to be July until the snow melts,” he said. “But I've thought about taking this idea and running with it for other seasonal items. Maybe I'll ship some fall foliage.”

Over half of Republicans want to ignore Bill of Rights, make Christianity national religion

America's Founding Fathers may have explicitly banned the formation of a national religion, but don’t tell that to Republican Christians. A poll found that over half of the religious right wants to establish Christianity as the country’s official creed.

When asked if they supported “establishing Christianity as the national religion,” 57 percent of the Republicans surveyed told Public Policy Polling (PPP) that they were in favor. Three in ten opposed turning the US into a theocracy, while 13 percent were unsure.

The Bill of Rights expressly prohibits the government from promoting one religion over others: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” the Constitution’s First Amendment states.

Women were more likely to support the official establishment of Christianity in the US, with two-thirds – 66 percent – responding “yes” to the question, while less than half the men surveyed – 49 percent – chose that option.

“It’s convenient that Republicans are so willing to ignore the Bill of Rights when it conflicts with any aspect of Christianity, but if you even for one minute mention any form of gun control, then you’re trying to destroy the Constitution and ruin America,” Amy Eddings wrote for Ring of Fire Radio.

Science fared even worse than the First Amendment. The poll’s finding “supports the growing perception liberals have of conservatives,” meaning Republicans are “anti-science Christian theocrats,” the New Civil Rights Movement wrote.

Those Republican primary voters who identified as members of the Tea Party were less likely to believe in evolution – only 27 percent were fans of Charles Darwin’s theory – than the 46 percent who believe in evolution and did not identify as part of the ideological group. Overall, 37 percent of those surveyed believe in the theory, with less than half – 49 percent – disbelieving. A majority of Tea Party members – 61 percent – said they don’t accept the theory of evolution.

When it came to global warming, only a quarter of respondents said they believe in climate change, while two-thirds – 66 percent – do not. Self-identified Tea Party members were vehemently against the scientific phenomenon, with 91 percent being so-called “climate deniers.”
Women were more likely to believe in global warming, at 30 percent. Only 20 percent of men agreed. Meanwhile, women were less likely to believe in evolution – 30 percent, compared to 43 percent of males.

Along with political polling, PPP is known for asking off-beat questions in its surveys. In 2013, the company announced that about 13 percent of Americans believe Obama is the anti-Christ, nearly 30 percent believe in aliens, and four percent believe lizard people control the US.

That same survey also asked about climate change, finding that 51 percent of Americans believed in global warming, while 37 percent said the whole idea is a hoax. This margin was particularly high among Republicans, of which 58 percent said climate change is a made-up phenomenon.

PPP, a Democratic-leaning firm, surveyed 316 Republican primary voters from February 20-22. The margin of error was 5.5 percentage points. The survey also asked questions about potential primary candidates and the favorability of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

CNN insists ISIS lures women... with Nutella & kittens. For real.

The Islamic State, the savage militant group wreaking bloody havoc across the Middle East, has purportedly stooped to a brand new low by recruiting Western women to its heavenly cause with promises of earthly delights.

According to CNN anchor Carol Costello, the marketing team at the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) is attempting to lure female heathens into its ranks with promises of sugar-drenched chocolate spread and cute kittens.

Yes, true to their reputation for unspeakable cruelty and wickedness, the fundamentalists have found the Achilles heel of the West: namely, Western women and their apparent addiction to high-fat, sodium-based snack foods, compounded by an obsession for adorable kittens. Not to mention smiley emojis!
“As ISIS continues to gain territory across the Middle East, the recruitment of young women to its ranks is becoming increasingly important to the group,” Costello croons. “And among the most highly sought after targets? Western women!”

In virtually one breath, the po-faced anchor asks and answers a crucial question:
“How do you relay your message of jihad in a way Westerners understand?…They are turning to the language of social media and that seems to be working just fine for ISIS.
“ISIS is talking online about jars of Nutella, pictures of kittens and emojis,” Costello asserts. “They want people to believe their life on the battlefield isn’t so different than yours.
“They actually eat Nutella and I guess they have pet kittens.”

Let’s attempt to wrap our minds around Costello’s argument for a moment: Islamic State warriors, who’ve spared no cost, not to mention bloodshed, in professionally promoting an image of themselves as the most disgusting savages ever to set foot on Earth, now want us to believe that by pushing Nutella, images of furry kittens and smiley faces this will make us believe that “their life on the battlefield isn’t so different than yours”?

For the uninitiated, Nutella is an Italian-produced hazelnut and chocolate spread that packs about 70 percent saturated fat and processed sugar by weight. And anybody who has Facebook is readily familiar with kittens, and the oddly bewitching effect these furry creatures have on Western women.

The incredible, unconfirmed claims presented by Costello paved the way for an interview with Nimmi Gowrinathan, visiting professor from City College, New York, who got down to the brass tacks of discussing IS recruitment methods.

Gowrinathan addressed the issue of disenfranchised women flocking to the jihadist group, which she described as “this 7th-century ideology that is using 21st-century technology.” She added that, “In France they actually found that 45 percent of the people calling the hotline to join ISIS were young women.”

Gowrinathan didn’t say if the impressionable young French women had inquired about Nutella and furry kittens. But at that point, many viewers had apparently already abandoned the show, taking to Twitter faster than you can say ‘pass the hazelnut spread’.

Max Fisher of suggested the ruse was nothing new, tweeting: “Oh please we recruited half of our staff with kittens and Nutella.”

Fox News' Bill O'Reilly under fire over ‘combat zone tales’ accusations

Just after Bill O’Reilly excoriated NBC’s Brian Williams for fabricating his experiences during the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, O'Reilly is now on the defensive himself after a publication questioned his claims of reporting during the Falklands war.
The left-leaning US magazine, Mother Jones, has bomb shelled Fox News by publishing an article that claims talk-show host Bill O’Reilly’s heroic tales of war reporting “don't withstand scrutiny—even claiming he acted heroically in a war zone that he apparently never set foot in.”

The article, entitled “Bill O’Reilly Has His Own Brian Williams Problem,” went on to produce a list of seemingly self-incriminating quotes from the notoriously outspoken Fox host, who has boasted on more than one occasion that he “experienced combat” during the 1982 conflict between England and Argentina.

In April 2013, O'Reilly shared with viewers this harrowing tale of his exploits in the Falklands war:
“I was in a situation one time, in a war zone in Argentina, in the Falklands, where my photographer got run down and then hit his head and was bleeding from the ear on the concrete. And the army was chasing us. I had to make a decision. And I dragged him off, you know, but at the same time, I'm looking around and trying to do my job, but I figure I had to get this guy out of there because that was more important.”

In his 2001 book, The No Spin Zone: Confrontations with the Powerful and Famous in America, which details his stint as a CBS News reporter, O'Reilly writes: "You know that I am not easily shocked. I've reported on the ground in active war zones from El Salvador to the Falklands."

However, as MJ points out, nowhere in the book does O'Reilly mention experiencing any combat during the Falklands war. In fact, he reportedly arrived in Buenos Aires shortly before the Argentine forces surrendered to the British, ending the 10-week war over control of the islands about 1,200 miles south of Buenos Aires. And judging by one highly respected CBS journalist, nobody from the news channel made landfall on the Falklands.
"Nobody from CBS got to the Falklands," according to veteran CBS reporter Bob Schieffer. "For us, you were a thousand miles from where the fighting was. So we had some great meals."

The magazine quoted Robert Fox, one of the few British reporters embedded with the British troops: "We were, in all, a party of about 32-34 accredited journalists, photographers, television crew members. We were all white, male, and British. There was no embedded reporter from Europe, the Commonwealth or the US (though they tried hard enough), let alone from Latin America."

Although O’Reilly reportedly didn’t respond to calls for comment from Mother Jones, longtime CBS producer Susan Zirinsky did.
"Nobody got to the war zone during the Falklands war," Zirinsky, who helped manage CBS coverage of the war from Buenos Aires, told MJ. She said the military junta prevented US reporters from reaching the islands: "You weren't allowed on by the Argentinians. No CBS person got there."

As for O’Reilly, Zirinsky says she doesn’t remember what he was doing in Argentina at the time.
Bill O’Reilly has disputed MJ’s claims, telling the Times that the story was “a bunch of garbage.” He denied ever saying he was on the Falkland Islands during the war.
“Everything I’ve said about my career is 100 percent accurate,” he said. “I never said I was on the Falkland Islands. I said I covered the Falklands war, which we all did from Argentina and Uruguay, and I was in both places. There was a combat situation when the Argentines surrendered and thousands of people stormed the president’s palace. The dictator [Leopoldo] Galtieri was trying to kill him. Argentine troops fired into the crowd. I was right in the middle of it.”

But MJ won’t even let O’Reilly claim that magical moment of “major violence up close.”
“O'Reilly's account of the protest in Buenos Aires is at odds with news reports from the time—including the report from his own bureau,” MJ wrote. “The CBS Evening News that night aired about a minute of video of the protest, apparently including some of the footage that O'Reilly and his camera team had obtained….The only act of violence in the spot was a man throwing a punch against the car of a Canadian news crew.”

MJ pulls no punches in its effort to expose O’Reilly’s claims of ‘combat reporting’ as fraudulent.
“The protest in Buenos Aires was not combat. Nor was it part of the Falklands war. It happened more than a thousand miles from the war—after the fighting was over. Yet O'Reilly has referred to his work in Argentina—and his rescue of his cameraman—as occurring in a "war zone."

The military machismo behind O’Reilly’s claims could be overlooked if not for one thing: He often cites his combat credentials in order to refute the arguments of people who do not agree with his views on foreign policy, which have a tendency to support military adventures.

For instance, on his television show in 1999, O'Reilly responded to comments from a retired Air Force colonel who criticized O'Reilly for supporting NATO military action in Kosovo, by dragging up his Falklands war exploits: "Hey, Colonel, did you ever have a hostile point an M-16 at your head from 10 yards away? That happened to me while I was covering the Falklands war."

Bill O’Reilly busted: ‘Phony’ Fox News star ‘lied’ about JFK murder witness

Conservative TV host Bill O’Reilly has been caught repeatedly lying about being present at the suicide of a key JFK assassination investigation witness, a week after he was accused of exaggerating the dangers he faced reporting from the Falklands War.
"Bill O'Reilly's a phony, there's no other way to put it," Tracy Rowlett, who worked with O’Reilly at a local Dallas WFAA station during the alleged incident, told Media Matters, an online news website.

READ MORE:‘Combat zone tales’: Fox News’ O’Reilly in 10-minute rant, another journo speaks out

The suicide victim is George de Mohrenschildt, a picaresque Russian émigré, who was on friendly terms with both the family of Jackie Kennedy and the assassin of John F. Kennedy, Lee Harvey
Oswald. He reportedly cooperated for decades with the CIA.

O’Reilly vividly describes going out to question de Mohrenschildt just hours before his death in 'Killing Kennedy,' a bestselling investigative book he published in 2012. He has also recounted the incident on his Fox News program.

“In March 1977 a young television reporter at WFAA in Dallas began looking into the Kennedy assassination. As part of his reporting he sought an interview with the shadowy Russian college professor who had befriended the Oswalds upon their arrival in Dallas in 1962,” O’Reilly wrote in 'Killing Kennedy,” one of nearly twenty “non-fiction” tomes he has authored.

George de Mohrenschildt
George de Mohrenschildt
“The reporter traced de Mohrenschildt to Palm Beach, Florida and travelled there to confront him. At the time de Mohrenschildt had been called to testify before a congressional committee looking into the events of November 1963. As the reporter knocked on the door of de Mohrenschildt’s daughter’s home, he heard the shotgun blast that marked the suicide of the Russian, assuring that his relationship with Lee Harvey Oswald would never be fully understood.”
“By the way, that reporter’s name is Bill O’Reilly.”
While the just-too-late arrival makes for a dramatic narrative, there are multiple witnesses to prove that O’Reilly’s story is completely untrue.

"He was not up on the porch when he heard the gunshots, he was in Dallas. He wasn't traveling at that time," said Rowlett.

"I don't remember O'Reilly claiming that he was there. That came later, that must have been a brain surge when he was writing the book."

Another WFAA reporter went even further.
“He stole that article out of the newspaper. I guarantee Channel 8 didn't send him to Florida to do that story because it was a newspaper story, it was broken by the Dallas Morning News," said Byron
Harris, who is still at the Dallas TV station.

In fact, O’Reilly’s anecdote was initially questioned two years ago, when the JFK Facts website compared his retelling with the publicly available phone recordings of Gaeton Fonzi, the congressional investigator who was due to question de Mohrenschildt when he killed himself.

The vaults contain a conversation between Fonzi and O’Reilly hours after the Russian aristocrat’s death, in which the journalist – who obviously knows nothing about the details of the suicide – clearly fishes for any leads, while admitting he has been researching the story by phone, and saying he was only planning to come to Florida.

O'Reilly 'tired of all the garbage'

A reporter’s aggrandizing yarn from nearly four decades ago might have been allowed to slip unnoticed, if O’Reilly hadn’t already been under fire for poor journalistic ethics, and hadn’t denied the charges with such indignant vehemence – and threats.
In the wake of the lying charges against NBC anchor Brian Williams, left-leaning Mother Jones decided to dig up dirt on an icon of the Right. Last week, the magazine published a story questioning O’Reilly’s frequent claims that he was in a “combat situation” during the 1982 Falklands conflict.

As it turns out, O’Reilly never visited the Falklands during the war with the UK, but was merely present at a demonstration in Buenos Aires where bullets were fired, after the Argentinian junta surrendered. Moreover, no one was prepared to back up another O’Reilly tale that he “rescued” a wounded cameraman during the incident.

On his program, O’Reilly called David Corn, the author of the article, “a guttersnipe” and “a piece of garbage” who deserves to be “in the kill zone.”

When a New York Times reporter contacted him for a follow-up story, the 65-year-old host
purportedly responded with the following quote: “I am coming after you with everything I have. You can take it as a threat.”
Notably, despite refuting the first wave of reports by releasing the footage he shot in 1982, he tried to draw a line under the accusations on Tuesday.

“On a personal note, I’m pretty tired of all the garbage. I think I can say, with certainty, that many of my colleagues here at Fox News are, as well,” said O’Reilly.

Instead, he said he was fighting against an ostensible witch hunt.

“Attacking Fox News has been going on for 18 years. The reason is fairly simple — Fox gives voice to conservatives and traditional people much more than most national news agencies do.”
“We are putting tremendous pressure on the Obama administration to fight the terror savages. And with Hillary Clinton coming up in 2016...if the network wasn’t around, what would happen?”

Unlike NBC, which served Williams with a lengthy suspension, the Rupert Murdoch-founded Fox has so far stood by O’Reilly.

As for his colleagues, they believe the roots of O’Reilly’s current unraveling could be seen even in 1977.
"It was my experience with O'Reilly that he was less than an honest reporter, generally. He was the most disliked person in our newsroom. He wasn't to be trusted, he was all about Bill O'Reilly, he wasn't about the news," said Rowlett.

SIM maker Gemalto denies damage amid NSA hacking fallout

Dutch-based chip maker Gemalto has acknowledged that American and British spy agencies tried hacking its systems years ago, but critics have slammed that response as denial and damage control.

In a statement Wednesday, the multinational corporation confirmed last week’s revelations of hacking by the United States National Security Agency and Britain’s GCHQ in 2010 and 2011, claiming they “only breached its office networks and could not have resulted in a massive theft of SIM encryption keys” as reported.
READ MORE: Gemalto says SIM cards ‘secure’ despite NSA, GCHQ hacking claim

Reporters who uncovered the hacking attempts have criticized Gemalto’s statement, saying the company only learned about the attacks last week when reached for comment, and that a proper investigation in just five days was simply not possible.

The Intercept magazine, which published the original investigation into the Gemalto hacks, quoted several security experts who characterized the company’s statement as “a lot of effort…to minimize and deny the impact of some old attacks,” and more of a “damage assessment” than a proper investigation.
“A true forensic investigation in such a complex environment is not possible in this time frame,” Ronald Prins of the Dutch firm Fox IT told The Intercept.
READ MORE: Snowden docs reveal mass cell phone hack through ‘Great SIM Heist’

Last week, The Intercept published an investigation into the hacks by Jeremy Scahill and Josh Begley, based on the revelations by Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the NSA. Snowden’s documents provided insight into how and why the surveillance services targeted the Dutch-based multinational. Gemalto makes some two billion SIM cards for 450 wireless providers around the world, as well as chips for luxury cars and biometric US passports. Its security technology is used by more than 3,000 financial institutions and 80 government organizations.

Gemalto’s statement claims no breaches were found in the secure networks “running our SIM activity,” or “our other products such as banking cards, ID cards or electronic passports.”

However, documents cited by The Intercept directly contradict this: We “believe we have their entire network,” the author of a secret GCHQ slide reportedly boasted.

The Intercept’s investigation reported that the hacks targeted SIM cards belonging to mobile operators in “Afghanistan, Yemen, India, Serbia, Iran, Iceland, Somalia, Pakistan and Tajikistan.” Gemalto acknowledged this, but claimed these cards were using the obsolete, 2G technology, and that current users in the West – who rely on 3G, 4G and LTE technology – were “not affected.”

Targeting the manufacturer of SIM cards, used in most mobile devices around the world, would give the US and UK intelligence agencies the ability to collect mobile communications without government warrants or the permission of service providers.

Theft of the SIM keys “enables the bulk, low-risk surveillance of encrypted communications,” Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union, told The Intercept. Gemalto and its employees were targeted by spies “not because they did anything wrong, but because they could be used as a means to an end,” he added.

According to The Intercept, fixing the security flaws in the current mobile phone system that intelligence agencies “regularly exploit” would take “billions of dollars, significant political pressure, and several years.” Jeremy Scahill, one of the authors of the original article, was disappointed by Gemalto’s denials as much as the media's willingness to take them at face value.

Eric King, deputy director of the London-based advocacy group Privacy International, called trust in the security of communications systems “essential for our society and for businesses to operate with confidence” in a statement on Wednesday, adding that “The impact of these latest revelations will have ripples all over the world.”

China appears to have taken notice already. Citing security concerns over Western hardware, the government in Beijing has dropped a number of Western companies from its approved state purchase lists. Cisco, Apple, Citrix, and Intel’s McAfee security software are among the affected.

However, unnamed technology executives told Reuters that security concerns were only a pretext, and that the “real objective was to nurture China's domestic tech industry and subsequently support its expansion overseas.”

Washington state police shot 17 times at Hispanic man accused of throwing rocks

A Mexican man accused of hurling rocks at cars and police officers was shot at a total of 17 times, Washington state police revealed Wednesday. He was hit by five or six of the shots during a controversial confrontation that spawned protests in the area.

According to Reuters, Kennewick Police Sergeant Ken Lattin confirmed that all three officers responding to the scene fired their weapons at 35-year-old Antonio Zambrano-Montes, an unemployed orchard worker and Mexican national who was reportedly throwing rocks at vehicles at a busy intersection when law enforcement arrived. He had spent the last 10 years in Pasco, Washington, and also had two daughters.

Lattin added that it’s unclear whether Zambrano-Montes, whose record indicated drug use in the past, suffered from any physical or mental issues, though investigators are looking into the situation.

"Did he have some sort of injury? Did he have some mental health situations that he was dealing with in the days and hours (before the incident)? Or was he under the influence of drugs? We need to know," Lattin said.

Caught on tape via a smartphone recording, the shooting unfolded earlier this month after police made their way to an intersection in downtown Pasco, where reports were coming in about a man tossing rocks at passing vehicles. Zambrano-Montes then reportedly threw rocks at the three responding officers – two of whom were injured and treated at the scene – before he was chased across the street.

As he ran away from police, the video shows Zambrano-Montes with his hands up and in front of him. Police said he did not respond to their orders to surrender. At one point in the video, he turns around to face the officers, who then fatally shoot him on the sidewalk. Officials said stun guns were also used prior to the shooting, to no effect.

Zambrano-Montes turned out to be unarmed, and several witnesses said they believed police overreacted.

“I could not believe they were shooting guns. There were cars and people everywhere,” Pasco resident Benjamin Patrick said at the time.

“I am really upset about what I saw,” he added. “Yes, he was resisting. Yes, he was wrong. But it looked like there might be something wrong with him. And he wasn’t hurting anyone. He had a rock, not a gun. It seems it could have been handled differently.”
All three officers have been placed on administrative leave until officials conclude their investigation.

According to local KNDO, this wasn’t the first run-in between police and Zambrano-Montes. In 2014, officers responded to complaints that he was striking cars with a broom. When police arrived to deal with the situation, Zambrano-Montes allegedly threw items at the officers, including a rocking chair, before attempting to take one of their guns. He was sent to a hospital and treated for methamphetamine use.

The fatal shooting sparked a wave of protests from residents in the area – composed primarily of Hispanics – who view the event as a case of police brutality. Some have even compared it to the controversial police shootings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York City.

It also drew criticism from the Mexican Foreign Affairs Ministry.
“The government of Mexico deeply condemns incidents in which force is used in a disproportionate 
manner, even more so when that use of force leads to loss of life,” the ministry said in a statement.  
“These unfortunate events cause damage to the community and erode trust in the authorities.”

Google Gets Prude: Says No More Adult Content On Blogger

Apparently, Google is getting prude in its old age, suddenly deciding that it will no longer allow "adult" content on its Blogger platform, giving bloggers on the site just 30 days to find another home or have their content set to private. Here's the note that some bloggers received yesterday:
Frankly, this is ridiculous. Yes, Google is a private company and has the right to do whatever it wants, but this sort of prudish, paternalistic role in determining what content is appropriate and what content is "artistic" or "educational" is a path with a lot of landmines that will lead to stifled speech on a platform that used to be celebrated for enabling free speech around the globe. On top of that, you have people who have used the platform to post this kind of information and content for over a decade suddenly being evicted with 30 days notice. Yes, this is always a risk that you take when you rely on someone else's platform, but it's a really unfortunate move from a company that one would hope would know better than to take such a hamfisted position on what content it "allows."

Of course, as Violet Blue notes, this is only the latest in a long line of moves by Google to stifle, hide or block any content that is sexual in nature. Here's just a snippet of a much longer piece by Blue, detailing the timeline of recent decisions by Google, all of which push content the company deems inappropriate further and further away:
It was one thing when Google Plus rolled out in June 2011 with a strict anti-adult, no sexual content policy for its troubled attempt at a social network; many of us just didn't bother participating, knowing how the content-policy ax always falls (not on the side of artists, writers, activists, LGBT people, or cultural outsiders who speak up). But Google began its palpable aggression against erotic content in June 2013 when Google banned adult content from Google Glass apps, as well as enacting an affiliate porn purge across its Blogger platform
December 2013 saw Android's Google Keyboard updated to exclude over 1,400 "inappropriate" words, returning no results for typing or swiping words including "intercourse," "lovemaking," "condom," "panty," "preggers" and "STI." 
In February 2014 adult and erotic content was banned from Chromecast, followed by March 2014's ban and purge of adult and erotic apps from Google Play (Android's app and media hub)
April saw an ongoing series of Google Search algorithm updates that savaged existing adult website rankings, causing major disruptions in traffic and revenues for many websites. 
So it's no surprise that many people believe that Google won't uphold its "freedom of expression" stance when it comes to organic adult search results.
I'm sure there are plenty of good business reasons why Google no longer wants to have this kind of content available on its site, but it's disappointing on multiple levels. It's not "censorship" in the classical sense, but it does seem like a really bad move by Google. It's a company that should know better, and often holds itself up as enabling more speech around the globe, and avoiding making any sort of "artistic" decisions on the worthiness of content. It is immensely troubling that this company now suddenly wants to determine which content it thinks is "appropriate" and which is not, not based on any legal requirements, but on a very subjective standard. Facebook did this sort of thing from early on in doing ridiculous things like banning "breastfeeding" images, and one would hope that Google would take a more reasonable stand. On top of that, giving people just 30 days to figure out where to go, when many have built up their blogs for over a decade just seems tremendously callous.

Google is a private company and can make its own choices, but this one seems like a particularly bad choice, which may have other consequences as well. For years, Google has pushed back on demands from copyright holders to magically monitor all its content, saying that it's just not possible. Yet, here it is now saying that it's willing to do exactly that, including making "artistic" judgments on the merits of whether adult content is purely prurient or done for a more artistic or educational reason. The company seems to be opening itself up to charges that if it can make such determinations for that type of content, it can also magically figure out what other content is "infringing" or not. This seems like a move that the company will regret.