White House press secretary Josh Earnest had to be asked three times whether it’s the United States’ goal to defeat the Islamic State before he gave an answer.

Asked during Wednesday’s White House press briefing by CNN’s Jim Acosta whether it’s “the president’s strategy to defeat ISIL?” Earnest did not answer the question directly.

“First and foremost Jim, the president’s strategy is to protect Americans who are in harm’s way,” Earnest said. “There are Americans in Iraq right now whose safety is threatened by the recent advance of ISIL across western and northern Iraq.

“That’s why the president ordered military strikes and that’s why the president has been so deeply engaged, and the vice president and others, have been so deeply engaged in encouraging the Iraqi government to unite that country in the face of that threat,” Earnest continued. “But principally, the president is focused on protecting the national security of the United States of America and in this case protecting American personal that are in harms way.”

Acosta followed: “That’s sort of a different question though. Does he want defeat ISIL?”

Earnest said, “Well, you asked what our goals are. That is the goal.”

Acosta referred to Obama’s remarks in a speech to the American Legion in which he called the Islamic State “a cancer.”

“When you have cancer, typically, you want to defeat cancer. You don’t want to die from cancer. Right?” Acosta asked.

“I’ll grant you that,” Earnest said.

Acosta then asked again: “If ISIS is a cancer, does he want to defeat it?”

“Of course, Jim,” Earnest finally said.

He went on: “But the goal of this action, and what the president is focused on as we pursue this strategy that includes elements of American military might, that includes diplomacy with governments in the region and around the world, that includes our intensive conversations with Iraq’s political leaders to unite that country – our focal point here is safeguarding the American people and putting the foreign policy interest of the United States first and foremost.”

 

 

Most dads will threaten to take your car away or kick you out of the house if you don’t do well in school, but Viktor Barkov isn’t like most dads.

The 55-year-old suburban Chicago man was arrested just after midnight Saturday, WBBM-TV reported, and was charged with aggravated assault and use of a deadly weapon.

Why?

Barkov reportedly held a gun to his 22-year-old son’s head and threatened, “If you don’t go back to school I’m going to put a hole through your head.”

Image source: Cook County Sheriff via

According to WBBM, Barkov surrendered his weapon, a Ruger SR40 handgun, peacefully when police arrived on the scene.

 

 

She didn’t necessarily find porn on her daughter’s school iPad, but she found something pretty darn close to it.

As KATU-TV reported, a Forest Grove, Oregon, mom was shocked when she checked the browser history on her daughter’s school-supplied iPad and found out what her daughter had been getting into: erotic stories.

“She was reading erotica — along with a lot of the other kids,” the mother, Sarah, told the station.

Her daughter, she said, is just 12 years old.

Image via Shutterstock

Sarah — who didn’t want her last name used — said her daughter received the iPad last year through Neil Armstrong Middle School’s pilot program, and Sarah kept strict control over the device, taking it from her daughter each night.

But despite her vigilance and the school’s security measures installed on the iPad, the 12-year-old found a few loopholes, accessing erotic writing on the website Wattpad.

“I was shocked!” Sarah said. “It was not something you expect a 12-year-old to look at, or to talk about, or to want to do or anything. She’s still a little girl.”

Image via

But she said that’s not all.

“I found out she had an email account and was sending pictures of herself and having relations online,” Sarah said.

Sarah confiscated the device and said she’s debating when, if ever, to give it back to her daughter.

Why was a 12-year-old able to read erotica despite the school’s safety features?

“There is no way to ensure absolute security on a technology device,” principal Brandon Hundley told WATU. “As we develop our program as others schools are doing the same, we will continue to focus on teaching and training our students in the appropriate ways to use technology to support their learning, keep themselves safe and leave as small and limited a digital footprint as possible.”

Hundley said the school is constantly adding inappropriate websites to its “blocked list,” but middle schoolers are a hard bunch to control.

“The truth is that students are constant problem solvers and work hard to access what they are interested in,” Hundley said.

Young students accessing sexual material is only one of the potential problems that has caused schools across the country, once eagerly pursuing tech-enabled classrooms, to step back from iPads and other devices.

The Los Angeles Unified School District this week stopped the contract on its $1 billion plan to purchase 700,000 iPads loaded with Pearson educational software after an investigation showedthe bidding process may not have been fair and that the software was riddled with typos and glitches.

As the Atlantic reported earlier this month, many schools are debating whether tablets like the iPad are really the best tech tool for students, or whether students might be better served by the humble laptop.

 

 

 

video  making the rounds on conservative blogs is highlighting a critical question: Did Michael Brown attack the police officer who fatally shot him?

Video Contains Alleged Witness Account of Michael Brown Attacking Cop

The shooting death of Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man, at the hands of a white police officer has set off a national firestorm.

Brown’s hometown of Ferguson, Missouri, has been rocked by a week of protests, and the local police have handed over the investigation of the shooting — and control of the town — to the state highway patrol and the FBI.

The details of the shooting remain unclear, with witnesses telling conflicting stories about whether Brown attacked the officer, or whether he was walking away with his hands in the air, before being fatally shot.

A video posted to YouTube Thursday purports to show the scene of the Aug. 9 shooting, but as theConservative Treehouse noted Friday, a conversation heard in the background of the video (starting at around the 6:30 mark) offers some damning allegations: Brown may have rushed the officer who shot him.

 

 

The Acts 29 Church Planting Network has removed controversial megapastor Mark Driscoll and his Seattle church, Mars Hill, from its ranks, according to a statement released on the group’s website Friday.

Pastor Mark Driscoll (Image source: Twitter)

The decision was made with “deep sorrow,” the statement reads, and cited “the nature of the accusations against [Driscoll]” that have made it “untenable and unhelpful to keep [Driscoll] and Mars Hill in our network.” It continued with even stronger language, saying the move was made in part “so that the name of the Christ will not continue to be dishonored.”

It was signed by the organization’s board, which is headed by Dallas pastor Matt Chandler, lead pastor at The Village Church.

The full statement is below:

It is with deep sorrow that the Acts 29 Network announces its decision to remove Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church from membership in the network. Mark and the Elders of Mars Hill have been informed of the decision, along with the reasons for removal. It is our conviction that the nature of the accusations against Mark, most of which have been confirmed by him, make it untenable and unhelpful to keep Mark and Mars Hill in our network. In taking this action, our prayer is that it will encourage the leadership of Mars Hill to respond in a distinctive and godly manner so that the name of Christ will not continue to be dishonored.

Besides the statement released on the Acts 29 website, frequent Driscoll critic Prof. Warren Throckmorton says he obtained a letter sent from the organization’s board of directors to Driscoll that goes into more detail about why the decision was made.

“Over the past three years, our board and network have been the recipients of countless shots and dozens of fires directly linked to you and what we consider ungodly and disqualifying behavior,” the letter reads. “We have both publicly and internally tried to support and give you the benefit of the doubt, even when multiple pastors in our network confirmed this behavior.”

It continues, saying that “ample time” has been given for “repentance, change, and restitution, with none forthcoming.” It implores the pastor to “please step down from ministry for an extended time and seek help”:

In response, we leaned on the Mars Hill Board of Advisors & Accountability to take the lead in dealing with this matter. But we no longer believe the BoAA is able to execute the plan of reconciliation originally laid out. Ample time has been given for repentance, change, and restitution, with none forthcoming. We now have to take another course of action.

Based on the totality of the circumstances, we are now asking you to please step down from ministry for an extended time and seek help. Consequently, we also feel that we have no alternative but to remove you and Mars Hill from membership in Acts 29. Because you are the founder of Acts 29 and a member, we are naturally associated with you and feel that this association discredits the network and is a major distraction.

Driscoll co-founded the Acts 29 group and was its former leader before turning it over to Chandler in 2012, who then moved the headquarters from Seattle to Dallas.

As TheBlaze has reported, Driscoll has been mired in controversy. Most recently heapologized again for posting vulgar messages on his own church’s message board. There have also been accusations that six controversial minutes of a recent sermon were deleted from the online video and transcript, as well as plagiarism charges. Additionally, he’s faced backlash for the church spending what was reported to be upwards of $200,000 on a book-buying scheme meant to send it to the top of the best-seller list.

A group of 75 members and ex-members of Driscoll’s church have been clamoring for his dismissal from Mars Hill. They had planned to file “53 new charges against the pastor and his Executive Elders.” Those plans were delayed in light of today’s announcement, according to a statementobtained by Throckmorton.

“It is with a mix of sadness and relief to see that Acts 29 has taken these actions,” the group’s spokesman, Rob Smith, said in the statement. “We hope and pray that the call for Mark Driscoll to step down from ministry is heeded.”

Driscoll has not responded, however he recently reacted to some of the controversy by pledging to quit social media to “reset my life.”

Full disclosure: The author attends The Village Church, which is headed by current Acts 29 leader Matt Chandler.

 

A Michigan town last week went from frantically searching for a teen they feared was abducted to being thankful she was found. Now, in a more recent twist, they’re seeking answers after the sheriff’s office revealed Sunday that the teen was not in fact kidnapped.

According to earlier reports, 18-year-old Hayley Turner of Bedford, Michigan, went missing for 16 hours last week before turning up on Friday. While the search for the teen was still taking place, MLive reported that Turner had last spoken over her cellphone to a friend, saying she saw a man lying in a ditch and was stopping to help him. Then, the teen apparently said “he has a gun” and the call was disconnected.

Many police resources were used last week to search for 18-year-old Haley Turner who was thought to have been abducted. The teen later showed up and further investigation revealed she was not kidnapped. (Image source: Monroe County Sheriff's Office)

According to WXYZ-TV, police conducted a ground and air search after Turner was reported missing.

“Hayley, if you can hear me, just please call us, please call anybody,” the girl’s worried mother said in a press conference.

WDIV-TV reported that investigators later found the girl’s abandoned car with her wallet inside. Her cellphone was a few blocks away with its battery removed. After she was found 45 minutes away Friday, less than 24 hours after her disappearance, the teen told police she escaped by jumping from the car of the person who abducted her.

WDIV, in a separate report, noted that Turner was taken to the hospital for evaluation and later went home to her family. The Turner family told the news station at this point that the teen was battling emotional issues this year.

By Sunday though, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office reported that the story changed.

A follow-up interview with one of the office’s detectives and a FBI special agent revealed that “incident did not take place, as originally reported,” a news release posted to the county sheriff’s office Facebook page said.

The sheriff's office is  filing a complaint to the prosecutor's office, which could bring charges against the teen depending on the situation. (Image source: Monroe County Sheriff's Office)

The sheriff’s office closed the investigation Sunday and is submitting a complaint to the county prosecutor’s office. The prosecutor’s office will determine if any charges will be brought against the teen.

“If she was in fact staging all this, um, yes,” Kim Bridge, a neighbor, told WXYZ, voicing her opinion that if the situation was a hoax, the teen should face charges.

“And I hear that there are quite a few allegations,” Bridge added.

 

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (AP) — Robin Williams committed suicide by hanging himself with a belt at his San Francisco Bay Area home, sheriff’s officials said Tuesday.

Marin County Sheriff’s Lt. Keith Boyd said Williams’ personal assistant found the actor Monday in a bedroom at his Tiburon home. The actor also had superficial cuts on his wrist, and a pocketknife was found nearby.

Sheriffs Office: Robin Williams Found Dead With Belt Around His Neck, Cuts on His Wrist

Boyd said Williams, star of “Good Will Hunting,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Good Morning, Vietnam” and dozens of other films, was seeking treatment for depression. He would not say whether the actor and comedian left a suicide note.

The 63-year-old comedian’s wife had last seen him the night before and had left the home that morning thinking he was still asleep. His personal assistant later came to the home and became concerned when he knocked on the door and got no response.

Toxicology test results on whether Williams had any drugs or alcohol in his system are weeks away. Boyd said authorities will continue to investigate his death.

The actor had periodic bouts of substance abuse and depression for years. Just last month, Williams announced he was returning to a 12-step treatment program.

Williams made reference to his substance abuse and depression in his comedy routines, including when he sought treatment in 2006 after a relapse that followed 20 years of sobriety.

Williams joked about that fall off the wagon during a comedy tour, saying: “I went to rehab in wine country to keep my options open.”

Likewise, when word spread about his struggles with drugs in the early 1980s, Williams responded with a joke that for a time became a catchphrase for his generation’s recreational drug use: “Cocaine is God’s way of telling you you are making too much money.”

Word that he had killed himself left neighbors in Tiburon equally stunned and grief-stricken. Williams had lived in the quiet, waterfront neighborhood for eight years, according to neighbors.

Sheriffs Office: Robin Williams Found Dead With Belt Around His Neck, Cuts on His Wrist

Noreen Nieder said Williams was a friendly neighbor who always said hello and engaged in small talk. Nieder said she wasn’t close to Williams and his family, but she still felt comfortable enough to approach him and ask him about his latest stint in drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

“He was very open about it,” Nieder said. “He told me he was doing well.”

Fans and friends placed bouquets, candles and personal notes in front of the locked gates of Williams’ house.