New Relationship: Iran Continues to Threaten U.S. Ships

It's been more than a year since President Obama finished his legacy defining nuclear deal with Iran. Since then, Iran has taken more Americans hostage, violated U.N. sanctions by firing off a number of ballistic missiles and took U.S. Navy sailors captive early this year. While in captivity, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard took video of the sailors without boots, forced a female sailor into covering her head and demanded sailors issue apologies for their behavior. That footage was then used as propaganda on Iranian state television, a violation of the Geneva Convention.

Now, the Iranians are harassing U.S. Navy ships in the Persian Gulf and vowing to keep threatening them if they "get too close." Earlier this week USS Destroyer Nitze was swarmed by armed Iranian vessels and just hours later, three more U.S. ships were harassed. 

Three more U.S. ships were harassed by Iranian patrol boats over three incidents on Wednesday, U.S. 5th Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Bill Urban told USNI News on Thursday.

One of the encounters resulted in a U.S. ship firing warning shots at an Iranian patrol boat with a .50 caliber machine gun to ward off a dangerous approach, according to the service.

Cyclone-class patrol craft USS Tempest (PC-2) and USS Squall (PC-7) were operating in the northern Persian Gulf when three Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) came at the pair at high speed, Urban said.

“This situation presented a drastically increased risk of collision, and the Iranian vessel
refused to safely maneuver in accordance with internationally recognized maritime rules of the road, despite several request and warnings via radio, and visual and audible warnings from both U.S. ships,” Urban said.
“During the encounter, Tempest fired three warning flares in the direction of the IRGCN patrol
vessel while also attempting radio communications and sounding loud audible warnings via loudspeaker. Ultimately, Squall resorted to firing three warning shots from their 50-caliber gun, which caused the Iranian vessel to turn away.”

The White House has essentially chalked all of this up as "bad behavior" instead of acts by an enemy the Obama administration has naively tried to friend. The Iranians are threatening the United States with military force, they just haven't pulled the trigger yet. Someday when they do, we'll look back on all of the warning signs and question how it happened. 

An op-ed in USA Today says it best: It's time to stop Iran from humiliating the U.S. and it's time to take their threats seriously. 

The swarming boat attack is just what it sounds like: a number of fast boats equipped with missiles and torpedoes attack enemy ships from multiple angles to damage or destroy them as quickly as possible. Recently the Iranians added another dimension to the swarming boats: a vessel known as the Ya Mahdi, a remotely piloted fast patrol boat that can fire rockets or be stuffed with explosives. It is a new version of the boat that attacked the USS Cole in Aden in 2000 at a cost of 17 lives, 39 injuries and severe damage to the ship.

The Pentagon has known about this threat for a long time, and has opted to do next to nothing about it. Focused on big blue water operations, the Navy is behind a curve 20 years in the making.

The Pentagon needs to get its act together and come up with tactics and weapons systems to solve the problem of swarm boat attacks. So, too, must the administration stop pretending Iran is not a real threat. Above all, it is time to end America's humiliation on the high seas.

This Item In Donald Trump's Online Store Has People Talking

On Friday, Twitter was abuzz about one of the items in Donald Trump's official online store: An "LGBTQ For Trump" shirt. Trump is the first GOP nominee to sell apparel specifically targeted for LGBT voters.

Given that Hillary Clinton's foundation has accepted funds from countries who outlaw homosexuality, this is new push to attract LGBT voters. Gay Trump supporters say that they support the candidate's emphasis on gun rights as well as his promises to prohibit immigrants from countries where gay rights are nonexistent.

Regardless, Trump's expanded line of campaign apparel could be a sign that the GOP is working to expand its traditional voter base.

Ragin' Cajun: Carville Says If You Go Against The Clinton Foundation, You're Going To Hell

If you go against the Clinton Foundation, people will die. That’s the pathetic new line of defense crafted by the Clintons and their supporters after another story exposed their nonprofit as a hub to cash in favors. The Associated Press reported that more than half of the nongovernmental meetings Hillary had while she was secretary of state were with Clinton Foundation donors. To boot, top aide Huma Abedin acted as a middle person between State, the donor, and the Foundation regarding granting these people an audience. Usually directing people who wanted a meeting with Secretary Clinton to go through the Foundation. Donors were also given expedited access.

Now, multiple news organizations have been calling on the Clintons to shut down the Foundation should she become the next president of the United States, noting that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation should absorb most of the operation. It’s a tacit acknowledgement that the Clintons have a serious ethics problem with the Foundation; that it could drain Hillary’s political capital should she win; or that it could sink her presidency, which is something NY Magazine’s Jonathan Chait touched upon. Sadly, he added that it wouldn’t cost her the election. On the upside, if this collapse happens (and that’s a huge if), the Clinton-era would be short-lived. Yet, back to the “we’re all awful people for questioning the Foundation” defense. We’re not questioning their work; we’re questioning the internal dynamics of what some have called a slush fund. Regardless, longtime Clinton ally James Carville said that anyone who supports shutting down the Foundation is going to hell, and that kids are going to die. This was uttered during the August 23 broadcast of Morning Joe, where the host said this was “B.S” (via Kristine Marsh/Newsbusters):

JAMES CARVILLE: As a human being I think the foundation does an enormous amount of good. From a strictly political standpoint, if my sixth grade teacher [indiscernible name] says it's right, somebody is going to hell over this. Because somebody, understand here, or somewhere, this is saving people's lives. There's nothing -- I think--again -- I’m very proud of it.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: I wish I could say the word I want to say. I'll just say that's B.S. The fact is if it's a great charity and its a five-star rated charity, guess what, other people can raise the money. It doesn't have to be Bill Clinton calling somebody up making people think, if you know what, if I give him money it could help me out. If it's a great charity it can stand on its own and other people can raise money for it. It's not a zero-sum game. It's not having Bill Clinton raise money while his wife is running for president or else we're all going to hell and little kids are going to die across the planet.

CARVILLE: They’re gonna

On August 24, Bill Clinton reiterated the same fear that folks will die if the transition process that will separate the power couple from the nonprofit isn’t done right should Hillary win the election (via Atlanta Journal Constitution):

At a stop at Manuel’s Tavern in Atlanta before a fundraiser, the former president sought to downplay an Associated Press report that found more than half the people outside the government who met with his wife at the State Department gave money to the foundation.

“We’re trying to do good things. If there’s something wrong with creating jobs and saving lives, I don’t know what it is,” said Bill Clinton. “The people who gave the money knew exactly what they were doing. I have nothing to say, except I’m really proud of the work they’ve done.”

[…]

“I’m happy to do the transition as swiftly as we can, and we’ve already found partners who are going to take over some of this stuff,” he said. “But we have to do it in a way where no one loses their job, no one loses their income, no one loses their life.”

So, we’re I guess all going to hell, right? Please.

French Court Suspends Burkini Ban

Frances highest court has ruled that towns do not have the right to ban women from wearing "burkinis" at beaches. Over 30 French towns had banned the garment from beaches due to terror concerns.

The full face-covering burqa veil, as well as niqabs, are already prohibited in France. The "burkini" does not cover the wearer's face, but rather resembles a wetsuit with a longer shirt. Headscarves and other religious clothing cannot be worn in French public schools.

An image of a woman being forced by police to remove part of her bathing suit went viral, sparking outrage about the ban.

Honestly, this is probably a good thing. A woman wearing an extremely modest bathing suit is not a security threat--her face is visible and she can be easily identified. This is very different from a burqa or niqab, which would be another conversation altogether. The police should have more important things to do than patrol women's clothing.

Did This Really Happen? Hillary Clinton Silences 'Well Behaved' Reporters by Offering Them Chocolate

At a campaign event in Nevada on Thursday, Hillary Clinton appeared outside a venue where she yet again refused to answer any unscripted questions from a group of reporters as she indulged herself in chocolate bites from a local business. 

“Mmmm,” she said to the reporters who were trying to question her past record. “Oh my gosh. This is really good.”

“Why don’t you offer some to the press?” she said to the reporters as she dismissed questions. “They are so wonderful, they are so hard working they all deserve a piece of chocolate.”

It has been nearly 265 days since Clinton has hosted unscripted questions in a press conference style setting.  How can you blame her though?  Just like with any liar, she needs time to formulate her plot and strategize her answers.  

 

New Trump Ad Shows Racist Remarks Made by Hillary Clinton in 1996

When dealing with "super-predators" in society, it is the government's job to bring them to "heel."  

This is what Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton had to say about crime in the 1990's while her husband Bill Clinton was president.

Donald Trump posted a video on Friday showing Clinton's infamous speech discussing the controversial crime bill signed into law that increased mandatory minimums for first time offenders, specifically "certain kinds of kids" Clinton said.

"Looking back, I shouldn't have used those words, and I wouldn't use them today," Clinton said earlier this year about her "super-predator" remark. 

The Clinton's are the real predators...

A video posted by Donald J. Trump (@realdonaldtrump) on

Watch: PA Democratic Senate Candidate Refuses To Answer Whether She Supports Taxpayer-Funded Abortion

Pennsylvania Democratic Senate Candidate Katie McGinty appears to be cruising to a slim victory over incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, but she’s had a few trip ups recently. For starters, she called Toomey an “asshole,” an egregious act that saw her issuing an apology soon afterwards.

Now, she twisted herself into a pretzel over whether she supports taxpayer-funded abortion in accordance with her party’s platform on the subject. The 2016 Democratic Platform is the most left wing in recent memory (possibly ever) thanks to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) taking one-third of the platform committee seats to accommodate the Vermont senator’s better than expected challenge to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

On Monday, McGinty deployed countermeasures at a Pennsylvania Press Club event when asked, “In Philadelphia, your party adopted a platform calling for the end of the Hyde Amendment. Do you agree?” The Hyde Amendment bars federal funds to be used for abortion, except in the cases of rape, incest, or threatens the life of the mother. Mark Hemingway of The Weekly Standard had more:

She [McGinty] voiced support for the "privacy" of women seeking abortions, but she never said if she supports repealing the Hyde amendment, which would result in unlimited federal funding of elective abortions for Medicaid recipients.

[…]

In interviews, she has often touted her Catholic faith. "McGinty, who was raised in an Irish Catholic family and remains religious today, often speaks about rebuilding the middle class and expanding education and economic opportunities for everyone," Penn Live reported in April. "'I believe deeply in the dignity of every single human being and I believe that every person has unique gifts given to them by God,' she said. 'We are poorer (to) the degree to which anyone is deprived opportunity.'"

Yet, here, McGinty said that these issues surrounding women’s health care have been politicized, that they’re often medically complex, and are painful decisions that women and their families must undertake. Yet, she added that Planned Parenthood provides vital services to 108,000 Pennsylvania women, and that she’s proud to stand by that organization.

So, of course, she didn’t answer the question. And sorry Ms. McGinty, when an organization is accused of trafficking in aborted baby parts—that’s a story that needs to be investigated. So, will this non-answer on abortion by McGinty, and possible future prevarications on this question, help Toomey? It remains to be seen.

In areas where Republicans are dominate, it should boost enthusiasm and resolve to make sure Toomey is re-elected. Yet, in the collar counties around Philadelphia, it’s a different story. These are dotted with Republican voters, but ones who are moderate in their politics, especially when it comes to gun control. One of the reasons, I think, Toomey has been able to keep the conditions for a landslide loss at bay is that he’s gravitated away from his Tea Party roots.

He’s been reliably Republican in some areas, but departed from his party of highly-charges issues like gun control. Michael Bloomberg and former Rep. Gabby Giffords’ gun control group have endorsed him. Not good for Toomey regarding his relationship with die-hard Republicans, but it could earn him a reputation of being a strong, independent voice despite his party affiliation. That’s what he’s banking on selling to his collar county constituents. He won Bucks County in 2010; he needs to do so again in order to have any hope of surviving. I’m not sure engaging in an abortion war, which energizes Democrats, is the answer. Then again, McGinty's non-answer may show that Democrats in PA are a bit worried about such an intense issue gaining traction. After all, it's not a popular position. Still, the historical trends in the state are against Toomey here.

It’s been said often, but it needs to be repeated: Pennsylvania is a cruel mistress for Republicans. Okay—maybe it’s the unicorn for the GOP concerning national elections. It’s also another reason to give some pause to the notion that Trump maybe costing us Senate seats. In fact, in 2012, Obama carried most of the states where Senate Republicans are playing defense this year. The climate was going to be tough, most of all in Pennsylvania.

It’s a tad maddening because the state is, by most metrics, a red one. Republicans run the vast majority of the state’s counties, the state legislature is Republican, and up until Tom Wolf booted Tom Corbett—the governorship was Republican. And yet, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh decide the state when it comes to presidential years.

During the midterms, with turnout being lower, the GOP fares better statewide. We saw this when Republican Pat Toomey won his 2010 senate race, but with re-election during a presidential year—with Clinton at the top of the Democratic ticket—turnout in the areas that matter will be a massive headwind for Toomey.

Until the end of the Republican National Convention, Republican nominee Donald Trump was trailing Clinton in the Keystone State by 8-10 points, but Toomey was remaining competitive against McGinty, who left Wolf’s office as his chief of staff to take on the Republican incumbent. She’s now leading him by almost three points on average, though still within the margin of error.

That being said, given Toomey’s independent streak, and Clinton being under siege for possible lapses in ethics regarding he Clinton Foundation, Toomey certainly has a good shot to survive this year. It certainly better than his colleague to the north, Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.

NYT: We Messed Up In Our Louisiana Disaster Coverage (Maybe It's Because Bush Isn't President?)

The New York Times is admitting that they dropped the ball in their New Orleans coverage. Public editor Liz Spayd addressed concerns that the Times, one of the top newspapers in the country, had very scarce coverage of the worst natural disaster to hit Louisiana since Hurricane Sandy:

The heavy rain started on Friday [August 12], and as flooding began in towns across the Gulf Coast, the governor of Louisiana declared a state of emergency. By Saturday the waters were raging: the National Guard was pulling people from their homes, rivers were cresting at historic levels, cars and buses had overturned and the worst was ahead. It was not until Sunday night, at 8:20 p.m., that The New York Times posted a staff-written story on its website, which appeared Monday in print.

Readers trying to follow the news might have come across a wire story before Sunday, but The Times had devoted no staff resources before then. Only today has a staff writer reached the flood areas — Campbell Robertson, who until now has been covering the floods from dry ground in New Orleans.

[…]

The Times is not the only news organization being criticized for doing too little too late on the floods. Even so, from my scanning of the media’s reaction, The Times’s performance seems particularly weak. I asked national editor Marc Lacey what explains the limited coverage so far.

[…]

No doubt this is a busy news period, and the fact that it is August compounds the usual challenges of getting available staff to the site of the news. But a news organization like The Times — rich with resources and eager to proclaim its national prominence — surely can find a way to cover a storm that has ravaged such a wide stretch of the country’s Gulf Coast.

Especially when it has brought devastating floods, once more, to the brave state of Louisiana.

Okay, so the Times admitted to being late to the party on the flooding, but could it also be due to the fact that Bush isn’t president—and the media's aversion to painting the Obama administration negatively. The president was on vacation that week and ignored calls to cut his excursion to Martha’s Vineyard short to assess the damage. Donald Trump, on the other hand, made a trip down there, energized locals with his visit, handed out aid, and got high marks from local politicians (and some members of the media), including former Sen. Mary Landrieu and Gov. John Bel Edwards. Landrieu hoped to see President Obama and Hillary Clinton make similar trips. Obama (finally) visited the disaster-stricken zone earlier this week. Clinton has yet to visit.

Joe Concha over at The Hill wrote a week ago about this tale of two cities under two different presidents and yes, he found some glaring examples of media bias (shocker) concerning how publications reacted to Bush and Obama's leadership on Louisiana:

2005: President George W. Bush's presidency is basically declared over after he waits two days to cut a vacation short to return to the White House to directly engage in relief strategy around hurricane-ravaged Katrina. On Day 3, he would visit the Gulf Coast to survey the damage.

The headlines at the time and since have included, A compassionate Bush was absent right after Katrina, The 7 worst moments of George W. Bush’s presidency, Kanye West Rips Bush at Telethon, What If They Were White?, Jesse Jackson lashes out at Bush over Katrina response, Katrina thrusts race and poverty onto national stage: Bush and Congress under pressure to act and An Imperfect Storm - How race shaped Bush's response to Katrina.

[…]

Fast forward to August 2016 — several storms hit Louisiana, not just a hurricane — the floodwaters have created the biggest natural disaster to hit the United States since Hurricane Katrina.

At least 13 people are dead, more than 85,000 people have applied for federal disaster aid, 30,000 people needed to be rescued and 40,000 displaced. State officials report it is easily the biggest housing crunch since Sandy.

[…]

A very simple question, if George W. Bush was president right now and playing golf with celebrities in one of the richest zip codes in the country, would the headlines again be everywhere that portray him as insensitive, out-of-touch, even a racist president be the same now as they were 2005? Of course they would.

Instead, President Obama continues his vacation that includes fundraising events for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and the relative silence is deafening.

[…]

Obama mocked the Bush Administration in 2005 for its "unconscionable ineptitude" after Katrina hit. He even visited the area to report what he witnessed.

[…]

2005: A Republican president takes three days to survey a natural disaster in Louisiana and Mississippi after cutting a vacation short.

The media at the time declares that was way too long, far too insensitive, even pushes a narrative that labels him racist.

2016: A Democratic president will not only cut a vacation short in any capacity to survey a natural disaster in Louisiana — the worst of any kind to hit the country in four years — but hasn't even made any public statements on it. Not one.

Concha added that only editorial board to demand that Obama cut his vacation short was Louisiana’s Advocate. Moreover, he said that, at the time, the headlines were dominated by Paul Manafort’s resignation from the Trump campaign, the Ryan Lochte saga in Rio, and the revelation that we withheld the $400 million from the Iranians until our four detained citizens were released, which sounds a lot like ransom. Even still, the latter story barely got airtime, with Lochte receiving 10x more coverage on the Big Three—CBS, NBC, and ABC—than the Iran story. That’s sort of odd since the Rio Olympic coverage weren't stellar in the ratings game. 

So, again, good on the Times for admitting their mistake, but it sounds like they, and the rest of the liberal media, avoided painting a clear picture of the disaster that struck the Bayou State in order to prevent a Bush-like comparison regarding response time.

Oversight Committee to Kerry: Explain Why The State Department Was Used to Find Clinton Foundation Employees

New revelations this week showing the Clinton Foundation used the State Department to find and recruit employees during Hillary Clinton's tenure as Secretary are prompting questions from House Oversight Committee Jason Chaffetz.

In a letter sent to Secretary of State John Kerry Thursday, Chaffetz wants details about taxpayers resources used to recruit State Department experts for Clinton Foundation donors and wants to know whether federal ethics codes were violated in the process. 

"State Department employees interviewed applicants for Clinton Foundation positions  and sought a Libya expert on behalf of Clinton Foundation donors. According to one report, Clinton Foundation employees also contacted the State Department in an effort to find jobs for Clinton Foundation donors. Moreover, earlier this week, the Associated Press reported ‘[m]ore than half the people outside of government who met with [Secretary] Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money - either personally or through companies or groups - to the Clinton Foundation.’ These reports give rise to a perception that access to our State Department’s official resources, were for sale," Chaffetz states in the letter. “The allegations contained in the Associated Press report and others also raise questions as to whether State Department employees acted to benefit the Clinton Foundation in violation of executive branch ethics guidelines."
 
“In addition, work on behalf of the Clinton Foundation on personal time may also violate section 2635.705 of the executive branch ethics code, which generally prohibits a superior from coercing a subordinate from performing activities other than official duties,” the letter continues.   

Earlier this week the Associated Press published a report showing 50 percent of individuals who were granted interviews with Secretary Clinton were big time donors to the Clinton Foundation. We also learned long time Clinton aide Huma Abedin regularly denied requested meetings with Secretary Clinton, rerouted individuals through the Clinton Foundation, donations would be made and then meetings would be granted. Chaffetz makes the argument in his letter to Kerry that these revelations further show official State Department resources were "up for sale."

Chaffetz has requested Kerry produce a number of documents, communications and a list of all individuals on Clinton's official calendar during her time as Secretary by September 7.
 

Massachusetts to Tax Uber to Subsidize Taxis

Well this is absurd: Massachusetts is planning on taxing ride-sharing services like Uber in order to bail out...the taxi industry. This is the first tax of this kind in the country. Taxis are upset that ride-sharing services don't follow the same rules as the taxi industry (which makes sense, given that...they're not taxis.)

From Reuters:

Massachusetts is preparing to levy a 5-cent fee per trip on ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft and spend the money on the traditional taxi industry, a subsidy that appears to be the first of its kind in the United States.

Republican Governor Charlie Baker signed the nickel fee into law this month as part of a sweeping package of regulations for the industry.

[...]

The law levies a 20-cent fee in all, with 5 cents for taxis, 10 cents going to cities and towns and the final 5 cents designated for a state transportation fund.

The fee may raise millions of dollars a year because Lyft and Uber alone have a combined 2.5 million rides per month in Massachusetts.

The law says the money will help taxi businesses to adopt "new technologies and advanced service, safety and operational capabilities" and to support workforce development.

This is absurd. Given that the cars used by ride-sharing drivers are either owned or leased by said drivers, they do have to go through the same regulations as taxis and pass state inspections. In Massachusetts, vehicles are inspected yearly--it's not legal to drive a car without an inspection sticker. Uber should not be punished for figuring out how to connect drivers and riders via a mobile phone app before the traditional taxi industry did--and that's effectively what this tax seeks to do.

This tax is the equivalent of charging extra for lightbulbs in order to bail out the candlestick makers. Technology adapts and moves on, and it's not the government's role to prop up outdated industries. Taxis should take steps on their own to keep up with a competing industry.

Close One! Donald Trump Barely Makes Minnesota Ballot

Awkward: As of Thursday morning, Republican nominee Donald Trump was not yet on the ballot in the North Star state. There was an issue with selecting the 10 alternate electors that the state GOP was required to submit. By Thursday evening--hours before the deadline--Trump finally made the ballot.

From CNN:

Donald Trump will appear on the ballot in Minnesota, after a last-minute scramble by state Republicans who discovered Wednesday that their nominee was not yet on the ballot.

The party had until Monday to submit the names of 10 electors and 10 alternate electors -- the people who will officially cast Minnesota's votes for president -- to the Secretary of State.

"We just received the last item. We were waiting for a pledge from one of the alternate electors. The filing is complete and the Republican ticket should be listed on our site shortly," Secretary of State spokesman Ryan Furlong said in an email Thursday afternoon.

The fact that Trump nearly missed the ballot was embarrassing for the state GOP, given that several fringe third-party candidates had already secured ballot access before Trump.

Marco Rubio won the Minnesota caucus back in March. No Republican candidate has won Minnesota since the 1972 election.

Minimum Wage Increase Puts 1,400 D.C. Restaurant Employees Out of Work

D.C. restaurants have lost 1,400 jobs in the first half of the year. This loss—the steepest drop since the 2001 recession—follows a significant minimum wage hike.

Data  suggests that the D.C. restaurant industry has been unable to absorb the higher cost of labor without reducing employment opportunities. Since mandating a base wage of $10.50 in July 2015 and another increase to $11.50 in July 2016, D.C. has seen employment in the restaurant industry trend downward, for a 3 percent job loss in 2016.

“Cities and states around the country that are considering a hike in their minimum wages to $15 an hour might want to take a look at how that’s working out in the nation’s capitol,” writes Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute.

While D.C. has not yet increased its minimum wage to $15, the wage hikes it has implemented have put it well on that path. And, according Perry, even these more modest increases have had negative effects.

Using the neighboring suburbs in Maryland and Virginia as a “natural experiment,” Perry compared the employment rates in D.C., where the minimum wage had been raised, to the rates in states with lower minimum wages—$8.75 and $7.25 respectively.

He found that these suburbs actually saw an increase in hiring during the same period that D.C. experienced 3 percent job loss. Restaurant employment grew at a 1.6 percent rate for an additional 2,900 jobs.

Despite this troubling comparison, D.C. officials have no plans to reduce the city’s minimum wage. On the contrary, they have added a measure to November’s ballot to increase its minimum wage even further—$15 an hour for non-tipped employees and $5 an hour for tipped.

Escalation? U.S. Navy Fires Warning Shots At Iranian Ship

Justin wrote about Iranian ships intercepting a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf. Now, warning shots were fired on an Iranian ship that came within 200 yards of U.S. Navy ships, with officials saying that they have no clear what Iran’s intentions are with these reckless exercises (via CNN):

A US Navy patrol craft fired three warning shots at an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps boat Wednesday after US officials said it had harassed that patrol craft, CNN has learned.

Another US patrol craft and a Kuwaiti Navy ship were also harassed in the incident, which took place in the northern end of the Persian Gulf.

At one point, the Iranian boat came within 200 yards of one of the US Navy boats. When it failed to leave the area after the Navy had fired flares and had a radio conversation with the Iranian crew, the US officials said, the USS Squall fired three warning shots. Following standard maritime procedures, the Navy fired the three shots into the water to ensure the Iranians understood they needed to leave the immediate area.

You would think they wouldn’t be so brash after we paid them $400 million, right?

University of Chicago: Sorry Snowflakes, No Safe Spaces Here

The University of Chicago is playfully known as "where fun goes to die." Now, they're well on their way to becoming the place where "pc culture" goes to die as well.

In a letter sent to members of the class of 2020, Dean of Students Jay Ellison explained that the university is one where diversity of opinion is to be respected, and that "trigger warnings," "safe spaces," and speaker cancellations will not be happening under his watch.

Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so called ‘trigger warnings,’ we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual ‘safe spaces’ where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.

And the full text of the letter:

Bravo, and about time. The University of Chicago is known for being somewhat of a quirky institution (they host the largest scavenger hunt in the world each year, for instance), but it's far overdue for a major university to stand up to the bizarre mob of political correctness that has been endemic on campuses around the country.

Go Maroons. Let's hope more universities follow their lead.

NBC Blames Millennials For Why Nobody Watched Their Terrible Coverage of The Olympics

NBC is laying the blame on millennials as to why viewership was down 17 percent during the Rio Olympics. According to an NBC executive, millennials were too encased in a bubble of Snapchat and social media to realize the Olympics even happened.

Hahahahaha.

Yes, that has to be it. Social media is the reason. Millennials were too wrapped up in the misadventures of the Kardashian clan to notice that a major sporting event was taking place, and that's why they didn't tune in.

Or maybe, just maybe, it was NBC's terrible coverage that dissuaded younger viewers from watching in. These Olympics, despite the one-hour time difference, NBC seemed to have an allergy from airing any sporting event live on the main channel as it happened--with the exception of swimming, track, and beach volleyball. The primetime coverage was a joke. (Full disclosure: that I still watched every night.) Why would someone stay up until midnight on a work night to watch a gymnastics floor routine that happened eight hours before the broadcast? The results were widely available on Facebook (including NBC's own pages) as well as on Instagram and Twitter.

It's absurd to blame millennials for the failure of the network to deliver a satisfactory product that people actually wanted to watch. Between the tape-delayed events, over-emphasis on commentary rather than letting people just watch the damn sport, and absolute deluge of commercials, NBC did not do a very good job with Rio. This isn't the fault of millennials.

Oh My: Trump Leads in Consecutive Florida Polls

Boy, did Team Trump need some good polling news out of Florida after seven straight statewide surveys taken in August showed Hillary Clinton leading in the must-win state. We wrote a post asking if Florida was "slipping away," based on an ugly Monmouth poll, which was quickly reinforced by an even uglier result from a lesser-known pollster. If Florida really was spiraling out of reach for the GOP nominee, you could drop the curtain on this race. But wait.  Two fresh polls give Trump a margin-of-error lead over Mrs. Clinton in the Sunshine State.  Florida Atlantic University has him up two, and the Florida Chamber of Commerce has him up one (or three, depending on which metric they use):

These aren't exactly prestige pollsters, but we'll take what we can get at this point.  The RCP average in Florida gives Hillary an edge of just over three-and-a-half points -- a calculation that excludes the CoC poll above, as well as the survey measuring a double-digit Trump deficit. She's ahead down there, but it's not out of reach.  That's the good news for passengers aboard the Trump Train.  The bad news?  Quinnipiac, whose results have generally been relatively Trump- and GOP-friendly this cycle, is out with a new national poll that gives Clinton a ten-point lead in a head-to-head matchup.  With Gary Johnson and Jill Stein included, her margin contracts to seven points.  This survey was in the field throughout Trump's much-discussed "pivot," featuring teleprompter speeches and a savvy visit to Louisiana amid the flooding crisis.  Maybe the impact of The Pivot will need a little bit more time to take root in the public consciousness, but these numbers aren't promising:

He's getting pasted by non-whites, women, and young voters -- enduring weaknesses on which he has not improved. He's also trailing slightly among independents, white college grads, and white women; Romney carried all three cohorts four years ago. Trump's profound struggles with nonwhite voters (is his 'amnesty' softening -- which has Rush Limbaugh in stitches -- an effort at mitigation?) are exacerbated by the fact that his lead among whites (+11) is just about half of Romney's 2012 victory margin within that demographic.  Based on the Q-poll, Trump is performing about as poorly as Romney did with African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians, and substantially worse with whites, too.  What's the path to victory there?  Aside from the "silent majority" or "shy voter" theories, for which there isn't much evidence at all?  (Here's a slightly more plausible spin).  Plus, in order for the former phenomenon to have a major impact in November, those voters need to be identified and turned out by the Trump campaign, which lacks anything even approaching a serious ground game...because the nominee believes such niceties are unnecessary.  Anyway, this poll also shows full 90 percent of likely voters already decided, meaning that the number of 'persuadables' is dwindling.  Tick tock.  I should note that in spite of her large lead, it's not as if Quinnipiac has measured an American electorate that is enamored with Hillary Rodham Clinton:

She's also barely above water in the "cares about ordinary Americans" category, where Barack Obama buttered his electoral bread.  This is a deeply vulnerable candidate. The trouble for Trump, of course, is that his unfavorability is in the 60's, and while he's seen as less dishonest than Hillary, he fares worse in most of the other categories mentioned above.  Two-thirds of respondents say Mrs. Clinton is qualified to be president; approximately 60 percent say Trump is not.   By roughly a 30-point margin, Americans believe Clinton is "level headed;" 71 percent say Trump is not.  I've said it several times already, and I'll say it again: Donald Trump's best, and perhaps only, chance to seriously alter the trajectory of this race -- and shift public attitudes towards him -- is in the first presidential debate. One month from tomorrow.

Awful: Another Veteran Commits Suicide After Reportedly Not Receiving Proper Medical Care

Well, it’s happened again. Another veteran has committed suicide. The New York Times is reporting that Peter A. Kaisen shot himself in the parking lot of a Veterans Affairs hospital in Long Island, New York. The reason is unclear, but sources told the paper that Mr. Kaisen had grown despondent after being unable to seek a proper doctor relating to his mental health care:

A 76-year-old veteran committed suicide on Sunday in the parking lot of the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Long Island, where he had been a patient, according to the Suffolk County Police Department.

Peter A. Kaisen, of Islip, was pronounced dead after he shot himself outside Building 92, the nursing home at the medical center.

The hospital is part of the Veterans Affairs medical system, the nation’s largest integrated health care organization, which has been under scrutiny since 2014, when the department confirmed that numerous patients had died awaiting treatment at a V.A. hospital in Phoenix. Officials there had tried to cover up long waiting times for 1,700 veterans seeking medical care. A study released by the Government Accountability Office in April indicated that the system had yet to fix its scheduling problems.

Why Mr. Kaisen decided to end his life was not immediately known, but two people connected to the hospital who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss his death said that he had been frustrated that he was unable to see an emergency-room physician for reasons related to his mental health.

If these allegations are proven true, it’s an incident that shines a rather grisly light on the inexcusable mess the VA has found itself in over their health care system, especially the wait times. That’s one of the focal points of the controversy, as these instances of clerical negligence may have led to some 307,000 veterans dying before their applications for care could be processed, according to a VA Inspector General report. The issue of wait time hasn’t been fully addressed either, as supervisors were caught by USA Today to be falsifying patient wait times across several states back in April.

Even more disgraceful is the VA’s own suicide hotline, which goes to voicemail in some instances. Last year, 1.4 million calls to the hotline were dropped. On average, 20 veterans commit suicide every day. Thoughts and prayers to Mr. Kaisen and his family.

October Surprise: WikiLeaks Threatens More Damning Clinton Email Dumps Surrounding an "Institution"

Earlier this week we learned the FBI found an additional 15,000 emails former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton failed to turn over to the State Department during their criminal investigation of her private server use. We've known for more than a year she deleted 30,000 emails her attorneys deemed "personal business," which many speculate included information about the relationship between her official office and the Clinton Foundation. 

Last month, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange promised to release additional and damning information surrounding Clinton's personal email use and said the Democrat presidential candidate should be "worried" about what's coming. Now, Assange is  following up on that promise and warning about an October surprise that will "absolutely" come before the presidential election. 

"We're working around the clock. We have received a lot of material because of American election process and the major DNC revelation which has now led the resignation of five top officials in the DNC, including Debbie Wasserman Schultz," Assange told Fox News' Megyn Kelly. "It's a complex business what we do. We have to assess the voracity. We have a perfect ten year record so far in never gets it wrong and we want to keep that reputation, understand how things should be formatted, what media we should be involved in, what is the best way to stage it out? Do we accumulate everything and essentially publish all in one batch or do we smaller batches?"

"People involved in that election [U.S. presidential election] have a right to understand who it is they are electing," Assange continued. "We have a lot of page of material, thousands of pages...it's a variety of different types of documents from different types of institutions associated with the election campaign, some quite unexpected angles that are quite interesting and some that are entertaining."

Hacked emails from the DNC were published by Wikileaks just days before the convention kicked on in Philadelphia. Assange didn't give detail about exactly when the next dump will come, but the timing will certainly be deliberate.

Trump Spox: Trump Isn't Shifting On Immigration, He’s Just Using Different Words

We’ve gone from deportation force to no amnesty, but we’re going to work with them regarding those who are here illegally. That’s a shift. That seems to be what other former GOP contenders were saying, including Jeb Bush. In fact, it is pretty much Bush’s immigration position that Trump slammed as being weak on illegal immigration. It’s the softening that so many of those who were skeptical about Trump warned the party about, which came out during the Republican nominee’s town hall event last night with Fox News’ Sean Hannity:

Now, everybody agrees we get the bad ones out. But when I go through and I meet thousands and thousands of people on this subject -- and I've had very strong people come up to me, really great, great people come up to me -- and they've said, 'Mr. Trump, I love you, but to take a person who's been here for 15 or 20 years and throw them and their family out, it's so tough, Mr. Trump,' I have it all the time. It's a very, very hard thing."

And now here’s what Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush said on the stump in the long, long ago:

Sen. Marco Rubio campaigned in November in South Carolina: "We will enforce our immigration laws. That being said, I don't think it's reasonable to say you're going to round up and deport 11 million people. And I think people are going to be reasonable and responsible about what do you do with someone who has been in this country for 10 years who otherwise has not violate the law, has learned English, paying taxes, paid a fine and wants a work permit."

[…]

In New Hampshire last September, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush used similar language.

"You come out from the shadows. You receive a provisional work permit. You pay taxes. You don't receive federal government assistance. You learn English," he said. "You earn legal status, not citizenship. That, to me, is the most practical way of dealing with this problem."

But Donald Trump hasn’t changed his position on immigration. He’s just using different words, or something.

“He hasn't changed his position on immigration. He's changed the words that he is saying,” said Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson that elicited laughter from the rest of the panel during her appearance on CNN this morning—and rightfully so. What Pierson described is change, which is exactly what her candidate did last night on this issue.

New campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, also failed to show how Trump’s new stance on immigration is different than those offered by Cruz, Rubio, and Bush on New Day with Chris Cuomo:

If anything, regarding deportations, Trump said he would be like Obama, but “with a lot more energy.” Not the best person to associate yourself with if you’re gunning to bring toughness to the realm of immigration enforcement.

For the Cruz camp, well, it’s a long awaited I told you so moment (via Politico):

Everything Trump promises comes with an expiration date,” said Cruz’s former Senate communications director, Amanda Carpenter. “We knew it during the primary, and now it is apparent he has duped his most loyal supporters on the issue they care about most, immigration. Don't say we didn't warn them."

[…]

It vindicates the speech, it vindicates what Ted Cruz warned would happen during the course of the campaign,” said Chris Wilson, the director of research, analytics and digital strategy on Cruz’s campaign and a top Cruz adviser who has always argued that the RNC speech would be remembered favorably. He went on to add, “I do think, yes, the immigration point is another data point that he was right, it’s another data point that leads people to understand Ted Cruz knew what he was talking about, he was making the right decision.”

[…]

“From what I have seen, he is now the pro-amnesty candidate,” said Rick Tyler, a former campaign communications director for Cruz. “If Trump is insistent on reversing himself on amnesty, then he will have fooled his entire base. He would have fooled enough people who voted for him to make him the Republican nominee. It’s deceitful; it was a betrayal.”

Then again, the Cruz camp needs to be reminded about something as well. They lost. Moreover, their candidate isn’t a pure immigration warrior either. Cruz did support legalization back in 2013. Now, in February, he did say that we should deport all 11-12 million illegal immigrants who are here, though he shied away from saying there would be a deportation force; Cruz was confident that ICE agents, coupled with serious border enforcement would eventually find the illegals here, though that’s a process that would certainly have extended well beyond the term limits of the presidency.

Is it time for the GOP to just accept that we need to secure the border, allow immigration enforcement to do their jobs, but, and here’s the sticky wicket for some, come to the realization that we cannot simply deport 12 million people? Certainly not in the time frame that would satisfy the die-hard Trump wing of the GOP; that’s literally going door-to-door to find these people - which is a bit odd to endorse since Democrats want to do the same thing, only with gun owners.

Regardless, Trump has shifted his stance on immigration to fit the mold of Bush, Rubio, and Cruz—and the fact that the Trump communications team, and his campaign manager, can’t really suggest otherwise proves the softening is happening.

Lawsuit Challenging Maryland’s Democrat-led Gerrymandering Moves Forward

Gerrymandering is something Democrats usually whine about. It’s easy for them to do with Republicans controlling an unprecedented amount of state legislatures and gubernatorial seats in modern history – these entities deciding how congressional districts are drawn after the U.S. census is completed every ten years. However, there are undoubtedly cases of gerrymandering taking place in Democrat-controlled states. Maryland is one such example and a law school student has taken their antics to court.

Steve Shapiro, an American University student, has challenged the districts drawn by former Governor Martin O’Malley and the blue legislature on first amendment grounds. The case he’s making is pretty profound – stating that Maryland didn’t gerrymander based on race, but on partisan affiliation. Shapiro and his lawyer argue Maryland was actually pretty transparent in their intentions to subjugate Republican voters.

The plaintiffs actually have a solid foundation under their case. The Maryland legislature redrew their congressional lines before the 2012 elections to unseat 10-term incumbent Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R). Democrats made specific attempts to keep seven of their eight congressional seats under their control... Bartlett lost his seat in 2012 to Democrat John Delaney.

The lawsuit has hit some bumps along the way. A federal judge threw out Shapiro’s case in 2014. However, the Supreme Court later ruled he should have received a hearing from a three-person panel. That panel Wednesday denied Maryland’s motion to dismiss the case – giving the green light for the lawsuit to continue.

If Shapiro’s lawsuit is successful, it could have major effects for the whole country. The Voting Rights Act prohibits racial gerrymandering, but is vague on partisan-based gerrymandering. This lawsuit may lead to specific rules regarding district packing of Democrats or Republicans for every state.

As McAuliffe Restores Voting Rights To Felons, Virginia Faces $1.5 Billion Shortfall

Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, through the power of the autopen, plans on restoring the voting rights of convicted felons. The first batch of 13,000 are already set, with a total of 200,000 convicts being granted individual pardons to ensure they can participate in the voting process. While McAuliffe makes sure these newly enfranchised felons, who are most likely to register as Democrats, boost the voter rolls, the state faces a $1.5 billion shortfall (via Richmond Times Dispatch):

Gov. Terry McAuliffe will announce a shortfall of roughly $1.5 billion in the two-year state budget to the General Assembly money committees on Friday, according to a source familiar with the revised revenue forecast.

The governor will reduce anticipated revenues by about $850 million in the current fiscal year in response to a shortfall of almost $270 million in the year that ended June 30 and increasing pessimism about growth in income and sales tax collections. He will reduce projected revenues in the second year by about $630 million.

[…]

The size of the projected shortfall comes almost two weeks after McAuliffe consulted with state political and business leaders in a meeting that one legislator called “cautiously pessimistic” about Virginia’s economy, especially with the possibility of potential cuts in federal spending under budget sequestration in the budget’s second year.

In the last fiscal year, total state general fund revenues grew about 1.7 percent, lagging well behind the forecast of 3.2 percent growth.

McAuliffe had planned on issuing a blanket pardon to those 200,000 felons, but was stopped by the state Supreme Court after the Virginia GOP, claiming he overreached, filed a lawsuit. The court agreed, so McAuliffe circumvented it with these individual pardons. Well, nothing we can do about that now, but I would hope Terry does something sensible about the budget shortfall. I’m not betting the mortgage on it.

Gowdy: Hillary Wasn't Indicted Over Email Scandal Because FBI Didn't Bother Asking Her About Intent

When FBI Director James Comey announced in July criminal charges would not be brought against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for storing and transmitting top secret, classified information on a number of different private servers, this is the argument he made regarding intent (bolding is mine): 

Our investigation looked at whether there is evidence classified information was improperly stored or transmitted on that personal system, in violation of a federal statute making it a felony to mishandle classified information either intentionally or in a grossly negligent way, or a second statute making it a misdemeanor to knowingly remove classified information from appropriate systems or storage facilities.

Although we do not have complete visibility because we are not able to fully reconstruct the electronic record of that sorting, we believe our investigation has been sufficient to give us reasonable confidence there was no intentional misconduct in connection with that sorting effort.

Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. Prosecutors necessarily weigh a number of factors before bringing charges. There are obvious considerations, like the strength of the evidence, especially regarding intent.

In looking back at our investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts. All the cases prosecuted involved some combination of: clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice. We do not see those things here.

But according to former prosecutor and House Oversight Committee member Trey Gowdy, who has seen the notes taken during an interview conducted by the FBI with Clinton about her private email servers, agents didn't ask the former Secretary and current Democrat presidential nominee about intent at all. 

"Remember James Comey said she was not indicted because he didn't have sufficient evidence on the issue of intent? I didn't see any questions on the issue of intent. There's no question she handled them [classified emails] negligently or extremely carelessly, he said he didn't go forward with charges specifically because he didn't have criminal intent. I didn't see any questions on that," Gowdy said on Fox News Thursday morning. 

How can the FBI prove or disprove intent if they never asked about it?

Gowdy also argued the FBI interview notes should be released to the public. At this point the FBI is refusing to do so.

It should also be noted the mishandling of classified information doesn't require intent for prosecution.

This post has been updated with additional information.

Yikes: Iranian Navy Successfully Conducts Intercept of US Destroyer

Iran is standing strong in its defense of the Persian Gulf, declaring on Thursday that "if any foreign vessel enters our waters, we warn them, and if it's an invasion, we confront."

This statement comes just 24 hours after a U.S. destroyer was confronted and intercepted by four Iranian warships Tuesday afternoon near the Strait of Hormuz.  The U.S. response to the incident was to declare the situation "unsafe and unprofessional." 

As the Iranian boats charged towards the destroyer, American sailors on the USS Nitze can be seen in a video released by the Associated Press firing flares and blowing the warship's horn in defense of the ship.  

 

This only adds to the timeline of Iran's aggressive behavior in 2016.  

In early January, Iran captured 10 U.S. sailors and were immediately thanked by John Kerry for showing compassion and hospitality for their treatment while captive.  Later that month, Iran flew a surveillance drone over a U.S. aircraft carrier taking "precise" photographs in part of a larger naval drill.  

Then, two weeks later, Iran held a national parade celebrating the capture of the U.S. sailors with reenactments.  

In retaliation, the U.S. government paid Iran $8.6 million for nuclear chemicals in April and then inked a $25 billion contract between Boeing and the Iranian Government in June.

An award was handed out to one of the captured sailors for her acts of bravery while surrendering.  According to reports, the Navy Commendation Medal was awarded to the only female in the group for activating an 'emergency position-indicating radio beacon' used to signal distress at sea.

And to cap things off, it is widely reported that U.S. officials from the White House authorized the ransom payment of existing U.S. prisoners in Iran and then tried to cover it up.  

What a year it's been.

 

Softening? Trump Pretty Much Adopts Jeb Bush’s Position On Immigration

Contrary to previous reports, while there may not have been a major speech about Trump’s position on immigration, there was something of a pivot during a town hall event with Fox News’ Sean Hannity. In essence, Donald Trump has decided to adopt the Jeb Bush position on immigration, which is earned legal status for those who have been here for years, getting rid of the illegal immigrants who broke our laws, and securing the border. He also supports these people paying back taxes, which is a core policy for the immigration reform agenda (via Betsy Woodruff, Daily Beast):

“We want to follow the laws,” Trump replied, glowering. “You know, we have very strong laws, we have very strong laws in this country. And I don’t know if you know, but Bush and even Obama sends people back. Now, we can be more aggressive in that, but we want to follow the laws.

“If you start going around trying to make new laws in this country, it’s a process that’s brutal,” he added.

So: No new laws, maybe. Also consider being “more aggressive.” Maybe. Not an answer. But OK.

“We’ve got some great people in this country,” he then said. “They shouldn’t be here, they’re still great people.”

[…]

“But we’ve got some really really bad gang members,” Trump continued, “and some horrible people.”

[…]

Those people are going out Day 1,” Trump replied. “They’re going to be the first order—they’re going out Day 1.”

Then Hannity asked about law-abiding, hard-working, home-owning undocumented immigrants.

“What about them? Do they have to go back or would you reconsider that?” Hannity asked.

“We are going to follow the laws of the country,” Trump replied.

“They have to go back?” Hannity followed up.

“We’re going to see who people are, we’re going to see how they’ve done,” Trump replied.

[…]

So: President Trump would prioritize deporting undocumented immigrants convicted of violent crimes and would be open to “softening” and, maybe, letting others stay. That’s basically Jeb Bush’s stance: that some undocumented immigrants are dangerous and violent, and they need to be deported, and that others are decent, hard-working people who can offer a lot to American society, and they should stick around.

Right, the same positions that Trump slammed Bush for supporting in February, because they were too weak on illegal immigration. In fact, much of Trump’s attacks on Bush, besides calling him “low energy,” were based on his stance on immigration. Let’s just get to the heart of the matter; Trump may do a few things differently. He may allow ICE agents to deport more people, he will certainly add more measures that ensure border and immigration enforcement, but he’s not going to deport 11 million people. He’s probably not going to build the wall. He’s going to be a more aggressive version of Obama. So, in other words, we could’ve had Marco, or dare I say Ted, and have this not be an issue for the GOP base. Heck, 47 percent of Trump supporters back amnesty, with 56 percent of Republican backing a pathway to legal status.

For the Trump supporters who actually thought there was going to be a deportation force, a wall, and immigration enforcement like we’ve never seen before, welcome to politics—where disappointment in our lawmakers is pervasive. The man you thought was going to be the Sheriff Arpaio at the federal level turned out to be more like Jeb.

At the same time, you can also remind Clinton supporters that their gal said she was “adamantly against illegal immigrants” back in 2003.

Inspiring Football Walk-on Brandon Burlsworth Gets Story Told in ‘Greater’

If you haven’t heard of Brandon Burlsworth, the film "Greater" is the perfect introduction. Burlsworth was an impressive young man who became an incredibly successful walk-on for the Arkansas Razorback football team. His work ethic, his sincerity, and, most importantly, his faith, inspired his teammates both on and off the football field. He got drafted to the NFL at the age of 22, but tragically died in a car accident just 11 days later.

Burlsworth’s life is remembered beautifully in “Greater.” Newcomer Chris Severio does a convincing job capturing the young man’s love of life and his constant desire to be all that he could be in God's eyes. His attitude never failed to bring out the best in everyone. Neal McDonough ("Arrow") gives an equally compelling performance as his older – often cynical – but always supportive brother. 

By the film's conclusion, the audience may not understand why Burlsworth was taken so early, but they will understand the meaning behind the title.

Check out the film – in theaters nationwide this Friday, August 26, as well as an exclusive clip below. What better way way to welcome the start of the NCAA football season?