A nomadic American couple and their two young children were found alive three days after they went missing in an attack by river pirates in Brazil. Police say Adam and Emily Harteau and their daughters, 6-year-old Colette and 3-year-old Sierra, were passengers on a ferry from the Amazon gateway city of Belem to Macapa that was attacked by pirates on Sunday. Reportedly the pirates held the crew and passengers hostage for hours and there was no sign of the family after they left. The Harteaus were rescued Wednesday by a villager who spotted them floating on a piece of driftwood in the river. Miraculously, they were unharmed save for a few scratches and insect bites. The couple, who documented their travels on the "Our Open Road" blog, left California in 2012 intending to spend a year traveling South America in their Volkswagen van, but ended up making it a much longer journey. The family was planning to move back to California later this month so the girls could grow up close to relatives and "have a little bit of foundation" according to Adam's brother. (ABC)
Please Stand NFL...So I Can Sell More Pizza
The owner of Papa John's Pizza, John Schnatter, has just watched his net worth drop $70 million and he's blaming those darn kneeling NFL players. He's also upset that the NFL is allowing the players to exercise their right to free speech and tolerating the protests. Papa John's sales are dropping off the charts and the company just saw its biggest stock drop in two years - less than a year after the chain hit an all-time high last December. The culprit, according to Schnatter: NFL players kneeling during the national anthem and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's failure to stop them. "This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago," Schnatter said on a conference call Wednesday. Schnatter, a Trump donor, believes Goodell should force players to stand for the anthem. A Bloomberg analyst says it's possible to see where Schnatter is coming from: fewer people watching football means fewer people ordering pizza or seeing ads for Papa John's, which has been the NFL's official pizza sponsor since 2010. But others say there is no evidence protests - either by players or offended fans - have been behind the decline in NFL viewership. Multiple sports have seen ratings decline as more people opt out of cable, and the NFL's ratings have actually been going up as the season progresses. (Forbes)
My Disgustingly Racist Roommate
A racist University of Hartford student has been expelled and is now facing a hate crime charge after allegedly waging a disgusting campaign to force the black roommate she nicknamed "Jamaican Barbie" to move - and bragging about it online. In just one horrible Instagram post, Brianna Brochu wrote: "After one and a half months spitting in her coconut oil, putting moldy clam dip in her lotions, rubbing used tampons on her backpack, putting her toothbrush places where the sun doesn't shine, and so much more, I can finally say goodbye to Jamaican Barbie." Brochu was arrested Saturday and admitted licking utensils and smearing bodily fluids on the backpack of Chennel Rowe, though the 18-year-old said she invented other claims to "appear funny." Police are seeking a charge of intimidation based on bigotry or bias in addition to a mischief charge already filed. The most incredible part - not only did Brochu get herself kicked out of school for good, she also lost the $20,000-a-year scholarship the university gave her. The university called her behavior "reprehensible" and noted she will not be returning. Rowe, who blamed health problems early in the school year on the contamination of her belongings, said Brochu made the Instagram post as she was moving out on Oct. 17. She also accused the school of telling her to keep quiet and suggested things would have been different if she was white and Brochu black(Hartford Courant)
Bin Laden Loved Mr. Bean?
This week the CIA released 470,000 documents from the house where Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011 "in the interest of transparency." Here's some of what we've learned: While bin Laden professed not to like British culture, he didn't exactly hate all of it. His personal computer contained episodes of Mr. Bean and Wallace and Gromit, as well as more than 30 videos on crocheting. It also held various animated movies, such as Cars and Antz; National Geographic specials like Kung Fu Killers; and the documentary Where in the World Is Osama bin Laden? A Gizmodo list of the 42 "weirdest" movies on bin Laden's computer is topped by the YouTube viral video "Charlie Bit My Finger" (but that was before they noticed bin Laden had a video claiming Sept. 11 was an inside job). And the Daily Dot was particularly intrigued by a 2-second audio file of Jennifer Lopez saying "I want to welcome you to JenniferLopez.com." It appears to be the only J.Lo-related file on the computer. (CNN)
Sure, Have Your Son Join a Fraternity. What Could Go Wrong?
No less than 21 State University of New York (SUNY) students are being charged with hazing to a level that is mind blowing. It seems they used a rental home near the college campus as their house of horrors for fraternity pledges who were vomited on, doused in urine, and forced to eat foods that sickened them. The abuse endured by 10 pledges of fraternity Pi Alpha Nu is disturbing. The victims told authorities how the fraternity brothers subjected the pledges to repeated paddling on the buttocks and being forced to eat food off the floor. According to court documents, a 19-year-old student told campus police that while being paddled, "One of the brothers hit me so hard that my knees buckled and I had to be held up." He also said pledges were forced to drink alcohol and other liquids and eat foods that would make them throw up, including condiments, raw sardines, clam juice, and chewing tobacco. Another pledge told authorities that during "hell week" last February the pledges were made to get down on the floor in a plank position while some frat members vomited on the students and others tossed cups of urine on them. College officials have suspended the fraternity as authorities continue their investigation. Not surprisingly, all the students charged have pleaded not guilty, including 21-year-old frat president Evan Floreck. (Newser)
If Only We Could Improve Staff Morale - But How?
Meanwhile in Warsaw, Poland, many are outraged after video footage emerged of a woman parading around her office naked to "boost morale." The stunt at a call center is believed to have been set up by her boss because she wanted to motivate her staff. Wearing nothing but sunglasses and boots the woman strutted around the office in scenes reminiscent of the Wolf of Wall Street. Her boss paid her for the antics and naked girl is seen flipping her middle finger at the camera before getting dressed again then going back to her desk. Reportedly she resigned as soon as the video went viral. Many commenters expressed their disgust, but at least one defended the video writing: "I do not understand this indignation. The girl wanted to go naked and did. I do not like it but let's not be so prudish. I get the impression that some here have never seen a naked women before." (Metro)
What the What?
If you are deep inside the "alt-right" information bubble, you might be preparing yourself for a civil war to commence this Saturday. Since late September, a theory has been circulating on Facebook groups, Twitter, and leading conspiracy media outlets that on November 4th anti-fascist groups will begin a violent insurrection. Some websites are telling their readers that antifa groups are "planning to kill every single Trump voter, conservative and gun owner" this weekend. The concerning part is that hundreds of Facebook posts show how seriously consumers of such media are taking the news. One commenter wrote: "One more threat against white people and I swear to God I'm going to take a (expletive) car and run over every (expletive) one of them!" For the record, antifa groups have no plans to protest that day. In truth, all of these reports are simply fake news, made up presumably to stir emotions and create fear. Spencer Sunshine, who recently wrote a report on the theories for the far right-monitoring group Political Research Associates, says while the "civil war" rumors had been circulating, it was then picked up and amplified by Alex Jones, the controversial radio host with an audience of millions. As Sunshine explains, Jones "is a kind of meta-conspiracy theorist now" who "harvests other people's theories" and repackages them to fit his narratives and his audience. Once Jones had mentioned it, Sunshine says, the rumor mill exploded. (The Guardian)