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Cash Pours In to Fix Bakery Damaged in Ferguson Riots

Cash Pours In to Fix Bakery Damaged in Ferguson Riots

ABC NEWS(FERGUSON, Mo.) -- A Missouri woman whose business was vandalized in Ferguson riots is busy pushing out pies and cakes at her bakery on Thanksgiving, despite broken windows and damage to the store.Supporters raised more than $200,000 in two days to help Natalie DuBose, the owner of Natalie's Cakes & More. DuBose said her bakery, which she opened this summer, was damaged when protesters rioted following news that police officer Darren Wilson had not been indicted in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown."My main windows were smashed and bakery damaged," she wrote on a GoFundMe page launched on Tuesday. "I'm beside myself, but with the holidays, can't stop working."I'm truly mixing batter right now.”Rioters smashed windows, burned down businesses and set police cars on fire late Monday in Ferguson after the grand jury's decision to not indict Wilson was announced.DuBose was in tears Tuesday after learning the violence had reached her shop.An employee who answered the phone at the bakery Thursday told ABC News the staff is busy delivering orders, despite the damage.Kristine Froeba, a supporter who's helping run the bakery's social media pages, said DuBose is hard at work."She's backed up with her Thanksgiving orders, she's baking around the clock, the phone is ringing off the hook," Froeba said. "She's so busy."DuBose says she's grateful for the financial support."I am truly and humbly blessed," she wrote on the GoFundMe page early Thursday.

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Cash Pours In to Fix Bakery Damaged in Ferguson Riots

Cash Pours In to Fix Bakery Damaged in Ferguson Riots

ABC NEWS(FERGUSON, Mo.) -- A Missouri woman whose business was vandalized in Ferguson riots is busy pushing out pies and cakes at her bakery on Thanksgiving, despite broken windows and damage to the store.Supporters raised more than $200,000 in two days to help Natalie DuBose, the owner of Natalie's Cakes & More. DuBose said her bakery, which she opened this summer, was damaged when protesters rioted following news that police officer Darren Wilson had not been indicted in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown."My main windows were smashed and bakery damaged," she wrote on a GoFundMe page launched on Tuesday. "I'm beside myself, but with the holidays, can't stop working."I'm truly mixing batter right now.”Rioters smashed windows, burned down businesses and set police cars on fire late Monday in Ferguson after the grand jury's decision to not indict Wilson was announced.DuBose was in tears Tuesday after learning the violence had reached her shop.An employee who answered the phone at the bakery Thursday told ABC News the staff is busy delivering orders, despite the damage.Kristine Froeba, a supporter who's helping run the bakery's social media pages, said DuBose is hard at work."She's backed up with her Thanksgiving orders, she's baking around the clock, the phone is ringing off the hook," Froeba said. "She's so busy."DuBose says she's grateful for the financial support."I am truly and humbly blessed," she wrote on the GoFundMe page early Thursday.

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Taylor Swift Jokingly Called Out Justin Long for Singing “Shake It Off” at Knicks Game

Taylor Swift Jokingly Called Out Justin Long for Singing “Shake It Off” at Knicks Game

Photo: Darren Michaels/Warner Bros. ©2013 Warner Bros. Television. // Image Group LA/ABC(NEW YORK) -- Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" is definitely a song that gets stuck in your head and you find yourself singing without even knowing it.But to be singing the song while sitting right next to her -- that's a different story, but that's exactly what happened to actor Justin Long."At one point they were playing that song," Long told HuffPost Live about sitting next to Swift at a Knicks game earlier this week. "That song, you all know it and I think had been playing over the speakers. It's one of those songs that really gets in your head, really crawls in there."The Yoga Hosers actor, 36, said he "sang it to myself, like absent minded.""And of course she heard it," he added. "And she was like, 'Oh,' and sort of started laughing, and I was so embarrassed."He said it just got in his head and he didn't even realize."I didn't do it so she would hear me. I wouldn't have done it had I been all that conscious of all that," he said.But, in the end, Long said Swift was really sweet about it and was actually grateful.

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President Obama, First Lady Talk Gratitude, Military Families and Pumpkin Pie

President Obama, First Lady Talk Gratitude, Military Families and Pumpkin Pie

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- At a time when our country is still at war and facing tumultuous events at home, President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama talked with ABC’s Robin Roberts about what Thanksgiving means to them and sharing gratitude, especially for our servicemen and women.“I think this Thanksgiving time is a time for all of us to reflect on those military gold star families who are having dinner without a loved one there. It’s easy to get lost in the food and the fellowship, but Thanksgiving is a time for reflection,” Michelle Obama said.“A lot of times during these holidays, I'll actually make calls to folks who are deployed. We'll just call 'em up and say, ‘thank you,’” said the president. “It’s a great idea for every American, every day, but especially during the holiday season. You know, you see a service member -- you just go up and say, ‘Thanks, we appreciate it.’ Because the sacrifices they make are extraordinary.”The president and first lady shared a few fond memories of their families coming together to celebrate the holiday in years past and some of their favorite Thanksgiving foods – but Mrs. Obama said she is not about to share her Thanksgiving pie with her husband.“She never lets me share dessert,” Obama joked during a pie-tasting in the White House kitchen.“Cause he eats it like that,” Mrs. Obama laughed. “Look, the crust is gone, everything that makes a pie delicious is gone in his one bite!”“Do I have to, like, take a small bite because I'm on TV?” the president asked.This year's White House Thanksgiving menu includes a grand total of six pies, down from nine last year. On Thanksgiving, the president prefers pumpkin.“The proper way to eat your pie,” Obama told Roberts, "is you should have just a little whipped cream on top.”“We go all out on pies. We don’t play with pie,” he said.“I mean, this is why you work out every day,” Mrs. Obama chimed in.

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Plenty of Pie at White House Thanksgiving Dinner

Plenty of Pie at White House Thanksgiving Dinner

Vacclav/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The president will have his pick of pie this Thanksgiving.The White House released the menu from Thursday's Thanksgiving dinner. A standard thyme-roasted turkey and a honey-baked ham will be served with cornbread and oyster stuffings, braised winter greens, sweet potato gratin, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and dinner roles. Of course, there will also be macaroni and cheese served. On Wednesday, President Obama continued the tradition of pardoning a pair of turkeys -- this year's turkeys were named Mac and Cheese.When it comes time for dessert, though, Obama may have a tough time choosing between the six choices of pie. The White House will serve banana cream, coconut cream, pumpkin, apple, pecan and cherry pies.

Last year's menu actually contained nine types of pie, including chocolate cream, sweet potato, peach and huckleberry, and lacking cherry.

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Snowmobiler Killed in Montana Avalanche

Snowmobiler Killed in Montana Avalanche

boggy22/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(COOKE CITY, Mont.) -- A Montana man was killed in an avalanche on Wednesday while snowmobiling on Henderson Peak.According to a press release from the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center, the man was partially buried in an avalanche at about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. His snowmobiling partner had rescue gear, but despite effort to dig the victim out of the snow, CPR was unsuccessful.The GNFAC is asking skiers and snowmobilers to be cautious due to recent heavy snowfall. A Backcountry Avalanche Warning remains in place  for the area through at least Friday morning due to strong winds and heavy snow.

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FAA Releases Report Detailing Nearly 200 Drone Sightings Since February

FAA Releases Report Detailing Nearly 200 Drone Sightings Since February

estt/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Federal Aviation Administration released a report on Wednesday detailing 194 drone sightings between February and November.The FAA said in a statement that it receives approximately 25 reports per month of drone sightings by pilots. Most sightings had little to no impact on pilots, though in some cases, the FAA notes, pilots were forced to alter course to avoid an unmanned craft. At least six of the entries reflect "near misses," including at least one with a commercial aircraft and at least one other with a medevac helicopter.Approximately 109 of the reports included drones operating more than 500 feet in the air. About 30 instances involved drones within five miles of airports."The FAA is in the process of executing a plan for safe and staged integration of unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace System," the agency's statement said. It pointed to increased awareness by pilots and improved reporting and record keeping for the increased number of reports.

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Bill Cosby to Resign Role as Co-Chair of UMass-Amherst’s Capital Campaign

Bill Cosby to Resign Role as Co-Chair of UMass-Amherst’s Capital Campaign

Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC(AMHERST, Mass.) -- In the wake of renewed sexual assault allegations against him, Bill Cosby has agreed to resign his role as co-chair of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst's capital campaign.Cosby is an alumnus of the school's College of Education, through which he received a master's degree and a doctorate. UMass spokesperson Edward Blaguszewski issued a statement to ABC News, saying that Cosby "has agreed to resign as an honorary co-chair of UMass Amherst's capital campaign. He no longer has any affiliation with the campaign nor does he serve in any other capacity for the university."The Boston Globe says that Cosby and his wife had donated to the school's ongoing $300 million fundraising campaign.A series of women have claimed to have been sexually abused by the 77-year-old comedian over the years. Earlier this month, Cosby's attorney issued a statement in which he referred to the allegations as "decades-old" and "discredited."UMass is not the first organization to cut ties with Cosby. Last week, Netflix postponed the launch of a stand up comedy special. Cosby has never been charged in connection with the accusations.

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At Least Five Killed, 30 Injured in Afghanistan Attack on British Embassy Vehicle

At Least Five Killed, 30 Injured in Afghanistan Attack on British Embassy Vehicle

Photo by Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- At least five people were killed and 30 injured in an attack on a British Embassy vehicle in Kabul on Thursday.United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Philip Hammon confirmed the attack, announcing the death of a British national civilian security team member and an Afghan national working for the Embassy. A second British member of the security team was injured in the attack."I condemn this appalling attack on innocent civilians supporting our diplomatic activity," Hammond said. "This outrage brings home to us once again the courage and perseverance of the people of Afghanistan and members of the international community who support them, who have lived together through decades of conflict."BBC News reports that three other Afghans were killed and at least 30 more were injured in the attack."We will not allow such inhumanity to deter us from continuing our partnership with the Government of Afghanistan," Hammond vowed. "I have nothing but admiration for the staff of the Embassy, British and Afghan, who work at great personal risk to help build a better future for Afghanistan."

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Director Ridley Scott Slammed for White Casting in ‘Exodus’

Director Ridley Scott Slammed for White Casting in ‘Exodus’

Photo by Stuart Wilson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) --  The film Exodus: Gods and Kings isn’t due out for another two weeks, but the movie's focus on the life of Moses is already being criticized because the actors in its major roles are whites playing Egyptians.The movie stars Christian Bale as Moses, Aaron Paul as Joshua, Sigourney Weaver as Tuya and Joel Edgerton as Rhamses. On Twitter, the hashtag #boycottexodusmovie is trending, with posters airing their displeasure with the casting.One poster wrote: “I actually wanted to see #BoycottExodusMovie but I won't waste my money on something some historically inaccurate.”Another added: “Blacks only cast as slaves, thieves...Not the Kings and Queens? I hope @ExodusMovie bombs at the box office..”There are several other actors of color in the film’s cast, including Ben Kingsley, Dar Salim and Indira Varma.Director Ridley Scott addressed the issue in an interview with Variety, telling the publication the casting was a business decision.“I can’t mount a film of this budget, where I have to rely on tax rebates in Spain, and say that my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such,” Scott says. “I’m just not going to get it financed. So the question doesn’t even come up.”In this respect, Scott isn’t alone. Much of Hollywood’s portrayals of notable Biblical figures have been by white actors – Liz Taylor played Cleopatra, Charlton Heston played Moses and Russell Crowe played Noah. There was one notable exception when Egyptian actor Omar Sharif played Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, in the 2006 film, The Ten Commandments.Ramin Setoodeh, an editor with Variety, says Hollywood has a big diversity problem."They don’t often let actors of color or diverse actors play lead roles in films and I think we’re seeing this spill over to these Biblical stories," he said.Scott’s film is also in hot water with religious groups, who are angry over Bale’s take on Moses.In an interview with ABC’s Nightline, Bale said of Moses: “[He was] absolutely seen as a freedom fighter for the Hebrews, but a terrorist in terms of the Egyptian empire,” adding that if Moses were alive today, “Drones would be sent out after him, right?”And at news conference in September, Bale said of Moses: “I think the man was likely schizophrenic and was one of the most barbaric individuals that I ever read about in my life. He's a very troubled and tumultuous man who fought greatly against God, against his calling."Setoodeh of Variety said religious groups want to make sure the Bible is portrayed in a way that is fair and not offensive.Exodus: Gods and Kings opens nationwide Dec. 12.

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Study Shows Promise in Development of Possible Ebola Vaccine

Study Shows Promise in Development of Possible Ebola Vaccine

luiscar/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A preliminary study conducted at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center determined that a potential Ebola vaccine researchers have been working on has significant promise.Researchers published the data from the preliminary study in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday. The study contained 20 participants who were given the vaccine and tested about four weeks later for the presence of Ebola-specific antibodies. According to researchers, the participants were split into two groups, each given different dosages of the vaccine. Four weeks after vaccination, 90 percent of those given the smaller dose and 100 percent of those given the higher dose showed the presence of anitbodies against the Zaire strain of Ebola induced by the vaccine. Even when looking at the strain for which the vaccine was least effective, at least 70 percent of participants showed vaccine-induced antibodies.None of the participants showed significant side effects, though two of 20 did develop a fever.

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Whole Foods Recalls Vegan Pumpkin Pie Product

Whole Foods Recalls Vegan Pumpkin Pie Product

bhofack2/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Whole Foods stores in four states in the southwestern U.S. are recalling a vegan pumpkin pie products that the company says were mislabeled.According to a press release from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Vegan pumpking pie products sold in Whole Foods stores in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas contain "undeclared walnuts." Both full- and half-pies were sold in clear packaging and brown, Kraft paper boxes.The products had "sell by" dates between Oct. 27 and November 30. The FDA says that there have been no reported allergic reactions or illnesses linked to the sale of the product. Anyone who has purchases the pies from a Whole Foods store in the four affected states can bring a receipt into the store for a full refund.

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Uber Temporarily Suspends Operations in Nevada

Uber Temporarily Suspends Operations in Nevada

Photo by Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post via Getty Images(RENO, Nev.) -- Citing a recent court decision, ridesharing company Uber said that it would temporarily suspend service in the state of Nevada.On Tuesday, a Washoe County District Court judge issued an injunction against the company, preventing it from operating statewide. In a blog post on the company website, Uber blamed "confusion about ridesharing and how uberX is helping provide a completely new model to meet Nevadans' transportation needs."Beginning tonight," Uber said, "nearly 1,000 jobs disappeared in Nevada and those residents lost their ability to earn a living. Still, the company reassured Nevadans, "Uber is in this for the long-term and we are committed to the people of the Silver State.The blog post also praised Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, calling him "a known champion for innovation and job creation," in describing their future operations in the state.

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GOP Senate Candidate Bill Cassidy Says LSU Part-Time Job Is a ‘Non-Issue’

GOP Senate Candidate Bill Cassidy Says LSU Part-Time Job Is a ‘Non-Issue’

Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Was Louisiana Rep. Bill Cassidy, who is locked in a bitter battle for a U.S. Senate seat, getting paid by taxpayers for work he didn't do?That's the allegation raised after the release of new documents about the GOP candidate's part-time job as a professor of medicine at Louisiana State University during his time in Congress.The documents, first published Tuesday by the Louisiana news website The American Zombie, have become a late campaign issue for Cassidy just two weeks before he heads to a runoff election against incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu. Among the documents released is a collection of timesheets that indicate Cassidy worked as few as seven hours in one month for his part-time teaching job that earned him $2,000 a month in addition to his Congressional salary.But in an interview with ABC News, Cassidy brushed aside the notion that he has been getting paid for work he hadn’t done.“I don’t earn more money by recording hours, I am on salary,” Cassidy told ABC News. “All I am trying to do is let LSU know what I am doing, I get the same no matter what I do.”Cassidy, who worked as a doctor for two decades before being elected to Congress in 2008 and was employed by LSU at the time of his election, obtained permission through the House Ethics Committee to continue working part-time as a professor on the condition that his additional earnings not exceed $25,000 a year.A series of emails among LSU employees, also obtained through the document release, detail that Cassidy would be expected to carry 20 percent of his previous workload and hours for 20 percent of his full-time salary, amounting to about 30 hours of work for $2,000 a month.Landrieu’s campaign has seized on the new documents, suggesting that Cassidy may have been double-dipping with his two taxpayer-funded jobs.“Congressman Cassidy may have taken home over $100,000 in taxpayer funds for work he never did,” Landrieu campaign Communications Director Fabien Levy said in a statement. “Most people don’t get paid enough for the work they do, let alone for the work they don’t do. But it seems Congressman Cassidy got a pat on the back and a check in the bank.”But Cassidy said his detractors have a “non-issue” with this new line of attack.“They’re trying to make something out of a service to humanity,” Cassidy said. “There’s a guy in New Iberia, Louisiana, who has a brother who is alive because I am allowed to do this.”Cassidy has been on a leave of absence from LSU since April, as he focuses on his Senate campaign, but said he hopes to pick back up his teaching role if elected on Dec. 6.“I would love to teach,” Cassidy said. “I am the only liver doctor in the LSU charity system -- this is for the uninsured and those on Medicaid…I am the only liver doctor for hundreds of thousands of patients.”Asked about specific dates on his timesheets when he recorded hours working for LSU but was also on Capitol Hill for votes the same day, Cassidy said that his LSU teaching responsibilities were fulfilled remotely from DC on days when there were conflicting votes.Cassidy said that, for example, he has provided “resident supervision” for LSU medical students on health policy rotations in Washington, D.C.One such student is LSU resident Claude Pirtel, who spent a month in the district earlier this year and worked with Cassidy on a project that studied the implications of the Affordable Care Act on health policy.“Two or three times a week, we’d sit down and talk about health policy and work on projects pertaining to Louisiana,” Pirtel told ABC News of his time working with Cassidy, which he described as one of “best experiences” of his time in medical school.On other occasions, when votes weren't scheduled until late in the day, Cassidy said he would sometimes supervise a resident clinic in Louisiana before getting on a plane to head to Washington. Cassidy recalled one day when his morning began in an operating room in Baton Rouge and he finished his day at a White House party.“I did a liver biopsy in the morning on an inmate, who was chained to a bed at the public hospital, took off my gloves, got a ride to the airport to go to DC, went to Capitol Hill and voted, and then changed into a tuxedo and went to a White House Christmas party,” he recalled. “It was a juxtaposition of life experience that few would have.”

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Obama Wishes Americans A Happy Thanksgiving in Weekly Address

Obama Wishes Americans A Happy Thanksgiving in Weekly Address

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In this week's address, President Obama wishes Americans a happy Thanksgiving.

Obama says Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday because it is "uniquely American."

He says Thanksgiving can be viewed as a day that binds Americans together. "Each of us brings our own traditions and cultures and recipes to the table – but we all share this day, united by the gratitude for the bounty of this nation," Obama says.

The president also addressed troops and their families. "To our service members who are away from home, we say an extra prayer for you and your loved ones, and we renew our commitment to take care of you as well as you’ve taken care of us."

Read the full transcript of the president's address:

On behalf of the Obama family – Michelle, Malia, Sasha, Bo, and Sunny – I want to wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.  Like many of you, we’ll spend the day with family and friends, catching up, eating some good food and watching a little football.  Before we lift a fork, we lend a hand by going out into the community to serve some of our neighbors in need.  And we give thanks for each other, and for all of God’s blessings.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because, more than any other, it is uniquely American.  Each of us brings our own traditions and cultures and recipes to the table – but we all share this day, united by the gratitude for the bounty of this nation.  And we welcome the contributions of all people – no matter their origin or color or beliefs – who call America home, and who enrich the life of our nation.  It is a creed as old as our founding: “E pluribus unum” – that out of many, we are one. 

We are reminded that this creed, and America itself, was never an inevitability, but the result of ordinary people in every generation doing their part to uphold our founding ideals – by taking the blessings of freedom, and multiplying them for those who would follow.  As President Kennedy once wrote, even as we give thanks for all that we’ve inherited from those who came before us—“the decency of purpose, steadfastness of resolve and strength of will, for the courage and the humility, which they possessed,” we must also remember that “the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” 

Today, we are grateful to all Americans who do their part to live by those ideals, including our brave men and women in uniform overseas and their families, who sacrifice so much to keep America safe.  To our service members who are away from home, we say an extra prayer for you and your loved ones, and we renew our commitment to take care of you as well as you’ve taken care of us.

We are grateful to the countless Americans who serve their communities in soup kitchens and shelters, looking out for those who are less fortunate, and lifting up those who have fallen on hard times.  This generosity, this compassion, this belief that we are each other’s keepers, is essential to who we are, not just on this day, but every day. 

It’s easy to focus on what separates us.  But as we gather with loved ones on this Thanksgiving, let’s remember and be grateful for what binds us together.  Our love of country.  Our commitment to justice and equality.  Our belief that America’s best days are ahead, and that her destiny is ours to shape – and that our inherited ideals must be the birthright of all of our children. 

That’s what today is all about: that out of many, we are one.  Thank you, God bless you, and from my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.

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GOP Weekly Address: Sen.-Elect Tom Cotton Reflects on Thanksgiving’s History

GOP Weekly Address: Sen.-Elect Tom Cotton Reflects on Thanksgiving’s History

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In this week's Republican address, Senator-elect Tom Cotton of Arkansas looks back on the history of Thanksgiving, from the Pilgrims at Plymouth, to the Civil War, to Pearl Harbor, to today. 

Cotton says what all of these Thanksgivings have in common is the "gratitude for the blessings of a beneficent and loving Lord no matter the adversity of the times."

Cotton also says he is grateful for American troops and their families.

"To each of you, on behalf of the people of a grateful nation, I extend our deepest thanks for your honorable and faithful service," he says.

Read the full transcript of the GOP address:

Hello, I’m Tom Cotton, Senator-elect from Arkansas. I want to wish you and your family a blessed Thanksgiving holiday. For nearly as long as we’ve been a people, Americans have set aside a day for public thanksgiving for our many blessings. 

Many trace our modern Thanksgiving back to the Pilgrims at Plymouth. Despite the hardships of the coming New England winter, the unforgiving terrain and climate, and the dangers of settling a new land, these Pilgrims celebrated a feast to thank God for his provision and protection.

In the earliest days of our new and untested government, President Washington established a day of Thanksgiving for Americans to, in his words, acknowledge ‘with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God.’

In the depths of the suffering and deprivation of the Civil War, President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a single day for a nationwide Thanksgiving, to help unify a deeply divided nation.

And just days after the shock of Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt signed a congressional resolution establishing the fourth Thursday of November as our national day of Thanksgiving, a practice which continues today.

A constant among these Thanksgivings and the one we celebrate today is gratitude for the blessings of a beneficent and loving Lord no matter the adversity of the times. Today, we as nation no doubt face many challenges – too many of our fellow citizens out of work, too many families struggling to make ends meet, too many enemies plotting to do us harm. But we have faced graver challenges and not simply survived, but thrived.

It’s tempting to be consumed with these challenges – as individuals, as families, as a people – and neglect our many continued blessings. The bountiful harvests from our fields and the amazing fruits of our industry and commerce we all too often take for granted. Nor do we always cherish the even more valuable blessings of our natural rights, civil and religious freedom, and the rule of law. And we can overlook the blessings of family and the love for our children.

On this day of Thanksgiving, then, let us once again pause and reflect on these blessings, and also remember that we are not their author nor are they the work of our own hands. Rather, they are the gifts of a just and merciful God who loves us in spite of our failings. In deepest gratitude, we thank the Lord for these gifts and humbly petition for His continued Providence.

And, finally, we prayerfully commend to His care two groups of our fellow Americans in particular: our troops and their families.

For many, there will be no homecoming this week. From Afghanistan to Iraq to Korea, our troops continue to patrol the world to bring peace and security for us all. From Marines in Liberia to sailors across the oceans to airmen over the Asian skies to the sentinels standing guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, these troops will sacrifice the comforts of family and home so we can enjoy them.

To each of you, on behalf of the people of a grateful nation, I extend our deepest thanks for your honorable and faithful service.

And to your families, I extend similar thanks, and this personal assurance. Nine years ago, I was at Ranger School for Thanksgiving; six years ago, it was Mehtar Lam, Afghanistan. While we deeply missed our own families, we also celebrated together as a second, surrogate family. 

As you see the empty seat at your table this Thanksgiving, please know that your sons and daughters, husbands and wives, moms and dads miss you dearly, but are enjoying the next best thing to home: the camaraderie and love of their brothers and sisters in arms.

God bless them, God bless you, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.

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Diamondbacks Sign Yasmany Tomas

Diamondbacks Sign Yasmany Tomas

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Major League Baseball (MLB) hot stove continues to heat up as a report from MLB.com indicates that the Arizona Diamondbacks have reached a deal with Yasmany Tomas.

The Cuban slugger will reportedly sign a six-year contract worth $68.5 million dollars. According to the report, Tomas will have an opt-out clause after the fourth year of the deal.

The 24-year-old outfielder joins a team that had the worst record in baseball last season, 64-98, and struggled with injuries at the position. Both Mark Trumbo and A.J. Pollock missed almost half the season with different injuries in 2014. 

Tomas has spent the last seven years playing for the Havana Industriales and hit .375 with two home runs and five RBIs in the World Baseball Classic.

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Pitino Picks Up 700th Career Win

Pitino Picks Up 700th Career Win

J. Meric/Getty Images(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) -- It wasn't as comfortable a victory as was probably expected, but No. 6 Louisville defeated Cleveland State 45-33 on Wednesday night in what was the 700th career victory for head coach Rick Pitino. 

I hope I'm as lucky to (win) 800, because I remember it as if it was yesterday," said Pitino. "I don't think there's as much significance personally for me, but the significance I take away is that senior class last year, how many games they won. I was the beneficiary today."

The 62-year-old became the 20th coach in Division I history to win 700 career games and ranks sixth among active head coaches. Pitino is now 700-245 in his career, including 346-117 in 14 seasons with the Cardinals (5-0).

Louisville struggled to pull away all night, leading 33-29 with 12 minutes remaining. A combination of poor shooting and missed free throws allowed the Vikings (2-3) to think upset. However, Cleveland State made just two of their final 14 shots and did not score in the final six minutes.

Montrezl Harrell had 15 points and 13 rebounds in the win, Louisville's lowest scoring game since 1997. The Vikings were paced by Trey Lewis' 24 points.

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Butler Knocks Off (5) North Carolina

Butler Knocks Off (5) North Carolina

Michael Hickey/Getty Images(PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas) -- In the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis, the Butler Bulldogs knocked off fifth-ranked North Carolina Wednesday night, 74-66, one of the bigger upsets in the first month of the college basketball season.

"This is a proud program with tremendous heritage and we're trying to do the very best with what's in front of us," said Butler's interim head coach Chris Holtmann.

It was not an easy task for Butler (4-0) who dominated the backboards, outrebounding the Tarheels (3-1) 57-40, grabbing 29 offensive rebounds in the process. That helped the Bulldogs overcome an abysmal shooting night. Butler was just 22-of-72 (30.6%) from the floor, shooting just 7 percent in the final eight minutes of regulation.

However, the Bulldogs had already built up a solid lead and were able to hold off UNC. It was a decisive 16-4 run in the second half that turned a 43-41 deficit into a 59-45 lead. Alex Barlow and Kelan Martin each had 17 points for Butler in the win.

It is the second time in the last three seasons that Butler has beat a top-10 ranked North Carolina squad. They also pulled the upset in 2012 at the Maui Invitational.

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(3) Arizona Wins Maui Invitational

(3) Arizona Wins Maui Invitational

Christian Petersen/Getty Images(MAUI, Hawai'i) -- The Arizona Wildcats used 18 points and nine rebounds from freshman Stanley Johnson to defeat San Diego State 61-59 and win the Maui Invitational on Wednesday. It was the 33rd straight non-conference win for the third-ranked Wildcats (6-0), and third win over the Aztecs (5-1) in the last two seasons.

"We have a lot of guys who don't like losing here and I'm the same way," said Johnson. His five offensive rebounds helped Arizona net 13 points off second chances.

Both teams came out shooting very strong, with 15th-rated San Diego State making 10 of 19 shots in the first half. The Wildcats were able to keep pace, going 10-for-33, and holding a 32-31 lead at halftime.

In the second half, both squads continued the high-octane pace but neither could gain a strong advantage. That changed as Arizona's defense began to clamp down, and the offense kept exploding. With less than eight minutes remaining, Kaleb Tarczewski forced a steal that resulted in T.J. McConnell's three-point shot, giving the Wildcats a 50-48 lead.

The Aztecs would not be able to recover as Arizona hit their free throws down the stretch and prevented a comeback. San Diego State was led by 14 points each from Trey Kell and Winston Shepard. It is the second Maui Invitational title for Arizona after also winning the in-season tournament in 2000.

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