Windows 10 annoying update popup strikes weather broadcast
Microsoft really wants you to upgrade to Windows 10.
The Redmond technology firm has already re-categorised its next-generation operating system as a "Recommended Update", which means it will now start to install itself automatically on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 machines – without input from the user.
And now Microsoft's attempts to get users to upgrade have interrupted US meteorologist Metinka Slater as she was relaying the latest weather developments in Iowa. Windows decided to pop-up a dialogue box insisting the weather station's computer be upgraded to the latest version.
The intrusive box took over KCCI 8 News' weather radar, which was broadcasting thunderstorms rolling across the state to viewers. More
Scandal-plagued Rome is becoming a 'do it yourself' city
ROME — Armed with shovels and sacks of cold asphalt, Rome's residents fill potholes. Defying rats, they yank weeds and bag trash along the Tiber's banks and in urban parks. Tired of waiting years for the city to replace diseased trees, neighbors dig into their own pockets to pay for new ones for their block.
Romans are starting to take back their city, which for years was plundered and neglected by City Hall officials and cronies so conniving that some of them are on trial as alleged mobsters.
In doing the work, Romans are experimenting with what for many Italians is a novel and alien concept: a sense of civic duty. More
Venezuela energy crisis: President tells women to stop using hairdryers and go with 'natural' style to save electricity
The President of Venezuela has urged women to stop using hairdryers and offered alternative styling tips as the country’s energy crisis continues.
Nicolas Maduro has announced a decree giving state employees Fridays off for two months as part of measures to offset a crippling electricity shortage. He urged his compatriots to increase other efforts to save power, including cutting appliance use and raising the temperature on air conditioning units.
Recommending that women reduce hairdryer use to “special occasions”, Mr Maduro added: “I always think a woman looks better when she just runs her fingers through her hair and lets it dry naturally. It's just an idea I have." More
One-Third of All Food Produced Globally Never Finds Its Way Onto a Plate
It’s easy not to think about food waste when your rotting tomatoes and days-old casserole dishes are hidden away in the back of the refrigerator—out of sight, out of mind. But when it comes time to clean it out, you have to face a lot of waste food, money and the resources that took to produce it. While food waste has made a rapid rise in terms of public awareness recently, new research suggests that the future effect could end up accelerating climate change at a worrisome rate in coming years.
According to a study released Thursday by Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, food waste could account for about a tenth of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
“Agriculture is a major driver of climate change, accounting for more than 20 percent of overall global greenhouse-gas emissions in 2010,” Prajal Pradhan, one of the study’s authors, said in a statement. “Avoiding food loss and waste would therefore avoid unnecessary greenhouse-gas emissions and help mitigate climate change.” More
College Students Demand ‘Counseling’ After Being Traumatized From Seeing Single Confederate Flag On Laptop
While the world copes with the growing threat of terrorism, and ISIS attempts to spread its fascistic tentacles in all directions, it is important to remember that there are plenty of cases of traumatizing terrorism that are happening in America, and more specifically, on its college campuses.
Don’t pretend that you don’t know what we are talking about. Don’t act like you don’t know that someone’s safe-space was horribly violated. The incidents happened in Framingham State University in Massachusetts when, not one, but two seperate incidents of students seeing a Confederate Flag being displayed caused them to file Bias Reports. More
In my long, long experience as both a scientist and an active skeptic, I have seen people believe in a lot of seriously, um, odd stuff. In many cases, it doesn't matter how overwhelmingly the evidence is against them, or how even simple logic will unravel their tangled theories. They cling to these beliefs like a drowning man clings to a life preserver.
And even with all this, I have to scratch my head over Geocentrists.
These are people who believe that the Earth is fixed in space, unmoving and unmovable, and the Universe literally revolves around it. Without exception, in my experience, these followers of Geocentrism believe in it due to a literal interpretation of the Bible. Finding passages in the Bible to support this belief isn't hard; Genesis is loaded with them.
However, like young-Earth creationism, the problem here is in that "literal" part*. If you take the Bible to be true word for word, then you have to deny a vast amount of reality, and almost everything we've learned about the Universe since the Bible was written. More
The ‘infuriating’ saga of the Texas teen suspended after rescuing a classmate
Mandy Cortes was distraught and downright furious. Her son, Anthony Ruelas, had been suspended from school after defying a teacher’s order so that he could help a classmate who was suffering an asthma attack.
Instead of staying in his seat, as instructed, he had carried the girl to the nurse’s office — and, his family said, he had been disciplined for doing so.
Cortes decided she couldn’t send her son back to Gateway Middle School in Killeen, Tex. She told The Washington Post that he will begin home-schooling with his aunt next week.
Not only has she lost faith in school officials, Cortes said, but so has her 15-year-old son, who struggled to wrap his head around the idea that he was being punished for possibly saving someone’s life last week.
Whatever lingering doubts Cortes had about home-schooling the eighth-grader disappeared, she told The Post, when school officials released a statement denying that a student had been “disciplined for providing aid to another student.” At the time, she said, Ruelas was serving a two-day suspension. More
War on Drugs Lunacy: Woman Facing 19 Years in Prison for Selling Dog Food to Police Iinformant
An a relatively free and reasonable society, heroin addiction would be treated as a medical problem, not as an excuse to put people in cages. The perverted priorities of prohibition, however, dictate that people struggling with addiction not only be punished as criminals, but be manipulated into an obscene inverted pyramid scheme in which they are offered a reduction in punishment for informing on their friends. This helps explain how 22-year-old Megan Meyer of Plymouth, Wisconsin faces up to 19 years in prison for selling fake heroin to a police informant.
Last November, Meyer — who was on probation for previous drug-related convictions — was arrested after officers affiliated with the Lake Winnebago Area Metropolitan Enforcement Group (MEG), a federally subsidized narcotics task force, used another socially marginalized petty offender to target her for a “controlled buy.” Since Meyer was already “in the system,” police could have arrested her for probation violations without the trouble of manufacturing a drug charge. The incentive structure of the “war on drugs” dictated a different course of action, however. Accordingly, a confidential informant bought a small quantity of what looked like heroin and an unmarked pill identified as Percocet.
Lab tests showed that the alleged heroin was actually crushed dog food, and the “Percocet” was actually an aspirin tablet. In a society that valued property rights, and recognized that the government has no authority to punish people for freely consuming anything they choose, Meyers might have been charged with defrauding her customer. As things stood, the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Office had to wait for another opportunity to carry out a triumphant drug bust. More
Lunch lady fired for giving free lunch to hungry student
POCATELLO — Last week, Dalene Bowden, a food service worker at Irving Middle School, was placed on leave after she gave a free hot lunch to a 12-year-old girl who said she was hungry and didn’t have any money.
Bowden has now received a registered letter from the Pocatello/Chubbuck School District informing her that she has been fired.
The brief, one-page letter was signed by District 25 Director of Human Resources Susan Petit. It states that Bowden was dismissed due to her theft of school district property and inaccurate transactions when ordering, receiving and serving food.
Bowden’s story garnered hundreds of comments on social media and an online petition was launched Saturday demanding that Bowden be reinstated as a lunch lady at Irving. More
“Stop Telling Me I’m Poisoning my Kids”: Food Crusaders, Sancti-Mommies and the Rise of Entitled Eaters
You are poisoning your children,” the woman told me calmly before walking back into the crowd of activists gathered for the Food Justice march this past October in Washington, DC. Activists from groups like March Against Monsanto and Moms Across America rallied because they believe Americans are at risk from our food supply.
The spectacle was vaguely familiar to me, because my parents were also activists in the 60s (my dad is still involved in anti-poverty work) and I grew up with posters from Chez Panisse in my home.
So it was hard to find myself on what felt like “the other side” of a social justice issue. But there I was protesting with a small group of science advocates because I believe we have more to fear from fear-mongers than our privileged American food system.. More
Child pretends to shoot student with imaginary bow, suspended for 3 days
CINCINNATI —A first-grader at Our Lady of Lourdes is serving a three-day suspension for pretending to shoot another student with a bow and arrow.
The boy's parents, Matthew and Martha Miele, told WLWT their son was playing a game of Power Rangers at recess on Thursday when it happened. "I think he's a good principal. I just think a bad decision was made," Matthew Miele said.
Martha Miele said she was called Thursday afternoon while at work by Principal Joe Crachiolo.
"I didn't really understand. I had him on the phone for a good amount of time so he could really explain to me what he was trying to tell me," Martha Miele said. "My question to him was 'Is this really necessary? Does this really need to be a three-day suspension under the circumstances that he was playing and he's 6 years old?'" More
Govt Conveniently Deleted Entire Database of Evidence Documenting Pedophile Rings
London, UK — The Independent Inquiry Into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) apologized this week after vital testimony from victims of child sexual abuse was “instantly and permanently deleted” from their servers. The agency said that the loss of data was due to a technical malfunction, which dumped an untold number of testimonies that were submitted to their official website.
The agency now claims that there was no security breach, and that while the testimonies were lost, the privacy of the victims is not at risk. An Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) was established by the British Home Secretary, Theresa May, on 7 July 2014. The inquiry was intended to investigate why pedophile rings seemed to be exempt from capture. More
Public School Students Are the New Inmates in the American Police State
“Every day in communities across the United States, children and adolescents spend the majority of their waking hours in schools that have increasingly come to resemble places of detention more than places of learning. From metal detectors to drug tests, from increased policing to all-seeing electronic surveillance, the public schools of the twenty-first century reflect a society that has become fixated on crime, security and violence.”—Investigative journalist Annette Fuentes
In the American police state, you’re either a prisoner (shackled, controlled, monitored, ordered about, limited in what you can do and say, your life not your own) or a prison bureaucrat (police officer, judge, jailer, spy, profiteer, etc.).
Indeed, at a time when we are all viewed as suspects, there are so many ways in which a person can be branded a criminal for violating any number of laws, regulations or policies. Even if you haven’t knowingly violated any laws, there is still a myriad of ways in which you can run afoul of the police state and end up on the wrong side of a jail cell. More
9 Things The Rich Don't Want You To Know About Taxes
For three decades we have conducted a massive economic experiment, testing a theory known as supply-side economics. The theory goes like this: Lower tax rates will encourage more investment, which in turn will mean more jobs and greater prosperity—so much so that tax revenues will go up, despite lower rates.
The late Milton Friedman, the libertarian economist who wanted to shut down public parks because he considered them socialism, promoted this strategy. Ronald Reagan embraced Friedman’s ideas and made them into policy when he was elected president in 1980.
For the past decade, we have doubled down on this theory of supply-side economics with the tax cuts sponsored by President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2003, which President Obama has agreed to continue for two years. More
Twin Daughters Of Air Force Vet Barred From Wearing Jackets With Logo To School
From the flag outside their Providence Village home to the photos inside, the Rolens are a proud military family.
Eleven-year-old twins Kaidence and Abigail were even born on an Air Force base. So the new fall jackets they bought to wear to Aubrey Middle School shouldn’t be a surprise.
“The Air Force ones they picked out — we might’ve nudged them a little bit,” says Phil Rolen, their father. But the girls didn’t expect the reaction they got from teachers once they stepped into their classrooms.
“She yelled at me and said that’s out of the dress code and that she would get me in trouble if I wore something out of dress code,” says Kaidence.
“It’s political correctness run amok,” says their father. He is a disabled Iraq War veteran who immediately called the principal and was told the Air Force logo was fine, just too large for the district’s strict dress code.
“The district has a blanket policy doesn’t allow administrators to make commonsense exceptions to rules that I think most Texans would agree are absolutely superfluous,” says Rolen. More
The New Beauty Trend Among Women: Microwaving Your Armpits
omen who are fed up with deodorant and shaving their armpits are going to the extreme measure of microwaving their armpits to get rid of the stink and hair.
No, women aren’t literally sticking their arms in the microwave. Here’s how it actually works: the microwave energy is embedded into the underarms via a new treatment known as miraSmooth. The process supposedly eliminates sweating and armpit hair by targeting the interface between fat and skin where the sweat gland and hair follicles are located under the arm. The intense heat basically fries the glands and follicles entirely, so they never come back.
Lasers require hair to be dark in order to work. Though while patients will never smell or have to shave again, that doesn’t mean life will be completely hassle-free after the painless treatment. More
Papa John's Stores To Dish Up Half A Million Dollars In Wage Theft Case
our current and former Papa John's franchisees have agreed to pay out nearly $500,000 to New York workers in order to settle a wage theft investigation, New York's attorney general and the U.S. Labor Department announced on Thursday.
The settlement resolves allegations from workers that they were shorted on pay at nine Papa John's restaurants in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx.
According to the state, the franchisees who run the stores admitted to violating minimum wage and overtime laws. The back wages and damages will be doled out to 250 workers who worked at the stores stretching back to 2008.
"Once again, we’ve found Papa John’s franchises in New York that are ripping off their workers and violating critical state and federal laws,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. "Once again, I call on Papa John’s and other fast food companies to step up and stop the widespread lawlessness plaguing your businesses and harming the workers who make and deliver your food." More
Almost None of the Women in the Ashley Madison Database Ever Used the Site
When hacker group Impact Team released the Ashley Madison data, they asserted that “thousands” of the women’s profiles were fake. Later, this number got blown up in news stories that asserted “90-95%” of them were fake, though nobody put forth any evidence for such an enormous number. So I downloaded the data and analyzed it to find out how many actual women were using Ashley Madison, and who they were.
What I discovered was that the world of Ashley Madison was a far more dystopian place than anyone had realized. This isn’t a debauched wonderland of men cheating on their wives. It isn’t even a sadscape of 31 million men competing to attract those 5.5 million women in the database. Instead, it’s like a science fictional future where every woman on Earth is dead, and some Dilbert-like engineer has replaced them with badly-designed robots. More
'We were paying to poison our kids': lead in Michigan city's water hits children
When Lee-Anne Walters learned in March that her son’s immune system was compromised after being exposed to lead in the city of Flint’s water supply, she did what any parent would likely do: break down and cry.
“Shocked, angry … I was hysterical,” Walters told the Guardian. Barely able to speak, the 37-year-old called her friend Melissa Mays.
“I just couldn’t believe that we were paying to poison our kids,” Walters said.
A spate of kids are experiencing elevated blood-lead levels in Flint, and some drinking water lead levels are so high they are defined as hazardous waste, according to several local studies.
Residents also pay some of the highest water rates in the US, in the community known for its economic decline.
After months of resisting complaints about the water, and even a press conference by local doctors warning of potential effects, officials relented this week, declaring a public health emergency. More
Kentucky student violates high school dress code with exposed collarbone
School has barely started in some parts of the country, but the annual battle over dress codes has already surfaced at one Kentucky high school.
Stacie Dunn's daughter recently got sent to the principal's office for failing to wear a shirt that covered her collarbone, a violation of the school dress code at Woodford County High School.
"So this is my daughter at school today. I had to come to the school because according to her school principal what she is wearing is out of dress code and inappropriate for school," she wrote on her Facebook page, posting a picture of her daughter at school wearing jeans, a tank top and a white cardigan.
"When I got there I found a group of female students standing in the office due to being out of dress code also." More
The Coddling of the American Mind
Something strange is happening at America’s colleges and universities. A movement is arising, undirected and driven largely by students, to scrub campuses clean of words, ideas, and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense.
Last December, Jeannie Suk wrote in an online article for The New Yorker about law students asking her fellow professors at Harvard not to teach rape law—or, in one case, even use the word violate (as in “that violates the law”) lest it cause students distress.
In February, Laura Kipnis, a professor at Northwestern University, wrote an essay in The Chronicle of Higher Education describing a new campus politics of sexual paranoia—and was then subjected to a long investigation after students who were offended by the article and by a tweet she’d sent filed Title IX complaints against her.
In June, a professor protecting himself with a pseudonym wrote an essay for Vox describing how gingerly he now has to teach. “I’m a Liberal Professor, and My Liberal Students Terrify Me,” the headline said. A number of popular comedians, including Chris Rock, have stopped performing on college campuses (see Caitlin Flanagan’s article in this month’s issue). Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Maher have publicly condemned the oversensitivity of college students, saying too many of them can’t take a joke. More
Man Faces 6 Months in Jail For Disagreeing With Feminists
What’s believed to be the first case in Canada of alleged criminal harassment-via-Twitter is just a judge’s decision away from being over.
After hearing closing submissions Tuesday from Chris Murphy, who represents 54-year-old Gregory Alan Elliott, Ontario Court Judge Brent Knazan is expected to rule on Oct. 6.
In the balance rides enormous potential fallout for free speech online. Elliott is charged with criminally harassing two Toronto female political activists, Steph Guthrie and Heather Reilly, in 2012. Allegations involving a third woman were dropped.
The graphic artist and father of four lost his job shortly after his arrest, which was well-publicized online, and if convicted, could go to jail for six months. More
Yoga pants pose dilemma for some Cape schools
HARWICH — Busy moms on errands wear them, road runners race in them and yoga practitioners can hardly do a downward dog without them.
Stretchy, form-fitting athletic pants seem to be everywhere — except some Cape schools.
Starting this fall, uncovered yoga pants and leggings will be banned at Cape Cod Regional Technical High School in Harwich.
"It's an addition to the dress code policy," Cape Tech Principal William Terranova said. Stretchy pants will be allowed only if they are covered by shorts or a skirt.
The ban on yoga pants and leggings is part of a policy designed to prepare students at the technical school for the realities of the workforce, Terranova said. More
Man arrested after charging iPhone on London Overground train
A man has accused British Transport police of being “overzealous” and “ridiculous” after he was arrested for charging his iPhone using a socket on a London Overground train.
Robin Lee, a 45-year-old artist based in Islington, was handcuffed and taken to a British Transport Police station on Caledonian Road after his arrest for “abstracting electricity”.
Lee was then arrested on a second offence of “unacceptable behaviour” after “becoming aggressive” when objecting to his prior arrest. A police spokesman said a “decision on further action would be made in due course”.
Lee said he had been confronted by a police community support officer on the overground train from Hackney Wick to Camden Road on 10 July. “She said I’m abstracting electricity. She kept saying it’s a crime. We were just coming into the station and there happened to be about four police officers on the platform. More
'Smart' rifle with computer technology fires at WRONG target after being HACKED
A HIGH-TECH rifle with a computer-assisted targeting system has been hacked by researchers who tricked it into shooting a DIFFERENT mark.
The TrackingPoint sniper rifle turns even the most amateur shooters into elite marksmen by using self-targeting technology to perfect the best shot.
But researchers have now discovered a potentially lethal flaw in the "smart" system by hacking into the weapon through its wireless internet connection.
They were then able to use a computer to trick the hacked rifle into switching its aim to an adjacent bullseye. More
4 Legal Loopholes That Screw You When You're Poor
We've written before about how much being poor sucks.
There's the obvious bad stuff, like health problems caused by your all-ramen diet, or the emotional pain of having to fill the drafty holes in your walls by stuffing them with your pets and small children.
But look a bit deeper and you'll find that society has even more subtle ways of screwing the less fortunate.
It's almost like parts of the system are set up to deliberately target the poor, the vulnerable, the elderly, and others.
For example ... More
Airline seating from hell, patented by a French company
Have you experienced the joy of air travel lately? A jostling mass of people herded onto a plane like cattle, jammed together in ever-smaller seats placed ever closer together. The passenger next to you hogging the armrest and then, even worse, talking to you.
OK, now imagine how delightful it would be if you were face to face with your fellow travelers.
Face to face. Yes, as if air travel is not bad enough, now a French company named Zodiac Aerospace has patented its "solution" to the problem of how to jam even more of us into economy class. They do it by place seats in an alternating pattern of forward-facing and rear-facing seats, using flip-up seats to allow access. More
Zimbabwe parks donates bush meat to calm restive prisoners
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — A quarter ton of meat from wild animals could be just the ticket to ending the unrest in Zimbabwe’s Chikurubi maximum security prison where inmates have been rioting over their meatless diet.
Over the weekend, Zimbabwe’s National Parks and Wildlife Authority donated 250 kilograms (550 pounds) of bush meat for the 4,600 inmates whose diet has consisted of only porridge and cabbage despite regulations that they should receive meat at least three times a week.
Prison food woes is more evidence of a debilitating economic downturn that has left the Zimbabwean government struggling to meet its obligations, including paying civil servants on time. In March, riot police had to use water cannons against university students whose own food protests caused classes to be suspended for a time. More
Veteran's off-the-grid trailer condemned by Huntsville
While politicians across the U.S. talk about the importance of renewable energy, Huntsville resident Tyler Truitt is doing something about it.
In January, the 27-year-old Marine Corps veteran planted a row of gleaming solar panels in his front yard, hauled in a 550-gallon plastic tank to catch rainwater and installed a composting toilet in the single-wide trailer that he shares with girlfriend Soraya Hamar.
It's as close to an off-the-grid lifestyle as you can come while still living in the middle of Huntsville (the trailer sits on two wooded acres at the end of Hood Road, not far from Brahan Spring Park Natatorium).
Truitt said he and Hamar should be applauded for treading lightly on the environment, and attempting to live frugally. He is considering returning to the University of Alabama in Huntsville to complete a physics degree that he started working on before joining the Marines in 2008. More
School enforces dress code by humiliating students
Now that the weather is getting nicer, the annual debate between students and schools over what is and isn’t appropriate to wear to school has begun. Normally an administrator or teacher will pull a student aside and talk to them about the appropriateness of their outfit. One school in New Jersey took a different approach.
According to Seventeen, most of the dress code restrictions at Warren County Technical School in Washington, New Jersey, are pretty fair. Students are not allowed to wear things like pajamas and open toed shoes in certain classes for safety reasons. That’s understandable. However, the dress code does not say anything about female students wearing leggings or shorts. So the teachers decided to take it into their own hands to tell female students what they thought was and wasn’t appropriate. More
Texas Cops Issue Arrest Warrant to 75-Year-Old Woman...Because the Grass on Her Property Is Too Long
Riesel, Texas – Seventy-five-year-old Gerry Suttle was stunned when she received a call from the local police chief, informing her that she had a warrant issued for her arrest.
“I’ll be 76 in July,” Suttle said. “I’m 75 now, and I’ve never had a speeding ticket, never had a parking ticket and now here I am got a warrant for my arrest from the big city of Riesel.”
Suttle’s arrest warrant was for failure to appear before a judge on a matter regarding the height of the grass on a property she owns across the street from her home.
Referencing the grass, Riesel police chief Danny Krumnow stated, “It has grown up, and the court had issued her letter and then court issued a warrant for failure to appear.” More
Orange schools to monitor social media posts of students, staff
What Orange County students -- and staff -- post on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube is now being monitored by their school district to "ensure safe school operations," the district announced this morning.
Central Florida's largest school district said it had a new licensing agreement for software that would allow it to monitor a number of social media sites for posts "that may impact students and staff." The school is monitoring all activity of its students regardless of when they post or what devices they are using. School districts that use this technology have been punishing students for their behavior on weekends and stuff like that.
Spokesman Shari Bobinski said the monitoring program is now up and running, though not at full scale. Security staff began using it about a month ago. More
Oregon Woman accuses Target of stealing t-shirt design
A clothing designer in Oregon was shocked to find a tank top in a Target store looking nearly identical to a shirt she sells at her online store.
Melissa Lay told ABC News that she started her online clothing shop last year so she could work from home to be with her children.
Lay's shop was an immediate success, largely thanks to one t-shirt design: a black and white shirt that had the phrase "#Merica" on it with a white U.S. flag.
Earlier this month, however, Lay's friend sent her a photo of what her friend thought was a similar shirt at Target, thinking that Lay had stolen her design from the country's second-largest discount retailer.
"It was almost unbelievable seeing the picture," Lay told ABC News. "It was the first thing I saw when I walked in. I've been making and looking at this design for so long." More
France passes law banning ‘anorexic’ models and photoshop with no label
No, this is not a part of the April Fools Day celebration. As confirmed by an article by Reuters, France will now ban runways that feature super skinny supermodels.
To be exact, the French Parliament wants agencies to stop hiring models which are considered “anorexic” and/or “not healthy” based on BMI standards.
Under this new law, it is now illegal in France to hire models whose BMI, or Body Mass Index is below 18. Violators would pay fines of up to €75,000 or US$82,000 — and face up to six months inside prison cell. Ouch.
In case you’re wondering, BMI or Body Mass Index is your weight in kilograms over your height, squared. For example, if the model’s height is 6 foot flat, and her weight is 127 pounds, her BMI is around 17 plus. Based on the official BMI categories, a BMI of 17 is considered underweight. The normal weight according to the feds is from 18.5 to 24.9. More
The criminalization of childhood
And so the incarceral state continues to bully its way into childhood, parenthood, and family life . . .
First up, another story about teenagers, sex, and the internet in which local law enforcement officials claim that the only way to save some kids from ruining their lives . . . is by ruining their lives.
Four suburban teenagers have been arrested on felony charges, for an explicit video they posted on Twitter. All four students attend Joliet Central High School, and are between the ages of 14 and 16.
A 15-year-old girl and three of her classmates recorded consensual sex acts one week ago, and posted the video on Twitter.
The girl’s mother found out about the video, and reported the Twitter post to police, who seized the original recording. More
2 N.Y. women arrested; U.S. authorities committed to stopping ‘homegrown extremists’
NEW YORK — The disturbing allegations were contained in court papers describing the latest homegrown terror plot thwarted by the FBI and the New York Police Department.
Noelle Velentzas and Asia Siddiqui were arrested at their Queens homes early Thursday following a sting operation using an undercover officer wearing a wire. Officer searching the homes recovered items including three gas tanks, a pressure cooker, fertilizer, handwritten notes on the recipes for bomb making and jihadist literature, court papers say.
Velentzas, had been “obsessed with pressure cookers since the Boston Marathon attacks in 2013” and made jokes alluding to explosives after receiving one as a gift, according to a criminal complaint citing one of the secret recordings made by the undercover who managed to befriend the pair. More
Driver sues boy she struck and killed
A Canadian woman who hit three teenage boys on bikes while driving, killing one and injuring the other two, is suing the dead teen for the emotional trauma she suffered.
Mother-of-three Sharlene Simon, 42, is also suing the other two boys and the dead boy’s family for $1.35 million in damages due to her psychological suffering, including depression, anxiety, irritability and post-traumatic stress.
The claim follows the accident which killed 17-year-old Brandon Majewski when Simon struck him from behind in her SUV as he rode near his home in Alcona, Ontario, about 1:30 a.m. Oct. 28, 2012.
Majewski’s friend Richard McLean, 16, was seriously injured in the crash, breaking multiple bones including his pelvis. Another friend, 16-year-old Jake Roberts, was knocked off his bike but luckily escaped with only scratches. More
Helicopter parents ruin massive Easter egg hunt; chaos unfolds, kids sob
Thousands of people packed Sacramento’s Capitol grounds on Saturday for what was billed as the world’s largest Easter egg hunt. The crowds vying for eggs dumped out on the Capitol Mall grass resulted in some shoving and arguments.
Organizers had trucked in 510,000 plastic eggs in an attempt to break the current world record of 501,000 eggs from a 2007 hunt in Florida. As soon as the first eggs hit the ground, people of all ages lunged for the colorful plastic shells, scooping them up by the armful into oversized plastic bags and even laundry baskets.
The dozen workers from organizer Blue Heart International, a Sacramento nonprofit, had intended a more orderly rollout, with egg seekers waiting for the signal to start. Toddlers cried and parents pushed as they jockeyed for mostly empty plastic eggs, which later could be exchanged for candy. More
Amazon says the FAA is so slow, the delivery drone it approved is already obsolete
Last week the Federal Aviation Administration finally gave Amazon permission to begin test flying its delivery drones outdoors. But in testimony before a Senate subcommittee today, Amazon argued that the government wasn't moving nearly fast enough. "This approval came last Thursday, and we’re eager to get flying here as we have been abroad," said Paul Misener, Amazon's vice president for Global Public Policy. But "while the FAA was considering our applications for testing, we innovated so rapidly that the [drone] approved last week by the FAA has become obsolete. We don’t test it anymore. We’ve moved on to more advanced designs that we already are testing abroad."
The FAA took one and half years to give Amazon permission to fly one very specific model of drone. Misener compared this to what is happening overseas. "Nowhere outside of the United States have we been required to wait more than one or two months to begin testing, and permission has been granted for operating a category of UAS, giving us room to experiment and rapidly perfect designs without being required to continually obtain new approvals for specific UAS vehicles." More
Hillary Clinton paid $300,000 to explain what ails the middle class
She’s identified the problem. Now, assuming she runs for president, Hillary Clinton will have to come up with ways to solve it.
During a speech in Silicon Valley, Clinton, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee in 2016, highlighted the displacement many workers have suffered as new technology has made many jobs obsolete. “The old jobs and careers are either gone or unrecognizable,” Clinton said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “The old rules just don’t seem to apply, and, frankly, the new rules just aren’t that clear. “[If] we want to find our balance again, we have to figure out how to make this new economy work for everyone.”
Clinton also addressed Silicon Valley’s male-centric culture, one factor responsible for a notable gender pay gap in the tech industry and a shortage of women in the field. “We’re going backward in a field that is supposed to be all about moving forward,” the former senator and secretary of state said. Clinton herself is a counterexample: She earned a reported $300,000 for her speech, comparable to what she usually gets and more than all but a few highly prized male speakers (including her husband). More
Lawmaker says Yoga pants, Speedos should be illegal in public
HELENA — A Montana lawmaker is seeking to strengthen the state’s indecent exposure law, stopping just short of his wish to outlaw yoga pants.
Rep. David Moore on Tuesday introduced House Bill 365 in the House Judiciary Committee in response to a group of naked bicyclists who rolled through Missoula in August.
The proposal would expand indecent exposure law to include any nipple exposure, including men’s, and any garment that “gives the appearance or simulates” a person’s buttocks, genitals, pelvic area or female nipple.
The Republican from Missoula said tight-fitting beige clothing could be considered indecent exposure under his proposal. More
'I'm Facing Years In Prison For Medical Marijuana -- For Me, That's A Death Sentence'
Larry Harvey, 71, thought he was doing everything right growing medical marijuana for his personal use. His home state of Washington legalized medical cannabis in 1998, and Harvey says his cultivation of plants with his wife, other family members and a close friend complied with the law.
But in 2012, state and federal law enforcers raided the Harvey home and shut down their operation. Harvey; his wife, Rhonda; their son, Rolland Gregg; Gregg's wife, Michelle Gregg; and family friend Jason Zucker all face federal marijuana charges that could land them in prison for 10 years.
But Harvey may not live long enough to see prison, let alone serve out his sentence. In recent months Harvey has developed cancer of the pancreas that has begun to spread to his liver. The average life expectancy for a patient with metastatic pancreatic cancer is three months to six months. More
Texas boy suspended for saying he could make classmate ‘disappear’ with ‘Lord of the Rings’ sorcery
Tolkien lore led a Texas boy to suspension after he brought his “one ring” to school
. Kermit Elementary School officials called it a threat when the 9-year-old boy, Aiden Steward, in a playful act of make-believe, told a classmate he could make him disappear with a ring forged in fictional Middle Earth’s Mount Doom.
“It sounded unbelievable,” the boy’s father, Jason Steward, told the Daily News. He insists his son “didn’t mean anything by it.”
The Stewards had just watched “The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies” days earlier, inspiring Aiden’s imagination and leading him to proclaim that he had in his possession the one ring to rule them all.
“Kids act out movies that they see. When I watched Superman as a kid, I went outside and tried to fly,” Steward said. More
Manspreading: Why transit riders mind the gap
It's a gap commuters like Zane Pitt more than just mind — the regular transit rider says he's sick of so-called 'manspreaders' on public transit who sit with legs wide open.
"I see that a lot," Pitt said as he stood outside Broadway SkyTrain station. "I also see people using a seat just to place their personal stuff."
The scourge of manspreading has finally come to light, thanks to New York's Metropolitan Transit Authority. The MTA is launching a public etiquette campaign featuring the catchphrase: “Dude ... Stop the spread, please. It’s a space issue.”
Transit riders in Toronto recently chimed in with their own concerns about space sprawlers adding new meaning to that city's nickname: Hogtown. More
Lottery ticket misprint leaves man without $500K
Playing the lottery has always been something fun to do for retiree John Wines. So when the New Mexico native went to a gas station to purchase his weekly Powerball ticket, on one particular Saturday in December, he sprung for a scratch-off ticket, too.
"You only live once, right?" he said.
The winning numbers printed at the top of the scratch-off were two and one.
Wiles said he was in shock when he scratched off five of them, his winnings totaling more than $500,000. The amount confused him, he said, because the maximum prize on the ticket is $250,000.
Still, he said, he "thought [he] won big!"
But when he took the ticket to the store where he bought it, the store clerk put the ticket in a scanner that said Wines wasn't a winner after all. More
Indonesia still performs ‘virginity tests’ on female police job applicants
Indonesia’s practice of subjecting would-be female police officers to ‘virginity tests’ is “discriminatory and a form of gender-based violence,” that has to be stopped, Human Rights Watch says.
“Police authorities in Jakarta need to immediately and unequivocally abolish the test, and then make certain that all police recruiting stations nationwide stop administering it,” Nisha Varia, associate women’s rights director at Human Rights Watch, said in the statement released on Tuesday.
The watchdog interviewed female police officers in six Indonesian cities to find out if women applying for a job in law enforcement still have to undergo virginity tests, despite previous promises by police officials to abolish the practice.
The interviews are now posted on the Human Rights Watchdog YouTube feed. The women, hiding their faces from cameras and concealing their names, say they had to go through the pain and humiliation of the ‘two-finger test’, which HRW describes as an archaic and discredited practice. More
Widespread Reports Surface of Veterans Denied Pain Meds if They Use Cannabis
Veterans of the nation's wars from Vietnam forward have long found refuge in the wonders of medicinal marijuana for a host of both combat and stress related conditions including traumatic brain injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
These two intractable, complicated, physical conditions, which often exacerbate the psychological impact of war, are known as the "signature wounds" of the recent wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
The impact is lifelong and highly debilitating. It is estimated that as much as 50% of the nation's vets suffer chronic pain. Six veterans a day commit suicide. More
School Suspends Modern Bonnie and Clyde Over “Gun” Photo
On Friday a young couple, Tito Velez and Jamie Pereira, were preparing to go to a school dance, and as usual, mom and dad broke out the camera and took a few pictures of the cute couple. During the impromptu photo shoot, someone decided to take a couple of pictures with the kids holding some Airsoft toy guns. A little later, the kids went to the dance and had an uneventful evening just making happy memories.
On Monday school officials of, Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School in Taunton, MA, got wind of the picture and, about 2 PM, just prior to a cross-country track meet, the couple was called into the school office. Both minors were questioned by school officials, split up and the police were called.
The parents were not notified, nor was there any kind of child advocate at the scene. When the kids asked to call their parents, school officials told them to “be quite”. Police finally showed up and the young man and woman were searched along with their lockers and book bags. Nothing was found. The officers “talked” to the students, again without benefit of counsel or parents. More
2-year-old taken away from parents because they used marijuana, killed by foster mother
Cameron, Texas - A 2-year-old was killed while in foster care, and her foster mother will now serve a life sentence for the crime.
Alex Hill was placed in foster care after her father admitted to using marijuana according to the Houston Press.
Joshua Hill told Texas child welfare investigators that he smoked after the child was in bed at night.
A case worker determined that the father’s marijuana use and the mother’s medical condition (frequent seizures) warranted removal from the home.
The toddler had appeared healthy and happy with her parents, but she
was placed into the foster care system in early 2013.
On Tuesday Alex’s foster mother, Sherill Small, was sentenced to life in prison for the July 2013 death of the little girl, who would have turned four on Friday. More
$20 Minimum Wage Endorsing Socialist Group Posts $13-Per-Hour Job Listing
The website of Seattle’s Freedom Socialist Party lists its most recent presidential candidate Stephen Durham’s political positions, which include the party’s effort to “raise the minimum wage to $20 an hour.”
The group also avidly supported a successful push for a $15-per-hour minimum wage in Seattle, which passed this year.
However, as Zenon Evans at Reason pointed out, that same political party just got caught posting a $13-per-hour job listing seeking a web content manager with web development skills. More
Teacher Allegedly Sent Home Because Of Tattoos
A school teacher at a private elementary school was reportedly asked to go home and cover up the tattoos on her arms, neck and hands before returning to teach.
Charlotte Tumilty, 26, says she showed up for her first day at St. John Vianneys Primary School in Hartlepool, England, a position she obtained as part of her teacher training course. Before the first hour of the day was up, however, she says she was told to go home and cover up.
Tumilty says an administrator told her it was a “strict Catholic” school and that she should use bandages and plasters to conceal her tattoos, reports Metro.. More
The Creepy Language Tricks Taco Bell Uses to Fool People Into Eating There
What can you tell about a restaurant from its menu? A lot more than what's cooking. That's what linguist Dan Jurafsky reveals in his new book, The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the Menu.
Jurafsky, a professor of linguistics at Stanford, looked at hundreds of examples of food language—from menus to marketing materials to restaurant reviews. Along the way, he uncovered some fascinating patterns. For example: In naming foods, he explains, marketers often appeal to the associations that we already have with certain sounds. Crackers and other crispy foods tend to have names with short, front-of-the-mouth vowels (Ritz, Cheez-Its, Triscuits), while rich and heavy foods have longer vowels that we form in the back of our mouth (Rocky Road, Jamoca Almond Fudge). He also describes the shared linguistic heritage of some of the most common food words. Take salad, sauce, slaw, and salsa: All come from the Latin word sal, meaning "salted."
But it's Jurafsky's menu analysis that really stands out. Where most of us see simply a list of dishes, Jurafsky identifies subtle indicators of the image that a restaurant is trying to project—and which customers it wants to lure in. I asked Jurafsky to examine the menus of Taco Bell and its new upscale spinoff, US Taco Co., whose first location just opened in Southern California. More
Devils Lake high school places new policy on leggings, jeggings and tight jeans
DEVILS LAKE, N.D. -- A parent called us, blowing the whistle on the Devils Lake School District. We called the school to find out more answers and we're told all the girls were informed they can't wear leggings, jeggings and tight jeans anymore.
The assistant principal said they had the girls watch two clips from the movie "Pretty Woman" and compared their attire to the main character...who is a prostitute. We spoke to both sides of the story to find out the reason behind all of this.
"A lot of the parents went on Facebook and we were discussing it,” said parent Candace Olsen. “They were talking about how they think the boys should be able to control themselves and the girls should be able to wear the leggings and the jeggings and you know, the squirts and stuff. And, when I was in high school, I think we wore a little bit more provocative clothing." More
Black Donor Sperm Mistakenly Sent to White Mom
A white Ohio mom is suing a sperm bank for sending her vials from a black donor, saying her biracial 2-year-old daughter will be stigmatized by her family and the "intolerant" town where they live and has to travel to get her hair done.
Jennifer Cramblett thought she was being inseminated with a white man's sperm in 2011 and only discovered after she was pregnant that the Midwest Sperm Bank sent the wrong batch, according to the lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court.
The child, Payton, is now 2 years old and already experiencing prejudice in Uniontown, where 98 percent of the residents are white, court papers say.
"I am happy that I have a healthy child," Cramblett told NBC News. "But I'm not going to let them get away with not being held accountable." More
Woman's Homemade License Plate Does Not Fool Eagle-Eyed Massachusetts State Trooper
A Massachusetts woman whose license plates were revoked attached a hand-drawn tag to her car and kept driving, police say.
Johanna Baez-Rodriguez, 25, was pulled over yesterday morning by a state trooper who spotted the homemade license plate on her 1991 Honda Accord as it traveled on Insterstate 391 in Chicopee.
As seen above, the counterfeit cardboard plate includes numbers and letters drawn on with red and blue markers. Baez-Rodriguez, a Springfield resident, was charged with a variety of violations, including driving with a suspended license and attaching false plates to her ride. More
Data Shows Cash For Clunkers Was An Epic Debacle
“Cash for Clunkers,” the 2009 Obama administration stimulus program designed to spend $2.85 billion to jumpstart the auto industry, turned out to be a complete disaster — for the auto industry.
In the minds of Obama’s team of advisers and economists, the program made total sense, of course.
The plan was to dangle a $4,500 credit to persuade car owners to trade in their older automobiles for new cars with better fuel efficiency. It would stimulate an economy then in the midst of a deep recession. As a bonus, it would mean less oil consumption and cleaner-running cars. The law of unintended consequences is a brutal thing, though, especially for inexperienced, shortsighted policymakers.
According to the findings of three Texas A&M University economics professors, “Cash for Clunkers” ultimately caused auto industry revenue to shrink by about $3 billion in less than a year. More
Teen Girl Accuses School Of ‘Shaming Girls For Their Bodies’ After Being Sent Home For Wearing Shorts
A 15-year-old student in Quebec, Canada launched a protest of her high school dress code last week by refusing to change out of jean shorts deemed too short by school authorities. Rather than comply with the rule, Lindsey Stocker printed 20 posters criticizing the policy and hung them all over her high school. The signs read: “Don’t humiliate her because she’s wearing shorts. It’s hot outside. Instead of shaming girls for their bodies, teach boys that girls are not sexual objects.” Though posters were quickly taken down, their message has gone viral, eliciting an outpouring of support from students.
The incident began after two school vice principles walked into Stocker’s classroom and asked the 11th grade students to press their arms to their sides. If the students’ shorts did not reach their fingertips, they were asked to change clothing. More
Data Shows Cash For Clunkers Was An Epic Debacle
“Cash for Clunkers,” the 2009 Obama administration stimulus program designed to spend $2.85 billion to jumpstart the auto industry, turned out to be a complete disaster — for the auto industry.
In the minds of Obama’s team of advisers and economists, the program made total sense, of course. The plan was to dangle a $4,500 credit to persuade car owners to trade in their older automobiles for new cars with better fuel efficiency. It would stimulate an economy then in the midst of a deep recession. As a bonus, it would mean less oil consumption and cleaner-running cars. The law of unintended consequences is a brutal thing, though, especially for inexperienced, shortsighted policymakers.
According to the findings of three Texas A&M University economics professors, “Cash for Clunkers” ultimately caused auto industry revenue to shrink by about $3 billion in less than a year. More
'Unmarked Police Car' Bumper Sticker Leads to Traffic Stop, Lawsuit
An Indiana woman thought the "Unmarked Police Car" joke bumper sticker she received as a gift was pretty funny.
But Indianapolis police apparently didn't agree. Pamela Konchinsky, 56, was pulled over and claims police demanded she remove the sticker, reports The Indianapolis Star.
Konchinsky is now suing the police officers, alleging they violated her constitutional rights. What's the basis of her lawsuit?
Konchinsky's suit alleges that the officers' actions violated her First Amendment right to freedom of speech. More
Michigan Dept of Agri Forces Farmer to Dump 248 Gallons of Organic Milk and Break 1200 Free Range Eggs
While Americans in the nearby city of Detroit face life in third world conditions, unable to even afford running water, the state of Michigan decided to direct its resources towards cracking down on a small food co-op in Standish for having the utter audacity to provide milk, butter, cream and eggs to people who bought shares in the organic dairy.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture must be so proud of their deeds, after they forced Joe and Brenda Golimbieski, the owners of Hill High Dairy and Jenny Samuelson, the owner of My Family Co-op, to dump out 248 gallons of milk, to break 100 dozen eggs, and to destroy an undisclosed amount of fresh cream, butter and cheese.
According to a post on the Hill High Dairy page on Facebook, the agents from the MDA stood over the family, watching as the food was destroyed. More
Teacher allegedly disciplined because her students' scores are too high
An East Rockaway teacher has accused the school district of ousting her from the classroom because her students' strong performance on standardized tests has backfired.
Voula Coyle, a veteran fourth grade teacher at Rhame Avenue School, said her strong teaching skills have dragged down her school's state rating.
Coyle alleged she has been falsely accused of misconduct after she brushed off administrators’ calls for teachers to do a lackluster job in order to rig the state's ranking system.
She said in an interview with FiOS1 News that district has engaged in a campaign of harassment and intimidation against her and has fostered "a divisive environment where the children are suffering. "They are not putting their concern where it needs to be: with the children and the taxpayers," said the 17-year instructor at the grammar school. "And they are destroying my reputation in the community."
Coyle and her attorney Vincent White of White, Ricotta & Marks PC in Queens, say they are considering filing litigation against the district. More
Clintons seek to avoid a tax they once supported
Bill and Hillary Clinton are finding their way around an estate tax they have long supported, a cause they said would prevent the U.S. from being overrun by inherited wealth.
The Clintons are employing a series of financial planning strategies that will help reduce the tax burden on future recipients, which can be as high as 40%, Bloomberg News reported.
The steps are common among multimillionaires and include creating a residence trust, a type of tax advantaged set-up that allows any appreciation in real estate value to build outside of the taxable estate.
During Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, she supported a higher estate tax by lowering the personal exemption to $3.5 million versus the current $5.34 million, and setting the top tax rate at 45%. More
City Shuts Down Kid’s Free Library Lending Box
LEAWOOD, Kan. – A Leawood law has forced a young boy and his family to take down something they built as a Mother’s Day gift. That’s because city officials say it violated a long-standing ordinance. After just a week of display, the family has removed the “free little library” from its front yard, but says the fight is not over.
The Collins family lives off Ensley Lane near 89th Street. The family loves to read and wanted to share that passion with people in the neighborhood. The family set up a cabinet-like structure with clear glass doors and a shingled roof near the base of the driveway.
They called it a “free little library” where people could give and take books from the shelves. Nine-year-old Spencer Collins said his mother, who is an elementary school teacher, loved the idea when she saw it in another state. Spencer decided to work with his father and grandfather to build the free little library for their front yard. More
More patients flocking to ERs under Obamacare
It wasn't supposed to work this way, but since the Affordable Care Act took effect in January, Norton Hospital has seen its packed emergency room become even more crowded, with about 100 more patients a month. That 12 percent spike in the number of patients — many of whom aren't actually facing true emergencies — is spurring the hospital to convert a waiting room into more exam rooms.
"We're seeing patients who probably should be seen at our (immediate-care centers)," said Lewis Perkins, the hospital's vice president of patient care and chief nursing officer. "And we're seeing this across the system."
That's just the opposite of what many people expected under Obamacare, particularly because one of the goals of health reform was to reduce pressure on emergency rooms by expanding Medicaid and giving poor people better access to primary care.
Instead, many hospitals in Kentucky and across the nation are seeing a surge of those newly insured Medicaid patients walking into emergency rooms. More
Florida County Tickets Woman for Sunbathing Topless on the Beach
On a warm day in May, Fallon Johnson, a 21-year-old waitress, found herself on a deserted public beach in St. Augustine, Florida. She decided to stretch out in the sun and subsequently drifted off to sleep.
She doesn't know how long she was asleep before she was awakened by a police officer asking to see her ID. With her mind still hazy from being abruptly awakened, she wasn't sure what law she'd broken, but she handed over her New York driver's license.
Johnson, who had been sunbathing topless, was unaware that female shirtlessness is illegal in St. Johns County.
She was handed a ticket and fined $53 for violating the county's public nudity ordinance, which was drafted by the county's board of commissioners in 1992. More
15-Year-Old Special Needs Student Convicted of Disorderly Conduct for Recording Evidence of Bullying
It’s a horrific case study in bullying. A high school sophomore who suffers from comprehension delay disorder (an information-processing disorder), ADHD, and an anxiety disorder was regularly shoved and tripped, nearly burned with a cigarette lighter, and psychologically tortured by his peers. He fought back in the only way he could, documenting the abuse on his school-issued iPad. His mother, Shea Love, submitted the evidence to school administrators.
And the administrators took action. Not against the bullies. Against their victim.
According to BenSwann.com, a sophomore at South Fayette High School in McDonald, Pennsylvania, whose name has been withheld at the family’s request, suffered a year of abuse before he decided to take a stand. After researching anti-bullying websites, he used his school-issued iPad to make a seven-minute audio recording of his treatment during math class, where the most intense bullying took place. He later explained his actions: “I wanted her (Love) to understand what I went through…. I wanted it to stop. I just felt like nothing was being done.” More
Woman Denied Vital Medicine Because Obamacare Thinks She's a Man
A family who was forced to buy healthcare is distraught after their daughter was denied medication because of an Obamacare error.
Shelby Higdon needs her medication, but has been repeatedly denied it because the information in her BlueCross BlueShield health insurance account lists her as a male, not a female.
“When it was time to get my medicine, they told that they couldn’t give it to me because on my insurance I was registered as a man,” Shelby told WLOS.
Her mother, Kris Hitt Hidgon, shares her daughter’s frustration. She has called healthcare.gov “probably about eight times.” More
The Most Irony Ever: Food Poisoning Strikes Diners at Gov’t Food Safety Summit
I’m always making a joke that our overblown government couldn’t even get together and make a noodle salad without finding some magical way to screw it up.
Apparently, and sadly so, that snarky bit of sarcasm isn’t all that far off the mark.
Food served at a Food Safety Summit held earlier this month between several of our federal agencies including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Big Food industry giants the likes of Tyson, ConAgra and McDonald’s, actually gave some of the people who attended food poisoning. More
The way the British taxman is behaving would put Zimbabwe to shame!
Last month’s Budget was warmly greeted in many quarters. Indeed, there was much that was good in it. But George Osborne slipped in one announcement that is arguably the most pernicious measure introduced by a modern-day Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Starting next year, HM Revenue & Customs will be empowered to seize unlimited amounts from the private bank accounts of anyone it believes owes it more than £1,000 in tax.
We are used to banks helping themselves to overdraft charges, or inventing new fees, and swiping our money without even telling us. But hitherto the tax authorities, acting on behalf of government, have not been allowed to ransack our bank accounts.
HMRC has been obliged to respect the rule of law, and apply to magistrates’ courts or county courts, depending on how much money it thinks you owe. Now it will be able to remove cash from your current account — or even your savings — at the flick of a switch. More
Michigan Loses ‘Right To Farm’: Farewell To Backyard Chickens and Beekeepers
Michigan residents lost their “right to farm” this week thanks to a new ruling by the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development. Gail Philburn of the Michigan Sierra Club told Michigan Live, the new changes “effectively remove Right to Farm Act protection for many urban and suburban backyard farmers raising small numbers of animals.”
Backyard and urban farming were previously protected by Michigan’s Right to Farm Act. The Commission ruled that the Right to Farm Act protections no longer apply to many homeowners who keep small numbers of livestock.
Kim White, who raises chickens and rabbits, said, “They don’t want us little guys feeding ourselves. They want us to go all to the big farms. They want to do away with small farms and I believe that is what’s motivating it.” The ruling will allow local governments to arbitrarily ban goats, chickens and beehives on any property where there are 13 homes within one eighth mile or a residence within 250 feet of the property, according to Michigan Public Radio. The Right to Farm Act was created in 1981 to protect farmers from the complaints of people from the city who moved to the country and then attempted to make it more urban with anti-farming ordinances. The new changes affect residents of rural Michigan too. It is not simply an urban or suburban concern. More
Heir's sentence raises questions in child rape case
WILMINGTON, Del. -- A judge who sentenced a wealthy du Pont heir to probation for raping his 3-year-old daughter noted in her order that he "will not fare well" in prison and needed treatment instead of time behind bars, court records show.
Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden's sentencing order for Robert H. Richards IV suggested that she considered unique circumstances when deciding his punishment for fourth-degree rape. Her observation that prison life would adversely affect Richards was a rare and puzzling rationale, several criminal justice authorities in Delaware said. Some also said her view that treatment was a better idea than prison is a justification typically used when sentencing drug addicts, not child rapists.
Richards' 2009 rape case became public this month after attorneys for his ex-wife, Tracy, filed a lawsuit seeking compensatory and punitive damages for the abuse of his daughter. More
Gym tells woman she's intimidating guests with 'toned body'
A Bay Area woman was asked to cover up while working out at a Richmond gym, after staff members say she was intimidating people with her toned body.
Tiffany Austin said she was excited to get back in shape after recovering from a recent car accident. After her doctor told her it was time to start walking more, she took a tour of the Planet Fitness Gym in Richmond. On Monday she officially joined the gym and was looking forward to her first workout – but that workout lasted a quick 15 minutes.
Austin said things started out well. She hopped on a treadmill, set the speed to slow, put her earbuds in and started walking. She started to notice others staring at her, and quickly grew self-conscious but she kept on walking. That is until a staff-member stopped her. According to Austin that staff member said, "excuse me we've had some complaints you're intimidating people with your toned body. So can you put on a shirt?” More
Little Girl Taken Out Of Christian School After Told She's Too Much Like A Boy
Timberlake, VA - Sports, sneakers, and short hair; it's what makes eight year old Sunnie Kahle unique. It's also what had her removed from Timberlake Christian School. Her grandparents pulled the plug on her time there after they said she was no longer welcome.
The family received a letter telling them that if their eight year old granddaughter didn't follow the school's "biblical standards," that she'd be refused enrollment next year. She's out and in public school now.
Sunnie Kahle has short hair and a huge heart, and as far as her grandparents are concerned, she is a completely normal little girl.
"She cries every morning to get on the bus, she cries when she comes home because she wants to go back to Timberlake Christian with her friends," said Doris Thompson.
Doris and Carroll Thompson are Sunnie's grandparents. They adopted and raised the little girl and took her out of Timberlake Christian School when they received a letter from the school's K-8 Principal.
"You're probably aware that Timberlake Christian School is a religious, Bible believing institution providing education in a distinctly Christian environment," read Doris from a part of the letter. More
Rachel Canning rails against spoiled ‘Suburban baby boomer types’ in Facebook rant
The spoiled New Jersey teen who took her parents to court is now taking their entire generation to task.
On a Facebook page believed to belong to Rachel Canning, there was a self-righteous Facebook rant Friday slamming her parents’ generation — ironically enough — as greedy and entitled.
“Suburban baby boomer types are the spoiled lot, they make massive amount of money a year, they are used to flying to luxury destinations when they want, and buy things that they don't need, people should be inclined to see things my way,” someone claiming to be Canning wrote in an early morning outburst on Friday. More
Two-Year-Old Girl Suspended From Daycare for 3 Days Over a Cheese Sandwich
A daycare in Ottawa, Canada is not playing around with kids who bring “outside” food to their facility.
Two-year-old Faith Murray brought a cheese sandwich into the Centre de l’enfant aux 4 Vente daycare in Barrhaven and was immediately suspended for three days.
Faith’s father Randy gave his two children sandwiches to eat in the car on the way to daycare. He told CBC News he had no idea his daughter had the sandwich with her when they entered the school.
“She was two steps in, one of the teachers had saw it, handed it back to me, and then the next thing I know, I’m told we’re suspended for three days.”
The school takes care of 148 children ranging in age from 18 months to 12 years. It has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to “outside food” because some students have food allergies. Bring in dairy products, and your child will be suspended for three days. Should your child smuggle in any food that contains peanuts, the penalty will be immediate expulsion. More
University: It’s racist for white students to have Olympics-themed party
A Columbia University administrator denounced a campus sorority for racial insensitivity over its Olympics-themed costume party in which students dressed up like citizens of different countries–such as Ireland, France and Mexico.
The administrator, Dean of Students Terry Martinez, said campus resources would be made available to provide counseling to anyone who was offended by Kappa Alpha Theta’s party.
“I am incredibly saddened and disappointed to learn of students in our community participating in costume caricatures of several different nationalities,” said Martinez in a statement. “It is our utmost responsibility to ensure that your living and learning environment is free from any act or behavior that degrades individuals or groups, including racially or culturally- based insensitivity. As such, the bias-related response team, which is comprised of members across Student Affairs including the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Fraternity and Sorority Life, are currently reaching out to potentially impacted communities to offer support and follow-up.” More
Boy points finger like gun, gets suspended
A Columbus principal suspended a student for three days last week after the child pointed a "lookalike firearm” at another student in class and pretended to shoot.
The boy’s age? 10. The “level 2 lookalike firearm” cited in his suspension letter? His finger.
“I was just playing around,” said Nathan Entingh, a fifth-grader at Devonshire Alternative Elementary School in a far northern section of the district. “People play around like this a lot at my school.”
Other kids have been caught playing pretend gun games on the playground at Devonshire and weren’t suspended, Nathan said.
Devonshire Principal Patricia Price has warned students about pretend gun play numerous times this year, and everyone should know the rules by now, district spokesman Jeff Warner said. More
'Affluenza' Defense Draws Criticism In Sentence For Fatal DWI Wreck
HOUSTON — "Affluenza," the affliction cited by a psychologist to argue that a North Texas teenager from a wealthy family should not be sent to prison for killing four pedestrians while driving drunk, is not a recognized diagnosis and should not be used to justify bad behavior, experts said Thursday.
A judge's decision to give 16-year-old Ethan Couch 10 years of probation for the fatal accident sparked outrage from relatives of those killed and has led to questions about the defense strategy. A psychologist testified in Couch's trial in a Fort Worth juvenile court that as a result of "affluenza," the boy should not receive the maximum 20-year prison sentence prosecutors were seeking.
The term "affluenza" was popularized in the late 1990s by Jessie O'Neill, the granddaughter of a past president of General Motors, when she wrote the book "The Golden Ghetto: The Psychology of Affluence." It has since been used to describe a condition in which children — generally from richer families — have a sense of entitlement, are irresponsible, make excuses for poor behavior, and sometimes dabble in drugs and alcohol, explained Dr. Gary Buffone, a Jacksonville, Fla., psychologist who does family wealth advising. More
How Do You Charge an Unarmed Man with Shooting People? Get the NYPD Involved.
In September, New York Police officers responded to an emotionally disturbed man causing a ruckus at a Times Square bus terminal by opening fire on him while they were surrounded by crowds and traffic. They missed him and hit two innocent bystanders (one of whom was in a walker). Police said at the time they thought the man, Glenn Broadnax, was reaching for a gun, but he turned out to be unarmed.
Even though Broadnax was not armed, an indictment unsealed Wednesday is charging him with assault for the injuries caused by police gunfire. From the New York Times:
The man, Glenn Broadnax, 35, of Brooklyn, created a disturbance on Sept. 14, wading into traffic at 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue and throwing himself into the path of oncoming cars.
A curious crowd grew. Police officers arrived and tried to corral Mr. Broadnax, a 250-pound man. When he reached into his pants pocket, two officers, who, the police said, thought he was pulling a gun, opened fire, missing Mr. Broadnax, but hitting two nearby women. Finally, a police sergeant knocked Mr. Broadnax down with a Taser. … More
Montreal police intercept 11-year-old boy at gunpoint
MONTREAL – Elias Pyrros is still in shock after his recent run-in with police.
The 11-year-old boy was playing with a toy gun in broad daylight in an alley in the Mile End neighbourhood of Montreal when someone spotted him and called 911.
Within minutes, five police cars arrived and all officers had their guns pointed directly at him.
“They told me to freeze in French and come here, so I put my hands up,” said Pyrros. “I was really scared.”
His mother is convinced he would have lost his life that day had he reacted differently.
“If he didn’t freeze and didn’t do what they said, they would have shot my child,” said Eva Drakos, who insists the officers violated her son’s rights. More
Coach Defends Students Arrested at Bus Stop
Three Edison students who were charged with disorderly conduct pleaded not guilty in court.
The boys were with about a dozen basketball teammates Wednesday morning on Main Street waiting for a school bus to take them to a scrimmage at Aquinas.
There was no school that day and their coach had arranged for a pick-up at a central meeting spot. An officer asked the boys to disperse and they refused. The young men say they tried to explain to him they were waiting for a school bus. The officer arrested three of the players.
"We didn't do nothing," said Raliek Redd. "We was just trying to go to our scrimmage." "We was just waiting for our bus and he started arrested us," said Wan'Tauhjs Weathers.
"You just downtown, minding your own business, and next thing you know, anything can happen," said Daequon Carelock. More
First Grader Accused of Sexual Harassment for Kissing Classmate's Hand
A six-year-old boy from Cañon City, Colorado, will have the words "sexual harassment" stamped on his permanent record after he was suspended for playfully pecking a female classmate cheek and hand.
Hunter Yelton is too young to understand the word "sex," but his school believes he sexually harassed a girl in his class after he leaned over and kissed her hand during music class.
According to Hunter's mom, the boy and his "crush" are "boyfriend and girlfriend" and like each other.
"She was fine with it," Jennifer Saunders told KRDO. "The other children saw it and went to the music teacher. That was the day I had the meeting with the principal, where she first said 'sexual harassment'." More
Oregon signs up just 44 people for Obamacare despite spending $300 million
Oregon, once touted as a model for President Obama's health care law, signed up just 44 people for insurance through November, despite spending more than $300 million on its state-based exchange.
The state’s exchange had the fewest sign-ups in the nation, according to a new report today by the Department of Health and Human Services.
The weak number of sign-ups undercuts two major defenses of Obamacare from its supporters. One defense was that state-based exchanges were performing a lot better than the federal healthcare.gov website servicing 36 states. But Oregon's website problems have forced the state to rely on paper applications to sign up participants. More
Father arrested for picking up his kids from school
A Tennessee father was hauled off to jail after he insisted on taking his son home from school on time, rather than waiting for another half an hour under a recently implemented school rule.
Jim Howe, father of two children enrolled in South Cumberland Elementary in Crossville, Tennessee, arrived at the school on foot at dismissal time: 2:00 PM. But a new school policy states that students may only leave at 2:00 PM if their parents are picking them up in cars. Walkers must wait until 2:35 PM.
Howe maintained that the policy was meant to apply to students walking home by themselves, not students walking home with their parents.
“You don’t need a reason as a parent to go get your children,” he told school officials.
Avery Aytes, a sheriff deputy and school resource officer, was on hand to prevent Howes from leaving with his kids. The encounter between the two was captured on video by Howes’s fiancee, Jennifer Long. When Howes insisted that the new policy was illegal, the officer threatened him with jail time. More
How a Sleeping Drug Company Increased Prices 300% Without Anyone Noticing
Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ) has pushed up the price of its narcolepsy drug Xyrem fourfold since 2006, and it's a good example of how prescription costs in the U.S. are out of control. Xyrem now costs as much as $35,000 per year of treatment, and the company says it could double the price again without anyone noticing.
In fact, the only reason Jazz survives as a business is because of the naked price increases it has managed to extract from reimbursers -- namely health plans and the government -- none of whom have offered any pushback.
In 2009, Jazz was on the brink of bankruptcy. It became a penny stock. It put its drug development program on hold in order to service its debt; it laid off 24 percent of its workforce and cleaned house among management, replacing its CEO and CFO.
To rescue itself, Jazz began upping the price of Xyrem. The price hikes worked. Jazz's Q3 2010 "set a new record," CEO Bruce Cozadd told Wall Street in a conference call in which he also said 2010 was "a pivotal year." In a recent note to investors from Jefferies & Co. analyst Corey Davis, a chart of Xyrem's spiraling price was labeled "To the Moon, Alice!" More
First Lady accused of spending $10m in public money on her vacations
The Obamas' summer break on Martha's Vineyard has already been branded a PR disaster after the couple arrived four hours apart on separate government jets.
But according to new reports, this is the least of their extravagances. White House sources today claimed that the First Lady has spent $10million of U.S. taxpayers' money on vacations alone in the past year.
Branding her 'disgusting' and 'a vacation junkie', they say the 47-year-old mother-of-two has been indulging in five-star hotels, where she splashes out on expensive massages and alcohol.
The 'top source' told the National Enquirer: 'It's disgusting. Michelle is taking advantage of her privileged position while the most hardworking Americans can barely afford a week or two off work. 'When it's all added up, she's spent more than $10million in taxpayers' money on her vacations.' More
Obamacare's Website Is Crashing Because It Doesn't Want You To Know How Costly Its Plans Are
A growing consensus of IT experts, outside and inside the government, have figured out a principal reason why the website for Obamacare’s federally-sponsored insurance exchange is crashing. Healthcare.gov forces you to create an account and enter detailed personal information before you can start shopping.
This, in turn, creates a massive traffic bottleneck, as the government verifies your information and decides whether or not you’re eligible for subsidies. HHS bureaucrats knew this would make the website run more slowly. But they were more afraid that letting people see the underlying cost of Obamacare’s insurance plans would scare people away.
“Healthcare.gov was initially going to include an option to browse before registering,” report Christopher Weaver and Louise Radnofsky in the Wall Street Journal. “But that tool was delayed, people familiar with the situation said.” Why was it delayed? “An HHS spokeswoman said the agency wanted to ensure that users were aware of their eligibility for subsidies that could help pay for coverage, before they started seeing the prices of policies.” More
USPS to destroy “Just Move” stamps over safety concerns
Linn’s Stamp News reports that the US Postal Service will destroy the entire press run of a stamp series aimed at getting children to be more active.
According to Linn’s reporter Bill McAllister, three of the stamps in the fifteen stamp series raised safety concerns among sports figures on the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition.
The stamps in question depicted children performing a cannonball dive, skateboarding without kneepads, and doing a headstand without a helmet.
The unsafe depictions came to light after USPS Marketing chief Nagisa Manabe asked Michelle Obama to take part in a first day ceremony for the stamps. That was apparently the first time the stamps had been reviewed by the Sports Council. More
Student arrested for using phone app to “shoot” classmates
GRAY, LA – A student at H. L. Bourgeois High School accused of using a mobile phone app to simulate shooting his classmates was booked and jailed in Terrebonne Parish.
The app is called “The Real Strike” and simulates a first person shooter game, except the battleground is real life.
“You can’t ignore it,” says Major Malcolm Wolfe. “We don’t know at what time that game becomes reality.”
Wolfe office says a 15-year-old was arrested after posting a video on YouTube using the Real Strike app to shoot other kids at school, “He said it was a result of him being frustrated and tired of being bullied. He said that he had no intentions of hurting anybody. We have to take all threats seriously and we have no way of knowing that without investigating and getting to the bottom of it.” More
Woman Pulled Over For Breastfeeding on Moped
A mum in a hurry boobed in central China when she breastfed her young son while they sped through traffic on a moped.
Witnesses say the tot - aged about 18 months - was crying as the bike weaved through busy roads in Yuzhou, Henan province.
"So she suddenly lifted up her T-shirt, whipped out her breast and started to feed him on the move," said one startled driver.
But the impromptu meals on wheels earned the mother a ticking off from local police. "She was risking her life, her son's life and the lives of all the other road users," said a police spokesman. More
UCSD Student "Forgotten by DEA" to Get Millions
The U.S. government will pay $4.1 million to avoid a lawsuit against federal agents who forgot about a UC San Diego student left in a holding cell for days without food or water.
Daniel Chong spent five days in a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) holding cell in April 2012.
Taken into custody on a DEA raid, Chong was left in a windowless room without food and water. He was forced to drink his own urine hoping it would help him stay alive. Chong's attorney, who along with his client threatened a lawsuit against the DEA, announced the $4.1 million settlement Tuesday. “What happened to Daniel Chong should not happen to any human being,” attorney Gene Iredale said. More
Folly Moon challenges Department of Homeland Security entertainment law
MUNCIE, IN - A local band leader and downtown bar operator is challenging the Indiana Department of Homeland Security's authority to regulate and permit live entertainment.
Last April, IDHS through its fire and building safety division found Mike Martin of the Folly Moon violated state law by failing to obtain an entertainment permit for live music at the downtown establishment.
State law requires places of amusement and entertainment to have permits subject to the inspection of state fire and building inspectors. And the law defines entertainment places as night clubs, dance halls or cabarets.
Martin filed an appeal to the permit, saying he operated a bar and restaurant with occasional music played by his band, The Mike Martin Band, and others.
And in the challenge before an administrative law judge, Martin believed the state was not enforcing the law uniformly, only requiring permits for live music instead of electronic or even Karaoke that is also played at the Moon. More
Lawmakers Who Upheld NSA Phone Spying Received Double the Defense Industry Cash
The numbers tell the story — in votes and dollars. On Wednesday, the House voted 217 to 205 not to rein in the NSA’s phone-spying dragnet. It turns out that those 217 “no” voters received twice as much campaign financing from the defense and intelligence industry as the 205 “yes” voters.
That’s the upshot of a new analysis by MapLight, a Berkeley-based non-profit that performed the inquiry at WIRED’s request. The investigation shows that defense cash was a better predictor of a member’s vote on the Amash amendment than party affiliation. House members who voted to continue the massive phone-call-metadata spy program, on average, raked in 122 percent more money from defense contractors than those who voted to dismantle it. More
Obama Administration Requires Magician To Submit A 32 Page “Disaster Plan” For His Rabbit
Central planning in this country is getting completely and totally out of control. These days, you can hardly do anything without running into a suffocating web of red tape.
For example, a small-time magician from Missouri that does magic shows for kids was absolutely horrified when he learned that the Obama administration is requiring him to submit a 32 page “disaster plan” for the rabbit that he uses in his shows.
Yes, this is actually true.
His name is Marty Hahne, and he thought that it was bad enough when the U.S. Department of Agriculture busted him for not having a “license” for his rabbit. He went out and acquired the proper “license” for his rabbit, but he never dreamed that eventually he would also have to submit a 32 page “disaster plan” for the same rabbit. More
The Inexplicable War on Lemonade Stands
I’m beginning to think that there’s a nation-wide government conspiracy against either lemonade or children, because these lemonade stand shutdowns seem to be getting more and more common. If you set up a stand for your kids, just be prepared for a visit from the cops.
In Coralville, Iowa police shut down 4-year-old Abigail Krstinger’s lemonade stand after it had been up for half an hour. Dustin Krustinger told reporters that his daughter was selling lemonade at 25 cents a cup during the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Race Across Iowa (or RAGBRAI), and couldn’t have made more than five dollars, adding “If the line is drawn to the point where a four-year-old eight blocks away can’t sell a couple glasses of lemonade for 25 cents, than I think the line has been drawn at the wrong spot.”
Nearby, mother Bobbie Nelson had her kids’ lemonade stand shutdown as well. Police informed her that a permit would cost $400. More
Teachers 'denied schoolboy, 10, water on the hottest day of the year to avoid upsetting Muslim pupils during Ramadan'
An angry mother has accused a primary school of denying her child water on one of the hottest days of the year for fear of upsetting pupils observing Ramadan.
Kora Blagden, 32, claimed a teacher at her son Luke’s school refused to let the 10-year old drink from his water bottle because it was unfair to fasting classmates.
Many pupils at Charles Dickens Primary School, Portsmouth, Hampshire, are fasting during Ramadan, which means they refrain from taking food or water between sunrise and sunset for around 30 days, depending on the moon.
Mother-of-four Kora said: 'Just before bedtime me and my sons Luke, ten, and Alfie, eight, were talking about Ramadan as we had seen it on the news.
'Luke said to me he was told he wasn’t allowed to drink in class by his teacher. 'The reason being, a child who is fasting had a headache and the teacher said it would be unfair if the other children drank in front of the pupil. More
Sign Language Ban Imposed on N.J. Girl
School officials have threatened a hearing-impaired girl with suspension if she uses sign language to talk to her friends on the school bus, the girl's parents say.
Danica Lesko and her parents say sign language is the only way to for the 12-year-old to communicate, especially while riding to school on a noisy bus.
But officials at Stonybrook School — which is not a school for the hearing-impaired — and district officials in Branchburg, N.J., apparently believe signing is a safety hazard. They have sent a letter to the Lesko family ordering Danica to stop using sign language on the school bus or risk a three-day suspension.
The March 30 letter from her principal that said Danica was "doing sign language after being told it wasn't allowed on the bus." More
Hospitals making £5.50 per baby born through cash-for-access deals
Contracts are in place at nearly 150 NHS hospitals allowing sales representatives access to new mothers.
A number of hospitals are being paid according to the number of babies born on wards, it has emerged, under deals worth around £2.3 million each year.
In some instances, Bounty, one of companies paying for access, also pays hospitals a "bonus" commission of up to £1.30 a child for every baby it takes a picture of with the mother's consent. The baby product company then sells the pictures to parents.
The company, which has a turnover of £26.9 million, also distributes Bounty packs – bags containing product samples and advertising material as well as government forms. More
North Carolina May Ban Tesla Sales To Prevent “Unfair Competition”
From the state that brought you the nation’s first ban on climate science comes another legislative gem: a bill that would prohibit automakers from selling their cars in the state.
The proposal, which the Raleigh News & Observer reports was unanimously approved by the state’s Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday, would apply to all car manufacturers, but the intended target is clear. It’s aimed at Tesla, the only U.S. automaker whose business model relies on selling cars directly to consumers, rather than through a network of third-party dealerships.
The bill is being pushed by the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association, a trade group representing the state’s franchised dealerships. Its sponsor is state Sen. Tom Apodaca, a Republican from Henderson, who has said the goal is to prevent unfair competition between manufacturers and dealers. What makes it “unfair competition” as opposed to plain-old “competition”—something Republicans are typically inclined to favor—is not entirely clear. After all, North Carolina doesn’t seem to have a problem with Apple selling its computers online or via its own Apple Stores. More
Hispanic Custodians On Auraria Campus Claim Discrimination
DENVER - A group of Hispanic custodians at the Auraria Campus in downtown Denver are claiming they are victims of discrimination.
They’ve filed a complaint against the campus operator that could be reviewed by a federal judge.
What started out as a miscommunication over a schedule change for employees working the graveyard shift has become a full investigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
“Too many things have happened to me there that I don’t even know how to explain it,” said Auraria custodian Bertha Ribota.
Ribota said she was injured at work because she couldn’t read a warning sign that was in English. “If I could speak English I wouldn’t have the problems that exist,” said Ribota. More
European Commission to criminalize nearly all seeds and plants not registered with government
(NaturalNews) A new law proposed by the European Commission would make it illegal to "grow, reproduce or trade" any vegetable seeds that have not been "tested, approved and accepted" by a new EU bureaucracy named the "EU Plant Variety Agency."
It's called the Plant Reproductive Material Law, and it attempts to put the government in charge of virtually all plants and seeds. Home gardeners who grow their own plants from non-regulated seeds would be considered criminals under this law.
Bizarre moment CNN anchors unsuccessfully try to pretend they are not in the same parking lot
How do you know when two television correspondents are in the same parking lot pretending that they are in separate locations?
When you can see the same cars going by in both screens.
Producers at CNN apparently thought viewers wouldn’t notice that anchors Nancy Grace of HLN/Headline News and Ashleigh Banfield of Newsroom were standing no more than 30 feet way from one another as they manipulated the footage and placed Grace on Banfield’s right instead of her left.
The blatant visual gimmick aired Tuesday morning as the two correspondents reported on the latest details behind the horrific Cleveland kidnapping story and pretended they were conducting a remote interview. More
Woman Spent 8 Months In UAE Jail After Being Raped
Dubai is being promoted as a luxury high-class paradise in the desert, but the reality is brutally different, as Australian Alicia Gali discovered. Gali took a job in the UAE with one of the world’s biggest hotel chains, Starwood.
What happened next makes this story a must-watch for every Australian planning on travelling through the region.
Gali was using her laptop in the hotel’s staff bar when her drink was spiked. She awoke to a nightmare beyond belief: she had been savagely raped by three of her colleagues. Alone and frightened, she took herself to hospital.
What Alicia didn’t know is that under the UAE’s strict sharia laws, if the perpetrator does not confess, a rape cannot be convicted without four adult Muslim male witnesses. She was charged with having illicit sex outside marriage, and thrown in a filthy jail cell for eight months. More
Atlanta Schools Cheating Scandal Suspects Set to Surrender
The first suspects in a cheating scandal that has sent a jolt through the Atlanta Public School system are getting ready to turn themselves in, and former Superintendent Beverly Hall is expected to be among them, the Fulton County District Attorney's Office told ABC News.
The Fulton County district attorney expects most, if not all, of the 35 school officials charged in the scandal to surrender to authorities by a mandated Tuesday deadline.
As for Hall, officials plan to prosecute her to the full extent of the law.
"What we're saying is, is that without her, this conspiracy could not have taken place, particularly in the degree that it took place," Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard told reporters last Friday at a news conference. More
Judge who said burglar was brave refuses to jail paedophile because he'd 'have a hard time'
He is the judge who thinks burglars are ‘courageous’ – an opinion which earned him an official reprimand for damaging public confidence in the courts.
Now Peter Bowers is at the centre of another controversy, this time for letting a convicted paedophile skip jail because he thought he ‘would suffer very badly’ in prison.
In a move which has outraged campaigners for victims of child abuse, the judge allowed 24-year-old child-porn addict Mark Martin to walk free, despite the fact that he is a repeat offender.
Martin was caught for the second time with a catalogue of hardcore indecent images of young boys and girls on his mobile phone – a crime which even he admitted he ‘fully expected’ to go prison for.
But Judge Bowers gave him a suspended sentence – the second Martin has received – because he feared he wouldn’t ‘cope’ with jail. More
Cops Nab 5-Year-Old for Wearing Wrong Color Shoes to School
In Mississippi, if kindergarteners violate the dress code or act out in class, they may end up in the back of a police car.
A story about one five-year-old particularly stands out. The little boy was required to wear black shoes to school. Because he didn’t have black shoes, his mom used a marker to cover up his white and red sneakers. A bit of red and white were still noticeable, so the child was taken home by the cops.
The child was escorted out of school so he and his mother would be taught a lesson. Ridiculous? Perhaps. But incidents such as this are happening across Mississippi. More
Housekeeper Who Stole a Bag of Frozen Meatballs Facing As Much Jail Time As Rapist
A housekeeper at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point is facing two years in jail for allegedly stealing a bag of meatballs.
Estelle Casimir, 56, who had been working for West Point’s food service company, Watson Services, for 28 years, was purportedly seen carrying the bag in an area where she doesn’t work.
According to an affidavit, when supervisors approached Casimir and questioned her about the bag she was carrying, she told them she was throwing it in the garbage.
Casimir was reportedly only responsible for cleaning the latrines in the mess hall, not disposing of food, and according to supervisors, could have thrown the bag in a closer garbage instead of the downstairs dumpster she said she was headed to. More
Student, kicked out of school for having red hair, returns to class
A student at a Utah high school who was suspended for dying her hair red has been allowed to return to classes because the color faded, administrators claimed.
Rylee McKay, a 15-year-old ninth-grader at Hurricane Middle School, was originally suspended for violating the school’s dress code policies, which stipulate that students can only dye their hair within a range of “normal” colors.
School authorities determined that McKay’s hair was too pink when examined under certain lighting, and suspended her until she changed it back.
“We’d asked her to not come until she complied with the policy,” said Principal Roy Hoyt in a statement. “Ninety-nine percent of our parents come in here with the attitude, ‘okay, we’ll comply,’ and they take care of it within hours. I believe we did the right thing.” More
City spends $585,000 on study of how to save money
Why did Baltimore need to pay outside consultants half a million dollars for a report that says the city's financial future is grim?
Some city residents wondered as much after Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake called for a new trash collection fee, a smaller city workforce and cuts to employee benefits as a way to deal with the projected $750 million, 10-year budget shortfall the consultants projected. For a city as financially strapped as Baltimore, couldn't that work have been done in house? The answer, according to city budget director Andrew Kleine, is no.
Though the city's finance department makes three-year projections, it lacked both the manpower and the skill set to make long-term actuarial projections and propose reforms, Kleine said. Many of the more than 100 proposed reforms will be detailed Wednesday when Rawlings-Blake releases the full report, officials said.
"We just didn't have the staff or the expertise to do this," Kleine said. "Our core function is to formulate the budget and monitor the budget." More
Student, 10, arrested for having toy gun in backpack
School administrators in Virginia suspended a 10-year-old boy earlier this month after he was caught with an orange-tipped toy gun in his backpack. Now as he awaits his next meeting with his probation officer, his mother opens up about the incident.
Nakicha Gilbert tells the Washington Post that “it was a toy” in her son’s backpack and nothing more when it was confiscated out of his bag on February 4. Two weeks later, she is still in disbelief over what the entire event has done for her son, herself and the community.
When the gun in question was discovered by a fellow student earlier this month, that child told her parents that she was frightened by the firearm, prompting an email to be sent throughout the school community.
According to Ms. Gilbert, outrage was what most parents seemed to feel. They thought her son had “a real gun in there and he was waving it around and ready to kill the whole school,” she tells her Post. But now as her son awaits an upcoming court hearing and has had an official dossier opened up by the local police department, the outrage has only increased. More
State regulators crack down on grocery chain for selling cheap milk
Louisiana state regulators recently cracked down on a supermarket chain’s weekly promotional deal because it was selling milk too cheaply — which violates state law.
The upscale Fresh Market was selling gallons of milk for $2.99 as part of a weekly promotional deal. Louisiana requires that retailer price markups be at least six percent above the invoice and shipping costs of the product.
“Because milk is a commodity product with regulated costs that are subject to change, at the current cost, due to Louisiana state law, we are unable to honor the $2.99 Tuesday deal for (Fresh Market) milk,” according to a statement from Drewry Sackett of BRAVE Public Relations, who represents the Fresh Market. “Because the cost of milk fluctuates, it is possible that we will be able to offer the $2.99 deal on milk again in the future.”
“They can sell it six percent over cost all day long. It’s when they sell it below cost that it becomes a problem,” State Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain told The Advocate. More
Teen Strip Searched In School
CHICAGO – The parents of a 15-year old boy who was allegedly strip-searched at a high school last month have filed a lawsuit against the Chicago Public Schools.
In an exclusive interview with CBS 2 Investigator Pam Zekman, the boy and his outraged parents described what happened.
“He came home crying. So I asked him why he was crying,” said the boy’s father, Anthony Woodman. “And he was like hysterical. He tells me he’s been strip-searched.” It allegedly happened at Taft High school last month. His mother, Michelle Woodman said she contacted the CBS2 Investigators “so this doesn’t happen to anyone else. No one should go through what our son went through.”
The student said two security guards, a Chicago police officer and a female assistant principal took him from an room where he was serving an “in school suspension” to a nearby washroom on the second floor.
Asked if the officer or assistant principal said anything, the student said, “They told me they had an anonymous tip. They were looking for drugs.” More
Motorists File Class-Action Lawsuit Against NYC Over Red-Light Cameras
NEW YORK – Red-light cameras are gaining popularity across the country. Now, New York City is being sued after it was accused of rigging the lights to catch more drivers and write more tickets.
They’re “gotcha” cameras, mounted at intersections. Their photos catch and fine drivers running red lights. New York City first had them in 1998.
“Red-light cameras are to prevent the very dangerous, so called ‘T-bone’ crashes, where you have the front of vehicle running into the side of another. We are in favor, in concept, of the red-light cameras, but they have to be done to certain engineering criteria,” according to AAA New York spokesperson Robert Sinclair.
By federal law, drivers have to have enough time to get through a yellow light — three seconds at the typical 30 mph intersection. Back in October, engineers at AAA New York discovered a problem. At some intersections with the cameras, the yellow lights were almost a half-second too fast. More
Strip Search Of 10-Year-Old Prompts Complaint Against Elementary School
Clinton, N.C. – The parents of a 10-year old Union elementary school student have filed a complaint against the school for strip-searching their son to find an allegedly stolen $20 bill.
In a complaint filed against assistant principal Teresa Holmes on Dec. 6, the family of Clinton, N.C., fifth-grader Justin Cox allege their son was ordered to remove his socks, shoes, pants and shirt so the principal could conduct a manual search for a $20 bill that was inevitably found in the cafeteria. Holmes defended her actions saying that several other students and a few other faculty members told her the money was missing and they had seen the fifth-grader dive below the table for it.
The court filing states that Holmes told the boy “he left her no choice and that she had to search him,” when the boy pulled out his pockets and didn’t produce the allegedly stolen money. She then told the boy that she was “within her legal rights to do so.” More
School locked down after student brings mercury thermometer to class
SEMINOLE — It started as a simple chemistry assignment.
Students were to bring to class an item representing an element of the periodic table. Some brought aluminum foil, salt and water.
But some brought sodium, lithium and even mercury.
As a precaution, a teacher called the principal, who called authorities.
Within minutes, fully equipped hazmat investigators and firefighters bore down on the building. School officials rummaged through the bookbags and lockers of the 125 students assigned the project. Some 2,200 students were locked down in first-period classes.
"It's almost stupid," said sophomore Kyle Salvaggio. More
Man fights to keep vegetable garden in front yard
ORLANDO, Fla. - An Orlando man is fighting city officials to keep his vegetable garden in his front yard. You have to step over radishes, wax beans and kale to get to Jason Helvingston's front door in College Park.
However, his 25 x 25 foot micro-irrigated vegetable garden is against city code, and the city of Orlando has asked Helvingston to dig it up by Wednesday.
"I said, 'You'll take my house before you take my vegetable garden,'" he said. "There's nothing wrong here, there's nothing poisonous here. This is a sustainable plot of land."
City code requires ground covers to be planted in a way that gives off a finished appearance so neighborhood lawns are clean, and inviting -- keeping property values up.
Helvingston has decided not to listen to the city. Instead, he's trying to petition the code to allow for veggie gardens in the front yard. More
UK to export 'nudge unit' to Australia
AN innovative UK government unit aimed at changing people's behaviour for the better is exporting its expertise to Australia.
Officials from the "nudge unit", a world leader in behavioural change tactics, will work with the NSW government across a range of policy areas.
The Cabinet Office unit comes up with ideas to "nudge" people into action rather than relying on government intervention.
It has helped the UK courts service increase the number of fine payments by sending personalised text message prompts, reducing the number of bailiff interventions by 150,000 and generating about STG30 million ($A46.75 million) in annual savings.
The unit also claims to have increased tax payment rates by 15 per cent by telling late payers that most people in their town had already paid, generating a further STG30 million ($A46.75 million).
Minister without Portfolio Grant Shapps said the UK government was a world leader in the "innovative" use of behavioural change tactics. More
Your right to resell your own stuff is in peril
Tucked into the U.S. Supreme Court’s agenda this fall is a little-known case that could upend your ability to resell everything from your grandmother’s antique furniture to your iPhone 4.
At issue in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons is the first-sale doctrine in copyright law, which allows you to buy and then sell things like electronics, books, artwork and furniture, as well as CDs and DVDs, without getting permission from the copyright holder of those products.
Under the doctrine, which the Supreme Court has recognized since 1908, you can resell your stuff without worry because the copyright holder only had control over the first sale. Put simply, though Apple Inc. has the copyright on the iPhone and Mark Owen has it on the book “No Easy Day,” you can still sell your copies to whomever you please whenever you want without retribution. More
Texas Mom, Arrested For Letting Kids Play Outside Unsupervised
Tammy Cooper, a stay-at-home mom who lives in La Porte, Texas, was arrested earlier this month after a neighbor reported her for allegedly letting her kids play outside on their motorized scooters unsupervised.
Cooper, who spent 18 hours in jail overnight, says she was watching her children, ages 6 and 9, from a lawn chair during the time of the incident. The family lives in a cul-de-sac, and Cooper told KPRC that the safe location was one of the reasons she had chosen to reside there.
When police showed up at Cooper’s home to arrest the mother for child endangerment, her kids protested. “My daughter had him [the police officer] around the leg saying, “Please, please don’t take my mom to jail. Please, she didn’t do anything wrong,’” Cooper told the station. More
Gov't Urges Parents to Use School Lunches As a Model for Family Dinner
Government-approved school meals as a model for the family dinner table?
Responding to concerns that students are throwing away the healthy food on their cafeteria trays, the U.S. Department of Agriculture acknowledged that adapting to the changes "may be challenging at first, as students are introduced to new flavors and foods in the cafeteria."
But the government also says parents can help school make the taste-transition easier:
"We know that many parents are already making changes at home to help the whole family eat healthier," the USDA blogged on Monday.
"We recommend reviewing school menus with kids at home and working to incorporate foods that are being served at school into family meals as much as possible." More
Peanut Butter And Jelly Racist? Portland School Principal Ties Sandwich To White Privilege
A lunchtime staple of students for years, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich could be considered one of the more popular items found in the sack lunches of school children.
But in conjunction with recent equity training in local Portland schools, one principal is raising questions about the mention of the sandwich, arguing it has broader implications about race, the Portland Tribune reports.
The sandwich was reportedly mentioned in a lesson plan last year. Verenice Gutierrez from the Harvey Scott K-8 School used it as an example of a subtle form of racism in language, according to the report.
“What about Somali or Hispanic students, who might not eat sandwiches?” Gutierrez said, according to the Tribune. “Another way would be to say: ‘Americans eat peanut butter and jelly, do you have anything like that?’ Let them tell you. Maybe they eat torta. Or pita.” More
DOJ Targeted Public Library for Lending E-Books 'Inaccessible' to the Blind
(CNSNews.com) – The U.S. Justice Department says it has reached a settlement with the Sacramento (California) Public Library over a trial program the library was conducting that let patrons borrow Barnes and Noble NOOK e-book readers.
DOJ and the National Federation of the Blind objected to the program on grounds that blind people could not use the NOOK e-readers for technological reasons.
The Justice Department said the settlement is aimed at stopping discrimination: “Emerging technologies like e-readers are changing the way we interact with the world around us and we need to ensure that people with disabilities are not excluded from the programs where these devices are used,” said Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez in a news release.
A DOJ official told CNSNews.com it interviewed a woman who could not participate in the library's e-reader program due to her disability and concluded that the program had violated the ADA. More
Girl refused to remove her brother's military photo on her binder 'threatened to be kicked out of school'
A school binder decorated with pictures of a 13-year-old's older brother and her softball team nearly led the girl being kicked out of school, her mother claims.
Seen in his military uniform, a photograph of Brianna Gentry's older brother Derrick who is stationed in Montana as a military policeman is one of several pictures on her school binder.
'My brother is very important to me. I haven't seen him in a while,' Brianna told KTLA on her reasoning behind the photo's placement.
Around him are also pictures of her softball team. Both pictures, however, as Brianna recently learned, do not comply with her school's rules with the eighth grader's membership of their AVID programme for top or advanced students. More
3 y/o Violates School Weapons Policy with Name Sign
Zero tolerance has crossed over into the realm of zero intelligence. The politically correct just keep getting more ridiculous.
A public school in Nebraska has banned a 3 year old boy, who is deaf, from using the handsign for his name because
………. the hand sign resembles a gun…
Yep, that’s right. Little Hunter Spanjer’s parents have been informed their child’s name sign violates the school’s weapons policy. The school board’s policy 8470 prohibits the students from possessing, handling or transmitting a “firearm, weapon” or anything that “looks like a weapon.”
Therefore the signal, based on American Sign Language, is prohibited. Hunter’s father stated, “It’s a symbol. It’s an actual sign, a registered sign, through SEE.” (Signing Exact English)
When asked what the sign means, Neitsch responded, "Exactly what it says. Hope he's gone soon and somebody different takes his place." More
The iPad Proposition
Last February, the Sweetwater Union High School District moved forward with a controversial initiative to buy 6300 iPads for its seventh-graders. The iPads cost $4.3 million. Several months later, the district purchased iPad covers, spending $27,000, and in July, learning-management software, costing $1.1 million over six years. The district faces a $27 million deficit. As the costly experiment with new technology unfolds, many question the district’s use of funds and planning to integrate iPads into the classroom.
Sweetwater began using iPads in a pilot program last November. A select group of Hilltop Middle School students were sold the devices. A current posting on the district’s website lauds the program: “Pilot programs such as the one being implemented at Hilltop Middle School in the Foreign Language and Global Studies (FLAGS) program have proven highly successful at engaging students and in raising academic achievement.”
Despite this claim, a public records request asking whether students’ grades had improved yielded this response: “The district does not have the requested information as this is not something we are tracking.”
Money for the iPads came from several sources, including $1.8 million from Proposition O construction bond money and $1.5 million from Mello-Roos funds. Mello-Roos is a special tax assessment paid by some California communities to fund infrastructure and construction of public facilities. More
Lunch Lady Fined $600 Per Day For Feeding Needy Children
Angela Prattis, a Pennsylvania lunch lady, has been fined $600 per day for handing out food to needy children.
Chester Township officials are claiming that the generous lunch lady did not obtain an ordinance variance, which they maintain she needs to conduct such charitable activities.
The special permit, which Prattis failed to obtain, costs $1,000, since the meals are donated through Education Department funds, under the guidance of the Archdiocese Philadelphia, according to the Blaze newspaper.
Prattis began handing out meals to needy children after she moved to the Trainer, Pa., area several years ago. The lunch lady first started distributing meals to underprivileged children at the Church of the Overcomer.
She then started utilizing the gazebo on her own property to feed about 60 needy area children during the summer months, when schools that often provide needy kids with much-appreciated breakfasts and lunches, are closed. More
Union organizing exempted from stalking laws in four states
A new report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce highlights a striking example of Big Labor’s strength at the local government level: the states of Pennsylvania, California, Illinois and Nevada have all exempted unions from the state’s own anti-stalking laws.
The report, titled Sabotage, Stalking & Stealth Exemptions: Special State Laws for Labor Unions, claimed: “union favoritism under state laws tend to occur in criminal statues and allow individuals who engage in truly objectionable behavior to avoid prosecution solely because they are participating in some form of labor activity.”
The main exception noted is stalking laws. Unions have long argued that they need to be able to access to workplaces and contact information of workers, including home addresses, to be able to convince them to joining. This is intended to balance against the fact that management has a captive audience when talking to its employees. More
Obama reunites with Solyndra characters at $35,800 Silicon Valley fundraiser
Monday night, President Barack Obama was caught reconnecting with persons associated with one of his past political nightmares. In spite of the Solyndra energy company’s loan scandal which has plagued Obama’s presidency with bad press for the past two years, the president rubbed elbows with key players in the scandal again - in the name of donor cash again.
The reconnect occurred during a high-profile, high-finance fundraiser in Piedmont, California. The event drew 60 of President Obama’s wealthiest supporters which included two persons who have been dead center in Obama's Solyndra loan controversy.
The two persons connected to the scandal who were at the fundraiser were Steve Westly and Matt Rogers. Westly, reportedly a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley, was a pioneer in expressing concerns about Obama’s support of a more-than-$500 million loan to Solyndra with stimulus cash. Westly even wrote Obama's senior adviser Valerie Jarrett about his concerns when he learned of Obama's link to Solyndra via a personal loan.
Matt Rodgers, who was also at the Obama fundraiser, used to be a senior adviser at the Department of Energy and was instrumental in approving the loan for Solyndra, the failed company. More
Man Claims ‘World’s Largest Penis’ Got Him Frisked At SFO
SAN FRANCISCO – A man famous for having one of the largest penises on record told CBS San Francisco that he was recently frisked by TSA agents at San Francisco International Airport after they suspected he was hiding something in his pants.
New York native Jonah Falcon, 41, said that he was returning from a weekend in San Francisco on July 9 when he was delayed by TSA agents who became curious about the bulge in his pants.
“TSA didn’t know what to make of the massive bulge on my thigh. Even after I went through that body scanner that shows you naked,” Falcon wrote on his Twitter page.
“They asked me if that’s a growth – and i said no, that’s my dick,” he said in a phone interview with CBS SF. Falcon said there was no immediate response to his answer from the TSA personnel.
“I think they were more embarrased than I was,” he said in the CBS SF interview. More
Skopje: After complaints, statue of naked Prometheus gets undies
It isn’t clear who exactly complained about the nudity of the Greek God Prometheus, whose bronze statue now graces the area opposite the Parliament building in Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, but that’s part of the mystery behind this story.
According to this article in the Balkan Insight, the complainers were “unidentified women's organizations."
What is clear is that good old nude Prometheus — who in Greek mythology is a symbol of self-sacrifice because he stole fire from the gods — suddenly appeared a few days ago decked out in brand new tidy whities.
Made out of bronze, naturally.
The speedy official response and “cover up” have sparked debate in Macedonia, prompting some to speculate whether other statues, like the giant sculpture of a woman breast-feeding a child, will also get a cover up. More
Portland residents opposed to new apartments with no parking not alone
Many Beaumont-Wilshire neighborhood residents and businesses have expressed opposition to a proposal to build an affordable-housing apartment complex on N.E. Fremont Street. The chief complaints are the displacement of four businesses and an absence of parking and first-floor retail.
The community will meet with the developer, Everett Custom Homes, and Myhre Group Architects tomorrow night to discuss the plan.
But what can unhappy neighbors do to change things, other than appeal to the developer?
Not much, apparently. Debbie Bischoff, a senior planner with the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and the Northeast liaison, said as long as the developer meets the zoning's code, there's nothing the city can do. More
U.N. could tax U.S.-based Web sites
The United Nations is considering a new Internet tax targeting the largest Web content providers, including Google, Facebook, Apple, and Netflix, that could cripple their ability to reach users in developing nations.
The European proposal, offered for debate at a December meeting of a U.N. agency called the International Telecommunication Union, would amend an existing telecommunications treaty by imposing heavy costs on popular Web sites and their network providers for the privilege of serving non-U.S. users, according to newly leaked documents.
The documents punctuate warnings that the Obama administration and Republican members of Congress raised last week about how secret negotiations at the ITU over an international communications treaty could result in a radical re-engineering of the Internet ecosystem and allow governments to monitor or restrict their citizens' online activities. More
State Threatens to Shut Down Nutrition Blogger
CHARLOTTE — The North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition is threatening to send a blogger to jail for recounting publicly his battle against diabetes and encouraging others to follow his lifestyle.
Chapter 90, Article 25 of the North Carolina General Statutes makes it a misdemeanor to “practice dietetics or nutrition” without a license. According to the law, “practicing” nutrition includes “assessing the nutritional needs of individuals and groups” and “providing nutrition counseling.”
Steve Cooksey has learned that the definition, at least in the eyes of the state board, is expansive.
When he was hospitalized with diabetes in February 2009, he decided to avoid the fate of his grandmother, who eventually died of the disease. He embraced the low-carb, high-protein Paleo diet, also known as the “caveman” or “hunter-gatherer” diet. The diet, he said, made him drug- and insulin-free within 30 days. By May of that year, he had lost 45 pounds and decided to start a blog about his success.
But this past January the state diatetics and nutrition board decided Cooksey’s blog — Diabetes-Warrior.net — violated state law. The nutritional advice Cooksey provides on the site amounts to “practicing nutrition,” the board’s director says, and in North Carolina that’s something you need a license to do. More
Harvard trips on roots of Elizabeth Warren’s family tree
Elizabeth Warren’s avowed Native American heritage — which the candidate rarely if ever discusses on the campaign trail — was once touted by embattled Harvard Law School officials who cited her claim as proof of their faculty’s diversity.
Warren’s claim, which surfaced yesterday after a Herald inquiry, put the candidate in an awkward position as campaign aides last night scrambled but failed to produce documents proving her family lineage. Aides said the tales of Warren’s Cherokee and Delaware tribe ancestors have been passed down through family lore.
“Like most Americans, Elizabeth learned of her heritage through conversations with her grandparents, her parents, and her aunts and uncles,” said Warren’s strategist Kyle Sullivan.
The Ivy League law school prominently touted Warren’s Native American background, however, in an effort to bolster their diversity hiring record in the ’90s as the school came under heavy fire for a faculty that was then predominantly white and male. More
Man arrested for using real $50 bill
What officers thought was a counterfeit $50 bill turned out to be an old, legitimate bill, but the truth wasn't discovered until a man was mistakenly charged and jailed Friday.
A clerk at Quik Mart, South Cannon Boulevard, notified police after the marker used to detect counterfeit bills didn't check as real.
"The front side of the bill was off center and it didn't feel like a normal bill, it did look to be counterfeit," officer Brock Horner said in his report.
After Lorenzo Gaspar was jailed, Horner showed the bill to Sgt. Bill Logue, the Shelbyville Police Department's evidence technician, who told him old legitimate bills wouldn't "check" with a marker and suggested he have it inspected at a bank. More
Millions of illegal immigrants are getting a bigger tax refund than you
INDIANAPOLIS - Inside his central Indiana office, a longtime tax consultant sits at his desk, shaking his head in disbelief.
"There is not a doubt in my mind there's huge fraud taking place here," he said, slowly flipping through the pages of a tax return.
The tax preparer does not want you to know his name for fear of reprisal, but he does want you to know about a nationwide problem with a huge price tag.
He came to 13 Investigates to blow the whistle. "We're talking about a multi-billion dollar fraud scheme here that's taking place and no one is talking about it," he said. The scheme involves illegal immigrants -- illegal immigrants who are filing tax returns. More
Government-subsidized green light bulb carries costly price tag
The U.S. government last year announced a $10 million award, dubbed the “L Prize,” for any manufacturer that could create a “green” but affordable light bulb.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the prize would spur industry to offer the costly bulbs, known as LEDs, at prices “affordable for American families.” There was also a “Buy America” component. Portions of the bulb would have to be made in the United States.
Now the winning bulb is on the market.
The price is $50.
Retailers said the bulb, made by Philips, is likely to be too pricey to have broad appeal. Similar LED bulbs are less than half the cost.
“I don’t want to say it’s exorbitant, but if a customer is only looking at the price, they could come to that conclusion,” said Brad Paulsen, merchant for the light-bulb category at Home Depot, the largest U.S. seller of light bulbs. “This is a Cadillac product, and that’s why you have a premium on it.” More
'Language Test' Protester Wins Free Aer Lingus Flights
DUBLIN -- The Greek businesswoman who decried an Irish airline's policy of making Greek travelers pass language tests to prove their nationality has received free flights for her family and an explicit promise it has abandoned the practice.
Chryssa Dislis on Friday told The Associated Press that Aer Lingus now accepts it should never have asked her, or any Greek passport holder, to answer written and oral questions in Greek as a condition of their right to fly.
She provided the AP a letter from the Aer Lingus chief executive's office offering her, her husband and daughter free flights to anywhere in Europe and promising "that the policy to conduct a language test for customers holding Greek passports has been revoked."
Dislis credited AP's Tuesday coverage of her case with spurring the Aer Lingus concessions.
"I was discriminated against, but the policy has been addressed and revoked. I've achieved my objective. I'm happy with the outcome," she told The AP in a phone interview from her home in Cork, southwest Ireland.
Apparently hundreds, if not thousands, of Greek passport holders had been required to fill out forms demonstrating their fluency in Greek before they could board Aer Lingus flights from Spain and Portugal to Ireland. More
Schools ban children making best friends
TEACHERS are banning schoolkids from having best pals — so they don't get upset by fall-outs.
Instead, the primary pupils are being encouraged to play in large groups.
Educational psychologist Gaynor Sbuttoni said the policy has been used at schools in Kingston, South West London, and Surrey.
She added: "I have noticed that teachers tell children they shouldn't have a best friend and that everyone should play together.
"They are doing it because they want to save the child the pain of splitting up from their best friend. But it is natural for some children to want a best friend. If they break up, they have to feel the pain because they're learning to deal with it."
Russell Hobby, of the National Association of Head Teachers, confirmed some schools were adopting best-friend bans.
He said: "I don't think it is widespread but it is clearly happening. It seems bizarre. More
Wind farms in Pacific Northwest paid to not produce
Wind farms in the Pacific Northwest -- built with government subsidies and maintained with tax credits for every megawatt produced -- are now getting paid to shut down as the federal agency charged with managing the region's electricity grid says there's an oversupply of renewable power at certain times of the year.
The problem arose during the late spring and early summer last year. Rapid snow melt filled the Columbia River Basin. The water rushed through the 31 dams run by the Bonneville Power Administration, a federal agency based in Portland, Ore., allowing for peak hydropower generation. At the very same time, the wind howled, leading to maximum wind power production.
Demand could not keep up with supply, so BPA shut down the wind farms for nearly 200 hours over 38 days.
"It's the one system in the world where in real time, moment to moment, you have to produce as much energy as is being consumed," BPA spokesman Doug Johnson said of the renewable energy.
Now, Bonneville is offering to compensate wind companies for half their lost revenue. The bill could reach up to $50 million a year. More
Easter Egg Hunt Canceled Due To Aggressive Parents
Organizers of an annual Easter egg hunt in Colorado attended by hundreds of children have canceled this year's event, citing the behavior of aggressive parents who swarmed into the tiny park last year, determined that their kids get an egg.
That hunt was over in seconds, to the consternation of egg-less tots and their own parents. Too many parents had jumped a rope set up to allow only children into Bancroft Park in a historic area of Colorado Springs. Organizers say the event has outgrown its original intent of being a neighborhood event.
Parenting observers cite the cancellation as a prime example of "helicopter parents" — those who hover over their children and are involved in every aspect of their children's lives — sports, school, and increasingly work — to ensure that they don't fail, even at an Easter egg hunt. More
Preschooler’s Homemade Lunch Replaced with Cafeteria “Nuggets”
A preschooler at West Hoke Elementary School ate three chicken nuggets for lunch Jan. 30 because the school told her the lunch her mother packed was not nutritious. The girl’s turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, according to the interpretation of the person who was inspecting all lunch boxes in the More at Four classroom that day.
The Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs — including in-home day care centers — to meet USDA guidelines. That means lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home.
When home-packed lunches do not include all of the required items, child care providers must supplement them with the missing ones. The girl’s mother — who said she wishes to remain anonymous to protect her daughter from retaliation — said she received a note from the school stating that students who did not bring a “healthy lunch” would be offered the missing portions, which could result in a fee from the cafeteria, in her case $1.25.
“I don't feel that I should pay for a cafeteria lunch when I provide lunch for her from home,” the mother wrote in a complaint to her state representative. More
Feds shut down Amish farm for selling fresh milk
The FDA won its two-year fight to shut down an Amish farmer who was selling fresh raw milk to eager consumers in the Washington, D.C., region after a judge this month banned Daniel Allgyer from selling his milk across state lines and he told his customers he would shut down his farm altogether.
The decision has enraged Mr. Allgyer’s supporters, some of whom have been buying from him for six years and say the government is interfering with their parental rights to feed their children.
But the Food and Drug Administration, which launched a full investigation complete with a 5 a.m. surprise inspection and a straw-purchase sting operation against Mr. Allgyer’s Rainbow Acres Farm, said unpasteurized milk is unsafe and it was exercising its due authority to stop sales of the milk from one state to another.
Adding to Mr. Allgyer’s troubles, Judge Lawrence F. Stengel said that if the farmer is found to violate the law again, he will have to pay the FDA’s costs for investigating and prosecuting him. More
Vancouver health body begins free crack pipe program for addicts
VANCOUVER — Crack addicts in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside have started receiving free crack pipes as part of a Vancouver Coastal Health Authority harm reduction strategy aimed at curbing the spread of disease.
Part of a $60,000 trial project first announced in August, the pipes are just one piece of drug paraphernalia found inside kits that have been distributed to users in the troubled neighbourhood since the beginning of the month.
The glass pipes are heat-resistant and shatterproof, which experts say should reduce injury to the users’ lips and mouth — wounds that can make them more susceptible to diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis B and C.
Also included are mouthpieces, filters, alcohol swabs, screens and push sticks.
While harm reduction tools such as these have been made available to addicts in the past, this marks the first time that they have been combined in a single kit, said Trudi Beutel, a spokesperson for the health authority. More
India ministers quit after caught watching porn in parliament
NEW DELHI - Three Indian politicians from a morally conservative party, including a women's affairs minister, resigned on Wednesday after being caught watching pornography on a mobile phone during a session of state parliament.
News channels broadcast footage showing Karnataka state Minister for Cooperation Laxman Savadi sharing a porn clip with his colleague C.C. Patil, the minister for women and child development, while sitting in the state assembly.
The owner of the phone, state Minister for Ports, Science and Technology Krishna Palemar, also quit.
"We are requesting the honorable Speaker of the House to conduct an inquiry and we'll come out with a clean chit," Patil said, denying that they were deliberately looking at porn.
The three men said they did not want to cause any embarrassment for their party, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which rules the state and is in opposition at a national level. There has been outrage over the incident not just from rights activists and right-wing Hindu groups in conservative India, but also from the riling Congress party which called for the assembly to be dissolved. More
Labor unions primary recipients of Obamacare waivers
Labor unions continued to receive the overwhelming majority of waivers from the president’s health care reform law since the Obama administration tightened application rules last summer.
Documents released in a classic Friday afternoon news dump show that labor unions representing 543,812 workers received waivers from President Barack Obama‘s signature legislation since June 17, 2011.
By contrast, private employers with a total of 69,813 employees, many of whom work for small businesses, were granted waivers.
The Department of Health and Human Services revised the rules governing applications for health reform waivers June 17, 2011, amid a steady stream of controversial news reports, including The Daily Caller’s story that nearly 20 percent of last May’s waivers went to businesses in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s district in California. More
Gingrich vows to establish a colony on the moon
Newt Gingrich is promising to establish a permanent base on the moon by 2020 if he's elected president.
Gingrich, the former House speaker, told an overflow crowd gathered on Florida's space coast Wednesday that he wants to develop a robust commercial space industry in line with the airline boom of the 1930s. He also wants to expand exploration of Mars.
The pronouncements appeared to thrill the crowd of roughly 700 people. Florida's space coast is still suffering from a recent round of federal cuts to the space program. But how would Gingrich pay for it? The Republican presidential contender says he wants to offer prizes to help stimulate investment by the private sector. More
A Fine for Not Using a Biofuel That Doesn’t Exist
WASHINGTON — When the companies that supply motor fuel close the books on 2011, they will pay about $6.8 million in penalties to the Treasury because they failed to mix a special type of biofuel into their gasoline and diesel as required by law.
But there was none to be had. Outside a handful of laboratories and workshops, the ingredient, cellulosic biofuel, does not exist.
In 2012, the oil companies expect to pay even higher penalties for failing to blend in the fuel, which is made from wood chips or the inedible parts of plants like corncobs. Refiners were required to blend 6.6 million gallons into gasoline and diesel in 2011 and face a quota of 8.65 million gallons this year.
“It belies logic,” Charles T. Drevna, the president of the National Petrochemicals and Refiners Association, said of the 2011 quota. And raising the quota for 2012 when there is no production makes even less sense, he said. More
Scorching Corruption Complaint in Philly
PHILADELPHIA (CN) - A federal racketeering complaint accuses high-ranking Philadelphia code-enforcement officials of looting the residences of elderly and disabled citizens "under the fraudulent pretenses of needing to clear the homes of various code violations."
The scheme, carried out as part of a purported anti-blight initiative called the Community Life Improvement Program (CLIP), "has so far resulted in at least nine felony convictions" on charges that include perjury, theft and gun running, according to Steven Tengood, a longtime civilian worker in the Armed Forces who says the home he's lived in for nearly 45 years was plundered by CLIP workers.
Tengood, 62, says one of the stolen guns was later used in a homicide.
He says he was forced to put his 96-year-old mother in a nursing home, because as a Holocaust survivor, she was disturbed "by the continual presence of City officials serving additional notices and bills [related to supposed property-code violations], and removing items from the exterior" of his home, according to the 60-page complaint. More
Safeway fires guard for banning 4-year-old girl
For one security guard at a Washington state Safeway, 4-year-old Savannah Harp was just another criminal. During a recent shopping trip to the Everett grocery story, the cute little girl opened a box of dried fruit while her dad wasn’t paying attention. But one eagle-eyed security guard spotted the “shoplifting” tot and was determined to make her face justice.
“She grabbed a bag of apricots – dried apricots – opened them, ate a couple, put it back and the security guard watched her do it,” according to Savannah’s mother, Alissa Jones.
“He proceeded to tell them, ‘Your daughter stole and she’s banned from the store, and we’re pressing charges. And she needs to sign this form saying she understands she can’t come into any Safeways,’” Jones recalled. More
Porn, prostitution will be rampant if women allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia
Allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia would cause rampant sex, porn and homosexuality, according to some of the country's scholars.
Academics at the country's highest religious council submitted a report to the legislative assembly warning of the dangers of letting women behind the wheel, reports the Daily Telegraph.
If the only country in the world that still bans women from driving were to change its rules, there would be "a surge in prostitution, pornography, homosexuality and divorce."
Within 10 years of the ban being lifted, the report claimed, there would be "no more virgins" in the country, according to the paper. More
Colorado schools sell advertising space on report cards
Jefferson County Public Schools expects to make $US90,000 over three years from Collegeinvest, a college savings plan, for the 5cm ads on report cards issued by its 91 primary schools.
That seems like a drop in the bucket for the school board, which last year slashed its spending by $US40 million in the face of reduced state and federal government support and a slump in revenue from school property taxes.
But school board spokeswoman Melissa Reeves said: "We're obviously looking for revenue generators and taking them where we can find them."
Headlined "Savings tip: Time is on your side", the ads invite parents to salt away money for their youngsters' university tuition through Collegeinvest, which is run by the Colorado state education department. More
State Demands Chemo Treatments For Cancer-Free Boy
The parents of a ten-year-old boy are being taken to court for refusing to continue gruelling chemotherapy and radiation treatments despite the fact he is now cancer-free.
Jacob Stieler, from Michigan, was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, last March. After a number of treatments he was found to be cancer free.
His mother Erin Stieler told WLUC-TV on Monday that she believed further treatments for her son, Jacob, were unnecessary.
She said of the chemo her son already received: 'It's the most horrible thing, most horrific thing. He was sick, he was nauseous, he was extremely depressed. He told me numerous times he wished he could fall asleep and never wake up.' More
EU bans claim that water can prevent dehydration
EU officials concluded that, following a three-year investigation, there was no evidence to prove the previously undisputed fact.
Producers of bottled water are now forbidden by law from making the claim and will face a two-year jail sentence if they defy the edict, which comes into force in the UK next month.
Last night, critics claimed the EU was at odds with both science and common sense. Conservative MEP Roger Helmer said: “This is stupidity writ large.
“The euro is burning, the EU is falling apart and yet here they are: highly-paid, highly-pensioned officials worrying about the obvious qualities of water and trying to deny us the right to say what is patently true. “If ever there were an episode which demonstrates the folly of the great European project then this is it.”
NHS health guidelines state clearly that drinking water helps avoid dehydration, and that Britons should drink at least 1.2 litres per day. More
Fannie, Freddie execs score $100 million payday
Mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac received the biggest federal bailout of the financial crisis. And nearly $100 million of those tax dollars went to lucrative pay packages for top executives, filings show.
The top five executives at Fannie Mae received $33.3 million in 2009 and 2010, while the top five at Freddie Mac received $28.1 million. And each company has set pay targets of as much as $17 million for its top managers for 2011.
That's a total of $95.4 million, which will essentially be coming from taxpayers, who have been keeping the mortgage finance giants alive with regular quarterly cash infusions since the Federal Home Finance Agency (FHFA) took control of the companies in September 2008. Fannie CEO Michael Williams and Freddie CEO Charles Halderman, each received about $5.5 million in pay for last year, and they could receive more when their final deferred compensation for 2010 is set. All the executives receive a significant portion of their pay in the year or years after they earn it. More
Dad Fights Zoning Board's Order to Destroy Backyard Tree House
FALLS CHURCH, Va. - It seemed like a great idea -- build a treehouse on his property for two growing boys. But for one local man, it's turning into a big, expensive lesson in government red tape.
Mark Grapin thought his two sons would love the treehouse. He called Fairfax County before starting to find out the rules for the Broyhill Park neighborhood in the Falls Church area of the county.
"The guy in building permits laughed me off the phone," Grapin says. He was told it's a treehouse and not built to any code.
So Grapin went to the local home improvement store, bought $1,400 worth of supplies and spent six weekends building the treehouse. It has red clapboard siding, shingles, a slide, a pull-down ladder, two climbing ropes, closed windows and shutters. It is wrapped around the tree but stands free, not touching the tree. It stands to the side of his house.
Grapin says his immediate neighbors had no complaints, but someone did complain anonymously to Fairfax County. Grapin was told he had to treat it like an addition to his house and get a zoning variance. He spent more than $1,800 getting the proper forms and going through a hearing.
The home sits on a corner lot and Zoning Board Chairman John Ribble says that means what Grapin thought was a side lot is actually the front lot. The variance was rejected. More
TSA finds a new way to waste your money
IN THE LATEST ATTEMPT to prove they’re “protecting you from yesterday, tomorrow,” the TSA has announced plans to insert yet another extravagantly expensive, questionably effective machine into the airport security screening process.
You know how at the entrance to the security line there’s that agent who makes sure the name on your boarding pass is the same as the one on your photo ID?
Apparently that guy’s job is too hard.
According to CNN, the TSA has contracted with three companies to produce machines to “match a traveler’s boarding pass with his or her government-issued ID, while verifying that both documents are authentic.” More
CEO Tells Congress He Was Fined For Hiring Too Many People
From Peter Schiff's prepared remarks to Congress. Schiff is the CEO of Euro Pacific Capital.
In my own business, securities regulations have prohibited me from hiring brokers for more than three years. I was even fined fifteen thousand dollar expressly for hiring too many brokers in 2008.
In the process I incurred more than $500,000 in legal bills to mitigate a more severe regulatory outcome as a result of hiring too many workers.
I have also been prohibited from opening up additional offices. I had a major expansion plan that would have resulted in my creating hundreds of additional jobs.
Regulations have forced me to put those jobs on hold. More
Obama "green jobs" cost over $5 million each
A $38.6 billion loan guarantee program that the Obama administration promised would create or save 65,000 jobs has created just a few thousand jobs two years after it began, government records show.
The program — designed to jump-start the nation’s clean technology industry by giving energy companies access to low-cost, government-backed loans — has directly created 3,545 new, permanent jobs after giving out almost half the allocated amount, according to Energy Department tallies.
President Obama has made “green jobs” a showcase of his recovery plan, vowing to foster new jobs, new technologies and more competitive American industries. But the loan guarantee program came under scrutiny Wednesday from Republicans and Democrats at a House oversight committee hearing about the collapse of Solyndra, a solar-panel maker whose closure could leave taxpayers on the hook for as much as $527 million. More
N.J. state trooper suspended without pay for a year after caught drinking, driving three times
State Police Trooper Sheila McKaig, who was caught drinking and driving three times without getting a ticket, has been suspended without pay for a year.
Her suspension, ordered by Supt. Rick Fuentes, is tougher than the seven-month suspension recommended by an administrative law judge. "He believed this was warranted given the facts of the case," said Sgt. Stephen Jones, a State Police spokesman.
McKaig was pulled over by local police three times in three months in 2008 in Atlantic County’s Hamilton Township. Police suspected she was under the influence but never tested her blood-alcohol level, arrested her or issued any tickets, according to a report issued by Administrative Law Judge Ronald Reba in April. More
Hungary introduces 'fat tax' to boost nation's health
Food considered to be unhealthy, including crisps, soft drinks and chocolate bars, are now subject to a new tax in Hungary. The new law is aimed at "improving the health of the nation".
Initially called 'the hamburger tax', the measure was dubbed 'crisps tax' or 'fat tax' after the Hungarian government decided that it would not affect fast food restaurants.
The plan is to impose a 10 forint (3.7 eurocent) levy on products that contain "too much" salt, sugar, or fat, while increasing the tax on liquor and soft drinks by 10%, according to the Global Post news website.
The proceeds, estimated to be worth up to 30 billion forint (111 million euro), would pay for state-funded health care, which has a deficit of about 100 billion forints (371 million euro). Hungary is among the most severely indebted countries in Eastern Europe.
If Hungary does proceed with its 'fat tax', as seems likely, it would be the first country in the world to do so. More
Gibson CEO Says Feds Told Him Problems Would ‘Go Away’ if Labor Was Outsourced to Madagascar
The tale of the Gibson guitar raid — the one focused on the legendary guitar maker’s alleged importation and use of illegal wood — has taken an odd turn. Now CEO Henry Juszkiewicz is claiming the Feds told him that some of his problems “would go away” if the company used Madagascar labor.
In an interview with Beck radio affiliate KMJ 105.9 in Fresno, California, Juszkiewicz told host Chris Daniel that the government made the point “explicitly:”
CHRIS DANIEL: Mr. Juszkiewicz, did an agent of the US government suggest to you that your problems would go away if you used Madagascar labor instead of American labor?
HENRY JUSZKIEWICZ: They actually wrote that in a pleading.
CHRIS DANIEL: Excuse me?
HENRY JUSKIEWICZ: They actually wrote that in a pleading.
CHRIS DANIEL: That your problems would go away if you used Madagascar labor instead of our labor?
HENRY JUSKIEWICZ: Yes, yeah. They said that explicitly.
Family Facing $90,000 in Fines for Selling Bunnies
NIXA, Mo. | A southwest Missouri man who said he made about $200 selling rabbits has been ordered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to pay more than $90,000 for doing business without a license.
John Dollarhite, who ran Dollarvalue Rabbitry from April 2008 to December 2009, said he didn’t know he needed a license to sell bunnies.
He was told that if he didn’t pay the penalty by last Monday he could face possible litigation and civil penalties up to $10,000 for each violation.
His attorney has told the agency Dollarhite rejects the proposed penalty and wants a hearing. U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat who grew up in a rural area, has taken up Dollarhite’s cause. She told the Springfield News-Leader the proposed fine “defies common sense.” More
Michigan Woman Faces 93 Days in Jail for Planting a Vegetable Garden
Julie Bass of Oak Park, Michigan -- a mother of 6, law-abiding citizen, and gardener -- is facing 93 days in jail after being charged with a misdemeanor.
Her crime? Planting a vegetable garden in the front yard.
Bass says that she planted the garden after her front yard was torn up for some sewer repairs.
Rather than wasting the opportunity to start with a clean slate by planting a lawn, she decided to really put the area to use, and plant a vegetable garden.
Her garden consists of 5 raised beds, where she grows a mix of squashes, corn, tomatoes, flowers, and other veggies. Bass received a warning from the city telling her to remove the vegetable garden, because it doesn't adhere to city ordinances (more on that later.) When she refused, she was ticketed and charged with a misdemeanor. Her trial, before a jury, is set to begin on July 26th. If she is found guilty, she can be sentenced to up to 93 days in jail. More
One more headache for border crossers
Crossing into Mexico from San Diego has become a major challenge since last year when U.S. authorities began cracking down on the weapons and cash flowing into the hands of drug cartels.
U.S. officers have been conducting random southbound checkpoints more frequently at border crossings and that has resulted in long waits, particularly at the busy San Ysidro Port of Entry.
Business leaders don’t know yet the economic impact of the waits to enter Mexico but estimate the northbound waits into the United States alone are costing the region billions of dollars annually. The people affected the most by the checkpoints are those heading to Mexico to visit, conduct business or return home.
“We’re used to waiting to enter the U.S., not to return to Tijuana,” said Sylvia Ferrero, who works in Chula Vista and lives in Tijuana.
Ferrero, 25, recalls waiting three hours to cross into Tijuana earlier this year and arriving an hour late at a meeting. “My hope is never to run into one so that I can get home early.” More
Injunction to move by the end the of month
A COUPLE living an "off-grid" lifestyle say they face prison unless they move from their own land in Willand and return to an existence in the benefits trap.
Stig and Dinah Mason bought Muxbeare Orchard after a sudden windfall allowed them to quit their impoverished lives on a Hertfordshire council estate two years ago.
The Masons have transformed what they described as a derelict four-acre plot into a haven of self-sufficiency boasting a 400 sq m allotment, a polytunnel and greenhouses to grow fruit and vegetables, chickens for egg production and an orchard they have regenerated by planting around 14 new apple trees of various species.
The couple, who have two boys, aged eight and nine, say because they moved onto the site in order to work the land, Mid Devon District Council is turfing them off as officers do not consider them to be conserving an agricultural area.
They faced magistrates on March 31 when they were served with an injunction to leave within 28 days from June 1. More
Alameda police, firefighters watch as man drowns
ALAMEDA, Calif. - Alameda police and firefighters stood by and watched as a man drowned off Crown Beach in Alameda on Monday. Authorities are now trying to explain why they had no choice but to stand on the shoreline.
Alameda police received a call shortly before noon on Monday from a woman saying her son wanted to kill himself. Raymond Zack, 53, then walked out into the water off Crown Beach.
"I thought it was kind of weird that they weren't going out to bring the guy in, you know, he was out there, his head was above water, he was looking at everybody, there was plenty of time for them to react," witness Perry Smith said. For more than an hour, Zack stood up to his neck in the frigid surf off of Crown Beach in Alameda.
"Well, we expected to see at some point that there would be a concern for him and somebody would go out there and pull him in," witness Gary Barlow said. About 75 beachgoers could not understand why Alameda police officers and firefighters stood idly by and watched the man slowly succumb to the 60 degree water.
The Alameda Fire Department says budget constraints are preventing it from recertifying its firefighters in land-based water rescues. Without it, the city would be open to liability. More
Canadian Couple raising a 'genderless baby'
Kathy Witterick, 38, and David Stocker, 39, who live in Toronto, believe that a child's sex should not determine his or her place in the world.
When Storm was born four months ago, they sent an e-mail to friends and family reading: "We've decided not to share Storm's sex for now - a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation, a stand up to what the world could become in Storm's lifetime (a more progressive place?)"
There is nothing physiologically ambiguous about Storm's sex. However, whether he or she is a girl or a boy is known only to the couple's sons, Jazz, 5, and Kio, 2, a close family friend and the two midwives who helped to deliver the baby.
The parents say that it will be up to Storm to decide whether he or she decides to live as a boy or girl but their plan has led to them being labelled the "world's most PC parents". More
Church fined $100 per branch for excessive tree pruning
Every two to three years, Eddie Sales trims and prunes the crape myrtles at his church, Albemarle Road Presbyterian Church.
But this year, the city of Charlotte cited the church for improperly pruning its trees.
"We always keep our trees trimmed back because you don't want to worry about them hanging down in the way," said Sales, a church member.
The church was fined $100 per branch cut for excessive pruning, bringing the violation to $4,000. "I just couldn't believe it when I heard about it," Sales said.
"We trim our trees back every three years all over our property, and this is the first time we have been fined." More
Michigan man still on food stamps despite winning $2M
Auburn — A man who won $2 million on a lottery show continues to collect food stamps 11 months after winning the jackpot.
Leroy Fick, 59, of Bay County admitted he still uses the state-issued debit card called a Bridge Card at stores, nearly a year after winning a jackpot on "Make Me Rich!" He told WNEM-TV in Saginaw: "If you're going to ... try to make me feel bad, you aren't going to do it."
Fick's attorney, John Wilson of Midland, said Fick told the Department of Human Services he'd won $2 million but was told he could keep using the Bridge Card issued to him to buy groceries. Food stamps are paid with tax dollars and are meant to assist low-income families.
Fick, who according to the Secretary of State drives a 2008 Audi A4, could not be reached for comment.
"I am not going to sit and debate the ethics of this," Wilson said. "But he did what he was supposed to do — he informed the state, and the state said he could keep using the card. More
Bin Laden’s Death Won’t End His Toll on American Taxpayers
Even in death, Osama bin Laden will be taking revenge on American taxpayers for years to come.
The U.S. government spent $2 trillion combating bin Laden over the past decade, more than 20 percent of the nation’s $9.68 trillion public debt. That money paid for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as additional military, intelligence and homeland security spending above pre-Sept. 11 trends, according to a Bloomberg analysis.
This year alone, taxpayers are spending more than $45 billion in interest on the money borrowed to battle al-Qaeda, the analysis shows.
The financial bleeding won’t stop with bin Laden’s demise. One of every four dollars in red ink the U.S. expects to incur in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 will result from $285 billion in annual spending triggered by the terrorist scion of a wealthy Saudi family.
Without bin Laden, “we would have accumulated less debt, be spending less on interest and we would be on a lower spending path going forward,” said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a research organization in Washington. More
The Real Housewives of Wall Street
America has two national budgets, one official, one unofficial. The official budget is public record and hotly debated: Money comes in as taxes and goes out as jet fighters, DEA agents, wheat subsidies and Medicare, plus pensions and bennies for that great untamed socialist menace called a unionized public-sector workforce that Republicans are always complaining about. According to popular legend, we're broke and in so much debt that 40 years from now our granddaughters will still be hooking on weekends to pay the medical bills of this year's retirees from the IRS, the SEC and the Department of Energy.
Most Americans know about that budget. What they don't know is that there is another budget of roughly equal heft, traditionally maintained in complete secrecy.
After the financial crash of 2008, it grew to monstrous dimensions, as the government attempted to unfreeze the credit markets by handing out trillions to banks and hedge funds. And thanks to a whole galaxy of obscure, acronym-laden bailout programs, it eventually rivaled the "official" budget in size — a huge roaring river of cash flowing out of the Federal Reserve to destinations neither chosen by the president nor reviewed by Congress, but instead handed out by fiat by unelected Fed officials using a seemingly nonsensical and apparently unknowable methodology. More
Seattle school renames Easter eggs 'Spring Spheres'
A sophomore at a local private high school thinks an effort to make Easter politically correct is ridiculous.
Jessica, 16, told KIRO Radio's Dori Monson Show that a week before spring break, the students commit to a week-long community service project. She decided to volunteer in a third grade class at a public school, which she would like to remain nameless.
"At the end of the week I had an idea to fill little plastic eggs with treats and jelly beans and other candy, but I was kind of unsure how the teacher would feel about that," Jessica said.
She was concerned how the teacher might react to the eggs after of a meeting earlier in the week where she learned about "their abstract behavior rules."
"I went to the teacher to get her approval and she wanted to ask the administration to see if it was okay," Jessica explained. "She said that I could do it as long as I called this treat 'spring spheres.' I couldn't call them Easter eggs." More
Dire Straits 'Money For Nothing' Unacceptable In Canada
The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council said it was too offensive for Canadian broadcasts because it includes the word “f*ggot” three times.
The body launched an investigation after a listener complained that an unedited version of the song had been played on St. John's radio station CHOZ-FM last February.
The complaint said the song, written by Mark Knopfler and Sting, was “extremely offensive” to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
In its ruling, the council said that ‘Money For Nothing’ would only be acceptable for broadcast if it had been edited, reports the Winnipeg Free Press. More
Milwaukee Teachers Fight for Viagra Coverage
With the district in a financial crisis and hundreds of its members facing layoffs, the Milwaukee teachers union is taking a peculiar stand: fighting to get its taxpayer-funded Viagra back.
The union has asked a judge to order the school board to again include Pfizer Inc.'s erectile dysfunction drug and similar pills in its health insurance plans.
The filing is the latest in a two-year legal campaign in which the union has argued, so far unsuccessfully, that the board's policy of excluding erectile dysfunction drugs discriminates against male employees. The union says Viagra, Cialis, Levitra and others are necessary treatment for "an exclusively gender-related condition."
But lawyers for the school board say the drugs were excluded in 2005 to save money, and there is no discrimination because they are used primarily for recreational sex and not out of medical necessity. The filing last month comes as the union, the Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association, is also protesting hundreds of layoff notices issued to teachers for the coming school year. Citing a "financial crisis" caused by exploding benefit costs and revenue shortfalls, the district's outgoing superintendent proposed laying off 682 employees in April. More
Taco Bell sued for selling adulterated "meat"
When it's served in a Taco Bell taco, alleges a California woman in a class-action lawsuit. The suit, filed Friday, claims that the fast-food giant uses so much other ingredients in its meat that it no longer qualifies as beef.
Taco Bell, based in Irvine, Calif., fired back in a statement Tuesday, saying that the suit is "absolutely wrong" and that it planned legal action of its own.
The dispute revolves around how much can be mixed in with beef and still be called beef.
In its raw or frozen form, ground beef "shall not contain more than 30 percent fat, and shall not contain added water, phosphates, binders, or extenders," according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). It can include seasonings or not. More
San Diego can now ticket people sleeping on streets
The city of San Diego can now ticket homeless people who sleep on street corners and doorways, but there's one significant catch: There has to be beds available for them. There hasn't been - for years.
The city now, though, plans to make a handful of downtown beds available each night, in hopes of giving police some power to enforce illegal lodging laws.
"For the first time in three years, the city has some clear direction allowing us to enforce the law during the late evening and early morning hours when shelter is available," said City Attorney Jan Goldsmith.
In 2007, the city stop ticketing the homeless to settle a suit brought against it.
Homeless advocates had argued that the homeless had little option but to bed down on the streets because shelters were crammed. More
Laptop containing possible cancer cure stolen in Oklahoma
Researchers in Oklahoma are offering a $1,000 reward for the return of a stolen laptop which they claim contains a possible cure for prostate cancer.
Sook Shin and her husband, who work as cancer researchers at the Oklahoma University, decided to take a break from their work on Sunday to get some dinner. When they returned to their car they found it had been broken into and their Macbook had been stolen.
Unbeknownst to the thieves was that the device contains years of research into prostrate cancer, some of which can never be replicated, while others will take up to two years to redo.
Worse than that, the couple never made a backup of their data, which means that someone out there has the only copy of the valuable information, if it hasn't been wiped already. Why researchers would fail to make a backup boggles the mind, considering how easily a laptop can be stolen or how often hard drive failures occur, but even the brightest minds in science can make a fatal mistake. More
Peter King's proposed bill would ban guns near lawmakers
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), one of the few pro-gun control Republicans in the House, wants to make it illegal for someone to knowingly carry a gun within 1,000 feet of certain high-ranking federal officials, including members of Congress.
In addition to giving him and his colleagues protection, King told POLITICO that his purpose is also to protect constituents who want to meet with public officials and might be hesitant to do so in wake of the shootings in Arizona.
“It would give law enforcement the weapon they need to protect federal officials, and just as importantly, it would provide a large measure of security for those who want to meet with their federal elected officials,” said King, who is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. More
Brady Wants 'Target' Websites Banned
PHILADELPHIA - Congressman Bob Brady (D-Pa., 1st) says he'll introduce a law to make it a crime to publish Web site that places "crosshairs" on a Congressional member, in a reaction to a map that appeared on Sarah Palin's Web site.
That map was taken down by Palin's web editors from the Web site Sarahpac.com on Saturday soon after Rep. Gabriel Giffords was shot in Arizona.
On Sunday, Palin's spokespeople said the images on map of Palin's "target list" were directional locators, and not gun sight crosshairs.
Palin also offered her condolences on Facebook.
"My sincere condolences are offered to the family of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of today's tragic shooting in Arizona," she said. "On behalf of Todd and my family, we all pray for the victims and their families, and for peace and justice." More
Obama's car czar vows fast selloff of government GM stock
Obama administration auto czar Ron Bloom vowed Tuesday to sell off the government's remaining 33 percent stake in General Motors Co. as quickly as possible, saying it was "important for the broader economy."
The government sold 45 percent of its 61 percent stake in GM in November, during the company's initial public stock offering, and can't sell additional shares until a six-month lockup expires in May.
"We are determined to exit as soon as practicable, but we're not going to do a fire sale," Bloom said after touring exhibits of the Detroit automakers at the North American International Auto Show.
"We have unequivocally demonstrated that the president of the United States doesn't want to be CEO of a car company. I hope we can put that foolish 'Government Motors' stuff to bed once and for all."
The government's remaining stake in GM, 500 million shares, is worth nearly $20 billion at current trading.
It is not the "proper role of government over time" to hold a large stake in a private company, Bloom said. More
Mom defies doctor, has baby her way
On Thursday, December 2, as Aneka sat at home nine months pregnant, the phone rang.
It was her obstetrician wanting to know where the heck she was. Did Aneka forget that today was the day for her cesarean section? How could she have forgotten?
No, Aneka hadn't forgotten. She hadn't shown up intentionally.
"She told me, 'You're being irresponsible. Your baby could die. You could die,'" Aneka recalls. Then the doctor hung up.
Aneka (she doesn't want her last name used) had already resolved to not have a C-section, even though the doctor told her it was absolutely necessary. She wasn't going to be opened up surgically, no matter what her doctor said, no matter what any doctor said.
In some online communities, Aneka is a hero who defied the obstetrical establishment and gave birth her way. To many doctors, however, she's a risk-taker who put her and her baby in peril by giving birth at home. More
Misbehaving teens may be at risk for major adulthood problems
People who displayed behavioral problems as teenagers were likely to develop mental or personal problems in adulthood, according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal.
TThe study looked at more than 3,500 people , beginning in the teen years and following them for 40 years. The data came from a national survey of health and development from the Medical Research Council, an organization in the United Kingdom.
Teachers assessed these individuals at age 13 and 15, comparing them with their peers with respect to a number of behaviors. Problematic behaviors included disobedience, lying, lack of punctuality, restlessness, truancy, daydreaming in class and poor response to discipline.
"This research suggests that adolescent conduct problems are indicative of more serious problems in creating and maintaining positive social relationships, and this has a long-term effect on the young adult's ability to maintain good mental health, stable employment, and a happy family life," said Ian Colman, assistant professor at the University of Alberta's School of Public Health. More