Sunday, November 17, 2013

1 in 5 Africans forced to pay bribes for police, health care, education

Almost one in five Africans were forced to pay a bribe in the past year just to get basic public services, a major survey said Thursday.

10 things you should know about slavery

As it expands into wider release, 12 Years a Slave seems to have accomplished an improbable feat. It’s sparking conversations on African-American history and slavery in a month other than February.

Homeowner Who Shot Girl Seeking Help At His Door Charged With Murder

A Detroit-area homeowner who shot in the face a 19-year-old girl at his door will be charged with murder, Wayne County prosecutors announced Thursday. The charges include murder in the second degree, which carries a term of up to life in prison; a manslaughter charge with a maximum term of 15 years in prison; and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony or attempted commission, which carries a term of two years in prison.

Here’s How Occupy Wall Street Freed Americans From Millions In Debt

Occupy Wall Street activists have canceled nearly $15 million in consumer debt in the first year of a program called Rolling Jubilee that uses crowd funding to buy up and then void consumers’ debt. The program spent just $400,000 of the roughly $620,000 it has raised to date to buy up medical debts that were far enough past due that they were being resold for pennies on the dollar, marking a first-ever incursion by populist activists into an industry dominated by unscrupulous private debt collectors.

The People Who Care For Our Children Are Paid Terribly

While it’s become little secret that in-home nannies are paid poorly, those who work in childcare centers are also paid poverty wages.

In Somalia, The Other Natural Disaster That Nobody Is Talking About

A deadly cyclone slammed the Puntland region of Somalia last weekend to little international notice, wreaking havoc on an already impoverished population.

Hurricane Katrina, The Obamacare Rollout, And Allowing Privilege To Shape Our Politics

On Friday, the media got swept up in an unhelpful comparison between the rocky Obamacare rollout and the botched clean-up efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It was probably simply inevitable; likening political fumbles to Katrina has become an increasingly common trope in the years following the 2005 tragedy. In response, commentators were quick to point out that, although the technical glitches plaguing are undoubtedly a huge problem, they won’t actually have the same impact as a deadly natural disaster.

REPORT: Apple CEO Saves Thanksgiving For The Company’s Workers

On the heels of rumors that some Apple retail locations would open on Thanksgiving Day, joining a growing number of stores that are denying workers the ability to stay home with their families and celebrate, the Apple news site ifoAppleStore reports that CEO Tim Cook cancelled those plans. The site notes, “Cook’s specific objection was that it’s important for Apple retail employees to be with their families on the holiday.”

Sunday, November 3, 2013

California’s Online Sales Tax Is Bringing In Millions Of Dollars

California’s controversial online sales tax has reaped more than $260 million dollars in just one year of collection, according to newly released data from the California Board of Equalization. While brick-and-mortar businesses collect sales tax, online retailers with offices in California were exempt for years until 2011, costing the state billions in lost revenue. Capital Public Radio reports that 40 percent of the new revenue has gone to the state’s general fund, which is spent on education, Medicaid, prisons, and transportation, among other public programs.

What You Need To Know About The Severely Conservative Judge Who Just Ruled Against Birth Control

Nine years ago, the California Supreme Court upheld a state law similar to the Affordable Care Act’s rules requiring most employers to include birth control coverage in their employee health plans. The sole dissent in that case was Justice Janice Rogers Brown. Nearly a decade later, Brown got her revenge. Though no longer a member of California’s highest court — President George W. Bush appointed her to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit over the strenuous objections of Democrats — Judge Brown is now the author of a 2-1 opinion holding that religious employers can ignore the federal birth control rules. What was once a fringe view held by a lone holdout is now the law in the second most powerful court in the country.

How The NRA Made It Easier To Bring Guns Into Airports

On Friday, a gunman “pulled a Smith & Wesson .223-caliber assault rifle from his duffel bag” and opened fire on an airport. Officials have arrested the alleged shooter, 23-year-old Paul Ciancia, who killed a TSA agent and wounded six others at a security checkpoint. The incident is the second airport shooting in six months.