Sunday, September 29, 2013

Police In China Rescue 92 Kidnapped Children In Huge Human Trafficking Ring Bust

BEIJING, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Chinese police have rescued 92 children and two women kidnapped by a gang for sale and arrested 301 suspects, state media said on Saturday, in one of the biggest busts of its kind in years.

Breaking Up With ‘Breaking Bad’ Is Hard for Albuquerque

ONE afternoon last winter, a man with a shaved head walked into Twisters, a burrito joint in Albuquerque. He was wearing a yellow helmet and Hazmat suit and carrying a gas mask. He put on the mask, struck various poses throughout the restaurant and then sidled up to the counter to buy a burrito topped with French fries, one of the restaurant’s specialties.

Nigeria College Shooting: Dozens Of Students Shot Dead In Their Sleep

POTISKUM, Nigeria -- Suspected Islamic extremists attacked an agricultural college in the dead of night, gunning down dozens of students as they slept in dormitories and torching classrooms, the school's provost said, reporting the latest violence in northeastern Nigeria's ongoing Islamic uprising.

House Republicans Really Believe Democrats Will Cave On Obamacare To Avoid A Government Shutdown

WASHINGTON -- House Republicans may appear to observers to be pushing the government toward a shutdown, but that's not even remotely how they see it.

What The Republican ‘Compromise’ Of Delaying Obamacare For A Year Would Do To The Economy

Congress must pass a funding bill by Monday to keep the government operating after September 30. Despite the rapidly approaching deadline, House Republicans have doubled down on their strategy to use the continuing resolution as a vehicle to attack Obamacare. On Saturday night, the House passed a measure that funds the government through December 15 in exchange for delaying the health reform law for one year and repealing the law’s medical device tax.

Here Is What Will Happen If Congress Doesn’t Get Its Act Together By Monday

If Congress fails to pass a continuing resolution by Monday, the federal government will come to a standstill, shuttering “non-essential” services and operations that are deemed unnecessary for the safety of human life and national security. So while air traffic controllers will keep the planes in the sky, seniors will receive their Medicare and Social Security checks and the unemployed will continue to see benefits, other services will begin to dry up the longer the shutdown continues. Services that are not subject to yearly appropriations — so-called mandatory spending — will continue functioning and self-funding agencies like the Postal Services could still deliver mail.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

That ‘Sell By’ Date Doesn’t Tell You When Your Food Will Go Bad

Trying to decide whether that quarter-gallon of milk left in the back of the fridge is any good? You’ll probably want to check the date. Unfortunately, it probably says “sell by,” not exactly informative.

Thumb-Sized Hornets Are Getting More Aggressive — And Fatal — As China Warms

Over the last few weeks, giant, deadly hornets have killed more than two dozen people in China, the result of bizarre weather patterns there that have allowed the bugs to proliferate.

Little Miss Hispanic Delaware Stripped Of Crown For Not Being Latina Enough

Jakiyah McKoy (pictured), a 7-year-old who was crowned Little Miss Hispanic Delaware last month, has been stripped of her title, amid outbursts that she is not Hispanic enough.

War crimes court upholds 50 years for Liberia’s Charles Taylor

LEIDSCHENDAM, Netherlands (AP) — An international war crimes court upheld the conviction and 50-year sentence of former Liberian President Charles Taylor for aiding rebels in Sierra Leone, ruling Thursday that his financial, material and tactical support fueled horrendous crimes against civilians.

How Bank Of America Neglects Minority Neighborhoods (And Why They Might Get Away With It)

Bank of America (BOA) is falling short of its obligations around foreclosed properties in predominantly black and hispanic neighborhoods, according to a complaint filed with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on Wednesday. It is the second such well-documented allegation of discrimination by BOA from the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) in the past year, but the evidence NFHA has now mustered twice in support of the charge could be rendered legally moot by a Supreme Court case that threatens to gut housing discrimination law.

Saudi Women Call For New Day Of Defiance Against Driving Ban

A group of Saudi women are planning to drive en-masse on October 26th to protest the kingdom’s infamous ban on women driving. The unique law has come to symbolize the myriad ways in which the theocratic Saudi state oppresses its female citizens.

What The Deadly Attack On A Kenya Mall Was Really About

The bloody Shabaab attack on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall on September 21 was an act of desperation by a jihadi group beset by internal power struggles and plummeting support. It is intended to provoke a violent backlash against ethnic Somalis by the Kenyan government and Kenyan citizens. Angry and frustrated Kenyans must resist the urge to play into Shabaab’s hands.

Here’s Why No One Ever Likes American Foreign Policy

Rule #1 of foreign policy punditry: never be happy. Observers of world politics much prefer to complain about what’s going wrong than celebrate what’s going right (with some exceptions).

Nearly Four In Ten American Workers Are Living Paycheck To Paycheck Each Week

More than four years since the economy shifted from recession to recovery, 36 percent of U.S. workers always or usually live paycheck to paycheck according to a survey released Wednesday by Another 40 percent say they sometimes do.

Florida Court Grants New Trial To Woman Serving 20 Years For Firing Warning Shot

A Florida court has granted a new trial to a woman sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot during an altercation with her abusive husband.

Flesh-Rotting Drug Makes Its Way To The U.S. For The First Time, Health Officials Are ‘Frightened’

Officials at the Banner Poison Control Center in Phoenix, Arizona have announced that they have responded to two cases of people using “krokodil,” a cheap, synthetic heroin knockoff that is popular in Russia and can rot away users’ flesh.

Race, Intelligence and IQ

The information presented above suggests that African born blacks residing in western countries as a group possess IQs that are between 5 points and a full standard deviation (15 IQ points) above that of whites living in these countries. So that the median IQ for African blacks residing in the west should be about 110, if one accepts that research suggesting direct casual relationships between academic attainment levels and IQ (e.g. Gottfredson, 1998; Ostrowsky, 1999)!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Are African Countries About To Destroy The ICC?

On Friday, the African Union (AU) called an unusual meeting, set to take place on October 13th, to discuss a mass withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC), a move that could threaten both recent efforts to punish the slaughter in Syria and broader progress towards creating a global system for prosecuting genocidaires and other war criminals.

Why The Deadly Attack On The Mall In Kenya Was A Sign Of Desperation

The bloody Shabaab attack on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall on September 21 was an act of desperation by a jihadi group beset by internal power struggles and plummeting support. It is intended to provoke a violent backlash against ethnic Somalis by the Kenyan government and Kenyan citizens. Angry and frustrated Kenyans must resist the urge to play into Shabaab’s hands.

Congressman Exaggerates Fraud To Justify Food Stamp Cuts

Ahead of a vote for cuts that would deprive 4 to 6 million Americans of food assistance, Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) tried to justify the measure by incorrectly claiming that Republicans’ cuts to food stamps amount to less than half of the program’s fraudulent outlays. Rather than compare the dollars that they want to cut from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to the rate of fraud in the program, Harris compared the cuts to the proportion of businesses at which food stamp fraud occurs. He used that incoherent comparison to claim that the cuts will “leave more money getting to the hands of the people who do need it.”

European Union Officials Ease Austerity Requirements

At a meeting this week in Brussels, European finance officials approved a change to budget policies that would lighten the burden of austerity requirements on many struggling European Union countries, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Low-Income Preschoolers, Cancer Patients Take Hit In GOP Budget Extension

On Friday morning, House Republicans, joined by two Democrats, passed a short-term extension of government funding known as a continuing resolution through December that continues sequestration’s severely reduced spending levels for non-defense programs while giving some relief to the defense side.

Pope Francis Condemns Economic Inequality: ‘We Want A Just System That Helps Everyone’

Meeting with a group of unemployed workers, Pope Francis abandoned his prepared text on Sunday to make some of his strongest remarks against economic inequality.

Colorado House Republicans Unanimously Support Flood Relief, Unanimously Opposed Sandy Aid

As historic floods of “biblical” proportions continue to ravage Colorado, President Obama signed an emergency declaration on Sunday — a move that was encouraged by a bipartisan letter last week from the state’s nine-member Congressional delegation. But the four Republican Congressmen who are now supporting disaster relief for their own state were among those voting earlier this year against the emergency aid funding for Superstorm Sandy victims on the East Coast.

House Republicans Vote To Drop Millions From Food Stamps

House Republicans approved nearly $40 billion in cuts to the food stamps program Thursday evening in a tight 217-210 vote. Fifteen Republicans defected to vote “no” on the measure, which is projected to kick millions of people off of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The Complete Guide To The GOP’s Three-Year Campaign To Shut Down The Government

As the nation races toward another budgetary crisis next month, Republican leaders are using the prospect of a government shutdown and the need to raise the nation’s debt ceiling as leverage points to undermine the Affordable Care Act — just days before uninsured Americans are expected to sign up for health care coverage — and extract additional cuts to government programs.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

What You Need To Know About The Funding Extension That Just Passed The House

The House of Representatives has passed a continuing resolution that would keep the government funded through Dec. 15 and withhold funding for the Affordable Care Act. The 230-189 vote comes just 10 days before a possible shutdown and includes instructions authorizing the Treasury “to pay some bills and not others in the event that no deal is reached in October on increasing the debt limit.” Rep. Scott Rigel (VA) was the only Republican to vote against the measure, while just two Democrats — Reps. Jim Matheson (UT) and Mike McIntyre (NC) voted for it.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Social Safety Net Programs Kept Tens Of Millions Out Of Poverty

The official poverty rate was essentially unchanged at 15.1 percent in 2012, and alternative measures show that safety net programs like food stamps, unemployment insurance, Social Security, and tax credits for the working poor keep tens of millions of Americans out of poverty each year, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday.

White Models Hired For 80 Percent Of New York Fashion Week’s Looks

New York Fashion Week, which ended on September 12, featured 4,637 “looks,” or outfits displayed on the runway, and white models were hired to show off 80 percent of them, according to Jezebel’s yearly analysis. Fewer than 1,000 looks were given to women of color, and women of some ethnicities, like Middle Eastern women, barely made an appearance.

Alleged Navy Yard Shooter’s Troubled Past Forced Him Out Of The Navy, But Didn’t Stop Him From Buying Guns

Details are still emerging about Aaron Alexis, the 34-year-old ex-Navy officer who allegedly killed 12 people on Monday at Washington’s Navy Yard. Records indicate that Alexis had been suffering from “a host of serious mental issues, including paranoia and a sleep disorder” and reported hearing “voices in his head.” He was involved in at least two incidents involving a gun and in January of 2011 received a discharge from the Navy.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Mayweather dominates for easy decision win

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Canelo Alvarez proved nothing more than easy money for Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Mayweather turned one of the richest fights ever into just another $41.5 million payday Saturday night, dominating Alvarez from the opening bell and winning a majority decision in a masterful performance that left no doubt who the best fighter of his era is.

California's Condoms In Porn Bill Dies In Senate

Within weeks after several porn performers tested positive for HIV, a bill to require adult film actors throughout California to use condoms when shooting sex scenes has died in the state Legislature.

How The Birmingham Church Bombing Revealed America's Ugly Truths

On Sunday, Sept. 15, 1963, in Birmingham, Ala., at 10:22 a.m., a bomb exploded at the 16th Street Baptist Church. The blast, erupting from the church's east side, sprayed mortar and bricks, caving in the building's walls.

The Sunday, September 15, 2013 Talking Heads


We start today with THIS WEEK because George Stephanopoulos has actually shown up for work today! Mainly because they got an exclusive interview with the President. Then, there will be the Flowerpounce Roundtable with a bunch of people that ABC News booked to make cakehole noises about news. Come on, guys this will be fun.

3-Year-Old Shot Dead In Yellowstone After Congress Permits Guns In Parks

For the first time since 1978, someone has died of a gunshot wound in Yellowstone National Park. And for the first time since 1938, the victim was a child, a 3-year-old Idaho girl who shot herself with her father’s handgun this weekend, only three years after Congress legalized guns in national parks.

The U.S.’s Top Secret $52.6 Billion Spy Budget — By The Numbers

The Washington Post on Thursday for the first time revealed the breakdown of the classified $52.6 billion budget that the United States uses to finance its spying operations overseas, the latest in a series of revelations about how the U.S. conducts its tradecraft.

Greece’s Horrific Unemployment Rate Finds A Way To Get Even Worse

Greece’s unemployment rate ticked up to 27.9 percent in June, setting another record high in the middle of the country’s sixth year of economic contraction. European authorities are weighing a possible third round of bailout funds for the country, but they would come with further austerity requirements of the sort that have shrunk the Greek economy by almost one quarter since 2008.

As Many Students Default As Enroll In Programs Meant To Help Them Avoid That Fate

From mid-2012 to mid-2013, as many student debtholders defaulted on what they owe as enrolled in three programs that tie educational debt repayment to the borrower’s earnings. According to Department of Education data covering June 2012 to June 2013, 620,000 recipients of direct federal loans enrolled in the income-based repayment plans and 600,000 borrowers in the program slipped into default, the Huffington Post reported.

Americans’ Ability To Afford Basic Necessities Is Near Record Low

Americans are as unlikely to have access to basic necessities such as food, housing, and healthcare as they were in October 2011, when it was at the lowest point recorded. Gallup’s Basic Access Index, which includes 13 questions on the ability to afford basic needs, was 81.4 in August, “on part with the all-time low of 81.2 recorded in October 2011,” the report notes. The index has yet to recover to its pre-recession level of at least 83.

Barney Frank Leaves Wall Street Defenders Speechless: Why Are Bankers ‘Paying Themselves So Much Money?’

As his fellow panelists sought to sidestep criticisms of the financial industry on the five-year anniversary of the bank failure that kicked the financial crisis and Great Recession into full swing, former congressman Barney Frank asked a simple question that brought Wall Street’s defenders up short. “To your question about those poor beleaguered bankers who have been forced to do so much,” Frank said, “why are they paying themselves so much money? Where did these enormous salaries come from if they were in fact in such serious trouble?”

Police Fatally Shoot Unarmed Former Football Player Who May Have Been Seeking Help After A Car Crash

Officer Randall Kerrick, 27, of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) in North Carolina is facing charges of voluntary manslaughter after fatally shooting Jonathan Ferrell, 24, a former Florida A&M football player who had apparently been seeking help after surviving a major car crash early Saturday morning.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Study Suggests Southern Slavery Turns White People Into Republicans 150 Years Later

White Southerners are one of the great outliers in American politics. President Obama polled significantly worse with white voters in the South than he did with whites in swing states. One survey of working class white voters found Obama only 4-8 points behind Romney in the majority of the country, while he polled 40 points behind Romney among Southern white working class voters. And a new study by political scientists Avidit Acharya, Matthew Blackwell and Maya Sen suggests that there may be a simple explanation for this divide — slavery.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Fewer Young Americans Are Using Drugs — But An Increasing Number Of Older Americans Are

The rate of illicit drug use among young Americans aged 12 to 17 dropped by nearly 20 percent in the past decade, from 11.6 percent to 9.5 percent, according to new data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). But at the same time, substantially greater numbers of Americans between the ages of 50 and 64 started using controlled substances.

Elderly Black Americans Receive Worse Nursing Home Care Than White Americans

The nursing homes that predominantly serve black residents tend to experience financial struggles and ultimately provide a lower quality of care to their patients, according to a new study from University of Central Florida researchers. The results from the study reveal yet another manifestation of the racial disparities that persist throughout the health care industry.

Researchers Are Inching Closer To A Successful HIV Vaccine

An early trial for a vaccine against HIV signals a lot of promise, according to the Canadian researchers working on the project. A team of scientists at the University of Western Ontario just completed the first stage of human testing for their potential vaccine — one of just a handful of HIV vaccines around the world currently being developed for clinical trial — and are hailing it as a “major success.”

Economy Added 169,000 Jobs In August; Unemployment Down To 7.3 Percent

The economy added 169,000 jobs in August and the unemployment rate down to 7.3 percent, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Analysts had expected 180,000 jobs to be added.

Watchdog Finds Zero Major Overpayments In Food Stamps, $17 Million In Farm Programs

Crop insurance and rural farm development programs issued over $17 million in high-dollar improper payments during the 2012 fiscal year, but the five food assistance programs conservatives frequently criticize as fraud-riddled issued exactly zero such payments. The numbers come from a report released Wednesday by the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Inspector General report.

North Carolina’s National Image Tanks After Less Than A Year Of Republican Governance

The wave of voter suppression laws, attacks on abortion and other hard right legislation being pushed through the North Carolina legislature has taken a considerable toll on the nation’s perception of that state. According to a new Public Policy Polling poll, North Carolina’s national favorability rating fell dramatically since the last time PPP measured the favorability of each state in the union — “[i]ts favorability has dropped from 40% to 30%, while the share of voters with an unfavorable opinion of it has more than doubled from 11% to 23%.” The drop was particularly sharp among African Americans, Hispanics and women:

Obama Nominates Voting Rights Supporter To Powerful Court — Here’s How The GOP Freakout Will Play Out

A partisan effort to keep the nation’s second most powerful court in Republican hands will flare up against next Wednesday, when the third of President Obama’s three nominees to this court faces his confirmation hearing. Yet, while next week’s confirmation hearing is likely to focus on the GOP’s effort to prevent new judges from being confirmed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by citing misleading statistics, they are also likely to detour into a debate over voter suppression.

Iowa Debates Permitting Blind People To Carry Guns In Public

As lawmakers across the country debate gun safety laws, law enforcement officials in Iowa are split on whether the state should continue issuing guns to blind people. So far the state has already issued several such permits, though it has not tracked how many.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Florida Man Cites ‘Bush Doctrine’ As Justification For Pre-Emptive Killing At Barbecue

William T. Woodward is facing murder charges for the alleged shooting of three people on Labor Day, two of whom have now died. In his defense, his lawyer is not only making a novel legal argument that Florida’s Stand Your Ground law applies, saying he was protecting himself against “imminent death” because of an ongoing dispute between him and the men he shot. He also invoked the “Bush Doctrine,” the foreign policy Bush used to justify aggressive military intervention, to argue that pre-emptive attack can be a form of self-defense, Florida Today reports.

Top House Republican Rewrites History, Claims Reagan Stood Up To Chemical Weapons Use

A top Republican lawmaker on Thursday invoked Ronald Reagan to say that Obama was weak for not acting more directly in response to Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons, ignoring the fact that Reagan’s White House looked the other way when chemical weapons were used in the 1980s.

Monday, September 2, 2013

The One Video (And Three Charts) That Explains Why Unions Matter

The sad reality this Labor Day is that many American workers aren’t enjoying the basic tenets of the American dream: a livable wage and benefits to match. Income inequality is skyrocketing, while worker wages stagnate and more and more people leave unemployment for low-wage, part time jobs.

Dunkin’ Donuts Apologizes For Blackface Ad In Thailand

Dunkin’ Donuts has apologized and pulled advertising for its campaign in Thailand that shows a model with blackface makeup and the caption, “Break every rule of deliciousness.”

11 Other Things American Workers Deserve (Besides A Day Off)

Labor Day is meant to celebrate the accomplishments of the American worker, who spends most days on an oil rig or in an office, on the assembly line or on the docks, making the American economy run. The holiday originated in 1894, after two dozen people were killed during the Pullman Strike, a railway workers’ boycott of low wages and high rent. From there, it became an American tradition, meant to honor the accomplishments of the people who make this nation run.

Miley Cyrus white America’s biggest nightmare

The words “oral sex”, “ratchet”, “disgusting”, “raunchy” and “humiliating” were used on morning news shows this week to describe Miley Cyrus’ VMAs performance.

Labor Day Sales: Where To Find The Best Store Deals And Discounts (Online Stores Are The Best)

Alas, Labor Day has arrived. Say goodbye to those white pants and say hello to big discounts from your favorite retailers. Here's a guide to some of the best deals for those of you trying to squeeze a shopping trip into your long weekend plans:

Sunday, September 1, 2013

How long Do You Spend On Porn? (HuffPost Info Graphic)

We now know Alaskans love a good view (no, not of Russia). California is all about staying young. Connecticut embraces motherhood. And education always comes first in the state of Illinois.

Jailed For Medical Marijuana: Five Stories Of Why DOJ’s Pot Policy Matters

The Department of Justice announced a new policy Thursday in its approach to prosecuting marijuana offenses. While it remained committed to enforcing the federal prohibition on marijuana, it clarified that it would change its approach with respect to distributors and suppliers operating in states with their own marijuana laws. Compliance with comprehensive local laws and regulations that eliminate bad behavior, they said, would be a major factor in potential prosecution. It is unclear how much yesterday’s revised policy will change the behavior of U.S. attorneys, who retain discretion to implement the the policy as they see fit. But what is clear is that without the change, many medical marijuana providers paid the price for operating openly and in seeming in compliance with state law, and believe they were made an example of:

Banks Make Record Profits In Second Quarter

Banks marked another record profit period in the second quarter, clearing $42.2 billion after expenses in the three months from April to June. The figure is the latest confirmation that the financial industry has bounced back far faster than the rest of the economy.

Poverty Has Same Effect On The Brain As Constantly Pulling All Nighters

The mental strain of living in poverty and thinking constantly about tight finances can drop a person’s IQ by as much as 13 percent, or about the equivalent of losing a night of sleep, according to a new study. It consumes so much mental energy that there is often little room to think about anything else, which leaves low-income people more susceptible to bad decisions.

Consumer Spending Slumps And Wages Fall Because Of Sequestration

American consumers have been gradually spending more money in the recovery, but that trend took a hit in July thanks to the automatic budget cuts that went into effect earlier this year. July’s consumer spending growth was just 0.1 percent more than last month in part because government workers are facing furloughs and salary cuts.

Half Of America’s Scientists Have Laid People Off Thanks To Budget Cuts

Sequestration, on top of other budget cuts over the years, has meant that nearly half of respondents to a new survey of 3,700 scientists have laid people off or expect to soon, while more than half have had a colleague who lost a job or expects to, according to a new report.

Fast Food Workers Launch Largest Ever Strike For Higher Wages

Nine months after fast food workers in New York City walked off the job on “Black Friday,” their efforts to change the industry’s pay standards have gone national. Workers are striking in roughly 50 cities on Thursday in hopes of converting the trickle of strikes throughout the summer in cities like Seattle, St. Louis, and Milwaukee into a flood.

Media Cheerleads For Another War: Blasts Obama For Not Rushing Into Syria

The hosts of the nation’s leading political talk shows pressed Secretary of State John Kerry on the administration’s decision to seek Congressional authorization for a military strike against Syria, arguing that delaying military action undermined America’s resolve and weakened President Obama.