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Ambulance

Apathy: Texas school fails to call 911 when six-year-old severs finger

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© KRIV
6-year old Amazing Johnson
Amazing Johnson, 6, severed the top of her finger when it was accidentally caught in a door at school. Instead of calling 911, school officials only called her parents.

Latesha Coleman, Amazing's mother, received a call from Hughes Road Elementary administrators about her daughter's injury, but tells KRIV Fox 26 they downplayed just how severe the injury was. Coleman was told the "nurse was working with Amazing, that Amazing was fine...She's being loved on by the nurse."

Emergency medical help was not called, even as it became clear that Amazing was missing a piece of her finger.

Dollar

Swiss banks urge U.S. tax dodgers to come clean to beat deadline

© AP
Swiss banks are quietly warning wealthy U.S. clients with secret accounts to come clean with the tax man in the next two weeks - or risk jail time, according to several letters obtained by POLITICO.

The letters come ahead of a New Year's Eve deadline the U.S. government set for about 300 Swiss banks to take deals protecting them from prosecution. In exchange for confessing and shelling out mountains of Americans' account information, they'll get immunity. It is a new twist to the traditional bank-client relationship.

"The banks have every incentive right now to shove their American clients into compliance in order to reduce the penalties," said tax attorney Jeff Neiman, who prosecuted Swiss banking giant UBS for the U.S. government.

The effort is part of a U.S. crackdown on American tax evaders and the banks that help them, which ramped up when Swiss banking giant UBS admitted as much with a $780 million settlement in 2009. The Justice Department is currently probing 14 major Swiss financial institutions - including Credit Suisse, Julius Baer and the Swiss arm of HSBC - for shielding U.S. tax cheats.


Bad Guys

Serial rapist: Houston software CEO guilty of transporting and sexually assaulting female employees

Henri De Sola Morris, 66, president and chief executive officer of Solid Software Solutions LLC, which does business as Edible Software Inc., has been convicted on five counts of transportation, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson.

Morris, a naturalized U.S. citizen residing in Houston, admitted that between February 2010 and February 2012, he traveled in interstate commerce and committed, and attempted to commit, the drug-facilitated sexual assaults of several women. Three of the women were present in the courtroom Friday as he acknowledged his guilt.

According to the plea agreement, five women relayed similar experiences of being in compromising situations with Morris after he provided each woman with a drugged alcoholic beverage he had prepared. Each woman reported instances of memory loss that followed the encounter consistent with being administered drugs commonly used in drug-facilitated sexual assault. The women also reported unwanted contact with Morris and, due to their impairment, were unable to defend themselves against him. One woman described how she knew what was happening but had lost physical control of her body and could not stop Morris from even undressing her.

Comment: Update: One of the victims of the sexual assault has filed a lawsuit against her former employer.


Candle

Influential group of 5,000 U.S. scholars votes to boycott Israel

© Reuters/Francois Lenoir
A powerful group of US scholars has voted to launch an academic boycott of Israeli colleges and universities. With a membership in the thousands, the group has become the largest academic collective to protest Israel's treatment of Palestinians.

The American Studies Association (ASA) announced Monday that its nearly 5,000 members voted in favor of the boycott by a 2-to-1 margin on Sunday night. A total of 1,252 members voted on the issue, with 66 percent voting 'yes' and 30 percent voting 'no.' Three percent abstained from voting altogether.

The boycott calls on US schools and academic research groups to end all work with Israeli groups. It does allow individual Israeli scholars to still attend conferences and speak at American universities, as long as they do not do so in any official capacity of the government.

Dollar

Republican Senator explains his wife's 'fiasco' on Obamacare website

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© AP
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.)
When it comes to Obamacare, "many members of Congress are feeling the very same pain that the rest of America is feeling," Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) told Americans in a radio address on Saturday.

Toomey said he, his wife, and three children are among those "forced" to buy government-mandated health insurance on one of the new exchanges, and last week, his wife tried to sign up the family on an Obamacare exchange website.

"Now, my wife is a very sharp woman. She's a former computer software consultant," Toomey said. After entering the family's personal information, the website wouldn't let her browse the various plans. "When she called someone and asked for help, she was told the system just wasn't working right now and it was best to try again later."

According to Toomey, "The fiasco my wife just faced with the health care website is being experienced by Americans across the country when they try to sign up for health insurance. If this were just a matter of a slow-moving computer glitch, well, then maybe that would be excusable, but it's much more than that.

Brick Wall

Florida city to evict woman from her paid-for house for living "off the grid"


Robin Speronis, a Florida woman who lives off the grid, is being threatened with losing her home due to her "alternative lifestyle".

Last month, Robin's story was featured on Fox 4 news in Florida. She does not have a refrigerator, oven, running water, or electricity.

Robin explains her decision to live off the grid:
"It was an interest in empowering myself, like we did when we got off the health care system. I wanted to look at every other part of my lifestyle and say, do I need this? Is this of value to me? If it went away tomorrow, what would I do? The more I got into it, the more exciting, the more of an adventure it became. My message was to create, so I created a happy place... a place where I get up, and I'm like this is beautiful."
Most of what Robin owns was free, donated, or bought for next to nothing.

She cooks on a propane camping stove, and her electronics run on solar-charged batteries.

Eye 1

Nelson Mandela statue unveiled in Pretoria by Zuma

A statue of Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president, has been unveiled in the capital, Pretoria, a day after he was buried. The nine-metre (30ft) bronze statue has been erected at the Union Buildings, the government headquarters.

The statue, with Mr Mandela's hands reaching outward, was intended to show that he had embraced the whole nation, President Jacob Zuma said. Mr Mandela was given a state funeral at his ancestral home on Sunday.

African National Congress (ANC) members, veterans of the fight against apartheid and foreign dignitaries - including several African presidents and the Prince of Wales - attended the funeral ceremony in the village of Qunu in South Africa's Eastern Cape province. It followed a 10-day period of mourning and celebrating Mr Mandela's life after his death at the age of 95. The national flag was raised on Monday from its half-mast position, and was flying as normal.

Take 2

Tom Laughlin, of 'Billy Jack' fame, dead at 82


Tom Laughlin as 'Billy Jack'
Actor and filmmaker Tom Laughlin, star of the Billy Jack films of the late '60s and early '70s, died Thursday at sunset near his home in Thousand Oaks, California. He was 82.

Laughlin first rose to fame with the character of the native American motorcycle vigilante and martial artist Billy Jack in the 1967 independent film The Born Losers, which went on to commercial and critical acclaim. Laughlin produced and starred in three sequels. The first of which, the morally-ambiguous Billy Jack, remains one of the most financially-successful independent films of all time.

He and his wife Delores Taylor had been out of the movie business for a few years, running a Montessori school, when they decided to make the Billy Jack films. The movies captured some of the zeitgeist of the late '60s sense of political protest and rebellion, and set Laughlin on a path as an activist. Laughlin sought the Democratic nomination for president three times - 1992, and 2008 as a Democrat, and 2004 as a Republican. He was an outspoken critic of the Iraq War, which he has said was worse than Vietnam.

Santa Hat

Teacher scolds black student for Santa costume because 'Santa is white'

© AFP Photo / Fernando Veludo
What was supposed to be a cheerful day at a New Mexico high school quickly went downhill when a teacher told a black student that he shouldn't dress up as Santa Claus because the jolly old man is white.

Officials at Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho, New Mexico say the unnamed teacher has been disciplined - though they won't say how. But the student's family is not satisfied; the boy's father, Michael Rougier, is calling for the teacher to be fired.

The incident occurred last week when ninth-grader Christopher Rougier came to school in a Santa costume. Although students were allowed to dress up as holiday characters, Christopher's father, Michael Rougier, told local KOB-TV that his son's teacher said, "Don't you know Santa Clause is white? Why are you wearing that?"

The student was reportedly crushed by the comments, and Michael Rougier says the teacher's question was unacceptable."There's no room for that in the classroom," he said. "Whether this teacher felt Christopher may have been wearing this out of context, there's no room for it. There's just no room for it."

Comment: 'Tis the season... to stick your foot in your mouth.


Gear

House Report: Poorly-trained Obamacare navigators encouraging fraud, jeopardizing private info

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© Breitbart
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
The Obama administration decided that Obamacare Navigators, tasked with helping Americans enroll in a health insurance plan, would not undergo mandatory background checks. Now, in the ten weeks since the launch of Healthcare.gov, the ill-trained Navigators have put Americans' sensitive health and tax information at risk.

Breitbart News has obtained a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee report on the Obamacare Navigators that will be released Monday. It has found that Obamacare Navigators have been giving Americans misinformation and, in some cases, actively encouraging enrollees to commit fraud in order to raise their subsidies. To complicate matters further, there is no way for Americans to find out whether their Navigators are properly certified.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said at a Congressional hearing that it was "possible" for convicted felons to become Navigators. The report, titled Risks of Fraud and Misinformation with ObamaCare Outreach Campaign: How Navigator and Assister Program Mismanagement Endangers Consumers, concludes that is only one of many worries Americans should have about Navigators.

The Oversight Committee, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), and HHS actually learned that "poorly-trained Navigators gave consumers incorrect information about the health care exchanges, violated HHS rules and procedures, and even encouraged applicants to commit tax fraud in some instances." Moreover, this was learned from various news reports due to the complete lack of any internal oversight.