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U.S. workers earning 23 percent less after 2008 recession

© Reuters / Mike Stone
Workers in the United States are earning an average of 23 percent less than earnings from jobs that were lost during the economic recession that began in 2008, according to a new report.

The average salary in sectors where jobs were lost - especially manufacturing and construction - during the recession was $61,637, according to the report from the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM). In comparison, job gains in those sectors through the second quarter of 2014 came with average wages of $47,171. The difference comes out to a $93 billion in lower wage income, the USCM found.

"Under a similar analysis conducted by the Conference of Mayors during the 2001-2002 recession, the wage gap was only 12% compared to the current 23%--meaning the wage gap has nearly doubled from one recession to the next," said the Conference of Mayors in a statement.

Aircraft crashes into houses in Brazil, killing presidential candidate and injuring at least 10

brazil map
At least 10 people are reported injured in aircraft crash in southeastern Brazil. The flying vehicle was reportedly carrying presidential candidate Eduardo Campos and came down near a school in a built-up area in the city of Santos.

The aircraft went down in a residential area of the port city of Santos, in Sao Paulo State.

"There are fatalities but we still do not have a number confirmed," Sao Paulo State police told AFP, adding that a fire was hampering access to the area.

Santos firefighters said there were at least 10 people injured, according to online news portal G1.
Alarm Clock

Russell Brand: Robin Williams' divine madness will no longer disrupt the sadness of the world

‘I was aware that this burbling and manic man-child that I watched on the box on my Nan’s front room floor with a Mork action figure struggled with mental illness and addiction.’
I'd been thinking about Robin Williams a bit recently. His manager Larry Bresner told me that when Robin was asked by a German journalist on a press junket why the Germans had a reputation for humourlessness that Williams replied, "Because you killed all the funny people."

Robin Williams was exciting to me because he seemed to be sat upon a geyser of comedy. Like he didn't manufacture it laboriously within but had only to open a valve and it would come bursting through in effervescent jets. He was plugged into the mains of comedy.

I was aware too that this burbling and manic man-child that I watched on the box on my Nan's front room floor with a Mork action figure (I wish I still had that, he came in a plastic egg) struggled with mental illness and addiction. The chaotic clarity that lashed like an electric cable, that razzed and sparked with amoral, puckish wonder was in fact harvested madness. A refinement of an energy that could turn as easily to destruction as creativity.

He spoke candidly about his mental illness and addiction, how he felt often on a precipice of self-destruction, whether through substance misuse or some act of more certain finality. I thought that this articulate acknowledgement amounted to a kind of vaccine against the return of such diseased thinking, which has proven to be hopelessly naive.

When someone gets to 63 I imagined, hoped, I suppose, that maturity would grant an immunity to adolescent notions of suicide but today I read that suicide isn't exclusively a young man's game. Robin Williams at 63 still hadn't come to terms with being Robin Williams.

Graphic details of Robin Williams' death spark furor

robin williams
© Reed Saxon, Associated Press
Robin Williams
The picture painted was gruesome. No detail, it seemed, was spared.

On Monday, Robin Williams' grieving wife asked for privacy. A day later, the Marin County sheriff's office revealed graphic facts about the beloved actor's suicide. Many who watched coverage of the news conference were stunned - and offended - by the level of detail disclosed. Shock turned to anger as the media reported the facts.

Investigators in California said Williams' death was a suicide by hanging. Officials detailed how he was found dead in a bedroom, clothed, slightly suspended in a seated position with a belt around his neck, with one end of it wedged between a closet door frame.

Comment: And what do our readers think?


Interesting timing: Jewish group demands renaming French village called 'Death to Jews'

la mort aux juifs
Street view of a tiny French village that is still bearing a medieval name La Mort aux Juifs or ‘Death to Jews’
Expressing its shock and outrage after discovering that a tiny French village is still bearing a medieval name La Mort aux Juifs or 'Death to Jews', a Jewish group, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, has urged the French interior minister to rename it.

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre's director of international affairs, Shimon Samuels, wrote to the French interior Bernard Cazeneuve, saying he was "shocked to discover the existence of a village in France officially called 'Death to Jews'. It is extremely shocking that this name has slipped under the radar in the 70 years that have passed since France was liberated from Nazism and the (pro-Nazi) Vichy regime."

However, the deputy mayor of the village of Courtemaux, which has jurisdiction over the hamlet La Mort aux Juifs, 100 kilometers to the south of Paris, is not convinced.

"It's ridiculous. This name has always existed. No one has anything against the Jews, of course. It doesn't surprise me that this is coming up again," Marie-Elizabeth Secretand said, as quoted by AFP.
Heart - Black

Twitter has potential to 'induce psychotic symptoms'

Researchers say the highly symbolic language of Twitter may create the perfect environment for those with a predisposition for psychotic behavior.
A new study finds that the downside to global social networks is the potential to ‟aggravate or even induce psychotic symptoms" in psychologically vulnerable patients.

Five doctors examined the real-life case of a 31-year-old woman the authors called ‟Mrs. C," who was admitted to the psychiatric ward of a hospital in Berlin.

Medical records showed "Mrs. C" had never shown signs of any kind of personality disorder until she was committed following a year-long obsession with Twitter.

Lauren Bacall dies at 89

© Associated Press
Ms. Bacall's first son, Stephen H. Bogart (named after Bogart's character in "To Have and Have Not"), was born in 1949. Here, the family in 1951 on a deck of the French liner Il de France in New York City following their arrival from Europe.
Lauren Bacall, the actress whose provocative glamour elevated her to stardom in Hollywood's golden age and whose lasting mystique put her on a plateau in American culture that few stars reach, died on Tuesday in New York. She was 89.

Her death was confirmed by her son Stephen Bogart. "Her life speaks for itself," Mr. Bogart said. "She lived a wonderful life, a magical life."

With an insinuating pose and a seductive, throaty voice - her simplest remark sounded like a jungle mating call, one critic said - Ms. Bacall shot to fame in 1944 with her first movie, Howard Hawks's adaptation of the Ernest Hemingway novel To Have and Have Not, playing opposite Humphrey Bogart, who became her lover on the set and later her husband.

It was a smashing debut sealed with a handful of lines now engraved in Hollywood history.

"You know you don't have to act with me, Steve," her character says to Bogart's in the movie's most memorable scene. "You don't have to say anything, and you don't have to do anything. Not a thing. Oh, maybe just whistle. You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow."

Utterly heartbroken: Robin Williams' wife Susan Schneider pays touching tribute to 'my husband and my best friend'

Robin Williams
© FayesVision/
The couple - seen here in August 2010 - were heading towards their third wedding anniversary on October 23
On Monday, August 11 the world lost one of its greatest entertainers.

But as everyone reacted with words of sorrow and tears to the sudden and shocking passing of Robin Williams, no-one was more devastated by the tragic passing of the Oscar-winning actor than his beloved wife, Susan Schneider.

The graphic designer, who had been married to the Good Will Hunting star since October 23, 2011, was left reeling at the loss of her 'husband and best friend', who was found deceased in his home in California of an apparent suicide.

Somehow finding the strength and the words to express her grief, Susan released a statement to The New York Times' Dave Itzkoff.

'This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one if its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken,' she began.

Will the Ebola hysteria be used to put people into detention camps?

Now even the mainstream media is admitting that during an Ebola panic "people could be detained for long periods, merely on a suspicion they might have been exposed to some pathogen." As you will read about below, federal law contains some very vague provisions which could be used to indefinitely quarantine large numbers of Americans in the event of a significant Ebola outbreak in the United States. So where would all of those people be put? Certainly they would not be mixed in with prison populations, and our hospitals would only be able to handle a very limited number of Ebola patients. Once our medical facilities are overwhelmed, it is inevitable that those that have Ebola or that are suspected of having Ebola would be housed in temporary holding centers, tent cities, sports stadiums, old military bases and FEMA camps. Of course strict measures would be taken to ensure that the quarantine is not broken. So no matter what official name is given to these facilities, they would in essence be prison camps. No unauthorized personnel would be going in or out. And since the federal government already has the power to round up and detain anyone "reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease", the potential for abuse is staggering.

FAA issues a no-fly zone over Ferguson, Missouri due to protests

On Tuesday, a freelance journalist noticed that a no-fly zone had been issued over Ferguson, Missouri, the site of the recent protests over police violence.

Residents have taken to the streets to express their anger at the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old shot dead by a police officer there. Witnesses allege that Brown was innocent and doing nothing but jaywalking, while police officials have stayed vague on the topic. In recent days, the protests have become violent, with police officers using rubber bullets and tear gas to quell unrest.

The reason listed on the Federal Aviation Commission's website for the no-fly zone over the city is "TO PROVIDE A SAFE ENVIRONMENT FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITIES."
Ferguson no fly zone

Comment: For more on the Michael Brown murder see: