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Concerned Kentucky mother confronts Obama about losing her health care plan

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© Youtube
Rebecca, a Kentucky mother who lost her health care plan and her son’s medical specialist due to Obamacare.
During a Friday Google+ Q&A session broadcast on YouTube, President Barack Obama was confronted by a Kentucky mother who says she lost her health care plan and her son's medical specialist due to Obamacare.

"I'm probably not the only one whose had really a panicked experience lately trying to figure out if my 10-year-old son can continue with his specialist or not," the woman, Rebecca, said. "I know that I can't keep my plan - which I liked - but as I'm trying to figure out what to do going forward, I've spent weeks with days on the phone getting confidently delivered wrong answers, conflicting information."

"It's becoming quite obvious to me that a lot of agencies, almost everyone I've talked to, is having a lot of trouble figuring out the new rules," the mother continued.

She expressed concern that some average Americans who haven't put in as much "leg work" as she has are going to have an even harder time figuring out the new regulations.

Handcuffs

California firefighter aiding victims of car crash detained by police for blocking traffic with firetruck

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KMFB-TV reported that the firefighter got into a dispute with an officer about where fire engines should be parked at a crash site on Interstate 805.

Authorities said the officer told firefighters to move three engines from the fast lane but only two complied.

The other firefighter refused and continued giving aid to victims of a rollover crash, the station reported.

The station shot video that showed the California Highway Patrol officer handcuffing the firefighter, identified as 36-year-old Jacob Gregoire, as emergency crews and police assist the victims.

The 12-year veteran firefighter was held in the back of a CHP cruiser for a half hour before he was released, the station reported.

Handcuffs

Cops chemical spray and tackle young man asking for a spare nickel to board train

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Since when did simply asking a question justify police brutality?

A 21-year-old man is considering legal action against the Metro Transit Police in Washington D.C. after he was hit in the face with a chemical spray in November for panhandling at the Dupont Circle Station, Fox 5 reported.

Damian Barnes had just begun a new job in the city's Dupont Circle neighborhood when on his way home via the Metro, he put his smarTrip card into the machine to discover he only had 15 cents left on the card.

After adding the dollar bill in his pocket to the card value he learned he was still a nickel short, caught by video footage, so he began asking customers for a coin.

"Knowing that it's only five cents, I'm quite embarrassed to even ask. So I'm keeping my distance away from people, 'Do you think maybe you can spare a quarter or five cents, so I can get home?" Barnes told Fox 5 he asked.

The video surveillance than shows a Metro Transit Police officer arriving on the scene and having a brief conversation with Barnes. The officer then is seen applying chemical spray to Barnes' face and tackling him to the ground.

Bad Guys

Woman executed in Texas for 1998 torture killing

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© Texas Department of Criminal Justice / AP Photo
This handout image provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows capital murder defendant Suzanne Basso. On Wednesday, Feb 5, 2014 Basso, 59, is scheduled to die for for the torture slaying of Louis “Buddy” Musso, a mentally impaired man near Houston more than 15 years ago.
A woman convicted of torturing and killing a mentally impaired man she lured to Texas with the promise of marriage was put to death Wednesday evening in a rare execution of a female prisoner.

The lethal injection of Suzanne Basso, 59, made the New York native only the 14th woman executed in the U.S. since the Supreme Court in 1976 allowed capital punishment to resume. Almost 1,400 men have been put to death during that time.

Before being put to death, Basso told a warden who stood near her, "No sir," when asked to make a final statement. She appeared to be holding back tears, then smiled at two friends watching through a window. She mouthed a brief word to them and nodded.

As the lethal dose of pentobarbital took effect, Basso, dressed in a white prison uniform, began to snore. Her deep snoring became less audible and eventually stopped.

She was pronounced dead at 6:26 p.m. CST, 11 minutes after the drug was administered.

Basso was sentenced to die for the 1998 slaying of 59-year-old Louis "Buddy" Musso, whose battered and lacerated body, washed with bleach and scoured with a wire brush, was found in a ditch outside Houston. Prosecutors said Basso had made herself the beneficiary of Musso's insurance policies and took over his Social Security benefits after luring him from New Jersey.

Eye 1

Welsh cop awarded half a million quid compensation 'for ridicule he suffered at hands of colleagues' after he smashed in pensioner's car window - disabled victim received £20,000

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Former PC Mike Baillon was awarded more than £400,000 compensation at a Cardiff hearing today. He says he had to leave Gwent Police over ridicule from this video of him attacking a Range Rover

A police officer who chased and then smashed a pensioner's car window has won £440,000 after a tribunal found he left his job after becoming a "laughing stock" among his colleagues when a video of the incident appeared online.

Mike Baillon, who has now left the police, said he was ridiculed by fellow officers on a daily basis after video of him smashing the window of a car driven by 74-year-old disabled pensioner Robert Whatley went viral.

He took his former force, Gwent police, to a tribunal saying he had been constructively dismissed and had been removed from front line duties after the incident. The tribunal awarded him £430,000 for the loss of pension he would have got had he retired after 30 years service, plus £10,000 for the wages he lost since leaving the force.

In 2009, police stopped Whatley for not wearing a seat belt as he drove a range rover near Usk, South Wales.

Whatley was being issued with a fixed penalty notice by police when he drove off. He claimed he thought the officers had finished, and he wanted to get home and take medication for his heart and for a stroke he had suffered.

A police car pursued Whatley as he drove through country lanes for over 15 minutes, with sirens blaring.

Brick Wall

No Criminal Charges Against TSA Agent Over 'Sexual Assault' Pat-Down At DIA‏

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© CBS
The Denver District Attorney's Office has declined to file criminal charges against a female Transportation Security Administration agent at Denver International Airport after a passenger complained the pat-down she received amounted to sexual assault.

"I felt sick to my stomach," said Jamelyn Steenhoek, 39, when she learned Wednesday that Denver prosecutors were no longer pursuing her complaint and would not be filing criminal charges.

Magnify

"The politicians had to obey the crowd": interview on the protests in Kiev

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© Unknown
This interview with a comrade from the Autonomous Workers' Union in Kiev was done on January 28, 2014. It sheds some light on the events around the Maidan: the array of reasons behind the protests, their focus on the hated president, the differences to the "orange revolution", the role of the right, the weakness of social struggles and possible scenarios.

Q: Looking at the pictures from Kiev (for instance, here) it seems that all kinds of people are at the barricades. In your opinion, what brings them together? What do the people at the barricades and all the supporters discuss? Merely the practical issues of the fight against the cops? Or are there assemblies, or other forms of "organized" debates, at the barricades or elsewhere?

A: The main motive for the protests right now is extreme unpopularity of the president. Of course, the actual reasons are economic crisis, social inequality, corruption, decay of social services, poverty, unemployment - the usual set of grievances which make people go into the streets these days. This is not a leftist dogma; people do speak about all these issues. But nevertheless the force which made them stop grumbling at their kitchens and protest loudly is their feelings towards president Yanukovich. The demand of president's resignation is the ultimate one; unfortunately, this is the most radical thing people can actually think about.

The second thing is the sheer hatred towards the police forces. But then again, protesters just don't think there's anything wrong with the fact that one of the leaders of the protests - Yuriy Lutsenko - himself used to be Minister of the Interior; during that time Berkut and other special police forces existed as usual, and Lutsenko himself had announced that he would disperse protesting crowds with tear gas. So, here, too, protest against police as such (it has extremely bad reputation among all social classes here) is channeled into relatively harmless direction.

The president, his government and police are main subjects of discussions, I guess. Protesters' main task, as they see it, is to get rid of the Party of Regions, that's all. A small fraction talks about shifting the balance of power in the constitution from president to parliament. But of course, the main topics are indeed the practical matters - tear gas, food, shields, Molotov cocktails, tactics of street battles, and endless rumors - about the imminent threat of introducing the state of emergency, about snipers and riot police (whether they are Russians or not, whether they intend to fight any longer etc.).

About the assemblies - no, I don't know anything of the sort. The situation is too dynamic and unstable to do any such things, I guess; so, I don't see any forms of direct democracy evolving at the barricades right now.

Bizarro Earth

Up to 82,000 tons of toxic coal ash spilled into North Carolina river from 'antiquated' storage pit

© Appalachian Voices
The Dan River's banks are coated with coal ash and the river runs dark grey a day after the spill began.
A stormwater pipe under an unlined coal ash pond at a shuttered plant in Eden, North Carolina, burst Sunday afternoon - draining tens of thousands of tons of coal ash into the Dan River.

Duke Energy, which owns the Dan River Steam Station, retired since 2012, estimates that 50,000 to 82,000 tons of coal ash and up to 27 million gallons of water were released from the 27-acre storage pond. The leak has at least temporarily been stopped, while Duke works on a more permanent solution. Coal ash is a toxic waste byproduct from burning coal, usually stored with water in large ponds.

The closest community at risk from the spill is Danville, Virginia, which takes its water from the Dan River about six miles downstream of the pond. No water quality issues have been reported so far.

"This is the latest, loudest alarm bell yet that Duke should not be storing coal ash in antiquated pits near our state's waterways," Frank Holleman, an attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) told the Charlotte Business Journal.

Whistle

School administrator admits having sexual relationship with 14-year-old student... after the victim confronted her 15 years later and posted her 'confession'

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Arrested: Andrea Cardosa, 40, turned herself into police after a warrant was issued for her arrest.
A female school administrator in California who was accused in a viral YouTube video of sexually abusing a student has admitted to police that she had an inappropriate relationship with her the victim, starting with she was just 14.

Andrea Cardosa, 40, was arrested Monday when she turned herself into the Riverside County Sheriff's Office - more than two weeks after she was publicly accused by Jamie Carrillo.

Police began investigating Cardosa, an assistant principal at Alhambra High School in Los Angeles County, Ms Carrillo - now 28 - posted a YouTube video in which she accused Cardosa of abusing her for several years, starting when she was a 14-year-old student in 1999.

The video included a recording of a phone call in which Cardosa appears to admit having a sexual relationship with Ms Carrillo when she was teenage student.

Ms Carrillo posted the clip on January 17 and it made national headlines. Cardosa resigned from her job at the school the same day.

Since then, a second former student of Cardosa's - 18-year-old Brianna Govea - came forward to say she was sexually assaulted, a well. That abuse, Ms Govea claims, took place from 2009 until 2010.

Handcuffs

Texas teen suffering 'affluenza' avoids jail again

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© LM Otero/AP
Ethan Couch in court in Fort Worth, Texas, where Judge Jean Boyd again decided against sending him to jail.
The Texas teenager who avoided prison after a psychologist described him as suffering from "affluenza" has been ordered by a judge to attend an undisclosed rehabilitation facility.

Ethan Couch was given ten years' probation last December for killing four people and seriously injuring two while driving drunk. On Wednesday, district judge Jean Boyd again did not issue any jail time and assigned him to the centre in a court hearing that was closed to the media.

The sentence handed out by Boyd last year outraged the victims' families and the case attracted national attention after a psychologist called by the defence testified that the teenager had "affluenza", indicating that his behavioural problems were influenced by a troubled upbringing in a wealthy family where privilege prevented him from grasping the consequences of his actions.

Critics said the outcome was an egregious example of a justice system that treats the rich and the poor differently.