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Christmas Tree

Tuning out: Drug use among college students rising, 6 percent use marijuana daily

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© Cliff DesPeaux / Reuters
The number of US college students regularly smoking marijuana has reached the highest point since 1980, a new study has found. Daily or near-daily marijuana use was reported by 5.9 percent of college kids in 2014— up from 3.5 percent in 2007.

It means that one in every 17 college students surveyed by University of Michigan researchers for the 'Monitoring the Future' nationwide study smokes marijuana on a daily/near-daily basis, defined as use on 20 or more occasions in the prior 30 days.

The percent using marijuana once or more in the prior 30 days rose from 17 percent in 2006 to 21 percent in 2014. Use in the prior 12 months rose from 30 percent in 2006 to 34 percent in 2014. Both of these measures leveled in 2014, according to the study. The annual survey has been reporting on US college students' substance use of all kinds for 35 years.

"It's clear that for the past seven or eight years there has been an increase in marijuana use among the nation's college students," the study's main author Lloyd Johnston said. "And this largely parallels an increase we have been seeing among high school seniors."

Researchers attribute the increase to the fact that marijuana use has recently come to be perceived as dangerous by fewer adolescents and young adults. While 55 percent of all high school graduates aged between 19 and 22 saw regular marijuana use as dangerous in 2006, only 35 percent considered it as such by 2014.

Magic Wand

New guidelines urge police to use psychics and clairvoyants for help in solving cases

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Police officers hunting for missing people should "not rule out" any tip-offs from witches, psychics and clairvoyants, according to new official guidelines.

In a consultation document from the College of Policing (COP), which lists new guidelines on how police should handle inquiries on missing persons, officers are urged to examine a psychic's methods and "accredited success" before heeding their supernatural advice.

The consultation, which runs until October 9, aims to offer official guidance for police officers and support them in missing person's investigations.

"Any information received from psychics should be evaluated in the context of the case, and should never become a distraction to the overall investigation and search strategy unless it can be verified," the consultation paper said.

Eye 1

Predators abound: Christian Academy co-founder charged with allowing sex offender to work around students and covering it up

© WTVD/screen grab
Freedom Christian Academy co-founder Joan Ellen
Freedom Christian Academy co-founder Joan Ellen Dayton was expected enter a plea on Tuesday to charges that she knowingly allowed a sex offender to work around students and then tried to cover it up.

According to the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office in North Carolina, Dayton violated the Sex Offender Registration Act by "aiding and abetting the violations committed by Paul Conner of being on school property," the Fayetteville Observer reported.

Investigators said that Dayton allowed Conner to work at Freedom Christian Academy during the 2011-12 academic year while his wife was working as a teacher. The sheriff's office was notified after a parent discovered that Conner was a sex offender.

Dayton surrendered herself at the sheriff's office on Monday. She was charged with three Sex Offender Registration Act violations, including conspiracy to allow a sex offender on protected premises.

"There's a duty, particularly on the school principal - a statute that provides a duty for persons who are aware of a sex offender violating the registration act," Cumberland County Sheriff's Office attorney Ronnie Mitchell told the Observer. "Their duty is to report that. Not to cover that up. And so a failure to make that report to law enforcement is itself a separate felony."

2 + 2 = 4

Nebraska Teacher's union attacks new school board member for homeschooling children

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The Lincoln, Nebraska teacher's union is stirring criticism against a newly elected conservative board member after he decided to homeschool his children, despite initial plans to send them to public schools.

Newly elected school board member Matt Schulte wrote in a Journal Star questionnaire during his campaign that he planned to send his two oldest children to Maxey Elementary this school year. Schulte's wife, Kristin, is a teacher and the couple homeschooled their oldest son through first grade, according to the news site.

But Schulte, who runs a local education nonprofit called Campus Life, later decided against the move and explained why in a statement to the Journal Star.

"After much thought and prayer we have decided not to send out two oldest children to public school this year," he wrote. "This does not reflect in any way on the quality of education (Lincoln Public Schools) provides, but is clearly the best educational choice for our children."

Comment: Common Core idiocy triggers homeschooling surge in North Carolina


Nuke

'Political rhetoric, not science': Greenpeace slams IAEA Fukushima report

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© Damir Sagolj / Reuters
Greenpeace has lashed out against the conclusions of IAEA's latest report on the Fukushima disaster, calling the claim that radioactive exposure is "unlikely" to result in increased thyroid cancer risk in children a political rhetoric rather than science.

On Monday, IAEA said that despite uncertainties about the radiation doses incurred by children immediately after the accident, "an increase in childhood thyroid cancer attributable to the accident is unlikely."

READ MORE: Child cancers 'attributable' to Fukushima disaster 'unlikely' to increase - IAEA

On Tuesday, Greenpeace slammed the conclusions of the UN body as being 'political rhetoric'.

"Nobody knows how much radiation citizens were exposed to in the immediate days following the disaster. If you don't know the doses, then you can't conclude there won't be any consequences. To say otherwise is political rhetoric, not science," said Kendra Ulrich, senior global energy campaigner with Greenpeace Japan.

Part of the reason why no solid data is available regarding the potential exposure of the civilian population, as IAEA notes, resulted from the chaos and unpreparedness of the authorities to deal with and document the radiological impact of the March 2011 industrial disaster. Besides security and design "weaknesses" at the nuclear facility, IAEA also noted the government's failure to swiftly and uniformly distribute stable iodine to block radiological effects in humans.

Family

The number of ultra-poor Americans has doubled in the last 20 years

If you've been paying attention to the economy for the past seven years or so, you've probably been wondering when the whole charade is going to come crashing down. When will all of those inflated markets and debts reach their apex, and start crumbling under the weight of economic reality, and leave us all destitute? There have been plenty of predictions, but none have truly come to fruition.

Well the truth of the matter is that there may not be a single day when everything grinds to a halt, and there's plenty of evidence to suggest that our standard of living is crumbling in slow motion. For many Americans the end has already arrived, and their ranks are growing a little more every day. In fact, the number of Americans that are earning what amounts to a third world wage, has doubled over the past 20 years.

Hearts

State of Connecticut is providing housing for all its chronically homeless veterans

Positive news! Officials of Connecticut announced last Thursday that the state has officially become the first in the nation to provide housing for every one of its chronically homeless veterans.

No doubt national and state officials are celebrating the monumental achievement after having set a goal earlier on to end veteran homelessness by the end of 2015.

The Connecticut Department of Housing, the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness (CCEH), and other nonprofits and volunteers who spent time on the streets identifying homeless veterans played a major role in the state's coordinated efforts.

Said Lisa Tepper Bates, executive director of CCEH:
This means that all known chronically homeless veterans are housed or are on the immediate path to housing and any veteran who newly enters homelessness will be rapidly put on the path to permanent housing.

Comment: Hopefully other states will follow the example set, because the way that most veterans are treated in this country is truly inhumane. This treatment demonstrates quite clearly that the U.S. government, despite its proclamations in support of the troops, cares very little for those who have given everything for the country.


Quenelle

Illinois is so broke it pays lottery winners in IOU's

© Getty Images
Much as Brazil is the poster child for the great EM unwind unfolding across emerging economies from LatAm to AsiaPac, Illinois is in many ways the mascot for America's state and local government fiscal crisis.

Although well documented before, the state's financial troubles were thrown into sharp relief in May when, on the heels of a state Supreme Court ruling that struck down a pension reform bid, Moody's downgraded the city of Chicago to junk.

Since then, there's been quite a bit written about the state's pension problem and indeed, Reuters ran a special report earlier this month that outlined the labyrinthine, incestuous character of the state's various state and local governments.

On Friday, in the latest sign that Illinois' budget crisis has deepened, Governor Bruce Rauner apparently fired "superstar" budget guru and Laffer disciple Donna Arduin who had been making some $30,000 a month as an economic consultant.

And while Illinois apparently found the cash to fork over six figures to Arduin for just four months of "work", the budget stalemate means hard times for Illinoisans - including, apparently, lottery winners. The Chicago Tribune has more:

Pistol

Texas police shoot and kill unarmed man with his hands in the air

© KSATV-TV
A Texas news station published unedited video showing the moment that a man who had put his hands up was fatally shot outside a home in an officer-involved shooting.

KSAT-TV in San Antonio reported that 41-year-old Gilbert Flores was confronted by Bexar County deputies Greg Vasquez and Robert Sanchez. Video shows a patrol vehicle with its lights on outside the home as the two officers approach Flores from the right of the screen, separated from the suspect by two other vehicles parked along the street.

Flores then comes out from behind the vehicle, appears to start to walk away, then comes back.

He appears to have both arms in the air just before crouching his upper body inward, then falling backward and hitting the ground. Each of the two deputies react by taking a few steps back toward the street. Moments later, another patrol vehicle arrives on the scene and an ambulance arrives on the scene about three minutes later.

Comment: The epidemic of police killing people with little or no provocation in the U.S. continues unabated. No matter the public outcry, these brutal actions are consistently covered up and police officers are given a free pass for their actions in most cases. In contrast, police in Norway rarely use their guns and it has been almost 10 years since anyone in law enforcement there shot and killed someone. Perhaps police should be following their example, rather than training to learn the brutal methods of the Israelis.


Heart - Black

Alleged rapist of 2-year-old girl walks free after plea deal with prosecutors

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© KIDY
Thomas Boden will serve no jail time after allegedly raping a 2-year-old girl
Activists in San Angelo, Texas this week were protesting after a local prosecutor's plea deal sent an alleged rapist home without jail time or requiring him to register as a sex offender.

In a Facebook post last week, Brittany Lynn Rosser explained that she called 911 in January because her boyfriend, 29-year-old Thomas Boden, was drunk and tried to force her to crash the car she was driving, telling her that they both needed to die.

Rosser said that by the time officers showed up at her home, her daughter was screaming, "My butt, my butt!"

"So I laid her down and opened her diaper to find an enormous amount of blood and a clear vaginal tear," Rosser wrote. "I asked Annabelle what happened and she said, 'Tom hurt me with his hand.' I ran outside screaming and crying, pushed past several cops and asked Thomas if he touches my daughter. He didn't say a word, but had a slight grin on his face."

Comment: Just another sad sign of the rape culture in America and how the system that is supposed to protect the victims is protecting the rapists and giving them far more than they deserve. This man should be in jail for 10 years, not probation.