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Sun, 17 Oct 2021
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Utah is on track to end homelessness by 2015 with this one simple idea

© Unknown
Give them an apartment first, ask questions later.

Utah has reduced its rate of chronic homelessness by 78 percent over the past eight years, moving 2000 people off the street and putting the state on track to eradicate homelessness altogether by 2015. How'd they do it? The state is giving away apartments, no strings attached. In 2005, Utah calculated the annual cost of E.R. visits and jail stays for an average homeless person was $16,670, while the cost of providing an apartment and social worker would be $11,000.

Each participant works with a caseworker to become self-sufficient, but if they fail, they still get to keep their apartment. Other states are eager to emulate Utah's results. Wyoming has seen its homeless population more than double in the past three years, and it only provides shelter for 26 percent of them, the lowest rate in the country. City officials in Casper, Wyoming, now plan to launch a pilot program using the methods of Utah's Housing First program. There's no telling how far the idea might go.


Daily horror-show of police brutality in the USA: Houston Police Dept getting away with murder

© Deric Muhammad
Sebastian Prevot
Sebastian Prevot watched helplessly as three police officers advanced on his wife. Prevot was handcuffed and bleeding in the back of a cop car. Half of his left ear dangled where it had been torn from his head. The Houston Police Department doesn't deny that its officers gave Prevot these injuries during a late-night arrest in January 2012. The only dispute is whether he earned them.

Prevot had been returning home from a night out with a friend. He was two miles from his house when he stopped just past the white line at a four-way stop sign. Two officers in a patrol car tried to pull him over, but he kept driving. Prevot says he didn't want to pull over and continued home - "going the speed limit, stopping at every stop sign" - because he knew he was about to be detained and have his car impounded.

"My kids had to go to school in the morning," he told me. "My wife had to go to work."

Prevot sits across from me in a noisy McDonald's at dusk. He's 30, married, with three little boys. In 2009 Prevot was one semester away from getting his bachelor's degree in marketing when his wife, Annika Lewis, was promoted at her job with AT&T, and the family moved to Houston from Lafayette, Louisiana. Now he takes care of his sons, ages 7, 5, and 4, coaches youth sports and looks for work. His left ear still bears a crosshatching of paler brown where an emergency room doctor stitched it up on January 27, 2012, the night he should have stopped.

Comment: That's precisely the problem - these out of control cops evidently have no qualms about what they do, so no, they don't "feel bad". And they're protected by an establishment that "feels" exactly the same way. That is, they don't "feel" anything at all for the suffering of others.

Heart - Black

Neighborhood Grinches stealing packages from homes

If you didn't receive all the Christmas packages you were expecting, try checking security camera,s because there might just be a neighborhood grinch on the loose.

'Tis the season when wannabe Grinches treat online deliveries to front porches like an open grab bag sort of buffet of unattended gifts. For example, two thieves in Utah were caught on surveillance tape casually strolling away with more than a half dozen packages that had just been delivered.

In Michigan, a thief in a less than stealth bright orange sweatshirt stole a teacher's Christmas gift to her students.

"Shame on him," teacher Amy Campbell said. "To come and not only take something that doesn't belong to him, but to steal from 60 kids!"

The Postal Service estimates 16.5 billion cards and packages will be shipped in the month before Christmas.

Gina Chau said she wondered why her order didn't show up as scheduled last Friday. Turns out a Grinch got to her front porch before she could.

"My heart just dropped," Chau told ABC News after she reviewed her home surveillance cameras.

Book 2

Pastor officiated son's gay wedding, defrocked by Methodist Church

United Methodist church officials defrocked a pastor from central Pennsylvania on Thursday who violated religious doctrine by officiating his son's gay wedding, and he later said he was shocked by their decision, calling his involvement in the wedding an "act of love."

Frank Schaefer immediately appealed the penalty, which he believed was meted out reluctantly by many members of the regional Board of Ordained Ministry.

"So many of them came to me and they shook my hand and some hugged me, and so many of them had tears in their eyes," Schaefer said. "They said, 'We really don't want to do this, you know that, don't you?'"

John Coleman, a spokesman for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the denomination, said Schaefer left the board no choice after defying the order of a religious jury by refusing to resign.

"When asked to surrender his credentials as required by the verdict, he refused to do so," Coleman said. "Therefore, because of his decision, the board was compelled by the jury's decision to deem his credentials surrendered."


Target says 40 million credit, debit cards may have been compromised in security breach

© Unknown
Target Corp. is confronting a security breach that potentially exposed the credit and debit cards of 40 million customers who purchased merchandise between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, the company said in a statement early Thursday morning.

"Target's first priority is preserving the trust of our guests and we have moved swiftly to address this issue, so guests can shop with confidence. We regret any inconvenience this may cause," the statement said.

The Minneapolis-based company did not respond to requests Wednesday for comment on the extent of the data theft, which was first disclosed in an online report by Brian Krebs, a journalist who specializes in computer security.

Target said that it has "identified and resolved the issue" that allowed the security breach.

A spokeswoman for American Express confirmed the breach in an interview with the Star Tribune, and the Secret Service confirmed to the Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press that it has begun its own investigation.

"We're working with Target on this," Marina Norville, an American Express spokeswoman, said Wednesday. "It's an investigation right now. We've put fraud controls in place."

On his website, Krebs quoted unnamed sources as saying the computer breach occurred on or around Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and one of the year's busiest shopping days. It may have continued until Dec. 6 or Dec. 15, sources told Krebs, involving transactions in stores but not online purchases.

Stock Down

Bitcoin tumbles after PBOC rumors confirmed

The earlier rumors have been confirmed: People's Bank of China told more than 10 third-party payment service providers yesterday not to give clearing services to online Bitcoin exchanges, China Business News reports, citing a central bank meeting with the companies. This news is pressuring Bitcoin to $678 (on Mt.Gox) but more notably, BTC China rates imply a $588 equivalent price - down 57% from its highs. From a $100-plus premium, BTC China now trades $130 cheap to Mt.Gox as the 'arb' flips.

Arrow Down

In Michigan, the meaning of 'rape insurance'

The Michigan state legislature yesterday finished passing a bill that requires women to buy separate coverage ahead of time for abortion if they want to have coverage for it at all. The measure applies to private health insurance, and it has no exceptions for rape or incest.

For that reason, opponents have been calling the new plan "rape insurance," which is tough terminology, to be sure. As we've seen in places like Virginia, what you call something really matters.

Arrow Down

European boycott of death penalty drugs lowers rate of U.S. executions

© Pat Sullivan/AP
Boycott on the export of anaesthetics to US corrections departments has seen a succession of states running out of their primary lethal drugs supplies.

New Death Penalty Information Center report claims there were 39 executions this year - the lowest number since 1994

The European-led boycott of medical drugs used by U.S. corrections departments to execute prisoners is having such an impact that it has driven the number of executions to an almost all-time low, a leading authority on the death penalty has concluded.

The year-end report for 2013 from the Death Penalty Information Center, based in Washington, records that there were 39 executions this year - only the second time since 1994 that the number has fallen below 40. The report says a major factor behind the slump in judicial killings has been the difficulty states that still practice the death penalty are encountering in finding a consistent means of ending life.

California, Arkansas and North Carolina have all had effective moratoriums for the past seven years because they have failed to settle on a workable lethal injection protocol. Several other states are turning to untested drugs or to lethal medicines improvised in single batches by so-called "compounding pharmacies" that are not subject to federal regulations.

"The goal-posts keep shifting under the death penalty states," said Richard Dieter, director of the Death Penalty Information Center and lead author of the report. "As soon as they move to a new protocol, the boycott spreads."


India urges USA to drop case against its female diplomat

Student Protests
© AFP Photo
Members of The All India Students Federation (AISF) protest in front of the US consulate in Hyderabad on December 19, 2013, following the arrest of New York-based Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade
India Thursday urged the United States to drop the case against a female diplomat who was arrested and strip-searched and apologise for her "terrible" treatment, ratcheting up pressure in the blistering diplomatic row.

US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed "regret" over the episode in New York, and India's Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid said he hoped the "valuable relationship" with Washington would soon return to an even keel.

But in a sign of the bruised pride and humiliation felt in India, Khurshid reiterated calls for the visa fraud case against the diplomat to be withdrawn and branded her treatment as "terrible".

"We have asked for the case to be dropped and withdrawn ... we are not convinced that there are legitimate grounds for pursuing it," Khurshid told foreign journalists.

"I cannot believe if a US senator was arrested he would be put through this behaviour....I would rather not prejudge. Let us allow the American government to respond."

Kerry tried to end the row in a phone call to India's national security adviser on Wednesday, expressing regret and stressing concern that the issue not be allowed to hurt a "vital relationship."

Comment: American empire's treatment of arrested people are barbaric. Interestingly, every body is protesting about the treatment of one indian diplomat but not about countless other victims. It's all because of coming general election and no indian political party wants to lose woman vote bank. After elections, neither ruling party nor the opposition party cares for it. US knows about it and trying to pacify Indians with comments of regret for now. It is politics as usual folks!.

Eye 1

U.S. Border Patrol: Degrading people, one body cavity at a time.

drug-sniffing dog
In a case eerily similar to David Eckert's humiliating ordeal at the hands of cops in Deming, New Mexico, a federal lawsuit charges U.S. Border Patrol agents with subjecting a U.S. citizen to six hours of degrading and fruitless body cavity searches based on an alleged alert by a drug-sniffing dog.

The lawsuit, filed yesterday by the ACLU chapters in Texas and New Mexico, says the plaintiff, a 54-year-old New Mexico resident identified in the complaint as Jane Doe, was crossing the bridge between Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and El Paso after visiting a family friend last December when she was chosen at random for "additional screening."

This "secondary inspection" involved a pat-down during which an agent "inserted her finger in the crevice of Ms. Doe's buttocks" - a rather startling incursion inasmuch as the agents at this point had no basis to suspect that the woman was carrying contraband. But they were just getting started.

Comment: As long as society allows such dehumanizing practices to continue, perhaps it should cease describing itself as 'civilized'. Once you know, your silence becomes complicity.