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Researcher gets death threats after revealing shocking findings about U.S. college athletes

American Football
© The Stir

There are lots of jobs where you might expect to get death threats: a judge, a cop, a divorce lawyer. But never a million years did University of North Carolina learning specialist Mary Willingham expect that her research would inspire so much hate. But it has. What could be so incendiary?

She released data showing that 10% of college football and basketball players read at a 3rd grade level. And 60% of them were only reading between a 4th and 8th grade level. As disheartening as these finding are, I don't see why people are really very surprised or angry.

Willingham spent years tutoring athletes at the school -- which has one of the best athletic programs in the country. So she clearly isn't pulling this research out of thin air. She knows first-hand that many of these gifted ball players can barely read. Not only that, she combed through eight years worth of test scores and found that 25% of them didn't even have the skills to take classes at a community college. "I mean, we may as well just go over to Glenwood Elementary up the street and just let all the 4th graders in here, the third-graders in here," she said.

It's shameful. But the shame does not rest with these athletes. They have done nothing wrong. The blame is on the coaches and the athletic departments that use these kids for their amazing athletic abilities but don't care about preparing them for the world beyond college sports. For that tiny, tiny percent that go on to the pros, they have nothing to worry about. But it's the hundreds of others that are left to fend for themselves after the glory days of college are over.

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The corruption of Britain: UK's key institutions infiltrated by criminals

Scotland Yard
© The Independent, UKSecret report shows how organised crime infiltrated judicial system as well as police with prison service and HM Revenue & Customs also compromised.
The entire criminal justice system was infiltrated by organised crime gangs, according to a secret Scotland Yard report leaked to The Independent.

In 2003 Operation Tiberius found that men suspected of being Britain's most notorious criminals had compromised multiple agencies, including HM Revenue & Customs, the Crown Prosecution Service, the City of London Police and the Prison Service, as well as pillars of the criminal justice system including juries and the legal profession.

The strategic intelligence scoping exercise - "ratified by the most senior management" at the Met - uncovered jurors being bought off or threatened to return not-guilty verdicts; corrupt individuals working for HMRC, both in the UK and overseas; and "get out of jail free cards" being bought for £50,000.

The report states that the infiltration made it almost impossible for police and prosecutors to successfully pursue the organised gangs that police suspected controlled much of the criminal underworld.

The author of "Tiberius", which was compiled from intelligence sources including covert police informants, live telephone intercepts, briefings from the security services and thousands of historical files, came to the desperate conclusion: "Quite how much more damage could be done is difficult to imagine."

The fresh revelations come a day after The Independent revealed that "Tiberius" had concluded the Metropolitan Police suffered "endemic police corruption" at the time, and that some of Britain's most dangerous organised crime syndicates were able to infiltrate New Scotland Yard "at will".

In its conclusions, the report stated: "The true assessment of the damage caused by these corrupt networks is impossible to make at this stage, until further proactive scoping has been undertaken.

Mr. Potato

Polar vortex: 50 people burned in the US trying to turn boiling water into ice

stupid people
US news networks showed the trick where boiling water is supposed to transform into ice mid-air
At least 50 people in the US attempting a trick to turn boiling water into ice have been scalded.

As the country is gripped by freezing temperatures, word has spread that boiling water can turn to ice mid-air.

US news reporters demonstrated the trick on air to illustrate how the country was in the grip of the so-called polar vortex.

"All you have to do is bundle up, get some boiling water, and throw it out in the subzero temperatures and see what happens," said a journalist in the northern state of North Dakota, while a Minneapolis anchor tweeted: "Threw a pot of boiling water in the air. Kids thought it was awesome. Do it, people."


Chemical spill shuts off water to 300K in West Virginia

no water
© WOWKStore shelves as a West Virginia Kroger supermarket were wiped bare of water after a chemical plant spill prompted water advisories
Schools and restaurants closed, grocery stores sold out of bottled water, and state legislators who had just started their session canceled the day's business after a chemical spill in the Elk River in Charleston shut down much of the city and surrounding counties even as the cause and extent of the incident remained unclear.

The federal government joined the state early Friday in declaring a disaster, and the West Virginia National Guard planned to distribute bottled drinking water to emergency services agencies in the nine affected counties.

About 100,000 water customers, or 300,000 people total, were affected, state officials reported.


Dieudonné ban "a victory for French Republic", declares Manuel Valls: Poll shows 95% of France disagrees with Interior Minister, jeered by large crowd in Brittany

Manuel Valls
Translated by

Traveling in Brittany, the Interior Minister has welcomed the decision of the Council of State [Conseil d'État] to prohibit the performance of the comedian in Nantes. "We cannot tolerate hatred," he said.

So Dieudonné did not ultimately play in Nantes on Thursday evening, and the Minister of the Interior can only be happy with himself that his efforts to ban Dieudonné's shows have been successful. "We can not tolerate hatred of the other, racism, anti-Semitism, or Holocaust denial. This is not possible. That's not France," he said as he journeyed onwards from Rennes to Brest, a few minutes after the decision of the State Council.

The highest administrative court in the country has strengthened the government's intention to ban all of Dieudonné's shows. "This is a victory for the Republic," said Manuel Valls. "My fight against this nauseous character continues," added the minister, who also called for Dieudonné's fans who wanted to see the show in Nantes to return home. The minister also said: "The highest court in our country has spoken ​​clearly; it is a victory for the Republic."

The Council of State canceled Thursday night the earlier decision of the Administrative Court of Nantes, confirming for the first time ever the prohibition of a comedy show in France. The Interior Minister Manuel Valls had petitioned to the highest administrative court in France in the afternoon to challenge immediately the decision of the Administrative Court of Nantes.

Comment: And what did the people of France think of Valls' "victory for the Republic"?

[Click to enlarge] This mainstream media poll asked online readers to vote yes or no to the question: 'Dieudonné show ban: Victory for the Republic?' 5,000 people voted; 95% said 'NON!'
Meanwhile Valls has been chased around Brest by an even larger crowd than he encountered getting off the train in Rennes earlier this week:


Enormous warehouse explodes and burns to the ground in San Jose, California

An 80,000 square foot San Jose warehouse was rocked by explosions Thursday, sending a massive fireball into the early morning sky, authorities said.

Firefighters were able to gain the upper hand on the dramatic five-alarm blaze after about three hours, a fire captain said.

The fire was reported at a building in the area of East Julian and North 28th streets at 5:37 a.m.

San Jose fire Capt. Cleo Doss said the first crews arrived at 5:43 a.m. He described the warehouse as a roughly 125,000-square-foot building that houses multiple companies.


Best of the Web: Father sentenced to 6 months in jail for paying too much child support

Hall and Son
© FOX 26 HoustonClifford Hall will go to jail for 6 months for doing too much for his son.
A father will spend half of 2014 behind bars for doing too much for his son. After overpaying child support and seeing his son too often - breaking terms that were secretly modified without his knowledge - a judge sentenced him to a lengthy jail sentence.

Clifford Hall has been doing his best to give care to his 11-year-old son, who lives with his ex-wife. He pays his child support and visits regularly. "I'm his father it's my responsibility to take care of him," Hall said.

Last November, his child support payments were paid in full. Sometime between then and now, the child support agreement between Hall and his wife was modified without his knowledge.

Hall wound up overpaying by $3,000, a fact that Harris County District Court Judge Lisa Millard found contemptible.

Another term that was modified without his knowledge was his visitation schedule. Subsequently, Hall was found to have over-visited his son.

Judge Millard ended up finding Hall in contempt of court.

When she said I remand you to the Harris County Jail for 180 days my mouth just dropped," Hall told FOX 26 Houston.

Comment: This is a perfect example of what happens when psychopathic 'morality' infects a society and turns most of the population, and especially the 'authorities', into half-wits, exactly as Lobaczewski described in Political Ponerology.

UPDATE: According to another report, Hall didn't pay too much child support - he caught up on back-payments that he claims he didn't know he owed as soon as he found out about them. At the above link we read:
When Hall and his unidentified ex-wife were in Judge Lisa Millard's court last November, Hall didn't owe anything.

"Opposing counsel testified twice that he's all paid up," Elam told the news station. [...]
In the video above, they note that the judge said Hall walked out of court after being held in contempt - not that he was held in contempt because he walked out.

Thus, it still appears, as of now, to be rather unjust.


Homeless in the U.S.: From the Pentagon to life in a van

© Press TVAs of January 2012, more than 60,000 veterans were homeless.
After a 30-year military career in which he earned three graduate degrees, rose to the rank of colonel, and served as an aide to Pentagon brass, Robert Freniere can guess what people might say when they learn he's unemployed and lives out of his van:

Why doesn't this guy get a job as a janitor?

Freniere answers his own question: "Well, I've tried that."

Freniere, 59, says that his plea for help, to a janitor he once praised when the man was mopping the floors of his Washington office, went unfulfilled. So have dozens of job applications, he says, the ones he has filled out six hours a day, day after day, on public library computers.

So Freniere, a man who braved multiple combat zones and was hailed as "a leading light" by an admiral, is now fighting a new battle: homelessness.

"You stay calm. That's what we were trained for when I went through survival training," he said recently in King of Prussia, where he had parked his blue minivan, the one crammed with all his possessions and held together with duct tape.

As of January 2012, more than 60,000 veterans were homeless, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Reducing that number has been a priority for the Obama administration - and the number of homeless veterans dropped 24 percent nationwide from 2009 to 2013. In Pennsylvania, however, it jumped 46 percent, to more than 1,400.

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Animal rights fliers shock Italian researchers

Animal Rights Flier
© A Favore della Sperimentazione AnimaleTarget. A flier distributed in Milan showed Alberto Corsini's home address and phone number (blurred out in this picture).
The battle over animal experimentation in Italy took a nasty turn this week when anonymous activists posted fliers showing photos, home addresses, and telephone numbers of scientists involved in animal research at the University of Milan and labeled them as "murderers." The leaflets, which appeared in the night of 6 to 7 January, triggered widespread condemnation in academic and political circles.

The posters targeted physiologist Edgardo D'Angelo, parasitologist Claudio Genchi, pharmacologist Alberto Corsini, and Maura Francolini, a biologist. The texts say they are "guilty" of performing animal experiments; Corsini is said to "have tortured and killed animals for more than 30 years." His flier ends with his phone number and the suggestion to "call this executioner and tell him what you think of him."

Although the fliers didn't contain a specific call to violence, the implicit threat is unmistakable, Italian scientists say. Pro-Test Italia, an organization that seeks to defend and explain animal research, has likened the campaign to a witch hunt. "It's unacceptable that those who work for the good of science and public health are called murderers by someone who publicly incites violence against them," says Dario Padovan, a biologist and coordinator of Pro-Test Italia's scientific committee.


Dutch pension giant divests millions from Israeli banks involved in settlement construction

The largest Dutch pension fund company, PGGM, has reportedly chosen to withdraw all its investments from the five largest Israeli banks, whose branches are involved in financing construction in the settlements in the West Bank.

© AFP Photo/Jaafar AshtiyehJewish settlements near the West Bank village of Burin
Over the past few months the Dutch pension giant has informed some of Israel's top banks, such as Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot, the First International Bank of Israel and Israel Discount Bank, that their ties with the settlements, and/or companies involved in construction there, were an obstacle from the standpoint of international law, a source told Haaretz.

PGGM's stance is based on an International Court of Justice ruling, which in 2004 concluded that the barrier being built around the West Bank was illegal and should be pulled down, with the "security wall" violating the rights of Palestinians.