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US: Obama Declares 'National Emergency' for Action on Jobs Plan

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© AP Photo Close
'We've been grappling with a crisis for three years,' Obama told the crowd in North Carolina.
President Barack Obama opened the sixth day of his jobs push Wednesday with a campaign-style rally at North Carolina State University, saying the country is in the midst of a "national emergency" that requires Congress to act swiftly on his $447 billion plan.

Against the backdrop of more negative poll numbers and two special-election losses for Democrats, Obama called on thousands of college students assembled in the steamy Reynolds Coliseum to mobilize behind the plan, a mix of tax cuts and government spending on infrastructure, jobs programs and construction projects.

The 26-minute speech before a crowd of more than 9,000 echoed his remarks in previous days, with a slightly sharper critique of congressional Republicans for suggesting that they don't want to give Obama a political "win" and pass his proposal.

Dollar

US: President Obama's Tax On Soup Kitchens

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© The Hindu
Yesterday, it was announced that an astounding 1 in 6 Americans are living in poverty. President Obama's response? To demand a tax on donations to soup kitchens and other charities that help people desperately in need. The President's proposal will impact approximately 40% of all the tax deductible contributions, and essentially penalize soup kitchens, hospitals, and churches that provide essential services to those who need them most. It's no wonder this tax hike has been rejected on both sides of the aisle.

Stormtrooper

UK: Internet Troll Jailed After Mocking Deaths of Teenagers

Sean Duffy targeted Facebook tribute pages and posted videos on YouTube taunting the dead victims and their families

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© Press Association
Natasha MacBryde and Jordan Cooper, two of the teenagers whose deaths were mocked by Duffy.
An internet troll who posted videos and messages mocking the deaths of teenagers, including a girl hit by a train, has been jailed.

Sean Duffy, 25, targeted Facebook tribute pages and posted videos on YouTube taunting the dead and their families.

Among his victims was Natasha MacBryde, 15, who died instantly when hit by a passenger train near her home in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire.

The day after Natasha's death in February, Duffy posted comments including "I fell asleep on the track lolz" on the Facebook tribute page created by her brother James, 17.

Four days later he created a YouTube video called "Tasha the Tank Engine" featuring her face superimposed on to the front of the fictional engine.

Duffy, who is unemployed and did not know any of his victims, pleaded guilty to two counts of sending malicious communications relating to Natasha.

Sheriff

US: Feds Wrongly Raid Home Of CBS Correspondent In Alameda

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© CBS
CBS News Correspondent Priya David
Some new parents got an unexpected scare Wednesday morning when they awoke to a team of armed Federal Bureau of Investigation agents attempting to raid their home.

CBS News correspondent Priya David and her husband Alex Clemens were at their home with their newborn child on Lina Avenue when they heard a banging on the door just after 7 a.m.

"Our first thought was the neighborhood is on fire," resident Alex Clemens said. "I see what turns out to be eight uniformed, armored, armed officers - four of which are pointing guns through the window at my face."

Info

Armed pirates off West African coast kidnap 23 sailors

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© Getty Images
Somalis sail off the harbour of Berbera in Somalia's breakaway Republic of Somaliland on April 30, 2011.
Armed pirates raided a tanker off the West African coast and kidnapped 23 sailors Wednesday, taking off with the vessel in waters that are increasingly at risk of piracy, an international monitoring group said.

The International Maritime Bureau, which tracks piracy worldwide, said pirates boarded the tanker as it idled about 62 nautical miles from Benin's capital of Cotonou. Pirates struck as the Cyprus-flagged vessel tried to transfer its cargo of crude oil to a Norwegian-registered ship, said Cyrus Mody, a manager at the bureau.

The pirates sailed off with the crew to an unknown location, Mody said.

The ship, called the Mattheos I, had a Filipino crew with Spanish, Peruvian and Ukrainian officers, said Serghios Serghiou, the director of Cyprus' Department of Merchant Shipping.

Eagle

Washington, US: Judge Could Order Striking Tacoma Teachers Back to Work

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© Unknown
Tacoma - Leaders of the Washington state's third-largest school district are asking a judge to order hundreds of striking teachers back to work as thousands of students spend a second day out of class. A Superior Court hearing began Wednesday morning on the Tacoma School District's request for an injunction to order nearly 1,900 teachers back to work. The district contends that public employees cannot legally strike under state law. Tacoma Education Association spokesman Rich Wood says union lawyers will be ready with a response. Classes have been canceled for Tacoma's 28,000 students since the strike began Tuesday. Strike issues include teacher pay, class size and the way the district's teachers are transferred and reassigned. Tacoma teachers had been working without a contract since school started Sept. 1.

About 350 teachers were on the picket lines outside of Jason Lee Middle School Wednesday morning.

"As a teacher though I want my students to challenge the status quo, I want them be advocates for themselves and strong members of the community," said Andy Coon, president of the Tacoma teachers union. "There is a time when we want them to stand up to a bully, and that's what we're doing."

"I think the district is totally not negotiating in good faith," said Elizabeth Cruz, teacher. "They put us in this position."

Eye 2

That was my brother's death you were cheering, you a$$holes

tea party health care debate
© Unknown
To all of those tea-jadist assholes at last night's GOP debate: I don't generally like to use profanity, but I fear that English is above your comprehension level, so in terms you might better understand, may God damn your worthless souls to hell for all eternity.

I had not planned on watching the debate because it conflicted with more important activities, like a new episode of The Closer. But even more importantly, it was being held at a time when I had committed to posting a diary for The Grieving Room. That diary was about the death of my brother from a very painful, uninsured struggle against metastatic cancer.

I had planned to write another separate diary about his journey through what passes for health care in a nation fixated on the profits that that care brings. In a nation where his death was cheered in front of a panel of politicians, none of whom had the decency to object. It is not yet a capital crime in this nation to be uninsured.

Steve worked 14 hours a day building beautiful guitars. Songs will not be sung because he died and will make no more. Thanks to the Republican Party's theft of our national wealth, he barely eked out an existence with financial help from my husband and me. Money for health insurance? Don't be ridiculous.

He was 63. He had to start Social Security early so he could afford to eat. He was too young for Medicare and too male for Medicaid. This nation does not recognize the years he spent working for others and making this economy grow, it only focused on the years he worked for himself, creating instruments of rare beauty.

Handcuffs

US Passenger: Was cuffed, searched over 'appearance'

Shoshana Hebshi
© AP Photo/Supplied by Shoshana Hebshi
This photo supplied by its subject, Shoshana Hebshi, was taken Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011. Hebshi said she was strip-searched after being led in handcuffs from a Frontier Airlines flight from Denver to Detroit on Sept. 11. She said she is of mixed Arab-Jewish heritage and was searched solely because of her appearance. She was sitting next to two men who had come under suspicion because of their use of an airplane bathroom. She said she did not know the men. All three were freed after being questioned.

Detroit, Michigan - A U.S. woman said Tuesday that she endured nearly four hours in police custody that included being forced off an airplane in handcuffs, strip-searched and interrogated at Detroit's airport on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks - all, she believes, because of her Middle Eastern appearance.

Shoshana Hebshi, 35, told The Associated Press she was one of three people removed from a Denver-to-Detroit Frontier Airlines flight after landing Sunday afternoon. Authorities say fighter jets escorted the plane after its crew reported that two people were spending a long time in a bathroom - the two men sitting next to Hebshi in the 12th row.

Hebshi said she didn't notice how many times the men went to the bathroom. "I wasn't keeping track," she said.

Handcuffs

US: Unable to Pay Child Support, Poor Parents Land Behind Bars

Judges can jail alleged defaulters - who are not covered by the presumption of innocence - without a trial



It may not be a crime to be poor, but it can land you behind bars if you also are behind on your child-support payments.

Thousands of so-called "deadbeat" parents are jailed each year in the U.S. after failing to pay court-ordered child support - the vast majority of them for withholding or hiding money out of spite or a feeling that they've been unfairly gouged by the courts.

But in what might seem like an un-American plot twist from a Charles Dickens' novel, advocates for the poor say, some parents are wrongly being locked away without any regard for their ability to pay - sometimes without the benefit of legal representation.

Mr. Potato

Insane Psychologists: Are You Shy? Then You Have a Mental Disorder

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© Worldwide Magazine
The mad claim that 165million Europeans suffer from 'mental illness' confirms that normal emotional states are now seen as diseases.

'Mental health disorders are Europe's largest healthcare challenge in the twenty-first century', announced Hans-Ulrich Wittchen this week.


A professor of psychology and psychotherapy at the University of Dresden, Wittchen wasn't saying anything we haven't heard before. The World Health Organisation has also gleefully predicted that by 2020, 'depression will be the second leading contributor to the burden of disease'. Still, the magnitude of Wittchen's Europe-wide diagnosis is more than a little shocking: 38 per cent of Europeans, he said, are suffering from a mental disorder. That's about 165million people.

Wittchen arrived at these shocking results, published in Neuropsychopharmacology, after a three-year-long review of data from previous studies involving over 500million people in 30 European countries. Therein he discovered that nearly 40 per cent of those 500million were suffering from one of nearly a hundred mental or neurological problems, the most common of which were anxiety disorders, insomnia, depression, alcohol and drug dependence, and dementia.