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Mass acceptance of police violence - rape victim may serve seven years while the NYPD rapist goes free

© Ramin Talaie / EPA
The violence against Occupy protestors was widespread and well-photographed. So why is one non-violent protestor now convicted of police brutality?
The verdict in the biggest Occupy related criminal case in New York City, that of Cecily McMillan, came down Monday afternoon. As disturbing as it is that she was found guilty of felony assault against Officer Grantley Bovell, the circumstances of her trial reflect an even more disturbing reality - that of normalized police violence, disproportionately punitive sentences (McMillan faces seven years in prison), and a criminal penal system based on anything but justice. While this is nothing new for the over-policed communities of New York City, what happened to McMillan reveals just how powerful and unrestrained a massive police force can be in fighting back against the very people with whom it is charged to protect.

McMillan was one of roughly 70 protesters arrested on March 17, 2012. She and hundreds of other activists, along with journalists like me, had gathered in Zuccotti Park to mark the six-month anniversary of the start of Occupy Wall Street. It was four months after the New York Police Department had evicted the Occupy encampment from the park in a mass of violent arrests.

When the police moved in to the park that night, in formation and with batons, to arrest a massive number of nonviolent protesters, the chaos was terrifying. Bovell claimed that McMillan elbowed him in the face as he attempted to arrest her, and McMillan and her defense team claim that Bovell grabbed her right breast from behind, causing her to instinctively react.


Small plane crashes into Colorado house

plane crash in house

A pilot walked away with minor injuries after his small plane crashed into a house in Northglenn, setting the plane and house on fire
A small plane crashed into a Northglenn, Colorado home Monday afternoon, causing a fire.

The crash happened before 4 p.m. at 11067 East Livingston Drive, authorities said. The pilot was able to walk away from the crash and call 911.

No one was home at the time of impact, North Metro Fire Rescue officials reported.

Neighbor Mike Papp said there was the sound of "buzzing and then a loud boom" when plane hit the house. The plane flies frequently in that area, towing a banner for Geico insurance, Papp said.

Papp said he knew the family whose home was hit, but not well.

It is unclear what caused the crash.

The fire was extinguished by 4:15 p.m. The fire extended from the second story into the basement, a fire department spokeswoman told 7News.

Source: Denver Post


Obamacare is reducing the percentage of uninsured in the United States

Washington, D.C. -- The uninsured rate for U.S. adults in April was 13.4%, down from 15.0% in March. This is the lowest monthly uninsured rate recorded since Gallup and Healthways began tracking it in January 2008, besting the previous low of 13.9% in September of that year.

The uninsured rate peaked at 18.0% in the third quarter of 2013, but has consistently declined since then. This downward trend in the uninsured rate coincided with the health insurance marketplace exchanges opening in October 2013, and accelerated as the March 31 deadline to purchase health insurance coverage approached -- and passed -- for most uninsured Americans. The Obama administration decided in late March to extend the deadline to April 15 for those who had already begun the enrollment process.

The uninsured rates for the first quarter of 2014 and the month of March are averages for the entire quarter and month, and do not necessarily reflect the uninsured rate for the day of the March 31 deadline. The April estimate better captures the impact of late sign-ups since all interviewing occurred after that critical date.

These data are based on more than 14,700 interviews with Americans from April 1-30, 2014, as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.


A deeper dive into inflation numbers: Why poverty is still miserable, even if everybody can own an awesome television

© Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Image
It's like a dozen cheap TVs, when what you really want is a cheap education.
How punishing is poverty in 2014? That depends. When it comes to consumer goods, low-income families might have it better than ever. The poor can now buy cheap cellphones and televisions that would have seemed like fantastical luxuries to yesteryear's rich. Microwaves and air conditioners are standard. Food is relatively inexpensive, as is clothing.

At the same time, some essentials are receding from the poor's reach. Education, health care, and child care, I probably don't need to tell you, are all becoming more expensive by the year.

This is the tension at the core of modern impoverishment, which Annie Lowrey takes on in the New York Times today. The wonders of globalization, modern manufacturing, and ruthless Walmart-style supply-chain management have made the stuff we buy to fill our homes and time much cheaper, and as a result the poor now enjoy a level of material well-being that would have seemed unimaginable decades ago. The safety net is also infinitely more generous compared with the early 1960s, before Lyndon Johnson launched his war on poverty. Yet, because the prices of key services are spiraling out of control, the poor's lot is still rather hopeless. The NYT captures it in this very, very long graph.

Here's what makes this trend so treacherous: Prices are rising on the very things that are essential for climbing out of poverty. A college education has become a necessary passport to financial stability. It's hard to hold a job if you're chronically ill. Working full-time is difficult if you can't pay somebody to watch your child. While a high-definition television is nice, it won't permanently improve your circumstances. And psychology has told us that the stress of financial instability, of not knowing whether you'll be able to pay your next bill or get enough hours at work, is part of what makes poverty such a horrible experience. Humans also tend to judge their experiences relative to their immediate surroundings, so the fact that the poor are materially better off than during the Carter era doesn't offer them much personal solace.

Comment: This affects not only the poor, but also the middle class, for whom college education for their children and housing in many markets is becoming increasingly out of reach. As far as retirement goes, jobs with pensions are increasingly a thing of the past.

People 2

Children become less happy after age 11 amid rise of cyber-bullying

children technology

Unhappy: A study found children become unhappier after 11, partly due to new technology
  • Survey of 7,000 children showed they have lack of support, especially girls
  • Questionnaires were used by 50 youth groups for charity sector think tank
  • One charity director said internet issues 'create opportunities for bullying'
  • Children's happiness drops after the age of 11 as they get caught up in modern issues such as cyber-bullying, online porn and sexting, a study has found.

    Charity and youth workers surveyed almost 7,000 children over three years and found girls were far worse affected than boys.

    Their self-esteem, 'emotional well-being' and satisfaction with their community sank sharply after the age of 11, continuing to get worse up to the age of 16.

    Boys' happiness, meanwhile, remained far more stable.

    The researchers blamed the march of technology as one of several factors making teenagers unhappy, including obvious factors like hormones and changing friendship groups.

    Chart Bar

    The right wing's biggest lies about inequality


    Being rich vs being poor
    Even though French economist Thomas Piketty has made an air-tight case that we're heading toward levels of inequality not seen since the days of the 19th-century robber barons, right-wing conservatives haven't stopped lying about what's happening and what to do about it.

    Herewith, the four biggest right-wing lies about inequality, followed by the truth.

    Lie number one: The rich and CEOs are America's job creators... So we dare not tax them.

    The truth is the middle class and poor are the job-creators through their purchases of goods and services. If they don't have enough purchasing power because they're not paid enough, companies won't create more jobs and the economy won't grow.

    We've endured the most anemic recovery on record because most Americans don't have enough money to get the economy out of first gear. The economy is barely growing and real wages continue to drop.


    Jewish NYU students targeted by pro-Palestine activists - given dorm eviction notices

    NYU Palladium Hall
    © Miriam Lichtenberg/JW
    NYU Palladium Hall
    A pro-Palestinian NYU group targeted Jewish classmates with threatening "eviction" notices that were slid under dorm-room doors in the dead of night, students said Thursday.

    "If you do not vacate the premise by midnight on 25 April, 2014 we reserve the right to destroy all remaining belongings. We cannot be held responsible for property or persons remaining inside the premises," read the notices, which were delivered by members of the Students for Justice in Palestine.

    NYU sophomore Hunter Goet, whose room got one of the threatening notices overnight Wednesday, said, "A lot of people felt transgressed upon because they felt threatened by it."


    Bus crash kills 23, injures 17 in southwest Haiti

    A bus crash in southwest Haiti killed 23 people and injured 17 on Saturday, authorities said.

    The mayor of the city of Jeremie, Ronald Etienne, told Reuters that the cause of the accident was not known.

    The accident occurred near the coastal town of Roseau, east of Jeremie, according to media reports. Most of the dead were from the town of d'Anse d'Hainault on the far western tip of the southern peninsula, the reports said.

    Haiti's rural road infrastructure is in poor shape though foreign assistance after the 2010 earthquake has led to improvements on the national two-lane highway in the southwest.

    Source: Reuters


    Gunman, 3 others killed in Arkansas shootings

    © The Jonesboro Sun, Rob Holt/AP Photo
    Police officers and crime scene analysts investigate a crime scene in Jonesboro, Ark., Saturday, May 3, 2014.
    A gunman who shot and killed three people and injured four more in northeast Arkansas was an acquaintance or friend of the victims, police said Sunday, but noted the motive still is unknown.

    Jonesboro Police Sgt. Doug Formon identified the shooter as Porfirio Hernandez, 40, who recently had been released from a mental health treatment facility. Formon did not give further details in an email to The Associated Press.

    Formon said police responded to a shooting about 1 p.m. Saturday. Chrisanto Islas, 38, and Floza Davila, 12, were killed there and four others were injured. Survivors and witnesses at the house identified Hernandez as the sole gunman and provided a description of him and the vehicle he was driving.

    Police said three people are in critical condition in hospitals in Memphis, Tennessee: Augusten Hernandez, 43; Ayde Davila, 36; and Anquel Islas, 8. A 10-year-old boy, Brayam Davila, is in stable condition.


    Spy plane blamed as air traffic control computers at LAX overload and fail, causing major delays and cancellations

    © AP
    U.S. pilot stands in front of a U-2 photo reconnaissance plane
    A relic from the Cold War appears to have triggered a software glitch at a major air traffic control center in California Wednesday that led to delays and cancellations of hundreds of flights across the country, sources familiar with the incident told NBC News.

    On Wednesday at about 2 p.m., according to sources, a U-2 spy plane, the same type of aircraft that flew high-altitude spy missions over Russia 50 years ago, passed through the airspace monitored by the L.A. Air Route Traffic Control Center in Palmdale, Calif. The L.A. Center handles landings and departures at the region's major airports, including Los Angeles International (LAX), San Diego and Las Vegas.

    The computers at the L.A. Center are programmed to keep commercial airliners and other aircraft from colliding with each other. The U-2 was flying at 60,000 feet, but the computers were attempting to keep it from colliding with planes that were actually miles beneath it.

    Though the exact technical causes are not known, the spy plane's altitude and route apparently overloaded a computer system called ERAM, which generates display data for air-traffic controllers. Back-up computer systems also failed.

    Comment: Something here doesn't quite add up. Presumably, the spy planes are flying over U.S. airspace regularly, so why is this incident being blamed on them? It seems quite likely that something else was the cause, and the PTB trotted out the U-2 planes as their lame excuse for the public. This begs the question, if it wasn't the spy planes causing the disturbances, what was the real cause?