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Five Ways Privatization Degrades American Life

Abandoned factory infrastructure
© Unknown
Abandoned factory
A grand delusion has been planted in the minds of Americans, that privately run systems are more efficient and less costly than those in the public sector. Most of the evidence points the other way. Private initiatives generally produce mediocre or substandard results while experiencing the usual travails of unregulated capitalism -- higher prices, limited services, and lower wages for all but a few 'entrepreneurs.'

With perverse irony, the corruption and incompetence of private industry has actually furthered the cause of privatization, as the collapse of the financial markets has deprived state and local governments of necessary public funding, leading to an even greater call for private development.

As aptly expressed by a finance company chairman in 2008, "Desperate government is our best customer."

The following are a few consequences of this pro-privatization desperation:

Cheeseburger

Missouri Republican Candidate Calls to Halt Federal School Lunch Program

Todd Akin
© R-MO
Rep. Todd Akin
Sen. Claire McCaskill's (D-MO) Republican opponent says that the federal government should stop helping to feed needy children with the school lunch program.

Speaking to reporters about the farm bill on Thursday, Senate candidate Todd Akin called to cut off the federal funds used to feed about 650,000 children in Missouri each school day.

"Is it something the federal government should do?" Akin said. "I answer it no. ... I think the federal government should be out of the education business."

"The problem with the Senate farm bill is the fact that you've got 80 percent of it that isn't a farm bill at all," the Republican noted.

Sherlock

FBI Probing Bomb Threat Linked to 'The Expendables 2' Called into Carmike Cinemas Headquarters in Georgia

Movie theaters in several states being combed for explosives; caller 'sounded like a disgruntled worker' police say.

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Carmike Cinemas in Columbus, Georgia receives bomb threat.
Columbus, Georgia - Movie theaters in several states were combed for explosives Friday after someone phoned in a bomb threat to the corporate headquarters of Carmike Cinemas, a spokesman for the chain said.

Carmike officials alerted the FBI after discovering the threat in a voicemail message Friday morning, said company spokesman Terrell Mayton. He said the call was placed after hours Thursday by someone claiming to work for a contractor that provides janitorial services to Carmike.

While Mayton wouldn't discuss specifics of the call, Columbus police said the person referenced the Sylvester Stallone movie, The Expendables 2, that opened Friday.

Padlock

Texas Teacher Brittni Colleps Gets 5 Years in Prison in Group Sex Scandal

A Texas high school teacher and mother of three was sentenced today to five years behind bars after a jury found her guilty of having sex with five male students, four of whom she had group sex with while being videotaped.


Brittni Colleps, 28, a former English teacher, was convicted of 16 counts of having improper relationships with students. Since the young men were all 18 at the time, she was not charged with statutory rape.

The jury did not recommend a fine or community supervision.

The case against Colleps has been filled with graphic testimony and cellphone video that allegedly showed Colleps having group sex with the four students in her home during April and May of 2011. The fifth student had a sexual encounter with Colleps on a separate occasion.

Prosecutors said the group sex occurred while her children and husband, an Army specialist, were away.

The video was shown to the jury this week.

Colleps's mother and husband both testified during the sentencing hearing after she was convicted.

Beer

Pennsylvania Lawmaker 'Choked, Wrestled and Beat Wife and then Drove Away Drunk'

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State Rep: Joseph Brennan allegedly choked and punched his wife on the porch of their Fountain Hill home on Wednesday afternoon and then drove away drunk
A Pennsylvania state lawmaker faces assault and other charges after police say he punched and choked his wife, then drove away drunk.

Democratic state Rep Joseph Brennan, 48, was arrested on Wednesday following a 911 call about a man hitting a woman outside their home in Fountain Hill, Lehigh County.

Norma Jane Brennan told officers her husband had choked, punched and wrestled her to the ground.

According to the police affidavit, Mrs Brennan had visible injuries to her left hand, knuckles, both feet and her left knee.

Joseph Brennan was pulled over a few blocks away, where police say a breath test found he had a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit for drivers.

Brennan was arraigned and released on $7,500 bail.

He was charged with assault, harassment and drunken driving and was told to have no contact with his wife while he is out on bail.

Wolf

Angry Wedding Guest Brings Pit Bull To Reception, Orders It To Attack Bride in Denver

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© CBC News
A man is on the run from police and a dog is under quarantine at the Denver Animal Shelter after a shocking attack at a wedding party last weekend.

So far it's not clear why the man police say is Joel Neveraz, a wedding guest, encouraged his pit bull to attack the bride and also attacked the woman himself.

Neveraz allegedly got upset about something at Brittany Schults' wedding on Saturday in North Denver. He then left and came back later with his pit bull.

Schults told CBS4 Neveraz suffers from several mental illnesses and at one point spent time in a mental hospital.


Pistol

Pizza Franchise Creates 'Not After Dark' Delivery Rule In Detroit After Driver Shot

Jet's Pizza
US, Michigan - Has it come to this? Yes it has, according to Joan McKenna, whose son Tim McKenna, 19, was shot while delivering pizza in Detroit.

In the wake of the shooting, a Jets Pizza franchise in Dearborn ruled it will no longer deliver to Detroit after dark. Before the shooting, they sent two drivers to every nighttime Detroit delivery, one of whom was armed, Joan McKenna said.

"They usually send somebody with a guy ... who carries a gun," she said. "Usually they have two go into Detroit after dark, if they have a delivery ... One guy has a legal, he can carry a gun. That night, Timmy was the only one left, they had this one run to do, he said 'yeah, I'll do it.' He's a kid, he doesn't think anything's going to happen to him."

Tim McKenna was shot in the ribs, and the bullet hit a lung, but he survived and plans to return in the fall to Adrian College, where he plays football. Pizza delivery was his summer job.

"He can't play football right now, he's on the team at Adrian, it's really hard ... It went right in the chest, this guy shot him right in the chest," Joan McKenna said, adding, "It was a robbery, the guy wanted his money, he hit the gas and the guy went 'pop pop' and he was shot in the chest."

Her son had about $35 on him, which is what the drivers carry, McKenna said.

Arrow Down

More California Cities at Risk of Bankruptcy

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© The Associated Press/Ben Margot
A Stockton city worker walks away from city hall in Stockton, Calif. Stockton is one of three California cities to file for bankruptcy this year, which has led Moody's Investors Service to begin a review of municipal finances in the state because of what it sees is a growing threat of increased city bankruptcies and bond defaults.
One of the nation's top credit rating agencies said Friday that it expects more municipal bankruptcies and defaults in California, the nation's largest issuer of municipal bonds.

Moody's Investors Service said in a report that the growing fiscal distress in many California cities was putting bondholders at risk.

The service announced that it will undertake a wide-ranging review of municipal finances in the nation's most populous state because of what it sees as a growing threat of insolvency.

The report has both investors and government leaders worried.

Three California cities - Stockton, San Bernardino and Mammoth Lakes - have filed for bankruptcy so far this year. They are not likely to be the last, Moody's said.

Moody's reports that some cities are turning bankruptcy as a new strategy to take on budget deficits and avoid obligations to bondholders, an emerging dynamic that could have ripple effects throughout the investment community.

The municipal bond market has long been characterized by low default rates and relatively stable finances, Moody's said, but that outlook is beginning to change as bankruptcy becomes a tool for cash-strapped cities.

Stormtrooper

Chilean Police Storm Student Sit-in, Arrest 139


Chilean Police deployed tear gas and water cannons against student protestors as they stormed schools in Santiago where the activists had held a weeklong sit-in. Officers arrested 139, claiming the use of force was "necessary to maintain order."

Police action occurred at the Dario Salas, Miguel de Cervantes and Confederacion Suiza schools at the behest of Santiago Mayor Pablo Zalaquett. Water cannons and tear gas were used to disperse students who resisted arrest and brawled with police.

Police officers forcibly entered Miguel de Cervantes with a water cannon and climbed over fences to capture the students.

After failing to negotiate an agreement with students, Zalaquett threatened to withdraw their scholarships, provoking the ire of other mayors who branded it an "abuse of power."

In the wake of the evictions, Zalaquett said he would have preferred for there to have been no arrests, but added that the "students were given a chance to leave peacefully, but they didn't take it." The Chilean government rejects the sit-ins as a form of protest, he said, calling on the students' parents to intervene.

Megaphone

Over 50 Detained at Pussy Riot Courthouse Demo (Photos)

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© Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin
Police detain a Pussy Riot supporter outside the Khamovnichesky Court
More than 50 of Pussy Riot's supporters and detractors have been detained outside the Moscow court where three members of the punk rock collective were sentenced to two years in prison for hooliganism and inciting religious hatred.

Hundreds of people, many clad in Pussy Riot T-shirts, had packed onto a narrow street outside of the Khamovnichesky Court as the verdict was being handed down. Supporters cried "shame" and "Putin scum" upon hearing the verdict, while opponents held religious icons and sang prayers.

Police said those taken into custody had committed various acts in violation of public order. A source within the police station where the detainees were taken said some would get off with a warning, while others would be charged with unspecified administrative offenses.

Opposition leaders Gary Kasparov and Sergey Udaltsov were also taken into custody outside the court.

Kasparov told the TASS news agency by phone that he had been slightly roughed up, but would not need medical assistance as he was "able to bear it." Police, however, accused Kasparov of biting an officer while he remanded the former world chess champion into custody. The officer was reportedly forced to go to hospital for treatment and police say they are looking into the incident. Kasparov called the accusation "nonsense."