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Oregon signs up just 44 people for Obamacare despite spending $300 million

© Washington Examiner
Oregon, once touted as a model for President Obama's health care law, signed up just 44 people for insurance through November, despite spending more than $300 million on its state-based exchange.

The state's exchange had the fewest sign-ups in the nation, according to a new report today by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The weak number of sign-ups undercuts two major defenses of Obamacare from its supporters.

One defense was that state-based exchanges were performing a lot better than the federal healthcare.gov website servicing 36 states. But Oregon's website problems have forced the state to rely on paper applications to sign up participants.


What's wrong with American media?

Heart - Black

Kids suffer panic attacks after New York school locks them in padded cell to 'calm down'

padded cell
© Unknown
In an effort to get kids to "calm down," a New York City elementary school confines kids as young as five in a padded cell, the New York Daily News reports today.

The Daily News says that two of the three youngsters who have been imprisoned in the nighmarish, cramped quarters decorated with nothing more than a single mat on the floor suffered freak-outs so severe that one of them needed to be hospitalized.

Each padded cell stay lasts 15 to 20 minutes.

The room, about the size of a walk-in closet, is reportedly used at KIPP Star Washington Heights Elementary School, a prestigious charter school in upper Manhattan. But the mother of the boy who was rushed to the hospital with an uncontrollable panic attack from being locked away in the cell has pulled her child out of the school to avoid any more incarcerations.

"He was crying hysterically," said Teneka Hall, 28. "It's no way to treat a child."

Her son Xavier, 5, suffered a breakdown while sentenced to the so-called "calm down room," meant for kids who act up in class, panicking and urinating on himself.


Nearly a quarter of Californians live in poverty

A deepening social crisis plagues the US state of California, a reflection of a broader national crisis more than five years after the economic crash of 2008.

According to the US Census Bureau's Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), updated last month, a shocking 8.9 million people in the state live in poverty, more than twice as many as in any other state in the country. Nearly a quarter (23.8 percent) of all Californians live in poverty based on this measures, which is designed to create a more accurate picture of poverty than the official poverty statistics.

The current official poverty measure, which has changed little since its adoption in 1963, is calculated at three times the cost of minimum food purchases. SPM, by contrast, calculates the poverty threshold based on a basic set of goods including food, shelter, clothing and utilities, along with a small additional amount for other expenses. The measure also allows for geographical variations. It does not take into account other significant expenditures, including medical costs, retirement saving and debt servicing.

On a national level, 46.7 million individuals were in poverty in 2012 using the official measure, while 49.4 million were considered to be in poverty using the supplemental measure. In California, 6.2 million were officially poor, compared to the 8.9 million based on the SPM.

Comment: California has always been a trend-setting bell-weather state for the rest of the country. No doubt that will be true of the impoverishing of the American population as well.

Heart - Black

Joshua Shumway, nurse, accused of raping female patient five times in the course of one night

Joshua Shumway
© Duchesne County Jail
Joshua Shumway allegedly raped a hospital patient five times in the course of a night.
A Utah nurse has been accused of raping and threatening to kill a female surgery patient.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Joshua Platte Shumway, 26, was arrested Monday after an unidentified woman came to police and told them of her alleged ordeal that happened in April.

The details are disturbing.

The 37-year-old woman was staying the night at Uintah Basin Medical Center in Roosevelt, where Shumway worked, to recover after a surgery.

Shumway entered her room during the night and allegedly sexually assaulted the woman five times in the course of the evening. He was not her assigned nurse.

According to a probable cause statement, the nurse first gave her medication before placing her hand on an automatic morphine injector to activate it. The woman told investigators she had stopped using the injector because it was making her nauseous.

Arrow Down

The case of incest and depravity which came to rest in the hills of a quiet country town in Australia

NSW Country Town
© The Daily Telegraph, Australia
Scenes of depravity greeted police and child welfare officers investigating incest on a farm outside a NSW country town.
It is a case of shocking depravity which came to rest in the hills surrounding a picturesque farming community nestled in a valley southwest of Sydney.

Unknown to the 2000 citizens of the town in a fertile valley amid the south-western slopes of NSW, a dark family secret was unravelling.

Now it can be revealed, not only could the case of the Colt family be the nation's most appalling saga of child abuse, it is among one of the worst accounts of incest ever made public.

The NSW Children's Court has taken the rare step of publishing its judgment of actions taken to remove children from the Colt family (a court-appointed pseudonym to protect identification of minors).

Four generations of intimate relations among the Colts had taken place in South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia and finally come to NSW.

Moving state to state, possibly to evade detection, the scandal only came to light when authorities were alerted there were children living in the hills who didn't attend school.

When they turned up on a remote bush block, they uncovered scenes which wouldn't soon be forgotten.


I Turned Down 3 Years in Prison and Ended up with 15 to Life

© Unknown
A new report by Human Rights Watch titled "An Offer You Can't Refuse" reveals that only three percent of U.S. drug defendants in federal cases chose to go to trial instead of pleading guilty in 2012. The report explains that the reason only three percent go to trial is because prosecutors warn defendants that if they refuse the plea and go to trial, they will be charged with a more serious crime and end up with a much longer sentence.

Prosecutors live and die for convictions and they use mandatory minimum sentencing as a prosecutorial tool to secure convictions and get people to plead guilty without getting their right to a fair trial.

People's fear of angering prosecutors by going to trial is real. The reports shows that defendants who chose to exercise their constitutional rights to go to trial routinely face sentences three times greater than the original plea deals. This is an astounding revelation.

I know the pressure to take a deal and the disatroious consequences of taking my case to trial. In 1985 I refused a plea deal of three years and end up being sentenced to 15 years to life under the mandatory provisions of New York's Rockefeller Drug Laws.

I was duped into delivering an envelope containing four ounces of cocaine for $500 by a bowling buddy. During the criminal proceedings the district attorney's office discovered I was not a drug dealer but nevertheless, they wanted to secure a conviction.

Comment: Yet another shameful example of the workings of the Prison-Industrial Complex.

Also see:
The prison industrial complex: How Wall Street profits from human misery

Who Profits from Prison?: 24-Year-Old Gets 3 Life Terms in Prison for Witnessing a Drug Deal

Stock Up

Energy and food prices surge in Taiwan


Flooding in Taipei
Electricity and fuel price hikes have driven up commodity prices and affected the livelihoods of people from all walks of life, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucus said yesterday.

Citing data provided by the Council of Agriculture, the caucus told a news conference that using the council's list of 322 agricultural and seafood products as basis, the prices of 189 items had risen in comparison with the same period last year.

While Premier Jiang Yi-huah has claimed that the electricity price hike in October, the second scheduled increase since President Ma Ying-jeou began his second term in May last year, would only affect a few people, the latest data suggested otherwise, TSU Legislator Huang Wen-ling said.


Roger Waters: 'What Israelis do to Palestinians today is comparable to how the Nazis treated Jews last time around'

On Music, the Political Role of Artists and His Activism for Justice Around the World, Including in Palestine.

Frank Barat: When did you make the decision to make the Wall tour (that ended in Paris in September 2013) so political? And why did you dedicate the final concert to Jean-Charles De Menezes?

Roger Waters: The first show was October 14th 2010. We started working on content of show with Sean Evans in 2009. I had already decided to make it much broader politically than it had been in 1979/80. It could not be just about this whinny little guy who didn't like his teachers. It had to be more universal. That's why 'fallen loved ones' came into it (the shows are showing pictures of people that died during wars) trying to universalise the sense of grief and loss that we all feel towards family members killed in conflict. Whatever the wars or the circumstances, they (in the non western world), feel as much lost as we do. Wars become an important symbol because of that separation between 'us and them,' which is fundamental to all conflicts. Regarding Jean-Charles, we used to do Brick II with three solos at the end and I decided that three solos was too much, it was boring me. So sitting in a hotel room, one night, I was thinking about what I could do instead of that. Somebody had recently sent me a photograph of Jean-Charles De Menezes to go on the wall. So he was in my mind and I thought that I should sing his story. I wrote that song, taught it to the band, and that's what we did.

Comment: Jean-Charles De Menezes was a young Brazilian contract electrician working in London, England at the time of the London Bombings in 2005. He was pursued and murdered by covert British military-intelligence operatives in the aftermath of the attacks and shot numerous times in the head in front of shocked onlookers. It's very likely the reason they were so desperate to terminate him was because he was working on the trains that were rigged for the false-flag terror attacks, knew the official story was bogus, and was threatening to go public with what he knew.

For more on this and the other evidence that 7/7 was carried out by the British government with assistance from the Mossad, check these out:

7/7 Ripple Effect: London Bombings documentary the British and Israeli governments want no one to see

London Bombings - The Facts Speak For Themselves

Arrow Down

Man alleging Chicago police torture released from prison after 30 years

© AP Photo/Illinois Department of Corrections
This undated file photo provided by the Illinois Department of Corrections shows inmate Stanley Wrice. On Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013, a Cook County judge overturned the rape conviction for Wrice who has been in prison for 30 years. He will be released from Pontiac Correctional Center on Wednesday. The ruling comes two days after key witness Bobby Joe Williams testified detectives working for former Chicago police lieutenant Jon Burge tortured him into falsely testifying against Wrice.
A man who says Chicago police tortured him until he confessed to a rape he did not commit walked out of an Illinois prison on Wednesday after spending 30 years behind bars.

Stanley Wrice's release from the Pontiac Correctional Center came a day after Cook County Judge Richard Walsh overturned the 59-year-old's conviction, saying officers lied about how they had treated him.

The ruling was just the latest development in one of the darkest chapters of Chicago Police Department history, in which officers working under former Lt. Jon Burge were accused of torturing suspects into false confessions and torturing witnesses into falsely implicating people in crimes.

Wrice has insisted for years that he confessed to the 1982 sexual assault after officers beat him in the groin and face. And a witness testified at a hearing Tuesday that he falsely implicated Wrice in the rape after two Chicago police officers under Burge's command tortured him.

He was sentenced to 100 years in prison.