Society's ChildS


Hourglass

Reality Check: 4 in 5 in U.S. face near-poverty, no work

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© AP Photo/Debra McCownThis photo taken Friday July 12, 2013, shows the Salyers' produce stand in Council, Va. Four out of five U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and a vanishing American Dream.
Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.

Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.

The findings come as President Barack Obama tries to renew his administration's emphasis on the economy, saying in recent speeches that his highest priority is to "rebuild ladders of opportunity" and reverse income inequality.

As nonwhites approach a numerical majority in the U.S., one question is how public programs to lift the disadvantaged should be best focused - on the affirmative action that historically has tried to eliminate the racial barriers seen as the major impediment to economic equality, or simply on improving socioeconomic status for all, regardless of race.

Pirates

Taken: Americans who haven't been charged with wrongdoing can be stripped of their cash, cars, and even homes

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© Ashley GilbertsonClockwise from left: James Morrow, Javier Flores, Jennifer Boatright and her son Jacob, Dale Agostini, and Nelly Moreira. Many police budgets depend on money from forfeiture.
On a bright Thursday afternoon in 2007, Jennifer Boatright, a waitress at a Houston bar-and-grill, drove with her two young sons and her boyfriend, Ron Henderson, on U.S. 59 toward Linden, Henderson's home town, near the Texas-Louisiana border. They made the trip every April, at the first signs of spring, to walk the local wildflower trails and spend time with Henderson's father. This year, they'd decided to buy a used car in Linden, which had plenty for sale, and so they bundled their cash savings in their car's center console. Just after dusk, they passed a sign that read "Welcome to Tenaha: A little town with BIG Potential!"

They pulled into a mini-mart for snacks. When they returned to the highway ten minutes later, Boatright, a honey-blond "Texas redneck from Lubbock," by her own reckoning, and Henderson, who is Latino, noticed something strange. The same police car that their eleven-year-old had admired in the mini-mart parking lot was trailing them. Near the city limits, a tall, bull-shouldered officer named Barry Washington pulled them over.

Sherlock

Body found in search for missing Oakland investigator


A female body was discovered Friday afternoon in the area where California authorities were searching for a missing federal criminal investigator.

The body, which has yet to be identified, was found at about 1 p.m. in the area where officials were looking for Sandra Coke, who was reported missing since Sunday. Coke went missing after following a tip on her stolen dog.

Based on additional information obtained by the Oakland, Calif., Police Department, detectives decided to move their search-and-rescue location from the Vallejo, Calif., area to Lagoons Valley Park, an unincorporated area just outside of the city of Vacaville, Calif., according to Solano County Sheriff's Office Deputy Daryl Snedeker.

For now, authorities have called off any additional searches.

Earlier, registered sex offender Randy Alana, 56, was identified as a person of interest in Coke's disappearance.

Investigators believe Alana and Coke were together the night she went missing, according to the Oakland Police Department.

Card - MC

Man who created own credit card sues bank for not sticking to terms - Brilliant!

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© AlamyDmitry Argarkov's version of the contract contained a 0pc interest rate, no fees and no credit limit
When Dmitry Argarkov was sent a letter offering him a credit card, he found the rates not to his liking. But he didn't throw the contract away or shred it. Instead, the 42-year-old from Voronezh, Russia, scanned it into his computer, altered the terms and sent it back to Tinkoff Credit Systems.

Mr Argarkov's version of the contract contained a 0pc interest rate, no fees and no credit limit. Every time the bank failed to comply with the rules, he would fine them 3m rubles (£58,716). If Tinkoff tried to cancel the contract, it would have to pay him 6m rubles.

Tinkoff apparently failed to read the amendments, signed the contract and sent Mr Argakov a credit card.

"The Bank confirmed its agreement to the client's terms and sent him a credit card and a copy of the approved application form," his lawyer Dmitry Mikhalevich told Kommersant. "The opened credit line was unlimited. He could afford to buy an island somewhere in Malaysia, and the bank would have to pay for it by law."

However, Tinkoff attempted to close the account due to overdue payments. It sued Mr Argakov for 45,000 rubles for fees and charges that were not in his altered version of the contract.

V

Criminalizing Privacy - U.S. Government Forces Snowden's Encrypted Email Service, Lavabit, to Shut Down

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NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden famously used an encrypted email account to communicate privately with Glenn Greenwald and other reporters.

Shortly after it was revealed that Snowden used Lavabit, the U.S. government pressured them to close down after ten years of service.

Lavabit's owner, Ladar Levison, received a court order to turn over all users' private email data. He refused, and said he would not "become complicit in crimes against the American people."

Levison claims he was given two choices: cooperate with authorities or be shut down. He bravely said goodbye to his business and livelihood in protest of the digital police state.

Here is the full letter to users regarding the shutdown:

Sheriff

U.S. cops out of control: Eugene, Oregon police officer punches 8 year old boy in the face

This was a disgusting incident in Eugene, Oregon, on August 4, 2013. The police department was helping Department of Human Services take this child from his mother because a former boyfriend had somehow obtained custody. The child was punched by the police officer for what he said was biting.


Eye 1

Shocking Violence! Video shows Pembroke Pines cop punching mentally ill girl

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The security video shows a 14 year-old mental patient being escorted down a hallway when a Pembroke Pines police officer reaches in and grabs the girl. The girl whirls and swats at the officer, and he proceeds to punch her in the face. The officer's blow to the mentally disturbed teen snapped her head back, and appeared to be delivered with full force. Other officers join in, wrestling the girl to the ground and spraying her with Mace.

"It was shocking to see the amount of violence that occurred. It was shocking," said Assistant Broward County Public Defender Jeff Hittlemen.

The incident happened at the Citrus Health System treatment center for mentally disturbed adolescents on April 28th. The place treats children, many under contract with Florida's Department of Children and Families.

The public defender's office got involved in the case of the disturbed girl slugged by the cop, after police subsequently charged her with resisting arrest.

Broward's Chief Assistant Public Defender, Gordon Weekes, Jr., said officers had to have known they were dealing with a deeply disturbed teen.


Attention

Shark found on New York subway

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A dead shark has been discovered on the subway in New York City, transport officials have confirmed.

The unlikely passenger, about 1.2m (4ft) long, was found under a row of seats on a Queens-bound train.

The conductor asked passengers to leave the carriage and the train continued to the end of the line, where a supervisor disposed of the shark.

Pigeons and even an opossum have made their way on to the trains before, but never a shark, transit officials said.

However, where it came from remains a mystery.

Isvett Verde, of Brooklyn, New York, who took a photo of the shark, said she noticed that the empty carriage of the N train "smelled extremely fishy" when she boarded at 8th Street.

"It's hard to be surprised as there are always crazy things happening in this city, but even that was a bit much," she told the BBC.

Other pictures of the exotic discovery have also gone viral, including one of the shark with a cigarette in its mouth next to a fare card and a can of energy drink.

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Pills

Murder by Breastfeeding? 8-month-old died of fatal cocktail of prescription medications, court documents reveal

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© Lezlie SterlingSarah Ann Stephens is arraigned Friday at the Sacramento County jail. She is accused of giving her baby drugs through her breast milk.
Baby Ryder was 8 months old when he overdosed on Xanax, methadone and the painkiller Opana - a fatal cocktail knowingly administered to him through his mother's breast milk, according to police allegations detailed in Sacramento County court documents.

Ryder Salmen died in September, five months after Sarah Ann Stephens had been warned to stop breastfeeding because of high levels of methadone found in her baby's bloodstream, according to court documents.

Stephens, 32, was charged with murder and two felony counts of child endangerment when she appeared before a Sacramento Superior Court judge Friday. She did not enter a plea and is scheduled to appear in court again Aug. 30.

Her privately retained attorney, Michael Sganga, did not return a phone call seeking comment Friday.

Snakes in Suits

Feds move to terminate Nevada psychiatric hospital's Medicare funds

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© Sacramento Bee photograph by Phillip ReeseThe Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas on May 2, 2013

A federal agency is moving to terminate Medicare funding for Nevada's embattled state psychiatric hospital, which has been under fire for sending hundreds of patients on buses to states across the nation for the past five years.

In a letter to state health officials issued late Friday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said that recent surveys of Las Vegas' Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital have concluded that it is not in compliance with certain conditions required to receive payment for patients covered by Medicare.

As a result, "we are initiating a process which could result in termination of the hospital's Medicare provider agreement," said the letter.