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Mon, 20 Mar 2023
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Pinellas Park man describes being blasted with Taser as he fought house fire

Dan Jensen was trying to stop the spread of a fire
© James Borchuck/Times
911 Dan Jensen was trying to stop the spread of a fire onto his property when police halted his effort with a Taser blast.
Florida - The fire was all around Dan Jensen.

He could see it. He could smell it. He could hear it.

It was close enough to touch. It was burning down his neighbor's house. It was creeping toward Jensen's own fence 10 feet away, and he started spraying the fire with his hose.

Police ordered Jensen to get back, and he complied.

But after a few minutes passed without firefighters arriving, a frustrated Jensen stepped forward and leaned down to grab the skinny gray garden hose once again.

That's when he heard the order.

"Hit 'em! Take him down! Tase him!"

Within moments, Jensen was on the ground. He felt electric.

"It was all over me," Jensen said. "Crawling all over me."

Black Cat

World famous 'Cat Man' who spent years morphing himself into a tiger may have died by suicide

Cat Man_1
© Medical Daily
Dennis Avner, known as "Cat Man", the Nevada native who spent years trying to morph his body into that of a cat died earlier this month at the age of 54 under unclear circumstances.

Avner, who holds the world record for body modifications, had undergone numerous tattoos, piercings and other cosmetic surgical procedures to look like a female cat.

The veteran of the U.S. Navy, who also had whiskers, cat ears and a mechanical tail, was found dead on Nov.5 in his home located in Tonopah, Nevada.

Avner, who likes to go by his Native American name "Stalking Cat", had become famous for morphing his face to resemble a tiger.

"I am Huron and following a very old tradition have transformed myself into a tiger," he said on his now-defunct website.

He had reportedly felt inspired after a discussion with a Native American chief told him to "follow the ways of the tiger."


The Rolling Jubilee - Why Occupy's plan to cancel consumer debts is money well spent

debt relief rolling jubilee
© KeystoneUSA-ZUMA/Rex Feature
The 'Rolling Jubilee' debt relief plan has re-energised the Occupy movement.
Occupy's Rolling Jubilee idea transcends politics and will be difficult for lenders to oppose

A new initiative is re-energising the Occupy movement. Called the Rolling Jubilee, it is a plan to use money from donations to buy distressed consumer debt from lenders at a marked down price, just as debt collection agencies normally would. But instead of hounding debtors for payments, it will simply cancel the debts. The hope is that the liberated debtors will themselves contribute to the fund, "rolling" the jubilee forward.

The Rolling Jubilee is a genius move for several reasons. First, debt relief is a transpartisan message that eludes conventional political categorisation. As such, it returns Occupy to its origins as an advocate for the wellbeing of ordinary people, neither leftwing nor rightwing. The Rolling Jubilee says, non-threateningly, "We just want to help people in this unfair system."

But despite its non-threatening appearance, the Rolling Jubilee has significant transformative potential. Two pillars uphold the present debt regime: the moral legitimacy of debt in society's eyes, ie, the idea that a person "should" pay back what he owes; and the coercive mechanisms that enforce repayment, such as harassment, seizure of assets, garnishment of wages, denial of employment or housing, and even imprisonment. The Rolling Jubilee erodes both. It destigmatises debt by saying, "we're all in this together, we believe your situation is unfair, not shameful, so we're going to help you out". And it lessens the severity of the consequences of default. If defaulting means you might get bailed out, why keep paying?


Big surprise - GOP quashed superb report on income tax rates for the rich

tax rate reduction
© Alex Wong/Getty Images
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell with Sens. John Barrasso of Wyoming, left, and Jon Kyl of Arizona. Republicans objected to a Congressional Research Service report that refuted one of the party's tax-cut arguments.
If last week was all about politics, maybe this week we can put ideology and partisanship aside and apply a more objective, scientific approach to some of the tough issues we face. What do history and data suggest might be the best course for our nation to follow? Specifically, what is the impact of increasing the top marginal tax rate on investment and job creation?

If the numbers showed that raising the top tax rate injured job creation, I would reconsider my belief that the wealthy should pay more, because job creation is issue No. 1. On the other hand, if the record established that raising the top marginal rate did not in any way injure investment and job creation, then those who have been unalterably opposed should be forced to reconsider their views. Analysis should trump ideology.

Comment: News the Government doesn't like is still suppressed. The question is why this tidbit was allowed to see the light of day. A little ray of 'hope and change' for the masses maybe, that will of course, not come to pass.

Light Sabers

Anti-austerity strikes sweep southern Europe

© Reuters/Hugo Correia
Glass factory workers, wearing vests that read "General strike", stand on a picket line at the entrance of Saint-Gobain Sekurit Portugal in Santa Iria Azoia November 13, 2012.
Spanish and Portuguese workers will stage the first coordinated general strike across the Iberian Peninsula on Wednesday, shutting transport, grounding flights and closing schools to protest against spending cuts and tax hikes.

Unions in Greece and Italy also planned work stoppages and demonstrations on a "European Day of Action and Solidarity" against austerity policies, which labor leaders blame for prolonging and worsening the continent's economic crisis.

The international coordination shows "we are looking at a historic moment in the European Union movement," said Fernando Toxo, head of Spain's biggest union, Comisiones Obreras.

Spain, where one in four workers is unemployed, is now teetering on the brink of calling for a European bailout, with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy trying to put off a rescue that could require even more EU-mandated budget cuts.


Plane crashes in Jackson, Mississippi neighborhood

© Associated Press
Nov. 13, 2012: Flames and smoke billow from a home in west Jackson, Miss., Tuesday evening after authorities say a small plane carrying three people crashed into the residence shortly after 5 p.m.
A small plane with three people aboard crashed into at least one home near an airport in Jackson Tuesday evening and authorities did not have immediate information on casualties.

A Jackson deputy fire chief told WJTV-TV that one person escaped the burning home with minor injuries, but it was not immediately clear if anyone else was inside. One patient from the scene was in good condition at University of Mississippi Medical Center, said spokesman Jack Mazurak. He wouldn't give the person's name or gender or the extent of the injuries.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen did not immediately have information about the condition of the people aboard the Piper PA-32 single-engine plane.

Roger and Michele Latham, from Superior Pallet Company in Flowood, Miss., own the plane, said their grown daughter, Emily Latham. Latham was near the crash site and said her father was supposed to have been on board but changed his plans.

Post-It Note

Yoga's dark side

There's a giant pink elephant on the yoga mat, and I'm just gonna come out and say it. How come when I go to any new-to-me yoga studio, or hang out with a group of "yoga people," I feel more judged there than anywhere else? At least half the time these yogi cliques are way too cool and I feel more like I just crashed the party at the Mean Girls lunch table, not like I'm about to spend a relaxing hour in stretch and meditation.

Yoga has begun attracting a crowd that promotes exclusivity and division. I'd like to underline the point that people in the yoga community can be some of the harshest and meanest critics out there. Once I suggested egg whites as a reasonable, light snack to have a couple hours before a yoga class, and was sternly (and seriously) asked by a fellow yogi if I'd taken my "stupid pills" that day. He was flabbergasted that I, as an instructor, could endorse the consumption of animal products despite my efforts to go out of my way to always buy organic, local, and humanely-raised meat and dairy.

This is just one very small incident that happened to me, but this is definitely not the only one of its kind. This is what's happening: In my own experience -- and in tons of others' I've spoken with about this -- judgment and what seems like genuine aggression toward yoga teachers and practitioners who don't fit the yoga stereotype.


Arizona woman runs down husband with car for not voting

© Reuters/Gilbert Arizona Police Dept/Handout
Holly Solomon, 28, is shown in this booking photo supplied by the Gilbert Arizona Police Department supplied to Reuters November 12, 2012.
Phoenix - An Arizona woman, in despair at the re-election of Democratic President Barack Obama, ran down her husband with the family car in suburban Phoenix on Saturday because he failed to vote in the election, police said on Monday.

Holly Solomon, 28, was arrested after running over husband Daniel Solomon following a wild chase that left him pinned underneath the vehicle.

Daniel Solomon, 36, was in critical condition at a local hospital, but is expected to survive, Gilbert police spokesman Sergeant Jesse Sanger said.

Police said Daniel Solomon told them his wife became angry over his "lack of voter participation" in last Tuesday's presidential election and believed her family would face hardship as a result of Obama winning another term.

Witnesses reported the argument broke out on Saturday morning in a parking lot and escalated. Mrs Solomon then chased her husband around the lot with the car, yelling at him as he tried to hide behind a light pole, police said. He was struck after attempting to flee to a nearby street.

Obama won the national election with 332 electoral votes compared with 206 for Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Arizona's 11 electoral votes were won by Romney.


Murder spree in São Paulo, Brasil: Police and gangs in violent clash

© Nacho Doce/Reuters
Police officers during a security operation in São Paulo, where clashes between gangs and police have claimed dozens of lives.
It was a more than typically murderous Saturday night in São Paulo: at 10pm, in the São Bernardo do Campo neighbourhood, a motorcyclist rode up to a private home, killed two of the residents, then sped away. An hour or so later in a nearby district, police shot and killed two men in what they said was an exchange of fire. Elsewhere police found the body of a man with a bullet through his brain - one of 14 people murdered and 12 injured in this single night amid a rising wave of violence in Brazil's biggest city.

At least 140 people have been murdered in São Paulo over the past two weeks in an outbreak of violent crime that has prompted early school closures, a change of municipal bus routes and street demonstrations. In September 144 people were killed. The causes are manifold, but a major factor appears to be an undeclared war between the largest criminal militia and the police, which has led to drive-by shootings, ambushes and other killings.

After initially denying the link, officials from the public safety department told local newspapers at the weekend that many of the killings of police had been ordered by imprisoned leaders of the First Capital Command criminal group in reprisal for a crackdown on the drug trade.


Gulf coast residents numbering 25,000 want to opt out of oil spill settlement

© Smiley N. Pool / Houston Chronicle
Election-year politics have delayed what some thought was a slam-dunk effort to restore the Gulf following the Deepwater Horizon spill. Here, a boom is used to protect marshland in Terrebonne Parish on the Louisiana coast in 2010.
About 79,000 Gulf Coast residents have filed damage claims under a proposed settlement with BP over the 2010 oil spill, but 25,000 others want out of the deal, the claims administrator told a federal judge Thursday.

BP and a steering committee of plaintiffs' lawyers who negotiated the proposed settlement earlier this year defended it against objections that it's unfair, and U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier also voiced skepticism about those complaints.

BP attorney Rick Godfrey reaffirmed the British oil giant's commitment to the deal despite the possibility that those who opt out may sue the company later.

Barbier, who is overseeing the litigation surrounding the disaster, conducted the hearing on the fairness of the proposed settlement as he considers whether to give it final approval.

Comment: Perhaps those choosing to opt out of the settlement can see the inherent unfairness of the proposal and are willing to fight for the truth:
BP Settlement Sells Out Victims
BP fund lawyer to refuse 100,000 Gulf spill disaster claims