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More States Freed from No Child Left Behind Law

students @ schoolroom
© PA
Seattle - Although more than half the states are now exempt from the toughest requirements of the federal ''No Child Left Behind'' education law, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Friday his goal remains to help Congress fix the law, not to sidestep the stalled overhaul effort.

The Obama administration announced Friday that Washington and Wisconsin have been granted waivers from the education law, bringing to 26 the number of states now free from many of its requirements.

Other waiver applications are still pending in 10 states and the District of Columbia. Waivers were approved last month in Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, South Dakota, Utah, and Virginia.

Allowing waivers has brought a level of creativity to education reform that was unexpected when Duncan and President Obama opened the process nearly a year ago.

Congress could come up with a great plan for reauthorizing the federal law by adopting the best ideas from the states' waiver applications, Duncan said Friday.

Comment: Who Controls Our Children ? (Public Education Dumb Down Kids)


DNA Tests in 1980 Killing Leads to Release of Illinois Man Who Spent Three Decades in Prison

Andre Davis
© Illinois Department of Corrections/Associated Press
Andre Davis
A Chicago man who spent more than 30 years behind bars before DNA evidence helped overturn his conviction in the rape and killing of a 3-year-old girl was released from prison late Friday, just hours after prosecutors dropped the case against him.

An Illinois appeals court in March had ordered a new trial for 50-year-old Andre Davis after tests found that DNA taken from the scene of the 1980 killing of Brianna Stickle wasn't his. The girl was attacked in Rantoul, about 20 miles north of Champaign.

Davis was released from the super-maximum security prison in Tamms in far southern Illinois around 7:30 p.m., said Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman Kayce Ataiyero. Champaign County State's Attorney Julia Rietz had decided earlier in the day not to pursue charges against him.

Judy Royal of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University, which represented Davis, said he was the longest-serving of the 42 people exonerated by DNA evidence in Illinois.


It's Time to Forgive Student Loans, U.S. Rep. Hansen Clarke Says

© unknown
U.S. Rep. Hansen Clarke, a Detroit Democrat, says student loans need more reforms than the bill signed Friday to keep interest rates from doubling.
President Barack Obama signed a law Friday extending a cap on federal Stafford student loan interest rates -- but U.S. Rep. Hansen Clarke, a Detroit Democrat, argues it doesn't go far enough.

He's hoping the more than 1 million people who have signed a petition supporting a bill he's championing will force Congress to make more meaningful reforms to the student loan system.

"The demand is to change the system," he said June 25. "We've got to keep the bubble from bursting and help people who are swamped by debt. I would like to forgive a lot of these loans."

Clarke's bill, which is in committee in the House, would do just that.

Under his plan, people could have federal loans forgiven if they paid 10% of their disposable income -- which is basically any income exceeding 150% of the federally set poverty level -- for 10 years. The plan would apply to undergraduate, graduate and parent loans. Those in public service jobs could have loans forgiven after five years.

"Nobody's getting a free ride here," he said. "They have to pay on the loan before they are eligible for forgiveness."


Casey Anthony's Lawyer Tells All in His Book: 'Casey Thought Her Father George had also Fathered Her Daughter Caylee and Killed the Toddler to Hide Evidence of Abuse'

  • In new tell-all, former defence attorney Jose Baez accuses father George Anthony of sexually abusing Casey
  • Also says that Casey suspected that George had fathered Caylee
  • On July 5, 2011, a jury sensationally acquitted Anthony of all three charges which together carried the death penalty
© Getty Images
Accused: Casey Anthony's lawyer accused her father George, left, of sexually assaulting her, and speculates that he killed Casey's daughter Caylee to cover up the abuse
Casey Anthony, dubbed the most hated mother in America, had suspicions that she and her daughter Caylee shared the same father, according to her former defence attorney.

In his explosive new tell-all, the Florida woman's lawyer Jose Baez accuses George Anthony of abusing his daughter, and speculates that George could have murdered 2-year-old Caylee to hide evidence of abuse.

Casey was sensationally acquitted of murdering her daughter after a highly-publicised trial last July.

In his book, Presumed Guilty, Casey Anthony: The Inside Story, Baez reveals aspects of the Anthony's private lives that were not looked into during the trial.


Zimmerman Posts $1 Million Bond, Released from Florida Jail

George Zimmerman was released from the Seminole County Jail at 2:49 p.m ET Friday after posting $1 million bond in the Trayvon Martin case.

Zimmerman, 28, was wearing a white shirt and gray suit as he stepped into an SUV and was driven off, NBC News reported. Don West, one of Zimmerman's attorneys, described his client's mood as "buoyant."

He was fitted with an electronic monitoring device before his release. Zimmerman is required to stay in Seminole County, according to a statement by the Seminole County Sheriff's Department.

According to conditions of his release, Zimmerman can not open a bank account, obtain a passport or set foot on the grounds of the local airport. He has a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, the Associated Press reported.


Budweiser Sponsors "Snapperfest" - Torturing Turtles For "Sport"

Snapperfest 2011 - Turtle Torture Festival held annually at the Campshore Camp Ground in Ohio County, Indiana
Warning! Not For Sensitive Viewers

"Snapperfest" is a brutal festival held every summer in Ohio County, Indiana, where backwater, hillbilly proto-humans gather to cheer on fellow neanderthals, who torture turtles for their depraved amusement.The turtles are snatched from their natural wetland habitat, forced to endure being wrestled, as well as strangled ...some to death, even ripped out of their shells to the sound of exuberant applause from the crowd.

© wa2s.org
[Warning! If you choose to click "read more" you will see some extremely graphic and disturbing images!]

Chart Pie

'Billionaires Tax' to Help World's Poor Called for by UN, but Idea Unlikely to get Widespread Support - Big Surprise!

© brw.com.au
The United Nations on Thursday called for a tax on billionaires to help raise more than $400 billion a year for poor countries.

An annual lump sum payment by the super-rich is one of a host of measures including a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, currency exchanges or financial transactions proposed in a UN report that accuses wealthy nations of breaking promises to step up aid for the less fortunate.

The annual World Economic and Social Survey says it is critical to find new ways to help the world's poor as pledged cash fails to flow.

The report estimates that the number of people around the globe worth at least $1 billion rose to 1,226 in 2012.

There are an estimated 425 billionaires in the United States, 315 in the Asia-Pacific region, 310 in Europe, 90 in other North and South American countries and 86 in Africa and the Middle East.

Together they own an estimated $4.6 trillion so a one percent tax on their wealth would raise more than $46 billion, according to the report.mary

Arrow Down

Bird Poop Facial?

Facial Treatment
© Shutterstock/Valua Vitaly
Facials, bringing a whole new meaning to the birds and the bees.
Alix Strauss kicks off her New York Times "trend" story about animal-based additives in beauty products with an account of her bird poop facial. The procedure, which she underwent at a fancy midtown day spa, features UV-disinfected nightingale poop air-lifted from Japan and mixed with rice bran to hide its smell.

Strauss swears that the $180 treatment made her skin look radiant. The "poop powder ... brushed up against my lips and slipped into my mouth. I fought my desire to leave, and surprisingly the next morning my skin did glow."

Good thing, that. Strauss would feel pretty silly if she let a stranger smear bird excrement on her face and it didn't work. When it comes to assessing efficacy claims for beauty products, a testimonial is all but worthless. Never underestimate the power of suggestion or the allure of wishful thinking.

Strauss bills the bird poop facial as evidence of a new trend toward animal-derived additives in premium cosmetics, but the bird poop facial isn't new. Shizuka New York, where Strauss had her treatment, has been touting the dung-based "Geisha Facial" since at least 2008, garnering credulous coverage from Today, Good Morning America, and other high profile outlets.


Hackable Irish E-Voting Machines Costing 54 Million Euros Sold For Scrap

© insideireland.ie
For years, we've been pointing out the massive problems of e-voting, and governments' general blindness to the security risks. Of course, beyond the basic fear of fraud, there should have also been concerns about wasting taxpayer money. Apparently those concerns didn't amount to much in Ireland. As Slashdot highlights, Ireland spent €54 million on 7,500 e-voting machines. However, after realizing that there was no way to secure them from being hacked, the government has sold them off for scrap for a grand total of €70,000, or approximately €9 per machine. On the bright side, at least they weren't completely worthless...

Penis Pump

Was there a Penn State Conspiracy to Cover up Sandusky's Sex Abuse?

© Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, leaves court in handcuffs after being convicted in his child sex abuse trial at the Centre County Courthouse
Conspiracy theorists are pretty much always treated as if they are insane. The notion that powerful people might secretly conspire to conceal evidence or direct an outcome - at the expense of the powerless - is often portrayed by mainstream culture and media as entirely irrational.

Indeed, there are crazy conspiracy theories out there (global warming is a hoax, anyone?). But sometimes, real conspiracies do take shape and those in power do collude to direct outcomes in secret. Nowhere is this more true than in the case of sexual abusers in elite institutions.

Recently, a slew of such elite institutions - from Yale University to the United States military (which we explored in our discussion of The Invisible War) - have been exposed as having become aware of systematic sexual abuse, and having suppressed evidence of it.

On 22 June of this year, Jerry Sandusky, an assistant football coach at Penn State University, was found guilty of abusing ten boys over the course of a decade and a half. At first, the Sandusky case at Penn State seemed like that of a lone abuser. Now, it seems to be turning into a story of extensive and shockingly high-level coverup of the known rape of children. A new trove of emails from 2001, read by a firsthand source to a CNN reporter last week, suggest that 15 young lives were not just ruined because Sandusky abused vulnerable boys for over 15 years, but were ruined, too, because powerful men around Sandusky knew exactly what he was doing - and colluded in detail with one another not to stop it.