February 26, 2015

911 Operator Who Told Teen to 'Stop Whining' Now Out of Job

A 911 dispatcher who told a 13-year-old girl to "stop whining'' as her father lay dying from a hit-and-run crash on a Maryland highway no longer works for the fire department in Anne Arundel County.
The dispatcher is no longer employed with the department, said Anne Arundel County Fire department spokesman Capt. Russ Davies. The dispatcher's name was not released. 
The Feb. 1 incident triggered an investigation after the dispatcher told the girl to stop whining. Officials initially said the dispatcher might return to answering 911 calls but could also face termination, depending on the outcome of the investigation.
The 911 call came in after a car hit 38-year-old Rick Warrick of Washington and his fiancée as they changed a tire along the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. 
Warrick's 13-year-old daughter was in the car with her younger brother and called 911. The teen gave the dispatcher information but struggled to remain calm. She pleaded with the dispatcher to "hurry up'' and send help, but the operator said he needed the exact location of the crash. At one point, the dispatcher interrupted the girl.
"OK, let's stop whining. Let's stop whining, it's hard to understand you,'' he said. 
The dispatcher sounded frustrated when the girl asks him to send help quickly. At one point he asked if there's someone else he can talk to.
Warrick was killed in the crash. His fiancée, Julia Pearce, 28, was seriously injured.
After the incident, Davies told The Associated Press the dispatcher should have handled the call differently.

Texas firefighter brags about shooting neighbor's dogs with Facebook photo

Facebook post with an image of two dead dogs allegedly shot by a Texas fireman has caused a viral uproar on the social network.

Tim Conatser, a volunteer firefighter with Union Valley Fire Department in Royse City, posted an image on Facebook (seen below…WARNING: Graphic content) of two dead dogs.

Facebook user Kimberly Jones uploaded a screenshot of the post, which has been shared more than 62,000 times in less than a day.

The fire department shared this message earlier Wednesday:
As previously stated, we do not condone the recent actions of one of our firefighters. We are following our policy in removing him from our department. This is now a civil/criminal matter that we have no jurisdiction over. Please forward all concerns to local law enforcement and/or the SPCA.

So far, the owner of the dogs has not come forward publicly.
CBS 11 in Dallas reports it spoke with Kevin Forester, a family friend of Conatser. Forester told CBS 11 that Conatser found the dogs in his barn a few days earlier attacking his calf and recognized they were his neighbor’s dog.

“So he went over to his neighbor’s and told him that his dogs was getting in his barn and attacking his animals, to please ya know keep ‘em at home, put ‘em on a leash, build a fence, do something,” Forester told the TV station.

Forester said Conatser told him the neighbor didn’t care. No one has yet to speak directly with Conatser or the neighbor, however.

The Hunt County Herald Banner reported an investigation is under way, with Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks taking the report of the incident and Constable Terry Jones will conduct the investigation.


New Beehive Lets You Harvest Honey Automatically Without Disturbing Bees (8 Pics)

With this brilliant invention by Stuart and Cedar Anderson, a father-and-son beekeeper team in Australia, honey bees around the world can breathe a collective sigh of relief. Their Flow Hive invention allows beekeepers to harvest honey from their hives without disturbing the bees inside.
The clever invention works by providing the bees with a partially-completed wall of honeycomb cells that they then complete with their own wax. After they fill these cells with honey and cap them with wax, the beekeeper can open the other end, allowing the honey to flow out into a tap without ever disturbing the bees. The bees simply reopen the cells and fill them up again.
Honey bees around the world are in trouble from something called colony collapse disorder, and this is highly worrisome because of the honey they produce and the agricultural plants they pollinate. Hopefully, this hive will give weakened hives a much-needed break from intrusive visits from the bee keeper!

Chicago Police found to be operating secret interrogation facility where people are shackled, denied attorney access, and beaten by police

The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site. 
The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights.
Alleged police practices at Homan Square, according to those familiar with the facility who spoke out to the Guardian after its investigation into Chicago police abuse, include:
  • Keeping arrestees out of official booking databases.
  • Beating by police, resulting in head wounds.
  • Shackling for prolonged periods.
  • Denying attorneys access to the “secure” facility.
  • Holding people without legal counsel for between 12 and 24 hours, including people as young as 15.
At least one man was found unresponsive in a Homan Square “interview room” and later pronounced dead.
Brian Jacob Church, a protester known as one of the “Nato Three”, was held and questioned at Homan Square in 2012 following a police raid. Officers restrained Church for the better part of a day, denying him access to an attorney, before sending him to a nearby police station to be booked and charged. 
“Homan Square is definitely an unusual place,” Church told the Guardian on Friday. “It brings to mind the interrogation facilities they use in the Middle East. The CIA calls them black sites. It’s a domestic black site. When you go in, no one knows what’s happened to you.”
The secretive warehouse is the latest example of Chicago police practices that echo the much-criticized detention abuses of the US war on terrorism. While those abuses impacted people overseas, Homan Square – said to house military-style vehicles, interrogation cells and even a cage – trains its focus on Americans, most often poor, black and brown.
Unlike a precinct, no one taken to Homan Square is said to be booked. Witnesses, suspects or other Chicagoans who end up inside do not appear to have a public, searchable record entered into a database indicating where they are, as happens when someone is booked at a precinct. Lawyers and relatives insist there is no way of finding their whereabouts. Those lawyers who have attempted to gain access to Homan Square are most often turned away, even as their clients remain in custody inside.
“It’s sort of an open secret among attorneys that regularly make police station visits, this place – if you can’t find a client in the system, odds are they’re there,” said Chicago lawyer Julia Bartmes.
Chicago civil-rights attorney Flint Taylor said Homan Square represented a routinization of a notorious practice in local police work that violates the fifth and sixth amendments of the constitution.
“This Homan Square revelation seems to me to be an institutionalization of the practice that dates back more than 40 years,” Taylor said, “of violating a suspect or witness’ rights to a lawyer and not to be physically or otherwise coerced into giving a statement.”
Much remains hidden about Homan Square. The Chicago police department did not respond to the Guardian’s questions about the facility. But after the Guardian published this story, the department provided a statement insisting, without specifics, that there is nothing untoward taking place at what it called the “sensitive” location, home to undercover units.
“CPD [Chicago police department] abides by all laws, rules and guidelines pertaining to any interviews of suspects or witnesses, at Homan Square or any other CPD facility. If lawyers have a client detained at Homan Square, just like any other facility, they are allowed to speak to and visit them. It also houses CPD’s Evidence Recovered Property Section, where the public is able to claim inventoried property,” the statement said, something numerous attorneys and one Homan Square arrestee have denied.
“There are always records of anyone who is arrested by CPD, and this is not any different at Homan Square,” it continued.
The Chicago police statement did not address how long into an arrest or detention those records are generated or their availability to the public. A department spokesperson did not respond to a detailed request for clarification.
When a Guardian reporter arrived at the warehouse on Friday, a man at the gatehouse outside refused any entrance and would not answer questions. “This is a secure facility. You’re not even supposed to be standing here,” said the man, who refused to give his name.
A former Chicago police superintendent and a more recently retired detective, both of whom have been inside Homan Square in the last few years in a post-police capacity, said the police department did not operate out of the warehouse until the late 1990s.

Actress Emma Thompson and her husband refuse to pay 'a penny more' in taxes until HSBC tax evaders go to jail

Greg Wise, the actor married to Oscar winner Emma Thompson, has said he and his wife will refuse to pay tax until those involved in the HSBC scandal go to prison.
Wise spoke of his disgust with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and the bank after the Guardian and other news organisations published leaked details of 100,000 accounts held by HSBC’s Swiss arm which showed how the bank had helped clients to move cash out of the country.
“I want to stop paying tax, until everyone pays tax,” Wise told the Evening Standard. “I have actively loved paying tax, because I am a profound fucking socialist and I believe we are all in it together. But I am disgusted with HMRC. I am disgusted with HSBC. And I’m not paying a penny more until those evil bastards go to prison.”
Wise, who is rehearsing for Kill Me Now, his first play in 17 years, said Thompson was willing to go along with his act of civil disobedience.
“Em’s on board. She agrees. We’re going to get a load of us together. A movement. They can’t send everyone to prison. But we’ll go to prison if necessary. I mean it. It’s going to be like 1848 all over again.”
HMRC has come under fire in the HSBC scandal because of a failure to carry out a criminal investigation against the bank, which has its headquarters in the UK. While the agency found more than 1,000 tax evaders among the almost 7,000 UK clients of HSBC Suisse, only one individual has been prosecuted. About £135m has been recovered in tax, a lower figure than in other European countries.
Stuart Gulliver, the head of HSBC, has apologised in writing and again on Monday, when he said the bank’s bosses were shamed and humbled by the scandal.
He has been summoned to appear before a Treasury select committee on Wednesday afternoon with the group’s chairman after revelations that he had a bank account in Switzerland that was routed through Panama. Lin Homer, the HMRC chief executive, will also be questioned.
Wise, a Labour supporter, expressed disappointment at the party as the country heads for a general election in May. “I’m in absolute despair at all of them,” he said. “I liked Tony before he made his mistakes. I cannot forgive him and the party, and the country. I was one of the 2 million out there, marching. Made fuck-all difference. There is no such thing as democracy.”
Wise said injustice made him more angry than anything. “Whether it’s someone being hassled in the street to HSBC getting away with this. I’m the least violent man you’ve ever met, but I will plough into fights in the street to stop someone being set upon. Days afterwards I’m a mess because I hate violence. But I cannot see injustice.”

February 25, 2015

IL Governor Rauner Gets $750,000 Tax Break, Proposes Slashing Services to Middle Class and Poor: "...[H]e could easily become the national symbol of the trickle down economic theory that has failed to produce benefits for everyday Americans..."

Illinois' new GOP Governor, Bruce Rauner, will personally receive a $750,000 per year tax cut as a result of his decision not to continue the state's temporary 1.25% income tax surcharge that expired last year.
His taxes were cut by an amount equal to the annual income of 14 families of four making the median income. And remember that after adjusting for inflation, that median income number has not materially increased in about 35 years, since virtually all of the income growth resulting from the massive increase in worker productivity over that period has been siphoned off by speculators like Rauner.
Rauner, who made $61 million in 2013 - or $29,000 per hour - is one of a small group of multi-millionaire speculators who would directly benefit enormously from lower state tax rates. Among them is his friend Ken Griffin, reputedly the wealthiest man in Illinois, who contributed $2.5 million to Rauner's campaign for Governor - and has also pitched in $10 million to a $20 million campaign war chest that Rauner plans to use to run opponents to members of the Legislature that oppose his policies.
Griffin and his soon-to-be former wife, Anne Dias Griffin, are involved in a high profile multi-million dollar divorce battle. He and Dias are fighting over the control of tens of millions of dollars.
One filing by Dias, quoted by CNBC, gives you a flavor:
Dias said she and their children have come to "enjoy a lifestyle reserved only for the very wealthy," including houses in Chicago, Aspen, Hawaii, Miami Beach and New York. They also have "unrestricted access" to two private jets "to travel to the aforementioned homes" as well as other destinations.

She said the family has a "large group of staff members assisting the family, including extensive household, security and family office employees," and their own company that employs staffers, called "Griffin Family Services."
Dias is asking a million dollars a month -- $12 million a year -- in child support. That's right, $12 million per year in child support - you can't make this stuff up.
Just by way of comparison, remember that a highway worker for the state of Illinois who makes an average income of $49,000 a year laying hot asphalt and filling pot holes, would take about 244 years to make $12 million. But Griffin's pal, Rauner, says he wants to cut the pay for such workers - claiming they make too much and should be paid something closer to the $39,000 a year he says they make in surrounding states.
None of this seems to bother Rauner one bit, since at the same time he and his friends get that big tax cut, Rauner's new state budget promises draconian cuts in services that benefit the middle class and the poor.
Rauner proposed six billion dollars in cuts for state spending on universities, health care, local governments and pensions for state employees.
Here are some high points:
  • Limiting eligibility for Department of Aging Community Care Programs.
  • Cutting health care benefits for homecare workers.
  • Slashing funding for the Department of Children and Family Services.
  • Eliminating all Department of Children and Family services for youths 18-21.
  • Cutting adult dental and podiatry services as well as kidney transplants for undocumented children.
  • Eliminating exemptions for drugs for severe mental illness from a state 4-prescription limit.
  • Reducing payments to facilities for children on ventilators, supportive living facilities and children with severe mental illness.
  • Cutting Medicaid spending by1.5 billion - including735 million in cuts to hospitals serving Medicaid patients.
  • Eliminating assistance to families with Hemophilia.
  • Freezing intakes on childcare for children over 6.
  • Increasing childcare copays for working parents.
  • $27.5 million in reductions to community substance abuse programs.
  • $82 million reduction to community mental health programs.
Eliminating State funding for specific organizations providing: - Services for people with disabilities - Services to children with autism - Services to homeless young people - Services to run away teenagers - Immigrant integration services - Advanced placement classes - After school programs - Agricultural education - Arts and foreign language programs - Parent mentoring - Safe Schools initiatives
  • Cuts to breast and cervical cancer programs.
  • And a 31.5% cut to higher education.
His plan would also move state employees - most of whom make middle class salaries or less - into pension plans with lower benefits.
Rauner claims that his proposal is a "turnaround budget." "Like a family, we must come together to address the reality we face. Families know that every member can't get everything they want," he said. Unless, of course, you are Bruce Rauner or one of his mega-wealthy friends.
Seems that the state can't afford more childcare for working parents, but it can afford huge tax cuts for the very rich. After all, Ken Griffin needs to make that million dollar a month "child care" payment.
The fact is, of course, that Illinois - like most other states - are not in the midst of dramatic declines in economic performance that would require this kind of "belt tightening." In fact, Illinois, like most of America, is wealthier today per person, than at any other time in its history.
The problem is that the wealthy have rigged the economic rules of the game to allow people like Bruce Rauner and the millionaires who got him elected to siphon off most of the wealth for themselves and leave middle income incomes flat.
One of those rigged rules is found in the Illinois State Constitution. It would make sense to get much of the money needed to finance public services from those who have benefited most from the state's economy - rather than those whose incomes have been flat. You'd do that with higher income tax rates on millionaires and billionaires than the one charged for ordinary working people.
But when the state constitution was rewritten in the 1970's, the wealthy organized to insert a provision preventing State Government from having progressive income tax rates. They wanted to keep their own share of taxes low, and to shrink state revenue in general by requiring that if tax rates go up for them, they have to go up for ordinary people as well.
That problem needs to be fixed with a Constitutional amendment that allows a progressive income tax - which of course Rauner adamantly opposes. But in the meantime it would still be possible to raise desperately-needed revenue in ways that mainly target the wealthy taxpayers by providing substantial personal exemptions in any new tax aimed at replacing the state's temporary income tax surcharge that expired last year.
Rauner, of course, opposes any new state taxes and if you want to know why, just ask the mega-wealthy donors who financed his $63.9 million campaign to occupy the Governor's mansion.

Difference Between Blue States And Red States Perfectly Explained By This Story Of The Coyote

The Coyote story is the perfect illustration of what separates common sense from liberalism. It also explains exactly why Californian’s pay such high taxes and is bleeding jobs while people and companies in Texas are prospering.
The Governor of California is with his dog along a nature trail. A coyote jumps out and attacks the Governor’s dog, then bites the Governor.
1. The Governor starts to intervene, but reflects upon the movie ‘Bambi’ and then realizes he should stop because the coyote is only doing what is natural.
2. He calls animal control. Animal Control captures the coyote and bills the State $200 testing it for diseases and $500 for relocating it.
3. He calls a veterinarian….the vet collects the dead dog and bills the State $200 testing it for diseases.
4. The Governor goes to hospital and spends $3,500 getting checked for diseases from the coyote and on getting his bite wound bandaged.

5. The running trail gets shut down for 6 months while Fish & Game conducts a $100,000 survey to make sure the area is now safe.
6. The Governor spends $50,000 in state funds implementing a ‘coyote awareness program’ for residents of the area.
7. The State Legislature spends $ 2 million to study how to better treat rabies and how to permanently eradicate the disease throughout the world.
8. The Governor’s security agent is fired for not stopping the attack. The State spends $150,000 to hire and train a new agent with additional special training re: the nature of coyotes.
9. PETA protests the coyote’s relocation and files a $5 million suit against the State.
The Governor of Texas is with his dog along a nature trail. A coyote jumps out and attacks his dog.
1. The Governor shoots the coyote with his State-issued pistol and keeps going. The Governor has spent $ 0.50 on a .45 ACP hollow point cartridge.

2. The buzzards eat the dead coyote.
Does this seem about right?