10 things you need to know today: April 22, 2014

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The Fifth Column

Meb Keflezighi raises his fist in victory.  Meb Keflezighi raises his fist in victory. | (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

The Week

The U.S. considers leaving fewer troops in Afghanistan, an American man wins the Boston Marathon, and more

1. The U.S. might cut its Afghanistan force to 5,000
The U.S. next year might cut the number of troops it leaves in Afghanistan below 10,000, which is the minimum military leaders say will be needed to train Afghan forces, Reuters reports. There are close to 33,000 American soldiers in Afghanistan now, down from 100,000 in 2011. White House officials, encouraged by Afghanistan’s surprisingly smooth April 5 presidential election, are considering reducing the number below 5,000. [Reuters]


2. Keflezighi becomes first American to win the Boston marathon in three decades
Meb Keflezighi, 38, became the first American man to win the Boston Marathon since 1983 on Monday, with an official time of 2:08:37. A huge crowd…

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Posted on 04/22/2014, in open discussion, Potpourri, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 30 Comments.

  1. # 3.

    More bodies found inside sunken South Korean ship
    The death toll in South Korea’s ferry disaster rose to 108 after divers managed to get into the sunken hull and recover more bodies on Monday. Another 198 people, many of them high school students who had been bound for an island vacation, are still missing. Seven crew members, including the captain, have been charged with negligence and other crimes for issuing an early order for passengers to stay in their cabins and for being among the first to exit the sinking ship. [BBC News]


  2. The Associated Press ‏@AP 3h
    In new book, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens suggests at least six changes to Constitution:


    • I have a place in my heart for John Paul Stevens. In 1969, Sherman Skolnick investigated judges taking bribes. Stevens was a U.S. Attorney and appointed as a special investigator. It was his work in that case that led to his appointment on the Supreme Court.

      Skolnick was a relentless investigator and good mentor in that area — so good that after that case, he had to take on a conspiracy theorist public image to avoid death threats.


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    • From Wikipedia:
      “Charles Mingus Jr. (April 22, 1922 – January 5, 1979) was a highly influential American jazz double bassist, composer and bandleader. Mingus’s compositions retained the hot and soulful feel of hard bop and drew heavily from black gospel music while sometimes drawing on elements of Third Stream, free jazz, and classical music.

      “Yet Mingus avoided categorization, forging his own brand of music that fused tradition with unique and unexplored realms of jazz. He once cited Duke Ellington and church as his main influences.”


  4. Also, on this day in history:

    First Earth Day, April 22, 1970

    “Tri-State Area Commemorates Earth Day With Series Of Events”

    Celebrating Earth Day with photos:



  5. “Police officer caught on video tripping high school students who rushed the field after soccer game”



  6. “Freedom Summer 2014”
    Posted: 04/21/2014


    “Beginning April 30, NAN will start a recruiting drive urging people to volunteer a day, a week, three weeks, or however long they can to address voter suppression……..in one of the following eight states: Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Virginia and Louisiana.

    “Following training, they will work on a two-prong strategy to combat new voter suppression tactics. First, they will join those who are challenging subliminal methods of eliminating voter rights like new ID laws and a reduction/end to early voting days and ‘souls to the polls.’

    The second part of this strategy is registering people to vote in areas where we cannot eliminate voter suppression schemes.

    “Whether that’s driving seniors to get new IDs, or babysitting children so that their parents can take time to get copies of their birth certificate, or whether that means holding townhalls to educate communities, when you volunteer, you can help push back against modern-day suppression.”


  7. Bill to prevent coerced sterilizations in Calif. prisons moves forward”



  8. Hat tip to rikyrah for this article:

    California Prisons Are Sterilizing Female Prison Inmates Against Their Will”

    April 20, 2014
    BY April Taylor

    “The website tellmenow.com is reporting that prison doctors in California have sterilized over 150 women. The reported reasoning behind the sterilizations is that the state did not want to have to make welfare payments to the women for children that they may have had once they were no longer in prison. The sterilization procedures that occurred between 1997 and 2010 reportedly cost the state a total of $147,460, and Dr. James Heinrech who is an OB-GYN at Valley State Prison for Women in California is quoted as saying that this total is far less than the amount of money it would have taken to pay for welfare for children her referred to as unwanted. While it is reported that the women were not forced to have the sterilization procedure done, Heinrech is said to have signed off on the procedures as medical emergencies to circumvent the process that is in place to protect the rights of women in the California prison system.

    “While it would seem that this type of procedure should be illegal, it is actually protected under the law. The Supreme Court ruled in the 1927 Buck vs. Bell case that women can legally be forcibly sterilized while incarcerated. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. wrote the majority opinion on the case and is quoted as stating the following, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough. We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the state for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, in order to prevent our being swamped with incompetence.”



  9. “Warning system could alert West Coast 60 seconds before earthquake”



  10. “Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Aereo Case”



    WASHINGTON — “The Supreme Court seemed to have conflicting impulses on Tuesday in considering a request from television broadcasters to shut down Aereo, an Internet start-up that the broadcasters say threatens the economic viability of their businesses.

    “On the one hand, most of the justices seemed to think that the service was too clever by half.

    ” ‘Your technological model,’ Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. told Aereo’s lawyer, ‘is based solely on circumventing legal prohibitions that you don’t want to comply with.’

    “But Justice Stephen G. Breyer, echoing sentiments of other members of the court, said “what disturbs me on the other side is, I don’t understand what a decision” against Aereo “should mean for other technologies,” notably cloud computing.

    “The justices seemed keenly aware that their ruling would have vast implications for the broadcast industry and for technical innovations involving cloud computing.

    “Chet Kanojia, founder and chief of Aereo, introducing the product in 2012. If Aereo loses its case, “there is no plan B,” he said.

    “Aereo uses arrays of small antennas to stream over-the-air television signals to subscribers, allowing them to record and watch programs on their smartphones, tablets and computers. The broadcasters say this amounts to theft of their content and violates copyright laws.

    “The broadcasters say a ruling in favor of Aereo would jeopardize the billions of dollars in retransmission fees that cable and satellite systems pay to networks and local stations for the right to distribute their programming. Television executives have said that would undermine their business model and force them to consider abandoning the airwaves.

    “Aereo responds that it is merely helping its subscribers do what they could lawfully do since the era of rabbit-ear antennas: watch free broadcast television delivered over public airwaves.”


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  13. Musical Based on ‘Found’ Aims for Atlantic Theater</
    NEW YORK April 22, 2014 (AP)



    “Most theater musicals are based on prized, cherished things. Now comes one that uses the trash we toss away.

    “This fall, the Atlantic Theater Company will present the world premiere of “Found,” a show built around discarded notes and other ephemera that litter the streets. It features a book by Hunter Bell and Lee Overtree, and music and original lyrics by Eli Bolin.

    “The show’s skeleton is the story of Davy Rothbart, who began collecting the flotsam and jetsam of society and built them into the magazine “Found.” The publication is a compilation of birthday cards, poetry on napkins, to-do lists, love letters, random notes and homework assignments.”


  14. http://money.msn.com/investing/10-things-the-gun-industry-wont-tell-you

    From the article: Each year in this country, more than 31,000 people are killed by firearms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate — roughly 85 people per day. The U.S. has one of the highest rates of civilian gun ownership and one of the highest rates of firearm-related deaths per capita across developed countries around the world.

    Yet we are expected to accept that we do not have a gun problem in this nation? Of course if you believe a rabbit lays eggs, it makes sense, right?


    • The U.S. has one of the highest rates of civilian gun ownership and one of the highest rates of firearm-related deaths per capita across developed countries around the world.

      That’s because of the argument that guns don’t kill people — people kill people. Yet, legislatures do not want laws that require extensive background checks and waiting periods.

      Rather than outlawing guns, it should be bullets — replaced by the rubber ones.


  15. “NYPD’s Twitter request for photos backfires”
    Excerpt from article:
    “NEW YORK (AP) – A request by the New York City Police Department has backfired – in a very public way. Its request that Twitter users share pictures of them posing with police officers has caused people to start sending in photos of police brutality.”

    The following article link shows some of the photos that appeared on Twitter:


  16. Police: Pizza deliveryman shot by officers may have thought he was being robbed”





    “ELLIJAY, Ga. (AP) — Criticized by one group as the “guns everywhere” bill, Georgia took a big step Wednesday toward expanding where licensed carriers can take their weapons, with the governor signing a law that allows them in bars without restriction and in some churches, schools and government buildings under certain circumstances.


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