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Bemidji Minnesota: 6-year-old girl found frozen to death

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- A 6-year-old Bemidji girl was found dead of exposure to the winter elements Thursday morning at her apartment complex.

The girl's name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and autopsy results. She was a first-grader at Horace May Elementary School. Officials said they expect to release the name today.

Bemidji police Capt. James Marcotte described the death as "tragic" and said it is under investigation. Marcotte said Beltrami County dispatch received two telephone calls at 6:23 a.m. Thursday, one from the victim's mother and the other from a neighbor.

Marcotte said officers and medical personnel arrived on the scene within minutes of the 911 calls and were directed to a 6-year-old girl who was located inside the front entrance to the apartment building. She was wearing a jacket, boots, hat and mittens when emergency personnel arrived.



Alabama Man Convicted of Raping 14-Year-Old Continues to Avoid Prison Time

An Alabama man who was punished with only probation for three rape convictions in a case involving an underage girl does not have to serve prison time, a state criminal appeals court ruled Friday.

In September, a local jury found Austin Smith Clem, 25, guilty of raping his teenage neighbor three times—twice when she was 14, and once when she was 18.

Clem was convicted on one count of first-degree rape and two counts of second-degree rape. In November, a judge sentenced Clem to a mere three years of probation, touching off a national outcry and prompting Limestone County District Attorney Brian Jones to make a series of legal moves to ensure that Clem would be incarcerated. Friday's order is a response to Jones' second request that the court find that Clem's sentence was illegally lenient.

Under the appeals court's Friday decision, Clem will serve the punishment he was handed by a county judge when he was resentenced December 23—five years of probation, and prison time of up to 35 years if he violates the terms of his probation.



Walker Violated Public Records Law: So say former AG and Milwaukee supervisor

A former Wisconsin attorney general and a Milwaukee county supervisor who was subpoenaed by the John Doe prosecutor are both wondering why Scott Walker wasn’t charged with violating the state’s public records law while he was Milwaukee county executive.

The recently released 27,000 pages of documents from the first John Doe investigation provided enough evidence to bring such a charge, they say.

John Weishan, a Democrat and a critic of Walker on the Milwaukee County board, submitted an open records request for the computer communications in the county executive’s office back in the spring of 2010. Weishan suspected at the time that Walker or members of his staff were doing campaign work on the public dime, which turned out to be the case.

But Weishan received only four vacuous pages back in response to his request, along with a bill for $2,800 and the accusation from Walker’s staff that the supervisor was engaged in a “fishing expedition.”

Today, Weishan says, he feels vindicated. The document dump “proves that everything I thought was going on at the time did take place,” he says.



Wisconsin income gap widening faster than nation as a whole

MIKE IVEY | The Capital Times

Income inequality in Wisconsin is increasing at a faster rate than the nation as a whole, a trend that authors of a new report warn is causing social upheaval and straining government services.

The top 1 percent in Wisconsin — households with incomes over $283,000 — captured 15.7 percent of all the income generated in the state in 2011. That compares to a 7 percent slice for the top 1 percent four decades ago, according to a joint report issued by the liberal-leaning UW-Madison’s Center on Wisconsin Strategy and the Wisconsin Budget Project.

Moreover, inflation-adjusted income for the bottom 99 percent of Wisconsin residents has actually fallen by 0.4 percent since 1979 while incomes for the upper 1 percent more than doubled over the period.

“Put another way, all the growth in income that occurred between 1979 and 2011 in Wisconsin wound up in the pockets of the top 1 percent,” says the report released Friday.

Read more: http://host.madison.com/news/local/writers/mike_ivey/wisconsin-income-gap-widening-faster-than-nation-as-a-whole/article_acc8a776-a0be-11e3-a5f1-001a4bcf887a.html

US Border Agents Intentionally Stepped in Front of Moving Vehicles to Justify Shooting at Them

The Los Angeles Times obtained an internal review of US Border Patrol’s use-of-force policies, which US Customs and Border Protection has refused to release publicly (members of Congress have seen a summary). While the Times did not offer the report in full, the paper did publish previously unseen snippets that portray a law enforcement agency operating under loose use-of-force standards and little accountability.

The review was completed in February 2013 by the Police Executive Research Forum, a nonprofit that develops best practices for law enforcement use-of-force policies. It examined sixty-seven use-of-force incidents by federal border agents near the US-Mexico border that resulted in nineteen deaths.

Here are some key findings of the review, revealed by the Times Thursday:

Border Patrol agents have intentionally and unnecessarily stepped in front of moving cars to justify using deadly force against vehicle occupants.

Agents have shot in frustration across the US-Mexico border at rock throwers when simply moving away was an option.

Border Patrol demonstrates a “lack of diligence” in investigating incidents in which US agents fire their weapons.

It’s questionable whether Border Patrol “consistently and thoroughly reviews” incidents in which agents use deadly force.

The report is especially scathing in its critique of agents who’ve stood in front of moving vehicles, recommending that they “get out of the way…as opposed to intentionally assuming a position in front of such vehicles.”



TSA Harasses Traveler After 'Seeing Bitcoin' In His Bag

The TSA attempted to "screen" airline passenger Davi Barker for the virtual currency Bitcoin.

Barker is co-founder of BitcoinNotBombs, a Bitcoin advocacy group that gets donation-based organizations and social entrepreneurs set up to handle the currency. He's written a very detailed telling of what happened right here. After going through security (he opted out of the body scanner but was successfully cleared through the checkpoint), two people stopped him, and it got uncomfortable quickly.

I was about to ask for my attorney, who happens to be my wife, when [the person wearing] the orange shirt said, “What about Bitcoin?” I was flabbergasted. This was above and beyond any scrutiny I had ever received from the TSA, and a little frightening that they were looking for Bitcoin. I said I didn’t understand the question. He continued, “We saw Bitcoin in your bag and need to check.” I was incredulous, and asked, “Do you have a superior officer because I don’t think you know what you’re talking about.” The blue shirt replied by repeating that they were “managers,” but if I didn’t answer his questions he could call law enforcement and have me taken into custody. I asked, “Aren’t you law enforcement?” and he replied, “No we’re with the TSA.”

If this sounds weird to you, it's because it is. Bitcoin is digital and doesn't exist in the physical world — to "see Bitcoin" in a bag would be like seeing email in a bag. What the agent more likely saw, says Barker, is the orange Bitcoin logo sweatshirt Barker was wearing at the time, promo material for his organization's annual "Hoodie the Homeless" drive. It looked like this:

Barker also travels with lots of Bitcoin-themed lapel pins that he sells at conferences. It's reasonable to assume that the agent was talking about these pins, but that would require a gross misunderstanding of what Bitcoin is.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/bitcoin-tsa-screening-2014-2

Georgia Gov. Deal- Cut access to the ER for poor people.

Gov. Nathan Deal has often called on Congress to reconsider the Affordable Care Act. But on Monday evening, he pushed his former Washington colleagues to revisit a separate health care law that fewer politicians openly critique.

The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act is a 1986 law that requires hospitals to provide emergency health care treatment to anyone who needs it, regardless of citizenship or their ability to pay. It’s provided life-saving care to countless people, but it’s also strained hospital resources and turned emergency rooms into the first stop, instead of a last resort, for some.

“If they really want to get serious about lowering the cost of health care in this country, they would revisit another federal statute that has been there for a long time,” Deal told a crowd of dozens at a University of Georgia political science alumni gathering. “It came as a result of bad facts, and we have a saying that bad facts make bad law.”

Legislative supporters in the 1980s cited cases of pregnant women being turned away from emergency rooms because they couldn’t pay. Deal, who long served on a key House health panel, said lawmakers can build in protections for pregnant women and others while tightening access to ERs in other ways. Said the governor:

“I think we should be able in this passage of time to figure out ways to deal with those situations but not have the excessive costs associated with unnecessary visits to the emergency room.”


That's crooked Deal for ya- if you are uninsured and poor, go die in a ditch.

Toon: Despicable Walker

Luckovich Toon: We Bought The House

Nasty parasitic worm, common in wildlife, now infecting U.S. cats

THACA, N.Y. — When Cornell University veterinarians found half-foot-long worms living in their feline patients, they had discovered something new: The worms, Dracunculus insignis, had never before been seen in cats.

“First Report of Dracunculus Insignis in Two Naturally Infected Cats from the Northeastern USA,” published in the February issue of the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, documents the first proof that this raccoon parasite can infect cats.

The worms can grow to almost a foot long and must emerge from its host to lay eggs that hatch into larvae. It forms a blister-like protrusion in an extremity, such as a leg, from which it slowly emerges over the course of days to deposit its young into the water.

Worms in the Dracunculus genus are well known in human medicine. D. insignis’ sister worm, the waterborne Guinea worm, infected millions of humans around the world until eradication efforts beginning in the 1980s removed it from all but four countries – with only 148 cases reported in 2013. Other Dracunculus worms infect a host of other mammals – but Dranunculus insignis mainly infects raccoons and other wild mammals and, in rare cases, dogs. It does not infect humans.

The cats that contracted the Dranunculus insignis worms likely ingested the parasites by drinking unfiltered water or by hunting frogs,” said Araceli Lucio-Forster, a Cornell veterinary researcher and the paper’s lead author.

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