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we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.
This Day in History
A powerful 8.2-magnitude earthquake hit Chile’s Pacific coast Tuesday, triggering tsunami waves of more than two meters and warnings for people to flee to higher ground.
There were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage on shore, but warnings and advisories were issued for coastal areas up South and Central America’s huge Pacific coast.
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. was charged on Tuesday with federal felony counts involving safety violations linked to a deadly 2010 natural gas pipeline explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The indictment charges the utility with 12 felony violations of federal pipeline safety laws, which could carry a total possible fine of $6 million, or more if the court decides it somehow benefited financially from the disaster.
Federal prosecutors allege that PG&E knowingly relied on erroneous and incomplete information when assessing the safety of the pipeline that eventually ruptured, sparked a fireball and leveled 38 homes in San Bruno.
The Obama administration has conducted warrantless searches of Americans’ communications as part of the National Security Agency’s surveillance operations that target foreigners located outside of the U.S., the administration’s top intelligence official confirmed in a letter to Congress disclosed Tuesday.
The U.N. Human Rights Committee in Geneva on Thursday condemned the United States for criminalizing homelessness, calling it “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” that violates international human rights treaty obligations. It also called upon the U.S. government to take corrective action, following a two-day review of U.S. government compliance with a human rights treaty ratified in 1992.
“I’m just simply baffled by the idea that people can be without shelter in a country, and then be treated as criminals for being without shelter,” said Sir Nigel Rodley, chairman of the committee in closing statements on the U.S. review. “The idea of criminalizing people who don’t have shelter is something that I think many of my colleagues might find as difficult as I do to even begin to comprehend.”
In towns and cities across the United States, police officers find themselves playing dual roles as law enforcers and psychiatric social workers. County jails and state prisons have become de facto mental institutions; in New York, for instance, a surge of stabbings, beatings and other violence at Rikers Island has been attributed in part to an influx of mentally ill inmates, who respond erratically to discipline and are vulnerable targets for other prisoners. “Frequent fliers,” as mentally ill inmates who have repeated arrests are known in law enforcement circles, cycle from jail cells to halfway houses to the streets and back.
The problem has gotten worse in recent years, according to mental health and criminal justice experts, as state and local governments have cut back on mental health services for financial reasons. And with the ubiquity of video cameras – both in ordinary citizens’ hands and on police officer’s helmets and in cruisers – the public can more readily see what is going on and respond.
“I think that this issue hits every city, every part of the country where you have people who are walking on the street who normally would have been under some kind of treatment or institutionalized,” said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a Washington-based nonprofit that in 2012 released a report calling for minimizing the use of force by the police in situations involving mental illness.
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