Ohio judge clears cop of killing two unarmed African Americans

Police officer cleared in unarmed killing

On Saturday, a judge ruled Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo not guilty, he was charged with killing both Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, both who are African Americans. According to Judge John O’Donnell says Brelo was cleared because he believed his life was in danger and therefore he is not guilty of crime. He was facing charges of voluntary manslaughter as a result of a 137-shot barrage following a high-speed car chase. He ruled that officer Michael Brelo acted within his constitutional rights three years ago when he killed Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams.

This concludes one of several police abuse cases stirring up anger throughout Cleveland. Emotions among people upset at the verdict ran high outside the Cleveland courtroom. Some held up signs and chanted “no justice, no peace,” words heard in recent months in places like Ferguson, Missouri, and New York, where massive demonstrations sprung up after African-Americans died at the hands of white police officers.

”Brelo’s entire use of deadly force was a constitutionally reasonable response to an objectively reasonably perceived threat of great bodily harm from the occupants of the Malibu, Russell and Williams.” – Judge John O’Donnell

Prosecutors claimed that the deaths of the two individuals were result of a chase that began after the car driven by Russell backfired and officers mistakenly thought was caused by gunshots in Cleveland on November 29, 2012.

It turned out that neither Russell, 43, nor Williams, 30, were armed, but Russell led numerous police officers on a 22-mile chase. Read more at Examiner.com


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FBI capture two California men attempting to join ISIS

ISIS continues to recruit Americans

FBI agents on Friday, arrested two Southern California men at Los Angeles International Airport, on terrorism related charges. They have been described as homegrown violent extremists and appeared in Federal court late Friday. Muhanad Badawi and Nader Elhuzayel, both 24 and of Anaheim, were nabbed by the Orange County Joint Terrorism Task Force, Elhuzayel at Los Angeles International Airport and Badawi in Orange County. The task force was mude up of officers from the FBI, Anaheim Police Department and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Federal agents in connection to the joint terrorism task force, served two search warrants in relation to the case.

Law enforcement officials assured the public that they were never in danger but the arrests were related to national security. The Orange County Register, citing Elhuzayel’s parents, said he was nabbed after they dropped him off to catch a flight to Israel to visit aunts and cousins in Palestine. It is not clear from these reports if the two individuals were in communication with each other and acting in concert, or if they were two entirely independent ISIS recruits picked up by the same joint task force investigation.

Several others have been arrested in recent months for attempting to travel to Syria to fight for the extremist group ISIS, including Somali-American men from Minnesota last month.
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Modern Family: What the Changing American Household Looks Like Today


Today’s modern family isn’t defined in the same ways it once was. The traditional family, as it was known as in the 1960s, consisted of two heterosexual parents who married young, a father that worked outside of the home, a stay-at-home mom, and the statistical 2.4 children. American households look much different today and continue to change with our socioeconomic fluidity.

Today, men and women are choosing to marry a lot later in life. With the divorce rate continually rising, the concept of “till death do us part” has diminished resulting in more divorce, remarriage, and diversity in the configuration of the family unit. Those complexities often require the expertise of a divorce lawyer to work out custody and child support issues and children’s ages are varying more with remarriage and economic shifts for families in the middle class. The law in many states is also coming to allow homosexual partners to marry and build families together. Supporting them in legal ways had also changed the dynamics of many household across the country.

Blended Families
When a second or third marriage occurs, the resulting relationships are referred to as a blended family. Step-children and new parents become a part of the newly formed family unit. Patience and understanding is required to reach the point of progressing from a blended family to a bonded family. Today’s family may include a blending of children of various ages from one or more previous marriages, as well as children born into the newly formed family unit. More and more blended families continue to shift the dynamic and diversity of what it means to be part of a family today.

Family Role Differences
While it was once the father who left home to go to work and the mother who stayed at home, that isn’t always the case with today’s family. There continues to be an increase in the number of stay-at-home dads. New laws which allow gay men and women to marry have resulted in the expansion of the definition of family as well. Bi-racial marriages and the union of two people from different cultural backgrounds have also brought a significant change to the landscape of the American family. This country continues to be a melting pot of cultural mixtures and changes the definition of family.

Multi-Generational Homes
There has also been an increase in multi-generational living arrangements. Boomerang children is the term that has been given to adult children who return home after living on their own for a while, and that trend continues to rise with the rising cost of living and education.
Another multi-generational household configuration includes grandparents who have moved in with their adult children. Quite often, in this family grouping, there will be grandparents and grandchildren living in the same home. Social constructs of the role of grandparents is still flexible, with some being constant caregivers in the home. Young children who bond with grandparents early on will often be more empathetic and able to adapt with a changing environment.

Today’s American household and the house itself have taken on a different appearance. In a shared dwelling, it’s important that everyone have a place to call their own. Accessibility issues may need to be addressed in multi-generational housing situations as well as health and mobility. Today’s complex families are taking on new meaning and changing the landscapes of both youth and adult with how families are able to interact and share with each other. More diversity in the family, means more diversity across the board and laws and social constructs and changing to adapt to new grounds. More changes in the economy have also shifted what it means to be a middle class American family and where our values as a country lie.

A Shrinking Middle Class: Where Is Our Money Going?


The middle class is roughly defined as households that earn between 67% and 200% of their area’s average income. This is a wide spread, but even so, the number of people who are within this group are shrinking. Even worse, as cost of living rises while wages remain stagnant, the middle class is struggling more than ever just to keep bills paid. The security once associated with the middle class, including home ownership, college education, and retirement savings, is no longer a reality for many households that technically fall within this category. What is happening to the American middle class?

The Tightening Belts of the Middle Class
Unfortunately, the shrinking numbers of middle class households are not due to people becoming wealthy, but rather joining the lower classes. The American economy, while improving, is paying record low wages while workers have less security than ever. Housing prices have risen, as have food costs, and the prices of many necessities. The website, myLumpsum.com says more and more people are getting structured settlements to help decrease debt. Families want to stay financially independent, but it’s getting harder. The result is that the middle class is smaller than ever, and families in the middle class no longer enjoy the security we associate with the middle class and the American dream.

Possible Causes of a Shrinking Middle Class
The recession disproportionately affected middle class jobs, especially affecting small business, the financial sector, and technology careers. In addition, many American families lost their homes in the housing crisis or went far into debt to save them. The United States government policy has swung to favor corporations and the very wealthy, which is called ‘wedge economics’ due to its divisiveness. All these reasons and more have contributed to shrinking the middle class earners.

The Inherent Problems of Measuring Socioeconomic Class
One of the reasons lawmakers and other people in power are not alarmed by the shrinking middle class is no one can definitively define who they are. The standard economic measurement, which places people by income, does not take into account household size, expendable income, possible high cost of living in the area, and other factors. Other analysts define middle class as a set of values that include solid work ethic and economical habits. Thus, American middle class households often appear to be fine as a whole, when in fact many are struggling with basic expenses. It’s a flexible definition and makes it hard to see what the limits of each class is.

While the exact causes of the shrinking middle class are not definite, it is becoming clear that the middle class is struggling. Because it is traditionally the foundation of American society, this should be alarming to policy makers and government. Hopefully with more research, lawmakers can find a way to address these issues and help American families get back on track.

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Usama Bin Laden ‘treasure trove’ not revealing much

U.S. Intelligence Department releases the Bin Laden’s personal library

Four years after the death of Osama Bin Laden, the U.S. government on Wednesday finally released documents found at his Pakistani compound. The U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence released over 100 documents from the “treasure-trove” recovered by the Navy Seals responsible for killing bin Laden. The documents reveal a new side of the mindset of Al-Qaeda’s founder, his debates over strategy, anxiety over the U.S. spying and his fixation on the group’s media image.

Intelligence agencies have released more than 100 of these documents, after members of Congress ordered the move and critics blasted the CIA for withholding material. The documents are Central Intelligence Agency translations of the originals in English, and AFP had no way to independently verify the materials or the accuracy of the translation. This sudden release of documents comes days after American journalist Seymour Hersh alleged that the White House’ official account of the Bin Laden hunt and the raid that led to his death was a lie.

CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani said the release had been long planned and not intended as a responded to Hersh’s report. Within the documents released, Bin Laden advised against communicating by email. He worried about a bug being inserted into his wife’s clothes. He was planning to groom a new group of leaders willing to risk the dangers of joining his Al-Qaeda organization. Read more at Examiner.com


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President Obama restricts military equipment sent to local police

Militarized police becoming a thing of the past

President Obama’s administration is gearing towards no longer providing military equipment including tanks and grenade launchers to local police across the country. This follows the backlash Ferguson police faced after deploying armored vehicles and clothed in camouflage, last year. President Obama made the announcement on Monday. The prohibitions are included in a new executive order President Barack Obama issued for federal agencies to review the equipment they provide to both local and state authorities. The agencies addressed include the Defense, Justice and Homeland Security departments help provide equipment to local police.

The banned equipment list includes armored vehicles, certain camouflage uniforms, bayonets, weapons and ammunition of .50 caliber or higher, grenade launchers and militarized aircraft. The executive order will create a “controlled equipment” list with tightened restrictions before federal agencies can send equipment to local police across the nation. This list includes riot control gear and drones. Local police are now required to provide detailed information so the government can properly track the equipment. They’ll also have to collect and retain data whenever such equipment is involved in a “significant incident” and make those data available to the federal government and, in some cases, the public. Local authorities can ignore Obama’s wishes and buy the equipment from private sellers.
Read more at Examiner.com

Under Armour is now Under Fire

Under Armour insults veterans and veteran groups

Under Armour pulled a t-shirt design that created a social media firestorm and later released an apology. Under Armour’s shirt parodied the 1945 photograph of American Marines lifting an American flag at the battle of Iowa Jima. The shirt titled “Band of Ballers”, depicted basketball players raising a hoop in same manner as the American flag. The Baltimore-based company pulled the shirt off their retail website after receiving dozens of complains saying it was disrespectful towards veterans by using the historic moment to increase sales in their basketball department.

Under Armour has a very close relationship with the military through its continued sponsorship of the Wounded Warrior Project. The Baltimore-based company faced heat from customers on their Facebook page. One comment read,”We are a proud military family and you have lost our business,” “Shame on you for trying to cash in on the sacrifices of our military. Athletes are not heroes, they are grossly overpaid people that for the most part have no clue what it means to work hard and sacrifice.  Under Armour issued several tweets attempting to calm the angered supporters of the company.

“Under Armour has the utmost respect and admiration for active duty service men and women and veterans who have served our country,” the company tweeted. “We deeply regret and apologize that a T-shirt that was not reflective of our values in honoring and supporting our country’s heroes went on sale. “We have taken the necessary steps to remove this shirt, and any related shirts, from all retail and ensure this doesn’t happen again,” the statement concluded. Under Armour previously came under fire in 2013, when they designed Northwestern University football uniforms were criticized saying   the helmet, gloves and cleats appeared to be splattered with streaks of blood. Both

Under Armour and Northwestern defended the uniform, which also used elements of the American flag, saying it was inspired by a flag that had flown proudly for a long period of time. Northwestern apologized that some people could misinterpret the design but used the uniform anyway. At the time, Under Armour highlighted its ongoing relationship with the Wounded Warrior Project.

Political commentators believe the employees who came up with new design, should be fired as a result of insulting veterans and veteran groups. One supporter on Facebook posted a statement asking, “What is so bad about a backyard game of basketball; which fosters teamwork and camaraderie,” one person wrote on Facebook. “What is so disrespectful about an image that may help to subtly remind people of the brave acts of men…?”

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Egypt’s former President Mohammed Morsi sentenced to death

Mohammed Morsi charged with murdering protesters in 2012


Former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was sentenced to death by an Egyptian court on Saturday. His death sentence is for his role in a massive prison break in 2011. Mohammed Morsi was Egypt’s first democratically elected president and is currently serving a 20-year jail following his conviction for ordering the killing of protesters in December 2012. Morsi previously faced a death sentence in a prior case before Judge el-Shami connected to allegations that Morsi and his aides allegedly passed secrets to foreign groups including Hamas, Hezbollah, during his one year as president.

Morsi was ousted in 2013 after a series of mass street protests against his rule. In May 2014, former military leader Abdul Fattah al-Sisi who led the coup, won in a landslide in the presidential election. Al-Sisi after winning banned the Muslim Brotherhood from Egypt.Following customs in passing capital punishment, Judge Shaaban el-Shami reffered his death sentence on Morsi and his fellow aides and followers to Egypt’s top Muslim mufti, for his non-binding opinion. The hearing will be June 2.
Read more at Examiner.com

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Boston jury sentences Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death

After three days of deliberations, the jury in the Boston Marathon trial has come to a decision of sending Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death. After more than two days of deliberating on Friday the jury has closed the book on one of the worst acts of terrorism since September 11. The decision comes from the same jury of seven women and five men who found Tsarnaev guilty on all 30 counts related to the Marathon attack and four-day manhunt. The jury found him responsible for killing four people, seriously maiming 17 and injuring hundreds more.

The decision came down to one question: Should Tsarnaev receive death or the spend the rest of his life in the supermax prison in Florence, Colorado? The jurors weighed 12 aggravating factors against 21 mitigating factors. They were told to consider the suffering caused by Tsarnaev, his intentions, his character and his relationships. The verdict that closes a trial that brought dozens of victims and a father who lost his child face to face with the terrorist. The government emphasized additional aggravating factors, including the “betrayal of the United States,” the selection of an “iconic event” as a target, the death of a police officer, statements in which Tsarnaev encouraged “others to commit acts of violence and terrorism,” the trauma unleashed on victims’ families, and Tsarnaev’s apparent lack of remorse. From the very beginning on March 4, the defense acknowledged Tsarnaev’s involvement of the bombings, which he planned and executed with his older brother, Tamerlan who died during the manhunt. Only two options were available because Tsarnaev was charged under federal law, which requires at least life in prison for 17 of the counts.
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White House snubbed by Arab nations over Iran deal

Smells like a snub, looks like a snub…It’s a snub!

White House officials on Monday, announced that Saudia Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud will no longer be attending President Barack Obama’s meetings later this week with Middle East leaders from the Gulf Cooperation Council. Members of the press and other political analysts have called this a snub towards to President Obama, just days before the start of the two day summit which begins Wednesday and ends on Thursday wrapping up with a meeting at Camp David. Since last Friday, the Obama administration said the new Saudi King Salman would be attending, according to White House spokesman, Eric Schultz.

Saudi King Salman passes on invite to White House despite telling Kerry he’s looking forward to it.


The Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday that King Salman would be sending Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who serves as defense minister, in his place. The Royal Embassy released a statement saying King Salman’s absence was related to the timing of the summit, the humanitarian ceasefire in Yemen as well as the opening of the King Salman Center for Humanitarian Aid.  Arab leaders considered King Salman’s “snub” towards the White House as a sign that they disapprove with what the Obama administration is willing to offer at the Camp David summit as proof that the United States would support the Arab allies against a dangerous Iran. Read more at Examiner.com

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