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Minority Neighborhoods Pay Higher Car Insurance Premiums Than White Areas With the Same Risk

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Our analysis of premiums and payouts in California, Illinois, Texas and Missouri shows that some major insurers charge minority neighborhoods as much as 30 percent more than other areas with similar accident costs.

-via ProPublica

University of Minnesota student takes on injustices in the bail system

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Simon Cecil sat on a metal stoop at the Hennepin County jail’s exit, studying a mug shot of a man he’s never met but just paid $50 to bail out.

Mug shots rarely capture a flattering likeness, and Cecil has learned that calculating the time it takes to discharge someone from jail is a science of educated guessing, so he stares at every face moving to the door, looking for David Stribling. After about half an hour, Cecil spots a guy who might be Stribling, but when he approaches, the stranger shakes his head and asks for a cigarette.

-via StarTribune

Arkansas Plans to Execute Seven People This Month, Continuing Long Tradition of Assembly-Line Killing

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On April 17, the state of Arkansas plans to kill Don Davis and Bruce Earl Ward, two men who have been on death row since the early 1990s. Neither has applied for clemency. Both will die on the same gurney, back to back, if all goes according to plan. Executioners will start by injecting them with a sedative called midazolam, never before used by the state, but which is supposed to render them unconscious for the two lethal drugs to follow. No one, apart from a handful of officials, knows where the drugs will come from, or who exactly will do the injecting.

-via The Intercept

Controversial Chuitna coal mine ‘shelved’ after investor backs out

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The company behind a large and contentious coal mine proposed for the west side of Cook Inlet is suspending all permitting efforts, suddenly putting the Chuitna Coal Project in limbo.

Dan Graham, project manager for PacRim Coal, told officials at the Alaska Department of Natural Resources about the company’s decision late last week. DNR posted an update on its website Friday.

-Alaska Dispatch News

Rahm Emanuel’s College Proposal Is Everything Wrong With Democratic Education Policy

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On Wednesday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a new educational proposal: starting with this year’s freshman class, every student in the Chicago public school system will be required to show an acceptance letter from a college, a trade school or apprenticeship, or a branch of the military in order to graduate. “We live in a period of time when you earn what you learn,” Mayor Emanuel said. (Democratic politicians’ attempts at folksiness are always pretty grim.) “We want to make 14th grade universal,” he also said. The proposed measure is almost certainly a publicity stunt which will have little effect in practice.

-via Current Affairs

Boycotting Bill O’Reilly: Over 50 Advertisers Pull Ads on Fox Show over Sexual Harassment Scandal

The number of advertisers boycotting Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News program has increased to at least 52, following revelations that he and the network paid out $13 million to settle lawsuits by five women who accuse O’Reilly of sexual harassment and inappropriate sexual behavior. Meanwhile, a third Fox News employee has joined a lawsuit charging the network with racial discrimination. The employees claim top executives—including former CEO Roger Ailes.

-Via Democracy Now

Government Agency Nixes Coal Photo on Public Lands Website After Public Outcry

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The Trump administration just got a harsh reminder just how strongly Americans feel about protecting public lands. A few days ago, the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which oversees millions acres of public land under the Department of the Interior, swapped its homepage image of a beautiful park to a massive pile of coal at a mine in Wyoming.

-via Earth Justice

America’s Health Care System Forces Citizens To Turn To Crowdfunding To Survive

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In March, Shane Patrick Boyle, founder of Zine Fest Houston, published a GoFundMe campaign to pay for his insulin. He needed $750 to make it through the month. But before the end of March, Boyle died.

According to his cousin, who soon initiated a memorial drive to pay for funeral services, Boyle’s death was a result of an attempt to “stretch out his life saving insulin to make it last longer.”

Boyle is not the first person to use a crowdfunding platform to pay for medical care nor is he the first to die due to the inability to afford insulin or other necessary medication.

-via Shadowproof

Why Some of America’s Small-Scale Organic Farms Like Mine Are in Jeopardy

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I did not set out forty-some years ago to be a hippy, organic or alternative farmer of any sort. Deeply disillusioned after a few years striving to reform society’s miscreants in the prison and parole system, I ached to produce something of unquestioned value for myself and my community, namely food. Though a jolly good ride, that proved to be not as simple as it looked. Let me share a thing or two about a thing or two that I learned along the way of the dirt farmer.

-via AlterNet

The Surprising Resilience of Failed Fast Food Chains

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While Kenny Rogers’ “Islands in the Stream” partner Dolly Parton found success with a theme park, Kenny Rogers agreed to let his likeness become the face of an entirely different operation: a rotisserie chicken chain.

The chain began in 1991 thanks in part to former Kentucky Gov. John Y. Brown, who had turned KFC into an international success. And, at first, Kenny Rogers Roasters was on the same track; by 1994, the company already had 109 locations.

-via Atlas Obscura

North Dakota Oil Spill Three Times Larger Than First Estimated

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A December oil pipeline spill in western North Dakota might have been three times larger than first estimated and among the biggest in state history, a state environmental expert said Friday.

About 530,000 gallons of oil is now believed to have spilled from the Belle Fourche Pipeline that was likely ruptured by a slumping hillside about 16 miles northwest of Belfield in Billings County, Health Department environmental scientist Bill Seuss said. The earlier estimate was about 176,000 gallons.

-via NBC News

 Donald Trump’s Presidency Could Literally Mean the End of Their World

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At the precise moment that Donald Trump was giving his acceptance speech, I was in a room packed with a thousand people in Sydney, Australia, listening to Maria Tiimon Chi-Fang, a leading activist from the island state of Kiribati. All day I had been sending e-mails with the subject line “It’s the end of the world.” I suddenly felt embarrassed by the privilege of this hyperbole.

If Trump does what he says and rolls back the (insufficient) climate progress won under Obama, inspiring other nations to do the same, Chi-Fang’s nation and culture will almost surely disappear beneath the waves. Literally, the end of their whole world.

-via The Nation

 Socialism in America Is Closer Than You Think

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In 1970, the great liberal economist John Kenneth Galbraith declared that the “Democratic Party must henceforth use the word ‘socialism.’ It describes what is needed.” Like many others, however, Galbraith largely dropped the subject in subsequent years. The response to Bernie Sanders’s insurgent presidential campaign, along with polls showing that large numbers of young people and minorities in America have a positive view of socialism, suggest that this once-forbidden concept may no longer be taboo.

-via The Nation

Companies start implanting microchips into workers’ bodies

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The syringe slides in between the thumb and index finger. Then, with a click, a microchip is injected in the employee’s hand. Another “cyborg” is created.

What could pass for a dystopian vision of the workplace is almost routine at the Swedish start-up hub Epicenter. The company offers to implant its workers and start-up members with microchips the size of grains of rice that function as swipe cards: to open doors, operate printers or buy smoothies with a wave of the hand.

-via The Los Angeles Times

How Detroit’s EMS response times went from miserable to above average

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When Mike Duggan became the mayor of Detroit in 2014, he made a bold pledge to improve the city’s ambulance response times from a miserable 18 minutes to the national standard of 8 minutes.

It would be no easy task. For decades, Detroit has struggled with ambulance and staff shortages, mismanagement, inadequate training and response times twice the national average. Ambulances were so slow that Detroiters debated whether they should even call 911. 

But that is changing in a radical way.

-via Motor City Muckracker


Aerial footage shows avalanche of mud in deadly Colombia floods

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Floodwaters from three swollen rivers surged through a Colombian city this weekend, burying homes under an avalanche of mud and rocks.

Aerial survey footage by the Colombian Air Force shows the scale of devastation in Mocoa, the capital of the southwestern Putamayo province.

-via Mashable

DEA Takes Billions In Cash From People Not Charged With A Crime, Can’t Say How It’s Helping

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Over the past decade, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has permanently seized $3.2 billion in cash from individuals who were never charged with a crime, according to a Justice Department inspector general report released Wednesday.

Authorities confiscated this money using a controversial process known as civil asset forfeiture, which allows police to take property ― including vehicles, jewelry, houses and, most commonly, cash ― based solely on the suspicion it’s tied to crime.

-via Huffington Post

Lessons From a Forgotten Amazonian Slaughter

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Conservationists have long worried about the effects of subsistence hunting on animal populations in the Amazon. But species resilience and local knowledge complicate the story.

-via Sapiens

Clean energy employs more people than fossil fuels in nearly every U.S. state

Nationally, clean energy jobs outnumber fossil fuel jobs by more than 2.5 to 1, according to a new Sierra Club analysis of Department of Energy jobs data. And when it comes to coal and gas — two sectors President Donald Trump has promised to bolster through his upcoming executive order on energy regulation — clean energy jobs outnumber jobs dealing with those two fossil fuels by 5 to 1.

-via Think Progress

How the FBI Played a Central Role in the First ISIS Attack on U.S. Soil

The first attack on U.S. soil for which ISIS claimed responsibility—a 2015 shooting in Garland, Texas—was instigated by the FBI, according to an investigation by CBS’ “60 Minutes” and government documents obtained by an attorney involved in the case.

In a macabre twist, an undercover FBI agent who encouraged one of the shooters to “tear up Texas” was also physically present at the scene of the crime, mere feet away from the shooters.

-via AlterNet

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