Posts by Liz Goodwin, Yahoo News
- Yahoo News6 days ago
NEW YORK--Thousands of workers walked off fast food and retail jobs in more than 100 cities Thursday, protesting what they call poverty wages that do not allow them to support themselves or their families.
Reynetta Bennett, a 23-year-old Wendy’s employee, joined a rally of dozens of union members and workers in downtown Brooklyn Thursday. The protesters gathered outside the Wendy’s sliding doors, which were locked, chanting that they wanted to be paid $15 an hour.
“I just think we should get more respect,” Bennett, who makes $8.15 an hour after seven years at her job, told Yahoo News. “We should get paid a decent wage.”
Fast food jobs are no longer just for teenagers looking to get a little bit of job experience and pocket change after school. Nearly 70 percent of fast food workers are the primary bread-winners for their families, according to a study from the University of Illinois that was funded by a group pushing for higher wages for the workers. About a quarter of workers are supporting kids, the study found.
- Yahoo News7 days ago
America’s lackluster performance on international math, reading and science tests released Tuesday has rekindled the debate over the status and pay of U.S. teachers.
American 15 year-olds again had mediocre scores on the tests, which are administered by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development every three years and compare global problem solving and other education skills. Students in Shanghai, Japan, Korea and Singapore scored the highest on all three tests, followed closely by Switzerland and the Netherlands.
Despite spending more per pupil than most countries, American students were ranked in the middle of the pack, and scored 26 th in the world on the math test, close to Hungary, Russia and the Slovak Republic.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan warned Tuesday that the scores on the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, showed “stagnation” in the U.S. education system.
The OECD report, did, however highlight one possible solution: paying teachers better to help lure high caliber college graduates who might otherwise want to join a profession with better pay and promotion opportunities.
- Yahoo News8 days ago
More than a year after the Sandy Hook school shooting, President Obama’s directive to amp up prosecutions of federal gun laws hasn’t made much difference in how many people are charged with gun crimes.
U.S. attorneys that prosecute such cases charged 11,674 people with breaking federal gun laws in the fiscal year that ended in September, compared to 11,728 people the year before.
“The federal gun charge numbers are not an accurate reflection of the Department's efforts to investigate and prosecute gun violence,” said Allison Price, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, in a statement. “The fact that we may not prosecute a gun case in federal court does not mean the case is not prosecuted at all.”
Many gun cases are handled at the state and local level, she added. "Our priorities are to keep our kids safe, help prevent mass shootings, and reduce the epidemic of gun violence in this country,” Price said.
- Year in Review9 days ago
From twin pro-gay Supreme Court rulings, to the president of the United States referencing "our gay brothers and sisters" in his inaugural address, to the first male pro athlete coming out of the closet, 2013 has been a "banner year" for gay rights.
In no other year has the battle for same-sex marriage — a centerpiece of the gay rights movement — gained so much momentum. A little over 10 years ago, such unions weren't permitted in any state. The majority of Americans were staunchly against gay marriage, according to Pew polls. Globally, not a single country permitted same-sex marriage until the Netherlands in 2000.
- Liz Goodwin at Yahoo News16 days ago
The mother of mass killer Adam Lanza wrote her son a check to buy a pistol as a Christmas present in the days leading up to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, according to an official report out Monday. Nancy Lanza — who was killed by her 20-year-old son last December before he killed six women and 20 children at the Connecticut elementary school — told friends a month before the shooting that she was concerned about her son. He had not left the house for three months, and he communicated with her only via email, she said. She was not allowed to enter his room. But despite what seemed like mental health warning signs, the police found a check in the Lanza home for a CZ 83 pistol, which Nancy Lanza intended to give to her son over the holidays, according to a report released by a Connecticut state's attorney. The check’s date section read “Christmas Day.” “The mother wanted to buy the shooter a CZ 83 pistol for Christmas and had prepared a check for that purchase to give the shooter,” the report reads. The Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle Lanza used in the elementary school, as well as the four other weapons recovered from the crime scenes, belonged to his mother. She purchased them legally, and had a permit for their use. The report doesn’t make it clear whether Nancy Lanza had the weapons locked away in her home or whether her son had free access to them. Adam Lanza frequently went target shooting with his mother and brother between 2010 and 2012, and had taken rifle safety classes with them. Fifty-two-year-old Nancy Lanza used target practice as a way to bond with her withdrawn and troubled son, according to a February Hartford Courant/Frontline investigation. This fact led some to blame Nancy Lanza for her son’s crimes, even though she was one of his 27 victims. In the days after the shooting, the New York Post plastered her photo on its front page, with the headline, "Gun-obsessed mom taught murderer son to shoot." Her friends defended her from the criticism, saying she taught him gun safety and spent much of her time trying to help her son navigate his many mental health issues. "She's been described as some sort of gun nut or survivalist and this other misconception that she was a bad mother," Nancy Lanza’s friend John Bergquist told Frontline. But he said her life "revolved around caring for Adam." Nancy Lanza did not fear that her son was violent, but she was concerned about his behavior, the state’s attorney’s report reveals. Lanza had a variety of mental health diagnoses — including obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety and Asperger syndrome — but refused all treatment that was recommended to him. "The shooter disliked birthdays, Christmas and holidays," the report reads. "He would not allow his mother to put up a Christmas tree. The mother explained it by saying that shooter had no emotions or feelings. The
- Liz Goodwin at Yahoo News20 days ago
October’s dismal Obamacare enrollment numbers were tempered by a bright spot for the White House: 1 million Americans who took the trouble to fill out an application on the tech-plagued site but have not yet picked a plan.
A paltry, far-under-target 106,000 people nationwide actually selected a private insurance plan by putting it into their online shopping carts last month. But the Obama administration stressed that 975,000 other Americans who filled out applications online would soon join their ranks. The White House needs 7 million enrolled by the end of March.
“There's no question that if the website were working as it's supposed to, that number would be much higher of people who've actually enrolled,” Obama said at a press conference last week.
The president argued that the number of people who filled out fairly lengthy applications shows there is “a real demand for quality, affordable health insurance.”
- Yahoo News23 days ago
Education Secretary Arne Duncan was forced to apologize on Monday for an impolitic comment he made over the Common Core, a sweeping effort to standardize national education that’s angered a diverse coalition of parents nationwide.
The bipartisan effort to create national learning goals for all schools has sparked a growing backlash among parents, some of whom kept their children from attending school on Monday in protest of what they see as federal interference in their kids’ curricula.
On Friday, Duncan stoked outrage by suggesting “white suburban moms” don’t like the new standards because they force them to realize their kids aren’t as smart as they thought. He made the comment while speaking to a group of state superintendents, acknowledging the backlash to Common Core.
- Yahoo News26 days ago
Will states play along with President Barack Obama and his new plan to allow people who like their health insurance plans to stay on them an additional year?
The proposed fix, which Obama announced Thursday under intense pressure from his own party, was meant to address criticisms that he had lied to the American people when he said “if you like your plan, you can keep it” while campaigning for the health care overhaul. Between 7 million and 12 million people were set to receive cancellation notices because their plans don't meet the minimum standard of coverage required under the new law. The uproar forced Obama to backpedal. He’ll now allow health insurance companies to continue to offer plans that do not meet his law’s standards for an additional year, to give people more time to transition to the new federal marketplace.
But Obama’s fix does not actually guarantee that millions of people will be able to keep their plans. Insurance is regulated at the state level, and state officials can reject Obama’s request. Secondly, insurers themselves are not required to reoffer the out-of-date plans to consumers.
- Yahoo News27 days ago
On Thursday, President Barack Obama announced that health insurance companies are no longer required to kick people off their coverage if it doesn't meet Obamacare’s new standards. The president is offering a one-year “grandfather” extension for the plans.
The announcement, made under intense pressure from his own party, was made to address criticisms that the president had broken his promise to the American people that “if you like your plan, you can keep it” under his 2010 health care reform law. Between 7 million and 12 million Americans were to be sent cancellation notices for 2014 because their plans did not meet the minimum coverage requirements set up under the law.
The people who received cancellation notices were expected to go to the federal insurance marketplace and buy coverage there. But the website, HealthCare.gov, has been plagued with difficulties, and some of those covered would owe more in premiums in the marketplace than they did on their older, canceled plans. (The Obama administration points out that the plans would often offer better coverage.)
- Liz Goodwin at Yahoo News1 mth ago
Timothy Young had just turned into a gas station in Lordsburg, N.M., at 10 p.m. and was about to fill up his pickup truck when several police cars pulled up behind him. The officers from the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office accused him of failing to use his turn signal, and asked him whether he was using or carrying drugs.
According to a complaint filed Friday in a federal court in New Mexico, what happened next in the October 2012 incident was nothing short of a six-hour nightmare. Young, 31, was forced to strip from the waist down in a public parking lot and then submit his body to an X-ray and anal penetration at a nearby hospital, all under the supervision of peace officers searching for contraband.
The invasive search that Young alleges he was subjected to is not an isolated incident, his lawyers say, and is part of a larger pattern of cops, eager to make drug busts, crossing the line in order to try to uncover drugs and money at all costs.
“They’re really pushing the envelope on these types of searches of people,” said Joe Kennedy, an Albuquerque lawyer who is representing Young.