The Lookout
  • Two Topeka city councilmen at Tuesday's vote (AP)The Topeka City Council voted to decriminalize domestic battery and other misdemeanors Tuesday night. The vote was a bid to get the county district attorney to back down from his decision not to prosecute those crimes anymore.

    Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor announced abruptly last month that due to budget cuts, he would stop prosecuting the city's misdemeanors effective immediately. The city has argued that it lacks the resources to take on those crimes itself--including a jail. Misdemeanor domestic battery crimes have gone un-prosecuted and unpunished since the financial tiff began, outraging domestic violence activists.

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  • Occupy Wall Street isn’t about Wall Street

    AP Photo/Andrew BurtonThe popular protests that began last month in lower Manhattan before spreading across the country have generally been characterized, at least in the media's short-hand, as "anti-Wall Street" -- driven by anger about the financial industry recklessness and greed that helped tank the economy.

    Given the "Occupy Wall Street" name, and the site of the movement's seminal demonstration, that's hardly surprising. Still, it's a misreading of what's happening -- and one with important consequences.

    That's because Occupy Wall Street isn't really about Wall Street at all. It's about much broader economic trends that extend far beyond the financial sector, and have been playing out since well before Goldman Sachs ever got into the subprime mortgage business. We're seeing an echo of this important point now, as demonstrations have spread beyond the nation's financial capital and across the country.

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  • Understanding ‘We Are the 99 Percent’

    We Are the 99 PercentOccupy Wall Street may lack a firmly articulated policy agenda or set of demands, but the movement may have something stronger--a individually created portrait of its numbers. "We Are the 99 Percent" is a blog created by the organizers of Occupy Wall Street; it consists of user-submitted testimonies of how ordinary Americans are coping with economic insecurity. Each post is a photo of the submitter, holding their story as written on a single sheet of paper.

    Rebecca Rosen at The Atlantic called it "self-service history" and Nona Willis Aronowitz of Good said it was "the best populist message" produced on the left end of the political spectrum in years. Among other things, We Are the 99 Percent has helped to put a human face on an otherwise ill-defined political movement. It's even spawned a competitor blog, spearheaded by high-profile conservatives such as RedState's Erick Erickson and Josh Trevino of the Texas Public Policy Foundation--We Are the 53 Percent--that chides the 99 percenters for not taking enough personal responsibility for their circumstances.

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  • NYSE stocks posting largest percentage decreases

    A look at the 10 biggest percentage decliners on New York Stock Exchange at the close of trading: On Assignment Inc. fell 22.6 percent to $27.01. A10 Networks fell 16.5 percent to $10.80. hhgregg Inc. ...

  • Ebola discoverer says would sit next to victim on train
    Ebola discoverer says would sit next to victim on train

    The scientist who helped discover the Ebola virus said the outbreak in west Africa was unlikely to trigger a major epidemic outside the region, adding he would happily sit next to an infected person on a train. Since March, there have been 1,201 cases of Ebola and 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has warned that the crisis is set to get worse and that there is no overarching strategy to handle the crisis. Piot co-discovered the Ebola virus as a 27-year-old researcher in 1976.

  • Why You Should Prepare for the Next Bear Market Now

    The stock market is going gangbusters these days, with the S&P 500 close to surpassing 2,000 points. While the index may never fall back to that level, bear markets will one day hit us hard again. It's a good idea to develop a plan for the next bear market now, while your asset values aren't free falling and clouding your judgment. Here are some of the sensational claims that could wreak havoc on your retirement plans if you buy into them during the next bear market:

  • World Ebola fears grow with Europe and Asia on alert
    World Ebola fears grow with Europe and Asia on alert

    Fears that the west African Ebola outbreak could spread to other continents grew with European and Asian countries on alert and a leading medical charity warning the epidemic was out of control. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said the crisis gripping Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone would only get worse and warned there was no overarching strategy to handle the world's worst outbreak of the disease. US Christian charity Samaritan's Purse was temporarily withdrawing its non-essential staff from Liberia, it said, citing regional "instability and ongoing security issues". Hong Kong announced quarantine measures for suspected cases, although one woman arriving from Africa with possible symptoms tested negative, while the EU said it was ready to deal with the threat.

  • Student settles suit over mistaken beer purchase

    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A college student who says she fled in terror when undercover officers who thought she had illegally bought beer swarmed her SUV has reached a $212,500 settlement with the state of Virginia.

  • U.S. missionary jailed in North Korea feels 'abandoned': paper
    U.S. missionary jailed in North Korea feels 'abandoned': paper

    A U.S. missionary imprisoned in North Korea since 2012 has said he feels abandoned by his government and has appealed again for help in securing his release, a pro-North Korea newspaper reported on Thursday. Kenneth Bae, who is of Korean descent, was arrested in November 2012, convicted and sentenced to 15 years hard labor last year. "Bae said he had heard that the U.S. government is doing everything it can for his release but feels disappointment that there has been no sign of resolution when he is approaching two years in his stay in (the North) and that he feels abandoned by the U.S. government," the Choson Sinbo newspaper said. Bae said he was suffering from illness of the spleen as well as liver, prostate and spinal problems and he asked the United States to send a special envoy to try to secure his release, said the newspaper which is published in Japan but supports the North and reflects its views.

  • Police assist 'Woman in Black' after crowd surrounds her in Virginia
    Police assist 'Woman in Black' after crowd surrounds her in Virginia

    By Brendan O'Brien (Reuters) - A woman dressed in all black who has been spotted strolling along highways in the U.S. Southeast and Midwest needed police assistance after she was surrounded by a group of about 50 curious people in Virginia, authorities said on Wednesday. Police in Winchester, Virginia took the person who wears flowing robes and has been dubbed the "Woman in Black" on social media to an undisclosed location and fed her after the incident on Tuesday evening, police said in a statement. "She has expressed to officers that she wants to be left alone and is asking that the public respect her wishes," said the Winchester Police Department, adding that she intends to stay in the community. Police did not release her name but she is thought to be Elizabeth Poles, 56, who used to live in Georgia and is originally from Alabama.

  • Israel, Hamas agree on 72-hour humanitarian Gaza ceasefire

    UNITED NATIONS/NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Israel and Islamist militant group Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire in their conflict in the Gaza Strip starting on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday. U.N. Middle East envoy Robert Serry has received assurances that all parties have agreed to the humanitarian ceasefire, the statement said. "We urge all parties to act with restraint until this humanitarian ceasefire begins, and to fully abide by their commitments during the ceasefire," Kerry and Ban said. Israel launched its offensive on July 8 after Hamas rocket fire from Gaza intensified.

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