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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  • The Galaxy Note 4 may come with a very cool accessory you won’t see on the iPhone 6
    The Galaxy Note 4 may come with a very cool accessory you won’t see on the iPhone 6

    You may not really need an Ultrasonic Cover to get around while using your smartphone, but Samsung is developing one for the Galaxy Note 4 nonetheless, SamMobile has learned. In case you’ve never heard of an Ultrasonic Cover before, it’s designed to help people with vision disabilities and can detect objects nearby thanks to an embedded ultrasonic sensor that provides feedback to the user. Galaxy Note 4 owners will be able to set three levels of range for the ultrasonic beam, including short, middle and long. FROM EARLIER: New benchmark confirms the Galaxy Note 4 will be as monstrously great as you hoped Samsung already has an Android smartphone that comes with various accessories meant to help people with disabilities better manage

  • Grouper Eats Shark in One Bite in Viral Video
    Grouper Eats Shark in One Bite in Viral Video

    With Shark Week on the Discovery Channel just ending, it's understandable that you may have the carnivorous fish on the mind and think that such a dangerous predator should be avoided at all costs. A certain grouper clearly didn't think so. In this video, which was featured on the front page of Reddit, we see the two fish circling each other right before the 4-foot shark gets caught on a fisherman's line.

  • A Frame by Frame Analysis of George W. Bush and the Ice Bucket
    A Frame by Frame Analysis of George W. Bush and the Ice Bucket

    George W. Bush, 43rd POTUS, biographer of 41st POTUS, and painter of Google images portraits, joined in on the Ice Bucket Challenge with a Facebook video Wednesday. Nominated by New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, pro golfer Rory McIlroy, San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, and daughter Jenna Bush Hager (where you at, Barbara?), Bush recorded a 48-second video to join in on the cause that's raising awareness and millions in donations for ALS research. After all, we're not getting an Obama Ice Bucket Challenge video.) Bush begins his video by rejecting the Challenge, opting instead to write a check. He's proud of his move. The billowing American flag in the background agrees.

  • North Korea insults John Kerry over his looks
    North Korea insults John Kerry over his looks

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — In its latest personal attack on a prominent official from a rival country, North Korea on Wednesday called U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry a wolf with a "hideous lantern jaw."

  • Oil ‘super spike’ is coming: Dan Dicker
    Oil ‘super spike’ is coming: Dan Dicker

    Dan Dicker of MercBloc on why cheap oil could trigger a 'super spike' in oil prices

  • Four-time champ Wozniacki ousted at Connecticut Open tennis
    Four-time champ Wozniacki ousted at Connecticut Open tennis

    Camila Giorgi sprang an upset to defeat four-time champion Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-2 and reach the quarter-finals of the WTA Connecticut Open, a final warm-up for the US Open. The Italian saw off the former world number one in 78 minutes on Wednesday to book a last-eight date with Spain's Garbine Muguruza, who eliminated Chinese qualifier Peng Shuai 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in another second-round match. The unseeded Giorgi also ousted Wozniacki in last year's US Open, but lost their only other meeting this year at Eastbourne. Wozniacki, whose best Grand Slam showing was a 2009 US Open runner-up effort, won the title at New Haven from 2008 to 2011, but saw her record at the Yale University event dip to 24-3.

  • AP PHOTOS: Peruvian nurse cares for 175 sick cats
    AP PHOTOS: Peruvian nurse cares for 175 sick cats

    LIMA, Peru (AP) — At her job, Maria Torero cares for sick human beings. At home, she lavishes love on slowly dying cats — 175 of them at last count.

  • British couple walled into French home by 'neighbours from hell'
    British couple walled into French home by 'neighbours from hell'

    A British couple's dream of a quiet retirement in the sun of southern France turned into a nightmare when their neighbours walled them into their home. Locals in the village of Brugairolles in the foothills of the Pyrenees were so appalled by the immurement, they rose up to rescue the elderly couple, tearing down a wall from the front of the house and ripping open windows and doors that had been nailed shut. "We could not accept that they should continue to live under such terror," declared retired Republican Guard Jeannot Gach, who helped lead the operation to free Faith and John Dyson, both in their 70s, from their home. The Dysons' tormentors were not jealous locals resentful of outsiders pushing up property prices, but another British couple furious that they had apparently trespassed on a shared lane they claimed to own.

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