The Upshot
  • John GoodmanJohn Goodman, polo tycoon

    John Goodman (not the actor) has been ordered to pay $46 million to the parents of a 23-year-old man, Scott Wilson, whom Goodman killed while driving under the influence.

    The case made headlines because Goodman, the founder of the International Polo Club Palm Beach, attempted to avoid paying the settlement by legally adopting his 42-year-old girlfriend, Heather Hutchins, as his daughter. Prosecuting lawyers argued that Goodman, the heir of an air conditioning fortune, was attempting to shield his substantial assets. The adoption entitled Hutchins to a third of his children's $300 million trust. Lawyers for Goodman's two biological children filed a lawsuit in response to their father's actions.

    Of course, there is also a criminal case. Goodman faces up to 30 years in prison for manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident. He was found guilty last month, but Goodman's legal team is currently seeking a new trial for its client. The team alleges jury misconduct and claims that an

    Read More »from John Goodman, polo tycoon, ordered to pay $46 million to parents of manslaughter victim
  • For marijuana users, 4/20 is code for the day to openly celebrate the illegal drug.

    Click image for more photos

    Searches on "420" have been lighting up on Yahoo! and in the twitterverse, with "4/20" and "Mary Jane Day" becoming trending topics.

    In Austin, Texas, Willie Nelson (a famous fan of the herb) will help unveil a statue of himself at, you guessed it, 4:20 p.m.

    At the University of Colorado at Boulder, the college is in a less celebratory mood. Officials will be putting a stop to the annual 4/20 rally that has  involved 10,000 celebrants descending on the campus and lighting up.

    The higher institution of learning has a reputation for being the top party school in the country, and no more so on 4/20, when people assemble to demand the legalization of the drug.

    The university spokesman Bronson Hilliard told the Associated Press, "We don't consider this a protest. We consider this people smoking pot in the sunshine," adding, "This is a gathering of people engaging in an illegal

    Read More »from 4/20: a day for marijuana
  • The scandal surrounding the president's Secret Service advance team  in Cartagena, Colombia, which allegedly patronized prostitutes, is growing: There is word that more agents will retire. And some racy photos of one escort were surfaced by the New York Daily News.

    Eleven agents and 10 members of the military allegedly consorted with escorts the night before the president's arrival for the Summit of the Americas. As a result, the Secret Service is seeking to fire one supervisor tied to the incident. Another is retiring, and a third will be allowed to retire.

    More resignations are expected soon, according to Rep. Pete King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. King said, "It is our understanding the resignations could come today or tomorrow."

    Because the prostitutes were required to leave their identification with the hotel where the agents were staying, 20 or 21 women have been identified with the scandal, including one woman who, as reported by the New York Times, was

    Read More »from Secret Service escort scandal: More details emerge

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  • Pilot sentenced for groping teenage girl on flight
    Pilot sentenced for groping teenage girl on flight

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A former Utah airline pilot was sentenced Wednesday to more than two years in prison for groping a 14-year-old girl in the seat next to him during an off-duty flight.

  • Ebola-infected doctor's extraordinary sacrifice
    Ebola-infected doctor's extraordinary sacrifice

    Even from his own sickbed, Dr. Kent Brantly continues to put the well-being of others before his own.

  • Candidate goes homeless to show economic gap
    Candidate goes homeless to show economic gap

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Republican candidate for California governor said Thursday he spent a week living as a homeless person in Fresno to highlight the disparity between the governor's claim that the state is making an economic comeback and the reality faced by the working poor in the nation's most populous state.

  • American missionaries infected with Ebola to be brought home
    American missionaries infected with Ebola to be brought home

    An Atlanta hospital is preparing to treat one of the two American aid workers stricken with the highly contagious and deadly Ebola virus in West Africa. It will be the first time that a patient diagnosed with Ebola will be known to be in the United States.

  • 2 women survive ordeal along Indiana rail bridge
    2 women survive ordeal along Indiana rail bridge

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — A video camera captured the terrifying plight of two women as a freight train bore down on them as they walked along an 80-foot-high railroad bridge in Indiana.

  • U.S., U.N. announce deal on 72-hour Gaza cease-fire
    U.S., U.N. announce deal on 72-hour Gaza cease-fire

    Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire beginning Friday, during which time there will be negotiations on a more durable truce in the 24-day-old Gaza war, the United States and United Nations announced Thursday.

  • Israel, Palestinian militant groups begin three-day Gaza truce

    By Nidal al-Mughrabi GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A three-day ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip went into effect on Friday, with negotiators due to travel to Cairo to discuss a longer-term solution. The 72-hour break announced in a joint statement by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was the most ambitious attempt so far to end more than three weeks of fighting, and followed mounting international alarm over a rising Palestinian civilian death toll. After the ceasefire began at 1 a.m. EDT (0500 GMT), Gaza's streets began to fill with Palestinian families. In Israel, sirens that have sent tens of thousands running for shelter daily fell silent.

  • Say 'cheese' (and a few four-letter words): Sky divers leap from 33,000 feet

    Two French sky divers leapt from a plane, about 33,000 feet in the air, and captured this breathtaking photo.

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