Archives for FUBAR

‘American Sniper’ killer convicted, gets life without parole

A Texas jury has rejected the insanity defense of a former Marine in the deaths of famed “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle and another man. After a two-week trial in which jurors heard testimony about defendant Eddie Ray Routh’s erratic behavior, including statements about anarchy, the apocalypse and pig-human hybrids, they convicted Routh Tuesday night in the deaths of Kyle and Chad Littlefield at a Texas shooting range two years ago. Routh showed no reaction as a judge sentenced him to life in prison without parole, an automatic sentence since prosecutors didn’t seek the death penalty in the capital murder
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Criminal justice overhaul advocate is also an offender

The CEO of a Utah company that has emerged as a key player in a national movement to overhaul the justice system is a repeat offender himself. Sean Hosman’s dual roles as advocate for change and repeat visitor at county jails provide a striking case study in an expanding national effort to use insurance industry methods to help predict future crimes and steer defendants toward treatment. His company, Assessments.com, has won 100 contracts with state and county governments from Florida to California. He has spoken at justice forums in Texas, Idaho and Washington state. At the same time, Hosman has
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What happens if Homeland Security shuts down?

Spending for the Homeland Security Department expires Friday at midnight if Congress doesn’t act before then. With lawmakers at loggerheads over immigration provisions in the agency’s annual funding bill, it’s not certain how the Capitol Hill stalemate will end. Here are five things to know about what happens in a shutdown of the Homeland Security Department: YOU MIGHT NOT EVEN BE ABLE TO TELL IT’S HAPPENING Democrats and the Obama administration are raising concerns about shutting down the department at a time of worldwide security threats, but such rhetoric is at times overblown. In reality, a shutdown would only be
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States look for new ways to predict future crimes

States are trying to reduce prison populations with secretive, new psychological assessments to predict which inmates will commit future crimes and who might be safe to release, despite serious problems and high-profile failures, an Associated Press investigation found. These programs are part of a national, data-driven movement to drive down prison populations, reduce recidivism and save billions. They include questionnaires often with more than 100 questions about an offender’s education, family, income, job status, history of moving, parents’ arrest history — or whether he or she has a phone. A score is affixed to each answer and the result helps
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Alaska latest state to legalize marijuana

Alaska on Tuesday became the third U.S. state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, but organizers don’t expect any public celebrations since it remains illegal to smoke marijuana in public. In the state’s largest city, Anchorage police officers are ready to start handing out $100 fines to make sure taking a toke remains something to be done behind closed doors. Placing Alaska in the same category as Washington state and Colorado with legal marijuana was the goal of a coalition including libertarians, rugged individualists and small-government Republicans who prize the privacy rights enshrined in the Alaska state constitution. When
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Former political boss faces arraignment in New York

Former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver faces arraignment on bribery charges that spurred his resignation from his role as one of New York’s foremost political powerbrokers. The Democrat was due in a Manhattan federal court Tuesday in a case that has rocked the statehouse power structure. Accused of illegally profiting off his outsize influence, Silver has said he’s confident he will be cleared. “Our client is not guilty. We can now begin to fight for his total vindication,” lawyers Joel Cohen and Steve Molo said when Silver was indicted last week on honest service fraud and extortion charges. The attorneys
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DHS chief says budget impasse threatens security

The Obama administration is warning states that the possible shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security would harm the nation’s ability to counter the extremist appeal of the Islamic State group within the U.S. and help communities struggling with an onslaught of winter snowstorms. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said if Congress fails to agree to a new budget for his department by the end of Friday, inaction by lawmakers would lead to staff furloughs that could harm the U.S. response to terrorist threats and warnings, such as the one late Saturday that names Minnesota’s Mall of America. He estimated
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After 50 years, progress & challenge in Appalachia

The agency created five decades ago to fight poverty in Appalachia has helped county economies grow with nearly $4 billion in spending, but the region still lags in key measures of educational, economic and physical well-being, according to a new study. The exhaustive report ordered up by the Appalachian Regional Commission cites progress in some categories — poverty rates have fallen by about half, for instance — though the research didn’t quantify the ARC’s impact on many of the individual demographic trends. And researchers noted that other problems persist, including disproportionately high mortality rates and dependency on government checks. The
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Why mothers oppose vaccinations of children

One is a businesswoman and an MBA graduate. Another is a corporate vice president. The third is a registered nurse. These three mothers — all of them educated, middle-class professionals — are among the vaccine skeptics who have been widely ridiculed since more than 100 people fell ill in a measles outbreak traced to Disneyland. Critics question their intelligence, their parenting, even their sanity. Some have been called criminals for foregoing shots for their children that are overwhelmingly shown to be safe and effective. “Contrary to the common sentiment, we are not anti-science,” said Michelle Moore, a businesswoman who lives
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Train derailments a major threat in fuel hauling

The federal government predicts that trains hauling crude oil or ethanol will derail an average of 10 times a year over the next two decades, causing more than $4 billion in damage and possibly killing hundreds of people if an accident happens in a densely populated part of the U.S. The projection comes from a previously unreported analysis by the Department of Transportation that reviewed the risks of moving vast quantities of both fuels across the nation and through major cities. The study completed last July took on new relevance this week after a train loaded with crude derailed in
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