Aviva Shen

Ole Miss Fraternity Suspended For Hanging a Noose on Statue of Civil Rights Hero

Three freshmen were expelled from their fraternity at University of Mississippi (popularly known as Ole Miss) Friday for hanging a noose on a statue of James Meredith, a civil rights hero who was the first African American to attend the university. The chapter has also been suspended indefinitely by the national Sigma Phi Epsilon organization.

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Activist Allegedly Beaten Into Unconsciousness By Police Faces 7 Years In Prison For Elbowing Cop

Over one weekend in March 2012, police arrested more than 70 Occupy Wall Street activists in a violent altercation in New York City’s Zuccotti Park. Among those arrested was then 23-year-old graduate student Cecily McMillan, who suffered a seizure while allegedly being beaten unconscious by police. On Monday, McMillan will go to court to face up to seven years in prison over felony charges that she assaulted a police officer with her elbow.

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Inventor of World’s Most Popular Assault Rifle Felt Responsible for Millions of Gun Deaths

Mikhail Kalashnikov spent much of his life defending his most famous invention, the AK-47 assault rifle. But a newly released letter suggests the creator of the world’s most popular firearm felt some qualms later in life about the millions of deaths caused by his invention.

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Texas Judge Almost Blocked from Voting Due to New Strict Voter I.D. Law

A Texas district judge who has been voting for the past five decades was almost barred from the polls Tuesday, thanks to the state’s newly implemented, stricter voter ID law. The law kicked in on Tuesday as early voting in Texas’ November 5 election began.

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16-Year-Old Malala Yousafzai Warns Obama: ‘Drone Attacks Are Fueling Terrorism’

The White House invited sixteen-year-old Pakistani women’s rights activist Malala Yousafzai to meet the President, First Lady, and their daughter Malia on Friday. The youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize contender made the most of the photo opportunity, warning Obama that U.S. drone strikes were fueling terrorist attacks.

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Famed Chef Alice Waters Leads the Foodie Fight Against Fracking

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) imposed new regulations on the state’s fast-growing fracking industry last week, but dozens of elite chefs are still calling for a complete moratorium on the practice. Led by organic food pioneer Alice Waters, California’s top chefs and food experts are circulating a petition to pressure the governor. By the end of the first day, 92 chefs, restaurant owners, winemakers and authors had signed the petition.

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How A New Job Application Form Could Save Hundreds Of Californians From Returning To Prison

In an attempt to cut down on employment discrimination against felons and reduce recidivism rates, a bill waiting for Gov. Jerry Brown’s (D-CA) signature would remove a question on local and state job applications asking applicants about their criminal record.

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Walmart Cut Employee Hours So Drastically They Can't Keep Shelves Stocked, Losing Customers

After cutting employees’ hours so deeply that stores could not keep their shelves stocked, Walmart is adding more full-time workers in time for the holiday shopping season. The retail giant has been shedding customersrecently due to disorganized stores and empty shelves.

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20,000 Gallons of Water Stolen From Elementary School in Drought-Plagued County

Someone stole 20,000 gallons of water from an elementary school in Bridgeville, CA over Labor Day weekend — the second water theft in the rural area over the last several weeks. According to the Humboldt County sheriff’s office, the culprit used a school garden hose to drain the water tank and carried it off in a truck. The school had to close for a day as the tank was refilled.

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14-Year-Old Wanted to Get Raped by Her 40-Year-Old Prison Guard, Prison Attorney Claims

A Louisiana parish is trying to get out of paying a 14-year-old who was repeatedly raped by her prison guard, with lawyers arguing last week that the girl wanted the sex.

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St. Louis Police Shoot Black Honor Student 25 Times

Protesters rallied in St. Louis, MO on Wednesday over the death of 25-year-old Cary Ball Jr, who was shot 25 times by police officers last month. Police say Ball refused to pull over for a traffic stop, eventually crashed into a parked car, and started running. According to police, Ball pointed a semi-automatic handgun at the officers, prompting them to open fire.

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Average CEO Salary Reached A New Record High Of $9.7 Million In 2012

The average CEO salary broke records in 2011 at $9.6 million — and now, that record high has been topped by 2012 salaries, which averaged out to $9.7 million. Health care and media CEOs enjoyed the highest pay, while utility CEOs had the lowest at $7.5 million. Sixty percent of CEOs got a raise last year.

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Student Loan Interest Rates Scheduled to Double July 1

Student loan interest rates are scheduled to double on July 1, from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Congress extended the lower rate on federal student loans for a year in an effort to control the nation’s formidable student debt crisis, but will now have to decide whether or not to cancel the interest rate hike once again.

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Lunatic Head of Gun Organization Says 'It's Time to Hunt Democrats'

As the Senate prepares to take up a comprehensive gun violence prevention plan later this month, gun advocates have amped up their already inflammatory rhetoric against any additional gun regulations. Ahead of President Obama’s visit to Colorado on Wednesday to promote the measure, one local gun organization promised to give him and other Democrats a hostile welcome.

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Washington GOP-Sponsored Bill Would Force Supreme Court Judges to Draw Straws To Keep Their Jobs

Angry over a recent Washington Supreme Court decision finding the state must put more funds into basic education, GOP state lawmakers are proposing the additional money come from downsizing the state Supreme Court to 5 justices from 9. Senate Bill 5867, sponsored by failed US Senate candidate state Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R-WA), would make the justices draw straws to decide who had to hang up their robes:

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Five More States Consider ‘Ag Gag’ Laws Making It Illegal to Report Factory Farm Abuses

As state legislatures begin their 2013 sessions, a flurry of new “ag gag” bills to protect factory farms from potential undercover whistleblowers have been introduced in 5 states. This week, the Indiana Senate is debating a proposal to criminalize taking photographs or videos inside an agricultural or industrial operation without permission.

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Democratic Congressman Destroys GOP Hypocrisy on Looming Budget Cuts

On ABC’s This Week Sunday morning, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) called out Tom Cole (R-OK) for his claim that President Obama is responsible for the automatic budget cuts set to go into effect if Congress cannot reach a budget deal by March. The so-called “sequester” includes steep defense cuts intended to motivate Republicans who refused to agree to any deal that included a tax increase in 2011.

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Florida Sought To Disenfranchise College Students In 2012 Election, Lawmaker Admits

Election Day in Florida became a nightmare due to several changes to election law, resulting in marathon lines and more provisional ballots. Now that the election is over, Florida Republicans are beginning to admit the mess was intended to suppress votes.

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61 in 30 Years: A Timeline of Mass Shootings in America

On Friday morning, 27 people were reportedly shot and killed at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, CT. According to sources, 18 of these casualties were children. This is the second mass shooting in the US this week, after a gunmanopened fire in an Oregon shopping mall on Tuesday, killing 2. ABC News reports that there have been 31 school shootings in the US since Columbine in 1999, when 13 people were killed.

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Anti-Choice Activists Infiltrate Ohio’s Non-Partisan Medical Board

The Republican-dominated Ohio Legislature hastried and failed to advance some of the most extreme anti-choice and anti-woman legislation in the country, including a bill to defund Planned Parenthood and the “heartbeat bill” that would have banned abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Having had little success in the state house, radical anti-choice advocates have found a foothold in the Ohio State Medical Board instead.

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Inevitable: Right-Wing Christian Leader Blames Hurricane Sandy on Gays

A Christian religious leader has already claimed that Hurricane Sandy is further proof that “God is systematically destroying America” as political judgment for the “homosexual agenda.” John McTernan previously made similar allusions about Hurricanes Katrina (2005) and Isaac (2012), which he reiterated in his urgent call to prayer posted Sunday evening (via Gay Star News):

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Male GOP Expert on Woman's Bodies Says No Woman Dies in Childbirth -- He's Dead Wrong

On Thursday, after his debate against Demcorat Tammy Duckworth, Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) told reporters that an abortion exception is never necessary to save a woman’s life, explaining, “with modern technology and science, you can’t find one instance” of a woman dying from childbirth. Walsh claimed pro-choice advocates simply used the prospect of maternal death “to make us look unreasonable.”

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Maine Mayor Loses It, Tells Immigrants ‘You Have To Accept Our Culture’

Bob Macdonald, the mayor of Lewiston, Maine, is attracting national attention after appearing in a BBC documentary and demanding that the Somali immigrants who live in his town “leave your culture at the door.” Lewiston has become a haven for Somali immigrants who have fled their war-torn and poverty stricken nation. In the BBC documentary, which aired September 11, Macdonald said:

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6 Conservatives Desperately Trying to Convince Themselves the Polls Are Wrong

With six weeks until Election Day, newpolling from Quinnipiac, the New York Times and CBS News shows President Obama leading in crucial swing states including Ohio, Florida and Iowa. As Obama’s lead grows, so does the number of conservatives who claim polls in general are biased and cannot be trusted. Similar to their dismissal offact-checkers who flagged lies in Romney’s ads and Paul Ryan’s convention speech, conservatives are now claiming the media outlets that conduct the polls are attempting to discourage Republicans from voting by falsely tipping the polls toward Democrats.

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10 Million Hispanic Citizens May be Disenfranchised Thanks to GOP Voting Suppression

A new study by the Advancement Project estimatesthat voter purges and ID requirements being enacted in over 20 states could disenfranchise at least 10 million Hispanic citizens. The analysis found about 6.3 million Hispanic citizens were not registered to vote in 2010, while 10.8 million, about half the voting bloc, said they did not vote. The number is bound to swell as new efforts to limit the vote in states with large Latino communities use outdated information to remove suspected noncitizens:

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