On Saturday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a $40 million lawsuit against Donald Trump for defrauding students of Trump University (which is, apparently, a thing). The State Education Department complains that Trump U. is not an accredited university and that it engages in false advertising.
The (now renamed) Trump Entrepreneur’s Institute has been charging students $1,495 to $35,000 for a three-day seminar.
Five thousand students who paid $35,000 for the “Trump Elite” mentorship program were promised personal guidance from Trump and instead got only a picture next to a life-sized cardboard cutout of Trump. That means that Trump made $175 million for allowing unsuspecting “students” to pose with a cardboard cutout of him.
Trump, meanwhile, is calling the lawsuit “extortion.”
Via Death and Taxes.
New York programmer Patrick McConlogue made waves with an online post suggesting that he wanted to teach the homeless to code.
In an interview with Business Insider, the 23-year-old said he wanted to give the homeless man he sees on the way to work a choice of $100 cash or the chance to learn to code. If the man rejected the money, McConlogue would give him a laptop, coding books, and an hour of coding lessons each day for two months.
The internet, as it tends to do, blasted McConlogue for being insensitive toward the homeless man.
The man, whose name is Leo, took McConlogue up on his offer.
In an update on Medium today, McConlogue writes:
It turns out Leo is a genius particularly concerned with environment issues. As I sat there becoming increasing stunned, he rattled off import/export prices on food, the importance of solar and green energy, and his approval for “efficient public transportation initiatives [referring to NY’s new Citibike]”. He is smart, logical, and articulate. Most importantly, he is serious. It’s up to him if dedication is also his gift.
For the next two months, McConlogue will meet with Leo for a coding lesson. McConlogue said he overnighted him a Chromebook with access to Code Academy, three levels of coding books, and a solar charger. He said he has yet to find something to “hide” the laptop in.
McConlogue believes that within eight weeks, Leo will have the skills necessary to be a freelancer. It’s an experiment for both men.
Well done to both men! I hope this experiment is a huge success!
Via Death and Taxes.
JetBlue Tail (N556JB; "Betty Blue") (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The JetBlue captain whose midair meltdown led to an emergency landing has been charged with interfering with a flight crew.
Clayton Osbon on Tuesday left the cockpit of Flight 191 from New York to Las Vegas after behaving oddly. The co-pilot locked him out of the cockpit, and crew and passengers subdued Mr. Osbon. The Airbus A320 was diverted to Amarillo, Texas.
Mr. Osbon has been suspended pending an investigation and is receiving medical treatment, the airline said on Wednesday.
A Hospital Corpsman attached to the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines operating in Afghanistan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Support for the war in Afghanistan has dropped, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll.
More than two-thirds of those polled (69%) thought that the U.S. should not be at war in Afghanistan, up from 53% four months ago. Sixty-eight percent thought the fighting was going badly.
The poll was consistent with other surveys this month, including a Washington Post/ABC News poll, a Pew Research Center poll, and a Gallup/USA Today poll.
Negative impressions of the war have grown, with more people saying the war was going badly now than did in November.
Forty-four percent said that the U.S. should withdraw sooner than 2014, 33% said the administration should stick to the timetable, 17% said the U.S. should stay as long as it would take to stabilize, and 3% said the U.S. should withdraw now.
Via The New York Times.
Micah's DNA (Photo credit: micahb37)
An expansion of New York’s DNA database will enhance the ability of law enforcement to convict the guilty and exonerate the innocent, but the measure still leaves New York without some protections to avoid wrongful convictions.
The measure requires people convicted of any crime to give a DNA sample. It exempts those without a criminal record convicted of possessing marijuana.
Violent criminals often commit multiple offenses before getting caught, warranting the collection of DNA samples that can be searched for matches with crime-scene samples. Assembly Democrats deserve credit for insisting on provisions to make it easier for defendants and convicted persons with claims of innocence to get testing for DNA evidence on the order of a judge. Those provisions draw on recommendations by a task force on wrongful convictions.
Other reforms sought by the Assembly did not make it into the final bill, leaving unaddressed two of the biggest causes of wrongful convictions: witness misidentification and false confessions. The proposed changes would have mandated the videotaping of police interrogations and “double blind” police lineups so neither the witness nor person administrating the lineup knows the identity of the suspect. Gov. Cuomo supports both reforms but had to omit them to reach a compromise on the DNA database expansion. Gov. Cuomo has said he intends to revisit the overlooked issues.
He should do so soon.
Via The New York Times.
Image via Wikipedia
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced concern for the well-being of three Tibetan activists who launched a hunger strike more than three weeks ago.
Mr. Ban said he “affirms the right of all people to peaceful protest.” However, he said he remains concerned about the health of the strikers.
The three wheelchair-bound protesters, weakened by their fast, said they were visited by top U.N. human rights official Ivan Simonovic on Monday. The protesters said they told Mr. Simonovic they want Chinese authorities to ease the ongoing crackdown on Tibetan dissent in their homeland.
At least twenty-six Tibetan Buddhists have set themselves on fire in the past year to protest China’s ongoing crackdown. Protesters are also demanding the safe return of their exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
Activists accuse Beijing of suppressing Tibetan culture, religion and other freedoms. For its part, Beijing calls the Dalai Lama a “splittist” (separatist), and accuses him of fomenting rebellion in Tibetan regions.
Filed under Activism, World
Image via Wikipedia
At a time when many states are making it harder for women to get abortions, Washington appears headed in the opposite direction.
Fifteen states restrict insurers from covering abortions. Twelve are considering such measures. By contrast, a bill that has passed Washington’s House and is working its way through the Senate would make the state the first to require all health-insurance plans except those claiming a conscience-based exemption to include abortion coverage.
The measure, House Bill 2330, would require insurers who cover maternity care, which Washington insurers must offer, to pay for abortions. New York is the only other state considering similar rules, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
Supporters say the state is protected by its existing conscience exemptions and note the bill has a self-destruct clause nullifying it in the event it were found to conflict with federal law. They say it would simply makes sure that women in Washington, one of four states to have legalized abortion before the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, continue to have easy access to abortions once changes in federal health-care laws take effect in 2014.
“Washington state has historically been in the forefront for women’s reproductive rights,” said Rep. Eileen Cody. “We’re just trying to maintain the status quo.”
Via The Seattle Times.
Image via Wikipedia
One autumn morning in 2006 in Buffalo, New York, a college student named Adeela Khan logged into her email and found a message announcing an Islamic conference in Toronto.
Ms. Khan sent it to a group of fellow Muslims at the University at Buffalo, and promptly forgot about it.
That act was enough to arouse the suspicion of an intelligence analyst at the New York Police Department, 300 miles away, who combed through her post and put her name in an official report.
The report reveals how the NYPD’s intelligence division focused far beyond New York City as part of a surveillance program targeting Muslims.
Police trawled through student websites run by Muslim student groups at Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers and thirteen other colleges in the Northeast. They talked with local authorities about professors and sent an undercover agent on a rafting trip, where he recorded students’ names and noted how many times they prayed.
Via Huffington Post.
The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia
Cambodia’s U.N.-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal has run out of money to pay the wages of hundreds of workers as contributions from donor countries have dried up.
None of the more than 300 Cambodians working at the tribunal, from judges to drivers, will be paid this month and may not receive their salaries in February and March either.
Some judges and prosecutors have not been paid since October.
The funding shortfall does not affect the more than 130 international employees at the war crimes court. The United Nations pays the wages of international employees.
Voluntary contributions from donor nations pay the salaries of Cambodian staff members.
The court, set up to find justice for the deaths of two million people during the Khmer Rouge’s rule, is perpetually cash-strapped, but this is the longest period of non-payment.
The tribunal has long been dogged by allegations of political meddling, adding to donor reluctance to stump up more cash.
Court officials will travel to New York in February to meet with donor countries to discuss the court’s budget for 2012-2013.
The court, which has spent $150 million since 2006, has completed one trial, sentencing a former prison chief to thirty years. An appeal verdict in that case is expected on Friday.
A second trial involving the regime’s three most senior surviving leaders is ongoing.
Via The Bangkok Post.
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A new report published by New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that French police abuse their power when dealing with black and Arab men and boys. It said that police “conduct unwarranted and abusive identity checks” against the minorities.
The report, “The Root of Humiliation: Abusive Identity Checks in France,” reveals that minority youth, including children, are “subjected to frequent stops involving lengthy questioning, invasive body pat-downs, and the search of personal belongings.”
HRW says that continuous stops of youth are arbitrary and have no semblance of purpose, except to harass the young minorities.
The rights group, which conducted interviews with youth in France, said police often use insulting language and racial slurs as well as unnecessary force against the youth.
Under French law, police have wide discretion to carry out identity checks without any suspicion of criminal wrongdoing. The police do not record the stops, and those stopped do not receive any written documentation explaining the incident. Most of those HRW interviewed had never been told the grounds for the stops they had experienced.