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Ana Trujillo Guilty in Stiletto Murder

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The jury is expected to hear more evidence in the punishment phase on Wednesday before deciding on a sentence for Trujillo. She faces up to life in prison.

Alyssa Newcomb and Gina Sunseri report:  A Houston jury found Ana Trujillo guilty today in the so-called “stiletto murder” of her boyfriend who was battered by her spiked heel shoe.

Trujillo briefly closed her eyes as the verdict was read, but showed little emotion. Her family, however, left the courtroom in tears.

The Houston trial gained international notoriety because of the weapon — a blue suede closed toe pump, size 9 with 5 inch heels.

Prosecutors alleged Trujillo, 45, fatally bludgeoned her boyfriend, Dr. Stefan Andersson, by hitting him in the head 25 times with the heel of her stiletto shoe.

[It's All About the Shoes in Houston Woman's Murder Trial]

Trujillo is a diminutive woman, her attorney Jack Carroll said in court, while her boyfriend was much bigger. When an argument allegedly broke out that night, and she tried to defend herself, she grabbed the closest weapon at hand — her high heel.

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The Real China Housing Collapse: Actual Buildings

Originally posted on China Daily Mail:

Rescuers carry out search and rescue operation on top of debris of a collapsed residential building in Fenghua, Zhejiang province. Reuters

Rescuers carry out search and rescue operation on top of debris of a collapsed residential building in Fenghua, Zhejiang province. Reuters

They don’t build ‘em like they used to, and when it comes to housing in China, that’s probably a good thing.

According to the official Xinhua news agency, the price behind the breakneck pace of China’s construction boom since the reform and opening is becoming clear, with buildings collapses frequently involving those constructed in the 1980s and ‘90s.

That was evident last week, when a five-story residential building constructed in 1994 collapsed in Fenghua in coastal Zhejiang province, killing one person and burying several others in the rubble.

Only an eyebrow-raising 22% of China’s housing stock was built before 2000. But its recent vintage doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll last very long: According to an unnamed government official Xinhua cited this week, China’s buildings are generally expected to…

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[VIDEO] The Phony Gender Wage Gap Myth

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“Yes, of course it’s not true. Yes…I know. It’s fiction. It’s complete bullshit, I know. It’s a wedge issue. It’s all we got. Give it time. If we keep repeating the lie, it will….yes, exactly…It’s perfect…”

The wage gap myth, most recently used by President Obama during the State of the Union Address, states that women make only 77 cents to every dollar that men earn. AEI resident scholar Christina Hoff Sommers debunks the bogus statistic…

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Sci-Fi Image of the Day: ‘Robot Space Trooper’

Space-Trooper

Robot Space Trooper
Yoshiya/Cragstan (Japan)
1950s


First Instagram from Space

 


UPDATE: Tacoma Teacher Meredith Powell Pleads Not Guilty in Latest Sex Charge

Former Lincoln High School teacher Meredith Powell pleaded not guilty Tuesday, April 8, 2014, to an additional charge stemming from her alleged sexual misconduct with students. DEBBIE CAFAZZO — Staff writer  Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2014/04/08/3139274/tacoma-teacher-pleads-not-guilty.html?sp=/99/296/#storylink=cpy

Former Lincoln High School teacher Meredith Powell pleaded not guilty Tuesday, April 8, 2014, to an additional charge stemming from her alleged sexual misconduct with students. DEBBIE CAFAZZO — Staff writer

The News Tribune‘s Debbie Cafazzo is the local reporter covering this case, it looks like she went to the arraignment, which was held in Pierce County Superior Court early this afternoon.

According to court documents, a trial date has been set for June 12th, 2014, unless another there’s another continuance, for example, if another students steps forward and new charges are added. A jury trial was originally scheduled for April 24th, but was granted a continuance after the 4th student came forward. Today Powell entered a plea to the new count of sexual misconduct in the second degree.

For the record, this is what Meredith Powell was reported to be charged with. RCW 9A.44.096 –  Sexual misconduct with a minor in the second degree. (more after the jump) The following is from today’s News Tribune:

Debbie Cafazzo reports: Former Lincoln High School teacher Meredith Powell pleaded not guilty Tuesday to an additional charge stemming from her alleged sexual misconduct with students.

[See Boy-Crazy Tacoma Math Teacher Meredith Powell: FORTH Student Comes Forward to Allege Sexual Misconduct]

Supporters of former Lincoln High School teacher Meredith Powell surround her in the hallway of the Pierce County Courthouse after she entered a plea of not guilty Tuesday, April 8, 2014, to an additional charge stemming from her alleged sexual misconduct with students. DEBBIE CAFAZZO — Staff writer   Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2014/04/08/3139274/tacoma-teacher-pleads-not-guilty.html?sp=/99/296/#storylink=cpy

Supporters of former Lincoln High School teacher Meredith Powell surround her in the hallway of the Pierce County Courthouse after she entered a plea of not guilty Tuesday, April 8, 2014, to an additional charge stemming from her alleged sexual misconduct with students. DEBBIE CAFAZZO — Staff writer

[Flashback: Meredith Powell in Custody of Her Mother: Boy-Crazy High School Teacher Accused of Rape Resigns]

The 24-year-old former Tacoma math teacher pleaded not guilty Feb. 7 to two counts of third-degree child rape and one count of communication with a minor for immoral purposes.

Scene: Meredith Powell is alleged to have engaged in oral sex with two of her students in her classroom here at Lincoln High School in Washington

Scene: Meredith Powell is alleged to have engaged in oral sex with two of her students in her classroom here at Lincoln High School in Washington

Those charges were based on allegations that she engaged in sexual acts with three of her male students, ages 15 to 17, earlier this year….(read more) The News Tribune

Robert Stacy McCain has posted news and comments about this Tacoma teacher, as well as faithfully tracking similar, less-reported adult female sex predator cases that have been tumbling out in just the last few months, inconveniently interrupting the male-predator #RapeCulture narrative. Here’s McCain’s summary of why this case gets more attention:

Having recently written several items (e.g., “She Craved the Taste of Boy Flesh,” Jan. 12, and “Police: Ex-Teacher Tonya Drueppel, 33, Had Sex With 13-Year-Old ‘Girlfriend’,” Jan. 30) about sex-crime cases involving female teacher, I notice that this latest case in Tacoma is getting more media coverage than most, with reports at the Daily MailDaily Callerand NY Daily News. This can be explained simply: (a) the accused teacher is a skinny young blonde with a nice smile, (b) she seems to have had a habit of posting selfies on Facebook and Pinterest, providing lots of photo potential, and (c) the affidavit offers lurid details.

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[VIDEO] Ted Cruz Responds to Jeb Bush on Immigration: ‘This Is Not a Humane System’

(CNN) – Ted Cruz addressed Jeb Bush’s comments about illegal immigration being “an act of love” on CNN Monday, telling Jake Tapper that he believes “we need to be a nation that welcomes and celebrates legal immigrants,” but at the same time “rule of law matters” and “securing your border is critically important” for any nation.

Cruz argued that far from being “an act of love” there is very little humanity to be found in illegal immigration.

“If you come down to Texas and you see the conditions, where you see photographs that are heartbreaking, of bodies of women and children left abandoned in the desert because they entrust themselves to transnational global criminal cartels who smuggle them in, who assault them, who leave them to die, this is not a humane system.”

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White House: The 77 Cents Wage Gap Figure Isn’t Accurate, But They’ll Use It Anyway

Council of Economic Advisers member Betsey Stevenson, accompanied by White House press secretary Jay Carney, speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House in Wednesday, March 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Council of Economic Advisers member Betsey Stevenson, accompanied by White House press secretary Jay Carney, speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House, March 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The Washington Examiner’s Ashe Schow reports: A White House adviser had to walk back the oft-repeated myth that women make 77 cents on the dollar that men make after being questioned about the figure during a conference call Monday.

While detailing executive actions President Obama plans to take Tuesday regarding equal pay for women, Betsey Stevenson, a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said very defiantly that despite women contributing 44 percent of their household incomes, they continue to make less than men. Obama has declared Tuesday “Equal Pay Day” to highlight his administration’s focus on that issue.

Bonus: From The Weekly Standard:

CBS: WH ‘Roughed Up By Its Own Pay Equity Rhetoric’

“The White House is getting, as you indicated Norah, roughed up by its own pay equity rhetoric,” reported Major Garrett. “In an analysis of White House salaries, which nobody here disputes, shows that the median income of female staffers is 88 percent of that of male staffers.”

“Now the study also showed that men and women with the same White House jobs earn exactly the same salary. Now the White House said its gender pay gap is tied to job experience, education, and hours worked among other factors. This matters because those explanations, according to the Labor Department, explain a good deal of the gender pay gap nationally…(read more)

“They’re stuck at 77 cents on the dollar, and that gender wage gap is seen very persistently across the income distribution, within occupations, across occupations, and we see it when men and women are working side by side doing identical work.”

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Vintage Movie Poster of the Day: Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Reservoir Dogs’

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Internet Movie Database: Reservoir Dogs (1992)  

Order Reservoir Dogs (15th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray] from Amazon


YOU DON’T SAY? Survey: U.S. Sees Sharpest Health Insurance Premium Increases

Obama-hmm

The Daily Caller‘s Sarah Hurtubise reports: Americans have recently been hit with some of the largest premium increases in years, according to a Morgan Stanley survey of insurance brokers.

The investment bank’s April survey of 148 brokers found that this quarter, the average premium increase for customers renewing an insurance plan is 12 percent in the small group market and 11 percent in the individual market, according to ForbesScott Gottlieb.

The hikes — the largest in the past three years, according to Morgan Stanley’s quarterly reports — are “largely due to changes under the [Affordable Care Act],” analysts concluded. Rates have been growing increasingly fast throughout all of 2013, after a period of drops in 2012.

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Bill to Deny U.S. Entry for 1979 Hostage-Taker Hamid Aboutalebi Passes Senate

Hamid Aboutalebi

Aboutalebi was a member of the student group that led the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

According to the Washington Post, this news story isn’t about Hamid Aboutalebi, it’s about Senator Ted Cruz. Aboutalebi’s name doesn’t appear in the body copy until the end of the second paragraphCruz’s name is in the first paragraph. Ted Cruz’s name appear as the first words in (the Washington Post‘s version of) the headline. Aboutalebi isn’t mentioned in the headline.

That said, I’m impressed that it takes a whole 23 words before this Washington Post news story turns into a stealth Op-Ed. Note in the story’s opening paragraph this morsel of sarcastic editorializing: “rare legislative victory for its lead sponsor, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.)”.

Does any literate person in America really have any uncertainty about which political party Cruz belongs to, or what state he represents? Does anyone outside Washington D.C. keep Senatorial legislative record scorecards? Just asking. Even the choice of the photo (of Cruz) and its tag (see below) are a form of editorializing. I replaced the photo with what should normally be the subject of the article, Iran’s U.N. Envoy Hamid Aboutalebi. But hey, that’s just me, why bury the lede?

For the Washington Post and  report: A measure that would bar Iran’s recently appointed ambassador to the United Nations from entering the United States easily passed the Senate on Monday, delivering a rare legislative victory for its lead sponsor, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.).

Cruz…

(this is where The Post felt compelled to add “a first-term senator who is considering a run for president in 2016″. Seriously?The Washington Post wants to remind you, not of the bill being sponsored, or why it’s being sponsored, but of their view of the career aspirations of the Texas Senator sponsoring it. Got the message yet?)  

…has spent the last several days railing against Iran’s appointment of Hamid Aboutalebi (Finally! They can say his name. Bravo, Washington Post!) as its new top envoy to the United Nations in New York.

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Note: the unaltered photo above, by Scott Applewhite, included in its metadata this file description, “2016_Presidential_Checklist_Cruz“. How’s that for a revealing bit of inside commentary by the Washington Post? If you’re in D.C., and you’re hip, you know Cruz ‘s motive for sponsoring this bill has nothing to do with Iran, U.S. foreign policy, or the U.N. He’s posturing, folks, it’s just an item on his “presidential checklist”.

Aboutalebi was a member of the student group that led the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. He has acknowledged that he worked with the organization that took over the embassy, but has played down his role in the crisis.

“It is unconscionable that in the name of international diplomatic protocol the United States would be forced to host a foreign national who showed a brutal disregard of the status of diplomats when they were stationed in his country. This person is an acknowledged terrorist.”

– Senator Ted Cruz

Aboutalebi’s appointment by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been criticized by the Obama administration, which called the nomination “extremely troubling.” In recent months, Aboutalebi’s visa application to enter the United States as a diplomat has been stalled. As host nation of the United Nations’ headquarters, the United States generally admits the chosen representatives of U.N. members, with limited exceptions.

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Is The Flying Car Finally Here?

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What will personal transportation look like in the future? Maybe like this, if aerospace company Terrafugia succeeds in its efforts to build TF-X.

Introducing TF-X

For CNNTeo Kermeliotis, reports: Ever since the early 1960s when we were glued to the animated sitcom “The Jetsons“, whimsical visions of a futuristic space utopia filled our imaginations leaving people asking themselves: “Where’s my flying car?”

Point taken, but perhaps now, as our childhood dreams move slowly closer to reality, we should also start pondering this: if a flying car was here today, in the real world and not in the realm of science fiction, would we feel comfortable controlling it safely while cruising thousands of feet up in the air? Would we possess the technical skills required to even get it off the ground, let alone land it without a scratch?

Before you dash to the door and sprint to your nearest pilot school to sign up for flight lessons, take a moment to meet Carl Dietrich, the chief executive and co-founder of aerospace company Terrafugia.

Dietrich and his team are working to bring consumers closer to the prospect of a practical flying car, envisioning a vehicle that does not require its operator to be a trained pilot. Thus, Boston -based Terrafugia announced last May it had started working on the concept of TF-X, a four-seat, plug-in hybrid electric car that can do vertical take-offs and landings.

terrafugia-tf-x-plane
A rendering of the TF-X concept.

Who makes the calls?

Although not driverless, Dietrich says the TF-X could increase the level of so-called “human directed local autonomy,” a term he describes as a “big fancy phrase” that essentially means that the vehicle’s operator won’t need to have the knowledge or skills of a pilot. Read the rest of this entry »


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