Thursday, May 7, 2009

News of Interest 5/7/09

Texas police shake down drivers, lawsuit claims

Maryland resident Amanee Busbee said she also was threatened with losing custody of her child after being stopped in Tenaha with her fiancé and his business partner. They were headed to Houston with $50,000 to complete the purchase of a restaurant, she said.

"The police officer would say things to me like, 'Your son is going to child protective services because you are not saying what we need to hear,' " Busbee said.

Guillory, who practices in nearby Nacogdoches, Texas, estimates authorities in Tenaha seized $3 million between 2006 and 2008, and in about 150 cases -- virtually all of which involved African-American or Latino motorists -- the seizures were improper.

"They are disproportionately going after racial minorities," he said. "My take on the matter is that the police in Tenaha, Texas, were picking on and preying on people that were least likely to fight back."


Nevada town rallies to save prison camp

A small town finds out that slave labor is something worth fighting for in this recession.
In this former boomtown forgotten by much of the state, the small prison is a savior for residents and the cash-strapped town manager. Supervised inmates shovel snowed-in driveways, yank out weeds, clean rain gutters, slash brush and dig graves.

"They do everything but herd cattle," said Perchetti, 63, who runs the Tonopah Convention Center. "Shoot, they fixed my plumbing a few times."

So when state officials proposed mothballing the camp to help narrow Nevada's $3-billion budget gap, residents prepared for battle. They repeatedly car-pooled to the capital -- a 460-mile round trip. To lawmakers and their staff, they handed out save-the-camp pleas written by senior citizens, high school principals, the Salvation Army, students.
-Los Angeles Times

SC man is latest accused recession bank robber

See also this article from the Arizona Republic today for local insight into this phenomenon otherwise known as the "reverse bailout".
Windsor is one of a growing list of unlikely suspects, ordinary people from ministers to ex-cops citing financial duress since the start of the recession in late 2007 for allegedly turning to a crime that targets fast cash — bank robbery.

Money troubles, specifically job losses, have also been named as possible motives in at least four of the mass shootings that have scarred the country this winter, including the deaths of 13 people and a gunman in Binghamton, N.Y., the killings of three police officers in Pittsburgh and four more plus the shooter in Oakland, Calif., and the deaths of 10 people and a gunman in south Alabama.

Bank holdups haven't grabbed the same attention, but industry figures show they go up during recessions, and experts say the pressure inevitably pushes some otherwise law-abiding people to find themselves accosting a teller at a window.
-Associated Press

Millionaires don't feel so rich: survey

Some 46% of the 1,012 participants in the annual Fidelity Investments study said they "do not feel wealthy and are taking action to reassess and rebuild their wealth."
0:00 /5:27Buffett: Behind the scenes

That's a big change from last year, when only 19% said they didn't feel rich. Fidelity blamed the drop on the corresponding plunge in wealth, with an average 19% reduction in household income and investable assets, and a 28% plunge in real estate holdings.

Fidelity, a Boston-based financial services company, described the average respondent as having $3.5 million in assets and $306,000 in annual household income.

Cow jumps fence, escapes slaughterhouse

I think there's a lesson here for all of us.

A cow has escaped from a New York City slaughterhouse and may have a new lease on life.

Police say the black heifer bolted Wednesday afternoon from Musa Hala Inc., which butchers animals according to religious restrictions.

The cow wandered in Queens for about a kilometre before police captured her an hour later and took her to an Animal Care and Control centre, where she was nicknamed Molly.
-Associated Press

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