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Teacher Says She Got Fired for Giving Zeros

Should students get something for nothing? Diane Tirado doesn’t think so, and claims she got fired for it. The 52-year-old teacher says West Gate K-8 School in Port St. Lucie, Fla., let her go when she refused to give students a half-credit for handing in nothing, CBS 12 reports. She left students a message on a school whiteboard: “Bye Kids, Mrs. Tirado loves you and wishes you the best in life! I have been fired for refusing to give you a 50% for not handing anything in. [heart] Mrs. Tirado.“ The 17-year teaching veteran says she’d given her 8th-grade US history class two weeks to finish an explorer notebook project, but several students didn’t hand it in, per ABC Action News. That’s when she learned about the school’s “no zero” policy.

As the West Gate student/parent handbook explains in red lettering, “NO ZERO’S- LOWEST POSSIBLE GRADE IS 50%.“ So Tirado says she asked school officials what to do, and was told, “We give them a 50.“ And she said, “Oh, we don’t. This is not kosher.“ But she was still fired Sept. 14 without cause, which the school can apparently do because Tirado had just started teaching there in July and was still in her probationary period, per the Orlando Sentinel. Meanwhile, students are writing supportive messages on a Facebook post showing her whiteboard message, and Tirado’s opinions are getting a full airing in the media. “I’m so upset because we have a nation of kids that are expecting to get paid and live their life just for showing up and it’s not real,“ she says.

Ohio University Freshman’s Blunder on a Paper Goes Viral

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If Monday is getting you down, we’re here to supply you with a chuckle, which comes compliments of Ohio University. John Hendel is a first-year MFA student there, and received an email from a freshman in the performance studies class he’s teaching, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer. BuzzFeed has a screenshot of Zoey Oxley’s email, which very formally and apologetically explains that when writing a paper she forgot Hendel’s name and put in a “completely inappropriate” placeholder that she forgot to edit before electronically submitting it; she discovered there was no way to fix it. “I hope this does not reflect what you think of me and that the next assignment I can address by the correct name,“ she concludes.

Hendel read the email but says he didn’t think much of it, assuming his name was just misspelled. On Wednesday he tweeted, “I was like, ‘Thanks, whatever, nbd.‘ Then I got to their paper and saw their instructor was ‘Professor whats his nuts.‘“ Proving himself to be a good sport (or savvy about our viral world), Hendel’s Twitter name now reads “Professor whats his nuts.“ Oxley herself tweeted about it Thursday and has garnered more than 600,000 likes; add in the 350,000 likes on Hendel’s tweet and they’re nearing a combined 1 million. The Enquirer rounds up responses to the tweets—which include similar tales of woe, like one from a student who named her file “The Butts Karamazov” and forgot to edit it.

Tiny Singer’s National Anthem Is a Smash Sensation

Her name is Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja, she is 7 years old, and she can sing the national anthem better than you. Malea has become an internet sensation for her rendition over the weekend before an MLS soccer game in Los Angeles between the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders. Watch it HERE. As ABC News explains, Malea won the Galaxy’s anthem-singing contest on social media, then proved why, to the delight of both fans and players. “I was thinking that I cannot do anything wrong because it’s a really special song to America,“ she tells ABC.

Pranking McDonald’s Pays Off for Friends

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Payback’s a … well, in this case, payback is $50,000. That’s what two friends in Texas got after they pranked the McDonald’s in Pearland by hanging a poster of themselves in the restaurant to give it some Asian representation, FOX reports. “We were eating at McDonald’s one day and we looked around and saw there were posters around that didn’t have any Asians,“ Jevh Maravilla tells KHOU. “We felt like it was our duty to put ourselves up there.“ And that’s what Maravilla and Christian Toledo did. They had a picture taken showing them holding a burger and fries and added a logo and other effects so it would fit in at the store. Then they had the photo blown up into a poster. In July, the pair and some friends secretly hung the poster at the McDonald’s, USA Today reports.

For the operation, Maravilla even wore an old McDonald’s uniform shirt he scored at the Goodwill for $7. The poster hung undisturbed for 51 days. Then they posted the prank on Twitter and let the cat out of the bag. The two appeared on Ellen on Monday to talk about the prank. During the show, Ellen DeGeneres gave them each $25,000, which was provided by McDonald’s, to be in an ad campaign highlighting the burger chain’s “commitment to diversity,“ per KHOU. As for the impostor poster that hung at the Pearland McDonald’s, it was removed for renovations, FOX reports, and it will be auctioned off to benefit the Ronald McDonald House Houston charity.

Uber agrees to $148M settlement with states over data breach

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Uber has agreed to pay $148 million and take steps to tighten data security, after the ride-hailing company failed for a year to notify drivers that hackers had stolen their personal information.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced the settlement Wednesday between Uber Technologies Inc. and all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

“Uber completely disregarded Illinois’ breach notification law when it waited more than a year to alert people to a serious data breach,” Madigan said.

Madigan said that although Uber is now taking appropriate steps, “the company’s initial response was unacceptable. Companies cannot hide when they break the law.”

Uber learned in November 2016 that hackers had accessed personal data, including driver’s license information, for roughly 600,000 Uber drivers in the U.S. The company acknowledged the breach in November 2017, saying it paid $100,000 in ransom for the stolen information to be destroyed.

Tony West, chief legal officer for Uber, said the decision by current managers was “the right thing to do.”

“It embodies the principles by which we are running our business today: transparency, integrity, and accountability,” West said.

The hack also took the names, email addresses and cell phone number of 57 million riders around the world.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia sued Uber, saying the company violated laws requiring it to promptly notify people affected by the breach.

What do women have to do to be believed?

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Men “may believe sexual assault happens. But surely, a man who looked like them could never possibly do it.”      Harper’s Bazaar


If nothing else the Kavanaugh fiasco highlights the flaws in the FBI’s background check system.      NBC News


How evidence works.      National Review


The burden now falls on Kavanaugh.      The Atlantic


Did conservative activist Ed Whelan coordinate his “mistaken identity” theory with Kavanaugh?      The Washington Post

Dumb Old Faithful Stunt Gets Visitor Arrested

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Taunting a bison is not only unwise, it will land you in legal trouble at Yellowstone. The same applies to tempting fate near Old Faithful. An unidentified man has been charged with multiple offenses, including going off-trail in a thermal area, after he appeared to urinate in the famous hot-spring geyser while ignoring orders to move away, reports East Idaho News. “A bunch of the crowd thought he was going to jump,“ a Michigan woman who witnessed the stunt tells the AP. “We didn’t know what was going to happen.“ A park ranger shouts repeatedly at the man to get back on the boardwalk in a video included with the News story. He eventually does, but not before lying down briefly, and that’s where rangers arrested him.

5 Most, Least Diverse States

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The same three states leading the country in racial diversity also lead the pack when it comes to socioeconomic, cultural, economic, household, religious, and political diversity, according to WalletHub. The site considered a host of metrics from race and language to educational attainment for its ranking of all 50 US states. The five most and least diverse of the bunch, with a score out of 100:

Most diverse:

  1. California: 70.9
  2. Texas: 70
  3. Hawaii: 69.7
  4. New Jersey: 69.4
  5. New York: 69.2

Least diverse:

  1. West Virginia: 58.3
  2. Maine: 58.4
  3. Vermont: 59.8
  4. New Hampshire: 60.8
  5. Montana: 61
Click for the full list.

10 Most Fun Cities in US (After the Obvious)

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The US city deemed as the place to have the most fun is ... well, yeah, Vegas. A new ranking by WalletHub takes into account all kinds of factors—nightlife, restaurants, movie theaters, festivals, playgrounds, etc.—and puts Las Vegas as No. 1. Maybe more surprising is that a city in Hawaii (Pearl City) is dead last at No. 182. The top finishers:

  1. Las Vegas
  2. Orlando, Fla.
  3. New York City
  4. Atlanta
  5. Miami
  6. Chicago
  7. Portland, Ore.
  8. San Francisco
  9. New Orleans
  10. San Diego
  11. Denver

Read on for the bottom finishers.

The cities at the bottom of the fun ranking:

  1. Moreno Valley, Calif.
  2. Juneau, Alaska
  3. South Burlington, Vt.
  4. Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
  5. Yonkers, NY
  6. Fontana, Calif.
  7. Santa Rosa, Calif.
  8. Bridgeport, Conn.
  9. Oxnard, Calif.
  10. Pearl City, Hawaii

Click for the full rankings, along with various category breakdowns.

Florence Killed 5.5K Pigs in NC, Spewed Manure

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Hurricane Florence unleashed torrential rain, dangerous wind gusts, and now a new environmental hazard in North Carolina: the overflowing of its hog manure lagoons—and it’s “nasty,“ per the New York Times. Many of North Carolina’s nearly 10 million pigs are located on large-scale farms in Duplin and Sampson counties, both hit hard by the hurricane. The North Carolina Pork Council is insisting pig producers have learned from previous storms and that only two dozen or so hog lagoons (some as large as Olympic-size swimming pools, per Quartz) were impacted by Florence, either via breaches caused by rain-induced erosion, overflow from too much rain, or “inundation” by floodwaters. But the state’s Department of Environmental Quality said that, as of Tuesday at noon, more than 50 others were also close to spewing pig waste into the environment.

Per the NCPC, the lagoons are designed to absorb close to two dozen inches of rain, but Florence’s rainfall was at that level, or close to it, in some places, notes the Washington Post. NPR notes the hog lagoons—holes in the ground where pig excrement is flushed, along with water and anaerobic bacteria—have long been the subject of “intense political controversy,“ and research has indeed linked health issues to the farms. The hogs themselves were also affected by the storm, with the AP reporting about 5,500 of them were killed in North Carolina after swollen rivers flooded nearby farms, per the state’s Department of Agriculture. About 3.4 million turkeys and chickens also perished, and because dozens of poultry farms are now surrounded by floodwaters, feed deliveries may be stalled and more birds may die, one of the state’s major poultry producers says.

North Carolina Highway Littered With Dead Fish

As Hurricane Florence’s floodwaters receded, thousands of fish that had ventured far from their normal habitat were stranded on Interstate 40 in Pender County.

Aside from the unpleasant smell, the situation was also hazardous for drivers, prompting local firefighters to power-wash the carcasses off the road.

They reported, “We can add ‘washing fish off of the interstate’ to the long list of interesting things firefighters get to experience!”

Meanwhile, a 20-foot-long whale was found washed ashore in Caswell Beach, North Carolina.


Learn More:    USA Today    Charlotte Observer

Critics: Virginia Attorney Shouldn’t ‘Pop’ Her ‘Booty’ in Rap Video

If the phrase “booty poppin” is what you’ve been needing to hear (over and over and over), you may want to check out a new music video by someone WAVY deems Virginia’s new “unlikely rap star.“ That would be Stephanie Morales, the Portsmouth Commonwealth’s attorney, who posted a video entitled “Sundress Season” on Sunday on YouTube, and on Monday on her Facebook page. Underlaid by a bass-heavy beat and heavy on the phrase “booty poppin’” (which is heard at least 30 times, per WTKR), the video shows Morales and her husband, Luis, dancing and rapping throughout the video, with shorter spots featuring their 14-year-old son and young daughters. Her lyrics, per the Virginian-Pilot, specifically touch upon her physique: “I’m summer fine down to my thighs. My stride’s right. My abs tight. Let’s go for this, right.“

Morales tells the Pilot the video came about after her son lost a bet with Luis, requiring the former to produce an entire song for the latter to perform. “Fast forward, the WHOLE family jumped on the track,“ she wrote on Facebook; she and her husband reportedly wrote their own lyrics. But some members of the Portsmouth community are perturbed about the video, including “People’s Pastor” Barry Randall, who wants her recalled from her job. He says Morales is setting a bad example “to display her body in that [manner]“ when women are dealing with serious issues like sexual assault. “She … has every right to pop her booty in her home with her husband, but to do that with a bunch of teenagers who look to her for mentoring … That’s a problem,“ he tells WTKR. Morales dismisses his concerns, telling WAVY she’s promoting a “positive body image” and that the video was “a chronicle of our summer family fun,“ per WTKR.

400-Lb Man Not Guilty After Boy Asphyxiates Under Him

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Donald Martin Jr. pleaded guilty to reckless homicide in April in connection with the death of his 11-year-old grandson. On Monday, a judge ruled the Mount Orab, Ohio, man was innocent. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports Martin in June withdrew his guilty plea, and Brown County Judge Scott Gusweiler found the case didn’t meet the state’s definition of recklessness, which requires a disregard for the risks and consequences of one’s actions.

In pinning Dylan Martin-Davis between his body and the arm of a couch to calm the boy down on Nov. 17, 2017, Gusweiler wrote that he found no proof the 58-year-old was aware the position could cause death; WLWT describes the position as Dylan being put over the arm of the couch, with Martin then on top of him. Dylan, who Fox8 reports weighed 90 pounds, died of asphyxiation. The child’s father disagrees with the ruling, telling the Enquirer, “How do you kill a child and walk free? How can you pin a child down—my understanding is for five to 10 minutes—and not know what you’re doing?“

Study: Childhood Trauma’s Effects Worse Among Minorities

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The largest study to date on adverse childhood experiences (ACE) suggests that while they’re worryingly universal, they disproportionately harm children from low-income families, people of color and LGBT youth. Research shows 3 out of 5 American adults experienced at least one such trauma, while one-quarter experienced three or more.

Multiracial participants, meanwhile, reported around 2.5 ACEs, while bisexual adults averaged 3.1.

Previous research has shown that childhood trauma can lead to a host of health problems during adulthood, including cancer, heart disease, depression and substance abuse.


Learn More:  NPR

She’s Accused of Eating on the Job—but Not Her Own Lunch

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Vice’s Munchies notes this case could be one of “thinly sliced larceny,“ but whether charges emerge remains to be seen. A loss-prevention manager at a Giant Eagle supermarket in Bolivar, Ohio, recently received an odd tip about a longtime employee at the deli counter: She was accused of noshing on up to five slices of ham every day, though she occasionally was believed to have switched things up with salami. The store estimated she’d scarfed down about $9,200 worth of deli meat, and the Canton Repository reports she admitted on Friday to the illicit snacking.

But a Facebook post from the Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Office notes that rumors of charges for felony theft on the “small amounts of lunch meat” allegedly devoured each time are, at the very least, premature: “No determination of charges has been made. The procedure is to send the report to the Prosecutor’s Office and they are the ones to decide.“ The post adds that “felony charges are unlikely.“ Meanwhile, Munchies crunches some numbers and is wondering how Giant Eagle came up with the $9,200 figure, as, based on the woman’s eight-year work tenure, that would come out to about $35 per pound for the meat.

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