“Western Symbols” on T-shirts Causing Russians to Assault Each Other

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The recent events surrounding the Russian presence in East Ukraine has drummed up a great deal of patriotic fervour amongst the ranks of the Muscovites. These passions are so strong that BBC reports, occasionally, Russian citizens themselves have become the target of assault.

A Russian reporter, Anna Ratafyeva, was minding her own business on the local tube system when an older woman approached her and slapped her in the face. Apparently this act of aggression was motivated by the fact that Ratafyeva was sporting a t-shirt with the popular cartoon character Snoopy on it waving the British flag.

These attacks are not just physical: they often come with some pretty harsh verbal abuse, too. Ms. Ratafyeva posted the following on Facebook: “(The woman) approached me, called me ‘an American whore’ and slapped me in the face. Welcome to the new reality.”

The reality she is referring to is the one which bans imports from Western countries including Canada, which is interpreted as revenge for sanctions placed upon Russia by those countries.

She stopped for a refreshing drink of water when a member of the crowd leapt out and attacked her, yelling “You bastard! Go back to your country. You dishonour my city, and have no right to run in our marathon.”

Ms Boyarskaya maintained that she meant nothing by wearing the t-shirt, and the attack badly shocked her. She said that the attacker “has [the] right to have her opinion, and the only thing I can do is regret that there is such an opinion.”

Why Are Americans Joining ISIS?

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It has been reported that a Chicago teen was arrested for trying to fly to Istanbul to join up with the terrorist group known as ISIS. He had left a note to his family inviting them to join him, and among his belongings were drawings of the ISIS flag. The teen is looking at 15 years in prison.

ISIS has become known for literally cutting off the heads of their enemies and sharing footage of the act online for the world to see. These terrorists are largely reviled throughout the world. Why would any American want to join an organization that purports to hate them?

Some authorities have speculated that these people are simply “thrill seekers”. They want to go over to the middle east to fight in a war, not necessarily to wage war with America, but rather to defend Islam. Others posit that those who join are simply stupid or psychotic loners looking for somewhere to fit in. The general feeling is that those who go to join ISIS are dangerously uninformed lonely people looking to be a part of something.

In the case of 19 year-old Shannon Conley, she fell in love with a jihadist she met online. Douglas McCain, a 33 year-old described as a “goofball” by his childhood friend Jared Haftel, converted to Islam and ended up being killed in combat fighting alongside ISIS.

There are even some alarming reports that these people have returned to the States. The FBI tracks them to the best of their ability and considers these people to be potential domestic terrorists.

Ebola Becomes Political Hotbed in the US Midterms

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It seems that even a threat such as Ebola ceases to stay apolitical in the hotbed that is now United States politics.

Politicians, both Democrat and Republican, are quickly having to grapple with Ebola as not only a possible threat to the nation’s health, but as a growing issue that could take prominence in the up-and-coming midterm elections.

While the Obama administration is still deciding on a long-term course of action in regards to the Ebola outbreak, Republican politicians are increasingly utilizing this opportunity to take aim at an administration that has fairly consistently been accused of taking true vision and leadership.

Terri Lynn Land, a candidate for the Michigan Senate seat, has taken the topic of Ebola directly to the congressional race. She stated, in no uncertain terms, that “the President needs to lead…Congressman Peters needs to lead — to come up with a plan to make sure we can deal with this.” Land, in particular, has been advocating for further restrictions on international travel.

Congressman Peters, however, sees such political talk as inappropriate. Haley Morris, a spokeswoman for Peters, said that “it is sad Terri Lynn Land is now so desperate that she’s trying to use a deadly virus as a political issue, and it’s shameful. Before playing politics with such a serious issue, Terri Lynn Land should explain why she pushed for the government shutdown last year, which hampered the CDC and our nation’s emergency readiness.”


Owner of Gun Range in Arkansas Prohibits Muslims to Join

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Jan Morgan, the owner of Gun Cave Indoor Firing Range in Hot Springs, Arkansas, doesn’t think it’s safe to allow Muslims to utilize her services. On Sunday, she posted to her blog and Facebook pages that she would not let Muslims into her firing range. The blog post itself received over 12,000 shares by readers (including my former professor Christian Broda) before it was removed yesterday. Morgan wrote:

“This is not a coffee and donut shop. This is a live fire indoor shooting range…One mistake in judgment on my part could cost innocent people their lives.”

Morgan went on to say that the Constitution of the United States does not protect the rights of Muslims because it “does not protect a theocracy.”

Her announcement has been met with mixed opinions. The most telling parts of the post have many people debating the subject of religious freedom on a larger level. Should the country recognize a Muslim and their beliefs? How do we, as a nation, deal with a radicalized ideology that essentially hates everything we stand for? Although the argument that most Muslims are peace-loving, non-radicals is a valid one, there’s a point when the safety of the people must come before certain freedoms.


This is Why the Police Have Tanks

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In all of the footage of the riots in Ferguson over the death of Michael Brown, you may have noticed that the police there are packing military gear and are driving gigantic armored trucks known as Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles. You may have wondered why.

As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have wound down to a degree, the military has sent equipment to U.S. police. These items include fatigues, semi-automatic rifles, grenade launchers, armed robots (yes, really) and tanks. The police are driving tanks. One would imagine that if a tank cannon was pointed at a crack house that the police are going to get results. The acceptance of this equipment has reportedly led to some departments having a more military mindset and some have even adopted Navy SEAL tactics in their raids.

According to an article on Motherjones, many police departments do not want the equipment but cannot get rid of it. One problem is that there is nobody to sell a tank to. Another problem is that technically the equipment is still owned by the Pentagon, so the equipment could not be sold even if a buyer was found. Sending the equipment to the police has amounted to a pretty dangerous “low-cost storage solution” for the military.

Texting 911 Now Available on All Indiana Campuses

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Great news today, as students, faculty, and visitors to college campuses throughout Indiana will now have the ability to text messages to 911 dispatchers from any cellular device.

Whether you’re using any standard phone, or a free data plan like those offered by FreedomPop, you’ll be able to access the 911 service from any Indiana campus.

The move is another in a campaign to improve standards on college campuses.

Sometimes calling 911 isn’t feasible, or isn’t safe. Providing an option to text ensures safety, but also ensures a new weapon to prevent victims from being controlled by their attackers.

New Social Network Ello Attracts Thousands of Signups

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Ello, which is marketing itself as the “anti-Facebook,” is signing up tens of thousands of new members per hour in its early stages. This social media site can only be accessed by invitation, which is perhaps part of its mystique and appeal. Ello was started by a Vermont bicycle shop owner named Paul Budnitz, who originally planned it as only a small social network for his friends. It has, however, been open to the public since August and has since received quite a bit of media attention.

Ello’s most notable feature is that it doesn’t accept advertising. This is something Slow Ventures would likely endorse, as it’s very reminiscent of Path’s mantra in its early stages. Promotions for Ello point out how large social sites like Facebook sell users’ data to large companies. Thus, Ello appeals to people who object to the commercialization of social media as well as those with privacy concerns. It remains to be seen how many people will sign up to Ello and whether its business model is sustainable.

Deathstroke Will Return to Arrow in the Future

According to Manu Bennett (who I love for his portrayal of Deathstroke, and Crixus on the excellent Spartacus) Arrow’s showrunners have told him that they definitely want him back. While he doesn’t know the exact timetable, and he may not make an appearance in the second season, it seems pretty well assured that we’re going to see Deathstroke again at some stage.

Manu was one of the highlights of the last season. His haunting portrayal of Deathstroke, and his quest for revenge against Oliver Queen was one of the most epic storylines we’ve ever seen in a comic book based television show.

The focus on charter drama, and development really had Marnie Bennett on the edge of her seat the entire time.


Computer and Phone Scams Popping Up Throughout Indiana

Scams are on the rise in Indiana, with reports suggesting that new cases are popping up throughout the northern part of the state. According to the Better Business Bureau, the scams are mainly affecting residents of the Michiana area.

The main scam involves computer pop-ups. An ad pops up on the user’s computer screen, telling them that their computer is infected with a virus. The advertisement also provides a number that they can call to have the problem fixed.

However, when users call the number, they are told that the problem can be fixed for a one time fee. Not realizing that there is no problem with their system in the first place. But rather, they’ve been victims of a hoax.

Some residents have also become victims of a phone scam. Michiana residents are being contacted, and told that the federal government has selected them to receive an $8,000 sum. Then asking for bank account and routing numbers to transfer the money.

While it’s too early to tell how many people have been affected, the problem has been fairly widespread.

So remember, always be skeptical of anybody asking for money to fix a computer problem out of the blue. Or calling and asking for your personal information.


Lenders Have Begun Installing GPS Devices To Disable Vehicles

There’s a new problem plaguing those already having difficulty buying a new vehicle. Some lenders throughout the US have adopted a new strategy for protecting cars from bad loans. Installing GPS devices that disable the car, should the payments fail to be made on time.

This will target sub-prime borrowers. Typically people with a credit score of 640 or lower. Considering that sub-prime borrowers are on the rise, car companies are looking for ways to protect their investment, while still finding new buyers for their inventory.

However, some have criticized the move. With one report suggesting a woman was unable to drive her daughter to the emergency room, because her car had locked up.