News Day Round Up for the Week of May 30, 2017 - P.O.W. Report

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

News Day Round Up for the Week of May 30, 2017

Alaska Cops Fight for the Right to Sexually Exploit Prostitution Suspects

Once again, cops are arguing that they need to be allowed to have sex with suspects in order to investigate prostitution allegations. And once again, lawmakers and journalists are acting like exploitation and assault of sex workers by law enforcement is a rare occurrence, rather than a national epidemic.

Most people would agree that the deception, the power differential, and the subsequent arrest of sex workers make such contact utterly unacceptable, even if they don't think that it rises to the level of rape. Yet the behavior is common enough to bring police unions to its defense on a regular basis.

This month the fight is in Alaska, where the Anchorage Police Department is opposing two bills that would criminalize "sexual contact" with suspected sex workers. House Bill 112 states, in part, "An offender commits the crime of sexual assault in the third degree if the offender...while acting as a peace officer in the state, engages in sexual penetration with a person with reckless disregard that the person is...the victim, witness, or perpetrator of a crime under investigation by the offender." Deputy Chief Sean Case told the Alaska Dispatch News that the freedom to engage in sexual behavior with people under investigation is vital to doing police work. That's because sex workers can engage in "cop-checking," he says—vetting possible clients by asking them break laws that restrict law enforcement. A suspect might ask him to touch her breast, he explained. "If we make that act (of touching) a misdemeanor we have absolutely no way of getting involved in that type of arrest."

The Alaska bills were introduced through the efforts of sex worker activists, who well know that in every place where sex work is criminalized or even semi-criminalized (and that includes all 50 American states) police and/or their paid informants routinely take sexual liberties ranging from groping to full intercourse with women they're "investigating." Sometimes they claim this is necessary for "gathering evidence" or (as in the Anchorage excuse above) part of the process of arresting the sex workers. Other times the activity somehow doesn't make it into police reports at all. (Imagine that!) This is exactly why Alaskan activists want the contact prohibited.

One of the primary reasons sex work was decriminalized in New South Wales, Australia in 1995 was to eliminate this particular flavor of police corruption. But while Australian lawmakers understood that the way to eliminate the problem was to take away cops' power over sex workers, no American state has yet taken any but the most hesitant and largely symbolic steps in the direction of true decriminalization. And meanwhile, police and their unions continue to unabashedly protest the loss of the option to sexually exploit suspects without repercussions. [Read the Full Article Here]

Alaska volcano erupts, triggers highest aviation warning

Alaska's Bogoslof Volcano erupted Sunday, sending a plume of ash at least 35,000 feet into the air and temporarily triggering the highest aviation alert, scientists say.

The Bogoslof Volcano in the Aleutian Islands erupted at 2:16 p.m. Sunday, according to the Alaska Volcano Observatory. The eruption lasted 55 minutes.

No further ash emissions have occurred at Bogoslof Volcano since the explosion, and seismic activity remains low, according to the observatory.
The clouds of ash from erupting volcanoes are a threat to jet engines. Airliners operating between North America and Asia fly in Bogoslof’s path.

Volcano eruptions have wreaked havoc on air travel in the past, not to mention caused significant environmental impact. In 2010, the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull Volcano led to the cancellation of tens of thousands of flights in Europe. [Source]

Teacher turnover costs state’s school districts around $20M per year

Alaska Public Media by Josh Edge

Alaska schools hire about 1,000 new teachers each year to offset the annual turnover of staff. And it’s a process that doesn’t come cheap.

$20 million is the approximate cost of replacing teachers lost to attrition each year throughout the state, according to a recent study by the Institute for Social and Economic Research.

And as school districts look for ways to make up for diminishing state funding, they’re also seeking ways to better invest the money they do have.

“When the district has money, their first priority is to channel that into the education of our students and improve quality of their experiences, the quality of their curriculum, all of those things,” Todd Hess, chief human resources officer for the Anchorage School District, said.

When a teacher leaves the district, the cost can be measured in more than dollars.

DeFeo said the more important impact is on the students.

“When a teacher turns over, it has a significant effect on the school climate, the continuity of instruction as teachers plan from one year to the next how they’re going to deliver content,” DeFeo said. “The school-community relationships are really contingent upon the stability of the staff in the school. And most importantly the impact on student learning.”

There’s general agreement that the solution to lessening districts’ budgetary burden for turnover isn’t necessarily reducing the more than $20,000-per-teacher cost, but instead emphasizing retention. [The entire article here]

Millennials Save 19% Of Their Income—More Than Any Other Generation

When it comes to saving money, millennnials are doing much better than most people think.

A recent survey conducted on behalf of Merrill Edge shows that America’s youngest adult generation actually saves a higher proportion of their income than does any other generation.

Nevertheless, this defies expectations, since only 8% of the general population believes that millennials are good savers (while 54% believe that seniors are good savers).

Perhaps most ironically, only 15% of millennials see their own generation as decent savers—turns out, they’re wrong.

According to the report:

When asked about their top priorities in life, today’s 18-to-34-year-olds are significantly more likely than their older counterparts to focus on personal milestones of working their dream job (42 percent, compared to 23 percent) and traveling the world (37 percent, compared to 21 percent). Millennials are also far less likely to emphasize the traditional family milestones of getting married (43 percent, compared to 51 percnt) and becoming a parent (36 percent, compared to 59 percent).

The study proposes that this is due to a Fear-Of-Missing-Out (or FOMO) mentality, claiming that millennials are more likely to save up for lifestyle enhancements such as gym memberships and traveling, than for their financial future.

This is reflected in the data when millennials are directly asked about their motivations for saving. [Source]

In other words, Millennials aren't actually saving for anything that matters like long-term financial stability but rather for medium-term narcissism. So this study is rather deceptive.

In Britain, Police Arrest Twitter And Facebook Users If They Make Anti-Muslim Statements

British police are arresting people in the middle of the night if they have made racist or anti-Muslim comments on Twitter following the murder of a soldier by two Muslims in Woolwich, London.

Three men have so far been taken into custody for using Twitter and Facebook to criticize Muslims.

In the Woolwich attack, Lee Rigby, a drummer in the Royal Regiment of Fusliers, was run down in a car and then hacked and stabbed to death by two men with knives and a cleaver. They told a man video recording the scene that it was vengeance for the killings of Muslims by the British Army.

One man has been charged with "malicious communications" on Facebook, the Daily Mail reports.

Two others have been arrested under the Public Order Act on suspicion of inciting racial or religious hatred. The police are now arresting people based on mere speech in social media, a detective said in a statement to the press [Source]

What Powers Does the Queen of England Actually Have?

A short while ago we wrote about the fact Queen Elizabeth II needs neither a passport nor driving license thanks to a quirk of British law. But what other powers does the Queen of many titles have and what could she theoretically do if she decided to flex the full might of the authority she wields? As it turns out, thanks to the Royal Prerogative, a terrifying amount if she really felt like it, or, at least, assuming parliament went by the letter of the law and they and the people didn’t decide to stage a little revolt.

While this may seem only self-serving, the Queen has a very lengthy track record as an admirable public servant and is also acutely aware that she is a prominent public face representing her subjects, so is keen on avoiding being viewed in a bad light lest she in turn paint them in a bad light by her actions. As she noted at the tender age of 21 in a speech to the Commonwealth she gave on her birthday,

I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.

Surprisingly, for many years the full extent of exactly what powers the Queen handed off to the government, but technically retained, weren’t publicly known. That is, until 2003, when the government released a partial list of the things it can do on the Queen’s behalf.

For the most part, the list confirmed that the government could do things to save the Queen time, such as issue or revoke passports which simply wouldn’t be a feasible thing to be the sole prerogative of the Crown in a modern society. However, many things were quite worrying to some, such as her ability to declare war, which under the rules of Royal Prerogative can be done without consulting parliament.

On top of that, the Queen is totally immune from prosecution and is considered above the law in the UK. And as a head of state, she enjoys diplomatic immunity in any foreign country she happens to visit. As such, she could commit any crime conceivable anywhere on Earth and, at least as the law currently stands, suffer no consequence for doing so. However, as with everything, she’s generally exceptionally careful to ensure she doesn’t break any laws.

Moving on- because technically speaking “the people of Britain are not citizens, but subjects of the monarch” she could have anyone she wanted arrested and presumably seize their property or land for the crown.

Speaking of which, the Queen owns all of the sea beds around the UK and can commandeer any ship found in British waters “for service to the realm”. Oddly enough, she also has first dibs on any whales that wash up on shore. The Queen could also administer any manner of punishment to an individual who offended or otherwise displeased her as the crown has “prerogative power to keep the peace within the realm”. And since she’s immune from prosecution, nobody could really do anything if this punishment wasn’t entirely within the scope of the law.

Well, the Queen is also the Commander-in-Chief of the entire British military with every officer, soldier, sailor and pilot swearing allegiance to the Crown and nobody else. They’re not called Her Majesty’s Armed Forces for nothing. Noted as being the “ultimate authority” on all British military matters, the Queen could authorise a nuclear strike on France or make North Korea an ally as she has the power to declare both war and peace with foreign nations. [Read the Queens full power here]

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