Tag Archives: Government Shutdown

The Budget is Passed and Now Republicans Can Concentrate on Killing Obamacare

Budget Deal

Just in time for a nice, long holiday break, Congress put aside their differences, came to a budget compromise, and avoided another government shutdown.

The House passed a two-year bipartisan budget plan on Thursday night, their final task before the Christmas holidays. The Senate is still needs to pass the deal this week, but it looks like it will be smooth sailing. The new budget will reduce automatic spending cuts by $63 billion in the next two years and reduce the deficit by $23 billion. But most importantly, the bipartisan budget deal avoids another potential government shutdown – for two whole years!

The passing of the “meeting in the middle” budget seems to signal a shift for House Republicans away from the staunchly uncompromising attitudes that have given us multiple standoffs, threats of default and lingering government shutdowns.

But what sparked this sudden change in attitude? Was it the spirit of the season that prompted this compromise? Or was it something else? (It was something else)

On Sunday, Rep. Paul Ryan defended the budget deal to avert further shutdown, saying that it would allow the Republican Party to “focus” on destroying President Barack Obama’s health care reform law.

“I think we have to replace this law,” he insisted. “I believe we can have a system in this country where everybody has access to affordable health care, including people with preexisting conditions, without it costing a government takeover with more freedom.”

“We like the fact, for the economy, no shutdowns,” he said. “We also don’t want to have shutdown drama so we can focus on replacing Obamacare, so we can focus on showing better ideas than what this is coming.”

So first they caused a shutdown in an attempt to kill Obamacare, and now they’re avoiding a shutdown in an attempt to kill Obamacare. Makes sense. After all, according to Bob Rucho, a Republican senator from North Carolina, Obamacare is worse than Hilter and Stalin and bin Laden COMBINED.

“Justice Robert’s pen & Obamacare has done more damage to the USA then the swords of the Nazis, Soviets & terrorists combined,” he tweeted on Sunday.

Bob Rucho has been working tirelessly to kill Obamacare. He was the primary sponsor of a bill this year to prohibit North Carolina from setting up a health insurance exchange or participating in the Medicaid expansion, which has kept 377,000 North Carolinians from Medicaid coverage. And now with the new budget deal, Rucho will have plenty more time to work out his plan to kill Obamacare – unless the death panels get to him first.

Via: CBS News

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Gay Refugees Can Now Flock to Europe… And Other News

Gay Refugees

The European Union’s high court has ruled that refugees under attack for being homosexual in their home countries have grounds to be granted asylum. And suddenly every African mysteriously turned gay…

The EU court concluded that concealing sexual orientation to avoid persecution is equal to giving up a “characteristic fundamental to a person’s identity.” The court’s ruling concerned three homosexual men from Sierra Leone, Uganda and Senegal who had all sought asylum in Holland. But the court’s ruling applies to all EU countries and now any gay person can apply for asylum as long as they prove a “well-founded fear” of persecution. Since homosexual acts are illegal in most African countries, anti-immigration Europeans are worried about the rising tide of pseudo-gay Africans refugees infiltrating their country. Meh. Canada has been accepting gay refugees for years and the last time I checked (5 minutes ago), the number of homosexual / fauxmosexual Africans refugees walking around the streets of Canada is still relatively low. Although to be fair, Canada isn’t exactly next door to Africa. Europe’s a little easier to access – just a quick migrant boat away! New York Times

Lulu Pants FatLululemon founder Chip Wilson is blaming women’s body shapes for the quality issues his company’s yoga pants are facing. Last spring Lulu was forced to recall a bunch of pants for being see-through and last week customers began complaining about pilling. “Frankly some women’s bodies just don’t actually work for it,” Chip told Bloomberg TV, arguing, “It’s really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over a period of time.” What a great way to win over your target market of women aged 18-34: “Our material isn’t poor quality – you just have thunder thighs!” CTV News

Greenhouse GasesWarning: We’re all going to die. According to a new report released by the the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), greenhouse gas levels hit a record high in 2012. Gases that drive global warming are increasing more rapidly last year than in its average rise over the past decade, effectively increasing warming effects by almost a third since 1990. And despite what anti-global warming Republicans have to say about the slowdown in temperature increases in the past few years, scientists believe that the new data indicates that global warming will be back with a vengeance. CBC News

Closed for BusinessBack pay to furloughed federal employees: $2 billion. National park revenue lost: $500 million. Delayed tax refunds: $4 billion. Shutting down the federal government for 16 days because Ted Cruz didn’t like a health care law: priceless. A report released by the Office of Management and Budget reveals that the government shutdown cost the U.S. economy between $2 billion and $6 billion in economic output. In addition, 120,000 fewer private sector jobs were created during the first two weeks of October because of the pending threat of the shutdown and the standoff over the debt ceiling. I thought Republicans were supposed to be anti-job killers…? Huffington Post

Pope and Disfigured ManEwwww. Gross. Pope Francis was caught snuggling with a severly disfigured man IN PUBLIC. There’s a word acronym for that: PDA. At the General Audience in St. Peter’s Square Wednesday, the pope Francis gently held and kissed the head of man covered in facial tumors. The 50,000 attendees seemed to embrace the embrace as well as Pope Francis’ ongoing efforts to open interaction with people from all walks of life, especially the poor, weak and vulnerable. Pope Francis seems to be doing a decent job of changing the church’s image by focusing on the less fortunate in society. Now if only he could work of the whole Catholic priest/pedophile image thing – because that’s kind of a big one. CNN

Twitter IPOTwitter officially went public on Thursday morning with shares opening at $45.10 – significantly higher than the expected $26. And just like that another billionaire is born! The trading drove the seven-year-old company’s value to $25 billion – despite not having made any profit for the last three years. But many believe that Twitter, which has 230 million users globally, has huge potential as a global advertising medium. Just please don’t litter my newsfeed with advertisements a la Facebook #seriouslydon’tdoit Reuters

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NSA Head to Step Down… And Other News

NSA

The NSA is getting re-branded!

Army General Keith Alexander will step down after eight years on top of the NSA. The White House downplayed suggestions that Alexander’s decision to retire was because of the damage done to the NSA’s reputation after the Edward Snowden leak fiasco. But there’s nothing like a fresh face to win over the American public! As for Keith Alexander, you can add in a happy retirement note to your next email – he’ll find it. Fox News

Wrecking ballBreaking news: Ted Cruz is a sore loser. As Minority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor to announce the bipartisan compromise to end the shutdown, Cruz marched up to the TV cameras outside the Senate chamber and started complaining about the deal McConnell had just negotiated. After causing a mass amount of wreckage to his party, the economy, and his own political career, Ted Cruz still won’t let it go: “The American people rose up and spoke with an overwhelming voice and at least at this stage Washington isn’t listening to them,” Cruz said. “But this battle will continue.” Washington Post

stenographerAnother victim of the government shutdown: the House stenographer loses it! Amid all the chaos of the last-minute Senate deal to end the government shutdown and extend the debt ceiling, the House stenographer had what appeared to be a public mental breakdown. Dianne Foster Reidy calmly went up to a microphone and began screaming: “Do not be deceived. God shall not be mocked. A House divided cannot stand!” She was quickly escorted out by the Sergeant-at-Arms, leaving House members and aides speechless for the first time in two weeks. “I don’t know, she just snapped,” said a GOP aide. CNN

Exhume PresBrazil is bringing up the past – literally. The Latin American country is exhuming two former presidents, João Goulart and Juscelino Kubitschek, to settle the claim that they were assassinated in 1976. Digging up dead bodies is becoming quite the norm in Latin America. A Chilean judge recently ordered the body of poet and diplomat Pablo Neruda to be exhumed to determine whether or not he was poisoned. Francisco Caamaño, a guerrilla leader and former president of Domiincan Republic has also been ordered to return from the grave in order to be placed in Dominican Republic’s pantheon of heroes. And of course in 2010 Hugo Chávez famously dug up the remains of Simon Bolivar to try and prove that Colombians poisoned him. They did not. New York Times

AspergerMexican man with the autistic condition Asperger’s has won the right to make key decisions about his life without parental consent. Before the ruling, Mexican legislation banned him from doing simple tasks by himself, such as applying for a passport, and all papers had to be signed by his parents or legal guardians. But now he can do all the simple tasks he wants – without his parents approval! Now if only Britney Spears could do the same… BBC News

greenpeace actA week after Vladimir Putin lost the Nobel Prize to some chemical weapons inspectors, eleven Nobel prize-winners are asking the Russian president to drop the piracy charges against 30 Greenpeace activists and journalists. Are they trying to rub their prizes in his face or just trying to teach him how to win for next year? Either way, Russia isn’t budging. Message received: Moscow will not tolerate attempts to disrupt its development of its precious resource-rich Arctic. Reuters

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It Was All A Trap! President Obama Planned the Whole Government Shutdown!

Obama Trap

After the Republicans’ “brilliant plan” to shutdown the government in order to get rid of Obamacare turned out to be not so brilliant, they need to find someone to blame – and author Ed Klein has just the person(s): Obama and his senior adviser Valerie B. Jarrett.

Ed Klein, who wrote a widely criticized biography of Obama called The Amateur, claims that President Barack Obama deliberately lured Republicans into a trap planned by his senior advisor Valerie Jarrett. Go on…

“(Jarrett) convinced the president that a government shutdown and default offered a great opportunity to demonize the Republicans and help the Democrats win back a majority in the House of Representatives in 2014,” Klein told The New York Post.

“Valerie also came with the idea of using the words ‘hostage’, and ‘ransom’ and ‘terrorists’ against the Republicans,” Klein added.

Of course they didn’t screw themselves over – they were trapped! And by a Kenyan-commmunist-Muslim!

Over several late night strategy sessions, Obama and his advisor devised the diabolical plan to refuse to negotiate with the Republicans, make them look like fools and drive their favorability ratings into the ground.

Well, if that was their plan, it certainly worked well. Recent opinion polls reveal that Americans place the blame mainly on the GOP with nearly three-quarters disapproving of Republicans’ handling of the budget crisis. If only they hadn’t fallen for that trap! Or had just passed the budget in the first place and foiled the Democrats evil “plan”.

Hindsight’s 20/20 – except if you belong to the Tea Party.  Some Republicans are eager to fall into the “trap” again come the next debt-celling standoff. Rep. John C. Fleming said he’s already looking forward to the next shutdown, telling The New York Times, “That will get us into Round 2. See, we’re going to start this all over again.” Sigh…

Via: Raw Story

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Deal signed! Crisis Averted! For Now…

Current Event Cat - Deal Signed

The Senate deal has been signed, sealed, and delivered to Obama. The debt ceiling crisis / government shutdown fiasco is over! At least until January… then we start all over again.

On Wednesday evening the House sucked it up and passed the deal the Senate put together with a 285 to 144 vote. The usual party poopers – Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, etc. – all voted against the deal, but luckily enough Republicans felt that they should put this whole ugly mess behind them and sided with the Democrats.

The deal itself, which was passed just a day before the debt ceiling deadline, will allow funding for the government until January 15 and raise the debt limit through February 7. As for the Obamacare concessions, the deal lacks any major legislative changes to Obamacare. So was shutting down the government for two weeks worth it for the Tea Party gang? Answer: no. They didn’t get much – and they might get even less come election time.

As for Obama, he’s pretty tired of debt ceiling standoffs. Speaking from the State Dining Room at the White House, Obama addressed the nation, thanking the federal employees for their patience and urging bipartisan compromise in the weeks ahead.

“Let’s be clear, there are no winners here,” Obama said. “These last few weeks have inflicted completely unnecessary damage on our economy. We don’t know yet the full scope of the damage, but every analyst out there believes it’s slowed our growth.”

“The American people are completely fed up with Washington,” he added. “How business is done in this town has to change.”

But in the meantime, it’s back to work for the furloughed government employees. The good news is the hundred of thousands of federal workers will receive back pay for the 16 days the government was shutdown. The bad news is they have to go back to work. But at least now senior citizens can stop breaking into national parks. Until January, of course, when this happens all over again…

Via: The New York Times

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Debt Ceiling Deadline

Current EVent Cat - Debt Deadline

It’s T-12 hours until the world implodes and it’s all in the capable hands of the Senate now. Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are “apparently” close to finalizing a deal to reopen the government and avoid debt default ahead of the midnight Thursday deadline.

The U.S. Senate leaders are “optimistic” about scrounging together a bipartisan deal after negotiations failed to produce anything concrete on Tuesday night. But today is a new day and they will reconvene at noon to try again. There’s no pressure anyways – except from the calendar deadline, financial markets and public opinion polls.

Once the Senate a deal in place, the House will still need to vote on it and send it off for Obamapproval. While it’s not 100% finalized yet, their plan reportedly would extend the federal borrowing limit until February 7 and fund the government to mid-January, and would include relatively minor changes to Obama’s signature healthcare law, affectionately/angrily known as Obamacare.

The House itself, led by Speaker John Boehner, was unable to produce a bill of its own that would pass. But John Boehner still has one important task: he must muster up enough votes in the Republican-led House to pass the Senate bill before he midnight deadline. A daunting task given recent Tea Party antics…

Meanwhile, the Fitch credit rating agency is just itching to push the downgrade button on the U.S.’s AAA rating. And once that happens, the U.S government will… sue them for fraud? Implode? Cause the markets to crash? All three?

Via: CNN

Update: The Senate has reached a cross-party deal! Next stop: the House. Last Stop: Obama’s desk.

Republicans Are Still To Blame… And Other News

Blame for Shutdown Republicans

Despite what this totally legitimate Fox News survey says, most polls show quite the opposite: Americans are blaming the Republicans for the recent government shutdown.

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds 74 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Republicans in Congress are handling negotiations over the budget – up from 63 percent at the start of the shutdown. Disapproval of congressional Democrats has also risen – albeit by a smaller amount — 56 to 61 percent. But what sucks even worse for the GOP is that less than half of self-identified Republicans  approve of their own party’s strategy. Maybe they should just sign on to the Senate’s latest proposal while they’re still ahead at a more than 5 percent approval rating? Washington Post

Banksy-Stall-Spray-Art-Central-Park-South-NYC-SignedSometimes street art can be valuable. Actually, this is the only time street art has ever been valuable. England’s notoriously anonymous street-artist “Banksy” put together some of his original signed pieces up for sale at a Central Park booth on Saturday for just $60. Hardly anyone came by to look at what they assumed were low-quality Banksy knock-offs. Only 8 were sold, netting the street vendor $420.  Not bad, until you factor in that the canvasses have an estimated value of $40,000 each. That one guy from Chicago who bought four canvasses is probably pretty pleased with his purchases – same with the woman who negotiated a 50% discount for two smaller works. Banksy, who arrived in New York earlier this month, says the stall was a one-off stunt and will not reappaear. Or will it…? Raw Story

Death On HolidayDeath takes a holiday! Vacationing in Syria perhaps? New York City experienced a rare murder free week last week. According to the mayor’s office, no murders were reported in the five boroughs in the seven days ending last Sunday. Crime stats have been on the decline in New York but a murder free week is an anomaly – the last one occurred during a cold spell in January – it was far too cold to murder. In 2012, the city logged a record low of 419 murders. So far 256 murders have taken place in the city in 2013. We could have a new record holder – or murderers are just getting better at hiding bodies… Either way, death should vacation in Syria more often! And now it’s over… that was quick. NY Post

Madagascar-bubonic-plagueMadagascar’s so backwards it has the plague… the bubonic plague!!! Health experts say that Madagascar is at risk of a major outbreak of the bubonic plague unless it slows the spread of the disease. The bubonic plague, also named the Black Death when it killed an estimated 25 million people in Europe during the Middle Ages, it super rare – unless you’re an inmate in one of Madagascar’s rat-infested jails. Madagascar had 256 plague cases and 60 deaths last year but authorities believe this number could skyrocket if the plague hits the prison circuit. Hot humid October weather combined with chronic overcrowding and the unhygienic conditions in prisons equals a bubonic plague outbreak extraordinaire! The solution to the bubonic plague outbreak? Rat control! The solution to overcrowded prisons? Bubonic plague outbreak! The Guardian

Rain DiamondsIt’s raining men! cats and dogs! diamonds!! Scientists have claimed that diamonds fall from the sky on Saturn and Jupiter. Crazy powerful lightning storms in the giant planets’ atmospheres cause particles of carbon to form, which become crushed by pressure as they fall, causing dense chunks of diamonds to form. Buts diamonds aren’t forever on Saturn and Jupiter – these huge diamond “hail stones” then melt into a liquid sea in the planets’ hot cores, creating large luxurious oceans. The Telegraph

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Rival Budget Plans

Current Event Cat - Rival Budgets

Because no one likes to work together, the two chambers of US Congress have been working separating to put together two rival budget plans to extend the debt limit and reopen the federal government.

The Democratic-dominated Senate spent all of Canadian Thanksgiving cursing Canada for giving them Ted Cruz and running a negotiation marathon. They are reportedly close to a deal but word on the street / common sense has it that the Republicans won’t be thrilled. The Senate measure would reopen the government through Jan. 15, thereby taking some of the pressure off the debt-ceiling crisis and its Oct 17 deadline. The Senate deal may also make a few concessions on the issue of Obamacare. The Senate proposal would invoke a two-year delay on a per-employee tax paid by companies and labour unions on workers’ healthcare plans.

“There are productive negotiations going on with the Republican leader,” Speaker Harry Reid said as he opened the Senate Tuesday. “I’m confident we’ll be able to reach a comprehensive agreement this week in time to avert a catastrophic default.”

However, Obama and the congressional Democrats have made it pretty clear that they are unwilling to negotiate changes to Obamacare… so we’ll see what happens there.

On the other side of the spectrum, House GOP leaders have crafted their own rival budget plan, which raises also the debt ceiling until January and (big surprise) modifies Obamacare. The counter plan involves suspending a new tax on medical devices used to pay for healthcare subsidies for two years.

But again, while the Republican’s rival budget plan is a far cry from the original assault on “Obamacare” that Tea Party enthusiasts demanded, Obama may not be willing to make any concessions on Obamacare.

Breaking Update: Obama just said no. The White House rejected the House’s proposal, labelling it an attempt to appease a small group of conservatives. Obama thought the Senate plan was ok though.

Luckily, Republicans have a backup plan to their rival budget plan: impeach Obama! At a Monday night Tea Party rally, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst called for the president to be impeached. Dewhurst, who lost a Senate race to Ted Cruz, strongly believes Obama “should be held accountable for Washington’s failure to secure the border and the gross overreach of the federal government under Obamacare.” There’s only one small problem with this plan: disagreeing with a president’s policies or actions does not mean that they warrant impeachment. 

Via: BBC News & Current Event Cats

Lesus Christ! The Italian Mint Screws Up… And Other News

Lesus Christ

What would Lesus do? He would probably spell his name correctly.

The Italian State Mint misspelled Jesus on special medals for the Vatican to commemorate a new pontiff. The Vatican has had to pull over 6,000 of the gold, silver, and bronze collectibles that went on sale Tuesday which spelled “Jesus” as “Lesus.” The four lucky buyers who managed to get their hands on the Lesus medals before the error was noticed may be in for a treat – experts are predicting the value of the medals will soar. Lesus Christ! The Telegraph

Christie Big MacNew Jersey goes gay! A New Jersey judge has ruled against the state’s request to delay same-sex marriages, meaning same-sex couples could potentially walk down the aisle in as little as two weeks – no thanks to Chris Christie. The New Jersey Governor wanted to push off gay marriage until the appeal of an earlier decision is settled. But mainly he felt that if he couldn’t marry what he loves (Big Macs), homosexuals shouldn’t be allowed to marry who they love. The Guardian

StarbsStarbucks for President? No one likes a shutdown but Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz really hates a shutdown. The Starbs mogul is offering customers in the US a political petition, along with their $5 coffee, that urges Washington to get over their differences and end the government shutdown. Customers can sign the “Come Together Petition” online or print a copy, gather signatures and return it to the store. But how exactly can Congress end the government shutdown? By passing a “bipartisan and comprehensive long-term budget deal by the end of the year.” Easier said than done – especially when you’re dealing with Tea Party nuts. Maybe Starbucks should stick to coffee beans. CBC News

MigrantsAgain!?! A week after more than 300 African migrants drowned when their vessel capsized, another boat carrying 200 migrants has capsized off the same Italian island of Lampedusa. They should really look into their boat making skills – or at least find a better route. 27 people are confirmed dead but a significant number of the “undocumented Italian citizens” were rescued  by a life raft tossed down by a military aircraft. Rescuers are still searching for additional survivors. BBC News

elephant-pointElephants get the point! A new study published this month in the journal Current Biology reveals that elephants can understand pointing – something cats certainly can’t do. Researchers found that African elephants could read their visual cues and locate buckets of fruit. Meanwhile, in Missouri, a 41-year-old elephant charged and killed a zookeeper who had come to feed her. What set off the incident is unclear but I’m pretty sure the zookeeper gave the elephant the finger. CNN

thanksgiving-cat-is-not-happyHappy Thanksgiving weekend to Canadians! This year Canadians have a lot to be thankful for – mainly that they got rid of Ted Cruz at a young age and he wasn’t able to shutdown their government. Also, they don’t have a looming debt-ceiling crisis. Yay!

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Death by Masturbation… And Other News

Death by Masturbation

Did Ariel Castro die during masturbation? Possibly.

New details have emerged about the death of the Cleveland kidnapper who was found hanging in his prison cell while awaiting trial. Officials say Castro’s hanging body was discovered sans pants. Since his underwear was around his ankles and he didn’t leave a suicide note officials are considering death by autoerotic asphyxiation, a way of intensifying orgasm during masturbation by depriving the body of oxygen. An open Bible was also found nearby. Masturbation and a Bible? What a way to go! NBC News

Snowden-father-Lou1There’s nothing like a father-son reunion in Russia. Lou Snowden, the father of exiled American leaker extraordinaire Edward Snowden, arrived in Russia to see his long lost son. Lou Snowden hasn’t seen his son since before he leaked the NSA documents and Edward Snowden hasn’t been seen by anyone (in public) since he was granted asylum in August. “I am not sure my son will be returning to the U.S. again,” his father said, but was happy that Edward “is safe and secure and he’s free.” Despite having to live in hiding in Russia until the end of time, the younger Snowden says he has no regrets about leaking the highly classified information and is adjusting to life in Russia. I guess after living in an airport terminal for a few months, anywhere would seem luxurious – even Russia. National Post

kwame-kilpatrickIf your nickname is the “hip hop mayor of Detroit” you know that at some point you’re going to spend some time in jail. Former mayor of Detroit Kwame Kilpatrick definitely lived up to his moniker after he was sentenced to 28 years in prison, seven months after being convicted on public corruption charges. Kilpatrick ran a secret money-making racket out of city hall, raking in millions for himself and his entourage while the rest of Detroit… well, they went bankrupt. Kilpatrick used his mayoral powers to give business to his friends and used city funding to fund his own lifestyle. He even used funds allotted for needy residents to pay for his own yoga. Hip hop mayors do yoga? Well, not anymore – unless they have some type of prison class. Detroit Free Press

BoehnerGovernment Shutdown Update #4232: A little bit of progress. Maybe. Hopes rose when House Speaker John Boehner offered a short-term debt limit increase to stave off default. The GOP said they would pass a “clean” bill (i.e. no conservative add-ons) that gave a six-week extension for the whole debt-ceiling issue in exchange for negotiations with the White House to end the government shutdown. A short-term solution is better than no solution, right? Wrong! Well, maybe right – they’re still talking through some things. But as of now President Obama and House Republicans have failed to reach an agreement on the six-week extension during their meeting on Thursday. Both parties did agree on two things though: it was a good meeting and they will continue talks. Progress/procrastination! New York Times

Kenya-policeKenyan police must be super busy with the shopping mall attack investigation because they don’t seem to be doing much else. Citizens are outraged after three men accused of gang-raping a 16-year-old and dumping her in an outhouse were only sentenced to 5 years in prison. Just kidding – they won’t serve any jail time. Instead their punishment was cutting grass around the police camp – for a couple of hours. The victim was attacked after returning home from her grandfather’s funeral (!) and broke her back during the struggle. She now uses a wheelchair – otherwise they’d probably make her cut grass with the gang bangers. BBC News

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