U.S. News: All 9 Wounded in Empire State Building Shooting Hit by NYPD

After Friday’s deadly shooting outside the Empire State Building reports are surfacing that many of the victims may have been shot by New York City police officers rather than the suspected gunman. Referring to the victims Mayor Michael Bloomberg said...


“ … some may have been shot accidentally by police officers who responded immediately, and while confronting the suspect and fatally shooting him, unfortunately there may have been other victims as well.”    

NYPD Police commissioner Ray Kelly went on to clarify the Mayor’s statements pointing out the wounded weren’t shot directly by police, but rather were hit by bullets ricocheting off“flower pots and other objects.”


Bystanders were caught in the line of fire after police had been notified by a construction worker that the suspect, 58-year-old Jeffrey Johnson, had reportedly shot former co-worker 41-year-old Steven Ercolino. When police attempted to approach the suspect he pulled a gun, prompting police to open fire. CBS has the video. Warning, what you’re about to see is graphic in nature.


The two officers that approached the suspect reportedly shot 16 rounds total. Nine by one officer and seven by the other. According to Lou Palumbo, a former police officer and director of a private security firm, their actions were appropriate for the situation — despite the consequences. He told CNN’s Anderson Cooper...


“Unfortunately, this is the type of scenario where you have what you would refer to as an active shooter… Police have no alternative but to engage him and subsequently what we’ve experienced is what we also refer to as collateral damage.”  

At least one of the victims isn’t holding a grudge after the shooting. When asked how he felt about being shot by police rather than the suspect 23-year-old Robert Asika, was indifferent, telling BuzzFeed

“I guess, you know, stuff happens.”


Officials have said that all of the wounded are expected to recover.

Who Pays Taxes in America?

It’s often claimed that the richest Americans pay a disproportionate share of taxes while those in the bottom half pay nothing. These claims ignore the many taxes that most Americans are subject to — federal payroll taxes, federal excise taxes, state and local taxes — and focus instead on just one tax, the federal personal income tax. The other taxes are mostly regressive, meaning they take a larger share of income from a poor or middle-income family than they take from a rich family.[1]

Many Americans do not have enough income to owe federal personal income taxes, but do pay these other taxes. The federal personal income tax is a progressive tax, and the combination of this tax with the other (mostly regressive) taxes results in a tax system that is, overall, just barely progressive. Total tax obligations are, on average, fairly proportional to income.

This table illustrates the share of total taxes (all federal, state and local taxes) paid by Americans in different income groups in 2011.

Millions Go Hungry as Congress Considers Food Stamp Cuts and Drought Threatens Crops

Nearly one in five Americans could not afford the food they or their families needed at some point in the past year, and now anti-poverty advocates are pressing Congress to abandon proposed food stamp cuts as a historic drought threatens to drive up food prices across the country.

Gallup poll released this week shows that 18.2 percent of Americans did not have enough money to buy the food they or their families needed at least once during the past year. In 15 states, at least 1 in 5 Americans polled in the first half of 2012 reported struggling to pay for food during the past 12 months.

Little has changed since 2011, when 18.6 percent of Americans reported struggling to afford food, but proposed food stamp cuts in Congress and the worst drought in half a century could soon make matters worse.

The drought has impacted 80 percent of the country's agricultural lands, and the US Department of Agriculture predicts that consumers will see meat and dairy prices increase within two months. Increases in the cost of packaged products, such as cereal, containing corn and flour are expected in about 10 to 12 months.

No Blacks Voting for Romney in 2012?

NBC-Wall Street Journal Survey Gives Obama 94%

"A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on Tuesday shows President Barack Obamaholding a four point lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney," Ned Resnikoff reported for NBC News' "Lean Forward" blog. "But among African Americans, the poll shows an even stronger lead for Obama, as First Read reports:

" 'Looking inside the numbers, Obama continues to lead Romney among key parts of his political base, including African Americans (94 percent to 0 percent), Latinos (by a 2-to-1 margin), voters under 35-years-old (52 percent to 41 percent) and women (51 percent to 41 percent).'

In the U.S., 1 in 5 Can't Afford to Eat Every Day

A new Gallup poll shows that many Americans struggle with putting food on the table.
In the U.S., 1 in 5 Can't Afford to Eat Every Day
Tight times for Americans are translating to food insecurity. (Noel Hendrickson/Getty Images)

The next time you're out in public, take a look around you and imagine that one in five people you see can't afford to eat on a regular basis. That's the reality of a new poll that says a significant amount of Americans are having trouble putting food on the dinner table, reports Gallup.

The poll, based on the responses of 177,662 Americans from January to June, found that one in five adults didn't have enough money to buy food on more than one occasion in the last year. The data, which pinpoints the percentage of Americans with food security problems at 18.2 percent, is not much of an improvement from last year's results, when the percentage was 18.6 percent. 

Worse, droughts—which have wreaked havoc on crops and affected nearly 80 percent of agricultural land in the U.S.—make the horizon look bleak for food prices. The Huffington Post reports that by 2013, Americans can expect a four percent increase at the checkout line.

Ecuador says Julian Assange can stay at embassy indefinitely

Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder, is welcome to stay indefinitely at Ecuador's London embassy as he fights extradition to Sweden, according to the country's president.

Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder, is welcome to stay indefinitely at Ecuador's London embassy as he fights extradition to Sweden, according to the country's president.
President of Ecuador Rafael Correa (left) and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange Photo: AFP/Getty Images/PA

12:03PM BST 22 Aug 2012


Rafael Correa also said Ecuador was ready to negotiate over the fate of Mr Assange if Britain withdrew a threat to raid its embassy.

Ecuador was incensed by a veiled British threat to enter the embassy to arrest the 41-year-old former computer hacker, who is trying to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over allegations of rape and sexual assault.

Correa has offered Assange asylum and told Britain to let him leave the embassy and fly to the South American country. The leftist leader said Assange, who has been in the building for nine weeks, was welcome to stay there "indefinitely," but also said he was open to discussions.

"Despite that rude, impertinent and unacceptable remark we're still open to dialogue," Mr Correa told reporters in the coastal city of Guayaquil.

"We don't expect an apology, but of course we expect Britain to retract the extremely serious mistake they made when they issued the threat that they could violate our diplomatic mission to arrest Mr Julian Assange."

19 million Americans still go without broadband

Access to fast Internet is spreading in the U.S., but about 19 million Americans can't get it, according to a new government report out Tuesday.

A free Wi-Fi hotspot beams broadband internet from atop a public phone booth in Manhattan.

A free Wi-Fi hotspot beams broadband internet from atop a public phone booth in Manhattan.

The decline partially reflects Internet service providers' expansion beyond suburbs, but the FCC also attributes it to data collection that improved from its previous efforts.

The lack of access continues to hamper rural Americans in particular. About 14.5 million rural Americans — or 23.7% of 61 million people living in rural areas — had no fast Internet service offered for their homes. In contrast, only 1.8% Americans living in non-rural areas — 4.5 million out of 254.9 million — had no broadband access. The FCC categorizes an Internet service as "broadband" if it transmits at a speed of at least 4 megabits per second.

The report's ranking of states again underscored the correlation between broadband access and economic productivity. Economically struggling states fared worse than more thriving areas of the country. West Virginiahad the least amount of access, with 45.9% of the state without broadband access. Montana (26.7%), South Dakota (21.1%) and Alaska (19.6%) followed.

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