Madison Police Chief: Officer charged with assault, also recommended for termination after incident that severely injured Indian man


WHNT.com

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MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) – Madison Police Chief Larry Muncey says he has recommended one of his officers be terminated after an incident last week that left a 57-year-old Indian man severely injured.  The officer has also been charged with third-degree assault.

Eric Parker, Madison police officer recommended for termination after the incident involving  Sureshbhai Patel on Feb. 6 (Photo: Limestone County Sheriff's Office) Eric Parker, Madison police officer recommended for termination after the incident involving
Sureshbhai Patel on Feb. 6 (Photo: Limestone County Sheriff’s Office)

Chief Muncey spoke at a news conference Thursday afternoon, discussing the department’s use of force investigation into the incident.  Police showed video and audio of the officers’ encounter with the man.  Afterward, Chief Muncey said the actions of Officer Eric Parker did not meet the standards of the Madison Police Department.

“I sincerely apologize to Mr. Patel, Mr. Patel’s family and our community.  We strive to exceed expectations,” said Chief Muncey.  He said he has proposed Officer Parker be terminated, and he has also…

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We asked scientists to explain these 7 impossibly dense climate charts


If only the world could wake up and realize that this a problem that needs to be addressed today, now, at this moment of time. The imminent is going to happen; we’re too late to stop that, but perhaps we can make amends for our carelessness and reckless ways in some meager attempt to make things right for the future generations.

ideas.ted.com

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Here come the acronyms: In March, the United Nations’ (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a working draft of its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) from Working Group II (WGII), on “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability” in the world’s climate. The 2590-page report was studded with dense charts containing … a lot of information. And did we say dense? We mean impenetrable. Frankly, they boggled our minds. Yes, government reports and scientific papers aren’t designed for laypeople — but do they have to be incomprehensible? We asked some of the IPCC’s 310 scientist authors to help make their graphics meaningful for the people who are affected by climate change. You know — everyone.

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What you see: The temperature of the world is going to rise at an alarmingly red rate. Or maybe the temperature will still rise but at a slower rate, and the mercury in the world’s thermometer will…

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Happy Independence Day, India! How Education Can Free India’s People


indian flagHappy Independence Day, India! It’s hard to believe that a country with such a rich history can only be celebrating independence as one nation for the 67th time, today. Just like on my birthday every year, it’s on India’s Independence day that I’m always very grateful: grateful for the rich culture from which I was born and raised and grateful for my life beyond India’s bleak reality.

Because I was born in India, it hits harder to home for me when I turn on the TV or hear the stories from back home. India’s poor seem to getting poorer, women’s rights seem to be getting fewer, and the entire country seems to be shrouded in a dark cloud of problems it can’t seem to improve. Somehow, I was one of the lucky ones got to experience everything wonderful that being Indian is about (here’s a little run-down of India’s history beyond Bollywood), but I was spared the hardships that so many millions of people suffer everyday.

Recently, I learned that India is the home to 287 million illiterate people — the most in any country. If that number is too vague to comprehend, think about this: India makes up 40% of the world’s population of illiterate people; almost as many people that LIVE IN THE UNITED STATES cannot READ OR WRITE in India.

When you can actually realize how many people this disables from having a job, having rights, having an opportunity to do something with their lives, you realize how many of this free country’s people are actually not free at all. They’re bound by the shackles of illiteracy, which will inevitably keep them and their children stuck in vicious cycle of poverty.

Education is what can free the world, and education singularly can free India’s people from their destitution. I’ve never felt more fiercely about the power — nay — the gift of education, and I’m pledging myself to educating people about this, so that maybe I won’t just be one of those “lucky ones.”

Pratham is non-profit organization that recently caught my eye because they are working at helping India’s impoverished children and youth by addressing the problem at the root cause: lack of education. The organization was established in 1995 and has helped to educate millions of children over the last 19 years.

What they’re doing is truly phenomenal. Pratham operates at less than a 10% overhead cost and develops innovating teaching solutions so that they can help educate children and youth with basic reading, writing and arithmetic schools to help them learn the foundational skills that are so important to build on.

Over the next month, a generous donor is pledging 25 cents for every new Facebook like Pratham USA’s page receives in order to spread awareness about their work solutions. It takes only about $25 to help educate a child in India for an ENTIRE YEAR. You’re already on Facebook all the time; a few seconds of your time to like their page can actually make a huge difference!

On that note, let’s hope that every child who has the opportunity to learn doesn’t waste it. An education is the greatest thing you can have for a better future — remember that!

An Open Letter to Dr. Dre — and His Beats Headphones


beats by dre review

To the Beats Support Team and Dr. Dre by extension,

I’m writing you to express my extreme disappointment in your company and for the efforts you’ve made to permeate through society this idea that your products, the Beats headphones and earbuds specifically, were items made with care and with high quality parts. I’m disappointed that I bought into this idea that because your product looks so “cool” with their token red wires, oversized earpieces and sky-high price tags that they would be something worth buying. You see, you fooled me by putting your product into the hands of well known celebrities and making the names “Beats” and “Dr.Dre” so ubiquitous in the music listening world that I actually thought that you had a quality product on your hands. Of course, it wasn’t just your paid advertising and branding that sucked me in; you targeted the hipsters and self-proclaimed “DJs” and “music junkies” who strut the streets of cities like New York, Chicago, LA and Miami and who might shop at thrift stores to stock their wardrobe but are never without their beloved Beats headphones forever hanging off of their necks. You’ve brainwashed music listeners into thinking that the brands of Dr. Dre, Monster and Beats were reputable and credible so much so that we should dish out hundreds upon hundreds of dollars to invest into a product that would change the music listening experience forever.

I’m extremely disappointed because all of this has been a big, fat lie.

You see, I’d heard of the amazing sound quality that Beats headphones and earbuds provided. I pined after a set myself for while. Living in New York City, I relied on my Mp3 player to get me through my commutes everyday. But the constant noise of the city meant that I had to listen to my music increasingly louder if I even wanted to hear it at all. I wanted to buy a set of Beats earbuds that I’d heard so much about — the crystal clear sound quality, the deep bass booster, the overall awesome quality! But alas, how could I afford even the most inexpensive pair when they ranged into the hundreds of dollars? I have crazy bills to pay first. But my eardrums were paying for the constant ambient racket that they were being subjected to on a daily basis.

Then, my luck broke, and I was able to buy a new open box item during a sale. I got a set of the Beats Tour Earbuds for a steal about 4 months ago. I wasn’t a huge fan of the bulky fit, but the sound quality did meet my expectations. I could block out the noise and hear my music 10 times better, even at lower volumes. I was a happy camper.

Then all of a sudden, they stopped working. The left ear just stopped playing music. A move of the wire, and I heard static. Then the right ear stopped playing, and then they both stopped working. Oh, then I heard sound for about a second before I went through the whole process again. So, I contacted customer support. I had all the information, and my earbuds were supposed be under warranty.

Your customer service told me that I should just buy new headphones or get mine fixed because they couldn’t help me. Your warranty “didn’t support unauthorized vendors.” Sorry, we’re not sorry — that’s what I really heard.

Okay. So, maybe there was something wrong with the product when I bought it.

But then I started doing some research, and I found that this was a common problem. Your product gets an average of two stars on Apple.com, two and half stars (by users) on Cnet.com. Why is that? It turns out that people losing sound and your product breaking is a pretty common occurrence. What’s also a common occurrence is being told that “there’s nothing to be done” about it. What is your warranty for? Why is your product so expensive, and why do you have an entire Beats Support Twitter account that is spewing off the same crap to everyone who is complaining about the same thing. Aren’t you ashamed of ripping off and duping people with your flashy name only to sell them a shitty product that is almost guaranteed to break down within a matter of time?

Obviously not because you’re still doing it. Your prices are getting more and more ridiculous, and with your tactical and smart branding you’re convincing a younger and younger consumer base that they just have to have the cool headphones toted around by Dr. Dre himself. You’ve created a status symbol that is a scam.

I’ve now attempted to contact your phone customer service and your Twitter customer service, and I have to tell you that the people on both ends were very polite and seemingly helpful until they quite flatly told me that they were “extremely sorry” that they just couldn’t help. That’s just called good training, so kudos on that too.

I’m happy that I didn’t dish out the hundreds of dollars for your crap of a product, but I am sad because I bought into your brand thinking it was something that I could be proud of — not just because it was “cool” but also because it was a smart investment I’d made on my part. I’m embarrassed to say that it wasn’t, and I hope that anyone who is considering to buy any of your products does their research to get the truth straight from the mouths of people who were duped like me. The reviews are out there, but you’ll never see them from your lofty throne that sits atop an empire of cheaply made products. I just hope they do.

Thanks for nothing,

Foram M.

‘N Sync at the 2013 MTV VMAs: My Life’s Full Circle Moment!


Photo Credit: Sevelina.org

Photo Credit: Sevelina.org

The Internet is abuzz with the news that the famous pop quintet of ‘N Sync will be reuniting on stage for a special performance at the 2013 MTV VMAs in Brooklyn. The New York Post’s Page Six broke the news on August 20 reporting that the delicious ’90s boy band are “set to reunite” according to information from sources. JT was already confirmed to be performing at the VMAs on August 25 after receiving this year’s Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award — but this is much bigger news! The last time the world ogled at the five ladykillers onstage was way back in 2003 during their last televised performance at the Grammy Awards. Oh, how our eyes and ears and have longed for them these last 10 years!

And in a bit of personal news, this announcement sent me reeling this morning because I actually have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be attending the VMAs because by some beautiful miracle I got my hands on a free ticket to be in The Pit! Considering I don’t even have a TV in my little hole of an apartment in Manhattan, I probably would have forgotten the awards were even on and missed them completely. And now?! I’ll be attending with possibly one of the best seats (or lack thereof since The Pit attendees get to stand the entire show) in the whole house! The drip-drops of sweat from Kanye West, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Justin Timberlake — and now his four former playmates may very well be falling on my disbelieving face in just a few days!

The news of ‘N Sync’s possible reunion makes me feel, in some overly cheesy sense, that this is one of my life’s crazy full circle moments. It just so happens that with the exception of the absolutely amazing OneRepublic concert (check out the highlights video!) I just went to a couple of weeks ago, the last time I was at a big star-studded concert was none other than ‘N Sync’s…back in 2000. (My life isn’t all that worth bragging about.) And it would have been a memorable experience on its own — what with my being 10 years old going to a concert with my older sister to see the dreamiest guys of all time. But there was more to it! The night’s utter sense of perfection was brought to a sudden halt by a course of some unexpected, bizarre events that have always left me wondering, what if?

It went something like this…

It was the summer of 2000, and I woke up giddy with excitement; I was going to see ‘N Sync today! How I’d dreamed about Justin and and JC and Lance…Oh, especially Lance! That deep, sexy bass voice of his…! Why didn’t they ever let him sing alone? Justin and JC were so cute, but they got all the attention ALL the time. Even Joey and Chris sang alone a couple of times but never Lance. He was definitely my favorite, if not only just because he was so freakin’ good-looking but also because he was the underdog, and I always rooted for the underdog. Maybe at the concert he’ll finally sing solo and the world will finally know that the talent isn’t all just in Justin and JC. Ah the concert — can’t wait!

We lived in a small town in Texas, and my dad was driving us 3 hours to San Antonio so we could see the group. He said he’d stroll the town while we were there — always a good sport, my dad. But how I’d ever get through THREE hours of waiting in the car! Oh well, my sister and I had decided to bring along ‘N Sync’s latest “No Strings Attached” CD, so we could listen and know every single song before the show. Plus, what if by some God-given miracle we actually got to meet them or something crazy like that? We had the CD they could sign!

Yeah, right…that would never happen! But we could dream about it!

After standing in line for what seemed like EVER, we finally made it into the arena. Crap, our seats were this high up? Well, that’s okay…we were here! Omg, omg, omg, this was soo exciting!

The show started with some opening acts, and then they announced that Joey was “sick” and wasn’t at the show. What! That sucks! Oh well, I guess. The other 4 were still performing, and OMG here they were!! Wow, I couldn’t believe those little guys down there singing my favorite songs like “This I Promise You” and “Bye, Bye, Bye” were ACTUALLY ‘N Sync! I could just die.

A few hours later, my sister and I trudged out of the stadium in a state of bliss and depression. What an experience — to be that close and yet so far away; to have listened to their music in a way I’d never forget and yet it was already hard to remember every detail. I had never experienced something so exciting and COOL! But now it was over…sigh.

My dad came to pick us up, and we made the long 3-hour ride back home. It was dark, and I was half asleep in the back dreaming sweet dreams about the boys when my dad exited off to a gas station in the middle of nowhere to fill up and grab a cup o’ Jo. I made my routine exit to the bathroom and grabbed my usual Little Debbie snack completely unaware of what was going on around me.

My dad was waiting in line behind someone, I knew that, rummaging through his wallet for the right amount of change. I needed to hurry up and make my choice. Okay, Swiss Rolls it was.

“That was him, that was him!!!!” The female clerk was going bananas to one of her co-workers.

Wait, what, who??? My sister, dad and I were looking around frantically like we had just missed a ghost sighting.

“Lance from ‘N Sync was just in here! That was him who was just in line right now!”

What.

“Ooooh, you know I swear I thought he looked like someone famous, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it,” my dad piped in.

WHAT.

I learned in retrospect that my sister and my dad had known (or at least speculated) that ‘N Sync’s tour buses had been driving in front of us for a while and had also exited off to that Nowheresville pit stop at about 1:00 a.m. Yet no one thought to themselves — what if…? The one crazy person who would later grow up to get Jay Sean to dance with her, Oprah to pluck her out of her audience for a backstage chat and Anderson Cooper to call on her to talk in his audience was in a hazy sleep-induced stage to do NOTHING about this…

Why, God, why?!

And with that, we walked back to our car, ‘N Sync’s tour busses teasing us from less than a 100 yards away, and we drove away. The dream of a 10-year-old admirer sadly climaxing to a tragic stop. The group broke up shortly after, and the rest is history.

And here we are again, 10 years later, and my chance of meeting the boys ‘N Sync has landed in my lap again. It’s not great, I know — there will be more than a thousand people in The Pit with me — but I do have an uncanny record of being chosen from a crowd. Who knows? This could very well be one of my life’s full circle moments?

The Confessions of a [Newbie] Online Dater


online dating experience

Okay, I did it — I joined an online dating site.

And pigs aren’t flying? Well, that’s a relief.

People Do This?

I realize it’s 2013 and a confession about indulging in the online dating scene isn’t as groundbreaking as it seems, but apparently I was left off the memo that this is the “new thing to do.” No, really! Apparently people — my age — do this, and it’s totally normal.

I know, I know. Half of you are thinking that I’m some judgmental ignoramus, who has been sitting in her apartment watching Netflix alone on nights when others were out on dates wondering why it’s so hard to just meet a freakin’ guy but refusing to do anything out of the norm for it to happen. Well…I’m not even going to lie — you’re kind of right. It’s just that I really didn’t know that online dating had somehow erupted into something that people just do and didn’t resort to — although I know those reasons aren’t mutually exclusive either.

Big Apple, Big Disappointment

Let’s start from the beginning. When I moved to New York City last year, I was about a year out of college and excited for my new life as a city girl working and frolicking in The Big Apple. All Carrie Bradshaw clichés aside, the thought of being single and ready to mingle in a city where you literally can’t walk a block without running into an attractive guy was pretty exciting. A potential relationship was exciting — all those guys I’d be meeting and dating — oh, la, la!

Except, I didn’t.

How is that even logistically possible in the largest city in the US? I know, everyone and their mom has asked me this. All I can say is that you really need to stop watching Sex and The City because that show is a freakin’ lie if there ever was one.

Dorothy, We’re Not in College Anymore

So over a year later, I’m wondering why in the world it’s so hard to meet normal guys or even PEOPLE to hang out with post-college, and it hit me — I’m not in college anymore. This isn’t a little Utopia, where life is contained in perfect harmony between your work/education and social lives. There aren’t frat parties or campus events where you can run into a cutie and know that you at least have that one thing in common. No, in the real world, you have to do this thing called “making effort.” Damnit.

So, more than a year and a few frogs later, I was convinced to try online dating. Maybe it’s more common on the East Coast, but as much as I’d had my impression that people resorted to online dating because of whatever reason, I realized none were  as dramatic as I’d assumed. I have more than a friend — hell, I have a club of friends my age with whom I talk about my online dating adventures. In some sense, we all did “resort” to online dating but not because we’re spinsters, a bunch of crazies or desperate to get married. We just couldn’t freakin’ meet cool singles living in the city with similar interests who wanted to just date.

I’m a couple months in to this new club, and I have to say it’s pretty fun. I have my own rules on meeting a potential date, and to whom I respond and why. More or less, it’s just like normal dating with a few obvious differences. I won’t divulge too much, but if you are wondering what it’s like, I’ll give you the unofficial Cliff Notes version.

The Confessions of an Online Dater

Take these with a grain of salt, and please, just please remember — I can be really awkward when it comes to dating and relationships (like middle school awkward). It might be of interest to take that into consideration first.

  1. The first message is 10x harder than an opening line at a bar, party, wherever. My rule of thumb in determining whether the guy is a total creep or weirdo is to ask myself this: Did he actually say something weird? If the answer is no, then give him the benefit of the doubt. The first time a guy messaged me, “Hey, how’s it going?” I literally wanted to think he was a creep just because it felt so weird getting a message like that from someone I didn’t know, until I realized that this whole thing was an unnatural process to begin with. This is where it’s definitely not like normal dating. If he or she doesn’t say something weird, then it’s a good sign!
  2. I really hate ignoring messages — like I really hate ignoring messages. I just feel like a bitch not responding to or acknowledging this human being trying to show interest in me. But then I think — he gets it. There’s some understood social etiquette to online dating, and an unanswered message probably means: I looked at your profile and your pictures, and you didn’t interest me — or your message was freakin’ weird (see #1). He’s throwing out a fishnet into the ocean; he’s expecting to catch one or two, and he’s probably not going to take this that personally if his first message isn’t answered. Just don’t be such a girl when your fishnet only comes back with a few swimmers too…(So, I tell myself.)
  3. Okay, I’m glad this site has a nifty messaging service, but I’m going to need to know you’re a real person at some point. My thing with online dating is that I want to use it as a means to be introduced to a guy — not to get to know him. Some people are okay with online messaging for a significant amount of time, but I’d rather not. A handful of messages is fine, but I’d like to actually see you in person sooner than later because, let’s face it, that’s really going to be what I’m going to judge you on. That also means no long-distance. If I can’t meet you, then I don’t want to talk to you — simple as that!
  4. The most important thing about online dating is being comfortable with doing it. It’s different, new and a little intimidating, but if you can’t jump in and just do it with 100% confidence, then don’t do it. It’s a means to meet people; you’re not signing your soul away! (Unless you join the site where they do that…) Don’t feel ashamed to do it, and definitely don’t feel ashamed if you meet someone great from it. Embrace it, and enjoy it!

Have you done online dating? I want to know your thoughts about it and/or experiences!

Turning 24: A Year Older and a Year Wiser?


 

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Crap.

When did this happen? When did I turn 24? Well —  technically it happened on April 26, 2013 — but I’m still having trouble accepting that I am living in a Cyberspace age like 2013, let alone that I’m 24. I’m the baby — how could I actually be this old and remember my past as recent history? Sometimes I feel like I should be sitting in a rocker telling tales of the “golden days” to the “kids” of today. But that doesn’t seem right either because I feel like these birthdays are just creeping on me without so much as a notice, and I must be actually much younger!

That’s what it is.

I thought that I’d get some sort of prepped notice every year reminding me of all the events that took place in the last year, so that when the time came to turn another year older, I would actually feel like I had lived an entire year. Somehow time isn’t that forgiving, and there is no friendly reminder — just birthdays that make you wonder where the time is really going.

So, now I’m 24. Don’t ask me how it happened, but little ol’ me, the baby of the family, reached her “mid 20s.” And taking a few minutes to actually reflect, I’m relieved to say that time didn’t just speed me through 365 days without teaching me at least a little something in return. I had 10 life lessons to share last year, but this past year has taught me some things that I’m hoping I can say have made me a year wiser. Here are a few:

  1. You have to know when it’s time to stick up for yourself without letting your ego get in the way. When I find someone trying to take advantage of me or my time, my ego tends to want to speak for me (because how dare you treat me like this, right?), but that’s never a good idea. There’s a way to put your foot down without being flippant, and finding the balance is always the key.
  2. Some people will never change, and you just have to change your expectations that they will. I’d banked on the hope that certain people or certain relationships would change, so that I could be happier. But in the end, all that investment only made me more unhappy and disappointed when things didn’t work out how I hoped. Some people have surprised me in the last year for the better, and that was a great feeling. For the rest, I’ve realized that I need to let what will be just be.
  3. Irrational anger will just eat you up and feed that pesky ego again. Blowing up about being stuck in traffic? Complaining that someone bumped into you at a crowded place? Just idiotic and pointless. What’s even the point of being angry about something so small, when it means nothing at the end of the day? I’m no one special; it happens; get over it, and move on.
  4. Most of my problems are maintained by me. Ever notice how easy it is to blame others for “making” you feel one way or another? Other people definitely contribute to trust issues, insecurities and hurt feelings, but no one can actually make you feel any other way than you want to feel. I can make everything worse if I want to, but I can also make them at least a bit better by just letting it roll off and moving on.
  5. At some point, leaving the party early or turning down plans just to stay in and enjoy alone time is really, totally okay. I used to be afraid I’d be missing out on something if I said no, and sometimes I still feel like I need to do as much as possible because otherwise I’m denying myself some great memories — but sometimes it really is just best to stay in or be alone. Now, I try to do what feels right in the moment — without fear of regret — and then accept my decision, whatever it is.

Do you feel like you can say you learn a lot year by year? Share some of your learned wisdom with me!