05 24 2016
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  • The judge concluded Officer Edward Nero played little role in the arrest and wasn't responsible for the failure by police to buckle Gray in  
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  • Bill Cosby faces a preliminary hearing Tuesday to determine if his criminal sex-assault case in suburban Philadelphia goes to trial.Prosecutors had declined to charge the comedian-actor over the 2005 complaint, but arrested him in December after his explosive deposition in the woman's lawsuit became public. In the testimony given in that deposition, Cosby is grilled about giving drugs and alcohol to women before sex; making secret payments to ex-lovers; and hosting Andrea Constand at his home. They knew each other through Temple University, where he was a trustee and she managed the women's basketball team. Bill Cosby's wife refused to answer dozens of questions during a combative deposition in a defamation lawsuit filed by seven women who say the comedian branded them liars after they accused him of sexually assaulting them, according to a transcript released Friday. Camille Cosby was subjected to intense questioning by the women's lawyer, who repeatedly pressed her to say whether she believes her husband "acted with a lack of integrity" during their 52-year marriage. The lawyer also asked if her husband used his position and power "to manipulate young women." Camille Cosby didn't answer those questions and many others after her lawyer cited marital privilege, the legal protection given to communications between spouses. She repeatedly said she had "no opinion" when pressed on whether she viewed her husband's behavior as dishonest and a violation of their marriage vows. About 50 women have publicly accused Bill Cosby of forcing unwanted sexual contact on them decades ago. Cosby has denied the allegations. He faces a criminal case in Pennsylvania, where prosecutors have charged him with sexually violating a former Temple University employee, Andrea Constand. He has pleaded not guilty. Camille Cosby answered questions in the deposition Feb. 22 and again April 19 after her lawyers argued unsuccessfully to stop it. A judge ruled she would have to give a deposition but said she could refuse to answer questions about private communications between her and her husband. Camille Cosby's lawyer, Monique Pressley, repeatedly cited that privilege and advised her not to answer many questions asked by the women's lawyer, Joseph Cammarata. The exchanges between Cammarata and Cosby became testy at times, and she admonished him: "Don't lecture me. Just keep going with the questions." Using a transcript of a deposition Bill Cosby gave in a civil lawsuit filed by Constand in 2005 and a transcript of an interview she gave to Oprah Winfrey in 2000, Cammarata asked Camille Cosby about extramarital affairs her husband had. "Were you aware of your husband setting up trusts for the benefit of women that he had a sexual relationship with?" Cammarata asked. She didn't answer after her lawyer cited marital privilege. Cammarata asked her about Shawn Thompson, a woman who said Bill Cosby fathered her daughter, Autumn Jackson, in the 1970s. Jackson was convicted in 1997 of attempting to extort money from Bill Cosby to prevent her from telling a tabloid she's his daughter. He acknowledged he had an affair with her mother and had given her money. "Was it a big deal when this came up in the 1970s that your husband had — big deal to you that your husband had an extramarital affair and potentially had a daughter from that extramarital affair?" Cammarata asked. "It was a big deal then, yes," Camille Cosby replied. She said she had "no opinion" on whether her husband's admission he obtained quaaludes to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex violated their marriage vows. Her lawyer objected and instructed her not to answer when Cammarata asked her if she ever suspected she had been given any type of drug to alter her state of consciousness when she had sex with her husband. A spokesman for the Cosbys declined to comment on her deposition. The Cosbys have a home in Shelburne Falls, an hour's drive from Springfield, where the lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, was filed. An attorney handling a separate lawsuit against Bill Cosby revealed Friday that Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner provided sworn testimony Wednesday. In the sexual battery lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, Judy Huth says Cosby forced her to perform a sex act on him at the Playboy Mansion around 1974, when she was 15. Bill Cosby's former lawyers have accused Huth of attempting to extort him before filing the case and have tried unsuccessfully to have it dismissed. Huth's attorney, Gloria Allred, said Hefner's testimony will remain under seal for now. Hefner also was named as a defendant in a case filed Monday by former model Chloe Goins, who accuses Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually abusing her at the Playboy Mansion in 2008.   The Associated Press generally doesn't identify people who say they're victims of sexual abuse, but the women accusing Cosby have come forward to tell their stories.___AP Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney contributed to this report from Los Angeles.
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  • Some hope killing will bring peace in Afghanistan     
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(CNN) -- On Wednesday night, six numbers have the power to change your life.

Maybe your kid is sick and there are hospital bills to pay. Maybe you've lost your job and you're worried about making rent. Maybe you still have a job, but it sucks, and you'd really like to spend the next 50 years lying on a beach with a mai tai in hand.

Whatever your predicament, the current estimated Powerball jackpot of $320 million could fix it. Which makes us wonder -- when it comes to playing the lottery, are we all just damsels in distress?

"Because we're in a recession, people love to have a rescue fantasy," human behavior expert Dr. Wendy Walsh told CNN in April when the Mega Millions jackpot hit $656 million. "We have the Cinderella complex -- there's a fairy godmother who's going to come in and save us."

We've all heard the statistics. Your chances of winning the Powerball jackpot are about one in 175.2 million. You're more likely to die from a bee string (one in 6.1 million), be struck by lightning (one in 3 million) or have conjoined twins (one in 200,000).

But people keep playing -- most likely because the thought of winning $320 million is much more fun than the thought of being attacked by a shark (one in 11.5 million).

"It doesn't faze them because they're in love with hope," Walsh said.

In 2010, U.S. lottery sales totaled $58 billion, according to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries. More than half of us have played the lottery in the last year, although 20% of customers buy the majority of the tickets.

Part of the allure is that everyone else is doing it, said Dr. Stephen Goldbart, author of "Affluence Intelligence" and co-director of the Money, Meaning & Choices Institute.

In a Psychology Today article titled "Lottery-itis!" Goldbart noted two main reasons why people buy tickets.

"Jumping on the bandwagon is an age-old motivator of psychological behavior," wrote Goldbart and his colleague, Joan DiFuria. "We want to be with the in-crowd, to be 'part of the movement,' not 'feel left out.' "

The second reason stems from a sense of disempowerment that comes with change -- whether it's a changing economy or a changing world.

"The map to finding the American Dream has been radically altered," they wrote. "(The lottery) lets you believe in magic: that you will be the one who spent a little and got a lot; that you will defy the extraordinary odds against winning."

Spend a little, get a lot -- the basis for every good investment. The low cost of a lottery ticket is one of the most seductive things about it.

The lottery industry is often criticized for being an unfair tax on the poor. On average, households that make less than $12,400 a year spend 5% of their income on lotteries, according to Wired.

In 2008, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University attempted to explain why the poor are more likely to buy lottery tickets.

The study, published in the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, theorized that people focus on the cost-to-benefit ratio of a single ticket rather than add up the long-term cost of playing over a year, or a lifetime.

Some study participants were given $1 at a time and asked if they wanted to spend each dollar on a lottery ticket, author George Loewenstein said. Others were given $5 and asked how many tickets they wanted to buy with the money. Members of a third group were told they could either spend $5 on lottery tickets or buy none at all.

People in the second group bought half as many as those given $1 at a time. In the all-or-nothing scenario, 87% of the study participants purchased zero tickets. The researchers' findings were consistent with something known as the "peanuts effect."

"There are money amounts that are small enough that people almost ignore them," Loewenstein said Wednesday.

"It almost doesn't feel real. The lottery and penny slots are kind of the sweet spot of risk taking. They're really cheap, really inexpensive to play, but there's a big possible upside."

Still, to say that playing the lottery is a bad idea doesn't sit well with the professor of economics and psychology.

"It's ridiculous to say that 51% of the population is just irrational or self-destructive," he said. "It serves a psychological function for people. ... Our pleasure of living is not only based on our current situation, but what could be, what we can imagine our situation could become."

Irrational or not, millions will sit around their TV and computer screens Wednesday night, praying that the six numbers they're clutching will appear.

They're optimistic that the fairy-tale ending they've been waiting for will come, even if it takes a little magic.

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