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Reports: The book police are coming to get you

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A teenager in Littleton, Colorado, was arrested and spent eight hours in jail for failing to return an overdue DVD to a local library.

Nineteen-year-old Aaron Henson was pulled over for speeding on Interstate 70 last month, and found himself in prison after police found a failure-to-appear warrant out for his arrest.

Henson hadn’t returned House of the Flying Daggers, a Chinese DVD valued at just over $30 that he had borrowed from the library.

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“I was just shocked,” Henson told ABC News. “I was like ‘What? I’ve got a what now?'”

Henson says when he called his parents from jail, he had a hard time convincing his mother he was telling the truth. She told him there is no such thing as “book police.”

Though the charge against Hanson was dropped and the city now says it won’t have people arrested over $30 DVDs, the incident showcases the extreme lengths some municipalities — faced with declining revenues — are going to in order to plug budget holes. The city of Littleton says it lost $7,800 last year in library materials that weren’t returned.

National Public Radio notes that cities are coming up with “novel ways” to raise revenues, including “new charges for responding to 911 calls to taxes and fees on sodas, bottled water, groceries and grocery bags.”

ABC News reports that Littleton is by no means the only city that has taken to issuing summonses for missing library materials. “Similar arrests and warrants have been reported in Washington state, Iowa and Texas,” it states.

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In Hanson’s case, the arrest was for failure to appear, not for theft. The city of Littleton says it sent Hanson repeated notices in the mail and left phone messages for him, requesting that he return the DVD. Hanson says he failed to return it because he accidentally packed it while moving last fall. The move, he says, is why he didn’t receive the library’s messages.

Because he never received notice of the summons, the arrest was “a clear violation of his right to due process,” Hanson’s father, Allen Hanson, said.

KMGH in Denver reports that the arrest cost Hanson’s family $460 in all — $200 for bail, $200 to get his car out of the impound lot, and $60 for court costs. The city says it will reimburse the Hansons, and Littleton Mayor Doug Clark has announced a change in the city’s policy, saying that “we’re not going to arrest people who don’t return $30 DVDs.”

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“Cities and states are going mostly after these kinds of sin taxes,” Justin H. Higginbottom, an analyst with conservative research group Tax Foundation, told NPR. “They’ll target a politically unpopular industry and go after them to raise revenue. It’s much easier to do that than to raise rates on sales taxes.”

NPR’s Alan Greenblatt reports that “one reason sin taxes are easier to sell is that they aren’t presented purely as ways to raise money. Mayors like to stress the idea that they’re helping to curb bad behaviors.”

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Cheerleader who was punished for taking a knee during football game wins $145K settlement

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A former cheerleader for Kennesaw State University who took a knee during the National Anthem during a football game has been paid $145,000 in an out-of-court settlement, according to the Marietta Daily Journal.

Tommia Dean sued KSU’s then-President Sam Olens, alongside Scott Whitlock and Matt Griffin who worked for the KSU athletics department at the time, after her public protest with four other cheerleaders which took place in 2017. She dropped her lawsuit after settling with the Georgia Department of Administrative Services for $145,000.

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Trump appointee flails in Senate hearing as he tries to explain contradictory Pentagon statements

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In the wake of news reports that the Trump administration is considering sending an additional 14,000 troops to the Middle East, potentially doubling the current amount of US troops sent to the region since May, the Pentagon's attempts to deny the revelations aren't going to well, according to Task & Purpose.

In a statement, Pentagon spokesperson Alyssa Farah said that there are no plans for a troop increase "at this time."

"As discussed in the hearing today, we are constantly evaluating the threat situation around the world and considering our options," Farah said. "We adjust our force posture and troop levels based on adversary action and the dynamic security situation. Secretary Esper spoke to Chairman Inhofe this morning and reaffirmed that we are not considering sending 14,000 additional troops to the Middle East at this time."

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‘Make America 36th Out of 41 Developed Nations Again’: Social justice index of developed nations puts US near bottom

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Meanwhile, the democratic-socialist Nordic countries of Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden enjoy the top spots in detailed survey of OECD nations.

Not dead last, but close to it.

That's where the United States came out in a new survey of the world's 41 highly-developed nations measuring access to social justice and the opportunities they afford their respective citizens and residents.

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