Reporter asks the wrong question. Politician threatens to throw reporter off a balcony. Yes, really.

When NY1 reporter Michael Scotto attempted to ask Rep. Michael Grimm (R– N.Y.) about ongoing investigations of his 2010 campaign fundraising activity, the Congressman quickly ended the interview and stormed off. After Scotto threw back to the station, however, Grimm approached him again and engaged in a bizarre attempt to intimidate the reporter by, among other things, threatening to "break you in half." Pro tip for the Congressman: The next time you threaten a reporter, maybe make sure his camera isn't still running first.

So, aside from the sheer spectacle of watching a duly elected United States Congressman threaten to kill a reporter, why does this matter? Because while Grimm might be one of the more egregious examples — he's been featured on watchdog organization CREW's list of the most corrupt members of Congress for the past three years — he represents a much broader problem: the corrosive effect of money on our current political system.


Last year, the average cost of running a successful Senate campaign was $10.4 million while successful campaigns for the House cost $1.6 million. Those are 62% and 334% increases since 1986 respectively. Between skyrocketing campaign costs and the mind-bogglingly legal use of leadership PACs as political slush funds, there's more and more incentive for our elected representatives to go to increasingly brazen lengths to keep the money coming in. If anything, what makes Grimm truly exceptional isn't greed or corruption — it's the fact that he got caught.

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Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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One little girl took pictures of her school lunches. The Internet responded — and so did the school.

If you listened to traditional news media (and sometimes social media), you'd begin to think the Internet and technology are bad for kids. Or kids are bad for technology. Here's a fascinating alternative idea.

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Norton

This article originally appeared on 03.31.15

Kids can innovate, create, and imagine in ways that are fresh and inspiring — when we "allow" them to do so, anyway. Despite the tendency for parents to freak out because their kids are spending more and more time with technology in schools, and the tendency for schools themselves to set extremely restrictive limits on the usage of such technology, there's a solid argument for letting them be free to imagine and then make it happen.

It's not a stretch to say the kids in this video are on the cutting edge. Some of the results he talks about in the video at the bottom are quite impressive.

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