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Nearly 24,000 inmates across the country did not show up to work on September 9, marking the 45th anniversary of the bloody uprising in Attica prison in New York. The strike has now continued into its third week making it the largest prison strike in U.S. history.

Organizations like The Southern Poverty Law Center and The Marshall Project have documented at length the cruel and inhumane conditions that many U.S. prisons foster.

The American Justice System holds more than 2 million people incarcerated and half of that population holds a daily job where they are paid to help run the prison or manufacture everyday items. The average pay for a prisoner working a job in a state prison is 23 cents an hour. In Texas, Georgia and Arkansas, inmates work for no pay.

One may assume this is unconstitutional but a clause in the 13th amendment outlawing slavery “except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted” provides a pipeline of prison labor within our own $4.8 billion prison system.

The Intercept reports organizers have labeled this strike as a "call to action against slavery in America." No major media outlets have picked up the story yet, but their demand is simple—end free prison labor and restore the dignity of 2.4 million incarcerated prisoners. Discuss

Last night, President Obama held a townhall meeting with members of the U.S. military, and was asked about Colin Kaepernick’s national protest. The 49ers quarterback has sparked demonstrations among athletes around the country, who are either kneeling or holding up a fist during the song, to protest police brutality and racial injustice.

While the president emphasized that Kaepernick and others have every right to continue to demonstrate, and create conversations about racial equality, he said,

I believe that us honoring our flag and our anthem is part of what binds us together as a nation.

I want Mr. Kaepernick and others who are on a knee, I want them to listen to the pain that that may cause, somebody, for example had a spouse or a child who was killed in combat, and why it hurts them to see somebody not standing. But, I also want people to think about the pain that he may be expressing about somebody who’s lost a loved one, that they think, was unfairly shot.

His full statement (which you can see below), is a nuanced response to a complicated situation, which has become increasingly polarizing. Discuss

Yesterday afternoon, a 14-year-old boy shot and killed his father before heading to a local elementary school in South Carolina where he was armed with a handgun and opened fire, wounding a teacher and two children.

Police arrived to the scene of the crime at Townville Elementary School in Anderson County, about 100 miles northeast of Atlanta, within seven minutes after a teacher called 911 to report a gunman. One of the victims is recovering after being in critical condition at AnMed Health Medical Center, the second young child and teacher were treated and released to recover at home.

The teenage gunman was taken to the ground by a volunteer firefighter and taken into custody by deputies. His identity has not been released to the public because he is underage.

Jamie Meredith, a student’s mother, spoke to a local news station just after being reunited with her daughter. “She said they went in the bathroom. I don't know how they knew to go in the bathroom, but I know her teacher was shaken up. I know all the kids were scared. There was a bunch of kids crying. She didn't talk for about five minutes when I got her.”

Greenville County Schools Superintendent Burke Royster released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the students, teachers, administrators, and families of Townville Elementary School and Anderson School District 4.” Discuss

When proposing at a baseball game, you buy the tickets, wear matching shirts and pull out all the stops making sure the Jumbotron is ready to capture the moment.

What you definitely don’t do is drop the ring just when you’re about to get on one knee. The 35,000 fans who attended the Yankees vs. Red Sox game on Tuesday watched as the crowd surrounding the couple joined a search lasting five minutes.

The story ended happily for the couple in a round of cheering and applause when 29-year-old Andrew Fox’s girlfriend (now fiancée) found the ring in the cuff of her jeans. Sounds like she’s a keeper.

Discuss

Is it possible that the full-service space station in Pixar’s Wall-E may be a future that’s closer than we think?

Billionaire and business magnate Elon Musk thinks so. At the International Aeronautical Conference in Mexico on Tuesday, Musk presented the Interplanetary Transport System (or ITS), a privately funded project to design a spaceflight system transporting humans to and from Mars.

A lot of things have to go right for Musk’s vision to become a reality, from the technology to the $500 million investment it will take to fund a single rocket, spaceship and tanker.

When asked why this is a project motivating Musk to spend an endless amount of energy and money on, Musk said: “It would be an incredible adventure. I think it would be the most inspiring thing that I can possibly imagine. And life needs to be more than just solving problems every day. You need to wake up and be excited about the future. And be inspired, and want to live.”

Is the next great frontier life on Mars? We’ll let you decide. Discuss

This is a crazy story. Archaeologists in Israel were recently digging at the site of the ancient city of Tel Lachish located in the Kingdom of Judah. There, they uncovered what is believed to be a 2,700-year-old toilet like one actually described in the Bible. Seriously.

The toilet was found in a room of a multi-chambered gate, that may have once been a shrine. Nearby, were small alters to cult figures which appeared to have been intentionally damaged: their "horned corners had been smashed." According to The Times of Israel, it looks like ancient Israelite rulers installed a toilet in the alter room as a way of desecrating idols to false gods. As it turns out, this exact scenario is mentioned in the Old Testament. 2 Kings 10:27 says that Israelite forces had previously “demolished the sacred stone of Baal and tore down the temple of Baal, and people have used it for a latrine to this day.”

2 Kings 18:4 describes how Hezekiah later destroyed idols and alters to other gods. He "removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles." The researchers believe this toilet was installed as part of Hezekiah’s reforms against cult worship.

As Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Sa’ar Ganor, explained to the paper, “The cult worship was eradicated, here’s the evidence, smashing the altar horns. But not only was it annulled, in Lachish they put in a throne, the same stone you see here.”

As Live Science noted, this toilet installed under King Hezekiah’s reforms may have never actually been used, but could have served as a symbol. Discuss