Israel and Syria continue to fight, Robert Downey Jr. continues to  pretend to fight, and in sunny, pastoral northern Pennsylvania, a former judge is still getting international attention a week after his sentencing over what amounts to a human-trafficking scheme. Welcome to your daily trends report for Monday, May 6, 2013.

Mark Ciavarella, a former common pleas judge in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., was sentenced early last week for his role as a cog in the prison-industrial complex. Ciavarella and another judge, Michael Conahan, received kickback money from private jail operators to fill their beds with children as young as 10 without due process, often on first-time offenses. By the time Ciavarella gets out, those kids will be well into middle age: He received orders to pay back $1.2 million and serve 28 years in prison for his part in the crimes.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic ocean, leaders in Israel and Syria are facing off, with each heavily armed nation claiming the other is in violation of international law after violence between the two countries broke out last week. (Israeli officials claim that the munitions stores it targeted were headed for Lebanon, where they were to be used against Israel by Hezbollah. Syrian and Egyptian officials say the rocket strikes against the Syria-based stores were an act of pre-emptive, cross-border aggression by Israel. Both Syria and Israel have recently received international scrutiny over other matters.)


Iron Man 3
"Iron Man 3" surpassed everything except "The Avengers." The third Tony Stark movie from Disney's Marvel Studios enjoyed the second-best opening in box-office history, grossing an estimated $175.3 million in its debut weekend, Disney said Sunday.
[The Baltimore Sun]


Syria's information minister has warned that Israeli air raids against three targets on the outskirts of Damascus "open the door to all possibilities".
[Al Jazeera]

Postal Workers
In September, the post office will close one of its two remaining centers where workers try to read the scribble on envelopes and address labels that machines cannot.
[The New York Times]

Kids for Cash
An American judge known for his harsh and autocratic courtroom manner was jailed [early last week] for 28 years for conspiring with private prisons to hand young offenders maximum sentences in return for kickbacks amounting to millions of dollars.
The Independent

(Google search)
Talladega is always a race of attrition and lottery luck. It was amped up to the fullest on a rainy Sunday afternoon when a guy who was a 100-1 longshot won the race, followed by a teammate racing with a good-luck pink sticky note from his 10-year-old daughter.
[The Baltimore Sun]

Cinco de Mayo, BBQ
(Google search, Twitter)
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto is commemorating Cinco de Mayo by urging his countrymen to tackle current problems with the same "unity and commitment" that defeated the French 151 years ago.
[USA Today]

Chicago Bulls
(Google search)
It's happening two years later, one round earlier and without Derrick Rose. But the Bulls earned their rematch with the Heat. They did so by defeating the Nets 99-93 Saturday night at Barclays Center to win Game 7 of their first-round NBA playoff series, following a familiar script to do so.
[The Baltimore Sun]


chris kelly
jason collins
kentucky derby
farrah abraham
amanda bynes
iron man 3
mothers day
iron man
maryland judiciary

*Last seven days