Society's Child

Heart - Black

Shameful: Yellowstone officials planning on killing 1,000 mostly female and baby bison

© Reuters/Jim Urquhart
A car is stopped by a herd of bison crossing the highway in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, June 8, 2013.
Yellowstone National Park has proposed killing roughly 1,000 wild bison this winter in an effort to curb the animals' annual migration to Montana. The bison, mostly calves and females, would be delivered to Native American tribes for slaughter.

The controversial annual culling is aimed at lessening the risk of Yellowstone bison infecting cattle herds in Montana with brucellosis, a bacterial disease that can cause pregnant bison and other animals to miscarry their young.

The yearly culling is part of a 2000 agreement made between Montana and the federal government, which was aimed at preventing the spread of the disease.

"Through the legal agreement the National Park Service has to do this," Yellowstone spokeswoman Sandy Snell-Dobert said, as quoted by AP. "If there was more tolerance north of the park in Montana for wildlife, particularly bison as well as other wildlife, to travel outside the park boundaries, it wouldn't be an issue."


Modern day slavery: Urban Outfitters asks employees to work for free

With the peak shopping season approaching, Urban Outfitters is asking its employees to pitch in a bit more on the weekends. But there's a catch: they won't get paid for it.

In an email obtained by Gawker this week, the Philadelphia-based retailer told salaried employees that it was looking for weekend volunteers to help "pick, pack and prepare packages" for wholesale and direct customers.

Bizarro Earth

Why we can't have nice things: American cops now steal more property than all US burglars combined

For decades now, federal government and their cohorts in law enforcement have been carrying out theft of the citizenry on a massive scale. We're not talking about taxes, but an insidious power known as Civil Asset Forfeiture (CAF).

The 1980's-era laws were designed to drain resources from powerful criminal organizations, but CAF has become a tool for law enforcement agencies across the U.S. to steal money and property from countless innocent people.


Stock Down

Signs that the bubble is about to burst? Estimated holiday spending higher than it was in 2007

I distinctly remember the Christmas of 2008. It was unique from every other holiday season that I experienced in my childhood. For my family, every Christmas was normally a gluttonous buffet of consumer spending as each person made sure to buy a mountain of gifts to cover everybody else, even though we were far from wealthy. I'm willing to bet that this habit of decking the halls with maxed out credit cards was shared by many other middle class American families at the time.

By 2008 however, we quickly changed our tune. The financial crisis made it apparent that our annual gift buying binge wasn't just wasteful and unessential to the spirit of Christmas, it was also no longer affordable for us. That year we mutually agreed to cut the exorbitant spending down to shadow of what it once was, and thankfully, we never looked back

Unfortunately, it appears that most Americans are falling back on their old holiday spending habits, even though they probably can't afford it. According to a recent gallup poll, the average American family is planning on spending almost as much money this Christmas as they did just before the crash of 2007.

Comment: Despite all signs that the economy is tanking, the normalcy bias is fully entrenched. Expect to see more holiday shopping madness this season.

Bad Guys

Breaking: Knife attack at RT Tel Aviv office building - one dead, three Injured

© RT
A man armed with a knife attacked the RT office in Tel Aviv on Thursday. The channel's staff is safe, but at least one person has been killed and three more are injured.

The channel's correspondent, Paula Slier, posted pictures of the attack's aftermath on her Twitter account.

Police are currently on the scene, and medics were seen tending to the wounded

Alarm Clock

My white neighbor thought I was breaking into my own apartment. Nineteen cops showed up. The place I call home no longer feels safe.

© Kyle Monk / The Washington Post
Fay Wells is vice president of strategy at a company in California.

On Sept. 6, I locked myself out of my apartment in Santa Monica, Calif. I was in a rush to get to my weekly soccer game, so I decided to go enjoy the game and deal with the lock afterward.

A few hours and a visit from a locksmith later, I was inside my apartment and slipping off my shoes when I heard a man's voice and what sounded like a small dog whimpering outside, near my front window. I imagined a loiterer and opened the door to move him along. I was surprised to see a large dog halfway up the staircase to my door. I stepped back inside, closed the door and locked it.

I heard barking. I approached my front window and loudly asked what was going on. Peering through my blinds, I saw a gun. A man stood at the bottom of the stairs, pointing it at me. I stepped back and heard: "Come outside with your hands up." I thought: This man has a gun and will kill me if I don't come outside. At the same time, I thought: I've heard this line from policemen in movies. Although he didn't identify himself, perhaps he's an officer.

I left my apartment in my socks, shorts and a light jacket, my hands in the air. "What's going on?" I asked again. Two police officers had guns trained on me. They shouted: "Who's in there with you? How many of you are there?"

Comment: Thankfully, Fay Wells kept a level head to de-escalate the situation. One wrongly perceived move, and this incident could have ended tragically. Although her well-being has ended tragically.


Denver housekeeper sentenced to 208 years for brutal assault of 88-year-old client

© Denver Post
Jana Janette Bergman
A Colorado woman who shoved an 88-year-old man she worked for as a housekeeper down a flight of stairs, tore skin off his arms and stole his car has been sentenced to 208 years in prison, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Jana Janette Bergman was found guilty last month of attempted manslaughter, assault, robbery, theft and other charges in the attack on Jack Woods, the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office said in a statement. Bergman, 33, received the lengthy prison term because she is classed as an habitual offender with four prior felony convictions who committed heinous crimes against an at-risk individual, District Attorney Pete Weir said. "This is an extraordinary sentence, but the brutal assault on Mr. Woods is almost beyond belief," Weir said.

Prosecutors said Bergman was in the Denver County jail in January 2014 when she answered a newspaper ad posted by Woods, who was seeking a housekeeper. They began corresponding by telephone and mail, and after Bergman told Woods she loved him, the octogenarian bailed her out and she moved into his home in the city of Arvada.

Over the next 10 months, prosecutors said, Bergman would get angry, take Woods' car and disappear for days at a time.

She was also arrested on several occasions, and Woods would bail her out of jail, forfeiting some $12,000 in bond fees and once even putting up his house as collateral, prosecutors said. The abuse escalated in November 2014 when Bergman shoved Woods down a stairway during an argument, "viciously" tearing the fragile skin off the man's forearms as he tried to hold on to a railing, prosecutors said. "Once he was on the floor, at the bottom of the stairs, she continued her assault. She then held him down with her knee and took his wallet and keys ... stole his car and fled," the district attorney's office said in its statement.

Comment: Yet another appalling example of a human-looking being who is a complete monster.


15% of female college freshman are raped while incapacitated - study

© Buzzfeed
As sexual assault continues to become a more visible health and social issue on U.S. college campuses, new research helps identify which first-year students are at risk for so-called "incapacitated rape," or IR.

IR refers to completed or attempted penetration that occurs while a victim is incapacitated after drinking alcohol or taking some other drug. A new study published in the November issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found thatabout 15 percent of first-year female students in college are raped while incapacitated in this way.

The researchers working on the study also found that first-year female students who had been victims of such assaults before entering college were at substantial risk of future victimization. Nearly 18 percent of young women reported IR before entering college; about 41 percent of those women were raped again while incapacitated during their first year. Women who said they thought alcohol could enhance a person's sexual experience also were at increased risk for IR during their first year of college.

Heavy drinking is extremely common in college. About half of college students who report drinking also report binging on alcohol, according to National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism."The motivation for the study was to try to identify what might be factors that we could address very early on in the freshman year that might be worked into prevention programs," lead researcher Kate Carey, a professor of behavioral and social sciences at Brown University School of Public Health, tells Newsweek.

Comment: IR? What an innocuous term. Newsweek's unwillingness to recognize or even educate its readers on the real problem is no surprise. Alcohol? Sexual expectations? Rape is rape. It is an issue because it's essentially rewarded in our society and the system protects sex offenders; just like our supposed leaders, incidentally. Why don't you talk about the rape culture we live in?

Stock Down

The bitter, crushing poverty of Appalachia is a preview if what is coming to the entire USA

What do you say to people that have completely lost all hope that things will ever get any better? The mountains of Appalachia stretch all the way from southern New York to northern Mississippi, and nestled within those mountains are dozens upon dozens of little towns that are so impoverished that they look like they have been through a war. Thanks to Barack Obama's relentless assault on the coal industry and the ongoing collapse of our industrial infrastructure, Appalachia has lost millions of good paying jobs over the past several decades.

Today, more than 40 percent of the population is living in poverty in some areas of eastern Kentucky, and addiction to "hillbilly heroin" (Oxycontin) is absolutely out of control throughout the region. Yes, poverty is on the rise all over America, but it has especially been cruel to those that make the mountains of Appalachia their home.


Overwhelmed by growing homelessness, Los Angeles passes measure to create temporary housing

© Lucy Nicholson/Reuters
Overwhelmed by the city's growing homeless population, which has increased by 12 percent in just two years, and facing an increase in complaints from neighborhoods about encampments, the Los Angeles City Council has declared a "shelter crisis." The measure was adopted by the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday in a 14-0 vote. It creates a legal framework for the city to provide temporary housing to homeless men and women in public buildings and parking lots.

"While we're building the infrastructure, we're finding ways to address homelessness. We have a long way to go," said Councilman Jose Huizar, co-chair of the Homelessness and Poverty Committee, according to the Los Angeles Times. "It's going to be a long road ahead of us." The rise in homelessness over the last two years is forcing officials to seek housing solutions for the city's estimated 26,000 people dwelling on streets, in shelters, and living in cars, reported LA Daily News.

The city's Municipal Code currently permits a shelter crisis to be in effect during the cold winter months - from November 1 to March 31. The vote on Tuesday extended the crisis to the spring and allows council members to designate additional buildings in their districts as temporary housing for the homeless, the LA Times reported.

Before the vote, city council members heard testimony from residents and activists from the San Fernando Valley and San Pedro who said that homeless encampments have cropped up near their homes, sometimes populated by people committing illegal acts, such as drug use and prostitution. "It's not something that we haven't been dealing with for 40 or 50 or 60 years, except that it's worse," Judith Hirschberg told the council, according to newspaper. "In my nice neighborhood, we have people who have no place to sleep, come into vacant homes and set fires. It's not a good idea."

Comment: It wasn't a good idea to ignore the homeless in the first place!

Comment: The homeless problem has been going on for decades now. It has been allowed to happen. It's easy to form plans, especially if they never make it off the paper they are written on. Hopefully, this is not just a symbolic gesture. Los Angeles could take a lesson from others: