Society's Child


Two babies diagnosed with herpes after sick Jewish circumcision ritual

© unknown
Two more infants were diagnosed with herpes in New York this month after undergoing ritual Jewish circumcisions, the Health Department says.

In both cases, the infant boys were born to mothers with full-term pregnancies and normal deliveries. They were circumcised using the direct oral suction technique practiced by some Orthodox Jews eight days after their birth, and developed lesions on their genitals shortly thereafter, the Health Department said.

Their conditions Wednesday weren't immediately clear.

Comment: I shudder to think of the mental landscape of the person who first thought up this ritual. This isn't the first time an infant has contracted herpes after a ritual circumcision.


Doctors tell of agonizing battle fighting largest Ebola outbreak in history

ebola doctor

Danger everywhere: A hygienist approaches patients classified as suspects wearing a boiling hot Hazmat suit to protect them from the invisible killer
A doctor who has fought the Ebola virus in Liberia where it infected two American doctors today gave a terrifying insight into how medics put their fears aside and their lives on the line to treat patients in the current outbreak taking a grip in Africa.

Doctor Hannah Spencer revealed how she wills herself to feel safe inside a boiling hot air-sealed Hazmat suit - her only barrier between her and catching an invisible killer that kills 90 per cent of those who are infected.

Dr Spencer, who is British, volunteered for medical charity Doctors Without Borders in Guinea and Liberia - the crucible of the current outbreak which has killed more than 600 and infected around 1,200.

She spoke out before news emerged that two Americans, Dr Kent Brantly, 33, and Nancy Writebol, 60, had contracted Ebola and are fighting for their lives to explain the risks, the courage, the physical toll and fear endured by doctors battling to contain the virus from killing more.

To minimise the risk of infection they have to wear thick rubber boots that come up to their knees, an impermeable body suit, gloves, a face mask, a hood and goggles to ensure no air at all can touch their skin.

Dr Spencer, 27, and her colleagues lose up to five litres of sweat during a shift treating victims and have to spend two hours rehydrating afterwards.
Stock Up

Electricity prices jump to all-time record in US

avg price kw electricity us
For the first time ever, the average price for a kilowatthour (KWH) of electricity in the United States has broken through the 14-cent mark, climbing to a record 14.3 cents in June, according to data released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Before this June, the highest the average price for a KWH had ever gone was 13.7 cents, the level it hit in June, July, August and September of last year.

The 14.3-cents average price for a KWH recorded this June is about 4.4 percent higher than that previous record.

Typically, the cost of electricity peaks in summer, declines in fall, and hits its lowest point of the year during winter. In each of the first six months of this year, the average price for a KWH hour of electricity has hit a record for that month. In June, it hit the all-time record.

Although the price for an average KWH hit its all-time record in June, the seasonally adjusted electricity price index--which measures changes in the price of electricity relative to a value of 100 and adjusts for seasonal fluctuations in price--hit its all-time high of 209.341 in March of this year, according to BLS. In June, it was slightly below that level, at 209.144.

Comment: Electricity production in the US peaked in 2007. No doubt there is some correlation between the fact that the US is so busy fomenting regime change around the world, that there is no money to spend on infrastructure. Bridges and entire cities are crumbling, yet the pentagon has free reign to spend.

Infrastructure of US Doomed?
US infrastructure rotting away while billions go to surveillance, killing, and foreign bribery
Infrastructure is Crumbling While US Congress Blathers: Bridges, Tunnels and Railroads Structurally Deficient
Higher energy, food prices are hurting most Americans

Piggy Bank

Officials of VA to get millions in bonuses, despite total incompetence in treating US veterans

Bernie Sanders
© AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Senate Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, accompanied by House Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., announce their agreement on a VA reform bill on Monday. Their proposal would allow bonuses to be awarded to VA officials, and gives fired VA officials an appeal process
A House-Senate agreement on how to reform the broken Department of Veterans Affairs will let the VA hand out up to $360 million in bonuses to its employees each year, even though the House voted just weeks ago to strip all VA bonuses through 2016.

The compromise bill announced Monday by the chairmen of the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees says VA bonuses will be capped at $360 million annually for the next ten years. But that cap is just 10 percent below the $400 million in bonuses the VA has distributed in recent fiscal years, and will allow up to $3.6 billion in bonuses to be awarded over the next decade.

"In each of fiscal years 2015 through 2024, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall ensure that the aggregate amount of awards and bonuses paid by the Secretary in a fiscal year... does not exceed $360,000,000," the bill says.

A description of the bill adds that members expect the VA to implement this cap in a way that does not "disproportionately impact lower-wage employees," although the legislation itself does not include any restriction on how to award the money.

Comment: VA hospitals have been guilty of complete negligence in the treatment of veterans. Waiting times are overly long to obtain appointments, while PTSD and suicide is rampant among veterans. The psychopaths in charge have no business being compensated for such horrific oversight.

Leaked Internal Memo Shows How VA Systematically Screws Over Wounded Vets to Maintain Performance Grades
VA stops releasing data on injured US vets as total reaches grim milestone
22 U.S. veterans kill themselves each day
Whistleblower accuses government of neglecting suicidal veterans and suppressing science
Veterans Administration again accused of covering up the causes of 'Gulf War Syndrome'
VA hospital may have infected 1,800 veterans with HIV


UN spokesman breaks down talking about Gaza child deaths

chris gunness
Haunting video clip shows former BBC reporter reduced to sobs as he discusses latest deaths of Palestinian refugees in what was supposed to be a shelter

For a moment, he holds back the tears, coughing and blinking hard, trying to maintain his professional composure.

Then it is all to much for Chris Gunness, a United Nations spokesman, who broke down in a television interview with al-Jazeera as he described the devastating human impact of fighting in Gaza.

The clip offers a painful insight into the emotional toll among aid workers - and in particular that of a UN agency trying to protect Palestinians in schools, designated as shelters, which are still being hit by missiles.

Comment: It is too much for every thinking feeling human being to witness the senseless horrific actions of those without heart, but with weapons at their disposal.


Conservatives are more negative, more paranoid

© AP
"John Stuart Mill called it 'commonplace' for political systems to have 'a party or order or stability and a party of progress or reform.'" So begins a recent paper in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences. But is this "commonplace" observation rooted in our brains? Is it even true?

The paper, "Differences in negativity bias underlie variations in political ideology," by lead author John R. Hibbing of the University of Nebraska, answers yes to both questions. It advances three successive waves of evidence, which combine to show that conservatives differ from liberals by having stronger, more intense reactions to negative aspects of the environment - such as physical threats, or potential sources of disease - which are ultimately physiological. At the same time, with multiple forms of mass hysteria going on at once, American conservatives seem dead set on proving the scientists right, and underscoring the importance of the work they're doing.

But here's the twist: The scientists themselves insist that "citing differences in the psychological and physiological traits of liberals and conservatives is not equivalent to declaring one ideology superior to the other." While this may be true in an abstract sense, and a mix of psychological tendencies makes a society more robust in the long run - balancing needs for caution and self-preservation with needs for exploration, innovation and renewal - in 21st century America, things look strikingly different.

Illegal conscience: U.S. activist sentenced to prison for photographing a war protest

© Ellen M. Blalock / The Post-Standard
Clare Grady (hands up) and her sister, Mary Anne Flores-Grady (on the left) are being arrested for protesting against drones, at the Thompson Road entrance to the New York Air National Guard.
Warplanes have long been based at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, NY. But in 2009, something new arrived: MQ-9 Reaper drones that were flown remotely over Afghanistan, dropping missiles and bombs and unleashing terror.

Organizers in Upstate New York started protests soon after the drones arrived and founded Upstate Drone Action in 2010. In 2011, one longtime activist and member of the Catholic Worker movement, Mary Anne Grady Flores, 57, joined the struggle. As part of the "Hancock 38" in April that year, she was arrested for protesting at the base's main entrance by participating in a die-in to illustrate the indiscriminate killing of civilians overseas by drones.

She was arrested again in October 2012 for another act of "civil resistance," as she puts it, not "civil disobedience," to uphold the U.S. Constitution and international treaties the U.S. signed. That led to Grady Flores and the 16 others being placed under court orders restricting their protest rights. Frustrated by the protesters' persistence, a base commander, Col. Earl Evans, sought and received an orders of protection - usually reserved for domestic violence victims - which was used over time to bar approximately 50 protesters from the base's grounds.

Comment: See also:
  • Psychopaths on the Hill: "Unmanned: America's Drone Wars"

Star of David

Charts don't lie: Staggering number of Palestinian deaths far outnumber those of Israelis

israeli tank
A September 2005 photo shows an Israeli tank near the Gaza town of Khan Younis
It's no secret that the death tolls in the Israel-Palestine conflict are lopsided, with Palestinians far more likely to be killed than Israelis. But just how lopsided is driven home by looking at the month-to-month fatality statistics, which the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem has been tracking since September 2000. Those numbers also tell some important stories about the conflict, how it's changed, and maybe where it's going.

Here are the monthly, conflict-related deaths of Israelis and Palestinians since September 2000:
palestinian deaths
You'll notice right away that the overwhelming majority of the deaths are Palestinian, and have been for the almost 14 years since B'Tselem began tracking. Overall, the group has recorded 8,166 conflict-related deaths, of which 7,065 are Palestinian and 1,101 Israeli. That means 87 percent of deaths have been Palestinian and only 13 percent Israeli. Put another way, for every 15 people killed in the conflict, 13 are Palestinian and two are Israeli. (Statistics for the past two months are from United Nations Office for the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs.)
Light Saber

Murdered presenter tried to expose pedophile culture within BBC but 'No one wanted to know'

Jill Dando
© Rex Features
Jill Dando, London, 1999
Popular TV presenter Jill Dando, who was shot dead outside her London home in 1999, tried to instigate inquiries into alleged paedophile activities within the BBC in the mid-1990s, it was claimed today, but "no-one wanted to know."

In an exclusive report on Sunday, Britain's Daily Star said that a source close to Ms Dando recalls her compiling a dossier of complaints about sexually abusive behaviour within the corporation and handing it over to bosses because she herself was a presenter rather than an investigative journalist.

"They gave it back. No-one wanted to know," said the source, herself a former BBC worker who asked not to be named.

The source said that lots of people would talk to Ms Dando, who was the presenter of hugely popular programmes such as Holiday and Crimewatch. She was told that BBC staff, DJs and stars were involved in organised abuse.

Comment: As the British government and the BBC have been so desperate to cover up this scandal, this makes the death of Ms. Dando all the more suspicious.

UK government ignored warnings about pedophiles: "There's too many of them"
Britain's plague of pederasty and power
Protecting pedophile networks: BBC ordered cover-up of its own investigation into serial child rapist Jimmy Savile


Herd of cows kills German woman hiker in Austria

© Alamy
A herd of cows in Austria. The unnamed woman was killed while walking with her dog on a lead.
Vienna - Police say a herd of cows attacked and killed a German woman hiking through their fenced-in pasture after apparently being riled by the sight of her leashed dog.

They said Tuesday the 45-year old victim was rushed by about 20 cows and their calves. Attempts by an emergency crew to revive her were unsuccessful.

The attack occurred Monday on a mountain pasture in Austria's Tyrol province. The woman's name was not released, in accordance with Austrian confidentiality rules.