Society's Child


Europe's young people: Denied their dreams of education and jobs, their anger is growing

© Pedro Armestre/AFP/Getty Images
People protest in Madrid in 2011 against Spain's economic crisis and its sky-high jobless rate. ‘The frustration cannot find an outlet in mainstream parties, which strike many young people as far too timid
In December 2008, in Athens, a "special security officer" shot dead a young student, igniting demonstrations, strikes and riots. Young people were at the forefront of the protests, in a country with a long tradition of youth participation in social and political movements. Several commentators at the time spoke of a "youth rebellion".

In late 2009 it became clear that Greece had been living through a period of false prosperity and was in effect bankrupt. The country fell into the tender embrace of the troika - the EU, the IMF and the European Central Bank. Following severe austerity measures in 2010-11, there were again mass demonstrations and strikes, culminating in the "movement of the squares" - protests against the destruction of private and social life. Young people were again prominent, lending enthusiasm and spirit to the movement.

Then there was nothing. As economic and social disaster unfolded in 2012 and 2013, the youth of Greece became invisible in social and economic life. The young have been largely absent from politics, social movements and even from the spontaneous social networks that have dealt with the worst of the catastrophe. On the fifth anniversary of the events of 2008, barely a few hundred young people demonstrated in Greek urban centres. There was no tension, no passion, no spirit, just tired processions repeating well-known slogans. Where were the 17-year-olds from five years ago?

Militarization of American police: Skyrocketing SWAT team raids causing needless deaths of innocent suspects

police raid
© unknown
The militarization of America's police is well documented. Hundreds of articles, books, and studies have been published in recent years showing that local police departments are increasingly using tactics and equipment formally reserved for the military.

"Billions of dollars' worth of military weapons and equipment is available to local police departments through grant programs administered by federal agencies such as the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security," the American Civil Liberties Union writes on their page discussing police militarization.

Between 1995-1997, the Pentagon distributed 3,800 M-16s, 2,185 M14s, 73 grenade launchers, and 112 armored personnel carriers to local police departments across the country.

Among the eye-opening changes in the tactics used by American police departments is the sharply increasing number of SWAT team raids being executed across the country. Let's take a look at statistics for one form of a raid known as the "no knock warrant" raid.

Comment: There is an epidemic of police brutality sweeping the U.S. At least 500 innocent people are murdered by police in SWAT team raids numbering 40,000 every year:
Militarization of local police means that now cops kill 8 times more Americans than terrorists do
Why Do the Police Have Tanks? The Strange and Dangerous Militarization of the US Police Force
Police States of America: Americans killed by cops now outnumber Americans killed in Iraq war


Victim of Boston bombing attack sues Glenn Beck for defamation

Commentator Glenn Beck arrives at the 45th Country Music Association Awards in Nashville, Tennessee November 9, 2011.
A Saudi Arabian national who was injured in the bombing attack on last year's Boston Marathon has filed a defamation lawsuit against television commentator Glenn Beck for publicly accusing him of being the "money man" behind the attacks.

Beck, a conservative television and radio personality, repeatedly criticized the federal investigation into the attacks that killed three people and injured 264, and in May 2013 claimed that Abdulrahman Alharbi had financed the attacks.

Alharbi, a 20-year-old exchange student, said in a filing in U.S. District Court in Boston that he had been questioned by federal officials after the attack but that his questioners "quickly concluded that Mr. Alharbi ... had no involvement in the attacks."

The suit, which was filed on Friday and seeks unspecified financial damages, says that Beck "substantially and severely damaged" Alharbi's reputation and that he has received messages calling him a "murderer, child killer and terrorist."

Beck did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment on Tuesday.

Colorado drivers claim police in neighboring states are employing 'license plate profiling' after marijuana legalization

© Bradley Gordon /
The legalization of recreational marijuana use may be bringing some tourists into Colorado, but local residents driving out of state are now reporting multiple episodes of what they believe to be "license plate profiling" by police.

According to Yahoo News, there's been a rise in such accusations among Colorado citizens ever since the state voted to legalize marijuana in 2012. Multiple residents driving in other states have reported being stopped by police for no reason other than to have their car searched for pot.

One such case reportedly occurred in January, when a state trooper in Nevada pulled over Colorado resident David Adkins near Las Vegas. According to local news outlet KRDO, Adkins said the state trooper was actually trailing another target for speeding when he quickly changed targets and began following Adkins.

The incident occurred less than a month after stores in Colorado began selling marijuana, and Adkins believes it's clear he was stopped for potentially carrying the drug, which has only been legalized in two US states.
Heart - Black

South Carolina school administrator could be fired for mocking 6-year-old on Facebook

A school administrator in South Carolina has been placed on administrative leave for mocking a 6-year-old girl on Facebook.

Hundreds have signed a petition asking for Charles Fowler to be fired from his job as assistant principal at Walhalla High School after posting comments about the girl's photo on social media.

Fowler took a photo of the kindergartner while out shopping and described her as "Honey Boo-Boo in Wal-Mart," referring to the reality TV star.

The girl's great-grandmother said the child stayed home from school Monday because of the widely viewed Facebook post.

"(My great-granddaughter) was up until after midnight and she was saying, 'Nanny, people are calling me Honey Boo-Boo,'" Thompson said. "She said, 'Nanny, I've got to lose some weight,' and she said, 'I don't want people to see me like this. She is so sweet and for someone to hurt her feelings like that - not only hers, but all our family. It's just so embarrassing you know, but more hurtful than embarrassing."
Red Flag

Python skin black market in Europe balloons to over $1 billion annually

© AFP Photo
Illegal python skins worth an estimated $1 billion are being imported into Europe every year to feed growing demand for the luxury leather, according to a new report.

Nearly 500,000 skins are shipped on the black market from southeast Asia every year to grace the windows of Europe's fashion houses, particularly in France, Germany and Spain, a report by the Python Conservation Partnership found.

The rising demand from major brands like Calvin Klein and Jimmy Choo, which use the exotic patterned skin to make handbags, shoes and jackets, is depleting wild populations of the giant snake.

Instead, the report said commercial python farming, previously deemed unviable as the snakes take too long to mature and are difficult to feed and breed in captivity, could be the answer.

"This report offers a possible alternative solution to the sourcing of python skins for which demand is escalating," said Jean-Christophe Vie, a senior executive at the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which backed the study.

Starbucks apologizes to Louisiana woman after serving her coffee with Satanic symbols drawn in coffee foam

© Facebook
The hellish "brewhaha" is over. Starbucks has apologized to a Louisiana schoolteacher who complained that a Baton Rouge barista drew Satanic symbols in her coffee foam.

It all happened at the Mall of Louisiana but was promptly liked and shared via Facebook by approximately 1,800 people.

"(Sunday) was the first we heard of it when she posted on our Facebook page," Starbucks social media team spokesman Tom Kuhn told The Daily Advertiser. "We reached out to her through social media and apologized. We're taking the complaint seriously. We're not sure who served her or what kind of beverage it was. It looks kind of caramel-ish in the photos."
Snakes in Suits

General Motors to face Congress over car recall scandal

© Reuters
General Motors' new CEO Mary Barra faces a two-day grilling in front of Congress over the recall scandal
House to push for answers on why GM failed to recall cars despite knowledge of flaws ultimately linked to 13 deaths

Regulators and GM executives will come under fire Tuesday as Congress pushes for answers on why the auto company failed to recall over a million cars despite evidence it knew of fatal flaws in their design.

Over the weekend the House committee on energy and commerce released new details of its investigation into the events leading up to GM's recall of 2.6m vehicles for ignition-switch defects now linked to 13 deaths.

The latest revelations come as GM's newly installed chief executive officer Mary Barra prepares for a two-day grilling over the scandal in Washington. On Tuesday Barra and acting National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) administrator David Friedman will appear before the House committee. On Wednesday, they will talk to a Senate panel.

The House committee said regulators declined to open formal investigations into complaints about the cars on two occasions and that GM dropped plans for a fix in 2005 because it would have taken too long and cost too much money.
Eye 2

Teen arrested for allegedly stabbing her best friend 65 times

© Facebook
Anel Baez (right) was viciously stabbed 65 times on March 19, authorities say. And they claim her best friend, Erandy Elizabeth Gutierrez (left), did it. The two apparently got into a dispute over nude selfies.
A Mexican teen brutally stabbed her best friend to death for posting naked selfies of them together on Facebook, police said.

Erandy Elizabeth Gutierrez, 16, allegedly knifed Anel Baez, also 16, a horrifying 65 times in the vicious March 19 attack.

Cops believe she wanted revenge for the "humiliating" uploading of the revealing snaps.

Baez asked her former pal - who she had previously referred to as being her "sister" - over to her Guamúchil, Sinaloa state, home to try and patch things up, according to Mexican media reports.

When Gutierrez arrived she reportedly asked to use the bathroom - but then grabbed a knife from the kitchen and allegedly used it to repeatedly stab Baez.

April Fools? Polish priest's dire warning to parents: Lego is a tool of Satan, 'destroys' souls

© Alamy
Lego's Monster Fighters range features Lord Vampyre, a fanged Dracula-like character.
A Polish priest has warned parents to be on their guard against Lego, warning the plastic blocks are a tool of Satan and can "destroy" children's souls.

In a presentation aimed at parents, Father Slawomir Kostrzewa said the popular Danish toy company had taken a lurch to the dark side with its series of Monster Fighters and Zombie mini-figures, and that they "were about darkness and the world of death".

"Friendly fellows have been replaced by dark monsters," he explained. "These toys can have a negative effect on children. They can destroy their souls and lead them to the dark side."

Lego's Monster Fighters range features Lord Vampyre, a fanged Dracula-like character, who battles the likes of Doctor Rodney Rathbone and Major Quinton Steele as they try to prevent him from "cloaking the world in darkness".