Society's Child
Map


Alarm Clock

40 million tons of toxic coal waste sit next to prison with 'alarming rates of illness'

jail
© Shutterstock
Soon after Marcus Santos became a prisoner at the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution (SCI) in Fayette, he says he began feeling sick. He developed a rash on his left side with large welts. He became dizzy, nauseous, and experienced shortness of breath. His face and throat would swell, making it difficult to breathe. At night, the symptoms were the worst.

"I suffered almost everyday of the 15 months I was at that prison," he said. "It became clear to me that I [was] being left for dead."

Eventually, a doctor outside the prison recommended Santos be transferred to another prison, and he was - to the SCI in Smithfield, more than 300 miles away. Since then, Santos' symptoms have "subsided substantially or completely," according to the public interest law firm who interviewed him.

That interview is part of a report released by the law firm this week detailing "alarming rates of illness" at SCI Fayette. The Abolishionist Law Center's report, based on a year-long investigation, drew a link between those rates of illness and the prisoners' proximity to large amounts coal ash, a toxic waste byproduct of burning coal.

According to the ALC, which works to end mass incarceration of minorities and poor people, SCI Fayette is "inescapably situated in the midst of a massive toxic waste dump." The facility is located within 500 feet of a 500-acre coal refuse disposal site, which contains about 40 million tons of waste, including two coal slurry ponds and millions of cubic yards of coal ash piled high on top of the coal refuse, the report said. Coal ash ponds contain lead, arsenic and mercury.

Likely because of their exposure to pollutants from the site, the report said a large majority of the incarcerated people interviewed - 81 percent - are experiencing respiratory and throat conditions, ranging anywhere from general sinus problems to sores, cysts, and tumors in the nose, mouth, and throat. Sixty-eight percent of prisoners interviewed are experiencing gastrointestinal problems, the report said, and 52 percent have reported skin conditions like rashes and cysts. Twelve percent of prisoners interviewed said they have issues with their thyroid gland.
Quenelle

Kentucky man is arrested for terrorism after posting song lyrics on Facebook

Jamie Eveans FB post
Another day, another idiotic freak out over a harmless Facebook post. The latest incident centers on 31-year-old James Evans of Kentucky, who had the temerity to share the lyrics from a song called "Class Dismissed (A Hate Primer)" by the thrash metal band Exodus. Here are the lyrics in question:
Student bodies lying dead in the halls, a blood splattered treatise of hate. Class dismissed is my hypothesis, gun fire ends in debate.
People

Are your friends leaving Facebook?

© Alamy
I logged in north, south, east and west. I checked it at work and during Sunday rest. I liked and commented, posted status and song. I thought Facebook would last forever: I was wrong.

Apologies if that feels like a bit of a heavy introduction for a piece on the decline of Facebook amongst my peers but - like Auden's love - I had always assumed the network would be constant presence in my life. A couple of times at university I wondered what would happen if people stopped using the site, or if it disappeared. I would have no physical photos of my college friends, like those of my parents' that we sometimes unearthed at home; I would be stripped of the wall-to-wall messages we had built up over the years and left with only a handful of letters and cards.

Sometimes I thought about printing out pictures or saving some of the more memorable messages to computer, but I never did. Just like three-month summer holidays and the ability to function after four hours' sleep, I reasoned that Facebook would always be there.

But two years after graduation, to continue in the mournful vein in which I began, the site is crumbling before my eyes. There's nothing new about predicting the demise of world's most popular social networking site: articles in 2010 told us that "everyone was quitting Facebook", 2013 was the year of "virtual identity suicide" and figures released earlier this year suggested some 600,000 people in the UK had "disappeared" from the site last December (a claim the California-based company denies).

Comment: Facebook originally was a novelty helping people connect but instead has morphed into a corporation that seeks to maximize profits by manipulation.

Roses

World Health Organization: One person commits suicide every 40 seconds

© AFP/Robyn Beck
Robin Williams, pictured on June 25, 2007 at the Pacific Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, California.
One person commits suicide every 40 seconds -- more than all the yearly victims of wars and natural disaster -- with the highest toll among the elderly, the United Nations said Thursday.

In its first report on suicide, the UN's World Health Organisation blamed intense media coverage when celebrities kill themselves for fuelling the problem.

"Suicide is an amazing public health problem. There is one suicide every 40 seconds -- it is a huge number," said Shekhar Saxena, director of WHO's mental health department, at the presentation of the report in Geneva.

"Suicide kills more than conflicts, wars and natural catastrophes," he said. "There are 1.5 million violent deaths every year in the world, of which 800,000 are suicides."

Some of the highest rates of suicide are found in central and eastern Europe and in Asia, with 25 percent occurring in rich countries, the report says. Men are almost twice as likely as women to take their own lives. Common methods are hanging, gunshots, and especially in rural areas the use of poisonous insecticides.

"Globally, suicide rates are highest in people aged 70 years and over. In some countries, however, the highest rates are found among the young," WHO said. "Notably, suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29 year-olds globally."

Comment: Russell Brand commented recently about Robin Williams's suicide and what it says about our society. You can read it here:

Russell Brand: Robin Williams' divine madness will no longer disrupt the sadness of the world

V

Detroit: Thirty taken into police custody after minimum wage protest outside McDonald's

Thirty people were briefly taken into police custody after a minimum wage protest outside an east side McDonald's got out of hand Thursday morning.
© Bill Szumanski/WWJ News Radio
Those arrested were among the crowd of about 200 protesters marching around the restaurant on Mack Avenue. The demonstration was part of an effort by workers at fast-food chains around the country to boost the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Several of the protesters went from civil picketing to locking arms and sitting in the street, preventing traffic from passing through.

"At one point they were walking on both sides of Mack Avenue but they are now concentrating themselves in the eastbound lanes, they have those completely blocked off here, walking and holding up their signs," WWJ's Bill Szumanski said from above the scene in Chopper 950.

Police waited for about 30 minutes, warning the protesters they could either move on their own or face arrest.

"The protesters who were sitting on Mack Avenue and refusing to move had a bit of a negotiating session between the police department and the organizers - that didn't go anywhere," Szumanski said. "So, police have now swooped in and what they have done is arrested at least 20, maybe 30 people. They're leading them away in handcuffs to the back of the squad cars."

Comment: McDonald's has plenty of money, just not for the peons. Capitalism was designed to benefit those at the top of the food chain, not the slave labor.

The Fast-Food Industry's $4.2 Billion Marketing Blitz

Pistol

Despite U.S. sanctions, Russian maker of AK-47 assault rifle expects to double production in 3 years

© RIA Novosti / Sergey Guneev
Poster with a portrait of designer-gunsmith Mikhail Kalashnikov in the workshop of the enterprise "Concern Kalashnikov" in Izhevsk
The producers of the world-famous AK-47 assault rifle, the Kalashnikov Concern, have announced plans to double its output to 300,000 units in the next three years, despite being on the US sanctions list.

Kalashnikov plans to produce 150,000 units of arms in 2014, with the output rising to 300,000 in the next three years, Kalashnikov CEO Aleksey Krivoruchko told the company's corporate magazine.

According to Krivoruchko, the concern's mid-term goal is to perform a complex technical and technological re-equipment maneuver, which would include the purchase of new hardware, reconstruction of facilities and the organization of high-performance workplaces.

Over the period of January to March 2014, the Russian company already doubled its output in comparison with the same period last year, producing 31,000 units of basic arms.
Ambulance

More details of Ukraine peace plan emerge: Withdraw military hardware, exchange POWs, open corridors

Ukrainian servicemen
© Reuters/Vasily Fedosenko
Ukrainian servicemen load shells into a tank at a check point in the southern coastal town of Mariupol September 5, 2014.
Both sides in the Ukrainian conflict have agreed to "all to all" prisoners of war exchange, hardware withdrawal and humanitarian aid access to the area. Kiev and rebel troops laid down arms as the main agreement - ceasefire- came into force at 15:00 GMT.

The contact group in Minsk agreed on three key issues: ceasefire, exchange of war prisoners and humanitarian aid access, OSCE envoy Tagliavini told reporters.

"We continued consultation and agreed on other issues. Among them are the ceasefire, the withdrawal of troops and the "all to all" exchange of prisoners," she said.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Wales, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that prisoner of war exchange can take place "soon, maybe tomorrow."

According to estimates enumerated by Russia's ambassador to Ukraine, Mikhail Zurabov, the exchange may affect "more than 1,000 people from each side."

"We exchanged lists of prisoners and started the exchange process immediately," said former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, who represented Ukraine at the talks in Minsk.

"Within three days an expert group will be formed, which should provide a thorough plan of the release of prisoners of war," Zurabov said.

Comment: So far, east Ukraine has seen a short-lived week-long ceasefire: Also, Poroshenko flip-flopping on the terms of the ceasefire, leaving himself a way out: And yet we're to believe that Putin, who isn't even a part of this conflict, is responsible for all the 'escalations' and 'aggression'? The leaders of Donetsk and Lugansk, at least, have so far behaved with dignity. For how long will Kiev and Poroshenko continue to keep up the mask of 'peaceful' intentions before they break the ceasefire? Or are their hands being forced in some way to actually do the right thing?

Hardhat

Ridiculous! Unsupervised cartwheels, handstands banned in Queensland school

© Eagnews.com
Students and parents at Peregian Springs State School are flipping out after officials banned unsupervised playground cartwheels and handstands to prevent injuries.

Two children at the school have been injured recently - one broke a wrist, the other was kicked in the head - while performing "cheerleader type stunts," prompting principal Gwen Sands to issue a ban on Monday in the school's newsletter, SunshineCoastDaily.au reports.

"All students have been advised that under no circumstances are they allowed to perform cart wheels, handstands or any other type of gymnastic move at school unless they are properly supervised by a trained PE teacher," according to the announcement. "It would be appreciated if you could remind your children about the safety issues involved with these types of moves."

The news site reports the announcement "caused a stir and left many parents wondering what would be next on the 'ban' wagon."

"When are we going to let kids just be kids?" local government minister David Crisafulli questioned. "I respect the right of the school to protect their students but I also respect the right of children to have a happy childhood, and surely we can find a middle ground in all of this."

Comment: The nanny state run amok!
"We have relinquished control over the most intimate aspects of our lives to government officials who, while they may occupy seats of authority, are neither wiser, smarter, more in tune with our needs, more knowledgeable about our problems, nor more aware of what is really in our best interests. Yet having bought into the false notion that the government does indeed know what's best for us and can ensure not only our safety but our happiness and will take care of us from cradle to grave - that is, from daycare centers to nursing homes - we have in actuality allowed ourselves to be bridled and turned into slaves at the bidding of a government that cares little for our freedoms or our happiness."
The tyranny of the nanny state, where the government knows what's best for you

Arrow Down

Minnesota police chief enforces city ordinance by killing boy's pet chicken with shovel

Chickens
© AP Photo/Seth Perlman
Chickens peck at flowers, recycle plant waste and provide manure for the gardens inside a fenced-in enclosure at the Illinois governor’s mansion Friday, May 9, 2014, in Springfield, Ill.
A Minnesota police chief has come under fire after he walked onto a resident's property and beheaded their pet chicken with a shovel, arguing that he was only enforcing a city ordinance that prohibits fowl.

"I guess I don't regret it, because it's like taking care of any rodent in town," Atwater Police Chief Trevor Berger told the West Central Tribune.

Chief Berger entered the property of Ashley Turnbull when no one was home on Aug. 16, and he clubbed, killed and decapitated a small, red hen with a shovel, leaving the head behind after disposing the carcass.

"I'm sorry it had to happen that way," Chief Berger told the Tribune. "It's against city ordinance for a chicken to be in the city and running around in people's yards."

Ms. Turnbull admitted she she was verbally warned Aug. 7 by police to remove the three chickens and two ducks from her property. She said she ignored the warning, because local city council members were considering lifting the ban. She also said she never received a written warning on the issue.
Stop

Road rage: Michigan man guns down married father picking up kids from first day of school

© Rawstory.com
A Michigan man and his wife had just eaten lunch Tuesday afternoon and were on their way to pick up their children from the first day of school when they were cut off by a speeding pickup truck.

Police said 43-year-old Derek Flemming got out of his SUV at the next stoplight, approached the Dodge pickup, and asked the driver: "What's your problem?" The other driver then rolled down his window and shot Flemming in the face, killing him, police said.

Police took 69-year-old Martin Zale into custody after the shooting, and prosecutors waited two days to charge him with open murder, two counts of felony firearms, and discharge of a weapon from a vehicle. Michigan law does not require prosecutors to choose between first- or second-degree murder, even at trial, and a jury may determine the appropriate charge based on the evidence. "I fully support the right of individuals to keep and possess firearms, but it's when they misuse those weapons that it becomes a problem," said Livingston County Prosecutor William Vailliencourt.

The prosecutor said he was confident Zale, who has a concealed carry permit, was not acting in self-defense when he shot Flemming once in the face with a handgun. "You can't shoot someone because you're not happy with them," Vailliencourt said. Flemming was not carrying any weapons, investigators said, and witnesses said he did not make any verbal threats.
Top