Society's Child

Light Saber

People Power! Thousands to videotape TSA pat downs in protest

A Birmingham man is among many who say the Transportation Security Administration's tactics are aggressive and invasive.
Bad Guys

Jeffs FLDS doomsday prophecy and business closures cause concern

© Associated Press
Hildale, Utah sits at the base of red rock cliff mountains with its sister city, Colorado City, Ariz. in the foreground Thursday, April 20, 2006.
There's mystery, worry, and new indications of turmoil among followers of imprisoned polygamist leader Warren Jeffs.

At least three of his followers' most prominent businesses were suddenly closed in the Fundamentalist LDS Church's twin towns of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah. The closures involved the community's only grocery store, the hardware store and a Radio Shack.

"Warren would have told them to do that," said former FLDS follower Isaac Wyler. "They wouldn't do that on their own. They wouldn't dare."

It's not known if the closures are related to a doomsday prophecy Jeffs reportedly issued last weekend.

"It's scaring the hell out of people in the United Order," said private investigator Sam Brower, referring to the most loyal members of Jeffs' church. Brower said FLDS leaders read a statement to followers last Sunday that was purported to be Jeffs' own words from a Texas prison where he's serving a life sentence for rape of a child.

According to Brower, Jeffs' statement said, "If you don't all come clean and confess your sins and wrongs, the Lord will send a scourge of death among the people of the United Order."
Arrow Up

France bans access to 'end of world' refuge

© AFP/Eric Cabanis
Mayan doomsday theories state that Bugarach will be sheltered from a cataclysm when the world ends on December 21.
Carcassonne - France on Friday dashed the hopes of those who had planned to take refuge in one of the few places on Earth some believe will be spared when the world ends on December 21.

Local officials banned access to the Pic de Bugarach, a mountain in the southwest where rumour has it the hilltop will open on the last day and aliens will emerge with spaceships to save nearby humans.

Eric Freysselinard, the state's top representative in the area, said he was blocking access to the mountain for public safety reasons to avoid a rush of New Age fanatics, sightseers and media crews.

Believers say the world will end on December 21, 2012, the end date of the ancient Mayan calendar, and they see Bugarach as one of a few sacred mountains sheltered from the cataclysm.

Freysselinard said the 100 police and firefighters he plans to deploy will also control approaches to the tiny village of the same name at the foot of the mountain, and if too many people turn up, they will block access there too.

Anonymous hack hundreds of Israeli websites, delete Foreign Ministry database in support of Gaza

Anonymous has launched a massive attack named #OpIsrael
© Unknown
Anonymous has launched a massive attack named #OpIsrael on almost 700 Israeli websites
Hacker group Anonymous has launched a massive attack named #OpIsrael on almost 700 Israeli websites, protesting against Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza. Israeli media confirmed the group's move.

­The hackers reportedly took down websites ranging from high-profile governmental structures such as the Foreign Ministry to local tourism companies' pages.

The biggest attack as of now has been the Israeli Foreign Ministry's international development program, titled Mashav. Anonymous announced on Twitter they've hacked into the program's database, with the website remaining inaccessible at the moment.

"There is [sic] so many defaced Israeli websites right now, that we just made a list of them," Anonymous tweeted.

Police: Deputy shoots at disabled man waving gun made of legos

File photo of police lights.
© Comstock/Thinkstock
Cottage Lake, Washington - A Kings County Sheriff's deputy has been put on administrative leave after being accused of shooting at a developmentally disabled man who was holding a toy gun.

The Seattle Times reports police got multiple calls about a man waving a gun at passing vehicles.

"The first deputy arrived minutes later and the man ignored her commands. When the man pulled the handgun from his waistband and raised it, the deputy fired about 25 yards away," Deputy Charlie Akers told the paper. "The man dropped to the ground and other deputies moved in to handcuff him."

That's when authorities discovered that the gun was a Lego toy.
Bad Guys

Gaza under military attack, day 3, in photos

Chronicles of a French photographer, specialist in human rights, in Palestine, Nov. 16, 2012.

Gaza 11.16.12-1
© Anne Paq/
Bad Guys

Oil rig explodes in Gulf of Mexico; 2 missing, others hospitalized

Two workers were missing and 11 were airlifted to hospitals Friday after an explosion and fire aboard an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. Coast Guard said. Earlier reports from local officials said two workers had died, but the Coast Guard could not confirm that.

Rescue crews searched the Gulf some 17 miles southeast of Grand Isle, La., for the missing workers. At least four of the injured are in critical condition, according to Jefferson Parish Emergency Management.

The fire was later extinguished, Coast Guard Capt. Ed Cubanski told reporters, and the platform appears to be structurally sound. Twenty-two people had been aboard the rig at the time of the accident.

The platform was not actively producing oil and a sheen spotted in the water was probably from an estimated 28 gallons of oil that could have spilled when a pipe ruptured, Cubanski said.
Arrow Up

India: Blasphemy backlash

Sanal Edamaruku
© X Index
Catholic groups in India have brought blasphemy charges against Sanal Edamarauku, the country's most prominent rationalist. They may get more than they bargained for, says Caspar Melville.

Sanal Edamaruku is facing up to three years in an Indian jail for telling the truth.

For the past two decades Edamaruku, president of the Indian Rationalist Association, has been spearheading a campaign of de-mystification and public education aimed at undermining the power of the fake gurus and God-men who still wield considerable power in India. In a never-ending series of rationalist roadshows Edamaruku and his merry band of debunkers have traversed India, setting up on street corners in big cities and small towns. On first glance they are no different from the travelling shows of the sadhus and gurus who criss-cross India performing miracles for cash. The rationalists perform a series of these same "miracles" - coconuts crack open and appear to bleed, beds of nails are reclined on, bodies levitated under sheets, flesh pierced without blood. Once the crowd is sufficiently enraptured, the curtain is dropped, and Edamaruku's team explain that each miracle is a trick, and how that trick is performed. When they pack up, they leave ordinary Indians inoculated against the tan-tricks and supernatural claims of the fakirs, and better informed about basic scientific processes. "What may look like Sunday entertainment for children," Edamaruku says, "is nothing less than breaking the little hook on which the god-men's enormous power, and the fate of their victims, hangs."

In recent years the roadshow has moved into the TV Studio. Edamaruku has become something of a star, the hardest working man in the debunking business - last year he estimates he did 200 appearances. He is usually called on to pour cold water on supernatural claims. In one famous instance, the "Great Tantra Challenge" of 2008, he challenged the self-styled guru Pandit Surinder Sharma to prove his claim that he was so powerful he could kill with the power of his mind. After several hours of trying to kill Edamaruku he was forced to withdraw, utterly deflated.

Alongside vanquishing charlatans Edamaruku delights in debunking miracles - revealing the mundane scientific processes that lie behind these supposed supernatural events. The statue of Ganesh that actually drinks milk? No, capillary action as the stone dries. The coconut that rolls by itself compelled by mystical force? Nope, there's a mouse inside. A statue of Christ dripping holy water? Sorry, it's just a leaky tap.

Paralyzed veteran sues airport, airline workers for mistreatment at O'Hare, left to soak in own urine

Sgt. Joseph Smith

Sgt. Joseph Smith
A former U.S. Marine, who was left in a wheelchair following his service in Afghanistan, is filing a lawsuit alleging he was injured and left soaked in his own urine after he was mistreated by airline and airport workers at O'Hare International Airport nearly two years ago.

WBBM Newsradio's Terry Keshner reports former Marine Sgt. Joseph Smith was wounded in Afghanistan in 2004, and confined to a wheelchair.

Smith is suing Air Serv Corporation and United Airlines for $300,000 in damages, claiming an Air Serv employee carelessly dumped him out of his wheelchair at O'Hare in November 2010, after ignoring warnings a wheel had become stuck.
Heart - Black

Man cuts off girlfriend's nose for refusing sex


Florida - A man was arrested for cutting almost all of his girlfriend's nose off after she refused to have sex with him, Fort Lauderdale Police said.

Ricardo Salamanca, from Plantation, faces a charge of aggravated battery causing bodily harm and remains in jail on $75,000 bond on Wednesday. It wasn't immediately known if he had an attorney.

On Oct. 28, the victim was taken to North Broward Hospital for surgery to have her nose reattached.

"The victim's nose was severed down to the sinus cavity where the victim's nose was only attached by a thread," the complaint affidavit said.

The woman identified Salamanca as the person who did this to her, authorities said.