Society's Child

Snakes in Suits

Co-founder of Rap Genius website fired after praising Elliot Rodger's manifesto

© YouTube
Mahbod Moghadam
The co-founder of the Rap Genius website has been forced to leave the company after he posted offensive commentary praising the 141-page manifesto of alleged mass murder Elliot Rodger.

Rap Genius is dedicated to annotating and interpreting lyrics and other texts, including, in this case,Rodger's manifesto. On Sunday, Mahbod Moghadam began commenting on the quality of Rodger's prose.

Moghadam noted that the sentence "I can recall the first time I said the name on my lips" was "Beautifully written," and that "It was the only time in my life that I would see a girl my age naked" was "an artful sentence, beautifully written."

He even hypothesized that the alleged mass-murder's sister must have been "smokin hot," because Rodger wrote that he "becomes extremely angry when he hears [his sister] having sex with her boyfriend."


To fight police brutality, Albuquerque police promote cop who burned off man's ear

© Albuquerque police department
Commander Tim Gonterman
In a controversial move following protests against deadly force by police in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the department has promoted a commander previously accused of burning off part of homeless man's ear with a taser.

The announcement came Thursday, with the Associated Press reporting that Albuquerque Police Department Chief Gordon Eden said the promotion of both Timothy Gonterman and Anthony Montano would help the force implement reforms outlined by the Department of Justice.

As RT reported previously, police in the area have come under fire for using excessive force in situations where it was deemed unnecessary. In a report on law enforcement's behavior, the Justice Department reviewed 20 fatal shootings between 2009 and 2013, concluding that most of the fatalities were unnecessary and that "systematic change" was needed moving forward.


Veterans Affairs police caused fatal stroke by beating patient 'tired of waiting'

Veterans Affairs police logo
A veteran died of a stroke after Veterans Affairs police beat him because he refused to wait any longer for treatment at a VA hospital in California. Now his widow is suing the government over the brutality that led to his death.

Jonathan Montano had been at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Loma Linda, Calif. for four hours with a shunt (a needle apparatus) in his arm, awaiting dialysis. Tired of biding his time, he decided to head to a different VA hospital in Long Beach, and asked his wife Norma to get the car. But instead of allowing the patient to leave - with the shunt still in his arm so the Long Beach staff wouldn't have to insert a new one - Loma Linda nurses called VA police, who beat him to keep him from leaving, Courthouse News Service reported, citing the lawsuit by Norma Montano.

"The summoned VA Police Department police officers then stopped Jonathan Montano from leaving the VA Hospital in Loma Linda, by tackling him to the floor, slamming his head on the floor, and kneeing and stomping on his neck, and otherwise brutalizing and restraining him," the lawsuit said.

"This kneeing and stomping on his neck by the VA Police Department police officers caused the dissection of his carotid artery, that resulted in immediate (or very soon thereafter) blood clotting, which resulted in [his] suffering a stroke. Moreover, the brutalization of Jonathan Montano resulted in him suffering other serious physical injuries, and associated physical, mental and emotional pain, suffering and distress."

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Homeowners consider moving if fracking begins in North Carolina

© AP Photo/Brennan Linsley
A worker helps monitor water pumping pressure and temperature, at an Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. hydraulic fracturing and extraction site, outside Rifle, in western Colorado.
Sanford - The push for fracking in North Carolina is moving forward.

Last week the state Senate signed off on legislation that would officially end North Carolina's moratorium on fracking next summer.

The Senate voted 35-12 Thursday for the measure that seeks to move the regulatory process for hydraulic fracturing toward its conclusion. The legislation says permits could be issued starting as early as July 1, 2015.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is used by the energy industry to extract oil and gas from rock by injecting high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals.

If the bill passes, Lee County and those around it will be some of the first in the state to see fracking wells because the area is thought to have vast deposits of natural gas.

Supporters say the economics make sense and the process would make the U.S. less dependent on foreign oil.

"I have to stand up and say that the people that I represent who are most effected by a lot of this would like to be able to go forward so they can get the jobs and the bread on the table," said Sen. Ronald Rabin (R-Lee County).

Opponents, however, are concerned about their property rights. Some homeowners also say they're concerned about the potential for contamination to water in the area.

"This whole process has been too fast," said Ed Harris, who lives outside Sanford. "There's not enough study that's gone into it."

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German car manufacturer Audi's predecessor used slave labor of Nazi concentration camp inmates

The logo of German carmaker Audi
The German car manufacturer Audi's predecessor company used slave labor forcing more than 3,700 concentration camp inmates to work under inhumane conditions during the Nazi rule, according to a new study commissioned by Audi as cited by the German press.

The study based on Audi's archives and compiled by historians Martin Kukowski and Rudolf Boch, reveals that the Auto Union's management, the company that evolved into Audi, had very close ties with Nazi leaders. The research was published on Monday under the name "Wartime Economy and Labor Deployment by Auto Union AG Chemnitz during World War II."

The historians discovered that the Nazi SS defence corps built seven labor camps for the sole benefit of the carmaker, dpa news agency reported adding that more than 3,700 concentration camp inmates were forced to work for the Auto union.

The study stressed that the car manufacturer's management bears "moral responsibility" for the conditions at the plant near the Flossenbürg concentration camp in the southern state of Bavaria. It noted that 18,000 prisoners were used for slave labor in the camp and 4,500 died, according to dpa.

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Take a guess at how high the new minimum wage might be in Switzerland after today's vote (UPDATE: voters reject)

© Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images
A woman casts her ballot during a referendum on May 18, 2014 in Bulle, western Switzerland. Swiss voters are to decide in a referendum on May 18 whether to bring in the world’s highest minimum wage, offering each and every worker at least 25 dollars an hour. The Swiss will also be voting on a multi-billion-dollar deal to buy fighter jets from Sweden, and are almost certain to back measures to ban paedophiles from working with children.
UPDATE: 12:00 p.m. ET: It appears the vote will fail.
Swiss voters reject $25 minimum wage
- Circa (@Circa) May 18, 2014
The idea of creating the world's highest minimum wage was criticized by government and business leaders as likely to drive Switzerland's high costs even higher.

The Federal Council was expected to hold a news conference shortly to announce official results.


Elderly Chinese committing suicide to avoid province's looming ban on burials

Father and son stroll by a pile of smashed coffins.
Anhui Province, China, is to ban all burials after June 1.
Anyone who dies after the deadline will have to be cremated.
Officials smash up coffins to drive the point home.

Dozens of elderly Chinese people have been killing themselves to avoid a looming ban on burials.

The elderly suicides want to make sure their deaths are registered before a June 1 deadline, after which Anhui province authorities will close all cemeteries.

Anyone who dies after that date will have to be cremated because, authorities say, cemeteries are taking up too much space.

In order to drive the message home council officials have been visiting funeral parlours and smashing up coffins.

The draconian move has only hastened the rate of suicide as elderly people rush to guarantee one of the few remaining.

The new rules were published on April 1. Regional officials said: 'Before June 1 people can still consign their bodies for burial, but after that the only option offered will be cremation.'

In urban areas it has meant little change, but in rural areas the idea of cremation is abhorrent to many and there has been extreme opposition.

Comment: Statistics report China has an aging population with over nine million burials every year. It is running out of space as urban cemeteries are nearing capacity and prices are skyrocketing for burial plots. The term "grave slave" describes a generation that must work hard simply to afford the the burials of themselves, their parents and ongoing cemetery payments.


Russian budget airline Dobrolet charges $60 for Crimea flights

© RIA Novosti / Press service of Dobrolet
Aeroflot's new budget airline subsidiary Dobrolet is to start flights to Crimea. The airline started offering seats from Moscow to Simferopol at $60 return.

Tickets went on sale on May 26, and within 24 hours 4,000 had been snapped up. The head of Aeroflot Vitaly Savelyev said Dobrolet will fly four times daily between the two cities.

The first flight is scheduled on June 11. The new airline plans to offer seats at least 15-20 percent lower than an average economy class fare with Aeroflot. Like many budget airlines extra services will come at a price, making the maximum fare $135, for the three hour flight.

Dobrolet was granted its operating certificate on May 19, and has available two Boeing 737 NG jets, each able to carry 189 passengers, and a single Russian built Sukhoi SSJ-100 Superjet. By the end of the year the company plans to be operating eight Boeing aircraft. Dobrolet is a wholly owned subsidiary of Aeroflot, which intends to invest $100 million in the venture in the next two years.

According to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, by June 1 Crimea will have direct flights to 30 cities in Russia. Last year it was possible to reach the peninsula from just seven Russian cities. The number of flights will be increased to 330 which is triple the number in 2013.

In the beginning the low cost airline will only fly to Crimea. In March Medvedev asked Aeroflot to involve a cheap carrier in the peninsula transportation program. In the future Dobrolet intends to expand its network of flights to Krasnodar, St. Petersburg, Sochi and Kaliningrad by the end of the year.

Low cost airlines became a possibility in Russia after the State Duma allowed airlines to sell no-refundable tickets, to employ foreign pilots, and to charge for additional items such as food, and baggage handling.

Black Magic

Psychopathic pro-surfer/model proves she's a monster

© Via facebook
A Hawaii woman who bills herself as a professional surfer and model was arrested Wednesday night for attempted murder connected to a road rage incident.

Honolulu police say Jill Anjuli Hansen, 30, tried to kill an elderly woman in Waikiki by running her over with a vehicle, KHON-TV reported. Charges are currently pending.

The elderly woman, identified as 73-year-old Elizabeth Conklin, was hospitalized with serious injuries, including one to her head, after the 30-year-old drove a car into her.

Hansen was about to hit the woman a second time before a maintenance worker at the scene said he picked up a crowbar and smashed her windshield, causing the woman to abandon her car and flee the scene.


Woman wins $650,000 settlement after trigger happy police officer shoots her during a drug raid in the wrong apartment

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A New York woman has reached a $650,000 settlement with Nassau County after a police officer accidentally shot her while investigating a drug case involving her downstairs neighbors.

Iyanna Davis was shot in the breast in 2010 after the officer mistakenly burst into her apartment during a drug investigation, reported Newsday.

The bullet then went through her abdomen and both thighs.

The officer said his assault rifle went off accidentally, and he was cleared of any wrongdoing by an internal police investigation.

Davis was pleased by the settlement and felt that justice was served, her attorney said.

She filed a civil rights suit in March against the county in federal court, and the settlement was reached six days into a trial and before jurors began deliberating.