Society's Child


Texas high school student finds 'ginormous bugs' in Michelle O's healthy lunch

© Eagnews
Parents knows it can be difficult to get kids to eat their greens, but after an incident at a Texas high school some students may never eat vegetables again.

"There's no way they could've missed (them), picking up a handful of broccoli like they do with their gloves on and not seen these ginormous bugs," Melissa Evans, mother of Caney Creek High School junior Falyn Evans, told Click2Houston.

Falyn Evans and her friend were served the bug-infested broccoli for lunch Monday and the two almost ate the insects before they realized they were there.

"It was kind of strange and gross that we had actually seen it and that it happened to us," she said.

KFOR reports school officials acknowledged the problem in an email to parents that provided very few details.

Officials were "notified this morning of complaints regarding food in the cafeteria," according to the statement Monday.

"Any concerns are taken very seriously and Conroe (Independent School District's) Child Nutrition Department is addressing the situation."

Food inspectors went through the cafeteria food Tuesday and discovered more bugs - the district contends they're aphids - in a batch of frozen broccoli, and believe the infestation was limited to the one batch, KFOR reports.

Comment: Insects are free in Michelle O's 'healthy' lunches


Families heading towards homelessness: UK rental property evictions hit record high

© Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett
Housing campaigners are calling for a drastic intervention in the housing market as the number of individuals being evicted from rental properties is at its highest level since records began.

The latest government figures show the number of evictions in the first quarter of this year rose to 11,307, an increase of 8 percent on the same period in 2014 and the highest level in a single quarter since records began in 2000.

The figures show the level has risen owing to a peak in the number of repossession claims made by landlords in 2014, followed by a lag time while the authorities processed the claims, of which there were 47,000 according to the Ministry of Justice.

Claims have since fallen, with roughly 42,000 during the first quarter of 2015, which suggest a trend that evictions will follow suit next year.

Homelessness charity Shelter said the results were a "glaring reminder" that the price of houses and "welfare cuts are leaving thousands of people battling to keep a roof over their heads."

"Every day at Shelter we see the devastating impact of a housing market at boiling point, with the cost of renting so high that many families are living in fear that just one thing like losing their job or becoming ill could leave them with the bailiffs knocking at the door," Chief Executive Campbell Robb said.

Comment: As the mega-rich mortgage lenders continue to line their pockets, those at the bottom of the food chain suffer.


Family outraged after cop pulls over entire funeral procession for driving too slow

Grieving daughter Rachel Behn-Humphrey arguing with CHP officer
The CHP is under fire this week after one of their finest pulled over an entire funeral procession for driving too slow.

In an ostensible attempt to prevent a traffic problem caused by the procession, the CHP officer caused a far worse problem after having 100 cars stopped along the freeway.

The incident was captured on cell phone video as the family members were embarrassingly detained on the roadside during this somber time.

A uniformed officer was acting as an escort for the procession as the cars drove to Forest Lawn Cemetery when they were stopped by another officer, apparently drunk on power.

"I'm looking and I'm seeing the car my mom was in on the side of the freeway too. That was embarrassing," said Rachel Behn-Humphrey.

Behn-Humphrey said the actions of the CHP cop were outrageous, and he showed no compassion.

"A lot of the family members did not make it to the gravesite," Behn-Humphrey said. "We sat on the side of the freeway so long, they had to go on. I saw some of them drive past."

According to KTLA,
Humphrey has retained an attorney and was demanding a public apology from California Highway Patrol. Her lawyer admits the officer had complete discretion to pull over a traffic escort, but said the incident was handled poorly, and caused the family tremendous emotional distress.

"It exceeds the bounds of all human decency," said family attorney Edward Ramsey. "An officer has the discretion to stop or not stop a funeral procession. If it was me, I would have probably escorted this procession to the burial."

The CHP had not responded to KTLA request for a statement.
What exactly was this officer thinking? Here we have a funeral procession, headed up by a uniformed officer and this other officer felt it was necessary to pull over 100 people for driving too slow. In what world would that be okay?

Police officers pulling people over during the most inopportune of times is certainly not isolated. The Free Thought Project has reported on everything from pregnant women on the way to the hospital being held at gunpoint, to asthmatics in distress dying on the roadside as police ignore their pleas for help.


Ohio cops shoot unarmed man who was skateboarding

image used for illustrative purposes from COPS episode 2733
Police officers in Cincinnati, Ohio are investigating an officer-involved shooting of a man riding a skateboard in the neighborhood of College Hill.

Cincinnati Police Department detectives say that officers had been called to the 6000 block of Hamilton Avenue on Friday, but they have revealed little else about the shooting.

Eyewitnesses, however, say that the man was unarmed and the police had no justification for the shooting. The man in question, they say, was in the process of skateboarding when he was shot by officers.

They say that there were a total of nine shots fired at Camrin Starr, 30, before all was said and done.

Paramedics arrived on the scene shortly thereafter and took the man to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead.

One eyewitness said that someone else ran from the scene after the shooting.

Another eyewitness told local reporters with NBC 5 that this was all initiated by "Citizens on Patrol" officers who were in the area. They did not elaborate on who they saw fire the shots.

Watch the local report

Black Cat

Thousands of criminals including murderers, paedophiles and heroin dealers seek work in British schools

Two people who applied to work in classrooms had been convicted of murder, three for attempted murder and one for soliciting to murder
Murderers, paedophiles and heroin dealers are among thousands of convicted criminals who have applied to work in classrooms across Britain.

More than 16,000 people with criminal convictions have applied to work as teachers, teaching assistants and even heads in the past three years, despite racking up more than 44,000 offences between them.

Criminal record checks reveal the applicants had 22 child sex offence convictions, including two for gross indecency with a girl under 16 and 12 for indecent assault on children.

Another six had made indecent pictures of children, according to data obtained by education newspaper Schools Week.

Two applicants had been convicted of murder, three for attempted murder and one for soliciting to murder.
The figures, which were uncovered by a Freedom of Information request, showed more than 300 had drug-dealing convictions - 30 of them for peddling heroin.

Three were for kidnapping, 28 for indecent assaults on women and another 70 related to arson.

Comment: This underscores the importance of rigid background checks on all people who seek employment in schools, day care centers, and any place where predators have access to children. It is common for those with predatory instincts to find places of employment where they have easy access to those who are vulnerable. Parents need to educate themselves and their children appropriately about these types of people, because that is the only sure way of protecting them from the depredations of these pathologicals. For more information, listen to or read the transcript of our SOTT Talk Radio interview with Dr. Anna Salter, author of the best-selling book, Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, and Other Sex Offenders, Who They Are, How They Operate, and How We Can Protect Ourselves and Our Children.


Human Rights Watch: Mentally ill prisoners suffering abuse in facilities across the US

Human Rights Watch has issued a report stating that mentally ill prisoners are being abused in detention facilities across the US, and that these practices are happening in over 5,000 facilities.
US prison staff use excessive & even malicious force on prisoners with mental disabilities

— Human Rights Watch (@hrw) May 12, 2015
The activist group says inmates are being subjected to unnecessary and excessive use of force, and the problem is widespread.

The report provides details of cases where inmates were shocked with Tasers, and where pepper spray was used against them.

In some cases, prisoners were left in restraint chairs for days, or put in scalding showers.


Arrow Down

Off the rails: Two trains derail days after deadly Amtrak accident

© Reuters/John Altdorfer

A freight train stand idle after a derailment involving at least 10 cars which left the tracks in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania May 14, 2015.
Two U.S. trains slipped off their routes on Thursday, two days after a deadly Amtrak accident near Philadelphia, according to reports.

Parts of a freight train derailed in Pittsburgh on Thursday morning, leaving some cars overturned or detached from their wheels, according to local station WPXI. No injuries were immediately reported.

A minor derailment also took place in South Carolina with no injuries reported, according to Georgia outlet WRDW. The engine compartment of another Amtrak train caught fire in Milwaukee on Thursday afternoon, though no passengers were hurt.

The incidents come as the Philadelphia accident—which left eight people dead and more than 200 injured—places scrutiny on the state of America's infrastructure and railroads.

"If we are going to have safe transportation systems in America, you have to invest in them. You have to keep up with state-of-the-art infrastructure," former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said in an interview with CNBC's "Power Lunch" on Wednesday.

Comment: It looks like everything is coming 'off the rails' in North America lately! Other train derailments over the last several days include:

a train carrying gravel derails outside Pleasanton, Texas

a fiery oil train derailment in North Dakota

a non-hazardous mixed freight train derailing in Cook County

Eight train cars carrying sulphur derailing in Alaska

Gold Coins

UK's richest are 105 times better off than the poorest

© Reuters / Luke MacGregor
The UK'S richest 20 percent have more than one hundred times the wealth of the poorest 20 percent, with the combined household wealth of £9.1 trillion remaining for the most part in the hands of the elite.

New analysis from Lloyds Bank Private Banking revealed that if the combined household wealth was evenly distributed, each family in Britain would have an annual income of £326,414.

But in spite of a rise in household wealth of more than £216,000 in the past 10 years, the increased prosperity appears to remain in the hands of "a growing number of older households," according to Markus Stadlmann, chief investment officer of Lloyds Bank Private Banking.

The analysis shows that individuals, who own property or have invested in pension schemes, have also seen a rise in the level of their personal wealth.

Property has seen the greatest increase in value, with the average house price rising by nine percent in 2014, adding £452 billion to the combined household wealth total.

As well as property, which accounts for 39 percent of total wealth, other assets such as pension pots and life assurance have doubled since 2004, and are now worth £5.5 trillion, or 61 percent of the UK's total wealth.

These encouraging figures, however, don't show the distribution of the UK's increasing wealth. The Equity Trust says 34 percent of the population control the lion's share of the £9.1 trillion, leaving 60 percent without any positive financial assets.

Comment: Last month, a study was published in the British Medical Journal - "Austerity, sanctions, and the rise of food banks in the UK,". The authors, academics from Oxford University, noted that the harsh austerity measures (introduced by the then coalition government) including slashed welfare payments and dwindling public services have caused the rapid spread of food banks across Britain.
When the coalition government came to power in 2010, the Trussell Trust food banks were active in 29 local council areas throughout Britain, according to the report. By 2013/14, however, this number had risen to 251.

Over the same period, the Trussell Trust's rate of emergency food aid distribution had tripled.
Conservative politicians suggested that the trend was not 'symptomatic of growing food insecurity', but was a 'direct result of food charities broadening their operations' and that those who espouse this view say 'more people are merely helping themselves to free food'.

In a joint report published late 2014, the Trussell Trust, the Church of England, Oxfam and the Child Poverty Action Group revealed that those who use food banks are more likely to be "single adults or single parents, live in rented accommodation, suffer unemployment and have borne the brunt of some sort of benefits sanction."

Clearly, despite the pro-austerity rhetoric from Westminster, we are not "all in this together". Having won the recent General Election, the Conservative Party is committed to implementing their manifesto pledge to cut £12bn from welfare, which according to the Oxford report would result in the number of people using food banks to "double to more than two million a year".

Hunger leads to revolution: World Bank warns of food riots


Meteorite? Terrorists? Amtrak train may have been struck before crash

© Reuters/Lucas Jackson
Emergency workers and Amtrak personnel inspect a derailed Amtrak train in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania May 13, 2015.
The engineer who operated Amtrak 188 was qualified and competent, but remembers nothing from the fatal crash, investigators said after interviewing him. The NTSB is now asking FBI help to look into allegations the train was struck or shot at.

Speaking to reporters at the last Philadelphia-based briefing, Robert Sumwalt of the National Transportation Safety Board said his investigators have interviewed the engineer and two other crew members from the Amtrak 188 train, describing them as "traumatized" and not yet fully recovered from their injuries.

One of the conductors testified she had heard an engineer aboard a local SEPTA train reporting "either being hit by a rock, or shot at," and putting his train into an emergency stop with a broken windshield, Sumwalt said. The conductor believes she heard the Amtrak engineer reporting "something about his train being struck by something" as well.

The NTSB has not independently confirmed the information, but investigators have seen damage to the "left-hand lower portion" of the Amtrak train's windshield. The Bureau has asked FBI crime scene teams to examine the Amtrak locomotive, which showed a "circular pattern emanating outward," perhaps caused by an external object.

Sumwalt told reporters that the train's engineer, whom he did not name, felt "fully qualified and comfortable with his equipment, and reported no problems with his train handling." The media have identified the man as Brandon Bostian of New York.

Bostian did not feel tired or ill, and "when asked, he demonstrated a very good working knowledge of the territory, speed limitations, things like that."

The investigation will proceed to reassemble the wreckage and examine the braking mechanism, compare the damage to the cars to computer models, and await the results of medical tests administered to the engineer, as well as the FBI examination of the windshield. Sumwalt declined to offer any preliminary conclusions or speculation as to what might have caused the derailment of Amtrak 188 on Tuesday evening.

Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman posted an open letter to the company's website on Thursday, saying it was working with the individuals and families affected by the crash to "help them with transportation, lodging, and of course, medical bills and funeral expenses."

"Amtrak takes full responsibility and deeply apologizes for our role in this tragic event," Boardman wrote.

Eight passengers died in the crash and more than 40 remain hospitalized. There were 243 people on board, including five Amtrak crew workers. Security camera footage showed the train entering a sharp turn at over 100 mph in a 50 mph zone. NTSB investigators say the train operator had applied emergency brakes and reduced the speed from 107 mph to 102 before the train jumped the track.

Amtrak continues to run trains north of New York City and between Washington, DC and Philadelphia, but the Philadelphia-to-New York route remains suspended. The railroad's Northeast Corridor, between Washington, DC and Boston, carries 12 million passengers a year.


Arizona activists protest Israeli firms militarizing border of U.S. and Mexico

© Bob Torrez
On May 2, a few miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, just north of Nogales, on Tohono O'odham land, a group of activists unveiled a banner of protest in front of a new surveillance tower, manufactured and operated by the Israeli company Elbit Systems. The group came to bring border justice, indigenous rights and power, and anti-militarization movements together with the Southern Arizona BDS Network to confront the Israeli/US partnership that is militarizing the US/Mexico border with increasingly profound effects on the people of this region. As is the normal case for residents who live and work in this hyper-militarized border zone, on our excursion to the tower, it didn't take long for a U.S. Border Patrol agent, on an all-terrain vehicle, to speed up and rush toward our group, asking us what we were up to—and asking us to leave.

Comment: Is it any surprise that the U.S. and Israel, purveyors of oppression and destruction, would collaborate on such measures?