Society's Child


"No snitching' Trend Ignored By Fed Up Residents

Hunting Park resident Darnell Mann still remembers the day last summer when a shootout at the corner store at North 27th and West Sterner streets brought a bullet flying into the living room of his home.

"The store next door, the whole glass of the front door was shot out and the bullet went into the wall adjacent to my house," he said. Pockmarks in the aluminum siding and a hole ripped through the blinds are tangible scars that daily remind him of the violence. "I have security bars on my front window, so a bullet ricocheted off that and came into my living room, where my granddaughter plays at, and kind of fell on the floor." His daughter and granddaughter have since moved out of the neighborhood, fearing for the child's safety.

Corn Madness: A Russian Immigrant's View of Collapsing America

Another guest post. Translated from the Russian by Your Humble Narrator. It's a letter sent in by one young, once optimistic Russian who finds himself marooned in some blighted Boston exurb in southern New Hampshire.

Dear Dmitry,

I hope you don't mind that this is in Russian. I think that this way I can be more completely honest. I am a relatively recent graduate of one of the many faceless post-Soviet institutions of higher learning, with a degree in philosophy. Last year I moved to the USA and married an American woman.

The question of when the modern capitalist system is going to collapse has interested me since my student years, and I have approached it from various directions: from the commonplace conspiracy theories to the serious works of Oswald Spengler and Noam Chomsky. Unfortunately, I still can't fathom what it is that is keeping this system going.

Padre Pio Shrine in South Jersey Gains Reputation for Miracles

Padre Pio Shrine_1
© Dave Griffin
Bonnie McCann, from Galloway, tell a story of a 47 year old cancer patient that recovered from an infection after touching a Padre Pio Relic at the start of the Wednesday evening Rosary at the Padre Pio Shrine in Landisville.
Buena Borough - Hundreds gathered Wednesday night at the roadside shrine to St. Padre Pio, as they do every week.

A brother in a long beard and a brown robe spoke about faith over the roar of passing motorcycles. Attendees bowed their heads, some rubbing rosary beads. Others waited in line to touch the glove relic.

Marie D'Andrea, who founded the shrine, travels to local hospitals with the relic, which she claims brings miracles. She received the glove, which she said was worn by the Italian monk, from a priest during a trip to Italy.

"He said, 'This glove is worth more than your life. You need to really take care of it.' So I'm on top of it," she said. "I'm never going to get another one like it. And we've had so many healings from it."

She keeps a book filled with pictures and letters of claimed healings, which she calls the miracle book.

Bonnie McCann, of Galloway Township, spoke to the group about her most recent experience with the relic. Her friend, a 47-year-old man, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It was removed and he developed infections. McCann asked D'Andrea if they could bring the relic to the man.

"As true and loving as she is, Marie said, 'Where is he? Let's go right now,'" McCann told the group.

The man was in Philadelphia, so D'Andrea let McCann take the relic herself.

"I was so honored and I felt so blessed, because quite honestly Marie couldn't tell you my name, but she knew my face," McCann said.

China coal mine gas explosion kills 19 miners and traps dozens

© AFP/Getty Images
Rescuers prepare to head to search for survivers at the coal mine near Panzhihua.
A gas explosion at a coal mine in south-west China has killed 19 miners and trapped dozens more, state media has reported.

The Xiaojiawan coal mine in Sichuan province's coal-rich Panzhihua city exploded on Wednesday evening with 152 miners inside, Central China Television (CCTV) said. Rescuers recovered the bodies of 16 miners who died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Three other miners died at a hospital after being pulled to the surface, CCTV said. It did not provide details on the cause of death of those miners. CCTV said 28 miners remained trapped.

Owners of Zhengjin Industry and Trade, the company that owns the mine, were in police custody for investigation, the Panzhihua city government said in a statement posted online.

Connecticut house explosion kills one, injures two

One man was killed and two others were critically injured after an apparent propane explosion at a home in Connecticut Wednesday.

Police said the homeowner, John Wilkinson, 46, called his friend, Anthony Fratino, 47, to help fix a propane leak in the water heater in the basement of his home in New Milford, Conn.

The explosion happened around 6:40 p.m., according to reports.

Fratino was killed instantly, officials said. Wilkinson and Fratino's 9-year-old son, Nicholas, who was at the home at the time, were rushed to Danbury Hospital in Danbury Conn., with severe lacerations and burns.

Nicholas, police said, will soon be transported to a hospital in Boston, more than 150 miles away.

Homeland Security Is Planning To Release Bacteria Into Boston's Subway System?

© Lawrence Livermore
This is the strain of bacteria that will be released — it's called Bacillus subtilis.
Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate will be conducting tests of a new bioterror sensing system in Boston's Subway system soon. After the subways close at night, a team of researchers will release dead bacteria, of the species Bacillus subtilis, which is non-toxic and doesn't cause disease even when alive.

This common, food-grade bacterium is found everywhere in soil, water, air, and decomposing plant matter.

They will use the dead bacteria in a simulated biological weapon attack at several stations to test a new set of bioterror sensors. They will use the sensors to monitor the spread of the bacteria through the air in the subway tunnels over the next six months to see if these contractor-created technologies are up to snuff.

Feds Trumpet Alleged LulzSec Hacker's Arrest

Federal authorities have arrested an accused member of the LulzSec hacking group, 20-year-old Raynaldo Rivera of Tempe, Arizona, after indicting him on charges related to a 2011 computer attack waged against Sony.

Rivera surrendered to the FBI on Tuesday after a grand jury indictment finalized on August 22 was unsealed. If convicted on the charges of conspiracy and unauthorized impairment of a protected computer, Rivera faces as much as 15 years in prison.

Using the online handles "neuron," "royal" and "wildicv," Rivera allegedly participated in a LulzSec-sponsored hack of Sony Corp's Sony Pictures' computer systems. On his personal Facebook page, Rivera describes himself as, "just your common computer geek."

By means of a SQL injection attack, the FBI says River assisted in the LulzSec operation that involved illegally accessing the personal records of 37,000 account holders, according to the company, then publishing the information.

"Why do you put such faith in a company that allows itself to become open to these simple attacks?" the group said in a press release last June. Authorities say the Sony hack cost the company upwards of $600,000.

LulzSec, short for Lulz Security, waged a 50-day-long rampage of hacks and other computer attacks last year before unexpectedly calling it quits in June. Later that fall, authorities announced that the alleged ringleader of the group, 28-year-old Hector Monsegur of New York City, aka Sabu, had been arrested in the midst of the crime spree and had been working as an FBI informant in the months since. The FBI confirmed his cooperation in September to coincide with the announcement that other alleged LulzSec members had been arrested around the globe thanks in part to Sabu agreeing to snitch to the feds in exchange for leniency in regards to his own sentencing.

100-Year-Old Driver Hits 11 Near Los Angeles School

© The Associated Press/Mark J. Terrill
A young victim is transported by firefighters after a car driven by a 100-year-old Preston Carter went onto a sidewalk and ploughed into parents and children outside a Los Angeles elementary school.
Los Angeles, California - The screams of women and children didn't cause a 100-year-old driver to stop as he backed his large powder blue Cadillac onto a sidewalk across from an elementary school and hit 11 people, including nine children.

So people began pounding on his windows screaming for him to stop, a witness said.

Alma Solache said she was buying her children an afterschool snack Wednesday just before the accident outside a South Los Angeles school.

"He was not paying attention," said Solache, 24, adding that it was at least two or three seconds before the vehicle halted and people began pulling children out from beneath the car.

Four of the children were in critical condition when firefighters arrived but they were stabilized and were in serious condition at a hospital, city fire Capt. Jaime Moore said. Everyone was expected to survive, he said.

Children's backpacks, shoes, candy and loose change were strewn about the scene behind a discount grocery store across from Main Street Elementary.

Police said the driver, Preston Carter, was being very cooperative and drugs or alcohol were not a factor in the crash.

Ever Meek, Ever Malleable

I INSTANTLY bought the strip-search. The nude jumping jacks, too.

But the spanking?

That's the point in the provocative, gripping new movie "Compliance," about the degradation of a restaurant employee, when some people in the audience reportedly shake their heads and walk out.

Like them, I was tempted to reject the plausibility of what was happening on-screen. It's hard to swallow. But Compliance asks questions too big - and too relevant to a political season of grandiose persuasion and elaborate subterfuge - to be dismissed or ignored. Although it's playing in just nine theaters nationwide for now, it deserves a higher profile, broader notice and a viewing from start to finish.

It's an essential parable of human gullibility. How much can people be talked into and how readily will they defer to an authority figure of sufficient craft and cunning? Compliance gives chilling answers.

Made on a modest budget and set during one shift at a fictional fast-food restaurant called ChickWich, it imagines that the manager, a dowdy middle-aged woman, gets a call from someone who falsely claims to be a police officer. (I haven't spoiled much yet but am about to, at least for anyone unfamiliar with the real-life events on which Compliance is based.)

The "officer" on the phone tells the manager that he has evidence that a young female employee of hers just stole money from a customer's purse. Because the cops can't get to the restaurant for a while, he says, the manager must detain the employee herself in a back room. He instructs her to check the young woman's pockets and handbag for the stolen money. When that doesn't turn up anything, he uses a mix of threats and praise to persuade her to do a strip-search. And that's just the start.

Six Found Alive from Missing Indonesia Asylum Boat, 144 Still Missing

© Agence France-Presse/Basarnas
A boat believed to be carrying up to 180 asylum-seekers sails towards Australian waters in July 2012
Sydney - Six people were plucked alive from the ocean by a cargo ship Thursday after an asylum-seeker boat went missing off the Indonesian coast, as hopes faded for the 144 still unaccounted for.

The recovery of the survivors by the APL Bahrain, after nearly a day in the water, came after Indonesian rescuers abandoned their search.

"We have had confirmation that six survivors have been rescued by a merchant vessel," an Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) spokeswoman told AFP, adding that the distress call they received said 150 were on board.

In an update, AMSA said crews at the scene had made sightings of debris, but there were no further reports of survivors or bodies being recovered.

Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) received an alert from AMSA early Wednesday that a boat was in distress between Java and Sumatra, 220 nautical miles from the Australian territory of Christmas Island.

Basarnas sent two police rescue boats and a helicopter but found nothing and returned to base, only for AMSA to task the Bahrain, which responded to an earlier broadcast to shipping, to attend a broader search area.

The captain of the Bahrain said screams and whistles alerted his crew as it scoured the Sunda Strait in darkness.