Society's Child


Protesters Arrested at Iowa Wells Fargo

© unknown
Add ten more Americans to the list of non-CEOS who've gone to jail since the start of the financial crisis. On Monday afternoon, police arrested ten protesters at the office of Wells Fargo in downtown Des Moines, Iowa, among them a former Methodist minister, a Vietnam veteran, several unemployed Iowans and at least a couple of family farmers.

Former minister Stephanie Simmons, who was arrested Monday, explained her actions shortly after her arrest: "I love democracy and my concern, among other things, is the outrageous salaries and bonuses the bank executives are making when there are people just hanging on by their fingernails."

Simmons lives in Guthrie Center, Iowa (population ca. 1,500). Her congregation of about 130 people supports twenty-seven families with food and other supplies every month.

"Our food banks have run short. Giving in the congregation is at an all-time low because people just don't have the money. Children are short of school supplies." Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf needs to take a look, said Simmons. "Take a look at what you're doing. If you have a conscience at all, you need to take a look."

Comment: That "if" is the key word in that sentence, and the sad truth is that most CEOs and Wall Street employees are psychopaths, and they do NOT posses a conscience.

Des Moines, Iowa, is the national headquarters of Wells Fargo's Home Mortgage division. "Wells Fargo's mortgage office here in Iowa is making billions in profits every year by kicking hardworking families out of their homes and they aren't even paying taxes on their ill-got wealth," said Kenn Bowen, a Vietnam veteran and retired communications worker from Winterset, Iowa, another arrestee. "That ain't right. Wells Fargo should be broken up into smaller, community banks that will put people before profits."

Does Facebook's Zuckerberg Have Too Much Power?

Google (GOOG), LinkedIn (LNKD), Zynga (ZNGA), and, coming soon, Facebook (FB): four companies among the "new breed," where shareholders have effectively no rights other than the chance to ride along with the founders. This model - taking shareholder money without actually surrendering any power - isn't new, but it's becoming more brazen.

In light of Facebook's S-1 (which explicitly states that Mark Zuckerberg has the right to bequeath his voting control to whomever he so chooses) and Google's recent stock split (which actually increased the controlling interests of its founders), it seems there's a growing trend of business founders have their company and selling it too.

"There's a generational shift, where a lot of innovation is coming from young people," says Michael Eisenberg of Benchmark Capital, pointing out that Zuckerberg was 19 years-old and the Google guys were in their early 20's when starting their companies. "They have a pace of innovation which is fundamentally different from most of the corporations we see in America or the world today."

The people with the ability to innovate have all the power. These entrepreneurs are exercising that power by issuing shares as a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. Investors have no obligation to buy shares, but if you do it's on the company's terms.
Heart - Black

Dangerous booby traps found on popular Utah trail

the Utah County Sheriff's Department shows Benjamin Rutkowski
© AP Photo/Utah County Sheriff Department
In this undated photo provided by the Utah County Sheriff's Department shows Benjamin Rutkowski, 19, of Orem, who was booked Saturday into the county jail for investigation of misdemeanor reckless endangerment. A Forest Service law enforcement officer with military experience discovered trip wires for booby traps at entrances of a crude shelter made of dead tree limbs in Provo Canyon, said Utah County Sheriff's Dept. Sgt. Spencer Cannon.
Salt Lake City - A deadly booby trap rigged along a popular Utah trail could have killed someone if they had tripped a ground wire set up to send a 20-pound, spiked boulder swinging into an unsuspecting hiker, authorities said Monday.

Another trap was designed to trip a passer-by into a bed of sharpened wooden stakes, authorities said.

Two men arrested over the weekend on suspicion of misdemeanor reckless endangerment told authorities the traps were intended for wildlife, but investigators didn't believe the story.

The suspects built a dead-wood shelter as a possible lure for hikers who could step inside only through the two booby-trapped entrances, Utah County sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon said.

Toddler Terrorist: TSA threatens lockdown over 4-year-old girl

toddler terrorist
© photo/Facebook
Meet Isabella Brademeyer: the 4 year-old, 'gun-smuggling high security threat'
The much-maligned Transport Security Authority (TSA) is once again in hot water after it accused an innocent four-year-old girl of attempted gun smuggling as she hugged her grandmother in the security zone.

­In a Facebook post that has since gone viral, Michelle Brademeyer describes the story of her family being detained as potential terrorists by the TSA on a flight out of Wichita, Kansas. The TSA is responsible for screening passengers as they board and disembark from planes.

Brademeyer was passing through security checks with her mother and her small daughter, Isabella. When the older lady triggered the metal detector, and was told to go for a pat-down, Isabella ran over to and briefly hugged her grandmother.

The TSA immediately said Isabella would now also have to undergo a pat-down, in case the grandmother passed contraband to her during the hug.

When the child shouted "I don't want to," the TSA declared Isabella a "high security threat," and said that they would close down the airport if she moved.

Extreme Differences Found In Hospital Fees

Man on Hospital Bed
© RedOrbit
What would you expect to pay to have your appendix removed if so needed? $1,500? $182,000? How about any amount in between? A new study shows that hospital charges are all over the map when it comes to such procedures, and most people are left in the dark when it comes to medical costs, reports ABC News.

Researchers of the study, published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found wide variations in charges for medical procedures even among appendectomy patients treated at the same hospital.

One such procedure, performed on Augustin Hong, a then-34-year-old financial professional living in San Francisco, cost a staggering $60,000. Hong, who went to the ER with severe abdominal pain, was diagnosed with acute appendicitis, and subsequently had his appendix removed by doctors.

Hong had not worried too much about the cost of the procedure because he had health insurance. But that all changed when the bills started to arrive. "That's when I got nervous," said Hong, who is now 36.

In all, Hong was charged $59,283, including $5,264 for the doctors. According to the Healthcare Blue Book, that figure is six times the fair price for an appendectomy in Northern California ($8,309, which includes a four-day admission).

"My initial thought was, it was a good thing I had insurance," said Hong. But he soon realized the hospital was not in his insurance network. And while the insurer agreed to pay more than half of his bill, Hong was still left with a $23,000 bill.

The researchers, as well as other healthcare experts, said the results aren't unique to California and show the system is definitely broken.

Occupy movement targets Wells Fargo meeting in San Francisco

© Christie Smith/
Protesters accuse Wells Fargo Bank of predatory lending and other practices that caused the financial crisis during a protest on April 24.
Several hundred protesters marched to Wells Fargo Bank headquarters in San Francisco Tuesday planning to disrupt the company's annual shareholder meeting, and police took positions around the building, NBC Bay area reported on Tuesday.

"A tax dodger and predatory lender, Wells Fargo Bank has corrupted democracy by quadrupling spending on lobbying since they helped cause the financial crisis," according to the web site for Occupy Wall Street, which advertised the event.

The demonstration is part of the rebirth of the Occupy movement this spring after many protesters took a hiatus for the winter.

Police were stationed around the Merchant's Exchange Building in the financial district in advance of the 1 p.m. meeting, The Associated Press reported. Bank stockholders were asked to show certificates or other proof of ownership before being shepherded through the gates, AP said.

Fall Guy? Feds make 1st arrest in BP oil spill case

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Justice Dept. makes 1st arrest in BP oil spill; ex-engineer accused of obstruction of justice

A BP engineer intentionally deleted more than 300 text messages saying the company's efforts to control the Gulf of Mexico oil spill were failing, and that the amount of oil leaking was far more than what the company reported, the U.S. Justice Department said Tuesday.

In the first criminal charges related to the deadly explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig in April 2010, the Justice Department arrested Kurt Mix and charged him with two counts of obstruction of justice for allegedly destroying evidence sought by federal authorities, officials announced in a statement.

The charges came a day before a federal judge in New Orleans was to consider a motion granting preliminary approval of a $7.8 billion civil settlement between BP and a committee of plaintiffs in a civil case. Shrimp processors have raised objections, saying the settlement does not adequately compensate them.

Iranian Oil Industry Hit with Cyber Attack

© Houston Chronicle/
An Iranian oil refinery.
Oil industry computers taken off-line

Much of the world's oil comes from the Middle East. If those oil-producing nations were somehow unable to conduct operations, it would be a huge blow to the global economy. Reports claim that the Iranian oil industry has been hit with a large cyber attack. Iran has disconnected computer systems at a number of its oil production facilities from the web in response to a cyber attack that occurred over the weekend.

Reuters reports that a source at the National Iranian Oil Company told it that a virus had been discovered in the control systems at the Kharg Island Oil terminal. That oil terminal handles most of Iran's crude oil exports. Other computer systems at Iran's Oil Ministry and its national oil company were also hit by the attackers.

A spokesman for the oil ministry Ali Reza Nikzad-Rahbar claims that the attack didn't cause significant damage and that the worm used in the attack was discovered before infecting systems. Iran has offered no details on exactly what worm or malware was used in the attack and the oil facilities were allegedly disconnected from the Internet simply as a precaution.

This isn't the first time that Iran has been attacked by cyber criminals. In 2010, the country was the main target of the Stuxnet worm, which was found to be targeting Iran's uranium enrichment program. SecurityWeek also reports that Iran was attacked by the Duqu worm and the country bolstered its cyber defenses after those attacks.

"Iran's Revolutionary Guard claims to have created a "hack-proof" network for all sensitive data," blogged Chester Wisniewski, senior security advisor at Sophos Canada. "I have yet to see a hack-proof network and if they have convinced themselves it's true, perhaps that is part of the problem...One thing is clear, whether you are an oppressive regime, or simply an average small business, anyone who depends upon the internet will face malware threats and hacking attempts."

Nuclear Famine Report: Limited Nuclear Exchange In One Of World's Regions Would Trigger Mass Global Starvation After Slashing Chinese, U.S. Food Production

© Unknown
More than a billion people around the world would face starvation following a limited regional nuclear weapons exchange (such as a clash between India and Pakistan) that would cause major worldwide climate disruption driving down food production in China, the U.S. and other nations, according to a major new report released today by International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) and its U.S. affiliate, Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR).

Dr. Ira Helfand, the author of Nuclear Famine: A Billion People at Risk--Global Impacts of Limited Nuclear War on Agriculture, Food Supplies, and Human Nutrition, said: "The grim prospect of nuclear famine requires a fundamental change in our thinking about nuclear weapons. The new evidence that even the relatively small nuclear arsenals of countries such as India and Pakistan could cause long lasting, global damage to the Earth's ecosystems and threaten hundreds of millions of already malnourished people demands that action be taken. The needless and preventable deaths of one billion people over a decade would be a disaster unprecedented in human history. It would not cause the extinction of the human race, but it would bring an end to modern civilization as we know it."

Comment: Perhaps we should consider that more than a billion people around the world would face starvation following a limited cometary bombardment as well:

Tunguska, Psychopathy and the Sixth Extinction
Meteorites, Asteroids, and Comets: Damages, Disasters, Injuries, Deaths, and Very Close Calls
Wars, Pestilence and Witches


Felony for Stealing $1 Cup of Soda: Florida Man Charged With Felony for Allegedly Stealing $1 Cup of Soda From McDonald's

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A Florida man was arrested and held on $6,500 bond after police in Collier County said he left a McDonald's without paying for a cup of soda valued at $1.

Mark Abaire, 52, had apparently asked staff at the Naples restaurant for a courtesy cup of water, but instead he allegedly filled the cup with soda from the soda fountain and sat outside of the restaurant, according to a story in the Naples Daily News which cited the police report of the Thursday incident.

Abaire allegedly refused to pay for the soda when he was asked to do so, refused to leave the restaurant and cursed at the manager, the Naples Daily News also reported.

Abaire, whose aliases include "Red" and "Clown," has a long list of prior arrests, according to records from the Collier County Sheriff's Department.

He was charged with petty theft, trespassing and disorderly intoxication after the Thursday arrest, and sent to Collier County jail. Petty theft is usually a misdemeanor, but because Abaire has previous convictions for theft, the charge was upgraded to a felony. The trespassing and disorderly intoxication charges are misdemeanors.