Society's Child


Why indie bookstores are on the rise again

The recent news of the opening of an independent bookstore on Manhattan's Upper West Side was greeted with surprise and delight, since a neighborhood once flush with such stores had become a retail book desert. The opening coincides with the relocation of the Bank Street Bookstore near Columbia University, leading the New York Times to declare, "Print is not dead yet - at least not on the Upper West Side."

Two stores don't constitute a trend, but they do point to a quiet revival of independent bookselling in the United States. They also underscore the shifting sands of physical bookselling, where the biggest losers are not - as was once assumed - the independent booksellers, but rather the large book chains.

Comment: Thankfully, it seems that some people are still hungry for knowledge. While independent bookstores definitely fill a need, unfortunately, many books revealing the reality of our existence still can't be found there. For more information on those, have a look at these links:
Political Ponerology (A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes)
The Secret History of the World and How to Get Out Alive
Comets and the Horns of Moses
Earth Changes and the Human Cosmic Connection: The Secret History of the World - Book 3


Suicide drug: New anti-obesity pill to help curb appetite of 78 million Americans

© Getty images
US regulators have approved a weight-loss drug called Contrave, the third type of such prescription medication introduced in over 10 years, despite carrying some possible heavy side-effects of its own.

Contrave, which won its official stamp of approval this week from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is being trumpeted as the latest wonder treatment in America's seemingly endless quest to shed weight.

However, the drug is not without possible health risks.

Produced by Orexigen Therapeutic Inc, the weight loss medication is a cocktail of two drugs, naltrexone, which is used in the treatment of alcohol and narcotic addiction, and bupropion, an antidepressant, also prescribed to people who want to quit smoking.

The FDA said the drug is approved for treatment of individuals who are considered to be clinically obese.

However, because the pill contains an antidepressant, the FDA said Contrave would carry a warning about the "risk of suicidal thoughts" when taking the medication. Experts point to the potentially hazardous drug combinations for users who may be taking other pharmaceutical drugs in addition to the new pill.
Contrave, Newest Weight Loss Option: FAQ
- WebMD (@WebMD) September 11, 2014
"Physicians prescribing these brain medications have to review patients other medications because they're frequently on antidepressants and there's an interaction," Dr. Ronald Tamler of Mount Sinai Hospital's diabetes center told AP.

Comment: Naltrexone is an opiate-blocking drug that can cause mental depression, or other mood and cognitive changes. It also can have an amphetamine effect on the body which will certainly curb your appetite. It's been reported to cause anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, or it can make you tired.

Bupropion is the generic name for Wellbutrin. Wellbutrin has been shown to cause seizures, hallucinations, hostility, thrill-seeking behavior, unexplained fear and anxiety. It also doesn't work!
  • Slap on the wrist: GlaxoSmithKline fined $3bn for laundering drugs they know won't cure you through doctors bought and sold for
  • A drug recall that should frighten us all about the FDA
Bupropion is also sold under the name Zyban which has been linked to suicides:
  • Suicide Warnings Required for Anti-Smoking Drugs
A better way to lose weight and improve your mood is to ditch the carbs and increase the fat. Carbs, once metabolized by the body, are essentially sugar and sugar is what makes you fat.
  • Low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet fuels rapid weight loss
What on earth is so wrong with being overweight anyway!? To get a better understanding of the social programming behind the idea, read Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Loss--and the Myths and Realities of Dieting


Detroit: 8 people shot, 2 killed in apparent family feud after prayer vigil

© Mike Campbell/WWJ Newsradio 950
Detroit police say a prayer vigil on the city's west side turned into a deadly family feud with several people shot, a car wreck and multiple suspects under arrest.

"It appears we have eight people shot; two in custody, fleeing the scene; five in custody at the hospital that, instead of going to show support, decided to act stupid - we had to lock them up; and we have three weapons we've recovered," Detroit Assistance Police Chief Steve Dolunt told WWJ's Mike Campbell.

The situation unfolded just before 2 a.m. Friday after a prayer vigil near Patton and Kendall streets, in a neighborhood near Outer Drive and I-96.

As the vigil was wrapping up, a vehicle drove by and a gunman opened fire on the group of people standing outside. At least eight people were struck by gunfire; one man was killed.

Maurice Westley lives behind the house where the shooting took place.

"There was a short intermission and then I heard a different type of gun going off. People were screaming and yelling and banging on doors. The shots went off, back and forth for like five minutes, or even longer," he said. "It's a mess but I'm not surprised at all, not in this neighborhood."

When officers arrived on the scene, a vehicle was speeding away from the home. Police pursued the vehicle for about two miles until it crashed into a fire hydrant and front porch of a home at Burt Road and West Chicago Avenue, near Rouge Park.

Police say a woman in the vehicle was ejected and declared dead at the scene. Another passenger who was in the back seat of the car is hospitalized in critical condition. Two other passengers were arrested.

State troopers ambushed outside police barracks in Blooming Grove, PA

PA shooting bloomington grove
Two Pennsylvania State Police troopers shot late Friday night, one fatally, were ambushed just outside the police barracks in Blooming Grove, Pennsylvania, Commissioner Frank Noonan told reporters.

Investigators were interviewing a "person of interest" Saturday morning, but no arrests had been made, state police spokeswoman Trooper Connie Devens said.

Earlier, Noonan said police had no description of the shooters or any information about the motive. But Noonan said "this attack seems to be directed particularly at the Pennsylvania State Police."

The shooting happened at 10:50 p.m. Friday night.

One trooper died in the shooting. Another was wounded, had surgery and is in stable condition, Noonan said.
Black Cat

Man cooked his ex-girlfriend's Pomeranian, fed it to her, then texted her to ask how it tasted before placing the dog's paws on her doorstep

© Redding Police Department
Man bites dog: Ryan Wantenpaugh, 34, allegedly cooked his ex-girlfriends dog then fed it to her
A Northern California man has been arrested after his ex-girlfriend said he cooked her dog and fed it to her.

Ryan Watenpaugh, 34, of Palo Cedro was arrested on Thursday on charges of stalking and animal cruelty.

He remains jailed on Friday.

Watenpaugh's ex told police he had repeatedly struck her while they were dating and that after one assault, she left her Redding apartment and returned to find her Pomeranian, 'Bear,' missing.

USA Today reports that the woman said she suffers from bruises and minor cuts after the assaults and she claims that she was twice held against her will while she was trying to escape him.

Police say the couple briefly reconciled last week and Watenpaugh cooked the woman a meal and she ate it thinking it was like any other meal.

But she told police he later texted her and asked how her dog had tasted.

On Tuesday at around 1 a.m. the woman heard a truck pull up to her residence and she saw Watenpaugh walk to her house and place a mysterious object on her doorstep.

He also allegedly texted the woman about what terrible things he planned to do with the dog's remains and said that he would return its paws to her

When she went outside, she saw two of the dog's paws outside her door.



Navy pilot missing after two jets crash in Western Pacific

© Reuters/David McNew
F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets
Two US Navy F/A-18 Hornets have crashed in the western Pacific Ocean, the US Navy has confirmed. One pilot has been rescued, while the second is still missing.

"Two F/A-18 Hornets from Carrier Air Wing 17 embarked on the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) crashed at 5:40 p.m. local time, today, while operating at sea in the western Pacific Ocean," said a statement from the US Navy.

© Unknown
Light Saber

Israel's Unit 8200 refuseniks: 'You can't run from responsibility'

40 soldiers in Unit 8200
© Hazem Bader/AFP/Getty Images
More than 40 soldiers in Unit 8200 sign a letter accusing the military of "abuses" in Palestinian and refusing to serve An Israeli soldier carries a computer unit seized from a factory in Hebron during a search operation for three Israeli teenagers believed kidnapped by Palestinian militants
Transcript of interview with three members of Unit 8200 in which they explain why they refuse to work in Palestinian territories

Three signatories of the Israeli military intelligence refusenik letter agreed to be interviewed by the Guardian to discuss what motivated their concerns. They are all members of Unit 8200 - known in Hebrew as Yehida Shmoneh-Matayim - Israel's largest signals intelligence gathering unit, active both abroad and in the Palestinian territories.

All three are now on the active reserve list and have said they will not do reserve service relating to the occupied Palestinian territories. Of the three, "A", aged 32, and Nadav, 26, are sergeants, while "D", 29, is a captain.

By agreement with the letter's signatories, material relating to specific claims regarding the unit was provided in statements that they chose to disclose to the Israeli military censor. In face-to-face interviews they agreed to discuss what motivated them to sign the letter, declining to discuss specifics.

Below is a transcript of the Guardian's interview conducted earlier this week in collaboration with several other media outlets. It has been lightly edited for repetition, brevity and sense. Two minor amendments were made at the request of the soldiers to clarify meaning.

How did you organise the letter?

D: For a couple of months friends [have been] joining and [it's been] growing slowly ... most of them are still active. We've been thinking about it for maybe a year.

It was a difficult dilemma. We were worried that this action would be seen only as a response to the war in Gaza and it is important to us to make it clear this is about the 'normal' situation [of the occupation].

A: We didn't want it to be interpreted only in this context. We decided before the recent war to do this. For me there wasn't any particular trigger. It was a long process of realising ...

When people talk about the role that intelligence services play in non-democratic regimes usually their hair stands on their back a bit and they shudder.

And that's not the way I thought about the military service that I did [at first]. It was a gradual realisation that this was me [as well]. That I was playing that role. That made me see in a different light what I've done and take this action.

I still feel very committed to how I was raised, and that's what makes it so difficult. I still feel part of [Israeli] society.

N: I think because we are part of [Israeli] society is the reason [that] we are doing it. It is not an act against everything that is done ...

A: We feel it as an act of taking responsibility for the things we take part in. But we also see it as part of a deep concern for the society we live in. We're not trying to break away from it or anything like that.
Piggy Bank

Frustration mounts as many American expats are being dropped by U.S. and foreign banks due to FATCA legislation

© Clint McLean
American expat Judith Furukawa, who lives in Dubai, has run into problems with U.S. bank accounts, as financial firms adapt to government policies meant to prevent money laundering and tax evasion.
Americans Overseas Struggle With Implications of Crackdown on Money Laundering and Tax Evasion

Americans living abroad are being cut off by banks and brokerages as financial institutions seek to steer clear of a U.S. crackdown on money laundering and tax evasion.

The traditional challenges of expatriate life - adapting to a new culture, separation from family and friends - are being complicated by the tougher U.S. laws and more aggressive scrutiny of customer accounts.

It isn't what William Hart expected when he moved to Berlin from North Carolina nearly four years ago. This spring, the 24-year-old e-commerce analyst said he was rejected for an online brokerage account by Deutsche Bank, although he has a checking account there and worked as an intern at the company. In addition, a smaller local bank turned him down for an online checking account, and he says Wells Fargo, his U.S. bank, closed his brokerage account when it learned he lives in Germany.

The German banks gave U.S. regulatory changes as the reason, he said. A spokeswoman for Deutsche Bank and a spokesman for Wells Fargo declined to comment.

"I seem to exist in a no-man's-land," said Mr. Hart. "Can it really be that expats are facing such massive obstacles in basic financial matters?"
Mr. Potato

Senator Ted Cruz booed off stage by Christian group for supporting Israel

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)
© Reuters/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)
Texas Senator Ted Cruz was apparently caught unawares by the intense political leanings of an audience he addressed in Washington, D.C., when he spoke out in defense of Israel.

Cruz, a Republican presidential hopeful, is not the sort of politician who's used to being booed. Yet that's exactly what happened when he appeared as keynote speaker at a dinner gala held by the newly founded organization, In Defense of Christians, a group devoted to persecuted minorities in the Middle East.

The Tea Party favorite, who led a government shutdown last year over funding for Obamacare, triggered a rumbling in the audience Wednesday evening when he spoke out in favor of the alliance between Christians and Jews.

"Tonight, we are all united in defense of Christians. Tonight, we are all united in defense of Jews." he said. "ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, state sponsors like Syria and Iran, are all engaged in a vicious genocidal campaign to destroy religious minorities in the Middle East."

Police officers in India charge unlikely suspect with coercion and intimidation: A 10-month old baby

© Unknown
They're starting early.

The BBC reports that police officers in rural Uttar Pradesh, India, charged a baby with coercion and intimidation. The child, whose name is Nazim, is somewhere between 10 months and one year old.

Though it may seem that the baby was charged accidentally, the case is not one of mistaken identity.

During the lead-up to local elections, officers made a list of suspected trouble-makers to round up; both Nazim and his father were named on the list.

As the Times of India reports, the officers felt that Nazim and his cronies would try to intimidate voters.

Officers delivered the summons to the family on Saturday. A senior police official in Moradabad, however, has said that the baby is in the clear.

"We have taken the matter very seriously and are ensuring such incidents do not happen in the future," the senior police official said, noting that the two officers involved were suspended on Thursday.

As the BBC reports, recent years have seen at least two other cases in which kids aged 6 or younger were booked on serious charges. A 9-month old was charged with attempted murder in Pakistan earlier this year.