Society's Child


Democratic National Convention to Leave Hundreds Homeless

© Agence France-Presse/Getty Images/Mario Tama
As the Republican National Convention takes off in Tampa, the upcoming Democratic National Convention is in the spotlight over skyrocketing accommodation prices that are forcing many low-income Charlotte families out of the motels where they live.

Unemployed and low-income Charlotte residents often live in cheap motels - sometimes with whole families occupying a single room. And as the upcoming DNC prompts motel costs to rise, some motel residents will have no choice but to check out.

"I work all day for $60," Eric Jones, who predicts that each night in his motel room could end up costing his full daily income, told the Los Angeles Times. "Why am I going to pay $60 for a room? Then I won't have enough to spend on food or anything."

But a room at the Sunset Inn, which is usually priced between $35 to $40 a night, will increase to $250 a night during the DNC, reports. On average, Charlotte's room prices will increase by 109 percent during the convention. Homeless advocacy agencies predict that the number of people without a place to stay could rise significantly as a result.

To prevent the displaced from living on the streets, groups affiliated with the Homeless Services Network have raised $20,000 to help pay for housing. Part of this money will go directly to the expected 100-plus at-risk families to help them pay the increased motel costs. The fund will also pay for a shelter at the Salvation Army, rooms in a congregational shelter and transportation to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools for children.
Cowboy Hat

Fear and Loathing in Tampa: A Gonzo Guide to the Republican National Convention

republican convention
© Ryan Sealock
As Republicans prepared to renominate Richard Nixon for president, gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson had a crank-fueled moment of clarity inside his Miami Beach hotel room.

"This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves," Thompson wrote in his classic Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72. "We are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable."

Within 24 months, after shredding the Constitution and carpet-bombing Cambodia to hell, Nixon sneaked out of the White House like the "drooling red-eyed beast" Thompson had known him to be all along.

Now, 40 years later, the Republican National Convention is returning to Florida. On August 30, Mitt Romney will don a sleek suit and flash his Vaseline smile to a sea of pale-skinned delegates in Tampa. He will compliment the city on hosting the $123 million four-day orgiastic event. And he will implore the crowd to obey the banners hung from the rafters: "Believe in America."

Black-Market Tiger Skins Found in Russia

Tiger Skins
© WWF Russia
These Siberian tiger skins were recovered in a raid in Russia.
Authorities say they have seized eight Siberian tiger skins in a sting operation in Russia, a grim recovery hinting that black-market demand for the big cats remains high.

Acting on a tip, local police raided a home in Arseniev, a tiny city near Russia's border with North Korea, where they found the eight skins, including the hides of four cubs, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). A suspect, whose name has not been released, was taken into custody, WWF officials said.

A preliminary investigation indicated that the suspect was engaged in illegal trade in the Chinese market, according to the conservation group. And there were clues that more than just these eight cats were killed. While no skins of nursing female tigers were found, one of the skinned cubs was suckling, suggesting the baby's mom also may have been killed and sold.

Gas line explodes in Texas, causing fire; one construction worker injured

© NBC News
A gas line exploded near McKinney, Texas, on Tuesday.
A gas pipeline explosion Tuesday in Collin County, Texas, has injured one person, according to local reports.

The fiery blast happened at a construction site along a state highway near McKinney, Texas. Live video from showed flames and plumes of smoke and several pieces of charred construction equipment. The fire caused a power outage and shut down down traffic in the area, according to

McKinney police told Southeast Texas' the explosion happened when a backhoe accidentally hit a 12-inch high-pressure natural gas line, and said one construction worker was hurt.

The worker was transported to the hospital, but no details were immediately available on his condition.

The explosion happened at 8:30 a.m. local time,, a Dallas-Fort Worth news station, said. Power was expected to be restored within about an hour and a half, according to

At about 9:45 a.m., the supply to the gas line was shut down and the fire slowly went out as the gas burned off, reported

No evacuations were ordered.

McKinney is about 30 miles north of Dallas.

Ohio woman raped, severely burned and beaten

It was a quiet Sunday morning as the motorist made his way along a country road in Muskingum County. But what he drove upon spoke of a night of terror and horrible violence.

"I have a woman right here. She's burnt severely. She's been raped, and she's been beat up," the man told a 911 dispatcher.

The woman, he said, was lying in the middle of the road, naked and scorched over much of her body and with a rope around her neck.

She can be heard moaning on the tape.

"We need a medic," the man says.

The dispatcher asks the man whether the victim can give her name.

He replies that she's so injured, "I can barely understand her."

Seven minutes after the 8:34 a.m. call, the same man calls 911 again, imploring the medics to get there quickly because "she's a mess."
Arrow Up

Rape victims are More - not less - likely to get pregnant

Representative Todd Akin of Missouri made two mistakes when he claimed "From what I understand from doctors, it's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down."

His first mistake was linguistic. The term "legitimate rape" is an oxymoron. "Legitimate rape" does not exist. End of story.

His second mistake was believing the "doctors" who gave him the idea that the female body can "shut the whole thing down." (According to the LA Times, the "doctors" was one Jack C. Wilke, a prominent anti-abortionist physician and past president of the National Right To Life Committee.)

But is there evidence to support this claim? After all, in some species, females do have the ability to rid their body of unwanted semen. Chickens, for example. Researchers at the University of Sheffield studied this phenomenon in flocks of free-ranging chickens. The scientists found most sexual interactions between roosters and hens are coerced. (I was not surprised; I used to raise chickens.) I was surprised, however, to learn that hens had the ability to eject sperm from their reproductive tracts. Further, hens are choosy about it. The researcher found that hens were much more likely to eject the semen of low-ranking "forced copulators" than the rapists at the top of the social hierarchy who presumably have better genes. In spiders, this is called "sperm dumping."

New Jersey city fires entire police force

© Reuters/Shannon Stapleton
Camden Police Cruiser
One of America's most dangerous cities is planning to eliminate its entire police department, laying off all 270 of its cops.

The city of Camden has been struggling with a budget deficit for years. In 2011, it was named the poorest city in New Jersey. In an attempt to save millions, its officials decided to get rid of the entire city police force. Instead residents of Camden will have to rely on the new police department, which will be operated by Camden County. And here is the secret for saving money - the new Metro Division of the Camden County police will not have collective bargaining.

"This is a creative way to break a union and break the financial obligations you have to a union," Scot DeCristofaro, spokesman for the Camden Fraternal Order of Police, told National Public Radio.

Camden city officials say that the transition is necessary to be able to afford the costs of making the city safer.

Family friend held after I. Tennant, 5, found dead in trash can

© Tennant Family Photo
Five-year-old Isabella Tennant was found dead after going missing from her home in Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Two teenagers charged in connection with the death of a five-year-old New York girl whose body was dumped in a trash can were expected to make their first court appearance since their arrests.

Authorities said a 16-year-old and Tyler Best, 18, were scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday morning in Niagara Falls City Court. An autopsy of the body of Isabella Tennant was also scheduled.

(NBC News Digital did not name the youngest defendant because of his age)

The arrests came after Best went to police Monday morning and led them to a garbage can containing a trash bag holding Isabella's body. Best told them he had helped the younger teen dispose of it after the boy had killed her, police said.

Making the world safe for freedom and democracy: All-American junk food invades Iraq

Winning formula: First you traumatise them with sustained bombing campaigns, torture centers and death squads, then you insert new happy memories by dishing out no-bid contracts to corporations that will hook them up to a lifetime of chemical addiction. Yay for the American Way!
Baghdad's embattled residents can finally get their milkshakes, chili-cheese dogs and buckets of crispy fried chicken. Original recipe or extra spicy, of course.

A wave of new American-style restaurants is spreading across the Iraqi capital, enticing customers hungry for alternatives to traditional offerings like lamb kebabs and fire-roasted carp.

The fad is a sign that Iraqis, saddled with violence for years and still experiencing almost daily bombings and shootings, are prepared to move on and embrace ordinary pleasures - like stuffing their faces with pizza.

Iraqi entrepreneurs and investors from nearby countries, not big multinational chains, are driving the food craze. They see Iraq as an untapped market of increasingly adventurous eaters where competition is low and the potential returns are high.

'We're fed up with traditional food,' said government employee Osama al-Ani as he munched on pizza at one of the packed new restaurants last week. 'We want to try something different.'
Arrow Down

Sasquatch Stun Takes a Tragic Turn

A man dressed in a military-style "Ghillie suit" who was attempting to provoke a Bigfoot sighting was struck by two vehicles and killed on U.S. 93 South of Kalispell Sunday night.

"He was trying to make people think he was Sasquatch so people would call in a Sasquatch sighting," Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Jim Schneider said. "You can't make it up. I haven't seen or heard of anything like this before. Obviously, his suit made it difficult for people to see him."

The Flathead County Sheriff's Office identified the man as Randy Lee Tenley, 44, of Kalispell.

Schneider said Tenley's motivations were ascertained during interviews with friends who were not in the immediate area but were nearby when the man was struck at about 10:30 p.m.

"Alcohol may have been a factor," Schneider said. "Impairment is up in the air."

Tenley was on the southbound side of the highway, about a half mile south of the highway's intersection with Rocky Point Road.

"He was in the right-hand lane of travel and the vehicle was unable to avoid him and struck him," Schneider said of the first vehicle driven by a 15-year-old girl from Somers.

A second vehicle driven by a 17-year-old Somers girl also struck Tenley as he laid on the highway.

Ghillie suits are commonly used by military snipers and some that are advertised on the Internet have a Bigfoot-like appearance.

"This one was a store-bought version, just a commercial Ghillie suit that was pre-made," Schneider said.

Tenley was pronounced dead at the scene.