Society's ChildS


John Paul II notes published in defiance of pontiff's last wishes

© AFP Photo
A controversial book of John Paul II's personal notes hit stores in Poland on Wednesday, compiled by his personal secretary in defiance of the late pontiff's dying wish that they be destroyed.

Titled "I'm Very Much in God's Hands", the 640-page book delves into often obscure theological notions penned by Karol Wojtyla between 1962 and 2003, before and during his papacy.

An enigmatic passage from March 1981 mentions sinful Catholic clergy, but stops short of revealing whether the pontiff had in mind the wave of paedophile offences involving priests.

"Don't the sins of bishops and priests burden Christ with a greater cross, than those of others?" says one entry by the late pontiff, who will be canonised as a saint in April just nine years after his death.

John Paul had asked his trusted aide, Monsignor Stanislaw Dziwisz, that the notes be burned after his death.

But Dziwisz, who is now cardinal, said he felt it would be "a crime" to destroy them, sparking criticism and shock that he would ignore the pope's last wishes.

Bizarro Earth

Why is it that the more technologically advanced society becomes, the longer hours most people have to work?

© OJO Images/Rex Features'JS Mill advocated a gospel of leisure, arguing that technology should be used to curtail work time as far as possible.'
Our society tolerates long working hours for some and zero hours for others. This doesn't make sense

The focus of conventional employment policy is on creating "more work". People without work and in receipt of benefits are viewed as a drain on the state and in need of assistance or direct coercion to get them into work. There is the belief that work is the best form of welfare and that those who are able to work ought to work. This particular focus on work has come at the expense of another, far more radical policy goal, that of creating "less work". Yet, as I will argue below, the pursuit of less work could provide a route to a better standard of life, including a better quality of work life.

The idea that society might work less in order to enjoy life more goes against standard thinking that celebrates the virtue and discipline of hard work. Dedication to work, so the argument goes, is the best route to prosperity. There is also the idea that work offers the opportunity for self-realisation, adding to the material benefits from work. "Do what you love" in work, we are told, and success will follow.

But ideologies such as the above are based on a myth that work can always set us free and provide us with the basis for a good life. As I have written elsewhere, this mythologising about work fails to confront - indeed it actively conceals - the acute hardships of much work performed in modern society. For many, work is about doing what you hate.

Bad Guys

Skinny Puppy band demands $666,000 from US government after learning their music was used in Gitmo torture

© zimpenfish / FlickrSkinny Puppy performing live at the London Astoria
Canadian electro-industrial band, Skinny Puppy, has invoiced the US government for $666,000, after its music was used at the Guantanamo Bay prison facility as an instrument of torture.

The band says its music has been played at the Guantanamo base in Cuba as part of the interrogation process for detainees. The facility was set up in 2002, in the wake of the 9/11 US terrorist attacks.


Bosnia rocked by third day of anti-government unrest

© Unknown. "People shouldn't be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people."
Protesters set fire to a government building and clashed with riot police in Bosnia on Friday in a third day of unrest over high unemployment and two decades of political inertia since the country's 1992-95 war.

Demonstrators smashed windows and set fire to the offices of the local government in the northern town of Tuzla, while in the capital, Sarajevo, police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse a crowd of several thousand.

Protests were called for Friday in towns and cities across Bosnia, in a sign of growing anger over the lack of economic and political progress since the country broke from Yugoslavia in the early 1990s and descended into war. More than one in four of the country's workforce were out of a job in 2013.

Eye 2

More zombies: 250-pound naked man 'high on drugs' shot dead by police after biting teenager's face‏

The assailant has been identified as 28-year-old Anesson Joseph of West Palm Beach
Newly released cellphone video shows the moment a 6-foot 250-pound man on a rampage was shot dead by police officers when Tasers failed to subdue him.

Delray Beach resident Robert Friskney was trying to get into his neighborhood Tuesday night when he saw the entrance blocked off by police who were trying to calm 28-year-old Anesson Joseph.

He says Joseph was acting like an animal, even growling, before he lunged at police officers and they shot him with a Taser.

Sheriff's deputies said Joseph appeared to be in a 'state of psychosis' and he continued fight so they had no choice but to shoot him.

Paramedics tried to treat Joseph at the scene but he continued to resist.

He was eventually taken to Delway Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Prior to the shooting, Joseph had been terrorizing the suburban neighborhood, carrying out random street attacks on two men and a 10-year-old boy.

Comment: See also:

Is Solar and Cosmic Radiation Playing Havoc With Life on Planet Earth?


French comedian Dieudonné: Anti-Semite or Pro-Human?

Dieudonné, a 'purveyor of hate', apparently...
French comedian Dieudonné M'Bala M'Bala is invaribly described as an anti-Semitic, racist, extreme-right, neo-Nazi, bigot by the French government, Special Interest groups, and the international media.

But is he really? Let's have a listen to his core message...


Sochi 2014: Hystericized U.S. warns airlines 'toothpaste bombers' may target Olympics

The US has warned airlines with direct flights to Russia that explosives hidden in toothpaste tubes could be smuggled onto planes.

The Department of Homeland Security's warning comes on the eve of the Winter Olympics' opening ceremony in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi.

It said it shared relevant information with partners at home and abroad "out of an abundance of caution".

But it was not aware of any specific danger to the US at this time.


Psychologist explains that "affluenza" is junk science

burning money
© Getty Images

Last week, 16-year-old Ethan Couch was sentenced to 10-years probation for killing four people and critically wounding two while drunk driving. Although the prosecution sought prison time, the defense argued that Couch himself was a victim and presented psychologist G. Dick Miller to testify that Couch was suffering from "affluenza" - that he lived such an extravagant, materialistic, consequence-free life that he was unable to understand or control his behavior. This is perhaps the first time having too easy a life has been considered a mitigating circumstance. The sentencing has naturally inflamed people's opinions.

Affluenza, in fact, is not a recognized illness. It is not in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association. As a clinical psychologist, I've never before seen a mental health practitioner try to diagnose someone with affluenza. And there is practically nothing in the research literature about it. In the computerized database PsychINFO, the term affluenza is mentioned only 7 times (as opposed to over 101,000 for the recognized illness schizophrenia). Most of these seven were mentions or reviews of books published in the non-academic press. The only empirical research on affluenza was a 2010 study by Peter Lorenzi and Roberto Friedman in the Journal of Behavioral and Applied Management. The authors found little evidence for an affluenza epidemic sweeping America.

Snowflake Cold

Standing Rock Sioux woman dies during propane shortage in sub-zero temperatures

North Dakota mobile home
© AP Photo/The Bismarck Tribune, Tom StrommeThis Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 photo shows the Fort Yates, North Dakota mobile home where Debbie Dogskin was found dead Tuesday morning with an empty propane tank.

A Standing Rock Sioux member died from hypothermia, authorities believe, due to lack of heat during a propane shortage that recently prompted the tribe to declare a state of emergency. Nearly 90 percent of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation's residents use propane to heat their homes, reported

Debbie Dogskin's adult son, who resided with his mother in the Sioux Village mobile home on the outskirts of Fort Yates, called an ambulance when he found her unresponsive early Tuesday.

When emergency responders arrived, Dogskin's propane tank was empty, and the temperature inside her home matched that of outside, 1 degree below zero. Her portable heater also appeared to be broken, Sioux County Sheriff Frank Landeis told

An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday, with results expected on Friday, Tribal chairman Dave Archambault told

Lack of propane and frigid temperatures have significantly impacted the Midwest, and the problem is exacerbated on the Standing Rock Reservation plagued by poverty and housing issues. Many tribal members can't afford propane, which has nearly doubled in price per gallon. But costs are expected to decrease soon, Mike Rud, North Dakota Petroleum Marketers Association president, told


Savvy Texas 6-year-old rescued after telling a stranger she was kidnapped

© KHOU-TVThis 6-year-old was kidnapped but informed a Target customer and was safely returned to her mother. The suspect in her kidnapping was later apprehended by police.
A 6-year-old was savvy enough to use the opportunity in a store restroom to tell a customer she had been kidnapped, leading to her rescue from her abductor and putting the man who confessed to the crime behind bars. But the story of how he was arrested has an unexpected twist.

Houston police say the 6-year-old, Kelly, was snatched Wednesday afternoon at the apartment complex where she lives. The girl's mother was unloading the car, while the girl was looking at ice near the fence of the parking garage. That's when 23-year-old Joaquin Ramos allegedly pulled up his Jeep Cherokee near the girl and walked toward her. According to police, Kelly tried to run away but was grabbed and put in the car. It's not clear based on the police report how much the mother saw of the incident, but she tried to run after the Jeep and was unable to stop it.

Just after 4:10 p.m., the man and the girl were at a local Target store when he allowed her to go to the restroom by herself. That's where the 6-year-old told another customer she had been kidnapped. The customer informed Target employees, who took the girl into their care and contacted the police. The abductor had left the store by the time police arrived.

According to KTRK-TV, the girl was not injured but was examined at Texas Children's Hospital as a precaution.

Later on Wednesday, police obtained security footage from Target's cameras and released images of the suspect.