Society's ChildS


What's going on with the economy?

sinking economy
© coto2

There's a very good post over at Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis today. ("US in recession right here, right now") Blogger Mike Shedlock makes the case that the economy may already be in recession. It's all matter of whether if one uses the the consumer price index (CPI) or the the BEA's measure of price inflation to make their calculations. There's a fair amount of technical jargon to wade through in the article, but the charts are pretty persuasive and--if nothing else--they reinforce most people's suspicions that the economy is getting worse by the day.

It's too bad we don't have a financial media that's willing to explain what's going on in simple terms (like Mish), but we don't. Instead, we're deluged with daily datapoints that have little meaning to the average working slob who just wants to know whether he's going to have a job tomorrow or if the company he works for is going to pack-it-in and head for Shandong Province.

Monday's report on consumer spending is a perfect example of how the media distorts the news to create a cheery narrative of "economic recovery". Here's a clip from Bloomberg:
"Consumer spending climbed more than forecast in July as Americans dipped into savings to buy cars and cool their homes, showing the biggest part of the economy is holding up.

Purchases rose 0.8 percent, the biggest gain since February, after a 0.1 percent decline the prior month, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median estimate of 74 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a 0.5 percent increase. Incomes grew 0.3 percent, pushing the savings rate to a four-month low.

Industry data showed autos sold at the fastest pace in three months as supply constraints from Japan's March earthquake began to ease, while outlays on services, which includes utilities like electricity and gas, climbed at the fastest pace since December 2009."

Heart - Black

China: Eight Children Hurt in Shanghai Day Care Attack

© Agence France-PresseEight children have been hurt after a staff member at a day care centre for the children of migrant workers in China's eastern city of Shanghai went on a stabbing spree, local media said
Eight children were hurt on Monday when a staff member went on a stabbing spree at a day care centre for migrant workers' children in the Chinese city of Shanghai, local media said.

The female worker used a box cutter to slash at children aged between three and four years old at the "Little Happiness Star" nursery in an eastern suburb of Shanghai, the Xinmin Evening News said on its website.

"Adults and children were all screaming 'Help'," it quoted one witness as saying.

The incident was the latest in a series of violent attacks against children that have forced the authorities to increase security and brought calls for further investigation into the root causes of such acts in China's schools.

The suspect, who is believed to have suffered from psychiatric problems, has been detained by police, the newspaper said. Her name was not given.


Canada, North Slave Region: Futuristic 'Airships' Planned for North

© unknown
Yellowknife, British companies sign tentative deal for aircraft that can land almost anywhere

A British manufacturer hopes to build a fleet of airships for Yellowknife's Discovery Air to supply remote communities and enterprises in the North, the two companies say.

The futuristic giant blimps from Hybrid Air Vehicles would cost $40 million each, Discovery Air Innovations, a Quebec-based subsidiary of Discovery Air, announced after signing a tentative deal with HAV.

The aircraft use a mix of non-flammable helium and air power to fly and can land on almost any surface, HAV says on its website.

They'll be able to carry up to 50 tonnes of cargo to mining camps and remote communities, HAV says.

Stuart Russell, the vice-president of a Yellowknife mining logistics company, suggests northern transportation is a challenge just waiting for solutions.

Magic Wand

US, Montana: Rare Fortune Teller Discovered in Ghost Town Prompts Big Offers from Copperfield, Collectors

© The Associated Press / The Canadian Press / Michael Albans In this July 28, 2011 photo, a visitor sits outside the Gypsy Museum which houses an antique Gypsy fortune teller machine, in Virginia City, Mont., and has received multimillion dollar offers from curators including magician David Copperfield. Collectors say the 100-year-old machine that speaks your fortune may be the last of its kind.
The Gypsy sat for decades in a restaurant amid the Old West kitsch that fills this former gold rush town, her unblinking gaze greeting the tourists who shuffled in from the creaking wooden sidewalk outside.

Some mistook her for Zoltar, the fortune-telling machine featured in the Tom Hanks movie Big. Others took one look at those piercing eyes and got the heebie-jeebies so bad they couldn't get away fast enough.

But until a few years ago, nobody, not even her owner, knew the nonfunctioning machine gathering dust in Bob's Place was an undiscovered treasure sitting in plain sight in this ghost town-turned-themed tourist attraction.

The 100-year-old fortune teller was an extremely rare find. Instead of dispensing a card like Zoltar, the Gypsy would actually speak your fortune from a hidden record player. When you dropped a nickel in the slot, her eyes would flash, her teeth would chatter and her voice would come floating from a tube extending out of the eight-foot-tall box.

Word got out when the Montana Heritage Commission began restoring the Gypsy more than five years ago, and collectors realized the machine was one of two or three "verbal" fortune tellers left in the world.


Family of dismembered 8-year-old sue child's murderer for $100 million

levi aron
© Getty ImagesLevi Aron admitted to the brutal homicide

In a gesture that is more symbolic than punitive, the family of Leiby Kletzky has filed a wrongful death suit against the child's admitted kidnapper and killer Levi Aron.

The slain boy's father, Nachman Kletzky, is seeking more than $100 million in damages from the psychopath that abducted his son as he walked home from day camp last month, later smothering the child.

A civil suit filed with the Brooklyn Supreme Court states that Leiby Kletzky:
was terrorized, physically and psychologically assaulted and injured, and was murdered and his body dismembered, with parts of his body hidden in a refrigerator.


California, US: Man Accused of Throwing Son Off Cruise Boat

© Orange County Sheriff’s DepartmentSloan Briles
It was a pleasant afternoon aboard a sightseeing cruise around California's scenic Newport Harbor until the unthinkable happened - a man threw his crying 7-year-old son overboard during an argument in front of shocked passengers, authorities said.

Sloane Briles, 35, was taken into custody for child endangerment and resisting arrest, Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino said.

"The father hit him several times and then threatened to throw him overboard if he didn't stop crying," Amormino said. "The crowd on the boat became very angry at the father for hitting the kid and extremely angry when he threw him overboard."

Authorities said Briles appeared to have been drinking. He was released Monday and couldn't immediately be reached at a number listed for him in Irvine.

Light Sabers

US: Adult children's 'bad mothering' lawsuit dismissed

Raised in a $1.5 million Barrington Hills, Ill., home by their attorney father, two grown children have spent the last two years pursuing a unique lawsuit against their mom for "bad mothering" that alleges damages caused when she failed to buy toys for one and sent another a birthday card he didn't like.

The alleged offenses include failing to take her daughter to a car show, telling her then 7-year-old son to buckle his seat belt or she would contact police, "haggling" over the amount to spend on party dresses and calling her daughter at midnight to ask that she return home from celebrating homecoming.

Last week, at which point the court record stood about a foot tall, an Illinois appeals court dismissed the case, finding that none of the mother's conduct was "extreme or outrageous." To rule in favor of her children, the court found, "could potentially open the floodgates to subject family childrearing to ... excessive judicial scrutiny and interference."


US: Soldier Sought in 4 Deaths Found Dead in Pennsylvania

© AP Photo/Warwick Township Police DepartmentLeonard John Egland.
An Army officer suspected of killing four people in Pennsylvania and Virginia was found dead in a wooded area Sunday after a manhunt during Tropical Storm Irene's winds and drenching rains paralyzed residents in this Philadelphia suburb.

Hours after he fired at several officers, wounding two of them, the body of Leonard John Egland, 37, of Fort Lee, Va., was found around 3:30 p.m. in this Bucks County community, said Warwick Township Police Chief Mark Goldberg.

The police chief said Egland had a gunshot wound but he would leave it to the coroner to determine whether it was self-inflicted.

Egland's body was found several hundred yards behind a Lukoil gas station where authorities say he had fired a semiautomatic rifle at SWAT team members who discovered his truck and found him before dawn in a trash bin. The officers chased him into the woods but lost him as the storm raked the area, Goldberg said.

"It was bad," he said. "Weather conditions were horrible and it was a very dangerous situation."


Gulf Air plane skids off runway in India

© Associated PressThe flight was carrying 137 passengers
A Gulf Air plane has come off the runway at Kochi airport in the southern Indian state of Kerala, injuring at least seven passengers.

The flight, coming from Bahrain, was carrying 137 passengers and six crew. An inquiry has begun into the accident.

Officials say the runway is closed and several flights have been diverted.

Reports said some passengers jumped down from the aircraft in panic through the emergency door even before the ladder was brought to the flight.
'Jumped too soon'

"The Gulf Air flight GF270 deviated from the runway at 0355 [2225GMT] this [Monday] morning," news agency Press Trust of India (PTI) quoted airport director ACK Nair as saying.


Arizona, US: Unexplained power outages cause one man concern for his families health

Power outages can be life-threatening with this extreme Valley heat.

It's especially troublesome for the elderly or people with medical conditions.

One Valley man emailed the ABC15 Investigators about unexplained overnight blackouts over a few weeks.

He's mostly concerned because he and his daughter have asthma and need cool temperatures to breathe well.

"It's almost like a drowning feeling and that's what happened the last three weekends for me," he remembered.

The man says it happened on three recent and consecutive Saturday nights.

He says the power was off for a total of about eight hours, and the whole neighborhood was affected, including street lights.