Society's ChildS


Meet the British Girl Who Dozes Off for 2 Months at a Stretch

A British girl, who suffers from the rare Kleine-Levin Syndrome, is said to nod off to sleep for two months at a time.

Lily Clarke, 21, a student, has slept through university exams, Christmas, New Year and even her own 18th birthday party after falling asleep a few days before.

Her mum Adele, 47, said the condition came on in 2007 after the family went for a meal following a day's ice-skating.

"Before the food arrived Lily had fallen asleep in her chair. We couldn't wake her and had to carry her from the restaurant," the Sun quoted her as saying.


Best of the Web: Inside The LC: The Strange but Mostly True Story of Laurel Canyon and the Birth of the Hippie Generation Part XIX

"This is going to break your heart, but much of the music you heard in the '60s and early '70s wasn't recorded by the people you saw on the album covers. It was done by me and the musicians you see on these walls ... Many of these kids didn't have the chops and were little more than garage bands ... At concerts, people hear with their eyes. Teens cut groups slack in concert, but not when they bought their records."

Hal Blaine, longtime drummer for the Wrecking Crew, quoted in the Wall Street Journal on March 23, 2011
Before moving ahead with the John Phillips saga, I first need to pose an extremely important question to all my readers: is anyone out there in the market for a slightly used, covert film studio? If so, then all you need do is pull about $6.2 million out of your penny jar (though in today's housing market, you might be able to cut a better deal) and Lookout Mountain Laboratory can be yours! And if you act fast, you might be able to get a package deal on the lab and the Hodel house! (the photos in this post are of the lab as it looks today as a converted residential dwelling).

Another item worth noting: as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle on January 28, 2011, "Ron Patterson, the flamboyant, free-spirited creator of the Renaissance and Dickens fairs, died Jan. 15 at a friend's house in Sausalito after an illness. He was 80." As staff writer Carolyn Jones noted, Patterson's creation "was sort of a medieval precursor to Burning Man." And Burning Man is, of course, a rather explicitly occult ritual first performed on the Summer Solstice of 1986 and now performed every summer in Nevada's Black Rock Desert before an audience of 50,000+.

What does any of that though have to do with Laurel Canyon? As we have seen so many times before, all roads on the Conspiracy Superhighway seem to lead to Laurel Canyon: "In the beginning, the Renaissance Faire was an experiment in Mr. Patterson's backyard. In the early 1960s, Mr. Patterson and his wife, Phyllis, who were both interested in theater and art, began hosting children's improvisational theater workshops at their Laurel Canyon (Los Angeles County) home."

One naturally wonders whether aspiring thespian and golden child Godo Paulekas (originally cast, it will be recalled, to play Satan in Kenneth Anger's Lucifer Rising) was involved in those workshops. In any event, there is certainly nothing creepy about children's workshops being hosted in a small, tight-knit community that was home to more than its fair share of pedophiles, so let's just move along.


Starbucks CEO calls for boycott of all campaign donations

Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz is disgusted by the political gridlock in Washington, D.C., and he's fighting back by calling for corporations and individuals to boycott all campaign donations.

In an email to employees (PDF), Schultz expressed his frustrations with Congress. The response was so great that 50 business leaders urged him to call for an all-out boycott of all campaign donations until politicians get their act together.

"The fundamental problem is that the lens through which Congress approaches issues is re-election," he told New York Times columnist Joe Nocera. "The lifeblood of their re-election campaigns is political contributions."


US: 'Cash for kids' judge gets 28 year jail sentence

mark ciavarella
© Mark Moran / The Citizen's Voice via AP Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella.

A former Pennsylvania judge who rendered guilty verdicts in exchange for over $1 million in kickbacks from a for-profit youth rehabilitation center will spend up to 28 years in prison, following his sentencing hearing last Thursday.

Over the weekend, CNN sat down with the mother of one of his victims, a young man who was so distraught by his unjust incarceration that he committed suicide.

"It's justice in the sense that he is going to pay for what we've been dealing with for the last eight years," Sandy Fonzo, the boy's mother, told the network. "True justice, I don't think there could ever be. He'll never live the sentence that I live."

This video is from CNN, broadcast Sunday, August 14, 2011.


Vandals kill, mutilate catfish raised for school project

Vandals killed 31 catfish at Woodland High School near Sacramento that were being raised as part of a Future Farmers of America project.

Several students had been working on a project raising channel catfish to show at the Yolo County Fair this week, the Woodland Record reported.

One student arrived at the campus Sunday morning and discovered all of the fish dead, either poisoned by a liquid herbicide or mutilated.

Bad Guys

Texas, US: Self-Proclaimed 'Vampire' Allegedly Breaks into Woman's Apartment

© KTRKLyle Bensley, 19, is accused of breaking into a woman's apartment on Galveston's Seawall Boulevard.
A Galveston man is under arrest following a bizarre incident in a woman's apartment over the weekend.

Lyle Bensley, 19, is accused of breaking into a woman's apartment in the 7800 block of Seawall Boulevard early Saturday morning. According to Galveston Police Captain Jeff Heyse, Bensley, who was wearing only boxers at the time, hissed and growled at the resident while biting her. The woman managed to get away and called 911.

Bensley was arrested a short time later and reportedly told police he was a vampire. He has been charged with burglary of a habitation, intending to commit a felony. Bond has been set at $40,000.

Captain Heyse said Bensley was referred to a deputy who handles mental health issues.

Heart - Black

US: Jeremiah Lee Wright Decapitated Own 7-Year-Old Disabled Son; Chopped up Body to Spite Mom: Cops

Jeremiah Lee Wright
© Lafourche Parish Sheriff's OfficeJeremiah Lee Wright, 30, is charged with first-degree murder for killing his 7-year-old son, Jori Lirette.
A Louisiana man has been arrested for decapitating his 7-year-old disabled son and leaving his head by the side of a road for his mother to see, cops said.

Jeremiah Lee Wright, 30, told police he did it because he was tired of taking care of the boy, who suffered from cerebral palsy and required a wheelchair and feeding tube, authorities told The Daily Comet newspaper.

The grisly slaying was discovered Sunday afternoon when a passing motorist spotted Jori Lirette's severed head lying by the side of a road in Thibodaux, La., the paper reported.

Alarm Clock

How America Could Collapse

Abandoned factory infrastructure
© UnknownAbandoned factory
A few months ago, a friend in the entertainment industry told me of a new business model in Hollywood: hoarding videotapes. Apparently, the earthquake in Japan knocked offline a Sony factory that makes certain types of tape. That factory was also in the tsunami zone, so now there's a serious tape shortage threatening the television industry. The NBA scrambled to get enough tape to broadcast the NBA finals; one executive told the Hollywood Reporter, "It's like a bank run."

In the last few years, economists have spent a lot of time and energy thinking about bank runs. A bank run happens when depositors think a bank is weak and scramble to get their money out before it collapses. "Tight coupling" of financial institutions, like when banks are overly dependent on each other, can create a cascading series of problems for the system itself. We saw this with Lehman Brothers when it went bankrupt. Its AAA-rated debt instruments lost value unexpectedly; that caused money market funds that held those presumably safe bonds to suddenly lose value. A shadow bank run was the result, as investors rushed to withdraw from the money market funds.

Worryingly, there's been very little consideration of how systemic collapses can happen in another, perhaps more dangerous realm - the industrial supply system that keeps us in everything from medicine to food to cars to, yes, videotape. In 2004, for instance, England closed one single factory, which caused the United States to lose half of its flu vaccine supply.

Barry Lynn of the New America Foundation has been studying industrial supply shocks since 1999, when he noticed that global computer chip production was concentrated in Taiwan. After a severe earthquake in that country, the global computer industry nearly shut down, crashing the stocks of large computer makers. This level of concentration of the production of key components in a globalized economy is a new phenomenon. Lynn's work points to the highly dangerous side of globalization, the flip side of a hyper-efficient global supply chain. When one link in that chain is broken, there is no fallback.


Belarus counting on Russian support to overcome U.S. sanctions

© RIA Novosti. Alexey NikolskyMikhail Myasnikovich
Belarus is relying on support from Russia and Kazakhstan, with which it is building a customs union, to overcome the consequences of U.S. sanctions, Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich said on Monday.

"Russia has always supported the republic of Belarus," he said at a meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Union State of Russia and Belarus. "A united position will make our integration associations even firmer and more reliable. A friend in need is a friend indeed."

The U.S. and the EU imposed sanctions against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, as well as against other officials and companies over a crackdown on the opposition. On August 11, the U.S. imposed additional sanctions against four major Belarusian state-owned enterprises.


Stop Coddling the Super-Rich

Our leaders have asked for "shared sacrifice." But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.

While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as "carried interest," thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they'd been long-term investors.

These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species. It's nice to have friends in high places.

Last year my federal tax bill - the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf - was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income - and that's actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent.

If you make money with money, as some of my super-rich friends do, your percentage may be a bit lower than mine. But if you earn money from a job, your percentage will surely exceed mine - most likely by a lot.