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Sun, 05 Feb 2023
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Texas Courthouse Shooting: One Dead, Four Injured

US - A shooting at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Beaumont, Texas, has left one person dead and four injured, according to the Beaumont Police Department.

Five people were shot, including the gunman. The gunman has been taken into custody, but police have not yet disclosed his identity.

Rod Carroll, a Jefferson County Sheriffs Department deputy, told ABC News the shooting was part of a hostage situation at the courthouse.

A county employee told ABC News' Beaumont affiliate KMBT that the victims were visitors, not courthouse employees.

2 + 2 = 4

Rock Group "Junkyard Prophet" Delivers Controversial Message at School Assembly

US, Iowa - High school students in Dunkerton, Iowa were expecting an assembly about bullying and making good choices. What they got instead was the Christian rap/hard rock band called Junkyard Prophet delivering an anti-gay and anti-abortion rant.

According to the La Crosse Tribune, after the band performed, they separated the girls, boys, and teachers into three breakout groups. "They told my daughter, the girls, that they were going to have mud on their wedding dresses if they weren't virgins," said Jennifer Littlefield, whose 16-year-old daughter, Alivia called her in tears after the event. Reportedly, one of the band members led the girls in a chant pledging purity and encouraged them to be submissive to their husbands after marriage.

The boys were shown images of musicians who died of drug overdoses. A video of the event shows a band member criticizing Elton John and Lady Gaga for encouraging "sexual deviancy" and supporting laws outlawing homosexuality.


Ugandan Gay Rights Group Sues American Evangelist

© unk
A Ugandan gay rights group filed suit against an American evangelist, Scott Lively, in federal court in Massachusetts on Wednesday, accusing him of violating international law by inciting the persecution of homosexuals in Uganda.

The lawsuit alleges that beginning in 2002, Mr. Lively conspired with religious and political leaders in Uganda to whip up anti-gay hysteria with warnings that homosexuals would sodomize African children and corrupt their culture.

The Ugandan legislature considered a bill in 2009, proposed by one of Mr. Lively's Ugandan contacts, that would have imposed the death sentence for homosexual behavior. That bill was at first withdrawn after an outcry from the United States and European nations that are among major aid donors to Uganda, but a revised bill was reintroduced last month.

Mr. Lively is being sued by the organization Sexual Minorities Uganda under the alien tort statute, which allows foreigners to sue in American courts in situations alleging the violation of international law. The suit claims that Mr. Lively's actions resulted in the persecution, arrest, torture and murder of homosexuals in Uganda.


Man stabs 4 near school in Ohio office building

Police say a man who stabbed four people near a technical school in a downtown Ohio office building before being shot by an officer had three knives.

Columbus police spokesman Sgt. Rich Weiner says the suspect confronted one victim in the admissions office of Miami-Jacobs Career College on Wednesday afternoon. He said other people inside intervened and took away one knife the suspect was using.

Weiner says those who intervened didn't realize suspect had a second knife.

He says two of the victims were either students or staff at the college. Two others were outside in the lobby area.

Police say one knife was recovered inside the school, and two knives were found near him outside.

Three male victims are in critical condition, and a fourth man has minor injuries. The suspect is in critical condition.

Heart - Black

3 Canadians Accuse U.S. Border Guards of 'Molestation'

© Brent Foster/Canadian Press
The Ambassador Bridge at the Windsor-Detroit international crossing is pictured in November 2010. Two lawsuits involving three Canadian women were filed Tuesday against female U.S. border agents, alleging aggressive and inappropriate searches.
WARNING: This story contains disturbing details

Three Canadian women filed lawsuits Tuesday alleging "sexual molestation" by American female border guards at the Canada-U.S. border near Windsor, Ont.

Two separate lawsuits were filed, one involving two women travelling together and the other by a woman travelling separately who alleged incidents at the Ambassador Bridge and the Windsor-Detroit tunnel.

Including a similar lawsuit filed by a Stratford, Ont., woman in February 2011, there are now at least four Canadian women accusing border agents of sexual assault at the Canada-U.S. crossing, according to the lawyer for all three cases, Tom Wienner.

"These were not pat-downs or limited personal searches, these were clearly in the nature of sexual molestation," the Rochester, Mich.-based lawyer told CBC News.

Leslie Ingratta, of Windsor, Ont., told CBC News she was heading into Detroit for a shopping trip in January 2011 when she was taken aside for further questioning.


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

"What struck both of us was that there were huge gaps in Houdini's life story and some puzzling inconsistencies. So we embarked on a journey to discover the real man. Early on, we discovered an important connection that most biographers seemed to miss."

From the Introduction to The Secret Life of Houdini, by William Kalush and Larry Sloman, 2006
As noted earlier in this series, there is considerable debate over the question of whether Harry Houdini ever lived in the Laurel Canyon home known locally as the "Houdini House" (the History Channel's Brad Meltzer's Decoded recently aired an episode on Houdini that included a segment filmed at the site, which was unreservedly identified as the former Houdini estate; the series, however, doesn't appear to be overly concerned with accuracy).
© Library of Congress
Harry Houdini, full-length portrait, standing, facing front, in chains in 1899.

Even if Houdini did live in the home that now lies in ruins, his story would seem to have little relevance here. After all, Harry Houdini, widely considered to be the consummate entertainer of his era, reached the peak of his career long before there was a Laurel Canyon - before there was even that magical place known as Hollywood. What then is there to gain through an examination of the life of Harry Houdini? Quite a bit, as it turns out.

What are generally claimed to be the basic details of Harry Houdini's life can be found in countless published biographies and web posts. Born Erik Weisz in Budapest, Hungary on March 24, 1874, he was the fourth of seven children born to Rabbi Mayer Samuel Weisz and the former Cecelia Steiner. The family later changed the spelling of their names and Houdini became Ehrich Weiss, known by friends and family as "Ehrie," which ultimately became "Harry." His stage surname was an homage to famed French magician Robert Houdin.

In mid-1878, Rabbi Meyer, with his five sons and pregnant wife in tow, set sail for America, arriving on July 3, 1878. The family first put down roots in Appleton, Wisconsin before later moving, in 1887, to New York City. Four years later, Houdini launched his career as a magician, at first performing basic card tricks. He had little success and at times would make ends meet by performing in circus freak shows.

In 1893, he met singer/dancer Wilhelmina Beatrice Rahner, known as "Bess," who would become both his wife and lifetime stage assistant. The pair though, performing as "The Houdinis," continued to find success an elusive goal.

To say that Houdini's fortunes changed in 1899 would be a bit of an understatement. As recounted by Kalush and Sloman, "Within months, he had gone from cheap beer halls and dime museums to the big-time - vaudeville. In one year's time, he had gone from literally eating rabbits for survival to making what today would equal $45,000 a week." After finally hitting it big, however, Houdini then did something rather inexplicable - he abruptly sailed off to England to begin a lengthy European tour.


Grim Calculus of Rights of Conscience

© unk
"Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed. Results like these do not belong on the résumé of a Supreme Being. This is the kind of shit you'd expect from an office temp with a bad attitude. And just between you and me, in any decently-run universe, this guy would've been out on his all-powerful ass a long time ago. And by the way, I say "this guy", because I firmly believe, looking at these results, that if there is a God, it has to be a man. No woman could or would ever fuck things up like this. So, if there is a God, I think most reasonable people might agree that he's at least incompetent, and maybe, just maybe, doesn't give a shit. Doesn't give a shit, which I admire in a person, and which would explain a lot of these bad results."
― George Carlin

"Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups."
― George Carlin
I'll let you in on a secret: I'm tired of writing about religion. Honest to gods, I'm tired of it. But every damn subject you care to name has been religion-ized by the GOP. Honestly: try to think of something. Odds are, some conservative has appealed to scripture - even teacher's pay, or how employers should treat employees.

Probably, it will turn out that God is against water saving toilets. Surely Jesus had something to say about that.

And completely without surprise is Jesus' retroactive support for plutocracy. Yes, it turns out the champion of the poor really did have a big ole soft spot for the rich. Guess we've been misinterpreting his comment about the difficulties of rich people going to heaven.

I guess it would be unthinkable today for Jesus to even begin his ministry today without corporate sponsorship. Imagine the Sermon on the Mount, brought to you by Monsanto and its genetically engineered fish and loaves.


RIP Amina: Moroccan suicide triggers Twitter outrage

© unk
16 year old Amina's parents forced her to marry her rapist to preserve their "dignity", she killed herself to preserve her own.

The story of a 16-year-old Morrocan girl who committed suicide after being forced to marry her rapist reverberated through the Arab world on Tuesday.

Amina reportedly ingested rat poison in her hometown Larache, in norther Morocco, on the weekend as a last resort to escape her marriage and the domestic violence she experienced at the hands of her husband.

The girl's plight dates back to a year ago, when she was reportedly raped by a man 10 years her senior. After the incident was reported to authorities, the two families struck a deal in which Amina was married to her rapist to preserve her family's 'honour'. This example of a practice which is still common in some parts of the Arab world struck a nerve with many.


Lyme Disease Proved to be Cause for Tourette-like Symptoms in Le Roy Girl


Keep hearing the same thing over and over, and you will believe anything
Le Roy Mystery Disease Update Video 2/8/2012: Lori Brownell, one of two girls passing through Le Roy New York last summer who started exhibiting the same Tourette-like symptoms as the 12 girls at Le Roy High School, is reported by News Channel 13 WNYT to have contracted Lyme Disease. Lori, the "scholar/athlete" who lives in Corinth New York, was forced due to the illness to "take a leave of absence from school and sidelined from the sports she loves playing - softball and field hockey:"
"I lost out on my junior year. I'm missing out on my life because of this," explained Lori.

But next Tuesday Lori will begin treatment for Lyme disease. It's a tick-borne bacterial illness, which left untreated can lead to neurological problems.

"I was very relieved to hear I have Lyme disease. Not happy to have it, but relief because I can get treatment and start to get better over the next few months," said Lori.

Lori first shared her story with NewsChannel 13 in January and since then has been seen by specialists all over the northeast. The physicians told her the problems could be caused by a strep infection, Tourette's, past concussions and that they were possibly psychiatric in nature.

Lori claims she was even tested for Lyme two years ago, but that she was told bacterial levels weren't high enough to warrant treatment.

Lori's mom, Tosha, wasn't convinced by the previous assessments.

"This is validation. I know what it was about, I'm not giving up for her and I'm not giving up for anybody," Tosha said.

Lori may not be in school, but believes the lessons she's learned these past few months are even more valuable - to never give up and to fight for what you believe in, especially when it comes to your health. read more

Arrow Down

Exploitation of Poor By Human Organ Traffickers

© news.upickreviews.com
A Michigan State University anthropologist who spent more than a year infiltrating the black market for human kidneys has published the first in-depth study describing the often horrific experiences of poor people who were victims of organ trafficking.

Monir Moniruzzaman interviewed 33 kidney sellers in his native Bangladesh and found they typically didn't get the money they were promised and were plagued with serious health problems that prevented them from working, shame and depression.

The study, which appears in Medical Anthropology Quarterly, and Moniruzzaman's decade-long research in the field describe a growing worldwide market for body parts that include kidneys, parts of livers and even corneas.

Moniruzzaman said the people selling their organs are exploited by unethical brokers and recipients who are often Bangladeshi-born foreign nationals living in places such as the United States, Europe and the Middle East. Because organ-selling is illegal, the brokers forge documents indicating the recipient and seller are related and claim the act is a family donation.