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Thu, 08 Jun 2023
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America's ghost malls

Randall Park Mall
© architecturalafterlife.com
Randall Park Mall, North Randall, Ohio

Shopping malls are not meant to be sinister. And, yet, in 1977, George A Romero chose to film sequences of Dawn of the Dead, his cult horror zombie movie, in a deserted mall. Shorn of life and light, the great echoing chambers of the enclosed shopping centre took on a very eerie tone indeed. Curiously, Romero's set design has much in common with photographs of the ever-increasing number of abandoned malls strewn across the United States from California to New England. There are well over a hundred of these lifeless concrete and steel behemoths sprawled beside freeways on the fringes of far-flung American suburbs.

Economic decline in certain areas − notably the mid-West − combined with an accelerating trend towards online shopping and new forms of urban shopping centres have pushed the once seemingly invincible and all-American shopping mall into decline. Many are thriving, and being renovated and extended, yet 'ghost malls' are fast becoming the 'ghost towns' of the early 21st Century, and photographers have begun to see them as fascinating, if decidedly disturbing ruins.

Inside, their acres of kitsch design seem even sorrier than a seaside funfair out-of-season. All that marble, those wall tiles, the broad, Hollywood-like stairs − leading nowhere today − and sorry details like a sign on a wall of the Crestwood Court mall, St Louis, reading "Rest Easy", is both a little trashy and rather poignant.

2 + 2 = 4

Three Missouri teachers take stand against Common Core

© BlazeTV
Three educators who have taken a stand against Common Core in Missouri speak on the Glenn Beck Program April 9, 2014.
Susan Kimball, Tonya Pobst, and Heather Drury are all educators in the state of Missouri who have taken a stand against Common Core, a controversial new set of academic standards that critics say will "dumb down" America's children and open the door for data mining activities on students.

"When my students walk into my classroom, I have a responsibility not only to those students - I have a responsibility to those parents," Pobst said on the Glenn Beck Program Wednesday with guest hosts Stu Burguiere and Pat Gray. "These parents are entrusting me with their children ... and I feel it's my duty morally, ethically, to let them know, this is how your child has to be taught now. I don't have any freedom."

Eye 2

Parents devastated after police say "We don't have time for this!" and murder their mentally ill child (updates)

A family is deeply devastated after police murdered their mentally ill son in cold blood, according to reports. Mark Wilsey called 911 because he was worried that his son was having a medical episode.

The boy, Keith Vidal, was diagnosed with schizophrenia and suffered from depression. The 911 call was made after Keith wouldn't let go of a small screwdriver. Mark wanted some medical assistance to calm down his son responsibly, so that he didn't accidentally harm himself.

When personnel arrived, they were able to control the situation by negotiating with the boy. The father thought that everything was under control, but he never expected what was about to happen as a cop, who has not been named, entered the home.

Comment: Be sure to check the original link and see the video of the press conference about this horrendous act and the efforts to cover up the story.


Bus crash in Mexico results in at least 36 dead after collision with truck

© Felix Marquez/AP
A soldier guards the site where a passenger bus slammed into a broken-down truck and burst into flames near the town of Ciudad Isla in the Gulf state of Veracruz, Mexico
Passenger bus en route to Mexico City slammed into a truck Sunday, catching fire and reportedly killing most on board

A passenger bus slammed into a broken-down truck and burst into flames, killing at least 36 people on Sunday in southern Mexico, the Veracruz state government reported.

The accident came two days after 10 people died in a similar crash between a truck and a bus in California.

In Mexico, state and federal officials said that four people survived the crash, which occurred shortly after midnight in the southeastern state of Veracruz.

A communique from the state civil defense agency said the victims were business people from the region who were travelling from the Tabasco state capital of Villahermosa to Mexico City.

Arrow Down

Homeless people are reportedly living inside the Manhattan Bridge

Manhattan Bridge
© joel raskin's flickr

The homelessness epidemic in NYC reached new highs last year, with HUD reporting that 64,060 people were living in emergency shelters, transitional housing, in abandoned buildings and on the streets. While the national rate has been in decline, homelessness in NYC increased by more than 13 percent from the year prior. So where have all these homeless people been living? According to the Post, some of them have been getting comfortable INSIDE of the Manhattan Bridge.

The Post reports that there are spaces built into the underside of the upper deck of the bridge (above the bike lanes, below car traffic) that a few homeless people have converted into "coffin-sized living spaces." That includes one space built into the bridge frame near the Manhattan entrance where a Chinese man in his 40s has been staying. Police only discovered these spaces when that man was spotted last Sunday climbing a fence to get to his space; he was mistaken for a jumper, which led cops to discovering his shack.

"It's pretty cool, it's a very New York story," said West Village resident said Debra Vitale. "I mean, hopefully, he's safe, and he has some way of supporting himself so he gets food." It's a very NY story, and certainly the Manhattan Bridge has a hell of a view, but it's not "pretty cool" to be forced to resorting to live in a 10.5 foot space sandwiched between a bellowing subway line and a major vehicular bypass - especially when local government helped foster the environment in which this has to happen by enacting rules making it tougher for those in need to enter the city's shelter system. But hey, homeless is a good sign of a vibrant economy, and god works in mysterious ways, right?

Arrow Down

DOJ investigation confirms: Albuquerque police 'executing' citizens

Albuquerque Police
© Cole L. Howard
Protesting against systemic abuse by the Albuquerque Police Department on Sunday April 6, demonstrators encountered officers in riot gear.
Residents of Albuquerque, New Mexico are marching on the police department Saturday to demand retribution against the city's mayor and police chief for their role in the police force's documented "execution" of citizens.

The march comes after the Department of Justice slammed the Albuquerque Police Department for their frequent use of excessive and lethal force in a damning report released on Thursday.

Though, according to advocates, abuse by local law enforcement has been systemic for years, calls for increased scrutiny of the APD were amplified following the police shooting death of James Boyd, a homeless man suffering from mental illness, on March 16.

Advocates welcomed the DOJ's findings, saying the report was "spot on" in terms of identifying the root causes of this behavior, such as the "aggressive culture of the department" and the way in which "force is prioritized in training."

However, according to David Correia, an organizer with the Task Force for Public Safety who has been working with families of victims of APD violence, the DOJ's inclusion of Mayor Richard J. Berry and police chief Gorden Eden in the negotiations for the consent decree, which will dictate how those recommendations will be implemented, is a "non-starter" for the community groups.

The systemic deficiencies identified by the DOJ are "all produced and reinforced through leadership," Correia told Common Dreams. "To say those people should be involved to us is 'no go.' We don't want them to be a part of it."


Corruption of Science and Education: No A-level for 'climate change denier' student

Schoolchildren are taught a one-sided Greenpeace-type view of the global warming scare
Brainwashing about global warming percolates throughout the education system

Not often does a senior Cabinet minister declare that a policy long pursued by his own department is "against the law". But that was the response of Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, to a report exposing just how profoundly our education system has been hijacked by promoters of the official group-think on global warming.

Expanding on a theme touched on here more than once over the years, the report for the Global Warming Policy Foundation by Andrew Montford and John Shade shows how generations of schoolchildren have been taught to accept as gospel nothing but a propagandist, Greenpeace-type view of the global-warming scare, so one-sided that it makes a mockery of the requirement under the 1996 Education Act that pupils only be taught in a balanced way, allowing them to form their own view of the evidence.

Cow Skull

Federal back down: Nevada rancher, armed militias win standoff with Feds, govt returns cattle

Bundy's ranch
© Reuters
The tense stand-off between hundreds of protesters and police has ended in the Nevada desert, forcing the authorities to cancel the round-up of 300 animals and to return the cattle to their owner.

The standoff between rancher Cliven Bundy and the US Bureau of Land Management has lasted over a week, after hundreds of armed agents with the United States Bureau of Land Management and the FBI turned up in the Clark County to execute the court-ordered confiscation of nearly 1,000 cattle. The US government says the animals have trespassed on federal property.

This provoked a fierce backlash from anti-government groups, right-wing politicians and gun-rights activists, who gathered near 67-year-old Cliven Bundy's farmhouse to support him in the standoff against the government.

At the height of the protests, there were about 1,000 protesters outside the rancher's home. Among them were militia members from California, Idaho and other US states, camouflaged, with rifles and side arms.

"If we don't show up everywhere, there is no reason to show up anywhere," one of the camouflaged men said, holding an AR-15 rifle. "I'm ready to pull the trigger if fired upon," Scott said.

Red Flag

Pro-Russian militants armed with pistols and rifles storm police stations in eastern Ukrainian cities

© AFP/ Getty
Members of the disbanded Ukraine's elite Berkut riot police, together with Russian separatists, enter the seized regional police headquarters in Donetsk today
Armed pro-Russian militants have today raised their flags over official buildings in two eastern Ukrainian cities deepening a stand-off with Moscow, which Kiev warned, could drag Europe closer to the brink of a 'gas war'.

In the regional capital of Donetsk the police chief quit his post as protestors - dressed in the uniforms of the now defunct Ukrainian riot-police - stormed the headquarters.

They occupied the ground floor and hoisted the black and orange flag adopted by pro-Russian separatists over the building, in place of the Ukrainian flag.

Kostyantyn Pozhydayev appeared on the steps of the police station to speak to the protestors, telling them he was stepping down 'in accordance with your demands'.

As he left the building, he was accompanied by some of his officers.


Total recall, Slavic style? Czech officers 'identify' Norway mystery man

© Norwegian Police
Mystery man found in Norway last December
The mysterious amnesiac man who turned up in Norway but could not remember his name or where he was from has been identified by the Czech police, their counterparts in Oslo said on Wednesday.

"We were informed tonight through Interpol that the Czech police had identified the man," Oeyvind Torgersen, an Oslo police official told AFP.

"The Czech police went to his parents... we know his identity," said Torgersen, but adding no further details.

The information may help bring to an end months of fruitless search to find out the identity of the man who spoke English with a Slavic accent, and known only as "John Smith".

The news came just a day after Norwegian police released the man's photos and details to the public.

The tall, young amnesiac was found helpless in the snow near a carwash in Oslo last December. How he got there, and from where, "Smith" claims to have no idea.