Society's ChildS


US: Submachine Guns Drawn, Police Break Down Door of Medical Marijuana Patient, Push Him to the Floor, and Raid His Home

swat team

The Seattle Police Department and the mayor's office have repeatedly insisted that marijuana possession, per city law, is the lowest law enforcement priority. They also adhere, they say, to a state law that makes it legal for authorized patients to use and grow marijuana.

But last night provided evidence that Seattle police are willing to invest tremendous resources in the smallest of pot cases - even cases where the pot is legal - and the mayor's office will remain silent.

Just before 9:00 p.m., officers at SPD's East Precinct held a briefing about the complaint of marijuana at a four-unit apartment building in the Leschi neighborhood. One week earlier, officers applied for a search warrant from King County Superior Court, sent an officer with a K9 to sniff at the door, confirmed the scent of marijuana, and were in the process last night of planning a raid. "Once the briefing was completed, officers donned their raid equipment clearly marked 'Police' on all sides," according to a draft incident report filed by police.


2 Policemen in Egypt Get Seven Years for Killing Activist

© unknown
Two policemen were sentenced to seven years in prison Wednesday for killing a 28-year-old activist in a 2010 crime that sparked nationwide anger and helped spur this year's revolution that toppled President Hosni Mubarak's police state.

Sgt. Awad Suleiman and patrolman Mahmoud Salah Mahmoud were found guilty of manslaughter in the beating death of Khaled Said in the coastal city of Alexandria.

"The court sentences the defendants to seven years in jail for using cruelty against the victim," Alexandria Criminal Court Judge Moussa Nahrawy said in a statement read out during the hearing.

Widely viewed as one of the main triggers igniting the Jan.25 revolution that overthrew Mubarak, Said's death epitomized for many Egyptians the brutality of Mubarak's regime toward dissidents and political opponents.

Red Flag

Anger in China as bodies 'fall from carriages' during train crash clean-up

There was growing public anger in China in the wake of a major rail crash at the weekend after a video appeared to show bodies tumbling out of wrecked train carriages as officials hurried to clear up the scene of the disaster.

On Sunday, less than a day after two bullet trains collided in the south of the country, killing at least 43 people and injuring a further 210, eight mechanical diggers began to dig trenches to bury two twisted and broken train carriages.

The crash occurred on Saturday night after a bolt of lightning hit one bullet train, causing it to lose power and grind to a halt. A second train then hit it from behind, causing six carriages to derail and two to fall off the side of the elevated tracks.

Locals immediately accused the government of trying to cover up the disaster and questioned how a full investigation could be carried out without an inspection of the wreckage.

A video then emerged which appeared to show at least two bodies falling out of the carriages as they were being moved. The video has now been watched over 1.2 million times in less than a day.


US, New York: Feds Arrest 11 People Connected to Multimillion Dollar LIRR Pension Scam

© Jefferson Siegel for NewsThe arrests capped a three-year probe into the stunningly high approval rate of disability pensions for retiring LIRR employees.
A $1 billion disability scam for retiring Long Island Rail Road workers was exposed Thursday with the arrest of 11 people - including a pair of crooked doctors, authorities said.

Orthopedists Peter Ajemian and Peter Lesniewski recommended nearly 1,000 LIRR employees for illegal benefits between 1998-2009, turning their offices into "disability mills," according to a criminal complaint.

Arrested along with the two physicians were Ajemian's office manager, a former LIRR union president, a one-time official with the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) and a half-dozen ex-LIRR employees.

"The defendants and their co-conspirators participated in a massive fraud scheme in which LIRR workers who were ready to retire falsely claimed to be disabled," federal authorities charged in a 74-page criminal complaint.

The arrests capped a three-year probe into the stunningly high approval rate of disability pensions for retiring LIRR employees.

The complaint charged that Ajemian recommended at least 734 LIRR workers for disability over the 11-year stretch, while Lesniewski approved 222 railroad employees.


US, Ohio: Halloween No Excuse for Racism, Ignorance

© Students Teaching Against Racism in Society (STARS) / Ohio University

Halloween is just a week away, and this year, I'm going to dress up like a white person. But wait, won't that be kind of offensive? I mean, most of the real-life white people I know don't even actually like mayonnaise.

A white-person costume sounds pretty stupid, doesn't it? Absurd, really. But costumes of any minority are totally cool. Super funny. Not awkward at all. Unless, of course, you're the minority. In that case, you're kind of like, "What the hell? Do you know any Asians who walk around in kimonos?"

In the parade of trendy movie character costumes and sexy (insert small animals here) outfits, there is always that one guy who decided it would be funny to be another race for the night, based on every stereotype in the book.

That guy is why I'm glad for Students Teaching About Racism in Society, the force behind one of the best campaigns I've ever seen.

STARS, a student organization at Ohio University, created a series of posters just in time for Halloween. In one, a Latino man holds up a picture of a white guy wearing a handlebar mustache, sombrero and poncho. There's a stuffed donkey attached to the front, so that he looks like he's riding it. Similar posters feature an Asian woman, a black woman, an Arab man and a Native American man. Across the top of each poster, the text says, "We're a culture, not a costume. This is not who I am, and this is not okay."


Canada, Halifax: University of Manitoba president apologizes for its role in residential schools

© The Canadian Press / Andrew VaughanDavid Barnard, left, president of the University of Manitoba, is embraced by Gordon Williams, chair of the survivor committee and one of the first aboriginal graduates of the university, as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission holds its third round of national hearings in Halifax on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011. Barnard delivered a public apology for the university's role in perpetuating the damage caused by Canada's native residential schools. The commission has a five-year mandate to document the history of residential schools, inspire reconciliation and produce a report by 2014.
The president of the University of Manitoba has issued a public apology for the university's indirect role in perpetuating the damage caused by Canada's native residential schools.

David Barnard appeared today in Halifax before the federal Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Barnard says the university failed to challenge the policy of forced assimilation that was central to the 130 residential schools that operated for more than a century.

He says the physical, sexual and emotional abuses that occurred at residential schools were among the most deplorable acts committed at any time in Canada's history.

Barnard says the university played a role in perpetuating the system by educating clergy, teachers, civil servants and politicians who carried out the assimilation policies.

Phil Fontaine, a residential school survivor who is also a former grand chief of the Assembly of First Nations, was on hand to witness the apology.


US, Arizona: Exposé gets Valley mom banned from McDonald's

An Arizona State University professor's campaign against dirty restaurant playgrounds got her banned from several McDonald's in the Valley.

Dr. Erin Carr-Jordan, a mother of four, started recording and posting videos of trashy playgrounds, and quickly built an international following. Her lab tests, which revealed dangerous bacteria on the equipment, have been featured on network broadcasts and in major national newspapers.

This week, Carr-Jordan was notified by an East Valley franchisee's attorney that she is no longer allowed in any of his McDonald's restaurants that have playgrounds.

"Rather than have someone come into the playgrounds and do the right thing and make them clean and safe, they told me not to come in anymore," Carr-Jordan said.


Marines to Oakland Police: 'You Did This To My Brother'

marine, occupy wall street

Marines around the world are outraged by the injuries inflicted by police on Scott Olsen at Tuesday's Occupy Oakland protests. Olsen is in a medically-induced coma after getting hit in the head by a police projectile.

The following picture is taken from the Reddit thread "How I feel, as a United States Marine, about what occurred in Oakland."

This man is not alone. In the five hours since the thread went up there have been over 600 comments.


Top Romney Adviser Tied to Militia That Massacred

walid phares
© Photo courtesy of An-NaharWalid Phares lecturing in front of a Lebanese Forces banner in 1986

Walid Phares, the recently announced co-chair of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's Middle East advisory group, has a long résumé. College professor. Author. Political pundit. Counterterrorism expert. But there's one chapter of his life that you won't find on his CV: He was a high ranking political official in a sectarian religious militia responsible for massacres during Lebanon's brutal, 15-year civil war.

During the 1980s, Phares, a Maronite Christian, trained Lebanese militants in ideological beliefs justifying the war against Lebanon's Muslim and Druze factions, according to former colleagues. Phares, they say, advocated the hard-line view that Lebanon's Christians should work toward creating a separate, independent Christian enclave. A photo obtained by Mother Jones shows him conducting a press conference in 1986 for the Lebanese Forces, an umbrella group of Christian militias that has been accused of committing atrocities. He was also a close adviser to Samir Geagea, a Lebanese warlord who rose from leading hit squads to running the Lebanese Forces.

Since fleeing to the United States in 1990, when the Syrians took over Lebanon, Phares has reinvented himself as a counterterrorism and national security expert, traveling comfortably between official circles and the GOP's anti-Muslim wing. In a little over two decades, he's gone from training Lebanese militants to teaching American law enforcement and intelligence officials about the Middle East, and from advising Lebanese warlords to counseling a man who could be the next president of the United States.

Bad Guys

US: North Dakota oil boom creates thousands of jobs

Those hurt hard by the ailing economy are flocking to Williston, N.D., where an oil boom has turned a sleepy prairie town into a place producing thousands of jobs.

"There's opportunity here and that's what we all need is opportunity," said Williston Mayor Ward Koeser. "It's kind of been an oasis for the country. You know, there's a lot of jobs here, good paying jobs in the oil industry."

Williston is situated on the Bakken formation, an oil field that some say will produce the biggest boom in North America since the 1960s. Koeser said that his town currently has 2,000 to 3000 jobs and they haven't been able to fill the openings fast enough.

"A lot of jobs get filled every day, but it's like for every job you fill, another job and a half opens up," Koeser said.

A job on an oil rig can pay as much as six figures. The starting salary for truck drivers is around $80,000. While the nation's unemployment rate is 9.1 percent, Williston's unemployment rate is less than 1 percent.