Society's ChildS

Mr. Potato

Shkreli, America's most 'hated' man, loses $15M in bitcoin with Kanye album scam

Martin Shkreli
© Joshua Roberts / ReutersMartin Shkreli, former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals LLC
Get out your tiny violins. Martin Shkreli, the man America loves to hate, appears to have lost $15 million in bitcoins after he tried to buy the rights to Kanye West's new album.

The now-ex-CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, who hiked the price of HIV medication by 5,000 percent, was trying to buy Kanye West's album from his record label so he could sell it on to his fans.

In an outcome that proves karma can be a b*tch sometimes, Shkreli got scammed into virtually handing over thousands of bitcoins to someone pretending to be "Kanye's boy".

On Sunday, Shkreli tweeted that he had sent the payment to someone called Daquan and didn't receive anything in return. Shreli proceeded to lose his s**t, throwing a Twitter tantrum.

Heart - Black

Israeli forces gun down 14 yr. old girl on Valentine's Day in Palestine

14 girl shot palestinian
Two horrendous videos emerged from Hebron over this past deadly weekend. In one, after a 14-year-old girl was gunned down in the street, an ambulance waits right next to her as she bleeds and writhe on the ground, but soldiers prevent her from being moved. In the other video, a soldier is recorded callously pushing over a disabled Palestinian man in a wheelchair.

Heart - Black

Dallas PD warns people against giving money to the homeless; tactic backfires tremendously

The Dallas Police Department recently issued a "warning" against the homeless that has many citizens in disbelief. The Facebook post, dated February 12, suggests that offering money to panhandlers from your car is a serious threat to your safety, and encourages people to call the police instead of giving them a dollar.

Instead of offering any actual cases where homeless panhandlers have stolen a vehicle or attacked someone, the Dallas PD talks about one homeless person with a criminal history and asks ominously, "Do you want this person in your car???"
"Giving to Panhandlers May Be More Risky Than You Think...
  • You've heard from the Dallas Police Department that Panhandling in the City of Dallas is illegal.
  • You've also heard the recommendations from your police officers to NOT give money to those who approach your vehicle while in traffic for your own SAFETY.
  • We recognize that the great citizens of Dallas care about those who are in need of assistance, but would you willingly invite a VIOLENT convicted felon into your vehicle??

Comment: It's nice to see that there is still some compassion for the homeless. Shame on you, Dallas PD.


A billionaire's Hawaii could displace longtime Lanai residents

Lanai resort
The Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay is one of two resort hotels on the island.
Larry Ellison plans a reboot for the island; families who've lived there for generations worry they can't afford to stay.

A punishing Hawaiian sun rises on the first day of the final week in which Lilinoe Bicoy, 33, and her family of seven will share the same simple, plantation-style cottage.

Friends and relatives file in and out of the sea-foam green garage, fists full of furniture legs and fishing poles to load onto truck beds. Whatever remains will go to the thrift store down the red-dusted road, one of the island of Lanai's three main strips of pavement.

"Everything's free, everything's got to go," Bicoy says. A pit bull named Bossy sits obediently at her tattooed feet, panting in the heat and dust.

Comment: The new robber barons: how taxpayers subsidize CEOs' multimillion salaries
Lanai, a tiny resort island in Hawaii, has 18 miles of secluded beaches, no traffic lights and a population of just over 3,000. This summer, Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle, a California-based software company, bought 98% of the island for a sum reported to exceed $500m.

The Institute for Policy Studies, a Washington DC thinktank, says that a chunk of the money Ellison spent buying Lanai should have paid for elementary school teachers and clean energy jobs, instead of fulfilling the billionaire CEO's vacation fantasies. That's one conclusion of their new report, "The CEO Hands in Uncle Sam's Pocket: How Our Tax Dollars Subsidize Exorbitant Executive Pay", which points out that Oracle took advantage of a 1993 loophole in tax law to designate $76m of Ellison's income as "performance-related pay", which allowed him to avoid paying any taxes on the money.

Dozens of US CEOs have cashed in on this major tax incentive at an estimated cost to US taxpayers of $9.7bn last year. Statistics provided by National Priorities Project suggest that the same amount of money could have paid for 142,625 elementary school teachers, or healthcare for 4.96 million low-income children.

Quenelle - Golden

Surprised? Only 3 out of 58 suspects arrested for Cologne sexual assaults are refugees

Cologne Germany
© Wolfgang Rattay / Reuters
Only three out of 58 men arrested in connection with New Year's Eve sexual assaults in Cologne are refugees or migrants, according to a public prosecutor. It comes after the reported attacks prompted a severe backlash toward Angela Merkel's open-door policy.

Refugees were blamed for more than 1,000 reports of sexual assault, rape, and theft which took place in the German city on December 31.

However, only three of those arrested for the crimes - two Syrians and an Iraqi - had recently arrived in the country, Cologne public prosecutor Ulrich Bremer told Die Welt newspaper.

Comment: The similarity with the Paris attacks makes us suspicious: immediately after the Paris attacks, refugees were blamed (despite 7 out of 9 of the suspects were French or Belgian), heightening the anti-Muslim sentiment in France and around the world. It looks like a similar dynamic played out in Cologne. These men should be tried and charged with crimes if guilty. They should not be used as an excuse for blind bigotry. We know where that leads.


Kentucky lawmaker proposes law requiring men to have signed note from wife, swear on the Bible before buying Viagra

swear on viagra
In a mockery of the legal system, a Kentucky lawmaker has proposed an obnoxious piece of legislation that will require men to jump through several hoops prior to acquiring erectile dysfunction medication.

HB396 16RS Erectile Dysfunction Drug Bill, was proposed last week by Rep. Mary Lou Marzian of Louisville.

"I want to protect these men from themselves," Marzian, who is a nurse, told the Courier-Journal.

"This is about family values," she added.

The humiliating hoops proposed in the Bill, are nothing short of absurd. Prior to prescribing a man Viagra:

A health care practitioner shall:
(1) Require a man to have two (2) office visits on two (2) different calendar days before the health care practitioner prescribes a drug for erectile dysfunction to him;

(2) Prescribe a drug for erectile dysfunction only to a man who is currently married;

(3) Require a man to produce a signed and dated letter from the man's current spouse providing consent for a prescription for erectile dysfunction; and

(4) Require a man to make a sworn statement with his hand on a Bible that he will only use a prescription for a drug for erectile dysfunction when having sexual relations with his current spouse.

Chart Pie

UAE Minister: Asia's middle class is reshaping world trade

Asian Mall
© Unknown
Recent visits to India and China by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, show how fast global trade patterns are changing as Asia's rising middle class shifts wealth from north to south.

The United Arab Emirates sits at the pivot point of this re-balancing of the global trade flows. In the last decade, India and China have emerged as the UAE's biggest trading partners -- each does about $60 billion in trade with us every year.

This growth is being driven by middle income earners. Their numbers are projected to rise to five billion by 2030, two thirds of them will live in India and China.

The UAE aims to nurture this re-balancing in order to promote our national principles of peace, stability, prosperity, tolerance and unity throughout the region.


Syrian residents thank Russia for liberating their towns

Syrian army
© en.farsnews.com600Syrian Army liberation of Nubl and al-Zahra.
"Thank you Russia! Thank you Hezbollah! Thank you Iran!" a resident shouted on the street, as reported by CNN. The Syrian Army, backed by pro-Iranian militias and Russia, which has been conducting air strikes targeting Daesh positions in the country, was welcomed with open arms by the residents that support the Syrian government and Bashar Assad.

Syrian towns Nubl and al-Zahra in Northern Aleppo province had been occupied by the Free Syrian Army since July, 2012. After their liberation on the February 3rd and following improvement of their living conditions, residents are expressing their gratitude to Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. Only about two weeks ago, the two strategically important towns were under the control of various rebel factions, including the al-Nusra Front. According to reports from locals, for more than three years they had to conquer fear and learn how to survive without enough aid, but with constant shelling in the background.

This is a victory of great importance for the Syrian Army, as al-Zahra and Nubl are located between the Turkish border and parts of Aleppo that are controlled by insurgents. This leaves the terrorists in Northern Aleppo with no supply routes. The towns will become the main centers for military operations by government forces in the north of Syria. What's just as important is that the lifting of the sieges bolstered morale among pro-government forces, which now believe there are capable of winning back any territory, occupied by opposition. Russia continues carrying air strikes against terrorist targets across Syria, including those in Aleppo province.

Comment: If the so-called 'safe zone' can be taken and held by the Syrian Army, the insurgents will lose their supply line corridor into Syria via Turkey and the West. The victories in al-Zahra and Nubl give hope that this will be the case. Momentum!


State sponsored child abuse: UN may finally ban taser use on UK children

© Neil Hall / Reuters
The United Nations will tell the UK to ban police Taser use on minors, after figures revealed a 38 percent increase in the use of stun guns on under-18s over the last year.

The UN will confront the UK in Switzerland later this year over violations of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, which the UK signed up to in 1990, the Independent on Sunday reports.

In 2008, the last time the UK was admonished for allowing Taser use on children, the UN called on ministers to "put an end to the use of all harmful devices on children."

However, since that first hearing police use of Tasers has been steadily on the rise.

Tasers, which were first introduced in England and Wales in 2003 as part of a 12-month trial for firearms officers, send 50,000 volts through a target's body, overwhelming the nervous system. Police use of the powerful stun guns jumped from 6,238 incidents in 2010 to 9,196 in 2014.

Comment: In a more sane and civilized society, the idea of using such devices on children would be unthinkable.

Bad Guys

Taking advantage of vulnerable families: Child welfare standards lowered in Texas for-profit detention centers

child immigrant detention centers
© Daniel Becerril / Reuters
Two for-profit detention centers housing hundreds of children in Texas will not need to meet the state's childcare standards starting next month, after the state's Health and Human Services Commission lowered its standards on Friday.

A federal court announced a ban on housing children in detention centers that aren't licensed by child welfare agencies last July.

A veteran social worker blew the whistle on what she called "unethical behavior" inside Karnes County Residential Center (KCRC) during a Congressional hearing in June.

Without the license, Geo Group's KCRC and the South Texas Family Residential Center, which is run by the Corrections Corporation of America, were in danger of being closed down.

However, instead of making the two centers meet the existing regulations, the commission created an exemption by increasing the maximum number of occupants that can be accommodated in a room - and allowing unrelated adults and members of the opposite sex to share rooms with children.

A number of detention centers have been accused of incidents involving sexual assault and inhumane conditions.

Comment: Another example of American 'exceptionalism', a country where corporate profits generally take precedence over the well-being of the populace.