Society's ChildS


Oh, the irony! Wife of Texas' top anti-gay crusader leaves him to be with lesbian partner

© Rawstory
The leader of an anti-LGBT group who has joined with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to ban same-sex marriage had his own marriage end after his wife began a romantic relationship with another woman.

According to court documents obtained by Lone Star Q, Corrine Morris Rodriguez Saenz was dating another woman when she filed for divorce from Jonathan Saenz in 2011. Less than six months later, Jonathan Saenz took over as the president of the state's top anti-gay group, Texas Values.

Corrine Saenz told the court that she wanted to end her marriage on the grounds that it was "insupportable due to discord or conflict of personalities ... that destroys the legitimate ends of marriage and prevents reasonable expectations of reconciliation."

Jonathan Saenz initially asked the court to refuse to grant the divorce, and to bar "any unrelated adult, with whom the parent has an intimate, romantic, emotional, and/or dating relationship to remain in the presence of the children, including but not limited to Ercimin Paredes, a/k/a Ercilia M. Paredes."


California: Hostage killed by police gunfire - struck 10 times while being used as human shield

© Courtesy of Singh familyMisty Jean Singh, 42, and her son Paul Singh Jr., 19. Misty Jean Singh was a victim a bank robbery in Stockton, Calif., July 16, 2014.
More than three weeks after a violent bank robbery and chase left one victim dead and shook the Stockton region, police confirmed Monday that hostage Misty Holt-Singh was killed by police gunfire that struck her repeatedly while she was being used as a human shield.

The 41-year-old mother of two, who had stopped into a Bank of the West branch to get cash for a hair appointment July 16, was struck by about 10 bullets during the shootout between police and the robbery suspects, all of them from police weapons, Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones said in a somber news conference Monday afternoon.

The victim died "from gunshots fired by police officers as they confronted bank robbers who used her as a human shield," Jones told reporters in videotaped remarks that were posted on the department's website. "Every member of our department is deeply saddened that this event ended with the tragic death of an innocent victim."

Jones met with Holt-Singh's husband, Paul, over the weekend to inform him of the department's findings and to tell him they would be publicly announced Monday, department spokesman Joseph Silva said.


Poll: 45% of Brits want to bring back death penalty - 50 yrs after last execution

© Reuters / Jenevieve Robbins
Murderers should face the death penalty in the UK, say 45 percent of Brits in a poll taken to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the country's last legal executions. Support for reintroduction was highest among the over 60s and UKIP voters.

The YouGov poll of almost 2,000 people showed a significant number would like to see the return of capital punishment. While support for the practice is high, the figures show it fell by 6 percent on 2010 figures, down from 51 percent in a similar poll.

Figures also show strong opposition to the death penalty, with 52 percent polling against. Overall, 39 percent were against the death penalty, while 17 percent were undecided. The group most resistant to reintroduction were 18 to 24 year olds, while older respondents and those from a lower social class tended to be in favor.

When asked if Britain's abolition of the death penalty was a good or a bad thing, there was an equal split of 42 percent each, while 16 percent did not know. Meanwhile, 57 percent of 18 to 24 year olds thought abolition was a good thing.

Asked if the execution of murderers deterred others from committing murder, 45 percent agreed, while 41 percent disagreed and the remaining 13 percent answering that they did not know. Life imprisonment without possibility of parole was thought to be a harsher punishment than death by 42 percent against 40 percent.

The poll also asked whether respondents approved of particular methods of execution, with 51 percent either strongly approved or tended to approve of lethal injection, 25 percent of the electric chair, 23 percent of hanging, 19 percent by gas chamber, 17 percent by firing squad, and 9 percent by beheading.

Arrow Up

4-year-old survives 11 days alone in Siberian forest

Karina Chikitova
© Sakha Republic Rescue Service Miraculously found alive ... Karina Chikitova, four, survived 11 days in a bear-infested forest in Siberia.
Moscow: A four-year-old girl was recovering in hospital on Wednesday after being lost for nearly two weeks in a bear-infested forest in the Russian far north with only her puppy to defend her.

Karina Chikitova was found emaciated but alive at the weekend, having survived 11 days in the Siberian wilderness in freezing night-time temperatures with only berries to sustain her in what rescuers said was nothing short of a miracle.

The little girl had left her tiny village in the Sakha republic with her dog on July 29 to go and stay with her father who lived in a neighbouring hamlet.

But her father had gone to fight a wildfire and the girl apparently set off by herself into the forest to find him.

With no mobile phone signal in the sparsely populated region where native Yakut people live from hunting and reindeer herding, her mother only realised after four days that her daughter had set off on her own into the dense forest.


The America where Michael Brown can be shot and killed while unarmed is not for the people

© Scott Olson/Getty Images
The United States of America is not for black people. We know this, and then we put it out of our minds, and then something happens to remind us. Saturday, in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo., something like that happened: An unarmed 18-year-old black man was executed by police in broad daylight.

By now, what's happening in Ferguson is about so many second-order issues - systemic racism, the militarization of police work, and how citizens can redress grievances, among other things - that it's worth remembering what actually happened here.

Michael Brown was walking down the middle of the street in Ferguson's Canfield Green apartment complex around noon on Saturday with his friend Dorin Johnson when the two were approached by a police officer in a police truck. The officer exchanged words with the boys. The officer attempted to get out of his car. At this point, two narratives split.

According to the still-unnamed officer, one of the two boys shoved him back into the vehicle and then wrestled for his sidearm, discharging one shot into the cabin. The two ran, and the police officer once again stepped from his vehicle and shot at the fleeing teenagers multiple times, killing Brown.


Robin Williams raised $50k for Seattle food bank, told no one

As they filled bags and boxes with truckloads of groceries at the West Seattle Food Bank Tuesday, volunteers couldn't help but feel a bit empty.

"It's three fold, actually," said volunteer Mike Cervino. "One because he was a great comedian. Two, because he donated here and three because people really rely on that here."

In 2004, Robin Williams performed stand-up at the Showbox nightclub in Seattle, and without telling anyone, donated all of the proceeds to the food bank.

"I was just astounded," said Executive Director Fran Yeatts.

Yeatts had no idea about the comedian's plan until someone called her asking for tickets to the show. Confused, she began calling around and found out that Williams would indeed be making people smile in ways that transcended comedy. He performed more shows in 2007 and 2008, raising nearly $50,000 for the organization, just as the economy was collapsing and need was skyrocketing. Never once did Williams ask for any recognition.

2 + 2 = 4

Iowa just the latest state to ditch Common Core curriculum

Yet another state has kicked Common Core to the curb.

Iowa had implemented much of the Common Core State Standards into its "Iowa Core" education standards, working with the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium on a single testing program to measure students' progress.

The testing consortium has been one of the key organizations in helping states fully implement Common Core.

But on Tuesday, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad's office announced that his state is withdrawing from the consortium, the Associated Press reported.


Socialist Brazil presidential candidate Campos killed in 'bad weather' plane crash

© Luiz Fernando Menezes/Fotoarena/CorbisSmoke billows from a private aircraft which crashed in residential area of Santos, south of São Paulo. Seven people were killed including presidential candidate Eduardo Campos.
Seven confirmed dead on private jet crashing in bad weather in Santos, south of São Paulo, leaving October election in disarray

Brazil's presidential election campaign was thrown into uncertainty on Wednesday when a private jet carrying the socialist party candidate, Eduardo Campos crashed into a residential area near São Paulo.

Campos and the six other crew and passengers were killed in the accident, which occurred in bad weather as the Cessna plane was preparing to land.

The deaths prompted a wave of mourning across the country, which is likely to be followed by speculation about the effect on the presidential vote on 5 October.

Campos, a former Pernambuco governor with a business-friendly reputation, had shaken the political world by choosing environmentalist Marina Silva as his running mate.

Comment: ZeroHedge reports that Campos' beliefs included:
He has pledged to expand social welfare programs introduced by rousseff's predecessor Lula and scaling back government intervention in the economy.

Campos, born Aug. 10,1965, would propose a bill to grant the central bank full independence with fixed terms for its director, establish clear rules to regulate fuel and electricity prices, and seek to negotiate bilateral trade accords without the south american bloc Mercosur.
Also interesting timing given recently Israel apologizes for calling Brazil a 'diplomatic dwarf' over Gaza massacre

Che Guevara

Social media used to illustrate mainstream media bias towards minorities in police shooting of Michael Brown

© AFP Photo / Getty Images / Scott OlsonPolice force protestors from the business district into nearby neighborhoods on August 11, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.
If you were killed, what photo would the media use in their stories? That's the question that the #iftheygunnedmedown hashtag asks on social media as minorities point out media bias in the deaths of African-Americans.

The question comes after the shooting death of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri on Saturday. The unarmed 18-year-old was about to begin college when he was killed by a police officer. But the mainstream media shows a picture of Brown flashing a peace sign, which Yesha Callahan at The Root says has been called a "gang sign" by conservative outlets. She calls this the "Trayvon Martin effect."
If you died, which picture would the media use?#IfTheyGunnedMeDown #MikeBrown

- The Root (@TheRoot) August 11, 2014
"The vicious slaying of Mike Brown by Ferguson, Mo., police has once again shown that the narrative the media paints surrounding black people in America more often than not includes depicting us as violent thugs with gang and drug affiliations," Callahan wrote.


Yes, Steven Salaita was fired, no, it's not defensible

© Abed Rahim Khatib /APA imagesA house destroyed by Israel in Rafah, southern Gaza. Steven Salaita was fired for condemning Zionism and the genocide in Gaza.
Via Corey Robin, Inside Higher Ed has an essay by current opponent of academic freedom Cary Nelson giving an extended defense of the firing of Steven Salita, along with a counterpoint from current supporter of academic freedom John K. Wilson. It's a close call which one ultimately makes the stronger case against the firing, and that's not because Wilson fails to do the job. Let's start with the most important way in which Nelson and other supporters of the firing are trying to obfuscate the issue:
I should add that this is not an issue of academic freedom. If Salaita were a faculty member here and he were being sanctioned for his public statements, it would be. But a campus and its faculty members have the right to consider whether, for example, a job candidate's publications, statements to the press, social media presence, public lectures, teaching profile, and so forth suggest he or she will make a positive contribution to the department, student life, and the community as a whole. Here at Illinois, even the department head who would have appointed Salaita agreed in Inside Higher Ed that "any public statement that someone makes is fair game for consideration." Had Salaita already signed a contract, then of course he would have to have received full due process, including a full hearing, before his prospective offer could be withdrawn. But my understanding is that he had not received a contract.

Comment: Steven Salaita loses job at University of Illinois due to criticism of Zionism and Gaza slaughter