Society's ChildS


World gone mad: Nashville bar owner shoots country singer Wayne Mills dead... for smoking

Jerald Wayne Mills, shot dead for smoking a cigarette
A Nashville bar owner claimed self defense over the weekend after fatally shooting country music singer Jerald Wayne Mills, 44, in connection with an argument over smoking.

Witnesses told WSMV that 44-year-old Chris Michael Ferrell shot Mills at the Pit & Barrel bar at around 5 a.m. Saturday morning following an argument that started when the singer began smoking in a non-smoking area. The suspect and the victim were reportedly friends.

Mills was later pronounced dead after being taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

"We're investigating Chris Ferrell's claims of self-defense," Nashville police spokesperson Kris Mumford told the Tennessean.

Ferrell had a valid permit to carry a handgun, according to WSMV.

In 2010, both the Tennessee state House and Senate overrode Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen's veto on a bill to allow handguns in bars.

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Italian man hides father's body in the wall to collect pension

Subiaco, Lazio
© taymtaym/FlickrThe pensioner's body was found in the town of Subiaco, Lazio.
Subiaco - A gruesome discovery was made recently in an isolated house in Subiaco, Italy. A man's elderly father had died in August 2011 and he hid the body in a sealed room in his house in order to continue collecting his father's pension.

Giampiero Di Tullion, the man's unemployed, 44 year-old-son has now been arrested by the police.

His father, Domenico Di Tullio was a former typesetter working at the Vatican. He passed away on August 4, 2011 at the age of 85. His son wished to continue collecting his pension of between 1300 and 1400 euros per month, as they both used to live on the money. He walled his father's corpse up in his small bedroom off the living room of the house, and sealed the doorway with silicon.

Son Giampiero was a former drug addict and was involved in drug dealing. Due to his history, and the fact that his father owned weapons, police were making a routine check of the house.

When they arrived at the house, they asked to speak to the father, and at first the son told them that his father was seriously ill and was under the care of his brother in Rome.

Roma Today (Italian) reported that the police became suspicious, however, and officers, led by Captain Alessio Falzone, entered the house. When they got no answer at the bedroom door in the living room, they broke in through the sealed door. Not finding anything initially in there, they continued investigating, and discovered a double wall, a kind of niche made of bricks and cement, behind which he had concealed the body of his dead father.

According to police, the body was wrapped in tape, similar to a mummy. On investigating further, police found blood stains and they did not, at first, exclude the possibility that the man could have been murdered.

Giampiero was arrested on the charge of concealing a corpse, along with aggravated fraud. He did, however, manage to escape the charge of voluntary manslaughter, as the autopsy showed that his father died of natural causes.


London 'slavery' case: Suspect was cult-communist activist in 1970s

Peckford Place
© Velar Grant/Demotix/CorbisAravindan and Chanda Balakrishnan were arrested on suspicion of holding three women captive at addresses in south London, including Peckford Place (above).
Aravindan Balakrishnan, aka Comrade Bala, ran separatist party-cum-commune from bookshop in Brixton, south London

The 73-year-old man arrested on suspicion of holding three women captive in a south London flat for 30 years is a one-time Communist party activist who was well known within far-left circles in London during the mid- and late 1970s as the leader of a separatist party-cum-commune.

Aravindan Balakrishnan, known as Comrade Bala, had been a senior member of the Communist party of England (Marxist-Leninist) - a member of the party's central committee - but according to a history of the movement he split from the party in 1974.

His new organisation, described as "characterised by the ultra-left posturing and Mao worship", was called the Workers' Institute of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought. But the group is not thought to have been active since the 1970s - before one of the women, now aged 30, was born.

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Angola 'bans' Islam, Muslims, becomes first country to do so

© Wikimedia Commons

According to several newspapers, the tiny African country of Angola has become the first country in the world to ban Islam and Muslims.

The Angolan Minister of Culture, Rosa Cruz e Silva was quoted by news agencies and Angola newspapers as saying, "The process of legalisation of Islam has not been approved by the Ministry of Justice and Human rights, their mosques would be closed until further notice."

As part of the ban, the Angolan government ordered the demolition of the mosques in the country.

According to Silva, the decision was the latest in a series of efforts to ban "illegal" religious sects in the country. Silva's statement was made during her appearance last week at the 6th Commission of the National Assembly.


Extraordinary promise of the new Greenwald-Omidyar venture?

© techpresident.comIs the Omidyar Network the new Standard Oil?
Adversarial muckrakers + civic-minded billionaire = a whole new world

Make no mistake, news that Glenn Greenwald is leaving The Guardian to start a new publication funded by eBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar is giant news - a bigger deal, in my book, than Jeff Bezos buying the Washington Post.

(UPDATE: I should disclose that the Omidyar Network helps fund CJR, something I didn't know until shortly after I published this post.)

This isn't just another startup.

What makes this extraordinary is the combination of muckraking - and, dare I say, dissident - journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Jeremy Scahill with the gargantuan fortune of one of the first internet billionaires.

The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don't tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo. Billionaires tend to have a finger in every pie: powerful friends they don't want annoyed and business interests they don't want looked at. The Way Things Are may not work for most of us, but it ain't bad if you're an American billionaire.

Comment: As Mark Ames, and Yasha Levine relate in their article linked below: An examination of the ideas behind the Omidyar Network and of the investments it has made suggests that its founder is anything but a "different" sort of billionaire. Instead, what emerges is almost a caricature of neoliberal ideology, complete with the trail of destruction that ensues when that ideology is put into practice. The generous support of the Omidyar Network goes toward "fighting poverty" through micro-lending, reducing third-world illiteracy rates by privatizing education and protecting human rights by expanding property titles ("private property rights") into slums and villages across the developing world. In many regions, Omidyar Network investments have helped fund programs that create worsening conditions for the world's underclass, widening inequalities, enhancing exploitation, pushing millions of people into crippling debt and supporting anti-poverty programs that, in some cases, resulted in mass-suicide by the rural poor. See: Wolf in sheep's clothing? Billionaire neoliberal Pierre Omidyar

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On duty officer raped young woman on squad car


San Antonio - Friday morning. On duty. Full Uniform. Marked Squad Car. Officer Jackie Neal, 40, made a traffic stop and then allegedly sexually assaulted a 19-year-old woman, according to the San Antonio Police Department.

Police said the 11-year veteran pulled the victim over on the south side and managed to get her to stand behind his squad car.

San Antonio police Chief William McManus described the events that followed as "unthinkable."

An investigation was opened after the victim contacted police. According to a statement issued by the department, Neal was taken into custody by SAPD Special Victims' Unit detectives after officers pulled him over around 2 a.m. Saturday.

He was arrested on a warrant for sexual assault, a second-degree felony.

Magic Hat

Wolf in sheep's clothing? Billionaire neoliberal Pierre Omidyar

Pierre Omidyar
"We ought to be looking at business as a force for good." - Pierre Omidyar

"Like eBay, Omidyar Network harnesses the power of markets to enable people to tap their true potential." - Omidyar Network, "Frequently Asked Questions"

Update: Glenn Greenwald responds to this piece on Twitter: "The idea that someone would build a pro-business, neoliberal outlet around Scahill, Poitras, Segura, Bates etc is just dumb." When asked about Omidyar Network's investment history, he said "I have no idea what you're talking about there. I don't speak for Omidyar Networks. You should ask them that."

The world knows very little about the political motivations of Pierre Omidyar, the eBay billionaire who is founding (and funding) a quarter-billion-dollar journalism venture with Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill. What we do know is this: Pierre Omidyar is a very special kind of technology billionaire.

We know this because America's sharpest journalism critics have told us.

In a piece headlined "The Extraordinary Promise of the New Greenwald-Omidyar Venture", The Columbia Journalism Review gushed over the announcement of Omidyar's project. And just in case their point wasn't clear, they added the amazing subhead, "Adversarial muckrakers + civic-minded billionaire = a whole new world."

Ah yes, the fabled "civic-minded billionaire" - you'll find him two doors down from the tooth fairy.


How to survive a personal economic collapse

With all that is being written about the national economic collapse, people seem to be waiting for some huge event.

However, for many North Americans, the collapse is here. This isn't relegated to only lower income neighborhoods. As an article from a Cinncinnati new station stated, "Hunger doesn't know a zipcode."

For many people who were formerly financially comfortable, the economic collapse has already happened, in the form of a job loss, hours that have been cut back due to Obamacare requirements for employers, an exorbitant medical bill or other crushing debt, or simply an inflation rate that has outstripped your pay increases. Despite all of the warnings, many people are still going to be absolutely blindsided.

For many families, personal finances have reached a catastrophic level - they are left to make terrible choices:
  • Which utility can I live without?
  • Should I walk away from my mortgage?
  • Should I eat something so I can work harder or should I skip meals so my kids have food?
  • Should I use the grocery money to take my child to the doctor or should I wait and hope he/she improves without medical intervention?
  • Do I risk the IRS-enforced penalties by forgoing enrollment in Obamacare or should I skip that whole grocery shopping thing so I can pay the monthly premiums and enormous deductibles in order to stay in the government's good graces?


Fascist California city pilots total smoking ban, even in smokers' own homes!

Government isn't content to control public behavior, it is now clamping down on how citizens act at home, as well.

Multiple media outlets are reporting that the city council of San Rafael, California has passed an ordinance prohibiting smoking inside residences with shared walls. This would include, of course, apartments, condominiums, duplexes, and other multi-family dwellings.

The ordinance was passed in October 2012, but did not go into effect until November 14, 2013.

According to a statement made by the city council on the city's official website, the new regulation strengthens "the City's municipal code to further protect the community from secondhand smoke."

In particular, the ordinance "applies to all new and existing properties and does not allow grandfathering rights. Landlords and property owners are required to enforce this ordinance through new lease language or lease amendments as well as posting signage."

The ordinance may be the strictest in the country, and city officials are proud to be out front on the issue. Breitbart News quoted Rebecca Woodbury, "an analyst in the San Rafael's city manager's office who helped write the ordinance," as boasting: "I'm not aware of any ordinance that's stronger."

Snowflake Cold

New York-bound Amtrak train carrying 218 people derails in South Carolina, four hospitalized with minor injuries

Several cars of the New York City-bound Amtrak train with 218 people aboard flew off the tracks in South Carolina early Monday in freezing conditions. No one was seriously hurt but four passengers were taken to hospital with minor injuries after the derailment, in which seven cars left the track but thankfully remained upright.

Witnesses described terrifying scenes as the train tilted, bags flew around and jolted passengers clung to each other just after midnight on Train 20 from New Orleans.
© Associated PressAftermath: Workers use heavy equipment to remove derailed cars of the Amtrak train as a freight train approaches in Spartanburg County, South Carolina
Passenger Carrie Lambert told The Associated Press that she was at the back of the train when she felt the car start to sway and then tilt. 'The car felt like it was about to flip over... I was holding on to my brother for dear life,' the Atlanta woman told AP by phone. 'Bags went everywhere. It was crazy. Really scary.'

Comment: Yet another train derails...

Sure, it was cold, but it wasn't that cold, and certainly nothing the tracks and trains aren't used to.

Are train tracks deforming in unusual ways? Is this related to sinkholes opening up everywhere?