Society's ChildS


Chemical facilities pose risks to thousands of communities

© AFP Photo / Jewel SamadAn aerial picture shows the devastation at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, on April 25, 2013
Could the accident that caused a deadly explosion at the West, Texas fertilizer plant occur elsewhere? According to a report by the US Congressional Research Service, thousands of facilities across the country risk harming nearby populations.

On April 17 a Texas fertilizer plant burst into flames, leaving more than 15 people dead and over 160 injured. The mushroom cloud that followed the blast was covered by media outlets across the globe, but according to government estimates nearly 7,000 more potentially hazardous sites remain active across the industry.

According to a November 2012 Congressional Research Service (CRS) memo prepared for Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) 6,985 facilities fall under a federal monitoring criteria that they pose a risk to populations greater than 1,000, with 90 such facilities potentially impacting over a million people in a worst-case scenario.

The report, which is based on regulations that compel private corporations to submit risk management plans to the Environmental Protection Agency, is based on calculations of how people within a set radius would be impacted by "a worse-case scenario release from a single chemical process."

Stock Down

Flashback Court OKs barring high IQs for cops

A man whose bid to become a police officer was rejected after he scored too high on an intelligence test has lost an appeal in his federal lawsuit against the city.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York upheld a lower court's decision that the city did not discriminate against Robert Jordan because the same standards were applied to everyone who took the test.

"This kind of puts an official face on discrimination in America against people of a certain class," Jordan said today from his Waterford home. "I maintain you have no more control over your basic intelligence than your eye color or your gender or anything else."

He said he does not plan to take any further legal action.

Comment: Authoritarian followers can't be too smart if they're going to be authoritarian followers!


No, you can't call your baby Lucifer: New Zealand releases list of banned names

Baby Names
© CNNOur little bundle of joy. We're going to name you Mafia No Fear.
Lucifer cannot be born in New Zealand.

And there's no place for Christ or a Messiah either.

In New Zealand, parents have to run by the government any name they want to bestow on their baby.

And each year, there's a bevy of unusual ones too bizarre to pass the taste test.

The country's Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages shared that growing list with CNN on Wednesday.

Four words:

What were they thinking?

In the past 12 years, the agency had to turn down not one, not two, but six sets of parents who wanted to name their child "Lucifer."

Also shot down were parents who wanted to grace their child with the name "Messiah." That happened twice.

"Christ," too, was rejected.

Specific rules

As the agency put it, acceptable names must not cause offense to a reasonable person, not be unreasonably long and should not resemble an official title and rank.

It's no surprise then that the names nixed most often since 2001 are "Justice" (62 times) and "King" (31 times).

Some of the other entries scored points in the creativity department -- but clearly didn't take into account the lifetime of pain they'd bring.

"Mafia No Fear." "4Real." "Anal."

Oh, come on!

Then there were the parents who preferred brevity through punctuation. The ones who picked '"*" (the asterisk) or '"."(period).

Heart - Black

Majority of U.S. states allow rapists to have parental rights over children

© Unknown
A shocking number of states allow a man parental rights if he rapes and impregnates a woman, even if the woman does not want him in the child's life.

Thirty one states in total grant visitation and custody rights to men who get their rape victims pregnant.

Slowly, states are starting to change these laws, and Colorado is the most recent one to take a stand against it.

A new bill proposed in the state would prevent rapists from having parental rights. It is now waiting for approval from a House Appropriations Committee and a vote by the House, but is expected to pass as not a single legislator voted against it.

The bill would also force rapists to pay child support and, if the mother wishes, keep them from ever knowing a child was born.

But the bill would only apply to those who were convicted after July 1, 2013.


Thousands still homeless after Sandy

© AFP Photo / Spencer PlattA destroyed by Superstorm Sandy home is viewed in Oakwood Beach in Staten Island on February 5, 2013 in New York City.
Tens of thousands of Hurricane Sandy victims still remain homeless, desperately waiting for government assistance while fearfully anticipating the start of another hurricane season.

Some victims are living out of cardboard boxes, overstaying their welcomes at the homes of friends and family while their own houses remain demolished. Families remain separated, dispersed throughout the country as they continue to fight with their insurance companies for assistance that has never come. Businesses are shuttered, homes are overtaken by mold and piles of rubble litter the backyards of the houses that now stand empty.

Victims relying on subsidized hotel rooms could soon end up on the streets, since government relief funding is set to expire. Advocates claim there is not enough public and low-income housing to accommodate the hundreds who have relied on FEMA-subsidized hotel rooms for the past six months.

In the seaside community of Breezy Point, Queens, 2,400 of the 2,800 homes remain unoccupied. The neighborhood stands as a ghost town, illuminated only by the flames of the fire burning down the houses red-tagged for demolition.

"Insurance and the new building codes delay everything. It's like Breezy is frozen in time," Michael Sullivan, a resident of the seaside community, told the New York Daily News.

And after six months of a gruelingly slow recovery, tens of thousands of residents remain homeless, dreaming of a normal life that they may never be able to return to.

"Some people are still very much in the midst of recovery. You still have people in hotel rooms, you still have people doubling up, you still have people fighting with insurance companies, and for them it's been terrible and horrendous," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo, ahead of the six-month anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.

Bizarro Earth

Raymond Buys: 15 years old, tortured and murdered for not being "manly"

Gauteng province, South Africa - A truly shocking story is currently unfolding in the Vereeniging District Court. The owner of a "game-ranger training camp" with links to far-right groups stands trial for the torture and murder of a 15-year-old boy in his care in 2011. This is the third teen to have died at the camp in the last six years, although the previous two deaths were recorded as "natural causes". Echo Wild Game Rangers promised to turn effeminate boys into manly men.


Phoenix Laestadian Lutherans: 'Church has blood on its hands' in death of 6-day-old

The situation is heartbreaking.

A 6-day-old baby is dead and her own mother, who has eight other children, is accused of killing her.

  • CBS 5 - KPHO

  • The husband of 36-year-old Nina Koistinen has said she suffers from severe mental illness.

    But according to those who know the family, there might have been another contributing factor - the family's religion.

    Since Phoenix police arrested Nina Koistinen on Thursday, April 25 - several former members of the Phoenix Laestadian Lutheran Church in Cave Creek have come forward with serious concerns about one of its doctrines.

    One former Laestadian, who wishes to remain anonymous out of fear of retribution, said it boils down to brainwashing.


    Americans troubled more by governmental abuse than terrorism

    © AFP Photo/John MoorePolice and private security personnel monitor security cameras at the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative on April 23, 2013 in New York City.
    New polling numbers suggest that United States citizens are on average more afraid of their own government then the threat of another terrorist attack.

    Even after a pair of bombings in Boston two weeks ago injured hundreds, more Americans say they are unwilling to sacrifice constitutional liberties for security than those who are.

    A handful of polls conducted in the days after the Boston Marathon bombings show that US citizens are responding much differently than in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that killed roughly 3,000 people. Not only are Americans more opposed now to giving up personal freedoms for the sake of security than they were after 9/11, but other statistics show that distrust against the federal government continues to climb.

    Just one day after the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing, pollsters with Fox News asked a sample of Americans, "Would you be willing to give up some of your personal freedom in order to reduce the threat of terrorism?" Forty-three percent of the respondents said they would, while 45 percent said no. Comparatively, 71 percent of Americans asked a similar question in October 2001 said they'd be willing to give up personal freedoms, while only 20 percent opposed at the time.

    In the dozen years since 9/11, frequent polling conducted by Fox has suggests that the majority of Americans have all the while said they'd give up their freedoms for the sake of security. Only with the latest inquiry though are those answers reversed: the last time a majority of Americans opposed giving up privacy for security was May 2001.


    3 dead, 14 injured as apartment building collapses after explosion in Reims, France

    Reims explosion
    © AFP Photo / Francois Nascimbeni
    An apartment building collapsed after an apparent gas explosion in the northern French city of Reims, killing at least three people and injuring fourteen.

    The blast destroyed 10 apartments in the four-story building at around 11:15am local time. The area was evacuated over fears of a second explosion.

    Initially two fatalities were reported, but later in the day crews searching for survivors turned up the body of a woman under the rubble, raising the death toll to three. Michel Bernard, the top government official in Reims, said it was unlikely that the toll would rise any higher.

    One person was hospitalized with serious, but not life-threatening injuries, and another 13 people had minor injuries.

    The blast at the four-story building was probably caused by a gas leak, Mayor Adeline Hazan told BFM TV, adding that the blast was "very strong" and had shattered windows in other buildings.


    UK mother forced daughter, 14, to get pregnant using sperm donor

    A woman desperate for another child forced her 14-year-old daughter to get pregnant using syringes of donor sperm, a British judge says.

    In a ruling reported for the first time on Monday, High Court judge Peter Jackson said the mother had behaved in "a wicked and selfish way" that almost defied belief.

    The judge said the woman, an American divorcee living in Britain with three adopted children, hatched the plan after she was prevented from adopting a fourth.

    The scheme involved getting her oldest daughter to inseminate herself with syringes of sperm purchased over the internet from a Denmark-based company, Cryos International.

    Jackson said the daughter, identified only as A, "became pregnant at the mother's request, using donor sperm bought by the mother, with the purpose of providing a fourth child for the mother to bring up as her own".

    In his ruling, the judge quoted the teenager as saying she was shocked by the suggestion, but thought, "If I do this ... maybe she will love me more."