Society's ChildS


SOTT Focus: Crashes and Empires


As the stock markets around the globe plummet due to the downgrading of US credit rating, president Obama steps up to the podium today in a special address to the nation. I thought I'd listen in...

The president begins with an explanation that even though the US credit rating was downgraded from AAA, it is not so much that the agency doubts our ability to pay our debt, but, rather, they doubt our political system's ability to act. The markets think our credit rating is AAA. Warren Buffet, a man who knows something about the market, would give the US a AAAA rating if possible, or so the president says.

In other words, pay no attention to the reality of our current credit rating - pay attention to the IDEA of our credit rating. As an insider in the Bush White House said not so many years ago, "we're an empire now, so we create our own reality" and the reality the president wants you to believe in is that our credit rating is not what it actually is. He repeats that we are a AAA country.


David Cameron Returning to UK as Fire and Riots Grip London

Hackney Riots
© Getty
David Cameron is returning to the UK as a fresh wave of riots and fires hit London, from the east to the south, with unrest also beginning to take hold in other parts of the country.

Prime Minister David Cameron is coming home to deal with the wave of unrest gripping London and threatening to spread around the UK. He will chair a meeting of the Government's emergency committee Cobra on Tuesday.

Metropolitan Police Acting Commisioner Tim Goodwin has urged the public to stay off London's streets. He also called on parents to contact their children.


UK Riots: Unrest Spreads to Leeds and Birmingham

Birmingham Riots
Channel 4 News has spoken to an eyewitness in Birmingham city centre who says trouble is "brewing," whilst another reports a heavy police presence in Leeds' Chapeltown after the shooting of a man.

As riots spiral across London, the fresh wave of violence has also spread north to central Birmingham, with police saying shop windows had been smashed and looting had taken place


UK Riots: Windows smashed in Birmingham as youths gather

Adidas store Birmingham
The Adidas store in New Street, Birmingham, was broken into and looted
Gangs of masked youths have gathered in Birmingham city centre and some shop windows have been smashed.

A McDonald's restaurant, close to the city's cathedral, has had a window broken and eye witnesses have reported more damage in the Colmore Row area.

West Midlands Police said it was aware of some disorder, including vandalised shops and incidents of theft.


Anarchy in the UK: London Riots Enter Day 3, Spread to Second City Birmingham

More than 200 people have been arrested and 35 officers injured during three nights of violent street riots in London.

London's police force is bracing itself for another night of violence, as the ongoing unrest became steadily worse on Monday with new pockets of violence and rioting springing up all over the city.


London riots: how BlackBerry Messenger played a key role

london riots
© Ray Tang/Rex FeaturesLondon riots: a looted O2 mobile phone store in Tottenham Hale retail park.

In October 1985, on the Broadwater Farm estate in Tottenham where the death of Cynthia Jarrett sparked riots that culminated in the brutal murder of PC Keith Blakelock, a community leader stood on his chair at a packed open-air meeting.

The man bellowed into a megaphone to the 150 residents in front of him: "You tell them that it's a life for a life from now on. This is war."

Over whoops and cheers from the residents, he turned to a huddle of police officers standing 50 yards away and warned: "I hope you're listening. There is no way I am going to condemn the actions of the youth on Sunday night."

Twenty six years later, police officers are still listening - but the megaphones and open-air meetings have been largely replaced. This weekend's north London riots, the Daily Mail announced on Monday, were "fuelled by social media".


UK: New Unrest in North London a Night After Rioting

burned bus,london
© AP Photo/Akira SuemoriA burned bus is seen in Tottenham, north London, Sunday, Aug. 7, 2011 after a demonstration against the death of a local man turned violent and cars and shops were set ablaze. One police officer was hospitalized and seven others were injured during riots after a north London suburb exploded in anger Saturday night following a gathering to protest the Thursday shooting by police of the 29-year-old.
London - New unrest erupted on north London's streets late Sunday, a day after rioting and looting in a deprived area amid community anger over a fatal police shooting.

Police deployed extra officers on London's streets to prevent a repeat of Saturday's violence in north London's Tottenham area, which appeared to be quiet Sunday night.

But disturbances broke out in Enfield, about 5 miles (8 kilometers) north of Tottenham. TV footage showed riot and mounted police patrolling the streets, and there were also images of smashed shop windows, and police with dogs detaining at least one man.

A peaceful protest against the killing of a 29-year-old man in Tottenham degenerated into a Saturday night rampage, with rioters torching a double-decker bus, destroying patrol cars and trashing a shopping mall in the nearby Wood Green district.

In Enfield, there were reports that a police car was vandalized, and Sky News television reported that several hundred young people were on the streets causing trouble, with footage showing a looted pharmacy.


Swedish man caught trying to split atoms at home

Stockholm - A Swedish man who was arrested after trying to split atoms in his kitchen said Wednesday he was only doing it as a hobby.

Richard Handl told The Associated Press that he had the radioactive elements radium, americium and uranium in his apartment in southern Sweden when police showed up and arrested him on charges of unauthorized possession of nuclear material.

The 31-year-old Handl said he had tried for months to set up a nuclear reactor at home and kept a blog about his experiments, describing how he created a small meltdown on his stove.


New Zealand: Man Dies After Being Sucked Into Plane Engine


An engineer working on an airplane engine in New Zealand was sucked into the machine and killed.

Air New Zealand confirmed the man's death, saying he was working on the Lockheed C-130 Hercules engine early Monday. He was identified by local television reports as Miles Hunter, 51. The engine was not attached to a plane, but was on a stand when the incident occurred.

Rob Fyfe, chief executive of Air New Zealand, told TVNZ News that officials were at a "complete loss" as to how the incident occurred.

Heart - Black

US: 30,000 college students kicked out of food aid program in Michigan

food stamp card
© Unknown
State's new eligibility rules to save $75M; more students got aid than thought

Michigan has removed about 30,000 college students from its food stamp program - close to double the initial estimate - saving about $75 million a year, says Human Services Director Maura Corrigan.

Federal rules don't allow most college students to collect food stamps, but Michigan had created its own rules that made nearly all students eligible, said Brian Rooney, Corrigan's deputy director. As a result, the number of Michigan college students on this form of welfare made the state a national leader. For example, Michigan had 10 times the number of students on food stamps as either Illinois or California, Rooney said.

Cutting off the students is part of what Corrigan says is an effort to change the culture of the state's welfare department and slash tens of millions of dollars of waste, fraud and abuse.

"Maybe (students) could go get a part-time job - that's what I did," said Corrigan, a former justice of the Michigan Supreme Court who attended Detroit's Marygrove College and University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.

Comment: Considering the state of the US economy, and that of Detroit in particular, this is a rather rich statement.

"We want to encourage people to be self-sufficient, not to be dependent on the government," she said in an interview with The Detroit News.

But critics say state funding has shrunk and tuition has skyrocketed since Corrigan attended college in the late '60s and early '70s. They cite Michigan's still-battered economy and say the suffering the cuts will create won't be apparent until after cash-strapped students return to campuses this fall.