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Sun, 11 Dec 2016
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"Erasing Dad" - What rights do fathers have?


Comment: A moving documentary (in Spanish, with English subtitles) about the violation of visiting rights, and in particular the differences made when interpreting the Law in regards to fathers' and mothers' rights in Argentina (and how these same legal interpretations have spread to other countries). Even when tangible evidence exists that a mother is abusing her children, the legal system seems quite biased towards the mother.

Some extreme feminists vehemently affirm that "ALL men lie". Why such double standards, when what should really be analyzed is the damage that family violence is causing in children, and the actual facts of each case? This seems to be another example of how differences which should not be deterministic (gender, race...) are over-emphasized and used to pervert justice, generating immense suffering. The really important difference lies in the boundaries between normal human behavior and psychopathology (and disturbed characters of all kinds).


© Borrando a papá

Attention

Syria: From the sublime to the shameful

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Rimal Beach, Tartous, Syria
What follows is a report from a resident of Aleppo whose identity is not revealed for reasons of security. Their reports delve deep into the terrorist underworld and expose many of the NGO and media narratives, as propaganda and hypocrisy. We are thankful to these brave, courageous people who bring us the truth from inside Syria, without them we would still be in the dark as to the extent of the terror they are forced to endure day after night at the hands of the US alliance funded and armed mercenary brigades.

Comment: The people always suffer in the geopolitical games of the psychopaths. For more analysis on the Syrian situation: Interview with General (Ret.) Amine Htaite of the Lebanese Armed Forces on Syria.


Stormtrooper

Prison-industrial complex: Private companies charging exorbitant fees for phone calls in U.S. prisons

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© Lucy Nicholson / Reuters
Private phone companies are making a pretty penny by nickel-and-diming prison inmates and their families, sometimes to the tune of $2 a minute for in-state phone calls. Yet the exorbitant fees keep taxpayers from footing the bill.

The prison phone industry has been booming since the 1990s. It's grown to a $1.2 billion-a-year industry dominated by a few private companies, as people made some 500 million calls totaling more than six billion minutes both to and from prisons and jails in 2014 alone, the New York Times reported.

RT's Lindsay France called Global Tel*Link (GTL), which contracts with Los Angeles County, to set up an account to call a fictional friend at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility.

"The nice lady on the phone told me that first off, I'd be hit with a nearly $5 sign-up fee, a possible service fee, possible facilities fee depending on where I wanted to call into," France said. "And when my fictional friend or loved one gets out and I ask for a refund on the money left inside my account, I get hit with a fee then too."

On top of those fees, France learned that there was no way to determine the per-minute rate of a call until it had been made and paid for.

Comment: See also:


Whistle

Ridiculous! Missouri parents threatened with jail over childrens' swing set

Two Lee's Summit, Missouri parents have found themselves in hot water for having a swing set for their children on their property. The Stout family is facing sanctions, fines, and possibly even jail time.

Leading the charge against the family—which has been ongoing for over a year—is the most dubious of opponents: The Raintree Lake Neighborhood Homeowner's Association. The claim against the family swing set is that it infringed on HOA guidelines, which specifically state that play equipment must be "subdued and within harmony with other colors of the community."

Let's note, for the record, that the definition of "harmony" is suspiciously missing from the HOA's guidelines.

Marla Stout, speaking for her family, said the dispute originally began over the color of the swing set, which was red. That color was deemed not in "harmony" by the HOA, and the Stout family was fined. They fought the HOA on that charge and the decision was reversed.

Shopping Bag

What economic recovery? Food banks struggling to keep up with demand

© Associated Press/Al Behrman
Food banks across the country are seeing a rising demand for free groceries despite the growing economy, leading some charities to reduce the amount of food they offer each family.

U.S. food banks are expected to give away about 4 billion pounds of food this year, more than double the amount provided a decade ago, according to Feeding America, the nation's primary food bank network. The group gave away 3.8 billion in 2013.

While reliance on food banks exploded when the economy tanked in 2008, groups said demand continues to rise year after year, leaving them scrambling to find more food.

"We get lines of people every day, starting at 6:30 in the morning," said Sheila Moore, who oversees food distribution at The Storehouse, the largest pantry in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and one where food distribution has climbed 15 percent in the past year.

Heart

Opera singer performs Schubert while undergoing brain surgery

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© Ambrož Bajec-Lapajne / YouTube
An opera singer from Slovenia was performing Schubert while undergoing a brain cancer surgery in a Dutch clinic, later posting the video from the operating room online.

The doctors at the University Medical Center Utrecht asked Ambroz Bajec-Lapajne to sing in order to monitor his ability to vocalize and recognize the key change during the brain tumor surgery.

The tenor opted for 'Gute Nacht' (Good Night) by Austrian 19th century composer, Franz Peter Schubert, performing the opening and the final couplets from the song.

The doctors were clearly impressed by the young man's talent.


Megaphone

New poll shows half of registered voters want criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email use

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© Brian Snyder / Reuters
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton
As Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton turns over her private email server to the FBI, a new poll shows that just over half of registered voters want to see a criminal investigation over the incident.

The Democratic frontrunner has been embroiled in controversy ever since it was revealed that she used a private server to conduct government business during her four years as secretary of state. Just this week, the intelligence community inspector general said that several emails stored on the server featured classified information.

Clinton's use of a private server is particularly controversial because of the possibility that foreign hackers could have snooped on the emails.

According to a new poll, registered voters don't necessarily suspect malicious intent behind Clinton's email use, but the majority still want a thorough accounting of the data stored on the server.

"Even though most voters feel Clinton's intentions may have been acceptable, a majority (52%) say that her emails should be subject to a criminal investigation for the potential release of classified material," a poll conducted by Monmouth University. Forty-one percent said the emails shouldn't be looked into.

Books

Iowa barber gives haircuts in exchange for children reading stories to him

© MIKE BURLEY, Telegraph Herald via AP
Courtney Holmes, right, listens to Jeremiah Reddick, 9, of Dubuque, as he reads while receiving a free haircut Saturday during the Back to School Bash in Comiskey Park, in Dubuque. Holmes offered his services to children who read while getting their hair cut.
Children who read books to a local barber have received a free haircut as part of a community event in Dubuque to help families prepare for the upcoming school year.

Barber Courtney Holmes traded the tales for trims on Saturday during the second annual Back to School Bash in Comiskey Park.

Tayshawn Kirby, 9, of Dubuque, read from "Fats, Oils and Sweets," by Carol Parenzan Smalley, informing Holmes that the average person eats 150 pounds of sugar each year. Before Tayshawn's 10-year-old brother, Titan Feeney, took his turn in the barber chair, he told his brother the new look was great.

"I just want to support kids reading," Holmes said.

Comment: Paying for a service in a currency other than fiat paper, what a 'novel' idea!


Bulb

Illinois governor signs sweeping police reform bill with rules on body cameras and chokeholds

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© Scott Olson / AFP
The governor of Illinois signed a sweeping police reform law which establishes wide-ranging rules for body cameras, largely prohibits chokeholds, introduces bias-free policing, and demands more data collection on arrests.

The measure, dubbed the Police and Community Improvement Act, is a compilation of 200 separate pieces of legislation intended to reform policing practices. It passed by a wide margin in the House and Senate and was signed into law on Wednesday by Governor Bruce Rauner.

"Illinois has set the standard, set the standard nationally," State Senator Kawame Raoul, a Chicago Democrat and co-sponsor of the bill, said a press conference, according to the AP.

The 174-page measure largely prohibits chokeholds except when deadly force is necessary. Deadly force is warranted under Illinois Criminal Code, 2012, article 7 when officers need to defend themselves or another person, or to protect property.


Comment: That's basically a loophole to allow police to use deadly force. Eric Garner was killed by a chokehold and all he did was argue with police, but apparently even an argument is sufficient to invoke the deadly force excuse.


The law also adds training guidelines to help officers become more aware of bias and achieve cultural competency.

Comment: Since the governor appears to want to get tough on police brutality and overall police accountability, perhaps he would like to do something about the ongoing torture center operating in Chicago for the last ten years:


Handcuffs

Lawyer for Chelsea Manning says whistleblower faces indefinite solitary confinement

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© U.S. Army / Reuters
U.S. Army Private First Class Bradley Manning
Whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who is serving a 35-year sentence for leaking thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, faces indefinite solitary confinement after being charged with possessing prohibited materials in prison, according to her lawyer.

Prison officials have brought four charges against Manning including disorderly conduct, possession of prohibited property, misusing medicine, and being disrespectful, according to a document posted on freechelsea.com, a Chelsea Manning support group website.

Specifically, the charges involve four incidents. The disorderly conduct charge stems from an incident when she allegedly swept some food onto the floor and asked to speak to her lawyer when confronted by a guard. She is also accused of having books and magazines in her cell, and being in possession of a tube of toothpaste past its expiration date.


Comment: The charges are ridiculous, and point to the high likelihood that Chelsea is being punished not for the offenses given, but for blowing the whistle on government surveillance.