Society's ChildS

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'Anti-drug cartel mayor found dead in West Mexico'

Ygnacio Lopez Mendoza
© Press TVYgnacio Lopez Mendoza
Mexican officials say a crusading mayor, who was allegedly threatened by drug cartels, has been found dead on a roadside in the western state of Michoacan.

The officials said on Friday local police found the body of Ygnacio Lopez Mendoza in his car on Thursday.

Mendoza was the mayor of Santa Ana Maya in Michoacan state, an agricultural town with about 12,000 residents. He was also a qualified doctor.

"The mayor ... was on hunger strike in front of the Senate complaining of complicity between local police and criminals. Today he's dead. How did it happen?" former President Felipe Calderon said on his Twitter account.

The mayor, who went on an 18-day hunger strike to raise more funds for his crusade against organized crimes, was publicly speaking against the Knights Templar drug cartel.

Mr. Potato

Obamacare's website: Recipe for disaster with 500 million lines of code, a shoestring budget and political pressure on deadlines

© REUTERS There are big incentives for states to participate in the Medicaid extension. (Pictured) President Barack Obama meeting with health care professionals.'s problematic launch earlier this month has seen technical glitches for enrollees, flawed data for health insurers and increased scrutiny of private health care technology contractors.

Criticism from lawmakers and media coverage led President Barack Obama to hold a press conference on on Monday, where he said there was "no excuse" for the problems so far with the website.

But online health insurance marketplaces have launched successfully in the past. Specifically, Massachusetts launched a widely applauded state health exchange in late 2006, known as the Massachusetts Health Connector.

Jon Kingsdale, a health exchanges and health care reform expert with Boston's Wakely Consulting Group, told International Business Times in a phone interview why federal and state health exchanges fared differently.

Gold Coins

Billionaires received U.S. farm subsidies (welfare), report finds

The federal government paid $11.3 million in taxpayer-funded farm subsidies from 1995 to 2012 to 50 billionaires or businesses in which they have some form of ownership, according to a report released Thursday by the Environmental Working Group, a Washington-based research organization.

The billionaires who received the subsidies or owned companies that did include the Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen; the investment titan Charles Schwab; and S. Truett Cathy, owner of Chick-fil-A. The billionaires who got the subsidies have a collective net worth of $316 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

The Working Group said its findings were likely to underestimate the total farm subsidies that went to the billionaires on the Forbes 400 list because many of them also received crop insurance subsidies. Federal law prohibits the disclosure of the names of individuals who get crop insurance subsidies, the group said.

The report is being issued as members of the House and Senate are meeting to come up with a new five-year farm bill. The authors of the report said it is timely, given that lawmakers are debating a House proposal that would cut nearly $40 billion over 10 years from the food stamp program, which helps provide food for nearly 47 million people. A Senate provision would cut $4.5 billion over the same period.

A report released Wednesday by the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning research group, found that food stamps kept about five million people above the poverty line last year. The food stamp program was cut by about $5 billion on Nov. 1 when a provision in the 2009 stimulus bill that added funding for the program expired.

Comment: Business as usual in one of the richest nations in the world - welfare for the rich while adding to the suffering of the poor.
Eat this: U.S. Farm Bill passes in House - without funding for food stamps
Food insecurity soars: Food stamp program in U.S is largest it has ever been
Food stamps to get cut by $5bn this week


Dad 'unfit parent for refusing son McDonald's'

© Getty Images
A Manhattan dad is not lovin' McDonald's right now.

Attorney David Schorr slapped a court-appointed shrink with a defamation lawsuit for telling the judge deciding a custody battle with his estranged wife that he was an unfit parent - for refusing to take his son to the fast food joint for dinner.

"You'd think it was sexual molestation," Schorr, 43, told The Post Thursday. "I am just floored by it."

Schorr says in his Manhattan Supreme Court suit that E. 97th Street psychiatrist Marilyn Schiller filed a report saying he was "wholly incapable of taking care of his son" and should be denied his weekend visitation over the greasy burger ban.

Schorr, a corporate attorney turned consultant with degrees from NYU and Oxford University, had planned to take his 4-year-old son to their usual restaurant, the Corner Café on Third Avenue, for his weekly Tuesday night visitation last week.

But the boy threw a temper tantrum and demanded McDonald's. So he gave his son an ultimatum: dinner anywhere other than McDonald's - or no dinner.

"The child, stubborn as a mule, chose the 'no dinner' option," the disgruntled dad says in the suit.

"It was just a standoff. I'm kicking myself mightily," Schorr said.

"I wish I had taken him to McDonalds, but you get nervous about rewarding bad behavior. I was concerned. I think it was a 1950s equivalent of sending your child to bed without dinner. That's maybe the worst thing you can say about it," he said.

Adding insult to injury, he said: "My wife immediately took him to McDonalds."

Bad Guys

Teen girls file federal suit against school district for allowing years of 'sextortion,' bullying

Josi Harrison (left) and Laura Lefebvre say they were harassed and abused for three years at Clatskanie Middle/High School by other students and the school did nothing to stop the bullying.
Parents and their teenage daughters, who say they were bullied into sending nude photos to boys at their school, have filed a federal lawsuit against the Clatskanie School District.

The girls say they were harassed and abused for three years and that their school didn't do enough to protect them.

"I thought, why would you ever send a picture of yourself out?" said one of the girls, Josi Harrison. "But what these boys do to you, you feel like you have no option."

They were only 12 and 13 years old at the time, seventh-graders at Clatskanie Middle/High School. The girls say when they tried to go to the principal, the school counselor and other teachers for help, they were told to "suck it up."

The students and their parents gave example after example. Boys were allowed into the locker room while girls were undressed and teachers watched as the girls got slapped in the face.

"That day for the second time, the same student made me bleed - he threw a book at me and cut my lip open," said another girl, Laura Lefebvre. "I went to the principal, and I said this is enough. This isn't how I deserve to be treated. He said, 'Well, we can take you out of the class.' I said, 'That's not fair. That's them winning. I think there should be consequences for them.' He said, 'Well, boys will be boys.'"

The girls' mothers said the school principal refused to protect their daughters.

Laura's mother, Jennifer Lefebvre, said the principal told her "it had to be handled very delicately because he didn't want the harassment and the bullying to get worse than what she deserved. And I said she doesn't deserve this. No child deserves this. And we knew then that it just was a lost cause."


Watched cops are polite cops

© Dai SuganoOfficer Michael Ceballos wears a video/audio recording device during a press conference at SJPD headquarters on Dec. 18, 2009.
Who will watch the watchers? What if all watchers were required to wear a video camera that would record their every interaction with citizens?

In her ruling in a recent civil suit challenging the New York City police department's notorious stop-and-frisk rousting of residents, Judge Shira A. Scheindlin of the Federal District Court in Manhattan imposed an experiment in which the police in the city's precincts with the highest reported rates of stop-and-frisk activity would be required to wear video cameras for one year.

This is a really good idea. Earlier this year, a 12-month study by Cambridge University researchers revealed that when the city of Rialto, California, required its cops to wear cameras, the number of complaints filed against officers fell by 88 percent and the use of force by officers dropped by almost 60 percent. Watched cops are polite cops.

People 2

Woman sues her employer for forcing her to pump breast milk in a hot, bug-ridden locker room

© ACLUThe dirty locker room where Bockoras’ employer made her breastfeed.
Bobbi Bockoras has worked at a glass bottling plant in Port Allegany, Pennsylvania for six years. She has two children, one of whom was born recently. Bockoras takes every pain to breastfeed her newborn daughter Lyla. Unfortunately, that includes pumping her breast milk in the only place where her employer, Saint Gobain Verallia, will let her do so - a dingy and sweltering locker room littered with dead bugs.

The Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide a clean, non-bathroom space with an electrical outlet and "reasonable" break time for their workers to pump breast milk for one full year after a child's birth.

Bockoras knows that, so she was surprised when her supervisor first told her to just pump milk in a bathroom. She eventually learned that both her supervisor and Saint Gobain Verallia's human resources department were unaware of the law.

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Las Vegas installs "Intellistreets" light fixtures capable of video recording

The Las Vegas Public Works Department has begun testing a newly installed street light system around City Hall with wide-ranging capabilities including audio and video recording.

According to the Michigan based "Illuminating Concepts," the system's main benefits include "energy management, security and entertainment." The Las Vegas setup includes such features as emergency notification flashers, playable music and a sound announcement system, all controlled from an Ipad.

"Actually, there's a server that's housed by the company that's providing this product and we're communicating with just a wireless, wi-fi connection," Neil Rohleder of the Public Works Department told My News 3.

The company's lights, which also offer a "Homeland Security" feature, received major backlash in 2011 following reports of the system's federally-funded roll out across the country. The feature allows for emergency government announcements which will likely include such slogans as "See Something, Say Something" as well as other irrationally fear-based messages already seen in Wal Mart's DHS-run "telescreens."

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50 venomous snakes taken from church of reality TV pastor

The snakes were in the church of a pastor and reality TV star named Andrew Hamblin.

Hamblin presides over the Tabernacle Church of God and appears in "Snake Salvation" on the National Geographic Channel.

Hamblin quotes scripture as he explains he uses the venomous snakes during his church services and will continue to do so.

"In my name they shall cast out devils, they shall speak with new tongues, they shall take up serpents," he read to Fox 19.

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Dying UK prisoners routinely chained to hospital beds

Michael Tyrrell
© Tyrrell familyMichael Tyrrell handcuffed to his hospital bed the day before he died. His daughter took the photograph.

A Guardian investigation has revealed prisoners who are seriously and terminally ill are routinely chained in hospitals despite posing no security threat.

A prisoner who was clinically brain dead remained in handcuffs in an ambulance taking him to another hospital. Another severely disabled prisoner was also chained. Glenda Jackson, his MP, said the practice was "disgusting and horrific."

According to the prison service, inmates who require treatment at outside hospitals are risk assessed before decisions are made as to whether to restrain them or not. But a Guardian investigation shows the use of restraints to be the starting point for prisoners taken to hospital, irrespective of their medical condition.

Examples discovered include a prisoner, Michael Tyrrell, 65, dying from cancer and too weak to move; 22-year-old Kyal Gaffney, diagnosed with leukaemia, who had suffered a brain haemorrhage; and Daniel Roque Hall, 30, suffering Friedreich's ataxia, a wasting disease that has left him barely able to use his arms or legs. All three were chained in hospital and guarded by three prison officers each.

Tyrrell, who was nearing the end of a 29-year sentence for drug offences and regarded as a model prisoner, was taken to hospital from Frankland prison, near Durham earlier this year. His daughter Maria said she and her sisters were horrified to see their father in chains when they visited him in hospital. She said the idea of her father running away was absurd. "He couldn't even prop himself up in that hospital bed. I was pulling him up so he could breathe." The restraints were only removed hours before Tyrrell died.