Society's ChildS


US, Florida: Tampa Police Search for Woman who Shocked Shopper in Indian-Style Clothing

stun gun, taser
© The Associated Press
Tampa police are investigating a stun gun attack on a shopper wearing an Indian-style tunic.

Police spokeswoman Irene Thomas says authorities want to question the woman who used a Taser on the victim.

Thomas says "it's just a matter of why" the woman attacked the 61-year-old victim who was wearing a salwar-kameeze, the Indian tunic paired with loose pants, while shopping at Walmart on New Year's Day.

Police say two women are seen on a store surveillance video following the victim through a couple of aisles, but the attack was not captured. One woman acted as a lookout while a second woman shocked the victim.

The victim, who had two small marks on her back, does not want to be identified since the attackers are still on the loose.

Source: The Associated Press


US, New York: Middle Schoolers Star in Graphic Film About Gang life

Film shot in the neighborhood features kid actors toting guns
© Viorel Florescu/New York Daily NewsTermaine (M5) Brown (with glasses) and some of the actors of his new independent film Toddlers. From left are Jordan Pena "il tune," Pedro Cruz and Henry Sanchez "Chicky Thing."

The streets of Harlem are being run by baby-faced gun-toting kids who aren't afraid to pull the trigger and leave a bloody trail of bodies in a new independent film that's quickly making the rounds uptown.

There's wild shoot outs, drugs and sex in Toddlers - shot in Harlem using neighborhood kids as young as 12 making their acting debut.

The DVD, released last month, has anti-violence activists charging the movie glorifies guns. They're thinking about boycotting the video store selling the film.

Director Termaine (M5) Brown insisted he's not promoting gun violence, just showing a harsh reality.


British Red Cross Doctor is Kidnapped at Gunpoint in Pakistan

A British Red Cross doctor was kidnapped at gunpoint in Pakistan yesterday.

Dr Khalil Dale is understood to have been abducted by unidentified assailants close to his base in Quetta, in the troubled south-western Baluchistan province earlier today.

A spokesman for the charity said colleagues were "very concerned" for his welfare.

Dr Dale, a health programme manager who was seconded to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), was abducted as he made his way home in a clearly-marked ICRC vehicle at around 1pm local time.

His assailants are said to have bundled him into a car some 200 meters from an ICRC residence, in an upscale housing complex.


US: 10 Years On - No Child Left Behind Facing Mixed Results And Uncertain Future

When President George W. Bush joined congressmen John Boehner, George Miller and Edward Kennedy to sign the No Child Left Behind Act in January 2002, he touted the moment as a bipartisan victory for America's children.

"Today begins a new era, a new time in public education in our country," Bush proclaimed in Princeton, N.J., as he signed the bill into law on Jan. 8, 2002. "As of this hour, America's schools will be on a new path of reform, and a new path of results."

But 10 years later, results matching Bush's rhetoric haven't yet arrived -- and the law itself is unlikely to change any time soon.

Comment: For more information on the education crisis in America see:

American Education's Failure: The Cause and Cure

Who Controls Our Children ? (Public Education Dumb Down Kids)

You can't blame teachers for quitting when entire families are hostile to education

Cowboy Hat

Go Away, Daddy! The Revolting Bob Parsons and His Toxic Internet Empire

If unbridled capitalism is the plague, Go Daddy Founder Bob Parsons and his horrible company are the infected boils on the body politic.

In late December, domain registrar Go Daddy spat on the notion of the open society by announcing support for the widely-denounced Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Technology firms and human rights activists quickly cried foul, revealing that the "copyright-enforcing" bill, with its overly broad definitions, was less about stopping piracy and more about restricting the flow of information to citizens. The firm caved to public pressure and withdrew support for the bill, which the US House Judiciary Committee will be voting on soon. The furore caused many Web sites (including AlterNet) to decide to pull their registrations from Go Daddy. And it shined a light on the notorious Go Daddy founder, cheekily and rather fondly profiled just days ago in the New York Times Magazine.

I refer to the Big Daddy himself, Bob Parsons.


France Stiffens Citizenship Requirements

© Michel Euler / AFP/Getty ImagesFrance's President Nicolas Sarkozy, right, and Interior Minister
Foreigners must take a tough new language test and swear allegiance to 'French values.' Critics call it a far-right ploy for votes in upcoming elections.

France has made it harder for foreigners to obtain French citizenship by forcing them to take a tough new language test and swear allegiance to "French values."

Critics of the new regulations, introduced by President Nicolas Sarkozy's government just four months before presidential and parliamentary elections, say it's a cynical vote-winning ploy pandering to the far right.


Why You Can Be Branded a Terrorist for Fighting Animal Abuse

animal rights activists
© n/a
The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act has had a chilling effect on activists scared to participate in what should be constitutionally protected activity.

Five longtime activists are challenging a federal law that defines a wide spectrum of peaceful - and in some cases, otherwise lawful - animal rights activism as acts of terrorism. They say that the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) violates their First Amendment right to free speech and has had a chilling effect on activists who are refraining from participating in what should be constitutionally protected activity out of fear of being labeled a terrorist.

They have good reason to worry. In 2009, the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested and indicted four California protesters for terrorism, each of whom faced 10 years in prison. Their crimes? They "marched, chanted, and chalked" sidewalk slogans outside the homes of animal researchers and distributed fliers about their campaign.

In 2010, federal judge Ronald M. Whyte dismissed the indictments, agreeing with the defense that the charges were too vague because the "behavior in question spans a wide spectrum from criminal conduct to constitutionally protected political protest." Nevertheless, AETA continues to pose a threat to those participating in animal rights advocacy.

Heart - Black

US, Connecticut: More Lawsuits Filed Over Sex Abuse of Haitian boys

Douglas Perlitz
© ST, Jeff Bustraan / Connecticut PostDouglas Perlitz
Seventeen Haitian men are suing Fairfield University in Connecticut, the Society of Jesus and others alleging they failed to protect them from a man who sexually abused them when they were poor children or young adults attending a school he founded in Haiti.

The lawsuits bring to 21 the number of alleged victims suing Douglas Perlitz and the others. Perlitz was sentenced in 2010 to nearly 20 years in prison for sexually abusing children at Project Pierre Toussaint.

The victims ranged from ages 9 to 21 at the time of the abuse and are now 18 to 29.

The lawsuits seek $20 million for each victim. They contend Perlitz's supervisors disregarded warning signs of inappropriate behavior with boys.

The Rev. Paul Carrier, a Jesuit priest who was Fairfield University's chaplain, saw Perlitz show a student a pornographic video and saw boys in his bedroom, according to the lawsuits. A school board member, Hope Carter, flew to Haiti in 2008 and removed Perlitz's computer, according to the lawsuits.


Gunmen Kill 6 in Nigeria Church Attack

Gunmen opened fire on a church service in Nigeria on Thursday, killing six people and wounding 10, the church's pastor said, the latest in a string of attacks that has raised fears of sectarian conflict in Africa's most populous nation.

"The attackers started shooting sporadically. They shot through the window of the church, and many people were killed including my wife," Pastor Johnson Jauro told Reuters by telephone from his Deeper Life church in Nasarawa, Gombe state in northern Nigeria.

"Many of my members who attended the church service were also injured," he said.

The gun attack followed a warning from violent Islamist sect Boko Haram published in local newspapers on Tuesday that Christians had three days to leave majority Muslim northern Nigeria or they would be killed.

Analysts say it looks increasingly likely the group - or factions within it - wants to trigger reprisals from Christians against Muslims to bring on a full religious conflict.


Google, Amazon, Facebook may shut down to stop SOPA


Despite many protests, things are still looking pretty good for SOPA to pass next month. While every little bit helps - things like writing to your representatives - the NetCoalition may be pulling out the big guns.

The coalition, which includes AOL, Google, Facebook, eBay, PayPal, Twitter, Wikipedia, and Yahoo! (among others), is considering a complete black-out - temporarily shutting down their sites with a message informing visitors about the dangers of SOPA and urging them to take action before it's too late. From CNET:
True, it would be the political equivalent of a nuclear option - possibly drawing retributions from the the influential politicos backing SOPA and Protect IP - but one that could nevertheless be launched in 2012.

"There have been some serious discussions about that," says Markham Erickson, who heads the NetCoalition trade association. "It has never happened before."