Society's ChildS


Forced Military Testing in America's Schools

© US Military
The invasion of student privacy associated with military testing in U.S. high schools has been well documented by mainstream media sources, like USA Today and NPR Radio. The practice of mandatory testing, however, continues largely unnoticed.

The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB is the military's entrance exam that is given to fresh recruits to determine their aptitude for various military occupations. The test is also used as a recruiting tool in 12,000 high schools across the country. The 3 hour test is used by military recruiting services to gain sensitive, personal information on more than 660,000 high school students across the country every year, the vast majority of whom are under the age of 18. Students typically are given the test at school without parental knowledge or consent. The school-based ASVAB Career Exploration Program is among the military's most effective recruiting tools.

In roughly 11,000 high schools where the ASVAB is administered, students are strongly encouraged to take the test for its alleged value as a career exploration tool, but in more than 1,000 schools, according to information received from the U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command through a Freedom of Information Act request, tens of thousands of students are required to take it. It is a particularly egregious violation of civil liberties that has been going on almost entirely unnoticed since the late 1960's.

Eye 2

Let Him Prey: High-Ranking Jesuits Helped Keep Pedophile Priest Hidden

peadophile priest
© Illustration by Brian Stauffer
The conservative Catholic family lived on a quiet cul-de-sac in Walnut Creek and took pains to observe the traditions of a church racked by social change. Their lives appeared driven by the famous motivational phrase of Saint Ignatius, Ad majorem Dei gloriam - for the greater glory of God. It was the same motto that ostensibly guided the Jesuit priest, Donald McGuire, to whom they turned for spiritual guidance.

Then, in 1993, they learned that McGuire had done unthinkable things with their 16-year-old son, Charles, who traveled with him as his personal assistant. The boy and the priest had allegedly looked at pornographic magazines, masturbated, and taken showers together. The family took this devastating news to an esteemed San Francisco priest, Joseph Fessio, who, like McGuire, had once been a teacher at the University of San Francisco.

Fessio runs the Ignatius Press, a Catholic publishing house based in the Sunset District that is the primary English-language publisher of the pope's writings. He and McGuire shared a reputation for doctrinal orthodoxy. McGuire, for his part, was a cleric of worldwide renown, functioning as adviser and confessor to Mother Teresa. While family members considered reporting the abuse to secular authorities, Fessio urged them to stay quiet until he could confer with Jesuit higher-ups.

Confronted with the allegations, McGuire, a famously manipulative man known both for his charm and periodic rages, denied Charles's accusations or made excuses. His Jesuit bosses in Chicago, where McGuire was technically based, ordered him to undergo a residential treatment program at a psychiatric hospital for priests. In about seven months, McGuire was released and returned to active ministry. He continued to prey on other children for the next nine years.


British Judge Accuses Police of Racism

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British police have been accused of abusing their powers under the so-called stop-and-search act and institutionally performing racism as far as the act is concerned.

A prominent legal advisor said that police officers, who targeted people based on their skin colour alone, should be held accountable for wasting police time and hence misusing public resources, British media reported.

Richard Stone was a leading adviser to the judge who produced the landmark Macpherson report in 1999, which concluded that the Metropolitan police was institutionally racist.

Stone, a member of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry panel, said last week after the sentencing of two of the killers of the black teenager, that prosecuting officers who commit a crime under the act would improve public confidence in stop-and-search.


US: Deadline Set for Iowa Occupy Camps

© unknownOccupy protesters' tents in Stewart Square city park of Des Moines
The US authorities have given Occupy protesters in the city of Des Moines, the capital of state of Iowa, an ultimatum to clear out their encampment by the end of the month.

The protesters have until the end of January to dismantle their tents and leave the city's Stewart Square Park but the occupiers have vowed to stay and face arrest -- or seek a court injunction to prevent the eviction.

Occupy Des Moines protesters have been camping at the site for some three months now.

Occupiers from across the US came together in the city ahead of the Republican presidential candidates' primary vote in Iowa earlier this week.


Tibetan Monk Sets Himself on Fire in China

Dalai Lama
© unknownDalai Lama
A "former" Tibetan Buddhist monk died and another suffered injuries after they set themselves on fire in southwestern China as the Communist nation grappled with continuing trend of monks resorting to self immolation to protest curbs on laity and to demand the return of Dalai Lama.

One person was dead and the other injured after they set themselves on fire simultaneously in southwestern Sichuan province two days ago, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

A 22-year-old man set himself ablaze at around at a crossroad in Aba county in the Aba Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture.

Police rushed to put the fire out and sent him to a local hospital, said a spokesman for the county's government.

Another man, identified to be 18-year-old, died of self-immolation in a hotel room not far from the crossroad later.


US: 1793 Penny Fetches $1M at Florida Auction

© Jacob Langston/Orlando SentinelCoin dealer Bill Weikel, left, talks with a visitor Saturday at the coin show and annual convention of the Florida United Numismatists at the Orange County Convention Center.
A one-cent copper coin minted in 1793, the first year that the United States produced its own coins, has fetched $1 million at a Florida auction.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that the final bid by an unknown buyer for the coin was one of the largest sales at the Florida United Numismatics coin show and annual convention.

The newspaper reported that the 1793 penny was sold at such a high price because it is rare and in excellent shape, showing no wear on its lettering, its Lady Liberty face or the wreath on its back.

Nearly 600 dealers of coins and currency are at the show that runs through Sunday. It also features Buffalo nickels, dozens of silver one-ounce pieces and coins from antiquity, misprinted cash and Confederate notes.

Eye 1

US: Descent Into Madness: How NDAA And Police State Brutality Are Destroying A Generation

I'll keep this article brief. The videos speak for themselves.

Exhibit 3: Demoralized, smoking, nervous -- Lauren DiGioia, who was arrested for protesting NDAA at New York's Grand Central Station and HANDCUFFED FOR 26 HOURS, IN ADDITION TO BEING DENIED ACCESS TO A LAWYER OR PHONE CALL, speaks about her experience:


US: Portland Responds to Occupy Lawsuit, Seeks Court Victory

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The city is hoping to build on a string of successes in other cities where courts have ruled against attempts by Occupy groups to stay in municipal parks while they protest income inequality and Wall Street excesses.

In its response Friday to the suit filed by Occupy Maine in its attempt to remain in Lincoln Park, Portland's lawyers cite similar Occupy situations in five other cities along with a 1984 case in which the Supreme Court said communities can set "reasonable" limits on protests and free speech in public spaces.

In those five other cases, judges all ruled that city authorities had the right to ban overnight camping in city parks and could evict the Occupy protesters.

Occupy Maine filed its suit Dec. 19 after the city turned down the group's application for a permit to remain in the park. The group's suit argues that the Maine constitution gives the protesters free speech rights that go beyond those spelled out in the federal Constitution.


US: Bird Plane Runs Afoul of Federal Regulators

© The Associated Press/operationmigration.orgThis photo, taken in 2006, shows Operation Migration co-founder Joe Duff juvenile Whooping cranes along a new migration route in Green County, Wis. Ten young whooping cranes and the small plane they think is their mother are grounded after running afoul of federal regulations. The Federal Aviation Administration rules prohibit pilots from getting paid to fly the bird-like plane that guides the endangered cranes on their first migration from Wisconsin and to their winter home in Florida. The plane, along with the birds, are currently grounded in Alabama.
Ten young whooping cranes and the bird-like plane they think is their mother had flown more than halfway to their winter home in Florida when federal regulators stepped in.

Now the birds and the plane are grounded in Alabama while the Federal Aviation Administration investigates whether the journey violates regulations because the pilot was being paid by a conservation group to lead the cranes on their first migration instead of working for free.

FAA regulations say only pilots with commercial pilot licenses can fly for hire. The pilots of Operation Migration's plane are instead licensed to fly sport aircraft because that's the category of aircraft that the group's small, open plane with its rear propeller and bird-like wings falls under. FAA regulations also prohibit sport aircraft - which are sometimes of exotic design - from being flown to benefit a business or charity.

The rules are aimed, in part, at preventing businesses or charities from taking passengers for joyrides in sometimes risky planes.

"That's a valid rule. They shouldn't be hired to do that. But it wasn't written, I believe, to stop a wildlife reintroduction," Joe Duff, an Operation Migration co-founder and one of its pilots, said. The conservation group has agreed voluntarily to stop flying and has applied to FAA for a waiver.

"We're considering that waiver," FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford said. He said he didn't know when a decision would be made or whether it would be made before spring, when the birds would return to Wisconsin.

Bizarro Earth

Haiti Two Years After the Earthquake: Half a Million Still in Camps

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Days after the earthquake killed his little girl and destroyed much of his house, Meristin Florival moved his family into a makeshift tent on a hill in the Haitian capital and called it home. Two years later they're still there, living without drains, running water or electricity.

A few miles away, Jean Rony Alexis has left the camp where he spent the months after the quake and moved into a shed-like shelter built on a concrete slab by the Red Cross. But he's not much better off. The annual rent charged by a landlord who lives in a nearby camp jumped from $312 to $375, and he also has no running water.

"This is misery," said Florival, whose 4-month-old daughter was crushed to death in the quake-stricken family home. "I don't see any benefits," said Alexis, whose shed is flooded with noise at night from a saloon next door that's appropriately named the "Frustration Bar."

The two men are among hundreds of thousands of Haitians whose lives have barely improved since those first days of devastation, when the death toll climbed toward 300,000 and the world opened its wallets in response.

While U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former U.S. President Bill Clinton and others vowed that the world would help Haiti "build back better," and $2.38 billion has been spent, Haitians have hardly seen any building at all.