Society's ChildS


'Perfect' Celebrity Photos to Get Reality Check

Retouched Kim
© PNASActress Kim Cattrall after digital retouching.
Intuitively, we know the images we see of celebrities and models are too beautiful to be true. And now two researchers are proposing a system intended to offer a reality check for images photoshopped to super-human perfection.

"Impossibly thin, tall, and wrinkle- and blemish-free models are routinely splashed onto billboards, advertisements and magazine covers," write researchers Hany Farid, a professor of computer science and Eric Kee, a doctoral student, both of Dartmouth College, in an article published today (Nov. 28) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "The ubiquity of these unrealistic and highly idealized images has been linked to eating disorders and body-image dissatisfaction in men, women, and children.

They aren't alone. Earlier this year, for example, the American Medical Association (AMA) adopted a policy intended to discourage the alteration of photos in ways that could "promote unrealistic expectations of appropriate body image." Research has linked exposure to unrealistic body images to eating disorders and other child- and adolescent-health problems, according to the AMA.

Hany and Kee think viewers should know how much an image has been altered.


US: Obese Ohio Child Taken from Parents, Placed in Drug-Crazy Foster Care

© Natural Society

Ohio social workers have taken a 200-pound third-grader from his parents and placed him in foster care, where children are given as many harmful antipsychotics as the mentally disabled. The government workers said that his mother was not doing enough to lower his weight, clearly deeming her an irresponsible parent.

State officials reported that this is the first case of a child being put in foster care over a weight-related issue in Ohio. The 8-year-old was considered to be severely obese and subsequently at risk for the development of diseases like diabetes and hypertension. However, the county in which the boy lived in, Cuyahoga County, does not have a specific policy on dealing with obese children.

According to a spokesman for the Department of Children and Family Services, the child was a victim of 'medical neglect' as his mother ignored the instructions of a doctor to help control his weight.
"This child's problem was so severe that we had to take custody," the spokesman said. The agency worked with the mother for more than a year before asking Juvenile Court for custody of the child, she said.
The lawyers for the mother argue that while intervention is necessary, obesity is not grounds to pull a child from his family and place him into foster care.
"I think we would concede that some intervention is appropriate," Juvenile Public Defender Sam Amata said. "But what risk became imminent? When did it become an immediate problem?"
Beyond the arguments of both parties lies an even greater question: will foster care ruin the health of this third-grader far more than his original lifestyle, or help him?


Pakistan says NATO ignored its pleas during two-hour attack

Islamabad - NATO airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers lasted almost two hours and continued even after Pakistani commanders had pleaded with coalition forces to stop, the army claimed Monday in charges that could further inflame anger in Pakistan.

NATO has described the incident as "tragic and unintended" and has promised a full investigation.

Unnamed Afghan officials told the Associated Press that Afghan commandos and U.S. special forces were conducting a mission on the Afghan side of the border and received incoming fire from the direction of the Pakistani posts. They responded with airstrikes.

Ties between Pakistan and the United States were already deteriorating before the deadly attack and have sunk to new lows since, delivering a major setback to American hopes of enlisting Islamabad's help in negotiating an end to the 10-year-old Afghan war.

Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said the Pakistani troops at two border posts were the victims of an unprovoked aggression. He said the attack lasted almost two hours and that commanders had contacted NATO counterparts while it was going on, asking "they get this fire to cease, but somehow it continued."

Comment: "That image was cemented after al-Qaida's chief Osama bin Laden was found to have been hiding in an army town close to the Pakistani capital when he was killed."

© UnknownCatapult the propaganda (lies, deception, stealth).


US: Devastated hunter kills himself moments after accidentally shooting his friend dead

© FacebookTragedy: Timothy Bolognani (right) accidentally shot Benjamin Birch (left) while they were hunting in Vermont. Bolognani then turned the gun on himself
A hunter who accidentally shot and killed his friend was so devastated he turned his rifle on himself, police believe.

Benjamin Birch, 39, Timothy Bolognani, 49, and Mark Colford were hunting near Readsboro, Vermont, on Saturday afternoon when Birch shot a deer.

The wounded animal managed to escape, and the men began tracking it through the woods.

Bolognani fired at what he thought was the deer, but instead heard Birch scream in pain.

Bolognani and Colford ran to discover their friend bleeding on the ground, where he died.


US: Woman accused of pepper-spraying shoppers surrenders

Los Angeles, California - A woman suspected of dousing fellow Walmart shoppers with pepper spray during a Black Friday eve bargain frenzy in suburban Los Angeles has turned herself in to authorities, police said on Saturday.

The woman, who was not publicly identified, surrendered at the Los Angeles Police Department's Northridge station on Friday night, about 24 hours after the pepper-spray incident, and was released on her own recognizance, police said.

Comment: Why is she not identified -- since when does the media withhold the names of arrestees unless they are sex crime victims?

She was not immediately charged or booked.

"The investigation is ongoing," police Sergeant Jose Valle told Reuters. "We still have additional victims and witnesses to interview before we determine what action needs to be taken."

Police already had been coordinating with Walmart security to review footage from security cameras in the store when the woman turned herself in.


US: New Mass Translation Launches in American Parishes

© The Associated Press/David Bundy Richard Fiore of Montgomery, Ala., his son Oscar, mom Vicki, and son Phipps, from left, participate in Mass at St. Peter's Catholic Church in Montgomery, Ala. Catholics nationwide began using a new translation of the Roman Missal on Nov. 27, 2011.
English-speaking Roman Catholics who have regularly attended Mass for years found themselves in an unfamiliar position Sunday, needing printed cards or sheets of paper to follow along with a ritual many have known since childhood.

"I don't think I said it the right way once," said Matthew Hoover, who attends St. Ann Catholic Church in Clayton, a growing town on the edge of the Raleigh suburbs. "I kept forgetting, and saying the old words."

The Mass itself - the central ritual of the Catholic faith - hasn't changed, but the English translation has, in the largest shakeup to the everyday faith of believers since the upheavals that followed the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s. A years-long process of revision and negotiation led to an updated version of the Roman Missal, the text of prayers and instructions for celebrating Mass, which originally was written in Latin. The new translation was rolled out across the English-speaking Catholic world on Sunday after months of preparation.

Mickey Mattox, a professor at Milwaukee's Marquette University, said he was happy with the idea that the bishops wanted the translations as accurate as possible.


Record US Retail Sales on Black Friday Despite Economic Woes

© Agence France-Presse/Michael NagleBargain hunters shop for discounted merchandise at Macy's on 'Black Friday' in New York City. US retail sales on Black Friday hit a new record for the start of the holiday shopping season that follows Thanksgiving, according to early estimates.
Americans shrugged off economic gloom to post record holiday weekend sales of $11.4 billion according to estimates, as shoppers took advantage of deep pre-Christmas discounts.

Sales over the weekend's vitally important Thanksgiving holiday weekend were up 6.6 percent compared to last year, marking the biggest dollar amount ever spent on Black Friday, the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season, said Chicago-based research firm ShopperTrak.

Meanwhile, Internet sales also jumped for the year, according to the group IBM Smarter Commerce which reported a whopping 39.3-percent increase in online Thanksgiving spending.

It added that US shoppers have set the stage for 24.3-percent online growth on Black Friday compared to the same period last year.

The in-store figures were the largest year-on-year gain since an 8.3 percent increase in sales between 2006 and 2007, said ShopperTrak.

Foot traffic in stores was up 5.1 percent compared to Black Friday 2010.

Comment: For a fresh view of what Black Friday is all about, read Thanksgiving, or 'Consumer Deathmatch'.


US, Arizona: SWAT Team's Shooting of Marine Causes Outrage

© The Associated Press/Matt YorkIn this photo taken June 9, 2011, a portrait of Marine Jose Guerena Ortiz sits on display in the window of his home in Tucson, Ariz. Guerena was shot and killed on May 5, 2011, by the Pima County Sheriff's Department. The Sheriff's Department said its SWAT team was at the home because they suspected Guerena of being involved in a drug-trafficking organization that specialized in ripping off smugglers. The SWAT team fired 71 times, riddling Guerena 22 times, while his wife and child cowered in a closet.
Jose Guerena Ortiz was sleeping after an exhausting 12-hour night shift at a copper mine. His wife, Vanessa, had begun breakfast. Their 4-year-old son, Joel, asked to watch cartoons.

An ordinary morning was unfolding in the middle-class Tucson neighborhood - until an armored vehicle pulled into the family's driveway and men wearing heavy body armor and helmets climbed out, weapons ready.

They were a sheriff's department SWAT team who had come to execute a search warrant. But Vanessa Guerena insisted she had no idea, when she heard a "boom" and saw a dark-suited man pass by a window, that it was police outside her home. She shook her husband awake and told him someone was firing a gun outside.

A U.S. Marine veteran of the Iraq war, he was only trying to defend his family, she said, when he grabbed his own gun - an AR-15 assault rifle.

What happened next was captured on video after a member of the SWAT team activated a helmet-mounted camera.

The officers - four of whom carried .40-caliber handguns while another had an AR-15 - moved to the door, briefly sounding a siren, then shouting "Police!" in English and Spanish. With a thrust of a battering ram, they broke the door open. Eight seconds passed before they opened fire into the house.

And 10 seconds later, Guerena lay dying in a hallway 20-feet from the front door. The SWAT team fired 71 rounds, riddling his body 22 times, while his wife and child cowered in a closet.

"Hurry up, he's bleeding," Vanessa Guerena pleaded with a 911 operator. "I don't know why they shoot him. They open the door and shoot him. Please get me an ambulance."


US: County places obese Cleveland Heights child in foster care

© Plain Dealer fileEven though the state health department estimates more than 12 percent of third-graders statewide are severely obese -- that could mean 1,380 in Cuyahoga County alone -- this is the first time anyone in the county or the state can recall a child being taken from a parent for a strictly weight-related issue.

Cleveland, Ohio -- An 8-year-old Cleveland Heights boy was taken from his family and placed in foster care last month after county case workers said his mother wasn't doing enough to control his weight.

At more than 200 pounds, the third-grader is considered severely obese and at risk for developing such diseases as diabetes and hypertension.

But even though the state health department estimates more than 12 percent of third-graders statewide are severely obese -- that could mean 1,380 in Cuyahoga County alone -- this is the first time anyone in the county or the state can recall a child being taken from a parent for a strictly weight-related issue.


CNN: Hypno-programmed RFK assassin Sirhan Sirhan seeks prison release

Sirhan Sirhan
© CNNSirhan Sirhan is taken into custody after the fatal shooting of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in 1968
Sirhan Sirhan, convicted of the 1968 assassination of presidential candidate Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, should be freed from prison or granted a new trial based on "formidable evidence" asserting his innocence and "horrendous violations" of his rights, defense attorneys said in federal court papers filed this week.

In a U.S. District Court brief, Sirhan's lawyers also say that an expert analysis of recently uncovered evidence shows two guns were fired in the assassination and that Sirhan's revolver was not the gun that shot Kennedy.

Attorneys William F. Pepper and Laurie D. Dusek also allege that fraud was committed in Sirhan's 1969 trial when the court allowed a substitute bullet to be admitted as evidence for a real bullet removed from Kennedy's neck.

The attorneys further assert that Sirhan was hypno-programmed to be a diversion for the real assassin and allege that Sirhan would be easily blamed for the assassination because he is an Arab. Sirhan, 67, is a Christian Palestinian born in Jerusalem whose parents brought him and his siblings to America in the 1950s.

Sirhan "was an involuntary participant in the crimes being committed because he was subjected to sophisticated hypno programming and memory implantation techniques which rendered him unable to consciously control his thoughts and actions at the time the crimes were being committed," court papers said.

Comment: For an in-depth analysis of the RFK assisination read:
The assassination of Robert Kennedy, Part 1
The assassination of Robert Kennedy, Part 2 - Thane Eugene Cesar
The assassination of Robert Kennedy, Part 3 -- The woman in the polka dot dress
The Assassination of Robert Kennedy, Part 4 -- Deeper Down the Rabbit Hole
The Assassination of Robert Kennedy, Part 5 - Sirhan Sirhan