Society's ChildS


Tennessee mayor arrested for stealing $60,000 in 'Toys for Tots' Christmas money

Workers at one Greenbrier City Hall were shocked this week to see the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) arrest the mayor on charges he that stole money from the Toys for Tots charity just before the Christmas season.

The Tennessean reported that TBI agents abruptly showed up on Monday afternoon to take Greenbrier Mayor Billy Wilson into custody.

"It was so quick," City Superintendent Tommy Maitland told the paper. "We didn't have time to process it. They just came in and took him. It was over in a matter of minutes."

Wilson, who also serves as the city's fire chief, was charged with official misconduct and the theft of $60,000 from Toys for Toys, a charity which provides toys to poor children and helps families pay utility bills during the holiday season. The charity is not affiliated with a charity by a similar name run by the U.S. Marine Corps.

Agents began investigating Wilson early last month, TBI spokesperson Kristen Helm explained on Monday.

"Money was beginning to be donated for this year's Toys for Tots program and we wanted to let people know the money was being stolen and to not send money to Wilson's charity this year," she said.

According to WSMV, Wilson helped start the charity and was accused of continuing to steal donations up until just days before he was arrested.ary

Black Cat

War on women: Koch brothers poured tens of millions of dollars into anti-choice movement


Investigations by the website RH Reality check and Politico found that a network of organizations headed by billionaire conservatives Charles and David Koch has spent tens of millions of dollars funding the anti-choice movement.

Senior Washington correspondent Adele Stan wrote Tuesday that tax documents show Koch-directed "pro-business" groups threw their money and resources behind legislative initiatives designed to shut down women's health clinics and deny women access to contraception, reproductive health services and abortions.

"There is little doubt that the rash of anti-choice measures that flooded the legislative dockets in state capitols in 2013 was a coordinated effort by anti-choice groups and major right-wing donors lurking anonymously behind the facades of the non-profit "social welfare" organizations unleashed to tear up the political landscape, thanks to the high court's decision in Citizens United," Stan wrote.

"Helping to drive the right-wing offensive in the states and in Congress is a network of deep-pocketed business titans convened by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, principals in Koch Industries, the second-largest privately held corporation in the United States," she continued.

While the Kochs and their satellite groups profess to be interested more in business policy and deregulation than social issues, their true agenda is an all-out "war on women," said RH Reality Check.


Detroit: Black woman shot to death while seeking help after car crash

Renisha McBride
Renisha McBride
Police are seeking charges against a resident who's accused of shooting a Detroit woman to death as she sought help after a late-night car crash.

Family members say 19-year-old Renisha McBride crashed about 2:30 a.m. Saturday in Dearborn Heights and knocked on the door of a home in the 16000 block of Outer Drive because her cell phone battery had died.

Preliminary autopsy results showed McBride was shot in the head by a shotgun, killing her.

Her aunt said the young woman, who'd recently started a job at Ford Motor Co., was shot as she turned to walk off the porch of the home where she'd sought assistance.

Police initially said they believed the shot was fired in self-defense, and a neighbor said officers told them shortly afterward that the homeowner had gotten scared and shot someone during an apparent break-in attempt.

Her family said they were initially told by police that McBride's body had been dumped and discovered near Warren Avenue, but police are now saying the woman died on the home's front porch.


Florida teacher suspended for forcing kids to say pledge on Sept. 11 or 'go to your home country'

pledge of allegiance child
© shutterstock
A Florida teacher was recently suspended without pay for five days after school officials said that she forced a fourth grade student to violate his religious beliefs and say the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Tampa Bay Times reported that the student, whose Jehovah's Witness religion forbids him from worshiping objects, was used to standing silent while the other students put their hands over their hearts and recited the pledge.

But on the morning of Sept. 11, Explorer K-8 School teacher Anne Daigle-McDonald forcibly placed the boy's hand over his heart.

"You are an American, and you are supposed to salute the flag," she said, turning to the class. "In my classroom, everyone will do the pledge; no religion says that you can't do the pledge."

"If you can't put your hand on your heart, then you need to move out of the country," the teacher reportedly added.

Hernando County Schools Division of Business Services-Heather Martin Executive Director later told Daigle-McDonald that nearly all of the students in her fourth grade class had recalled her telling them the next day to move back to their home country if they didn't want to say the pledge.


No ethics: Report says military, CIA compelled medics to abuse detainees

restraint chair
© Getty imagesRestraint chair
Defense Department and CIA interrogation policies after 9/11 forced medical professionals to abandon their ethical obligations to "do no harm" to those in their care and some prohibited practices, including force-feeding of hunger strikers, continue today, a report issued Monday alleges.

The report, Ethics Abandoned: Medical Professionalism and Detainee Abuse in the War on Terror, was carried out by a 19-member task force of Columbia University's Institute on Medicine as a Profession and the Open Society Foundations. The researchers spent two years examining public records of medical professionals' involvement in military and intelligence interrogations and treatment of detainees.

It accuses the counter-terrorism operations of having "improperly demanded that U.S. military and intelligence agency health professionals collaborate in intelligence gathering and security practices in a way that inflicted severe harm on detainees in U.S. custody."

The involvement of medical professionals in abuse and interrogation occurred at the Guantanamo Bay detention center for terrorism suspects as well as at Bagram air base near Kabul, Afghanistan, and at other CIA "black sites," the report claimed.

Doctors, nurses, psychologists and medics, in violation of their ethical commitments, were said to have been compelled to take part in "enhanced interrogation" methods, including the simulated drowning procedure called waterboarding that has been defined as torture and prohibited from practice by any U.S. agents.


In Tehran, 'death to America' still rings 34 years later

Tehran protest image
© BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty ImagesAnti-US sentiment alive and strong in Iran
Despite recent signs of a thaw in relations between Washington and Tehran, Iran is going ahead with a 34-year-old November ritual: anti-U.S. demonstrations to commemorate the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

With each passing year, the impact of the annual protests has diminished. But the anniversary still symbolizes tensions and mistrust at the center of the U.S.-Iran relationship, and hard-line conservatives are calling for "death to America" chants to be a key part of Monday's event.

Now under the control of the hard-line Student Basij Organization, the old embassy grounds remain known here as the "Den of Espionage,'' and anti-American propaganda fills the walls inside and outside the compound.


60 Minutes' Benghazi source, British mercenary Dylan Davies, admits lying

 US consulate compound in Benghazi
© AFP/Getty ImagesThis file photo taken on September 11, 2012 shows an armed man waving his rifle as buildings and cars are engulfed in flames after being set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi.
In an explosive report on CBS's "60 Minutes" on Sunday, the British supervisor of local security guards protecting the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on the night of Sept. 11, 2012, provided a harrowing account of the extremist attack that killed four Americans.

The man whom CBS called Morgan Jones, a pseudonym, described racing to the Benghazi compound while the attack was underway, scaling a 12-foot wall and downing an extremist with the butt end of a rifle as he tried in vain to rescue the besieged Americans.

The "60 Minutes" broadcast, in which Jones also recounted his clandestine visit that night to a Benghazi hospital to view the body of slain U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, helped propel a new round of partisan conflict this week over the attack.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) and other Republican lawmakers referred to it repeatedly during a Wednesday news conference. Graham said he would block confirmation of all of President Obama's nominees, including Jeh Johnson as homeland security secretary and Janet L. Yellen as head of the Federal Reserve, until the administration allowed government witnesses to the attack to appear before Congress.

Comment: The very fact that Senator Graham is making an issue out of this tells us that 'the Benghazi affair' is a red herring.

Benghazi Attacks, Political Theatre and Wild Speculations


Cross country runner refuses to run after being assigned "666" number

A Whitley County student athlete says it would have gone against her religious beliefs to run with the race number '6-6-6'. She and her coach tried to get her a different number, and were told they could not.

Nerves over the race turned to frustration for Whitley County High School junior Codie Thacker because of a different number. It would have been her third time running this race. "I've trained since June for this race," she said.

And if she won the regional, it would have been her first time competing for the state championship. "I was so nervous I thought about it all week," said Thacker.


Former House Speaker Jim Wright denied voter ID under new Texas law

Former House Speaker Jim Wright
© UnknownFormer House Speaker Jim Wright
Former House Speaker Jim Wright, D-Texas, was denied the identification he needs in order to vote under the state's strict new voter ID law.

Wright told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he was denied an ID on Saturday when he and his assistant, Norma Ritchson, went to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).

"Nobody was ugly to us, but they insisted that they wouldn't give me an ID," he said.

The 90-year-old, who served as Speaker from 1987 to 1989, only has an expired driver's license and faculty ID card from the Texas Christian University, neither of which are valid to vote under the new law.


"Why the dangerous "thigh gap" trend makes me mad", model Robyn Lawley

© Getty"Thigh Gap"
"Thinspiration" has always been a scary subject online -- when unhealty images and messages proliferated on social networks such as Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram are used to encourage users to be unhealthily thin.

There is now a disturbing breed of thinspiration that pressures women and girls to pursue a "thigh gap," which is defined as the space between one's thighs. Everywhere online, users are posting aspirational pictures of thigh gaps, used as inspiration for weight loss and dieting. "I want the thigh gap. Right now, I could start a fire b/t my thighs," one user laments on Pinterest. "No goal was ever achieved without thigh gap."

The sad reality is that I've known about the "thigh gap" since I was 12 - and there is nothing about this trend that's new to me. Watching countless fashion shows as a teenager, I was unfortunately inundated with images of women and girls who had pronounced space between their thighs. The models' legs would never come close to touching, even as they stomped down the runway. Staring down at my own thighs, I can safely say that has never been the case for me. I'm now classified as a "plus size" model in the fashion industry.