Society's ChildS


Toddler fatally shoots himself with father's gun in Tarpon Springs, Florida

© WTSP The toddler ‘probably barely got the trigger pulled’, said Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. He described the .380-caliber handgun as a lightweight weapon usually carried in a pocket or on a hip.
Two-year-old Kaleb Ahles reportedly lifted gun from glove compartment in car and turned it so that it faced his chest and squeezed the trigger

A two-year-old Florida boy died on Wednesday after accidentally shooting himself with his father's .380 caliber handgun that he found in the family car.

The toddler, Kaleb Ahles, climbed into the front seat of the family's vehicle while his parents carried boxes to move out of their home in Tarpon Springs, located about 30 miles north-west of Tampa.

Kaleb, alone in the car, crawled across the seat and found the gun that was stored in the glove compartment, sheriff Bob Gualtieri of the Pinellas County sheriff's office said during a Wednesday evening press conference.


American Sniper or American psycho?

american sniper
© skreenrantProgramming complete?
Breaking box office records, director Clint Eastwood's newest film, American Sniper, raked in $107 million in its wide release in theaters over the four-day Martin Luther King holiday weekend, the biggest-ever January weekend film opening. A week earlier, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rewarded the film with six Oscar nominations, including nods for best picture and best actor. It even moved Vice President Joe Biden, who reportedly teared up while watching it.

American Sniper exemplifies a sense of macho, white male braggadocio that is symbolic of all that is wrong with the right-wing, pro-war, pro-gun, bully culture of the United States. Should we really be surprised that both the American public and the Academy are rewarding a film about a man who, judging by his own words, appeared to be a psychotic mass murderer?

Eastwood's film, starring Bradley Cooper, is based on the autobiography of Chris Kyle, considered the most lethal sniper to have served in the U.S. war in Iraq. Kyle served four tours of duty and was heavily decorated for his service. He is thought to have killed 255 Iraqis, with 160 of them being confirmed kills. His book American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History, co-written with Jim DeFelice and Scott McEwen, was published in 2012 and shot to the top of the best-seller lists, remaining there for months. In early 2013, Kyle was shot and killed in Texas by another U.S. soldier, who is currently awaiting trial.

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Best of the Web: A message from Gene Roddenberry to the world

Comment: The following is a short excerpt of a transcript of a live talk given by Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek, to an audience. Today, his words are still as relevant as, if not more than, in his own days.

starship enterprise star trek
I think probably the most often asked question about the show is: Why the Star Trek Phenomenon?

And it could be an important question because you can ask:

How can a simple space opera with blinking lights and zap-guns and a goblin with pointy ears reach out and touch the hearts and minds of literally millions of people and become a cult in some cases?

Obviously, what this means is, that television has incredible power.


Web filters alone 'cannot protect children online'- where are the parents?

Young child on tablet
© Shuttershock
Government-imposed web filters are not a fix-it-all solution for protecting children online and give parents a false sense of security, a leading web expert has warned. Tony Anscombe from computer security firm AVG said that more education was needed to ensure that children stayed safe when using the web.

"The government needs to realise that a filter is not an isolated solution for protecting children online," he said. He added that parents and teachers were also unsure of who should be responsible for teaching children about online safety and urged people not to "pass the buck".

Comment: Parents aren't parenting because the 'System' is designed to keep people imprisoned and reliant on their government and teachers aren't teaching because the educational institutions are a fraud.

Comment: Trusting the government, any corporation, or the education system is "passing the buck". Moms, dads, and caregivers need to 'buck' up and take the responsibility of educating their children on the reality of surfing the web. There are predators in all disguises. It's not just about informing kids about social pages and chat rooms, one should think about all the porn, advertisements, video gaming, and actual time spent online and away from real human interactions.

Also see:

Star of David

Israel to arrest anyone for posting content deemed 'anti-Israel' on Facebook

For many years - Israel has been monitoring the social media accounts of pro-Palestinian activists. The Israeli government has a long track record of arresting Palestinians indiscriminately where they can and do detain every day Palestinian citizens in military prisons for up to 6 months without charge. But now they're actually telling activists they will be arrested for posting content deemed to be "anti-Israel."


Targeting 17,600 Canadian workers with pink slips and a pittance: Target's ex-CEO makes off like a bandit

Value of Gregg Steinhafel's 'walk-away' package estimated at $61M

This Target store in Toronto is one of 133 Canadian stores that are being closed as the parent company cuts its losses. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)
Social media readers had some snarky comments Thursday about reports that the former CEO of Target got a total severance and other benefits package worth about the same as the total amount being offered to all 17,600 of the chain's Canadian employees who will soon be out of work as the company winds down its presence in Canada.

Comment: After their expansion into the Canada market with 133 stores, Target lost a billion in the first year alone. After just a few years, their ill conceived expansionist dream became a flop, and now the company is poised to take another few billion dollar hit while near 20,000 people will be on the streets. Of course, like so any others, the ex-CEO was greatly rewarded for his business acumen in running the corporate ship into the ground.

Target's "employee trust" package for its Canadian workers, announced last week, amounts to $70 million ($56 million US). It's designed to provide each worker with 16 weeks of pay.


Kiev shelled the city of Gorlovka for 14 hours straight

© Valery Sharifulin/TASS
A Donetsk republic militia fighter seen in eastern Ukraine's Gorlovka in December 2014
Sleep well, Gorlovka, tonight ...

Fourteen hours lasted the artillery fire in Gorlovka. 840 minutes of fear. 50 400 seconds. The time when Gorlovka turned into a giant adrenaline polygon of hopes. Half-hour of explosive volleys, ten-minute "breaks" and more fire. "Grads", howitzers, mortars, machine-gun fire. Gnashing, hissing, "bam!", whistle, screech.... Damp basements filled with children cowering next to tired parents. Doctors and nurses - exhausted, but helping the wounded. Bus and taxi drivers rushing passengers home under shelling. And all this in a city with a total area exceeding Cologne, Seattle and Edinburgh, and the population of Veliky Novgorod, Brussels or Little Rock. The city with one of the largest chemical plants in Eastern Europe and one of the most interesting art museums in Eastern Ukraine. The city where I live.

Comment: This is what the people in Donetsk and Lugansk have been experiencing for months. This is what Kiev considers an 'anti-terrorist operation'. This is what the EU and U.S. are supporting in Ukraine.


Norman Finkelstein: Charlie Hebdo is sadism, not satire

World renowned political science professor says he has 'no sympathy' for staff at Charlie Hebdo


In Nazi Germany, there was an anti-Semitic weekly newspaper called Der Stürmer.

Run by Julius Streicher, it was notorious for being one of the most virulent advocates of the persecution of Jews during the 1930s.

What everybody remembers about Der Stürmer was its morbid caricatures of Jews, the people who were facing widespread discrimination and persecution during the era.

Its depictions endorsed all of the common stereotypes about Jews - a hook nose, lustful, greedy.

"Let's say, ... amidst all of this death and destruction, two young Jews barged into the headquarters of the editorial offices of Der Stürmer, and they killed the staff for having humiliated them, degraded them, demeaned them, insulted them," queried Norman Finkelstein, a professor of political science and author of numerous books including "The Holocaust Industry" and "Method and Madness."

"How would I react to that?," said Finkelstein, who is the son of Holocaust survivors.

Finkelstein was drawing an analogy between a hypothetical attack on the German newspaper and the deadly Jan. 7 attack at the Paris headquarters of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, that left 12 people dead, including its editor and prominent cartoonists. The weekly is known for printing controversial material, including derogatory cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad in 2006 and 2012.

The attack sparked a global massive outcry, with millions in France and across the world taking to the streets to support freedom of the press behind the rallying cry of "Je suis Charlie," or "I am Charlie."

Comment: Finkelstein has been an astute observer of Israel and the West's hypocrisy towards Muslims for many years. And for that he's been marginalized. Hear what he has to say about Alan Dershowitz's Hitlerian tactics, and the double standard that Finkelstein knows all too well regarding sharing truths in the hallowed chambers of Academia.

People 2

Venezuelan food shortages lead to new career: standing in line

venezuela standing in line
There's a booming new profession in Venezuela: standing in line.

The job usually involves starting before dawn, enduring long hours under the Caribbean sun, dodging or bribing police, and then selling a coveted spot at the front of huge shopping lines.

As Venezuela's ailing economy spawns unprecedented shortages of basic goods, panic-buying and a rush to snap up subsidized food, demand is high and the pay is reasonable.

"It's boring but not a bad way to make a living," said a 23-year-old man, who only gave his first name Luis, as he held a spot near the front of a line of hundreds outside a state supermarket just after sunrise in Caracas.

Unemployed until he tried his new career late last year, Luis earns about 600 bolivars, a whopping $95 at Venezuela's lowest official exchange rate but just $3.50 on the black market, for a spot. He can do that two or three times a day.

"There's a lady coming at 8 a.m for this place. She's paid in advance," Luis said, patting his wallet despite nods of disapproval around him. "I'll have a break and then maybe start again. I chat to people to pass the time, the conversation can be fun. If it's not, I play on my phone."

Comment: See also:

High-tech rationing: Venezuela to enact mandatory fingerprinting to control grocery sales

Brick Wall

High school bans 24 unvaccinated students after measles outbreak

Dozens of unvaccinated students have been banned from an Orange County high school after being exposed to measles by an infected classmate.

The 24 students cannot return to Huntington Beach High School until Jan. 29, according to district officials. "There's been some kids absent from my class," Jordian McCutch said. The infected student was on campus from Jan. 6 to Jan. 8.

The move is part of an effort to slow the measles outbreak that began at Disneyland in December. Orange County has 16 confirmed cases of the viral infection, six of which are not connected to the Disneyland outbreak. "It doesn't worry me that much because I've had the vaccination," a female student said.

Measles is highly contagious and can spread easily through the air.

"Simply being in the same room with someone who has measles is sufficient to become infected," the Orange County Health Care Agency said in a letter to parents in the district.

California state laws require children to be vaccinated with the MMR vaccine before enrolling in school. Some parents believe the shots are linked to autism and other medical conditions and have signed medical-exemption forms.

Comment: The high school officials put their belief in the ability of vaccines to safely control viruses like measles, but many people do not realize the adverse affects that vaccinations have on the human body: