Society's ChildS

Heart - Black

Human remains found hidden in wall of New York home are of woman who went missing 30 years ago

© POUGHKEEPSIE POLICE DEPARTMENTJoAnn Nichols went missing in 1985 at age 55. The case remained cold — until Friday, when her skeleton was discovered in her own home.
JoAnn Nichols vanished in December 1985 after she failed to show up to her beauty salon appointment. A contractor looking through the home in the Town of Poughkeepsie found a false wall where her remains had been sealed in a plastic container.

A sinister secret stashed inside the walls of a New York home has been exposed almost 30 years later.

Human remains were found sealed in a container and hidden behind a false basement wall in the home where James Nichols and his wife, JoAnn, had once lived in the Town of Poughkeepsie.

The remains are those of 55-year-old JoAnn Nichols, who was reported missing Dec. 21, 1985, the Dutchess County Medical Examiner confirmed Monday.

A contractor cleaning out the home, which has been vacant since December, made the chilling discovery.

JoAnn Nichols died from blunt force trauma to the head in what appears to be a homicide, Dutchess County Medical Examiner Dr. Kari Reiber told WABC-TV.

Dental records were used to identify the decomposed body - a complete skeleton.

Town police said the new forensic evidence is prompting them to continue the investigation.


Antonio Lopez Chaj, house painter, awarded $58 million after suffering severe brain damage in brutal beating

© NICK UT/APAntonio Lopez Chaj, a 43-year-old house painter, appears at a news conference in Los Angeles after his lawyers announced he has been awarded a $58 million by a jury in Torrance Superior Court.
The brutal attack left the 43-year-old with half of his skull permanently caved in. The money is among the largest damage awards ever given to one person in California.

A 43-year-old house painter so badly brain damaged that he can't speak has been awarded $58 million by a jury after a beating at a bar left him with half his skull permanently bashed in.

Antonio Lopez Chaj (chy) appeared at a news conference Monday with lawyers who announced the award handed down against a security company Friday in Torrance Superior Court.

It was among the largest damage awards ever given to one person in California, the lawyers said. They said they expect an appeal and there could be settlement negotiations before Chaj receives anything.

Chaj had to be supported by relatives at the news conference. When he took off a baseball cap hiding his injuries, gasps could be heard from people present.

© NICK UT/APAntonio Lopez Chaj, 43, is so badly brain damaged for a beating in a bar that left him with half his skull permanently bashed in that he cannot speak.


Michael Hastings' wife obliterates New York Times for dismissive obituary

In the 24 hours since the tragic death of journalist and author Michael Hastings was first reported on Tuesday, those who knew him, worked with him, and covered his work have offered numerous remembrances of the man best known for his Polk Award-winning Rolling Stone piece, "The Runaway General."

That article, which presented a dim view of the U.S. strategy in the Afghanistan war and exposed a military command structure working to actively undermine its civilian leadership, also contained several accounts of less-than-professional behavior and comments by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the International Security Assistance Force commander, the disclosure of which led to McChrystal tendering his resignation in June 2010.

Che Guevara

100 anti-NSA protest rallies take place across U.S. on Independence Day

Americans take to streets, Internet to demand feds stop spying on citizens

Americans outraged by the federal government's spying programs took to the streets on Independence Day for "Restore the Fourth" protests in an estimated 100 American cities, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, Memphis and Miami, plus international cities such as London and Munich.

The "Restore the Fourth" national protest was named after the Fourth Amendment, which was intended to protect Americans against "unreasonable searches and seizures."

The NSA's PRISM online surveillance program was exposed by Edward Snowden only weeks ago. Americans soon learned that at least nine Internet companies reportedly submitted to government surveillance of their servers: Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Facebook, PalTalk, YouTube, Skype, AOL and Apple.

"Restore the Fourth," initially organized on Reddit, describes itself as "a non-partisan, unaffiliated group of concerned citizens who seek to strengthen the Fourth Amendment with respect to digital surveillance by the U.S. government."


28 Hurt in California fireworks explosion: police

Fireworks Explosion_1
© NBC Los AngelesEmergency crews treat dozens of injured people after a "fireworks mishap" at a Simi Valley park on July 4, 2013.
Dozens of Fourth of July celebrants were injured Thursday night in a "fireworks mishap" at a Simi Valley, Calif., park, authorities said.

The injury count changed multiple times over the course of a quickly developing breaking news story. As of 11:30 p.m., 28 people were reported injured, Ventura County Fire Department spokesman Mike Lindberry told reporters at the scene.

Of those 28 victims, 20 were transported to the hospital -- 16 suffered minor injuries, four suffered moderate to severe injuries, Lindberry said. Eight people were treated and released on scene.

Initial injury counts reported 20 people were hurt then that figure was revised to 14 before Lindberry detailed those hurt in the explosion.

Between 8,000 and 10,000 people were expected to attend the Independence Day celebration Thursday night.

Witnesses said the professional fireworks show lasted just a few minutes before the huge explosion went off.

"We saw about three minutes of the show. There was some that went up in the area and everything just kind of scattered outwards and then everybody just started running," a witness told NBC4.

"Everything exploded and parts came flying everywhere," another witness told NBC4. "People were running everywhere. So, it was pretty scary."


PRISM: Mozilla, Reddit and WordPress use Independence Day to protest NSA surveillance

Many high-profile websites have used US Independence Day to take part in an online protest against the NSA's surveillance of internet use, including email and web browsing history.

Organisations such as Mozilla, WordPress and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), as well as websites such as 4chan, Reddit and the Cheezburger network will be prominently featuring Fourth Amendment imagery throughout their pages. The US's Fourth Amendment protects against "unreasonable searches and seizures".

The protest, which has been organised by the Internet Defense League, will include pop-up banners promoting the Fourth Amendment as well as blog posts from many of the sites involved.

Comment: For more information about PRISM, please see the Sott focus article:
Through the PRISM of public amnesia


Protesters in Boston slam NSA spying programs at downtown Independence Day celebration

As people gathered around Boston's Old State House to hear the reading of the Declaration of Independence in celebration of the Fourth of July, protesters carrying signs stood along the barricaded area, denouncing recently-revealed secret government surveillance programs.

Spurred by the revelations about the National Security Agency's surveillance activities, about 25 activists gathered at the 9:30 a.m. Restore the Fourth rally.

The release of government documents by former NSA contractor Edward J. Snowden, who is believed to somewhere in a Moscow airport, has sparked protests from various groups and outrage from the Obama administration, which is seeking to prosecute him on espionage and government theft charges. The documents were first published last month by the British newspaper The Guardian. Since the release, President Barack Obama, as well as members of Congress and intelligence officials have told citizens that they are not the target of the agency's surveillance.


Bizarre twist: 'Walking Dead' actress charged In ricin letters case

© Titus County Sheriff’s DepartmentShannon Guess Richardson
Actress Shannon Guess Richardson, who has appeared in very small roles on "The Walking Dead" and "The Vampire Diaries," has been charged with allegedly sending letters laced with the poison Ricin to President Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The indictment formally charges Richardson, 35, with one count of threatening the President of the United States along with two counts of mailing a threatening communication. Federal prosecutors say the actress and mother of five was attempting to frame her estranged husband.

The actress, from New Boston, Texas, was arrested June 7 and faces up to five years in prison on each of the charges, the Justice Department said in a statement. Tonda Curry, Richardson's court-appointed attorney, did not respond to requests for comment.

People 2

Humans: the real threat to life on Earth

© GettyThe global population is projected to pass 10 billion this century.
If population levels continue to rise at the current rate, our grandchildren will see the Earth plunged into an unprecedented environmental crisis, argues computational scientist Stephen Emmott in this extract from his book Ten Billion

Earth is home to millions of species. Just one dominates it. Us. Our cleverness, our inventiveness and our activities have modified almost every part of our planet. In fact, we are having a profound impact on it. Indeed, our cleverness, our inventiveness and our activities are now the drivers of every global problem we face. And every one of these problems is accelerating as we continue to grow towards a global population of 10 billion. In fact, I believe we can rightly call the situation we're in right now an emergency - an unprecedented planetary emergency.

We humans emerged as a species about 200,000 years ago. In geological time, that is really incredibly recent. Just 10,000 years ago, there were one million of us. By 1800, just over 200 years ago, there were 1 billion of us. By 1960, 50 years ago, there were 3 billion of us. There are now over 7 billion of us. By 2050, your children, or your children's children, will be living on a planet with at least 9 billion other people. Some time towards the end of this century, there will be at least 10 billion of us. Possibly more.

We got to where we are now through a number of civilisation- and society-shaping "events", most notably the agricultural revolution, the scientific revolution, the industrial revolution and - in the West - the public-health revolution. By 1980, there were 4 billion of us on the planet. Just 10 years later, in 1990, there were 5 billion of us. By this point initial signs of the consequences of our growth were starting to show. Not the least of these was on water. Our demand for water - not just the water we drank but the water we needed for food production and to make all the stuff we were consuming - was going through the roof. But something was starting to happen to water.

Comment: It's not all of humanity that is the real threat. It's psychopaths and their destructive actions on the rest of humanity and the world as a whole that is the real threat to survival.


Whoops! Obama-ordered gun report reveals guns actually save lives

A gun report ordered in by Obama has ended up highlighting the fact that legal guns are actually saving lives and diffusing crime.

In a recent study orchestrated by the CDC and carried out by the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, it was found that individuals involved in violent crimes who defended themselves using techniques other than carrying a gun were more likely to be injured when compared to those who were carrying a concealed firearm.

All-in-all, the Obama ordered report ended up finding more pros than cons in regards to the right to an open or concealed weapon. The report also reminds us of the numerous causes of gun deaths, citing thatmost gun deaths are at the hands of those who used a gun for their suicide - not homicide. The report highlights the poor state of America's suffering mental health. The report states that suicide by guns outweighs the amount of deaths caused by violent crimes by 61%.

I recently conducted an interview with Representative Joe Carr from Tennessee on this very issue: