Society's ChildS

Megaphone

American Anniversaries from Hell

It's true that, last week, few in Congress cared to discuss, no less memorialize, the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Nonetheless, two anniversaries of American disasters and crimes abroad -- the "mission accomplished" debacle of 2003 and the 45th anniversary of the My Lai massacre -- were at least noted in passing in our world. In my hometown paper, the New York Times, the Iraq anniversary was memorialized with a lead op-ed by a former advisor to General David Petraeus who, amid the rubble, went in search of all-American "silver linings."

Still, in our post-9/11 world, there are so many other anniversaries from hell whose silver linings don't get noticed. Take this April. It will be the ninth anniversary of the widespread release of the now infamous photos of torture, abuse, and humiliation from Abu Ghraib. In case you've forgotten, that was Saddam Hussein's old prison where the U.S. military taught the fallen Iraqi dictator a trick or two about the destruction of human beings. Shouldn't there be an anniversary of some note there? I mean, how many cultures have turned dog collars (and the dogs that go with them), thumbs-up signs over dead bodies, and a mockery of the crucified Christ into screensavers?

Or to pick another not-to-be-missed anniversary that, strangely enough, goes uncelebrated here, consider the passage of the USA Patriot Act, that ten-letter acronym for "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism"? This October 26th will be the 11th anniversary of the hurried congressional vote on that 363-page (essentially unread) document filled with right-wing hobbyhorses and a range of provisions meant to curtail American liberties in the name of keeping us safe from terror. "Small government" Republicans and "big government" Democrats rushed to support it back then. It passed in the Senate in record time by 98-1, with only Russ Feingold in opposition, and in the House by 357-66 -- and so began the process of taking the oppressive powers of the American state into a new dimension. It would signal the launch of a world of ever-expanding American surveillance and secrecy (and it would be renewed by the Obama administration at its leisure in 2011).

Syringe

Storyville: The House I Live In 2012


As America remains embroiled in overseas conflict, a less visible war is taking place at home, costing countless lives, destroying families, and inflicting untold damage on future generations of Americans.

For over 40 years, the War on Drugs has accounted for 45 million arrests, made America the world's largest jailer, and damaged poor communities at home and abroad. Yet for all that, drugs are more available today than ever before.

Filmed in more than 20 states by critically acclaimed filmmaker Eugene Jarecki, Storyville: The House I Live In captures a definitive and heart-wrenching portrait of individuals at all levels of America's War on Drugs. From the dealer to the grieving mother, the narcotics officer to the senator, the inmate to the federal judge, the film offers a penetrating look inside America's longest war, revealing its profound human rights implications.

Chart Bar

Flashback Crises of Capitalism

In this RSA Animate, celebrated academic David Harvey looks beyond capitalism towards a new social order. Can we find a more responsible, just, and humane economic system?

This RSA Animate was taken from a lecture given as part of the RSA's free public lecture programme. The RSA is a 258 year-old charity devoted to driving social progress and spreading world-changing ideas. For more information, visit http://www.thersa.org


Arrow Down

What's behind spike in Gulf Coast dolphin attacks?

Dead Dolphin
© Institute for Marine Mammal Studies/ReutersA bottlenose dolphin found shot dead in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, on November 9, 2012.
Dead - and sometimes mutilated - dolphins have been turning up recently.

When Louisiana Fisheries and Wildlife personnel discovered a dead bottlenose dolphin near Elmer's Island late last year, they figured it was another victim of the 2010 BP oil spill.

So they were shocked when an onsite necropsy showed no signs of oil-related injury, or of bacterial infection, biotoxins, or disease - the most common causes of death in dolphins.

Instead, the Louisiana officials found a tiny piercing on the right side of the dolphin's blowhole. That hole would later reveal the cause of death: a small bullet lodged in the animal's lung.

The killing turned out to be another in a growing string of apparent attacks on dolphins and other marine mammals reported along the Gulf Coast in recent months.

According to a December report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in 2012 three dolphins with gunshot wounds were found "stranded" (or washed ashore) along the Gulf Coast - the highest number since 2004.

Health

France fire: Five children die in Saint-Quentin

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The children's father was said to have leapt from the building to raise the alarm
Five children have died in a house fire in northern France.

The blaze in Saint-Quentin, about 130km (80 miles) north-east of Paris, was probably accidental, reports say.

The children's father was present but escaped with serious burns, local officials said.

Three people were also killed and 13 hurt in a fire in the Paris suburb of Aubervilliers on Saturday. Officials suspect the fire was "of criminal origin" and an investigation has begun.

Officials said that the blaze in Saint-Quentin began at around 22:30 local time (21:30 GMT).

The father had been looking after the children for the first time since splitting up with his wife three months earlier, a neighbour told French media.

He tried to reach his children but was beaten back by the flames and jumped from the first floor of the building to raise the alarm, reports say.

Ambulance

5 members of California family killed in Nevada crash; teen driver arrested on suspicion of DUI

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© APJean Soriano was booked into the Clark County Detention Center after he was treated and released at University Medical Center in Las Vegas.
Five members of a Southern California family were killed in southern Nevada when their van was rear-ended by an 18-year-old driver who was later arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, authorities said.

The dead were among seven family members who were in the van, authorities said. The other two - the 40-year-old female driver and a 15-year-old boy - were hospitalized in critical condition.

Jean Soriano of California was booked into the Clark County Detention Center after he was treated and released at University Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Loy Hixson said.

Ambulance

Fatal military helicopter crash in South Africa

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© ReutersSouth Africa is struggling to stem the rampant poaching of rhinos
Five air force members killed in crash of helicopter patrolling as part of anti-rhino poaching operation.

The South African military says five air force members have died in the crash of a helicopter that was patrolling as part of an anti-rhino poaching operation.

The military said in a statement that the crash happened on Saturday evening in South Africa's Kruger National Park. It says the crew was among those killed.

Health

Texas District Attorney Mike McLelland, wife found dead in home

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© Ian C. Bates/Staff PhotographerFBI and police worked in the middle of Blarney Stone Way on Saturday night near Forney, where Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and wife Cynthia McLelland were found dead in their home.
Kaufman County's district attorney and his wife were found slain Saturday, raising fears that their deaths may be part of a plot that included the death of one of the county's assistant district attorneys in January.

Kaufman Police Chief Chris Aulbaugh and other officials confirmed that Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia Woodward McLelland, had been shot at their home near Forney.

Their deaths followed the Jan. 31 slaying of Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse.

"It is a shock," Aulbaugh said late Saturday. "It was a shock with Mark Hasse, and now you can just imagine the double shock. ... Until we know what happened, I really can't confirm that it's related, but you always have to assume until it's proven otherwise."

He said that the Texas Rangers were helping with the investigation at the McLellands' home in an unincorporated part of the county but that the sheriff's department will be leading the investigation.

"Because we have to treat it as related [to the Hasse investigation], we'll be working side by side again," Aulbaugh said.

A law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity described the scene at the McLellands' home as an awful scene.

Heart - Black

Police: Pimp forced 13-year-old girl to tattoo eyelids with his name

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© CBS4 News Partner The Miami HeraldRoman Thomas III
Police said "Suave", a Miami pimp, allegedly forced a 13-year-old runaway to tattoo his street name on her eyelids.

The pimp, who has a lengthy rap sheet, allegedly forced the girl to a Liberty City flea market tattoo shop to get the ink done after she threatened to leave him, CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald reports.

The vicious twist to a human trafficking case surfaced this month when Miami police arrested Roman Thomas III, 26, who was already on probation after serving four years in state prison for having sex with a minor.

Thomas was wearing a state corrections GPS monitor when Miami police arrested him on March 18.

The girl, dubbed "Sparkle," was pimped through the classified advertising website Backpage.com, police say. Thomas and a woman plied the girl with liquor, marijuana and the drug Molly as she had sex with men at the Miami Shores Motel.

Bizarro Earth

Two fifth-grade boys to stand trial for conspiring to murder classmate

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© DCPIA classmate saw one of the suspected students with a knife on a school bus.
Two boys at Ford Colville Elementary School, ages 10 and 11, allegedly planned to kill a female classmate. They had a handwritten plan listing seven steps to the murder, a prosecutor said. A fourth-grader saw one of the students with a knife on a school bus, and a backpack search turned up a handgun.

A northeast Washington judge has found two boys, ages 10 and 11, competent to stand trial in juvenile court on a murder conspiracy charge.

Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen says the fifth-graders had a handwritten plan listing seven steps leading up to the planned killing of a female classmate. That list was submitted as evidence at their mental capacity hearing Friday.