Society's ChildS


Poll: 79 Percent of Americans Dissatisfied with U.S. Political System

US capitol flag
© n/a
Poll after poll has found that Americans are extremely disillusioned with the federal government, regardless of their political affiliation, after the president signed an agreement over the federal debt ceiling and budget deficit.

According to a Washington Post poll released on Wednesday, just 21 percent of Americans are satisfied with the way the country's political system is working, down 17 points from November 2009. Forty-five percent of Americans now consider themselves "very dissatisfied" and 33 percent consider themselves "mostly dissatisfied."

Additionally, just 26 percent of Americans believe that the federal government can actually solve the country's economic problems, down 21 points from October 2010 and down 37 points from February 2002.

President Barack Obama signed a debt ceiling deal into law in the beginning of August. The legislation raised the debt ceiling until 2013 and cut the federal deficit by about $2.1 trillion over a 10-year period. The two-stage agreement, which was criticized by both tea party lawmakers and progressive Democrats, passed by a vote of 269 to 161 in the House and a vote of 74 to 26 in the Senate.


Citizen Group Tracks Down Japan's Radiation

Protesters march in an anti-nuclear rally
© EPAProtesters march in an anti-nuclear rally in Tokyo after the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant
The aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis has been marked by an outcry in Japan over radiation leaks, contaminated food and a government unable to put the public's fears to rest.

Perhaps the most worrying aspect of the meltdown that resulted from March's earthquake - triggered disaster, activists and citizens have said, is the uncertainty that has ensued.

In the months since the catastrophe, the Japanese government, its nuclear watchdogs and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), have provided differing, confusing, and at times contradictory, information on critical health issues.

Fed up with indefinite data, a group of 50 volunteers decided to take matters, and Geiger counters, into their own hands.


Is Insect-Eating Really the Future of Food?

Insect as Food
© MinyanvilleThat's not chicken!

When the collective conversation turns to how we will feed the planet in the years to come, the subject of entomophagy invariably comes up.

In this week's New Yorker, Dana Goodyear delves deep into the past, present, and future of bug eating, which are "now appearing on the menus of high-end restaurants in North America and in grocery stores in the Netherlands" as "a growing number of scientists, entrepreneurs, and chefs are arguing that they represent a sustainable, humane source of protein that we'd be foolish to overlook."

"Food preferences are highly local, often irrational, and defining: a Frenchman is a frog because he considers their legs food and the person who calls him one does not," she writes. "In Santa Maria Atzompa, a community in Oaxaca where grasshoppers toasted with garlic, chile, and lime are a favorite treat, locals have traditionally found shrimp repulsive."

"They would say, 'some people' eat it, meaning 'the coastal people,'" anthropologist Ramona Perez tells Goodyear, before pointing out that "when she made a scampi for a family there, they were appalled."


US: 'Dougherty Gang' siblings in custody after high-speed chase

© Colorado State Patrol via APColorado State Patrol troopers investigate the scene where three fugitive siblings wanted in a crime spree in Florida and Georgia were captured Wednesday, in Walsenburg, Colo., after firing shots at officers during a high-speed chase and crashing their car into a highway barrier, authorities said.
The three siblings on the run from authorities are now in custody in Colorado following a high-speed chase that ended in a crash and shootout, officials said Wednesday.

According to Colorado State Patrol, 21-year-old Ryan Edward Dougherty, 26-year-old Dylan Dougherty Stanley and 29-year-old Lee Grace Dougherty will be booked into Pueblo County Jail.

Pueblo County Sheriff Sheriff Kirk Taylor told NBC News all three were being treated at Spanish Peaks Regional Hospital in Walsenberg, Colo., first. Two were injured in the crash, the third was shot.

They had been sought since Aug. 2, when they allegedly fired 20 shots at a Florida officer during a high-speed chase and later became suspects in a Georgia bank robbery.

The Wednesday vehicle chase started after authorities received a report that the suspects were at a campground near Colorado City, the Colorado State Patrol said in a statement obtained by NBC News.


Boat Owners Call BP's Cleanup Program a Corrupt Conspiracy


Mobile, Alabama - Nearly 100 Gulf Coast boat owners who let BP hire their ships for its "Vessels of Opportunity" oil spill cleanup say BP's program was a corrupt conspiracy that left "thousands of participants ... holding the bag for millions of dollars of unpaid services, equipment, materials, repairs and decontaminations" - and that BP intended it that way.

The 94 individual plaintiffs say BP touted its Vessels of Opportunity (VoO) program for public relations purposes, but the program "was marred by mismanagement, corruption and broken promises," and that BP and its co-conspirators "intended to underpay VoO participants."

Lead plaintiff Clyde Crawford says BP promised the plaintiffs $1,200 to $3,000 a day to use their boats during the cleanup.


US, Texas: Traffic Flowing Again on I-45 after Bizarre Wreck

There was a big mess on the North Freeway outbound yesterday that had all lanes blocked until early this morning.

At around 5:30pm, a big rig trailer struck an overhead sign. The driver of the rig said he didn't realize there was a problem until he got stuck. The cab of the rig separated from trailer, and that trailer was leaning up against the freeway sign.

Officials shut down the freeway while they worked to clear the mess. All entrance ramps on 45 from the North Loop to Airline were also shut down.

Crews removed the trailer from the steel grid around 9:15pm, but the freeay remained closed until around 12:45am when they were able to completely remove the overhead sign.
© ABC NewsThe accident happened on the northbound side of the North Freeway at around 5:30pm on Tuesday


Australia: Birds Die in Bizarre Cruelty Act

© Renee PilcherJim O’Pray in his empty bird aviary after dogs were locked in the cage.
A reward of $250 has been offered to any person who can shed some light on a "bizarre" act of animal cruelty.

Pie Creek resident Jim O'Pray made the grim discovery on Tuesday afternoon when he returned home from work to find two dogs in his bird aviary.

Working dogs from a nearby property had been locked in an aviary that caged 36 budgies for breeding. Five budgies are all that's left.

Gympie Regional Council was investigating the "unusual" incident which was expected to be handed over to police if deemed malicious.

Council's compliance officer Ron Potter said the matter was being treated as suspicious because no forced entries were found around the aviary.

"Two medium-sized dogs from a nearby property were locked in the aviary. How they got there is a mystery," he said.


US: Stripper Goes on 'Crime Spree' with Brothers

A thrill-seeking Florida stripper and her AK-47-toting siblings on a multistate crime spree yesterday ignored their heartsick mother's plea to give themselves up, authorities said.

The mom's appeal came as the FBI launched a nationwide manhunt for alleged "Dougherty Gang" bank robbers Lee Grace Dougherty, a 26-year-old exotic dancer; her brother Ryan Dougherty, 21; and their half-brother, Dylan Dougherty Stanley, 26.

"The only safe thing, the only right thing, the only good thing to do is turn yourselves in," Barbara Bell begged her kids.


US, Chicago: Repairman Charged With Swallowing Diamond Ring

© unknownAn X-ray showing the diamond ring in Wilfredo Gonzalez's stomach.
Wilfredo Gonzalez, 30, of Chicago allegedly downed the ring to try and hide it from the owners of the house he was working on

A home repairman faces felony theft charges and up to three years in prison for swallowing a homeowner's diamond ring while on the job.

Wilfredo Gonzalez-Cruz, 30, of Chicago allegedly downed the ring to try and hide it from the owners of the house he was working on, according to Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Prosecutors say Gonzalez was remodeling a home on Friday in Cicero when he asked to use the bathroom. After, a homeowner noticed her diamond ring was missing. She told her husband, who confronted Gonzalez, who denied taking the ring.

Cell Phone

US, California: No Facebook for Inmates

Thousands of inmates in California's state prisons have access to contraband mobile phones and are updating their Facebook accounts, and now the state is asking the social network to close them down.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation reported that more than 7,284 contraband mobile phones were found in state prisons in the first six months of 2011. In 2006, that number was only 260. Prisoners are apparently using those phones to surf the Web and update Facebook accounts, so now the department is working with Facebook to shut down accounts that have been updated since the prisoner's incarceration.

"Access to social media allows inmates to circumvent our monitoring process and continue to engage in criminal activity," CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate said in a release. "This new cooperation between law enforcement and Facebook will help protect the community and potentially avoid future victims."