Society's ChildS


Smart ALEC: Why Are Corporations Writing State Law?

Thanks to ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council), corporations like EXXON and Koch Industries can buy the ability to co-author state laws in their favor. So this is the cost of democracy. But who ultimately pays the highest price? Keith gets shocking detail from The Nation's John Nichols, who's been covering ALEC extensively.


U.S.: Florida Makes $63M Selling Drivers' Info

Miami -- The state of Florida made $63 million last year selling what many think is personal information.

Local 10 has learned the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is selling people's names, addresses, dates of birth, a list of the vehicles they drive, and it's legal.

"Per federal mandate, there are companies that are entitled to this information. Insurance companies, for example, are entitled to this information. Employers are entitled to this information," said Ann Howard of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

Evil Rays

Is This Mike On? Another YouTube SOS from Fukushima

Another disgruntled Japanese official has taken to the interwebs to air his grievances about the inadequate attention being paid to the welfare of residents of Minamisoma, a town about 25 kilometers away from the stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.

Minamisoma last grabbed international headlines when the town's mayor posted an earnest appeal for help on YouTube two weeks after the March 11 disasters, bringing him worldwide attention and a nomination as one of the most influential people of the year from TIME.


Australia: Woman sells kids on eBay as joke

A Geelong, Australia, woman could lose custody of her children after she tried to sell them on eBay, official say.

The woman, who is in her 30s, put photos of her son and daughter, both under 10 years old, last week, apparently as a joke, the Geelong Advertiser reported Monday. The listing was online for one day last week, and was taken down after police contacted eBay.

The police believed the woman's excuse that the listing was a joke and did not press criminal charges, however, the Department of Human Services is still investigating her actions.


Amy Winehouse found dead, aged 27

Singer Amy Winehouse, 27, has been found dead at her home, the Press Association has reported.

Amy winehouse1
© BBC NewsWinehouse's recent career was overshadowed by drink and drug problems
Last month, the north Londoner pulled out of her European tour after she was jeered at her comeback gig in Serbia for appearing too drunk to perform.

For 90 minutes, she mumbled through parts of songs and at times left the stage - leaving her band to fill in.

The troubled singer had a long battle with drink and drugs which overshadowed her musical career in recent years.

Bad Guys

UK, Rebecca Aylward murder: Jury sent home for weekend

Jurors in the trial of a 16-year-old boy charged with the murder of his former girlfriend, Rebecca Aylward, have been sent home for the weekend.

The 15-year-old from Maesteg was found dead in woods in Aberkenfig, near Bridgend, in October 2010.

The trial began four weeks ago, when members of the jury at Swansea Crown Court were told the schoolgirl died of head injuries.

Comment: For more information concerning this case, see these Sott links:

What is going on in Bridgend, Wales? Another case in the string of weirdness: Schoolgirl battered to death with brick

UK: Bridgend schoolgirl 'murdered by psychopathic ex-boyfriend over free breakfast bet'


Chinese D-train derails and falls from bridge

Dramatic pictures have just been released of a major train incident in the Wenzhou region of eastern China.

© UnknownThe Chinese D train derailed with two of its carriages falling off a bridge.
The Chinese D train derailed with two of its carriages falling off a bridge after being crashed into by another train, reports suggest. The number of casualties, however, is still unknown, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

The train, travelling from Hangzhou to Wenzhou, went off the rails in eastern China's Zhejiang province around 8:30pm (1230 GMT), it reported, citing local firefighting sources.

It is thought to have come to a halt on the bridge near Wenzhou when its power failed following a lightning strike. A second train collided from behind, pushing carriages of the D train off the bridge.

Bizarro Earth

U.S.: One year later, cleanup of southern Michigan's oil-polluted Kalamazoo River poses challenge

© AP Photo/Kalamazoo Gazette, Jonathon GruenkeA Canada goose covered in oil attempts to fly out of the Kalamazoo River in Marshall, Mich., Tuesday, July 27, 2010. Crews were working Tuesday to contain and clean up oil from a ruptured pipeline that poured into a creek and flowed into the Kalamazoo River in southern Michigan, coating birds and fish. An estimated 877,000 gallons (3.3 million liters) of oil leaked from a pipeline into the river.

Marshall, Michigan - A year after one of the largest oil spills in the history of the U.S. Midwest, cleanup crews still toil along the Kalamazoo River in southern Michigan - and it won't surprise some regulators and residents if they remain working in a more limited capacity next summer and beyond.

Less than 10 per cent of the more than three million litres (800,000 gallons) that Enbridge Inc. confirmed was leaking from one of its pipelines on July 26, 2010 remains uncollected. Most of it has settled at the river bottom, and removing it is a tricky task that will take time to complete.

About 550 people continue to work on the Kalamazoo River cleanup, down from about 2,500 at its peak last year.

Bad Guys

US, Young woman accuses Oregon Rep. David Wu of aggressive, unwanted sexual encounter

A distraught young woman called U.S. Rep. David Wu's Portland office this spring, accusing him of an unwanted sexual encounter, according to multiple sources.

When confronted, the Oregon Democrat acknowledged a sexual encounter to his senior aides but insisted it was consensual, the sources said.

The woman is the daughter of a longtime friend and campaign donor. She apparently did not contact police at the time.
© Doug Beghtel/The OregonianRep. David Wu, D-Ore., talks to constituents at an Oregon town hall.


US: Ohio Man Convicted of 11 Killings Had "Nightmares"

© AP Photo/Marvin FongAnthony Sowell listens during the prosecutions' closing arguments in his trial in Cleveland on Wednesday, July 20, 2011.
The nightmares happened when Anthony Sowell was smoking crack cocaine in the company of women, especially if they reminded him of his ex-girlfriend. And, as he told detectives, the nightmares were all the same: They involved him hurting a woman with his hands.

When he woke up, the women were gone.

"Reminded me of my girl, that's the best I can tell you. It was like everything's cool, she was spending the night or something," Sowell said in a police interrogation that was recorded as authorities were pulling 11 bodies out of his Cleveland home and backyard. "And I'd be like, 'Damn, where'd you go?'"

Sowell was convicted Friday of killing 11 poor, drug-addicted black women whose remains were found in his home and backyard in late 2009. He now faces the death penalty.

During the trial, prosecutors painted Sowell as a man jilted by an ex-girlfriend who made other women pay for his fury. His ex-girlfriend Lori Frazier, the niece of Mayor Frank Jackson, testified that he grew violent when he smoked crack. After she moved out of his home, she often saw him with bloody injuries on his face and neck. Once, she saw him dumping the contents of a bucket into a hole in his yard.