Society's ChildS


Facebook, Twitter, and the Arab Revolutions

The dictator of Tunisia was overthrown in less than one month after being in power for 23 years. There is no question about how opponents of his regime were able to topple it. Two words describe it: Facebook, Twitter. These two social networking sites enabled protesters to take to the streets, organize the opposition, recruit new protesters, and overcome the police force and the military.

There is no question that if the government had chosen to use machine guns to cut down the protesters, it probably would have succeeded in suppressing the revolt. If it had combined machine guns with switching off the Internet, it would have been able to cut the protest down, both literally and digitally. But to do that, the regime would have had to act extremely fast, and it would have risked coming under international condemnation. It would also have created a permanent opposition, ready to revolt again.

The opposition forces are now connected, yet not organized. This has never happened before in recorded history. The masses can communicate with like-minded people for the price of a computer and an Internet connection.

In the good old days of the Soviet Union in the 1960s, the leaders would have applied that degree of force without a moment's hesitation. But this is not the era of the Soviet Union. We are living in a digital age, and almost nothing can be concealed from the public for very long. If a tyrant is weak, this will become common knowledge. There are few Goliaths and a lot of Davids online.


200GB to 25GB: Canada gets first, bitter dose of metered Internet

Metered Internet usage (also called "Usage-Based Billing") is coming to Canada, and it's going to cost Internet users. While an advance guard of Canadians are expressing creative outrage at the prospect of having to pay inflated prices for Internet use charged by the gigabyte, the consequences probably haven't set in for most consumers. Now, however, independent Canadian ISPs are publishing their revised data plans, and they aren't pretty.

"Like our customers, and Canadian internet users everywhere, we are not happy with this new development," wrote the Ontario-based indie ISP TekSavvy in a recent e-mail message to its subscribers.


Winter Storm: Roof collapses at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Catoosa

Atoosa, Oklahoma - Cherokee officials confirm that a portion of the roof at Hard Rock Casino Tulsa has been damaged by the winter storm.

There were no injuries to guests or staff.

Casino officials closed the damaged portion of the facility.

CEO of Cherokee Nation Businesses David Stewart has released the following statement:

"The safety of our guests is a top priority for us, and we're so glad that no one was hurt."

Monte Haddox was in the casino at the time of the collapse.

He says he noticed water on the floor and started to take a picture when he noticed the ceiling had come down.

Haddox says he was told he was in an "unsafe area" and was quickly ushered out of the room, but not before he was able to snap this picture.

He says he was told by a casino employee that the weight of the snow caused the ceiling to give out.

Bizarro Earth

Total War: Agri-business style

My father passed this farm down to me.

Back then, farming used to be affordable.

Since the invasion, prices have skyrocketed.

I don't know why.
So many farmers have stopped farming - they can't afford to any more.

Now, the price of fertilizers is high.

And seeds have become five times more expensive.

With all the imported crops here now, farming doesn't even break even.

I've been working here for 22 years.

Before the invasion, most of the produce came from Iraq.

It used to be 100% Iraq. We imported less than 25 of our fruits and vegetables.

We only imported apples bananas and apples. That's it.

There is very little Iraqi produce here. Less than 25% of the produce here is Iraqi.

Farmers tells us that prices don't even cover their costs.


Israel steps into void left by US by arming Egyptian forces against protesters

Reports say Israel has sent crowd dispersal weapons to the Egyptian regime to curb massive protests against President Hosni Mubarak's 30 years of authoritarian rule.

The International Network for Rights and Development said that three Israeli planes landed at Cairo's Mina International Airport on Saturday, carrying equipment for use in dispersing and suppressing large crowds, a Press TV correspondent reported.

According to the report, Egyptian security forces received the cargo on three Israeli planes, which were allegedly carrying a large supply of internationally proscribed gas to disperse crowds.

Egyptians have taken to the streets across the country for eight days running, demanding that Mubarak step down.

The uprising has prompted Mubarak to appoint his first-ever vice president and a new prime minister in a desperate attempt to retain power.


Al Jazeera English Blacked Out Across Most Of U.S.

Canadian television viewers looking for the most thorough and in-depth coverage of the uprising in Egypt have the option of tuning into Al Jazeera English, whose on-the-ground coverage of the turmoil is unmatched by any other outlet. American viewers, meanwhile, have little choice but to wait until one of the U.S. cable-company-approved networks broadcasts footage from AJE, which the company makes publicly available. What they can't do is watch the network directly.

Other than in a handful of pockets across the U.S. - including Ohio, Vermont and Washington, D.C. - cable carriers do not give viewers the choice of watching Al Jazeera. That corporate censorship comes as American diplomats harshly criticize the Egyptian government for blocking Internet communication inside the country and as Egypt attempts to block Al Jazeera from broadcasting.

The result of the Al Jazeera English blackout in the United States has been a surge in traffic to the media outlet's website, where footage can be seen streaming live. The last 24 hours have seen a two-and-a-half thousand percent increase in web traffic, Tony Burman, head of North American strategies for Al Jazeera English, told HuffPost. Sixty percent of that traffic, he said, has come from the United States.

Che Guevara

Four million hold protests in Egypt

© Jim Hollander/EPASome two million protesters in Tahrir Square in Cairo today, another million gathered in Alexandria and at least another million in other Egyptian cities.
Over four million Egyptians have taken to the streets across the country to pressure President Hosni Mubarak and his government to step down.

Large crowds have massed in capital Cairo for the biggest anti-government protest in Egypt's recent history.

The demonstrators have flooded Cairo's Tahrir square, calling on President Hosni Mubarak to step down.

Men, women and children from all walks of life are attending the rally which has so far been peaceful.

Tanks and troops have been stationed along the route of the march, but the army has promised not to use force against the demonstrators.

Security checkpoints have also been placed all across Cairo.

Reports say the government has restricted access to the capital by shutting down all roads and public transportation.

Mr. Potato

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy confession: 'I no longer feel left wing'

© REXOnly two years ago Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy had claimed that she was 'instinctively left-wing'
France's first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, has confessed to no "longer feeling left-wing" after three years of marriage to the country's conservative president, Nicolas Sarkozy.

The supermodel-turned-singer's reputation as a "luvvie Lefty" has been cited as a major handicap to Mr Sarkozy's re-election, and her political change of heart is an attempt to boost support for her unpopular husband among his core Right-wing electorate.

Only two years ago Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy had claimed that she was "instinctively left-wing" after at one stage supporting her husband's Socialist rival in the 2007 presidential elections. She had also publicly opposed Mr Sarkozy's plan to conduct DNA tests on immigrants.


US: Dallas Teen Fined $637 for Foul Mouth!

traffic cop
© Getty Image
A suburban Dallas teenager had to take on a waitressing job to pay $637 after being ticketed for using bad language in a high school classroom.

Court records show that teacher Michelle Lene heard Victoria Mullins say "you trying to start (expletive)" loudly in class one day last October. She was sent to the principal's office and given lunch detention. The next day, the school resource officer presented the North Mesquite High School student a ticket.

The Dallas Morning News reported that the fine for disorderly conduct/abusive language was $340, but other charges included failure to show for a hearing.

The complaint said Lene was offended, and that Mullins' language was a breach of the peace.

Mullins acknowledges she was wrong. She said a classmate was getting on her nerves.

Pocket Knife

US: Wife Killed Husband After Finding Hickey

A woman was ordered held without bail Monday charged with killing her husband in Medford.

Police found 34-year-old Troy Burston wounded outside a home on Exchange Avenue at 10:40 p.m. Sunday. He was not wearing a shirt and had been stabbed in the chest.

He was rushed to Lawrence Memorial Hospital where he died.

WBZ-TV's Sera Congi reports: