Society's ChildS

Heart - Black

US: Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Pulls Ad That Blames Women For Getting Date-Raped

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board provoked an enormous backlash by airing ads that tell women who are date-raped that they have only themselves and their friends to blame. The ad was part of a $600,000 campaign aimed at curbing excessive drinking.

After hearing from hundreds of rape victims that the ads were extremely upsetting, even traumatizing, the board has decided to pull them:
Pennsylvania date rape advert
© Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board
The ads send the message that women are not only at fault for getting themselves raped - a societal bias reflected in and re-enforced by too many court decisions - it's your fault if your friend gets raped, too.

Last night, after receiving hundreds of phone calls and hundreds of email complaints, the PLCB has yanked the ads.

"We feel very strong, and still do, that when we entered the initial discussion about doing a campaign like this it was important to bring the most difficult conversations about over-consumption of alcohol to the forefront and all of the dangers associated with it - date rape being one of these things," says PLCB spokesperson Stacey Witalec.

"That being said, due to the number of concerns that we heard about that specific ad, and the victims especially that we heard from talking about how the image ... made them feel victimized all over again, we felt it was prudent to pull it."

Heart - Black

US: GOP State Rep. Bob Nicholas Arrested For Kicking And Beating Mentally Disabled Son

 State Rep. Bob Nicholas
State Rep. Bob Nicholas (R-Cheyenne)
Late last month, Wyoming state Rep. Bob Nicholas (R) was arrested following an incident where he kicked and beat his disabled son outside of a restaurant:

Nicholas, 54, was arrested in Boca Grande, Fla., while on vacation after allegedly punching and kicking his 19-year-old mentally disabled son, according to a Lee County Sheriff's Office report. The document indicates that multiple witnesses outside of a restaurant saw Nicholas hit his son repeatedly with a closed fist, push him onto the sidewalk and then kick him more than five times.

Bad Guys

Best of the Web: 30 Major U.S. Corporations Paid More to Lobby Congress Than Income Taxes, 2008-2010

US corporation lobbying fees
© Public CampaignThe Public Campaign, a non-partisan research and advocacy organization, reports 30 major U.S. corporations spent more money lobbying Congress than they did on federal income taxes between 2008 and 2010.
By employing a plethora of tax-dodging techniques, 30 multi-million dollar American corporations expended more money lobbying Congress than they paid in federal income taxes between 2008 and 2010, ultimately spending approximately $400,000 every day -- including weekends -- during that three-year period to lobby lawmakers and influence political elections, according to a new report [pdf] from the non-partisan Public Campaign.

Despite a growing federal deficit and the widespread economic stability that has swept the U.S since 2008, the companies in question managed to accumulate profits of $164 billion between 2008 and 2010, while receiving combined tax rebates totaling almost $11 billion. Moreover, Public Campaign reports these companies spent about $476 million during the same period to lobby the U.S. Congress, as well as another $22 million on federal campaigns, while in some instances laying off employees and increasing executive compensation.

29 Major Corporations Paid No Federal Taxes, 2008-2010

Of the 30 companies analyzed in the report, which include corporate giants such as General Electric, Verizon Communications, Wells Fargo (WFC), Mattel (MAT) and Boeing (BA), 29 of them managed to pay no federal taxes from 2008 to 2010. Only FedEx, which raked in about $4.2 billion in profits during that period, paid a three-year tax rate of 1 percent -- totaling $37 million -- far less than the statutory federal corporate tax rate of 35 percent.

The Public Campaign report expanded on a newly released analysis on corporate tax dodging by the liberal-leaning Citizens for Tax Justice, a non-profit research and advocacy group, as well as lobbying expenditure data provided by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.


US: TCF Bank Penalizes Teen With $4.85 in His Account by Charging Him $234.95 in Fees in Two Weeks

Daniel Ganziano
© Stacey Wescott / Chicogo TribuneMelida Ganziano and her 18-yera-old son Daniel Ganziano
Daniel Ganziano went from having $4.85 to owing more than $200


UK University Gets Injunction Against Protests

The UK's University of Birmingham has obtained a high court injunction barring occupation-style protests on its campus for the next 12 months.
© unknown

After a number of t occupations and protests against rising tuition fees, University of Birmingham lawyers went to the high court and won an order banning any "occupational protest action" without permission.

"The defendants shall not, without the prior written consent of the claimant, [Birmingham University] enter or remain upon land comprising the claimant's campus and buildings at the University of Birmingham ... for the purpose of any occupational protest action," states the court order.

Calling for the injunction to be abandoned, Liam Burns, the president of the National Union of Students (NUS) said, "The idea that students should seek permission for protest action somewhat misses the point of an occupation.

Eye 1

US: Psychologist accused of faking robbery, rape still working for prison system

© unknownLaurie Ann Martinez is accused of faking a rape and robbery at her home.
The prison psychologist accused of faking a rape and robbery at her Northgate home is still working for the prison system, a corrections spokeswoman confirmed Friday.

Terry Thornton, spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said Laurie Ann Martinez's superiors do not have the final reports needed to decide whether to put her on "administrative time off."

Martinez, 36, has been charged with two counts of felony criminal conspiracy in connection with a police report she made April 10. Sacramento police and prosecutors allege that, with the help of friend Nicole April Syder, Martinez injured herself and hid personal belongings before calling police to report that she had been raped and robbed.

She did it to persuade her husband to move to another neighborhood, police and prosecutors say.

Heart - Black

US: California Parents Asked Man to Beat Child

© CBS News, Los AngelesPaul Kim is accused of beating a 15-year-old boy with a metal pole after the boy's parents asked him to discipline the teen
An Irvine couple who suspected their 15-year-old son of smoking turned to a man believed to be relied on in their church to violently discipline children, authorities said.

The parents asked Paul Kim, 39, to discipline their son after finding a lighter in his possession, dropping the boy off at Kim's Chino Hills home with permission for the beating, San Bernardino County sheriff's spokesperson Cindy Bachmann said Saturday.

Kim hit the child with a metal pole about a dozen times, causing severe bruising on his legs, according to Bachmann. The pole was about an inch in diameter, investigators said.

An adult at the boy's school saw the bruises and called Irvine police, who in turn informed San Bernardino County officials, she said.

Kim was arrested Tuesday at his home and released Thursday after posting bail. He faces a felony charge of willful cruelty to a child. No court date has been set, according to jail records.


UK: Barclays Boss Reveals 'No Jerks' Rule

© Stefan Wermuth/ReutersBob Diamond: no fan of jerks
Bob Diamond says he has kicked out 30 staff for breaking his new ethics rule and warns 'no one should ever not be nice'

The Barclays chief executive has imposed a "no jerks" rule at the bank.

Bob Diamond said "jerk" bankers were epitomised by an infamous 2002 episode in which six Barclays staff ran up a £44,000 alcohol tab over lunch at a London restaurant.

"Everyone gets stressed from time to time but no one should ever not be nice. You know what a jerk is when you see it," he said.

In an interview with the Times, Diamond said the rule applied to bankers considered to be prima donnas, too greedy, too ostentatious or poor team players. He said he had already kicked out 30 staff for breaking his new ethics rule.


US: Police Identify Gunman in Virginia Tech Murder-Suicide

© Reuters/Virginia State Police Ross Truett Ashley, 22, of Partlow, Virginia is pictured in this undated photograph released by Virginia State Police on December 9, 2011.
The man who shot dead a campus police officer at Virginia Tech on Thursday before killing himself was a student at a nearby university who had stolen an SUV at gunpoint the day before, officials said.

Virginia State Police on Friday identified the gunman as 22-year-old Ross Truett Ashley, a part-time student at Radford University in Radford, Va.

Ashley had entered a real estate office in Radford on Wednesday and demanded the keys to an employee's white 2011 Mercedes Benz at gunpoint.

He drove off in the vehicle and later dumped it on the campus of Virginia Tech some time before his deadly confrontation with 39-year-old Deriek W. Crouse, an officer with the Virginia Tech campus police.

The state police said they have not been able to establish any prior contact or connection between Ashley and Crouse and still do not know why the part-time student walked up to the officer and shot him before turning the gun on himself in a nearby parking lot.

The incident prompted a lockdown of the campus on Thursday and revived memories of a gunman's 2007 rampage that left 33 people dead in one of the worst shooting incidents in U.S. history.


Sterilization: Peru's Darkest Secret

women in peru demonstrating
© n/a
An investigation into whether Alberto Fujimori's government carried out mass forced sterilisations in the 1990s has been reopened

Victoria Vigo shows no flicker of emotion as she recounts how she discovered - by chance - that she had been surgically sterilised against her will. Heavily pregnant, she was admitted to a public hospital in the city of Piura, on Peru's northern coast, in April 1996 to undergo a Caesarian section. Within hours of the procedure, her ailing new-born child had died and Ms Vigo, 32 at the time, was being consoled by two doctors.

"I was exhausted and just wanted to go home," Ms Vigo says. "The doctors were trying to comfort me and one told me I was still very young and could have more children. But then, afterwards, I overheard them talking and the other said that it would not be possible for me to conceive as he had sterilised me."

Not only had Ms Vigo never given her permission for the procedure. The doctor had omitted it from her clinical records and failed to inform her. "I felt totally violated and brutalised. I still cannot understand what motivated him," Ms Vigo says. "He sterilised me and then hid the evidence. I could have tried for years to have another child without even knowing I could never conceive."