Society's ChildS

Family

US: "My Mommy's Gay But She Doesn't Need Any Fixing"

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© RawStoryMichele Bachmann speaks to 8-year-old boy
Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann appeared stunned Sunday after an 8-year-old South Carolina boy told her that his gay mother didn't "need any fixing."

The candidate was signing her memoir Core of Conviction for a scant few supporters at a Myrtle Beach Books-A-Million when 8-year-old Elijah stepped forward with a message.

"You said it, but I think my ears were too far away," Bachmann told the boy as she leaned over the table, pulling him close.

"Ms. Bachmann, my mommy's gay but she doesn't need any fixing," Elijah whispered into her ear.

The dumbfounded GOP hopeful slowly stood up with her wide eyes glaring at the mother.

"Bye, bye," she waved.

Red Flag

US: Firefighters Watch as Couple's Home Burns to the Ground (Because They Hadn't Paid $75 Subscription Fee)

Vicky Bell's home was destroyed after fire
© WPSD Local 6Left with nothing: Vicky Bell's home was destroyed after fire ripped through it in on the outskirts of South Fulton, Tennessee - and firefighters did nothing to help
A couple stood helplessly by and watched their home and valuables go up in flames because a team of firefighters refused to help - as they had not paid their 'subscription fees'.

Vicky Bell and her boyfriend managed to escape from their trailer home but did not have time to grab many personal belongings.

Miss Bell, from Tennessee, said the blaze was terrifying - but almost as shocking was seeing fire trucks sitting in the distance and doing nothing to help.

Rural residents who want to be protected by the fire officers in their nearby town of South Fulton must pay a $75 annual subscription.

South Fulton Mayor David Crocker told Local 6 WPSD that if they don't collect fire fees, the fire department can't survive - and if they make exceptions to the rule, no one will ever pay the fee.

Smoking

US: Dentist wants to make possession of cigarettes in Washington a felony

cigarettes
© AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, fileIf Dr. Ed Dolan's petition made it on the ballot, and became a law in Washington state, not only would buying these cigarettes become a class C felony, so would buying them in Oregon and crossing the border into Washington with a pack.
Listen: Dr. Ed Dolan wants to make cigarette possession a felony Dori Monson talks to a doctor gathering signatures to ban the possession of tobacco cigarettes in the state of Washington.

The health risks of cigarettes have been taught in schools and printed on the cigarette packages for decades. There is a statewide ban preventing people from lighting up in public places. Now, one dentist would like to prevent you from even holding a cigarette in the state of Washington.

"I care about people's health," said Dr. Ed Dolan, who is behind the cigarette ban initiative. "I'm hoping that this will help all of the citizens of Washington state live longer, healthier, happier lives and eliminate the diseases, pain and suffering caused by tobacco products."

Heart - Black

US: THREE Elderly Women Say TSA Agents Made Them Pull Down Pants, Underwear

TSA says agents followed protocol


With age come such things as catheters, colostomy bags and adult diapers. Now add another indignity to getting old - having to drop your pants and show these things to a complete stranger.

Two women in their 80s put the Transportation Security Administration on the defensive this week by going public about their embarrassment during screenings in a private room at John F. Kennedy International Airport. One claimed she was forced to lower her pants and underwear in front of an agent so that her back brace could be inspected. Another said agents made her pull down her waistband to show her colostomy bag.

While not confirming some of the details, the TSA said a preliminary review shows officers followed the agency's procedures in both cases. But experts said the potential for such searches will increase as the U.S. population ages and receives prosthetics and other medical devices, some of which cannot go through screening machines.

Cut

Toilet paper restrictions imposed on schoolchildren in Spain in latest austerity cuts

toilet roll
© Alamy
Schoolchildren in Catalonia are the latest victims of austerity cuts with authorities instructing them to limit their use of lavatory paper in a bid to save money.

The northeastern region has been ordered to rein in its deficit and has embarked on a series of stringent austerity cuts.

The latest edict issued by the region's ministry of education instructs state schools to cut "excessive consumption" of toilet roll among pupils and limit the quota to a maximum of 25 metres per child per month.

This most recent penny saving measure comes amid widespread cuts to education budgets across Spain that has led to regular protests in the streets by teachers.

Airplane

US: Women kicked off airplane at PBIA claim unruly flight attendant was to blame

Passengers claim attendant was 'a bully'


Three women were escorted off a New York bound flight at Palm Beach International Airport Monday afternoon by airline staff and Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputies. The women claim they did not do anything wrong and that a flight attendant on board was the only one behaving poorly.

The women -- a lawyer, a therapist and a retired travel agent -- were complete strangers until they were seated near one another on AirTran Flight 1451 to White Plains, New York. They were buckled in and ready to take off when they said a male flight attendant began mishandling some overhead luggage.

Syringe

California, US: Couple Badly Injured After Bodybuilder Attack

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© Unknown
Colton - Police say a naked, 300-pound bodybuilder savagely beat a Southern California couple at their home, leaving them in critical condition.

The Sun of San Bernardino says 22-year-old Ruben Arzu apparently was under the influence of steroids and other drugs, and it took four police officers, two stun gun blasts and four sets of handcuffs to restrain him.

Police say the couple came home late Saturday to find Arzu naked on the front porch of their home in Colton.

When Arzu was confronted by the 35-year-old husband, police say the bodybuilder attacked the man, causing major head trauma.

The man's wife called 911. Police say Arzu then picked her up and threw her around, causing facial injuries and multiple cuts to her head.

Arzu was booked on suspicion of attempted homicide.

Phoenix

US: Facebook Unfriending Sparked Iowa Arson Attack, Cops Say

A Des Moines, Iowa, woman has been arrested in an arson attack on the home of a former friend who had quarreled with her and unfriended her on Facebook, according to a published report.

Jennifer Christine Harris, 30, of Des Moines, is being held Thursday at Polk County Jail on $100,000 bond on a charge of first-degree arson, a jail spokeswoman said.

She was arrested after the Oct. 27 fire at the Des Moines home of Jim and Nikki Rasmussen. The early-morning fire broke out in the garage of the Rasmussen's home, police and neighbors said, and led to the collapse of the garage roof.

Attention

Anxious Greeks Emptying Their Bank Accounts

Greek Bank
© Agence France-Presse A branch of the Greek central bank. Bank deposits are falling rapidly.

Many Greeks are draining their savings accounts because they are out of work, face rising taxes or are afraid the country will be forced to leave the euro zone. By withdrawing money, they are forcing banks to scale back their lending -- and are inadvertently making the recession even worse.

Georgios Provopoulos, the governor of the central bank of Greece, is a man of statistics, and they speak a clear language. "In September and October, savings and time deposits fell by a further 13 to 14 billion euros. In the first 10 days of November the decline continued on a large scale," he recently told the economic affairs committee of the Greek parliament.

With disarming honesty, the central banker explained to the lawmakers why the Greek economy isn't managing to recover from a recession that has gone on for three years now: "Our banking system lacks the scope to finance growth."

He means that the outflow of funds from Greek bank accounts has been accelerating rapidly. At the start of 2010, savings and time deposits held by private households in Greece totalled €237.7 billion -- by the end of 2011, they had fallen by €49 billion. Since then, the decline has been gaining momentum. Savings fell by a further €5.4 billion in September and by an estimated €8.5 billion in October -- the biggest monthly outflow of funds since the start of the debt crisis in late 2009.

The raid on bank accounts stems from deep uncertainty in Greek households which culminated in early November during the political turmoil that followed the announcement by then-Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou of a referendum on the second Greek bailout package.

Papandreou withdrew the plan and stepped down following an outcry among other European leaders against the referendum, and a new government was formed on Nov. 11 under former central banker Loukas Papademos. That appears to have slowed the drop in bank savings, at least for the time being.

Attention

US: Scandals Reveal Sex Offender Laws' Limits

In Hand Cuff's
© iStockPhoto

Sex crimes against children have been in the news recently, most prominently accusations against former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky and Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine.

Claims that the men abused boys for years made the news largely because they are affiliated with high-profile college athletics. But the accused men are very typical of most sex offenders in one important way: neither appears on any sex offender registry (required by legislation known as Megan's Law) because they are not convicted sex offenders.

The public widely believes that Megan's Laws protect children by alerting parents and teachers to those individuals most likely to abuse children, but the opposite is true. The fact is that the vast majority of people who physically and sexually abuse children are not convicted sex offenders and therefore are not covered under public notification laws.

There's simply no evidence that Megan's Laws work -- and considerable evidence that they don't.