Rise in African children accused of witchcraft

An increasing number of children are being accused of witchcraft in parts of Africa, the UN children’s agency says. Orphans, street children, albinos and the disabled are most at risk.

A new Unicef report warns that children accused of being witches – some as young as eight – have been been burned, beaten and even killed as punishment.

The belief that a child could be a witch is a relatively modern development, researchers say. Until 10-20 years ago, it was women and the elderly who tended to be accused.

The agency says the rise in vulnerable children being abused in this way is linked to greater urbanisation in the continent and disruption caused by war…

The agency said there was little it could do about the belief in witchcraft itself, and that it was not trying to eradicate the practice. But it said violence against children was wrong, and that it would do everything it could to stop it…

It is reported that some evangelical preachers have added to the problem by charging large sums for exorcisms. One was recently arrested in Nigeria after charging more than $250 for each procedure.

Anyone surprised?

I don’t mean just about the ignorance of believing in child witches. The opportunist preachers hustling families for exorcising the demons. What greedy bastards.

Do you wonder if this cruelty was helped or hindered by Christian missionaries.

A truly “heart-healthy” pizza…

A laid off paramedic who turned to delivering pizzas to make ends meet is credited with saving the life of a man who went into cardiac arrest just as a pizza was delivered to his door.

Christopher Wuebben, 22, was delivering a pizza late last week to the suburban Denver home of George Linn, when he heard the man’s wife screaming for help, according to Wuebben’s boss, John Keiley.

Chris told the woman that he was trained in CPR and knew what to do,” Keiley, owner of Johnny’s New York Pizza, said on Tuesday. “He got him on the floor and brought him back to life before the fire department showed up.”

Linn was transported to Swedish Medical Center where he is listed in serious condition in the hospital’s critical care unit, hospital spokeswoman Julie Lonborg told Reuters.

Keiley said Wuebben is a military veteran who recently moved to Colorado after he was laid off from his paramedic job in Illinois. He said Wuebben is not scheduled to work at the pizza restaurant until later in the week, but Keiley may not have his new employee for long. At least one local hospital and a fire department have called to offer Wuebben a job in his chosen field after hearing of his heroics.


With life-saving and supporting skills, maybe this is another one of those government jobs that really should be budgeted, eh?

Found guilty of rape because he lied about being Jewish

An Arab man convicted in Israel of rape because he pretended he was a Jew when he had consensual sex with a Jewish woman has called the verdict racist. Sabbar Kashur, 30, was found guilty of “rape by deception” by the Israeli court and sentenced to 18 months in jail.

According to the complaint filed by the woman, the two met in a Jerusalem street in 2008 and had sex that day. When she discovered he was not Jewish, but an Arab, she went to the police.

Kashur was arrested and charged with rape and indecent assault, but the charges were later replaced by a different charge of “rape by deception”…

If I were Jewish, they wouldn’t have even questioned me,” the Haaretz newspaper quoted him as saying.

“That’s not called rape, I didn’t rape her in the forest and and throw her away naked. She agreed to everything that happened…”

“The court is obliged to protect the public interest from sophisticated, smooth-tongued criminals who can deceive innocent victims at an unbearable price – the sanctity of their bodies and souls,” the court judgement was quoted as reading.

Can you imagine what would happen, say, if a German court convicted a Jew of “rape” if he lied when having sex with a German woman.

Oh. That’s right. They did. Under Hitler.

Farmer aided by Shirley Sherrod is a USS Yorktown survivor!

Sinking of the USS Yorktown in the Battle of Midway

Roger Spooner, the farmer who appeared today on news shows backing up Shirley Sherrod’s story, and who was accused by Andrew Breitbart of being a liar and a “plant,” is not just a lifelong friend of Sherrod; he’s also a veteran of the Battle of Midway.

It’s been more than 67 years since Roger Spooner stood on the deck of the U.S.S. Yorktown, watching an air parade of kamikaze pilots dive into the carrier while he loaded 54-pound shells to fire at circling Japanese planes in a frantic attempt to keep the ship from sinking at the Battle of Midway.

While 165 men on the Yorktown died that day, 85 survived. Some of them remember portions of that day in June. Others remember most of what happened.

“I remember all of it,” Spooner said.

Spooner can almost smell the sea water mixed with oil when he talks about the day the Yorktown was sunk. Spooner and many of his mates spent about 10 hours bobbing up and down in the Pacific in nothing more than their skivvies and a life jacket.

“The dive bombers were coming down right on top of us, straight out of the sun,” Spooner said. “There was nothing we could do with them.”

Spooner said he remembers abandoning the Yorktown and diving into the ocean at about 2:30 p.m. He was rescued by a cruiser about 10 hours later.

That’s a long time to be alone with your thoughts.

“I thought about Iron City,” said Spooner, who joined the Navy in late October, 1941. Two weeks later, Pearl Harbor was bombed and Spooner was thrust straight into the war with no time to go home. “I didn’t think I was ever going to get back.”

I thought this might be the case the first time I saw Roger Spooner and his wife Eloise on TV. Not too many folks get to walk around with that Yorktown hat. Not too many left alive.

Most regulars here know I take a personal stake in the rights and needs of veterans. Especially World War 2 – because so many of my family and friends were personally affected by that war against fascism.

Creeps like Brietbart need to take their libertarian teabags and stick them where the sun don’t shine.

Conflict over Bridge motive for murder

A British man murdered his wife after constant arguments about her ability to play bridge, a court heard Tuesday. Stephen Green, 52, is accused of stabbing his wife Carole to death in January, after fights about her card playing.

Carole Green’s body was discovered at the couple’s home on January 18 this year — three days after the prosecution claims she was killed by her husband.

She suffered about 100 injuries to her upper body and neck.

Green, who denies murder, was found by police in the bath with cuts to his wrist and appeared “unfazed” when arrested, Preston Crown Court heard.

Fellow members at Lytham Bridge Club in Lancashire, Diana and Peter Sizer told the court the defendant’s attitude at club meetings had changed noticeably in the previous three years, the Press Association reported. Green had started drinking heavily which led to “vicious” criticism of his wife’s prowess at bridge and a deterioration in his own game, Diana Sizer told the court.

The trial continues.

I forwarded this to one of the bridge experts in my extended family. I’m confident he’ll use the tale to disturb a few of his opponents.

Attack by Tea Party nutball costs USDA official her job – UPDATED

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack – has apologized

The NAACP has retracted its original statement condemning comments made by a former Agriculture Department official who resigned after a video clip surfaced of her discussing a white farmer…

“Having reviewed the full tape by Shirley Sherrod, who is the woman who was fired by the Department of Agriculture, and most importantly heard the testimony of the white farmers mentioned in this story, we now believe that the organization that edited the documents did so with the intention of deceiving millions of Americans,” the statement from NAACP President Benjamin Jealous said.

Here’s the full unedited video of her speech before the NAACP – months ago btw.

Jealous later posted on his Twitter account that he “Spoke to Ms. Sherrod earlier today and personally apologized. Plan to meet with her face-to-face the next time I’m in Georgia.”

The organization also urged Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to reconsider Sherrod’s resignation from her post as the department’s director of rural development for Georgia.

Breitbart originally posted the video, which was quickly picked up by Fox News.

In the video, Sherrod can be heard telling an audience at a March 27, 2010, appearance before a local chapter of the NAACP that she had not given a white farmer “the full force of what I could do” to help him save the family farm

Sherrod defended herself in a number of interviews Tuesday, saying her controversial comments were taken out of context. She had, she said, used a personal experience from nearly a quarter century ago in which she confronted her own racism and learned to move beyond it.

She insisted she “went all out” to help the man keep his farm and said she resigned only under pressure from the Obama administration…

I’m editing this all together Tuesday night, 20th July. So far, this article on CNN has the most complete narration of what occurred. They deserve the world of credit for following the story. Digging up the truth of Ms. Sherrod’s speech. Digging up the cowardice of the administration hack in charge of the USDA, Tom Vilsack.

I don’t doubt that by Wednesday morning there may be sufficient pressure from the press – and ultimately the White House – to reverse the injustice committed by a bureaucrat on a loyal civil servant.

Cowardice in the face of loudmouthed blather from right-wing nutballs is not justification for terminating someone fighting on behalf of poor people. Ever!

It’s already silly enough, criminal enough, the amount of free publicity American media dedicates to what isn’t much more than an organizing campaign from creeps hovering at the edge of the Republican Party – from Dick Armey to the John Birch Society – to capture that Party.

Worse than treating these fools as media darlings is the response from the White House, the Obama Administration and our favorite political amoebas, the Democratic Party. Spineless as ever, they dash about trying to put out fires that aren’t much more than a sparkler in the dark of a July night – afraid their political careers will go up in flames.

UPDATE: Tom Vilsack has apologized and offered Mrs. Sherrod a job back in the USDA.

Utah fires 2 Mexiphobes over immigrant hit list

The Utah Department of Workforce Services has moved to fire two employees believed to have created and distributed a list containing personal information of 1,300 purported illegal immigrants.

The agency terminated a temporary worker and issued an “intent to terminate employment” notice to the other, spokesman Dave Lewis said. The latter career employee is on paid administrative leave pending a hearing, he said…

The list was anonymously distributed last week to media and government offices across the state, CNN affiliate KSTU-TV reported. An accompanying letter from “Concerned Citizens of the United States” insisted that those on the list should be deported immediately.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert told CNN’s John King on Friday night that the 1,300 people have Hispanic names. Lewis indicated Tuesday that some on the list are citizens and others are noncitizens with work permits.

Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said the alleged crimes may have broken state and federal privacy laws, and some may have been felonies, so if appropriate, there could be a multilevel investigation. He added that crimes may have been committed not only in generating and preparing the list, but also in how the list was used. Some of the alleged illegal immigrants listed have reported harassment since their names appeared on the list.

“Clearly, it’s not even meant as a blacklist. It’s more like a hit list. It is, I think, to put people at fear, to terrorize, to get people mobilized to do things. The fact is, the names on that list are also innocent until proven guilty, and we’re finding that some of those names … are here legally,” Shurtleff said.

Populist bigots could care less about “innocent until proven guilty”. Everyone on the list has an Hispanic surname. That’s all that matters to people whose ideology is based on ethnicity.

In this case, bigotry also happens to have exposed shallow checks and balances on security and confidentiality in the state of Utah.