Nine Circles of Hell!: Monday, May 21, 2012 Nine Circles of Hell!


Your bitter blind broke gap-toothed radio show host Chuck Mertz‘s blog, ‘The Nine Circles of Hell!,’ is now posted every week day, Monday through Friday, at Noon (US central). It’s all the news that give you fits in print, today’s nine reminders that ‘This is Hell!’

Click on any of the Nine Circles! in bold, or bonus link in italics, to go directly to the original article.

Chicago’s NATO protesters are gathering at Union Park readying for a march on Boeing headquarters at this writing. Things are breaking so far that this blog simply can’t do these protest justice. Instead, we suggest you follow the marches live at The Guardian (here’s the link). While marchers exercise their freedoms of speech and assembly outside the NATO Summit where President Obama is meeting with heads of state, the Obama administration fights against the right of attorneys, journalists and human rights groups “to sue over a law making it easier for US intelligence agencies to eavesdrop on foreign communications,” according to Reuters. The NATO Summit wasn’t the only major international gathering that was supposed to happen in Chicago. The G8 Summit was supposed to be here as well, but President Obama had it moved to the less public confines of Camp David. This explains why you’re seeing some in the NATO protest who are more linked to economic concerns than military issues. Economic challenges like income inequality. Fascinating new research on income inequality and teenage birth rates will be published tomorrow by Wellesley College economist Phillip Levine. Levine says, “What really seems to exacerbate the problem is when you’re poor and you live in a place where there’s a great degree of income inequality, So if you’re poor in a high inequality location, then you’re really much more likely to give birth as a teenager.” The Greek family is facing a number of other problems. Family dependence on food kitchens is skyrocketing in Greece. Sky News quotes a social worker saying, “There are many social factors – alcoholism, drugs and abuse – but the primary cause is economic. If you have both parents who are unemployed, they can become desperate and there is a psychological trauma for them too because they have to go to social services and tell them that they can’t support their children anymore.” Sky News also reports, “according to people in the trade an increasing number of women are turning to prostitution. Rough sleeping has also risen by 25%. Last week, a homeless man was beaten to death for the coins he had collected that day by another group of homeless people.” Three are reported dead in Beirut’s worst political violence in four years. As was predicted weeks ago on This is Hell!, the Syrian violence has spilled over into Lebanon. Worse yet, it’s sectarian, again, as predicted. These clashes were sparked by the fatal shooting of a Sunni cleric by Lebanese soldiers Sunday. According to The Christian Science Monitor, “Though Lebanon’s government is headed by a Sunni, it is backed by Damascus and some believe it is cooperating with the Syrian crackdown.” The Monitor also quotes some old dude sittin’ in a chair in the Sunni neighborhood of Beirut Tarik al-Jdeide saying, “The reasons the Sunnis are so angry is because we used to have the power but we have had it taken away from us. Yes, we have a Sunni as prime minister but he is not with us and he takes orders like a dog.” There were far more deaths in Yemen today. In the deadliest incident in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa since the February election of their new president, 90 people were killed when a suicide bomb exploded. BBC News reports, ‘An al-Qaeda source told the BBC one of its members had carried out the attack.’ Deadly workplace explosions often go unpunished. iWatch News repots “4,551 people (were) killed on the job in America in 2009, carnage that eclipsed the total number of US fatalities in the nine-year Iraq war. Combine the victims of traumatic injuries with the estimated 50,000 people who die annually of work-related diseases and it’s as if a fully loaded Boeing 737-700 crashed every day. Yet the typical fine for a worker death is about $7,900.” When it comes to deadly workplace accidents, it appears the punishment is far too soft for the crime. Then there are cases when the punishment is far too hard for the crime. Iran hanged 14 people yesterday who were convicted of drug trafficking. Amnesty International says Iran executed at least 360 people, three-quarters of them for drugs offenses. There have been over 2,000 false convictions overturned by DNA tests since 1989. Speaking of false convictions, the convicted Lockerbie bomber has finally died. A new Al Jazeera documentary returns to the controversy around the case against convicted bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi. In the doc, they quote a John Ashton, who was part of al-Megrahi’s defense team, saying, “The Lockerbie disaster was Europe’s worst terrorist attack. More Americans died in that attack than in any other terrorist event before 9/11. It’s also Britain’s worst miscarriage of justice, the wrong man was convicted and the real killers are still out there.”

That’s the Nine Circles of Hell! for Monday, May 21, 2012.

Come back tomorrow for The Nine! at Noon!