Michael Jackson's Child Porn Collection For Sale

Michael Jackson is trying to stop an auction of his former possessions - which are alleged to include paintings of naked boys.

The troubled pop star has taken out a temporary restraining order against Richard Altomare to block the planned sale, arguing he is the rightful owner.

Altmore, Chairman of Universal Express, claims he received 20,000 items from Jackson's former business partner Henry Vacaro as part of a bankruptcy case last year, and they include the "salacious" art pieces as well as "some of his whitening creams, [and] some sex aids".

He threatens Jackson's legal action could prove counterproductive.

He is quoted in the Metro as saying, "This stuff we have kept from the auction out of respect to Mr Jackson. The guy has troubles.

"We all have skeletons in the closet and, if Michael hadn't put up a fuss, I might have quietly, discreetly, just given it to him. I've already been offered $50 million for it privately."

The auction is due to take place at the Hard Rock Hotel and in Las Vegas on 30 May.

In an unusual and unique interpertation of the law criminalizing child pornography, artistic works, art or artist interpretations of minors in nude or sexual situations may be construed as 'art' and thus not - necessarily - criminal.

Apparently the mega-star, King of Pop and repeatedly acused child molestor Michael Jackson is willing to test these boundries in the name of art - not to mention the sexual aids he seeks to protect.

The welfare of Jackson's chilren has been an issue since his first child molestation trial. Jackson choose to live in Bahrain and is rumored to have converted to Islam.

The pop star has been photographed in female Muslim garb also raising controversy.

12 US States Not Safe For Your Family

That's what state and city rankings publisher Morgan Quitno Press reveals in its annual list of the most dangerous states to live in.

States are compared against the national average for six dastardly crimes, each carrying equal weight.

No. 1 -- Nevada

Nevada may not have the highest murder rate, but its crime rankings across the board offer the highest odds of a crime against you and your family.

Rankings by Crime

Murder: 3
Rape: 11
Robbery: 2
Assault: 13
Burglary: 7
Motor Vehicle Theft: 1

No. 2 -- New Mexico

New Mexico's coiffed tourist image of open desert spaces, earth-conscious living and colorful hot-air balloons belie a serious crime problem in this border state.

Rankings in Crime

Murder: 6
Rape: 2
Robbery: 25
Assault: 2
Burglary: 2
Motor Vehicle Theft: 14

No. 3 -- Arizona

Another border state tops the list of Most Dangerous States; there's more to fear here than black widow spiders and scorpions.

Rankings in Crime

Murder: 5
Rape: 24
Robbery: 15
Assault: 16
Burglary: 11
Motor Vehicle Theft: 2

No. 4 -- Maryland

Hugging the nation's high-crime capital, struggling to revitalize Baltimore and growing its gambling industry, Maryland has the highest murder and robbery rate.

Rankings in Crime

Murder: 1
Rape: 45
Robbery: 1
Assault: 8
Burglary: 26
Motor Vehicle Theft: 6

No. 5 -- Tennessee

Tennessee residents might sing about love for country and neighbor, but lag behind in showing it. The state earns the No. 2 slot for most assaults. Maybe that's just how country boys work out their issues.

Rankings in Crime

Murder: 9
Rape: 20
Robbery: 7
Assault: 2
Burglary: 4
Motor Vehicle Theft: 13

No. 6 -- South Carolina

Whatever happened to Southern hospitality? Sunny South Carolina is charged with the highest assault problem in the Most Dangerous States list.

Rankings in Crime

Murder: 6
Rape: 10
Robbery: 17
Assault: 1
Burglary: 6
Motor Vehicle Theft: 19

No. 7 -- Alaska

Alaska is plagued with having the highest number of rape cases. There could be a correlation with alcohol abuse, also known to plague the state.

Rankings in Crime

Murder: 24
Rape: 1
Robbery: 34
Assault: 5
Burglary: 28
Motor Vehicle Theft: 18

No. 8 -- Florida

It has been commented on a city-data.com forum that Florida crime is not concentrated in one area, but rather spread across the state.

Rankings in Crime

Murder: 23
Rape: 19
Robbery: 6
Assault: 4
Burglary: 13
Motor Vehicle Theft: 12

No. 9 -- California

Even though California makes the top 12 list for Most Dangerous States, the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice states that crime rates in California have fallen over the last two decades.

Rankings in Crime

Murder: 10
Rape: 38
Robbery: 5
Assault: 17
Burglary: 23
Motor Vehicle Theft: 5

No. 10 -- Louisiana

Tied with Maryland for the state with the highest murder rate, according to the Southern Digest, Louisiana also has the second highest number of black homicides.

Rankings in Crime

Murder: 1
Rape: 28
Robbery: 21
Assault: 6
Burglary: 16
Motor Vehicle Theft: 25

No. 11 -- Michigan

In a city-data.com Michigan forum, it is noted that the east side of Michigan, which is also where lower economic areas are, carries the brunt of the state's crime.

Rankings in Crime

Murder: 16
Rape: 3
Robbery: 18
Assault: 12
Burglary: 22
Motor Vehicle Theft: 10

No. 12 -- Texas

After seeing a decline in crime in the last decade, some concerned Texans (on Topix.net) question whether a rise in the past couple years is related to the Katrina disaster.

Rankings in Crime

Murder: 14
Rape: 18
Robbery: 9
Assault: 15
Burglary: 8
Motor Vehicle Theft: 15

The Most Wicked Issue in American Politics

John Neffinger

You might have thought the first abortion decision rendered by our new Supreme Court (Opus Dei edition) would generate a firestorm of commentary, especially if it might significantly limit late-term abortion rights.

Instead, the reaction to the recent decision upholding the "Partial-Birth" abortion ban has been decidedly muted. A handful of writers tackled some of the decision's implications (Jill Filipovic had a good piece in HuffPost the next day). But the bitterest voice to be heard was that of Justice Ginsburg herself, who called it "alarming."

So why did no one seem alarmed? For starters, it had been a rough week. Everywhere you looked there were images from the carnival of violence at Virginia Tech -- the shooter's face twisted in hatred, him posing with his guns and hammer (hammer?), diagrams and reenactments of what it must have been like in those classrooms.

But I suspect there's another reason we hesitated to jump back into the breach. Reading about the abortion decision, it was hard not to think: "Oh no, not this again." The issue of abortion rights is just more upsetting, more depressing and meaner than any other issue in American politics. Nothing else quite compares.

As horrible as the Virginia Tech shooting was, we could at least all share our grief. True, the inevitable gun control debate followed: should bad guys be disarmed or should good guys be armed to shoot first? But both sides at least agree that non-threatening innocents should not get shot.

The conflict over abortion has no bottom -- no matter how deep you dig, there's no place both sides can come together and recognize one another's humanity. In part, that's because of the biology: in an unwanted pregnancy, the woman's interest is for the fetus to cease to exist entirely, while the fetus' presumed interest is for the woman to endure weeks of sickness and unwelcome bodily transformation, followed by many hours of incredible pain... followed by years of hard work, emotional strain, expense, and responsibility. As long as you have people eager to speak on behalf of a fetus as if it was a whole person, those are some seriously irreconcilable differences.

You might think that both sides could at least agree on preventing unwanted pregnancies. But that's where things get weird. It turns out the hard-core anti-choice folks don't actually care so much about preventing fetal suffering: Despite all the studies proving that improving birth control access and teaching adolescents about sex reduces unwanted pregnancies, serious "Pro-lifers" oppose these ideas, and vigorously.

So what are they after? Apparently, the heart of the matter for hard-core anti-choice folks is that sex should only be for making babies. That means it's only for married people, and kids have no business knowing about it. That part of their vision has some appeal in our dizzyingly hypersexualized culture, as unrealistic as it is. But the other corollary is that all pregnancies should be carried to term, either as a blessed gift to a happy family... or as divine punishment for a loose woman.

I doubt that New York Times columnist David Brooks is among those who secretly yearn to outlaw premarital sex, but he did celebrate the Court's decision with a paean to the fetus in last Sunday's paper. His piece lovingly detailed the science on fetal brain cell growth and eye development and what not, and then closed with a call for a 'sensible' approach to abortion -- featuring parental consent requirements for minors. The thing is, to come up with a sensible compromise, you first need to make sense of both the positions you're compromising between.

From a broad public-policy view, parental choice laws make no particular sense. As a general rule, children should not be having children because they are not prepared to raise children. Do we really want laws that make it more difficult to keep children from having children? If abortion is allowed for anyone, doesn't it make the most sense for unhappily pregnant teens? And since a teen generally does not need her parents' consent to have a kid, why exactly should she need their consent not to?

But this debate does not happen in the realm of logic. Parental consent laws appeal to parents' primal fear that their kids are having sex and getting in trouble and they're the last to know. Debates on the issue typically invoke the image of a solid middle-class family with a rebellious teen girl who falls in with a bad crowd and needs to be set straight. And that's about where the thinking stops.

Sometimes that's the reality of teen pregnancy: a loving, understanding family, and a kid who either made some stupid decisions or had birth control fail them. And in some of those cases, a parental consent law might be just the thing to nudge the reluctant teen to have a much-needed heart-to-heart with her parents.

Of course most teens in that rosy scenario will turn to a trusted parent anyway. But what happens when the scenario is less rosy? Tolstoy said every happy family is the same but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way: that makes for a lot of heavy issues for this law to get mixed up in. What if the parents are abusive? What if they choose to punish their daughter for her misbehavior by withholding consent, and maybe throwing her out of the house? Or what if they just would have preferred not to know?

Then there's the scenario nearest to the hearts of anti-choice advocates: what if the parents are anti-choice? Should they be able to force their daughter to give birth? Imagine the decision resting with a pregnant teen's father. He has never voluntarily endured anything as painful as childbirth (unless he's undergone elite military training to resist torture, or maybe starred in a Jackass movie). Should he have the right to force that on his daughter, when she wants to have an abortion and get on with her life?

Many years ago, a friend of mine had a condom break on her with a new boyfriend and ended up pregnant. Although I do think it is vitally important for stories like these to be shared, the particulars of her story are not mine to tell. Suffice it to say that the decision-maker in her family believed strongly that abortion was a sin. Thankfully, nobody had passed any "sensible" parental consent laws back then, and my friend, while deeply upset and chastened by the ordeal, ended her pregnancy safely and legally and finished school. Today she is professionally successful, happily married, and a loving mother.

I wonder what David Brooks would say about a situation like my friend's. Or what Justice Kennedy would say, for that matter. Might they surprise us, take a fresh look at the issue, even a little? Perhaps, perhaps not.

What we do know is this debate will be won or lost on whether people empathize with the developing fetus or the pregnant woman (or girl). And as long as it's all about the fetus, as long as women's stories are still not being heard, women (and the women and men who love them) lose.

Latin America On The March To Stop Violence Against Women

Rallies, demonstrations in the streets, conferences, cultural events - yesterday's International Women's Day commemorations around the world took many different forms. In Latin America, women's-rights activists and their supporters called special attention to various forms of violence against women that continue to prevail in many countries in the region.

Among the alarming statistics: "In Guatemala [last year], 603 women died as a result of violence [against them], a figure that represents ten percent of all murders in the country.. ..In Chile, according to official data, seven out of every ten women has been.. ..beaten or psychologically maltreated."

A just-released report by the Washington Office on Latin America, a Washington-based, independent organization that promotes human rights and democracy, focuses on conditions many women face in Mexico and Guatemala. In those countries, the WOLA study points outs, "The absence of a functioning criminal justice system has contributed profoundly to a continuum of violent acts against women. The failure to act is perpetuating a culture of impunity, and consequently sending the message that it is acceptable to hit, rape and murder women."

A WOLA representative said in conjunction with the release of the new report: "The police and justice institutions in Mexico and Guatemala are weak, ineffective and often corrupt. These flaws are compounded by gender biases within the institutions, which act to systematically silence and discriminate against women."

In Mexico, the national congress has created a new law aimed at guaranteeing women "a life free of violence." The problem is, its critics say, that it doesn't put forth "specific sanctions against aggressive behavior" toward women. In the congress's lower house, legislators on the left have called for swift justice and tough punishment for those who sexually abuse, torture or lock up women, as well as "pederasts and their accomplices in positions of power." Those legislators have described the murders of women in the border city of Ciudad Juárez - almost 500 since 1993 - as "an open wound that will never heal." They're sick and tired of lawbreakers getting away with impunity.

Mexican President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, in a public appearance that mixed International Women's Day celebrations with politics, called for a change in the nation's penal code to make life sentences mandatory for those who abuse or enslave women (example: in forced-prostitution rings).

In Chile, Michelle Bachelet, the country's first female president - and a former victim of torture under the U.S.-backed, right-wing dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet - told International Women's Day celebrants that "[e]quality is not a dream" and that "women have arrived to stay in Chilean politics." Nevertheless, she acknowledged, "We're still not a society of men and women who are equal in rights and opportunities."

In an official statement issued to mark yesterday's big day for the women of the world, the United Nations' new secretary-general, South Korea's Ban Ki-moon, observed: "In almost all countries, women continue to be underrepresented in decision-making positions. Women's work continues to be undervalued, underpaid or not paid at all. Out of more than 100 million children who are not in school, the majority are girls. Out of more than 800 million adults who cannot read, the majority are women. Worst of all, violence against women and girls continues unabated in every continent, country and culture. It takes a devastating toll on women's lives, on their families and on society as a whole. Most societies prohibit such violence - yet the reality is that too often, it is covered up or tacitly condoned."

Chinese Police Nabs 21-year-old Student For Operating Porn Web Sites

Chinese police this week said they had arrested a 21-year-old student for running five pornographic Web sites with 210,000 registered users, amid a nationwide crackdown on online pornography that authorities say is "perverting China's young minds."

The student, only identified as Zhu, was detained in the eastern province of Shandong on April 12, after he was suspected of operating five porn sites, containing almost 170,000 pornographic images and obscene movie clips, the Ministry of Public Security announced.

About 210,000 people had signed up to the porn sites Zhu allegedly operated - "Demon's Island", "Global Beauty Pictures", "Community of Bloom", "Moon Alliance" and "Pretty Vines", the police said.

Police also announced on Thursday that they had closed 1,450 porn Web sites and deleted more than 30,000 obscene messages online since the government launched a nationwide campaign to curb the spread of pornography on the Internet on April 12.

Nearly 30 serious porn cases were cracked, the police said, but did not give more details.

The campaign, expected to last six months, will target illegal online activities such as distributing pornographic materials and organizing cyber strip shows, and purge the Web of sexually-explicit images, stories, and audio and video clips, according to Zhang Xinfeng, vice minister of public security.

China had 137 million Internet users at the end of 2006, with most of being young people. The current massive campaign was launched as the government believes the young people need to be protected from negative online influences.

A report by the Beijing Reformatory for Juvenile Delinquents said 33.5 percent of its detainees were influenced by violent online games or erotic Web sites when they committed crimes such as robbery and rape.