Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Homeschool student disappears from psych ward Authorities won't let parents, lawyer know her new location
Disgusting- Germany is at it again.
They are applying old Nazi laws to do this.
You would think it would be such an embarrassment to the entire country to even still have these laws on the books that they would never dare use them.
It would be like the U.S. applying some old runaway slave law to capture a black suspect.
And it is a sobering reminder of how dangerous these children's metal health screenings that the powers that be are trying to force on us can be.
The case involving a 15-year-old homeschool student in Germany who suddenly was snatched from her home by a SWAT team of police officers and sent to a psychiatric ward for her "school phobia" suddenly has taken a turn for the worse.
Officials who work in support of homeschoolers in Germany, even though it is illegal there, notified WND that Melissa Busekros, in a "new escalation," was moved from the psychiatric hospital where she had been held for more than a week "to an unknown place."
"Neither the parents nor their attorney are informed where Melissa is arrested now," said an urgent statement from Netzwerk-Bildungsfreifeit," the German homeschool advocacy organization.
"The situation is [horrifying] for the girl and the parents," said the statement, which was written in German and then translated into English.
The German organization said the situation confirms its worst fears: That "Germany blatantly spurns parental and human rights and cannot be regarded any longer as a free country. It is running more and more to tyranny and dictatorship."
WND reported more than a week ago that German authorities had assembled a team of about 20 police officers and other officials to take the teen from in front of her shocked family.
She was taken on a judge's order to a psychiatric ward after a diagnosis of "school phobia," according to reports from German homeschool supporters. She had fallen behind in Latin and math studies, and was being tutored at home in the subjects. However, when school officials found out, they expelled her, then took the family to court when they began homeschooling.
The students' rights and human rights groups say they still want people to contact German officials about the situation: Contacts, provided by the IHRG, include:Youth Welfare Office
Director: Edeltraud Höllerer
Tel. +49 9131 86-2844
Fax +49 9131 86-2438
Local Court Erlangen
Tel. +49 9131-782 01
Fax +49 9131/782-361
(No Email address available)
Minister of Justice in Bavaria
Tel. +49 89 5597 1799
Fax +49 89 5597 3580
chief physician: Prof. Jörg Wiesse
Assistant Medical Director
(Responsible for the survey of Melissa)
Monday, February 12, 2007
Why? Because network news sucks-that's why.
I have been wondering for a while now how long it would be before the elitist style of news coverage would crash and burn.
As those in control at the major networks started to see a slide in ratings they thought,"Oh, must be that the audience is just too stupid for real news. We'll have to do more celebrity segments."
And then came Fox.
Fox flew into first place not because the entire world had turned into neocons but because it was a niche market that was completely ignored up until then.
I think I practically jumped up and down the first time I heard a segment involving a person shooting at an intruder in his home and it wasn't completely biased against guns.
But then, of course, reality set in.
Fox was just as insane as the other networks- they were in favor of controlling every aspect of my life, for my own good, from the right (as opposed to the left like NBC)
Because Fox had such success, all the networks, in a panic to figure out why no one was watching them, tried to go after the republican market (for the first time, even though they represent just less than half of the U.S.) but that didn't work either, because republicans were still bitter toward the old networks for ignoring them all these years.
One of the last times I watched a network news show was about five years ago. Katie Couric was interviewing a woman who had written a book about living and working as a normal person.
She spent a year or two working as waitress or maid or whatever other jobs the rest of us, in the unwashed masses, have to endure. And she wrote about her experience.
Who was she writing this for?
Obviously, if you're an elitist writing a book about posing as a normal person, you must be writing for other elitists who are curious about this lifestyle.
We were the Gorillas in the Mist, or more accurately in the midst, and she lived among us like Dian Fossey, for a while.
I could not understand why this person was on television. I wondered if they thought perhaps they were on some special signal only beamed out to those who have never had to hold a job.
Well, the first thing I thought of when I heard this brave and courageous soul speak was her little experiment was flawed from the get go.
She was not living like a poor person-she was living like a well off, recent college graduate, taking a low paying job for a short time.
She was not starting out with a piece of shit car. She had a car that would get her through for a year or two without needing repairs that would roughly equal the price of the car.
She had a closet full of fairly new designer clothes-that would still look nice in a year or so and therefore she would be treated with respect when she moved about among the masses.
She had a case full of Mac or some equally expensive brand of makeup and professionally styled hair.
All things she would keep up fairly cheap by adding to here and there with the grocery store stuff (assuming she didn't cheat and go to a salon with some of the money she was pretending not to have).
Her expensive personal items would last her through the year or two.
She would also have the knowledge that her "real" life was there as a fall back.
If she were to step into a thrift store with her hard earned twenty, she would not have to look to outfit herself entirely-shoes and underwear included.
She would not feel the weight of poverty and depression and wonder why she can't, just once, buy something new.
She would walk in the musty entrance of the thrift store with her $300 pair of Prada mule shoes and her cute $140 leather belt and a ridiculously overpriced spaghetti tank, search through the "boutique" section, the section that actual poor people never even look at, find a bohemian style skirt to piece together with her designer ensemble and walk out of there thinking,"Wow, you really can look good from a thrift store. It's just that these poor people don't know how to present themselves fashionably. They're poor for a reason, you know."
During this interview she mentioned that a woman she'd been working with busted her ankle and stayed at work hobbling around because she couldn't take the day off. And when she went home-she iced it and wrapped it (because she didn't have the $300 to throw away on a doctor) and came back to work the next day.
Both the author and Katie were aghast at this and shook their heads when they cut away to a commercial.
This was the end for me.
Two people doing a show for actual people but talking about us as though we were a zoo exhibit.
Tirade over- here is the article on the beginning of the end for the aspiring Courics of the world;
Steve Spendlove realizes that after last month's layoffs of most of the news-gathering staff at tiny KFTY-TV in Santa Rosa there will be less local coverage. The Clear Channel executive overseeing the station knows there won't be reporters to investigate local scandals, let alone do those fluffy woman-turns-100 features that make TV anchors cock their heads and smile at the end of a newscast.
But Spendlove said that the station's "business model" hadn't been working for years, and that "covering one-eighth of the Bay Area" is neither a moneymaker nor even an operation large enough to be measured by Nielsen ratings.
So the next step in Channel 50's evolution will be a nationally watched experiment in local television coverage. Over the next few months, the station's management plans to ask people in the community -- its independent filmmakers, its college students and professors, its civic leaders and others -- to provide programming for the station.
Will they be paid? That's being worked out. Who will cover the harder-edged stories? Some will be culled from local newspaper and TV online sites, Spendlove said, and "other sources" that are still being discussed.
"There will be a loss in local coverage, I'm not going to lie to you," he said. "But there are a lot of other places to get most of that information."
Spendlove is loath to dub what's coming next to Channel 50 as "citizen journalism," the industry buzz term that is journalism's equivalent of user-generated content online. Broadly defined, citizen journalism means tapping into the wisdom and creativity of the audience and enabling nonprofessionals to become part of the news-gathering process. Media analysts believe there may be 700 citizen journalism outfits reporting on geographic nooks of the country and countless other bloggers doing various versions of the local news.
Many of them are self-funded "fusions of news and schmooze" sites "that don't produce finished stories like you'd see at traditional journalism outlets," said Jan Schaffer, who heads J-Lab, a citizen journalism think tank at the University of Maryland.
In a J-Lab survey released this month, many citizen journalists felt they were "a success" not because they had tons of readers, but because they had called attention to local problems overlooked by larger media outlets.
Some citizen video journalists, particularly outside the United States, have had a larger impact.
When last year's coup in Thailand shut down traditional local media outlets, images downloaded from citizen journalists to CNN's "I-Report'' were the cable giant's only window into the action. And much has been told about how the first images of the July 2005 London terrorist bombings were recorded by cell phone cameras. The genre's runaway success story is OhmyNews in South Korea, which not only has tens of thousands of citizen contributors but is profitable.
"Traditional journalists, even the very best ones, can only tell a story from the outside looking in," said Mitch Gelman, CNN.com's executive producer. "What you get from citizen journalists is a view from the inside looking out. It is a complement to our coverage."
Trust is an issue
As the media landscape shifts, traditional television executives are figuring out how comfortable they are in letting the audience express themselves. The potential army of cheap news gatherers poses a dilemma: While editors love the idea of receiving images from a coup in Thailand hours before their news crew arrives at the scene, many editors don't totally trust the public, especially when it comes to reporting hard news stories.
"People come to CBS News because it's a trusted source of information that they know has been vetted," said Mike Sims, director of news and operations at CBS.com. "That's why we've been slower to move into citizen journalism."
Still, Sims said CBS will in the next few months unveil more ways to involve viewers. TV news operations and their online partners can't ignore the YouTube-driven interest in user-generated content -- or how those efforts can help build a loyal audience.
So with names like "I-Report" (CNN), "You Witness News" (Yahoo-Reuters partnership) and "Moving Pictures" (a feature begun this month at Bay Area NBC affiliate KNTV), TV news is slowly exploring ways to involve the audience in its productions.
"Everybody is trying to catch lightning in a bottle trying to figure out a way to interact with citizens," said Spendlove, a senior vice president for the Western region of Clear Channel Television who works in Fresno. "We're hoping to find a new way to compete in an area where the big boys couldn't afford to do it."
"I have my own silly little term," Spendlove said. "Local content harvesting."
If that sounds a bit too agricultural for Fourth Estate purists, you should hear Spendlove talk about "renewable content" programming -- a steady stream of offerings from a single source. Although he expects some cost savings from Channel 50's changeover, he anticipated that the station may have to employ more editors to thresh all the harvested content.
Memoirs of a journalist
That's the one universal among citizen journalism efforts: Nobody quite knows what type of user-generated content will work best on a traditional news site -- except that it won't be the Mentos-in-a-Diet Coke bottle fodder that made YouTube worth $1.6 billion to Google. That's too random for a news site.
Yet personal essays are what viewers submit most often. Viewers flooded CNN's "I-Report'' with remembrances and images after Steve "The Crocodile Hunter" Irwin died.
"This is the beginning of something, so I'd be very suspicious of anyone who said they had figured it out yet," said MSNBC.com Deputy Editor Tom Brew, who will begin training next week on a rebranded citizen journalism site.
The technology is there -- anybody with a camera-equipped cell phone who happens to be in the right place at the right time can become a citizen video journalist. But not everyone is poised for action. For example, there's no shortage of weather photos -- snow shots are especially popular -- but Brew said, "I don't think we're to the point where somebody in Florida just survives a storm and says, 'I'm going to upload some video to MSNBC.com.' "
That will change as viewers in their teens and 20s come of age, said Scott Moore, head of news and information for Yahoo Media Group, which has been beta-testing a citizen-journalism effort with Reuters for two months. "This next generation is much quicker about flipping open their cell phone if they see a bus crash happen in front of them and uploading the video," Moore said.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Not much to say here, as most of my readers are the proverbial choir on this subject.
by Tom Chartier
Have you ever waited for your change at some fast food joint? Of course you have. Even if you’ve not recently indulged at a fast "food" bloat buffet, you’ve had to wait for change in other shops. You know how it goes: you stand there holding back an aneurism while the cashier struggles to figure out how to break your twenty-dollar bill. What a toughie.
Experienced clerks know that The Machine automatically tells them the amount of change. Then the clerk has the arduous task of trying to make $8.37, or some such amount, out of the money in the cash drawer. This is where all too many young, eager "smiling" faces crash and burn. Simply counting up from the total price of your purchase to the sum of the $20 with which you paid, could be, like, you know, basically, really harsh on my mellow of one of those kids. Is it any wonder that often the clerks are surly?
Even with the answer provided by the cash register (EMB – electronic money-counting brain), the clerks counting out your change appear to be swimming in a sea of mathematical mayhem. God help them if you get cute and think.
For example, you make a $16 purchase. You hand the clerk $21. Totally shaken by the iDon’tGetIt of this, the clerk strives to make sense of the transaction. You are handed back your extra one-dollar bill and then the EMB instructs the clerk to give you four dollars. What you wanted was a five spot. But, this is pushing the outer limits of the clerk’s stunted cranial capacity.
Does this sound familiar? Do you find it not only annoying but also distressing? Hey, these expensively educated children are the next generation who will inherit the earth… or is it the wind? I always thought it was to be The Meek but I guess it will be The Imbecilic. It is not a good omen when the planet’s future citizens must wear flip-flops in order to count to twenty.
How did we get to this pathetic state?
Oh there are a million fingers out there pointing every which way for someone or something to blame.
How about the parents? Absorbed in their careers, neither husband nor wife has the time or energy to help Scooter learn to count beyond his toes. However, busy parents are never too busy to blame the schools.
Firmly grafted to the U.S. Department of Education, the schools need someone to blame. They don’t want to lose their federal funding. So who gets to star in a game of dodge ball (hazardous for children – prohibited in some school districts)? Aha… The Teachers! Rant and rave at them! They aren’t doing their jobs!
Baloney. From pre-school until graduation… or dropout… every child is faced with a mix of incompetent and brilliant teachers and everything in between. It’s part of the learning experience. Either way, it is not the fault of the teachers that on math tests, children regularly score lower than that unsightly shrubbery taking over the Rose Garden.
For the most part the teachers try their best, intend well and find their hands tied by school administrators, by the demands of the parents, and hamstrung by the curriculum provided.
Gone is the reliance on teaching. "Programs" are all the rage. School administrators and parents are always on the lookout out for new, exciting programs complete with the latest bells and whistles that are guaranteed to raise test scores and grades. As a result, our schools are pouring forth a society of illiterate nimrods… like my dogs, Nimrod and Little Brain. I can’t wait until these cretins get into the White House and Congress. No, I don’t mean Nimrod and Little Brain even though it would be an improvement. Anyway, it’s already happened. Cretins are already running rampant in our government.
So what about math? I hated it in school. Who didn’t? Until it becomes a practical tool in life, math is one huge pain in the sit upon. However, we survived. Some of us can even use math! But our kids can’t!
I may not be a math teaching whiz. But I can see clearly where the deficiencies lie. It’s called The Basics. You know, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Even the simplest one-digit operations can throw a child into total confusion. This is something of a contradiction in our hi-tech era. Your child spends hours playing computer games based on a binary system that ties him in knots.
Administrations and parents are being sold a whole lot of hooey when they spend thousands of education dollars on flashy programs. The U.S. Department of Education has a budget of $88.9 billion and you-know-who paid for it.
Someone is getting rich. But it sure as hell isn’t you or your children. Fortunately for the education grifters, your children won’t have the know-how to see it… let alone catch them.
One such program is Everyday Mathematics created and published by the University of Chicago Mathematics Project. Due to its confusing nature, within the teaching world E.M. is also known as "fuzzy math." And fuzzy it is, but not the warm, snuggly kind.
Everyday Mathematics boasts a "spiraling system" (hey if they don’t get it the first time, maybe they won’t get it the second either… or the third, fourth, fifth, etc.). E.M. also uses bizarre terminology unfamiliar to most parents. That means that busy parents must master Everyday Mathematics in order translate that which they already know how to do into E.M.’s new-fangled lingo for the purpose of explaining it to their children… if they can. Confused? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet! It’s kind of like learning how to "speak" a foreign language… without having a clue what you’re saying.
E.M. even has geography lessons (I don’t get that either… unless they are to help find Middle Eastern oil deposits)! I suppose counting states is math. Unfortunately for the students, there are more than twenty.
Imagine-three ounce bottles are allowed and breast milk, or that other crap from a can that people feed their babies, is allowed of any size if your baby is there. But this idiot thought that if the allowable three ounce container had breastmilk instead of shampoo it had to be tossed.
Anyone who thinks-oh well, she doesn't have to fly-Ya right-try turning around and walking out at that point with your little bottles. You'd be placed in a little bottle yourself.
The Orange County Register
A local woman who was forced to throw away her breast milk at an airport last week is fighting to change the way nursing mothers are treated in the changing world of high-security travel.
Airport security agents in Las Vegas on Friday banned Rachel Popplewell of Capistrano Beach from bringing her breast milk on a flight to Orange County because she didn't have her baby with her.
Popplewell, who says she followed all the rules for bringing liquids on a plane, sent a written complaint to the Transportation Security Administration, which oversees airport screening.
"You should be allowed to carry it, and you should be treated like a human being who is feeding your child," Popplewell said Tuesday.
A spokesman for the federal agency said he had not seen a record of the incident.
"If she had exactly what was required, I don't understand what happened," Nico Melendez said. "It should not have happened. Please accept our apology."
Popplewell, a marketing director, flew to Las Vegas for a one-day business trip to a footwear trade show. While there, she used her breast pump to collect 6 ounces of milk, which she planned to bring home to her 9-month-old son, Mason.
Popplewell divided the milk into two 3-ounce bottles and placed the bottles in a zip-top plastic bag, as stipulated by security regulations. But when Popplewell, 40, told a screener at McCarran International Airport what was in the bottles, she was forced to throw her milk away.
The Transportation Security Administration has restricted carry-on liquids since summer after an incident in England alleged to have been a terrorism plot involving liquid explosives. Liquids must be in 3-ounce containers, which must be in plastic bags.
"If you put your liquid in your 3-ounce container, then you meet the requirements of transporting," spokesman Melendez said. "It could be shampoo, toothpaste or breast milk."
The agency will let a parent carry a larger container of breast milk or baby formula if the parent is traveling with a baby or a toddler.
But Popplewell was told – incorrectly, according to Transportation Security Administration officials – that she needed to have her baby even to carry on 3-ounce bottles of breast milk.
The agency's Web site states that to carry breast milk on a plane "you must be traveling with a baby or toddler" but leaves out the fact that anyone can carry the milk in the appropriate small bottles, with or without a baby.
Popplewell says that if she had her baby with her, she wouldn't need to bring bottles at all.
The confusion has breast-feeding advocates criticizing the policy, which they say creates more headaches for a mother traveling without her child.
"That is probably one of the unfortunate circumstances of this liquid ban," Melendez said. "There's no way for us to know what it is, or to verify that specific need, if there's not a baby with the person."
Popplewell, who has breast-fed all three of her children, said she was heartbroken and outraged at having to throw away her milk. Her meticulous planning, she said, made the loss even more frustrating.
Before leaving on the trip, Popplewell bought a battery pack for her pump and consulted a lactation specialist on how to pump and carry milk while traveling. She then confirmed with John Wayne Airport security officials that she was doing everything the right way.
"I got the feeling that it depended on the TSA person you encountered," she said. "Anybody who knows anything about pumping knows this is ridiculous. A man must have written the rules or something."
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Maybe the fact that I'm half asleep all the time is the reason I am so obsessed with red. My kitchen is red, my living room is dotted in red, my favorite shoes-red.
Or maybe it's that I spent too much time at Ikea, when one was nearby.
There is something mysterious and stimulating about red. It can't just be that it's bright.
Otherwise, we would be drawn to florescent pink and lime green. Anyway, this one is an interesting read.
Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us, that sweet Hallmark holiday when you can have anything your heart desires, so long as it’s red. Red roses, red nighties, red shoes and red socks. Red Oreo filling, red bagels, red lox.
As it happens, red is an exquisite ambassador for love, and in more ways than people may realize. Not only is red the color of the blood that flushes the face and swells the pelvis and that one swears one would spill to save the beloved’s prized hide. It is also a fine metaphoric mate for the complexity and contrariness of love. In red we see shades of life, death, fury, shame, courage, anguish, pride and the occasional overuse of exfoliants designed to combat signs of aging. Red is bright and bold and has a big lipsticked mouth, through which it happily speaks out of all sides at once. Yoo-hoo! yodels red, come close, have a look. Stop right there, red amends, one false move and you’re dead.
Such visual semiotics are not limited to the human race. Red is the premier signaling color in the natural world, variously showcasing a fruitful bounty, warning of a fatal poison or boasting of a sturdy constitution and the genes to match. Red, in other words, is the poster child for the poster, for colors that have something important to say. “Our visual system was shaped by colors already in use among many plants and animals, and red in particular stands out against the green backdrop of nature,” said Dr. Nicholas Humphrey, a philosopher at the London School of Economics and the author of “Seeing Red: A Study in Consciousness.” “If you want to make a point, you make it in red.”
What is it, then, to see red, to see any palette at all? Of our famed rods and cones, the two classes of light-sensing cells with which the retina at the back of each eye is supplied, the rods do the basics of vision, of light versus shadow, tracking every passing photon and allowing us to see by even a star’s feeble flicker, though only in gunmetal shades of black, white and grim. It is up to our cone cells to capture color, and they don’t kick in until the dawn’s earylish light or its Edisonian equivalent, which is why we have almost no color vision at night.
Cones manage their magic in computational teams of three types, each tuned to a slightly different slice of the electromagnetic spectrum, the sweeping sum of lightwaves that streams from the sun. As full-spectrum sunlight falls on, say, a ripe apple, the physical and chemical properties of the fruit’s skin allow it to absorb much of the light, save for relatively long, reddish lightwaves, which bounce off the surface and into our greedy eyes. On hitting the retina, those red wavelengths stimulate with greatest fervor the cone cells set to receive them, a sensation that the brain interprets as “healthy, low-hanging snack item ahead.”
In fact, human eyes, like those of other great apes, seem to be all-around fabulous fruit-finding devices, for they are more richly endowed with the two cone types set to red and yellow wavelengths than with those sensitive to short, blue-tinged light. That cone apportionment allows us to discriminate among subtle differences in fruit ruddiness and hence readiness, and may also explain why I have at least 40 lipsticks that I never wear compared with only three blue eye shadows.
Whatever the primary spur to the evolution of our rose-colored retinas, we, like most other animals with multichromatic vision, have learned to treat red with respect. “In the evolution of languages,” Dr. Humphrey writes, “red is without exception the first color word to enter the vocabulary,” and in some languages it’s the only color word apart from black and white. It’s also the first color that most children learn to name, and that most adults will cite when asked to think of a color, any color.
Red savors the spice of victory. Analyzing data from Olympic combat sports like boxing and tae kwon do, in which competitors are randomly assigned to wear red shorts or blue, Dr. Russell Hill and his colleagues at the University of Durham in Britain found that the red-shorted won their matches significantly more often than would be expected by chance alone. What the researchers don’t yet know is whether the reds somehow get an subconscious boost from their garb, or their blue opponents are felled by the view. After all, said Dr. Geoffrey Hill, a biology professor at Auburn University in Alabama and no relation to Russell Hill, “I’ve seen some of my biggest, toughest students, these tough, athletic guys, faint right to the floor at the sight of one drop of bird’s blood.”
Friday, February 02, 2007
Remember the clown who told his students if they weren't Christians they were going to Hell? A student recorded the teacher's outburst, fearing the school "officials" wouldn't believe him. Well, the school has fixed everything. They have banned recordings in the classroom.
After a public school teacher was recorded telling students they belonged in hell if they did not accept Jesus as their savior, the school board has banned taping in class without an instructor’s permission, and has added training for teachers on the legal requirements for separating church and state.
A junior at Kearny High School in New Jersey, Matthew LaClair, 16, complained to his principal after the teacher in his American history class, David Paszkiewicz, told students that evolution and the Big Bang were not scientific, that dinosaurs were aboard Noah’s ark and that only Christians had a place in heaven. He started recording the comments in September because, he said, he was afraid school officials would not otherwise believe that the teacher had made them. Matthew said he was ridiculed and threatened after his criticism became public.
After several students complained to the school board that their voices had been broadcast on the Internet and on television news programs without their consent, the board adopted a policy in mid-January that requires students to request permission from an instructor to record or videotape a class.
Thursday, February 01, 2007
With three little words, Shigeru Shibata broke a taboo that had dogged his marriage for 30 years.
Saying "I love you" may not be a big undertaking for most men married for three decades, but it was a huge breakthrough for the 56-year-old civil servant from the village of Tsumagoi, north of Tokyo.
Encouraged by fellow members of the Japan Doting Husbands' Association, Mr Shibata had been praticising his line for three days, according to Motoyoshi Hashizume, who organised yesterday's Beloved Wives Day.
"When he said 'I love you' to his wife Midori it was a very moving moment for us all," said Mr Hashizume. "It's just not something that Japanese men tell their wives. It's embarrassing to say that but when Mr Shibata managed to say those words, we were all proud of him," said Mr Hashizume, one of around 60 members of the association and their wives gathered for the second anniversary of a day they hope will become a national institution.