After Duty, Dogs Suffer Like Soldiers
SAN ANTONIO — The call came into the behavior specialists here from a doctor in Afghanistan. His patient had just been through a firefight and now was cowering under a cot, refusing to come out.
At War Blog: As Soldiers Leave Iraq, Bomb-Sniffing Dogs Stay (December 1, 2011)
Post-traumatic stress disorder, thought Dr. Walter F. Burghardt Jr., chief of behavioral medicine at the Daniel E. Holland Military Working Dog Hospital at Lackland Air Force Base. Specifically, canine PTSD.
If anyone needed evidence of the frontline role played by dogs in war these days, here is the latest: the four-legged, wet-nosed troops used to sniff out mines, track down enemy fighters and clear buildings are struggling with the mental strains of combat nearly as much as their human counterparts.
By some estimates, more than 5 percent of the approximately 650 military dogs deployed by American combat forces are developing canine PTSD. Of those, about half are likely to be retired from service, Dr. Burghardt said.
A Last Bastion of Civility, the South, Sees Manners Decline
By KIM SEVERSON
Published: November 1, 2011
ATLANTA — One August night, two men walked into a popular restaurant attached to this city’s fanciest shopping mall. They sat at the bar, ordered drinks and pondered the menu. Two women stood behind them.
A bartender asked if they would they mind offering their seats to the ladies. Yes, they would mind. Very much.
Angry words came next, then a federal court date and a claim for more than $3 million in damages.
The men, a former professional basketball player and a lawyer, also happen to be African-American. The women are white. The men’s lawyers argued that the Tavern at Phipps used a policy wrapped in chivalry as a cloak for discriminatory racial practices.
Ex-city manager sues for $1.5M pay
By TIM MAK | 11/1/11 9:55 AM EDT
The former city manager of a Los Angeles suburb accused of bilking taxpayers out of millions of dollars is now suing the city for his salary and benefits - amounting to $1.5 million.
Robert Rizzo claims that he is owed benefits and wages with interest because he hasn’t been paid since a public meeting in July 2010, reports the AP.
Locals in the small, working-class suburb were infuriated to learn of the $100,000 salaries that City Council members received for meeting once a month, but were even more hostile when they learned that Rizzo earned $787,637 annually, including numerous perks that cost almost $1.5 million a year.
Since then, the city council stopped paying Rizzo his salary and benefits, according to the lawsuit.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1111/...
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac executives get big housing bonuses
By JOSH BOAK & JOSEPH WILLIAMS | 10/31/11 11:32 PM EDT
The Obama administration’s efforts to fix the housing crisis may have fallen well short of helping millions of distressed mortgage holders, but they have led to seven-figure paydays for some top executives at troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency, the government regulator for Fannie and Freddie, approved $12.79 million in bonus pay after 10 executives from the two government-sponsored corporations last year met modest performance targets tied to modifying mortgages in jeopardy of foreclosure.
The executives got the bonuses about two years after the federally backed mortgage giants received nearly $170 billion in taxpayer bailouts — and despite pledges by FHFA, the office tasked with keeping them solvent, that it would adjust the level of CEO-level pay after critics slammed huge compensation packages paid out to former Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines and others.
'Educational theft': Another sign of our failing schools
By The Week | The Week – Mon, Oct 3, 2011
Parents who lie about their address to sneak kids into better public schools shouldn't be "criminals," says Michael Flaherty in The Wall Street Journal
"In case you needed further proof of the American education system's failings, especially in poor and minority communities, consider the latest crime to spread across the country: Educational theft," says Michael Flaherty in The Wall Street Journal. Flaherty, who produced the polarizing education documentary Waiting for 'Superman,' laments that parents who try to sneak their kids into better school districts are facing criminal punishment. For instance, earlier this year, Ohio single mom Kelley Williams-Bolar was convicted on two felony counts for using her father's address to get her kids into a better district. She's not alone. In recent months, parents in Kentucky, Connecticut, and Missouri have all been arrested for similar "crimes." Here, an excerpt:
From California to Massachusetts, districts are hiring special investigators to follow children from school to their homes to determine their true residences and decide if they "belong" at high-achieving public schools. School districts in Florida, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey all boasted recently about new address-verification programs designed to pull up their drawbridges and keep "illegal students" from entering their gates.
Where Did All the Male Teachers Go? France Worries That Boy Students May Be Suffering
By MARIE-ESTELLE PECH / LE FIGARO / WORLDCRUNCH | Time.com
This post is in partnership with Worldcrunch, a new global-news site that translates stories of note in foreign languages into English. The article below was originally published in Le Figaro.
There are too many women in English schools, declared British Prime Minister David Cameron. In order to restore authority in the classrooms, Cameron thinks that the presence of male teachers - who can show both "strength and sensibility" - should be reinforced as soon as possible. The idea has been given some thought in France as well.
An advisor close to French President Nicolas Sarkozy said "there are too many women teachers" and that the situation should be "more balanced."
"By reforming the whole profession, by offering a better salary, we hope to attract more men to the job," said a source close to the president. "Lots of women become teachers because it's a profession that suits their way of living. They tend to work part-time, which causes many organizational problems. What we want are teachers who are 100% involved, who are better paid but also more present in schools."
By ROBERT PEAR
Published: September 7, 2011
WASHINGTON — Doctors are paid higher fees in the United States than in several other countries, and this is a major factor in the nation’s higher overall cost of health care, says a new study by two Columbia University professors, one of whom is now a top health official in the Obama administration.
“American primary care and orthopedic physicians are paid more for each service than are their counterparts in Australia, Canada, France, Germany and the United Kingdom,” said the study, by Sherry A. Glied, an assistant secretary of health and human services, and Miriam J. Laugesen, an assistant professor of health policy at Columbia.
The study, being published Thursday in the journal Health Affairs, found that the incomes of primary care doctors and orthopedic surgeons were substantially higher in the United States than in other countries. Moreover, it said, the difference results mainly from higher fees, not from higher costs of the doctors’ medical practice, a larger number or volume of services or higher medical school tuition.
Phyliss Anderson Becomes Female Mississippi Choctaw Chief
Sandra Knispel (2011-09-07)
OXFORD, MS (WKNO) - Phyliss J. Anderson will be the first female chief to head up the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, ousting the sitting Miko Beasley Denson with a sizable lead.
No question, Phyliss Anderson's victory is historic. But she's by no means the first woman ever to lead an Indian tribe.
"There are many, many famous examples of principal chiefs of contemporary nations," Annette Trefzer, an associate professor of English at the University of Mississippi, studies cultures and literatures of Native Americans, says. "First, I'm thinking of Wilma Mankiller who was the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation who was elected in 1985."
Fabrizio Costantini for The New York Times
By JERÉ LONGMAN
Published: August 10, 2011
DEARBORN, Mich. — The clock reached midnight as Sunday ticked into Monday and someone yelled, “It’s go time!” Football season could officially begin. New balls appeared and players at Fordson High School prepared to do what had long been done in this hometown of Henry Ford, build something with assembly-line precision and reliability.
They were boys like other boys in countless towns, taught that football was important, but not as important as family and faith. Fordson High School’s enrollment is more than 90 percent Muslim and this week of two-a-day practices coincides with Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting, when adherents refrain from eating and drinking during daylight hours.
For a second consecutive season, Coach Fouad Zaban has moved these grueling double practices to late night, from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. This allows players to break their fast at sunset, drink liquids and eat a light meal, practice in the relative cool of what has been a baking summer, then eat again before sunrise.
Petition Seeks to Out Bert and Ernie
By Julie Bolcer
An online petition launched Monday argues that for the sake of children, PBS and Sesame Street should acknowledge that long-term “roommates” Bert and Ernie are gay, and allow the muppets to marry.
According to the petition posted to Change.org and promoted on Facebook, if the beloved characters were to disclose the true nature of their relationship, it “would show children and their parents that not only is it acceptable but also teach children that homophobia is wrong, bullying is wrong and that Sesame street should recognize that there are LGBT relationships, families, and include them in their show.”
The petition, created by Lair Scott, Shane Cowart, Alex Maggs, and Mark Szabo, had more than 250 signatures by Wednesday morning.
Their proposal drew opposition from the New York Daily News, which said in an editorial on Wednesday that “some stages of life - for example, the years from 2 to 4 - must be walled off from the passions of adults. Already it's absurd that Cookie Monster denigrates cookies as ‘a sometime snack’ and pronounces his zeal also for eating eggplant.”
I think I would prefer Bert and Ernie just remain friends...
Racism Hits New High in France: Report
PARIS: Migrants in France face racism more than ever before, with over 50 percent of the French saying there are too many migrants in the country, according to a recent human rights report.
The report by France's National Commission of Human Rights says 36 percent of all acts of racism are directed toward North Africans.
The report also accuses politicians of increasingly 'playing the Islamophobia card' to win votes.
On Monday, French Interior Minister Claude Gueant referred to the number of Muslims in the country as 'a problem' during a debate on the role of Islam in the French society.
David Christopher Steele; 2011 Study Proves Long Island Racism – And It’s Hurting NYC Black Children
David Christopher Steele; 2011 Study Proves Long Island Racism – And It’s Hurting NYC Black Children?
August 8, 2011 by Staff
Filed under Brothers Corner, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns
(ThyBlackMan.com) In February 2011 a housing segregation study conducted by researchers from Brown University and Florida State University based on the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data concluded that two New York suburban counties on Long Island, Nassau County and Suffolk County, are jointly the seventh most racially segregated major metropolitan area in the country. Why should I care in the middle of my summer, you might ask. That’s no surprise considering the long history of housing discrimination on Long Island, you might be thinking. Indeed, this sad fact might not have raised eyebrows among the glitterati of the Hamptons or the jaded urban-dwellers of Harlem had not Newsweek magazine published its annual survey of “America’s Best High Schools” this past June, and revealed that these two Long Island enclaves have once again produced several public high schools that rank among the top 100 in the nation – raising alarming questions about educational equity, racism and geography in New York.
These educational accolades for Long Island public high schools come against the backdrop of a widening achievement gap among Black and Latino students in New York City public schools and a massive budget shortfall. Growing criticism of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s school voucher and charter school initiatives as harmful to low-income, predominantly African-American neighborhoods (where the vast majority of school closings have occurred) led sequentially to the ouster of his hand-picked schools chief, Cathie Black, and to a lawsuit by the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) and the NAACP. A widely publicized controversy surrounding standardized test score inflation in New York City middle schools further eroded the confidence of the public in the city education system.
Amidst all the public outrage, for those of us who care about equity in American education, one poignant and inescapable question looms. What factors produced the quality and achievement chasm that exists between New York City public schools and Long Island suburban school districts?
As I get older, I wonder about it more and more. As our nation, gets crazier and crazier, I am wondering how many people will find it a more viable option. When a nation seems to care so little about its children, it's sick, and it's older citizens, I wonder.
In my area, there is a local tax assessor that is helping work on a bill to sell off "permanently" people's property for taxes or an approved value if you owe a year's back taxes.
July 31, 2011
Can You Live Off Grid?
A large amount of people are starting to realize it’s feasible to continue enjoying all the modern amenities they became used to while also experiencing the independence of off grid living. Off grid living means exactly that – living off the grid. You can enjoy freedom from power lines, electrical bills and the sky-rocketing rates being charged by resources corporations for being hooked up to the electrical grid. Almost every homeowner can experience this environmentally friendly and cost effective lifestyle . The rules of living this way can be applied to any home anywhere in the world, including those currently connected to the electrical supply grid.
More and more folk are showing an interest in breaking free from their reliance on carbon-based fuel burning power plants through the utilizing of alternative power generation strategies such as solar panels, windmills, hydro-electric generators and even magnetic power generators. Technology has advanced and costs have been reduced at the same time. It is very feasible to make off grid living a do it yourself project with the help of the many kits, resources and guides that are accessible these days. While global energy costs are soaring, those that have made the switch to off grid living are secure in the knowledge that their bills are continuously getting less.
The thought of giving up all of their electronic and electrical luxuries shocks a lot of people away from off grid living. This couldn’t be farther from the actual facts. Learning to control your energy use is all that is really required for off grid living. When you leave a room, turn the lights off. You might purchase appliances that don’t use power when not in use like the clocks on microwaves and stoves. Appliances with indicators lights that are always on, like computers, printers and some telephone chargers, are leeching power and adding to your bills. Your luxuries don’t need to be sacrificed when your are trying off grid living, you simply need to learn how to be smarter when using them.
Several States Forbid Abortion After 20 Weeks
By ERIK ECKHOLM
Published: June 26, 2011
Dozens of new restrictions passed by states this year have chipped away at the right to abortion by requiring women to view ultrasounds, imposing waiting periods or cutting funds for clinics. But a new kind of law has gone beyond such restrictions, striking at the foundation of the abortion rules set out by the Supreme Court over the last four decades.
These laws, passed in six states in little more than a year, ban abortions at the 20th week after conception, based on the theory that the fetus can feel pain at that point — a notion disputed by mainstream medical organizations in the United States and Britain. Opponents of abortion say they expect that discussion of fetal pain — even in the face of scientific criticism — will alter public perception of abortion, and they have made support for the new laws a litmus test for Republicans seeking the presidency.
“The purpose of this type of bill is to focus on the humanity of the unborn child,” said Mary Spaulding Balch, director of state legislation for the National Right to Life Committee. “Fetal pain is something that people who are in the middle on the abortion issue can relate to.”
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