Monday, March 12, 2007

The Vast Wasteland

Cable television rates in the county have gone up despite hopes that competition would improve service and lower rates.
The reason why cable television rates have been increasing is because while have "choice", we have no real competition. Many areas of the United States, especially in Maryland do not have multiple cable tv providers. Without that pesky real competition, Comcast and other de facto monopolies can jack up their rates without adding additional channels or improve their customer service. But do not expect Congress nor the FCC to care.

Charged! Student Faces Trial for Assulting a DOTS Officer!

There are many ways to contest your ticket legally. This is definitely not one of them.
Police charged a 31-year-old student with felony first-degree assault Friday for his alleged role in shoving a parking enforcement officer to the ground during a dispute over a traffic ticket, University Police said.

The student, whom police identified as Gaithersburg resident Eugene Paul Krevinko, could face a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison if convicted of the charge. First-degree assault is the most serious charge police could file for this type of incident.
Now Toni Richardson, the DOTS parking officer won't be able go to her jobs.
Richardson said she has not been able to return to work because her broken elbow interferes with driving the Transportation Services truck she uses to patrol parking lots, and she has been unable to return to her second job at Wawa on Knox Road, an employee said last night. Richardson said Thursday she will also file civil charges against Krevinko.
If I were a judge, instead of sending Mr. Krevinko to prison for possibly 25 years, I would order him to work the same job Ms. Richardson had as community service. 100% of the pay that would be payed to him would be sent to her directly until she is able to get back on the job.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Evening Closing! UMD closes down at 5pm.

Due to the snowstorm, UMD evening classes are canceled after 5pm. All
facilities, except for the Stamp Union which will remain open, will
close at the same time. Dining services will be closed at 7pm (that
means no late night dining). Currently Shuttle-UM services are not

The Vast Wasteland

Hate pledge specials? I suggest not watching MPT between today and March 19. They have hijacked PBS's prime time schedule with the likes of:
and classic self-help guru's and artists like:
And an assortment of music specials that only a 50 year old will only love.

Fundraising Programming specials are programs that are designed to prompt regular and new PBS viewers into becoming members of their local PBS station. The most successful fundraising programs tend to be performance shows of exceptional quality, usually appealing to a 50+ demographic and often nostalgic in nature. Notable programs include music specials which showcase stars in "Doo Wop," "Folk," "Standard," "Popera," and "Baby Boomer music" genres i.e., Andrea Bocelli, Chris Botti, Peter, Paul and Mary, and Roy Orbison. Self-help programs which impart advice or techniques about finance, personal growth, health, and lifestyle issues are also very popular with many PBS viewers/ members. Other programs featured during on-air fundraising periods include: Travel specials, Cultural Documentaries, Cooking programs, and various specials pulled from the regular PBS-NPS program schedule.

The key to a fundraising program's success is its ability to motivate a viewer to become a financial supporter because of the quality programs found on the local PBS station. Fundraising programs are an extremely important part of each station’s Fundraising and Development endeavors and are very visible additions to the overall TV program schedule.
The Modern Day Prophet highly advises that if you're lucky enough to live in the DC area, WETA and WHUT (if you can receive its signal) are great alternatives.

...On second thought, WETA's doing the same thing.(God Helps Us All!)

They're going to be making a lot of money from this suck fest.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Sick! Children Living in Squalor!

After you read this story, it'll make you sick. But I have a strong stomach.
...bright-orange "order to vacate" signs from the Prince George's County Department of Environmental Resources were on each of the home's doors and windows.

The children -- ages 6 months to 6 years old -- were found by police at 12:30 a.m. Saturday lying on a sheetless bed that smelled of urine and feces. Only a small electric space heater, in an unsafe position, was keeping the children warm, according to a charging document filed by New Carrollton police.

The infant has cystic fibrosis, and each of the children was dirty, hungry and appeared to be in need of medical attention, according to the charging document. They were all taken to Prince George's Hospital Center for evaluation.

What's really more sick, their mother haven't got busted on felony charges, yet.
Their mother, Amara N. Eden, 31, was arrested early Sunday on misdemeanor child-neglect charges. She is scheduled to appear before a Prince George's judge today for a bond hearing. County social services officials have custody of her children.

State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey said yesterday that prosecutors are evaluating evidence to determine whether to charge Eden with any felonies.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Outlaw Dissections!

In Bowie High School, I actually had an class assignment asking them to dissect a frog. Yes, the standard frog dissection. I choose not to and rather study the frog using a anatomical chart and worksheet. I respect animal rights wholly, and there are already alternatives to dissections.
...for those morally opposed, or simply too squeamish, modern technology has provided a ready alternative: computer-based virtual dissections, sometimes with three-dimensional technology that makes the experience far more vivid than regular photographs.

Some students prefer the computer versions because they are "tuned in electronically," Scovel said.

"That is their method of learning, and they can translate a virtual environment very easily into a real environment," she said. Other kids can't do that. "It has to do with their learning style and brain development."
With these alternatives, I would rather outlaw the practice of dissecting dead animals, including dead human beings. (Although We have not seen any real incidents of that sort of thing)

Saturday, March 03, 2007

UMD and Slavery?!

Never heard of that before:

Although it has been widely known that the founder of the Maryland Agricultural College - later renamed the University of Maryland - owned slaves, university officials made little mention of the deeper role slavery played here during the 150th anniversary last year. Several founding contributors in 1856 donated money made from the use of slaves, and some believe slaves were likely used on the campus, according to two university researchers.

The only formal recognition the university has made beyond founder Charles Calvert's ownership of slaves since The Diamondback reported on the sparse mention of slavery during the anniversary was a statement on the university's press release website written by university archivist Anne Turkos.

"The role of African Americans in the early history of the Maryland Agricultural College is particularly unclear," Turkos wrote, "Many people believe that Calvert lent his slaves to the college to help erect the first buildings, but we have not been able to confirm this to date."

You just have to read the article for yourself, it's the right thing for Maryland politicians to acknowledge regret over the use of slaves during the slave era.

As state legislators moved closer to passing a joint resolution "expressing regret" for the state's role in slavery yesterday
But if the University is aware, it would be moral and right thing to acknowledge regret too.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Breaking News! RHA begins bullhorn protest!

Even while the wind blows, the Resident Hall Assoication begun a
bullhorn protest near the South Campus Dining Hall, handing out fliers
detailing how much the RHA budget actually is. Ten minutes after I got
there an editor claiming that he quit the diamondback today. I asked for
an interview, but he declined. Currently they're still handing out
fliers as I speak.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

It's a Knit In!

Femenism Without Borders (FWB), a UMD student organisation, is holding a
knit-in in the main lobby of the stamp student union as I speak. The
group is signing petitions to send to President Dr. Mote asking him to
sign on the the Designated Suppliers Program to monitor where clothes
are originally produced.

Full Disclosure: Ndubuisi Okeh is member of FWB


Here's some pictures of the accident

BREAKING NEWS: Traffic Accident on Campus Dr.

As I stand, there is a traffic accident near the Glenn L. Martin
Insitute of Technology on Campus Drive. Traffic is backed up northbound
and traffic on southbound headed for the rt.1 interception is being
rerouted. Some Shuttle-UM routes, especially between the Union and
College Park Metro station. I suggest you make alternative plans for
getting to and from the university if you usually take campus drive.

Ndubuisi Okeh, reporting for The Modern Day Prophet.

Oh and While You At It, Grant UHC to Inmates Too!

But because of rapidly increasing costs in the health care industry, for-profit companies that Maryland and other states relied on for inmate health care services were no longer agreeing to fixed-price deals.

Faced with pressure to improve the system, particularly in Baltimore, state officials offered separate contracts for the prison system's varying health care needs. Different companies were awarded contracts for medical, dental, mental health and pharmaceutical coverage. These contractors now "pass-through" the costs of their goods and services to the state for reimbursement. For fiscal year 2006, the tab for inmate health care in the state totaled $109.7 million.

Auditors found that medical care, dental care and mental health care providers weren't providing required levels of staff. They also noted problems with medical screenings, chronic care checkups, medication dispensation and timely treatment based on inmate needs.
This is another reason why we need single payer health insurance, since the government is paying for health care, they would not have to pay several companies of that amount of money.

Source:The Baltimore Sun

Last Stop! Trauncy Court!

While this a good article explaining the problem with truancy it also, for me, raised some thoughts.
Maryland law requires parents to get them to school until the age of 16 or face legal consequences, including fines and possible jail time.

...the maximum penalty — 10 days in county detention.
I must disagree with the legal penalty when regards to truancy. There are could be many root causes of truancy including chronic truancy. If I was a judge, would only convict them and sent them to jail if they knew their children is chronically truant and did absolutely nothing , and that's would be used as a last resort.

This also caught my mind:
‘‘Tons of services have been offered to these families before coming to court, but apparently, they haven’t been successful,” he added.
The report failed to mention what services the county offers in regards to truancy. If those programs were to exist they may not even know by TV, since you will not see one public service announcement during prime time. Not one!

Pawned! Prince George's County Council Stalls Pawn Businesses!

As long as there's a a fringe economy, there will always be pawn shops.
This week, County Councilman Eric Olson (D-Dist. 3) of College Park introduced a bill, backed by five other members, that would freeze the number of pawnshops in the county. Olson said there are 31 shops now, but 38 licenses are available. He wants to cut the number of licenses down to 31. His bill would also prohibit any new pawnshops from replacing those that go out of business, leading to an eventual downturn in the total number of local pawnshops.
Like I said above, as long there is a fringe economy, there will be businesses like pawn shops. The best way to take away the demand is to reinstate welfare polices that get them back on their feet not with slave-wage jobs, but with job training, and public service jobs that will pay them living wage.

University Senate+University Community+Safety Forum=No Solution!

I did not attended the forum on security concerns at UMD yesterday. To tell you the truth I would have easily gave out a idea, since they keep saying the same old security complaints.
Student Government Association President Emma Simson said more blue lights should be placed in parking lots, though she acknowledged that lots are well-lit. Currently, blue lights are only placed on the lots' perimeters.

A library system staff member voiced concerns for students' safety when they leave late night study sessions in McKeldin Library.

Another topic raised was the common complaint that when calling 911 on the campus from a cell phone, callers are often directed to an incorrect police department. In response, University Police Chief Ken Krouse said that when on the campus, students should call the police directly at (301)405-3333 rather than dialing 911.
I know a good solution, make the University Police out of their cars and do their patrols on foot. It's not a silver bullet, but it would help a lot. I also like the idea in the article of making a clearer pathway to the College Park Metro station.
In an effort to make the walk from College Park Metro Station safer, police also discussed a plan to create a clear walkway from the station to the campus. Krouse said the current path will be cleared of trees and bushes so that criminals can't hide in them to rob pedestrians.

Krouse said he doesn't know when the path will be completed.
Shameful, I may need to find out about that path for myself.

UMD Spot

"Just Say Hi"

TerpTaxi Interview

Last month I did some digging about how safe is TerpTaxi really is. On February 7, 2007 I did a interview with Abdul Wahab, one of the TerpTaxi drivers in UMD's Department of Transportation Services. It consists of three questions:
  1. Do student have to fill out the form outside or inside the minibus?
  2. Is there anyway to charge to the student account wirelessly, with a card reader instead of such a form?
  3. How do you verify the person’s University of Maryland affiliation?

What I found out from him is that the students fill out the form inside the minibus. The forms are a temporary measure until sometime this March of this year where DOTS would install card readers to charge the student accounts. Finally, verification is used using the UMD IDs.

I also recorded a video of the interview which you can see below