Monday, April 30, 2007
"One of the most common problems I hear from students is that they can't get up early enough," Rathbun said. "School starts at 7:20, and they have to be at the bus stop by 6 sometimes. Adolescents have problems with that."There are many other reasons student truant from school: Boring curriculum (which focuses only on math, reading, and science. All thanks to No (Rich) Child Left Behind)Bullying is another reason. Poverty, unsafe school environments, environments not conductive to learning... When Americans deal with truancy they often deal with the symptoms than the root causes.
Another common reason Rathbun hears: "Straight out, I don't like school."
The problem of truancy has drawn widespread attention this year, prompting some area lawmakers to call for tough measures to keep track of the most habitual offenders and leading school officials to crack down on those who constantly skip class.There is a better idea: solve the root causes of truancy, and you will reduce truancy.
In its recently concluded session, the Maryland General Assembly passed a measure that would make it possible to deny driver's licenses to students who have too many unexcused absences. Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is expected to sign it.
During the same session, some lawmakers in Prince George's proposed strapping ankle bracelets on students to electronically monitor the whereabouts of those who constantly skip school. That bill did not advance.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
The annual School Safety Report, slated for publication in Montgomery starting in the 2008-09 academic year, will place the county almost alone among Maryland and Northern Virginia school systems in reporting detailed school crime statistics to the public, according to education leaders and lawmakers. In much of this region, as in much of the nation, comprehensive reports on weapons, drugs and sex in individual public schools simply don't exist.They ought to be, and widely available to the public.
Kenneth Trump, a national authority on school safety who testified before Congress on Monday, says the underreporting of disciplinary incidents in area schools is part of "a historical culture of downplay, deny, deflect and defend when it comes to publicly acknowledging and reporting school crimes." It's driven, experts say, by an overarching concern among school principals to protect their image and that of their school.Probably the threat of a bad reputation would motivate school administrators to make their schools safe.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Allies offered $854 million in cash and in oil that was to be sold for cash. But only $40 million has been used so far for disaster victims or reconstruction, according to U.S. officials and contractors. Most of the aid went uncollected, including $400 million worth of oil. Some offers were withdrawn or redirected to private groups such as the Red Cross. The rest has been delayed by red tape and bureaucratic limits on how it can be spent.
In addition, valuable supplies and services -- such as cellphone systems, medicine and cruise ships -- were delayed or declined because the government could not handle them. In some cases, supplies were wasted.
Overall, the United States declined 54 of 77 recorded aid offers from three of its staunchest allies: Canada, Britain and Israel, according to a 40-page State Department table of the offers that had been received as of January 2006.
I think that the US Government did this for either two reasons: They either don't want their pride hurt, or they consider accepting the aid is "unmanly" considering that the US is the so-called last "superpower." With this revelation, the US should not be considered a superpower anymore.
Update!: This is also posted on Americablog.
(This is why I hate organizing, you have to constantly do it everyday, skip one day and it will keep piling up...)
Like Tax Cuts:
SOUTH CAROLINA: Columbia - State lawmakers have started debating two spending plans that could shave pennies off grocery bills or trim income taxes for wealthier residents. The grocery tax cut would save shoppers $1 for each $100 spent and eliminate the tax in the future. Gov. Sanford contends that reducing the state's income tax for top earners would spur the economy.
And expanding gun laws
PENNSYLVANIA: Harrisburg - Hundreds of gun-rights advocates packed the state capitol Rotunda as some lawmakers, most of them Republicans, pushed for proposals aimed at expanding those rights. Several participants mentioned their particular opposition to a bill to require annual registration of most guns and a $10 annual fee on firearms. GOP Rep. Daryl Metcalfe wants to eliminate a gun-sales database maintained by the state police.
Compassionate Conservatism my ass!
Bob the Vid Tech Kid in person for the first time. Nice man. I asked one
question about the lack of teen shows on mpt, regrading the fact that
teens are more interested in real entertainment than 80' britcom imports
(no offense to the rest of legendary bbc shows.). He told to contact
them via email, which I did. I informed him that I'll go directly to
mpts owings mills hq myself.
(MPT it's been FOUR months since I sent you that email, you're already
Friday, April 27, 2007
The student's parents contacted school system officials April 12 to say that their son was missing, board members said. They quickly found him and escorted him home the next day. School officials have not addressed who paid for the student's plane ticket, whether the student stayed in a separate hotel room from Thomas or the nature of the student's relationship with Thomas.No Comment.
Thomas, a graduate of Suitland High School, has not denied accompanying the student but has said there was nothing inappropriate about the trip. His attorney, Stephen Williams, has promised full cooperation with the investigation and said he thinks that Thomas will be exonerated.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Buying and owning a gun in Virginia does not require a permit, but without a gun permit only one handgun purchase per month is allowed, and there is no waiting period to acquire the gun.The article did not say anything about having a gun permit to use the firearm itself, but virgina's gun laws are definitely lax, because in this instance he would have waited month after month for each firearm. So he would waited until he had enough guns to carry out the rampage. No news reports have indicated if the gunman had actually have a gun permit. But here's the kicker:
The state maintains "no restriction on the sale or possession of rapid-fire ammunition magazines that can fire up to 100 bullets without reloading."That could be another clue, he may have got the gun from a family member. As for the automatic weapons provision that's a shocker too. But it gets worse:
The state does restrict people convicted of felony crimes from possessing firearms, and forbids giving or selling handguns to minors under 18, except from one family member to another.
In one controversial loophole, people can buy weapons at second hand gun shows without waiting periods or background checks.That would have been another possible way he could have got the guns for the rampage.With all the possible ways he could have acquired those weapons, you can see that Virgina's gun laws need to be stricter, even if means restricting it to agricultural, sporting, or hunting. Good thing the Virginia General Assembly rejected a bill allowing guns on universities.
"Communist trial of Vietnam
A lewd comedy for years
Jurors a bunch of baboons
Servants of dictators, who are you to judge?"
If Hanoi was hesitant to act before President Bush's visit during the APEC meeting last November, it was not afterwards. For a president who touted "freedom" and "democracy" in the Middle East, Bush came bearing an unexpected gift - a license, as it were - for the government to use against its dissidents. Though the U.S. president originally had hoped to give Vietnam normal trading status, that deal was delayed in Congress. Embarrassed by having no gift in hand, he dropped Vietnam from the list of nations that severely curtail religious freedom instead, even as these violations continued unabated.I think that question has already been answered.
"Everyday I left the house I made sure to say goodbye to my family," he says. "Going to the grocery store, meeting a friend, the fear something bad might happen never went away."While Dubya constantly claims that Iraq is movie forward with democracy and peace, he has not seen the reality of the situation. Many peace loving Iraqi's are being killed, executed or forced to leave their homeland because of the civil war. Two million Iraqi's have fled the country into other countries in the middle east such as Syria or Jordan. As long this war continues, more iraqi's will be leaving.
Now Dubya, can we leave?!
But I managed to survived. Mostly by rediscovering camping. If anyone does not know about camping, in First Person Shooters camping is staying in a spot and just shoot whatever moves. Snipers in these games are famous for it, despite the fact that "camping" is dishonorable in FPS shooters. But I did not have a choice, it was a one-on-one match. Quitting a match is dishonorable as well in online games.
One by one, I racked up kills, each one closer to thirty. One he comes up, I shot the M16 on him. My opponent knew what I was doing, so he tried sneaking to catch me off-guard. Then he finally uses grenades on my hiding spot. One by far away, and a few times by throwing one beside me. When I got 29 kills, it was time for me go for the last shot.
When I got outside, in the snow, my opponent was hiding by the truck, so I searched it by strating it. I knew he was around the vehicle. And he was there, about to fire on me. I held down the mouse button and had the crosshair on him. A few seconds later he was dead, and I won. I was expecting a lot of points, but 185? (Shit I deserve a lot more for that).
So that how I won the longest Soldier Front match ever. Now time for my to take a shower and head for bed. (It's almost 2:30am!)
Monday, April 16, 2007
Friday, April 13, 2007
The Washington Post briefly mentioned overcrowding as a possible cause.
Wednesday's fight was over the use of a television in a medium- to maximum-security unit, according to a supervisory source in the detention center. Two hours a day are allotted for detainees to watch Spanish-language programs, said the supervisor, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he has not been authorized to give interviews.
The precise cause of the fight was unclear. According to internal reports, a black detainee unplugged the TV, and he and a Latino detainee began exchanging punches. Corrections officers intervened. The fight was quelled quickly, and no one was injured, said Vicki D. Duncan, a spokeswoman for the county Department of Corrections.
The detention center, designed for 1,500 detainees, is often at capacity or overcrowded, Duncan said, and such overcrowding can lead to fights like the one that occurred last week.But they did not investigate the problem of overcrowding and why correctional facilities across the country are overstuffed with mostly African-Americans and Latinos. The best way to prevent this such things from happening is sentence only genuine violent and dangerous offenders to correctional facilites. Disagree, Yes? Then comment on this post!
Extended emergency room waits, longer response times for ambulances, thousands of displaced health-care workers and undermined rape prosecutionsWhat's worse is that low-income patients that come to the hospital system uses the county's public transportation system "The Bus". And these buses are infrequent and do not run on weekends. But wait! There's even more:
For workers, the system's closure could mean losing jobs held for decades. Some could find jobs elsewhere amid a worker shortage in the field, but they could need additional training and might have to work far from home. Many have concerns about their retirement benefits.This is why America needs universal single-payer health insurance NOW!
"I feel like this is bringing attention to the issues, not just a bunch of kids crying," junior government and politics major Sarah Abedi said. "Had we known this was going to happen, we would have looked for someone to pull us in. We don't want to live in a house off-campus in a random place because we could get mugged."These students are doing something alright, finding solutions instead of simply venting. Students if you're fed up with anything that's related to politics, do something. (and if they still don't listen, once you're eligible for public office, boot them out yourself by running for it! Then you'll make a real difference.)
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
(2 more hours and I would have successfully pulled an all niter)
Advocates lobby for full funding of schools budget: "The school system says it needs more money to pay for new programs and hire more counselors and assistant principals for elementary schools, among other things. Others say the school system needs to share the wealth and back off some of its initiatives because the county simply does not have enough money.I got a better idea. Instead of repeating the same vicious cycle of school funding, transfer the primary source of school fundings from property taxes to general government revenue? It would immediately remedy most if not all problems with the school budget and you get to keep the programs you have.
School officials do not want to scale back any programs, however, and said this week that they may have to scrap salary increases for teachers, administrators and service workers if the County Council cannot find $19.7 million more.
‘‘We don’t have a lot of low-hanging fruit left, and with a major cut, we would have to make a reduction in personnel somewhere,” said Marshall C. Spatz, the school system’s budget director. ‘‘We can’t cut textbooks, special education, food or electricity, so we would have to cut people.”"
Monday, April 09, 2007
As a matter of fact comprehensive sexual education is so much needed in every grade of public school. This will prevent much of:
- Teen Pregnancy
- Sexual Ignorance
- Homophobic and gender bullying
- Spread of HIV/AIDS
Owners Leo and Betty Bassett made the decision to go smoke-free before the state Senate and House of Delegates passed differing versions of a statewide ban last week. A committee is hashing out the differences.Yet, it's good to see that business owners are looking for the long-term benefits of the ban.
Maryland would join at least 18 states, and Washington, D.C., that have banned smoking in restaurants and bars.
If the bill is signed, the law would go into effect Jan. 1, 2008, said state Sen. Robert J. Garagiola (D-Dist. 15) of Germantown, the bill’s lead sponsor.
This would mean that families, and non-smokers (which are in the majority) can finally enter the restaurant without inhaling secondhand-smoke. Don't worry smokers, you can skill smoke outside.
At Bassett’s on Thursday, bar manager Josh Greer said the move will increase bar patrons.
‘‘Personally, I hate to see my civil liberties taken away, but in the long run it’ll be good for business,” bar manager Josh Greer of Poolesville said last week during a brief cigarette break. ‘‘The whole state’s going non-smoking soon, so we’re beating them to the punch.”
Sunday, April 08, 2007
It has been almost a month since I have last blogged on the Modern Day Prophet. I did not expect a week-long break to turn into a hiatus. To be honest, I was going to warn readers that there was not going to be any posts during spring break, but midterms, essays, and exams bogged me down so much that I had no time to blog any news about UMD or
But here’s what I did during my hiatus:
Spring Break—I mostly stayed at home, surfing the web, watching television, reading books.
Roosevelt Institute at UMD—I attended the opening session of the Roosevelt Institute early last March. It’s a student run progressive think thank. The speeches there were uninteresting but the concept is awesome: student-written reports instead of rich conservative AWASP-written reports (read: Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute). I’m considering writing as a fellow next fall. Proposed paper? Expand Public Transportation by
Ctrax—For those who have not already know, is for all intents an purposes dead. Access for Terps has been closed down 15 days before the planned closedown on March. I already kissed my Dead Kennedy’s and Hip Hop collection good bye. Speaking of music, I went to the “This is Her Story, This is her Song” 3 day symposium for a class assignment. While the first day was more Gospel than general music, I enjoyed the concert. Although I attended only the first day.
As for the book I’m writing, which is approaching its fifth university, I finally know the term of the one year hiatus and the on-off working of the book: “Research Hell”. It’s no different from Production Hell that movie producers want to avoid as much as possible. I realize that the university has all I need to complete my book. This means: UMD + McKalden Library +
Films—I went to see Grindhouse on April 6. It was my first double feature I have experienced, and it was fucking awesome. Especially Planet Terror which is basically a send-up of the zombie horror genre. Nasty and crazy scenes a plenty, including one where Cherry blows zombies with an M-16 attached on her amputated. Death Proof was a bit slow, but it does have its moments, like the three-on-one fight scene near the end. On the other hand I saw Shortbus on April 3 2007. Great film, especially this is because this is the first time ever seeing gays as characters, real characters, not stereotypes. I recommend it. (If I can pick one memorable scene from this film it would be this: The Gay Threesome reciting a song in the privacy of a apartment. But I still consider garden variety-heterosexual threesomes just as nasty as well.
So that’s what I did during my hiatus. Right now, we have about three weeks before final exams week. As for the rising seniors that are told by Res Life that they will have to find housing off-campus, it’s shameful that they have to inform seniors that weeks before final exams week. The fact that the College Park Council hates its own residents (which are mostly Terps) and the Maryland General Assembly decides to play politics when it comes to providing housing for its flagship university, really shows how much they really care about the University: as long as politicians benefit. I have one piece of advice to freshman accepted into the university, if you can commute there, please consider that option, do it for the seniors.
Regular blogging will gradually resume this week. One more question: Why has it suddenly winter during spring?