Friday, May 25, 2007

Its been one hell of a coaster ride.

I have officially survived my first year at the University of Maryland,
College Park. I have seen moves that I have never been before. Read a
lot of stuff. Eate a lot, got snowed in, studies a lot.

The only complaint, I'd that this year ended witha wimper. The good news
is that I'm getting a two week breather to do the things I supposed to
do in past school year.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Trains, Subways, and Bikes

On the Washington Post's Maryland Briefing there is word that the planned Purple Line to Be extended from 12 to 21 stations. It would require the line to be a tram/light rail or a rapid bus system. If they have the funding to do this, that would awesome. Really, more stations=more ridership and revenue for Metro.

The Oak Hill Saga Continues!

More on the Oak Hill saga and argument over the federal land. Wait, a deal?

Snuffed Out! O'Malley Signs Ban On Public Indoor Smoking! (And other Bills)

Maryland has joined 20 states in banning smoking in indoor public areas. The bill was signed yesterday along with other bills including:
Measures to deny parole to rapists whose victims are children, toughen penalties for gang members and withhold learner's permits for driving from teenagers who miss more than 10 days of school without an excuse also became law.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Mike Grebel: Jail Dubya! Legalize Drugs!

While I must disagree with his proposal for a national sales tax if elected, which is a long shot, I must perfectly agree with his opinion.

Stupid Government Tricks!

I never was suspended in school for a short haircut, as a matter of fact I like my hair short. This person here has actually the same haircut I have right now. But a public school in Texas decided that this haircut was considered disruptive and gave the boy a one-day suspension. Only question: How do the school system define "disruptive?".

No (Rich) Child Left Behind+Overfocus on math, reading, and science= Historical Ignorance

Any Questions?

Desperado! Civil Martial Law in Baltimore?!

Have we seen this before? Another law-and-order legislation that really does nothing about the root causes of crime?
"Desperate measures are needed when we're in desperate situations," said City Council Vice President Robert W. Curran, the bill's author. "What I'm trying to do is give the mayor additional tools."

By introducing the legislation, Curran - who is an ally of Dixon - is promoting increased enforcement at a time when City Hall is moving in the opposite direction, shifting away from zero tolerance and toward an approach that focuses more attention on individual criminals. Dixon has sought to ease tension between police and residents who feel the city's past arrest policies were overzealous.

In addition to closing businesses in the zones, the bill would permit police to limit the number of people who could gather on sidewalks, in streets or in other outdoor areas. It would prohibit the sale and possession of weapons, though Curran acknowledged that weapons used by criminals are almost always already obtained illegally. Zones could be established solely by the mayor, initially for a two weeks, with the option to renew indefinitely.
Mr. Curran, I bet you know the real root causes of crime: drug selling, poverty, underfunded schools, isolated and disadvantaged neighborhood. But you do not really care do you? You just placed that legislation just earn political points. Proof that politicians these days are more interested in maintaining problems rather than resolving them completely. Because if they solve them, these politicians would have no purpose.

The Facts Behind the Stats.

The reason why DC is losing it's black population is mostly of urban renewal. Urban renewal purpose is mostly for Caucasians to enter ethnic communities easier. To do that they jack the house rent up so that the previous residents will forced to leave to areas of lower rent. In this case, Maryland and Virginia. This quote basically sums up what I'm saying:
"What you see are whites moving into the city because they are able to afford the pricey housing in all these areas that are gentrifying and becoming much more middle and upper-middle class," said William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution. "Meanwhile, the city is becoming more unaffordable to lower-income black families."
It's clear that it is an affordable housing issue and that our "leaders" are doing nothing about it. If I were the DC mayor I would find some kind of way to revitalize public housing. If they were built it would not be built like prisons.

Trains, Subways, and Bikes

"'This is a simplistic solution that is basically, ready, fire, aim,..."

That's the same idea I thought when another another road project has been approved. With global warming a proven scientific theory, the last thing we need is more roads. What Virginia and America needs an expedited expansion of public transport, especially our rail system which is becoming more embarrassing to the modern world by the year.

The Re-Genesis of Oak Hill?!

Immediately down the hall, walk into the Genesis unit, and it's like stepping from a prison into a college dorm -- a particularly quiet one. This experimental unit behind the tall razor-wire fences on the Oak Hill campus in Anne Arundel County is carpeted and freshly painted, with overstuffed couches and a ping-pong table. The cells have wooden beds with comforters. Clusters of kids and guards -- they're called youth development specialists now -- hang out together, laughing and talking about how each boy is doing on his push to get to the next achievement level.

This is the new face of Oak Hill, but don't bother showing it to U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin.
Wait, I did not know Oak Hill had an experimental rehabilitation unit. If it works out DC authorities can rebuild it where it belongs: The District of Columbia. Let Anne Arundel have their park.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bubba On Board! With a Firearm's Card!

We definitely need a omnibus national firearms law, one that only allows persons 18 years or older to apply for.
The 10-month-old, whose given name is Howard David Ludwig, was issued a firearm owner's identification card after his father, Howard Ludwig, paid the $5 fee and filled out the application, not expecting to actually get one.

The card lists the baby's height (2 feet, 3 inches), weight (20 pounds) and has a scribble where the signature should be.

With some exceptions, the cards are required of any Illinois residents purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition within the state. There are no age restrictions on the cards, an official said.
No comment.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Islamicphobia! Islamic Doctor Got Manhandled!

Islamicpobia, another great American pastime.
Hussain went into a hospital restroom to perform the Islamic ritual, known as wudhu, in which he washed his hands and feet to purify his body and soul before praying. Corban walked into the restroom and proceeded to manhandle Hussain, yell racial epithets at him, push him down the corridor and order him to leave the hospital, Hussain said in an interview and court filings.

Hussain, who lives in Upper Marlboro and is a physician and radiologist in Waldorf, decided after filing the civil lawsuit to pursue criminal charges, said Hussain's attorney, David Ellin.
By description I'm reading, its obvious that it's a hate crime. The Maryland Code has a section regarding it under the Criminal Law Section, Title 10 (Crimes Against Public Health, Conduct, and Sensibilities), Subtitle 3 (Hate Crimes), Section 4 (Harassment; destruction of property.)(That's the Maryland Annotated Code: Criminal Law 10-304 :
§ 10-304. Harassment; destruction of property.

Because of another's race, color, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or national origin, a person may not:

(1) (i) commit a crime against that person;

(ii) damage the real or personal property of that person;

(iii) deface, damage, or destroy, or attempt to deface, damage, or destroy the real or personal property of that person; or

(iv) burn or attempt to burn an object on the real or personal property of that person; or

(2) commit a violation of item (1) of this section that:

(i) except as provided in item (ii) of this item, involves a separate crime that is a felony; or

(ii) results in the death of the victim.
Penalty? (pursuant to the Maryland Annotated Code, Criminal Law 10-306)
(b) For violation of § 10-304 of this subtitle.-

(1) A person who violates § 10-304(2)(i) of this subtitle is guilty of a felony and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 10 years or a fine not exceeding $10,000 or both.
And guess what, it is a hate crime:
If convicted, Corban could face up to 10 years in prison and/or a $2,500 fine, Sviatko said.
The trial is set for June 26.

New Library in Baltimore! But what about the others?!

It's good to see that there is a new library that has opened in Baltimore. However the Baltimore Sun does not cover the condition of the rest of the libraries in the Enoch Pratt Free Library system. This only gives us a glimpse of their possible condition.
Yesterday's opening of the 27,000-square-foot, $16.2 million library was a boon to a struggling neighborhood. And, as the first brand-new public library building to open in the city in 35 years, it was symbolic of a turnaround for the city's Enoch Pratt Free Library system.

Six years ago the system closed five libraries in some of its poorest neighborhoods. A decade ago, two others were shut down.
Can you say "investigation"?

Jack Up! Prince Georges County Exeutive Plans to Fund Public Education!

Mr. Johnson, there's a better idea to fund public education in Prince Georges County. Instead of raising the telephone tax (What's the purpose of that) or relying on property taxes. Fund them using county income taxes and peg them via the federal income tax.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I'm still not dead. Finals got a hold to me.

Summer term is just around the corner. Plenty of stuff I promise to do in the spring I can finally do here. But in the mean time consider this another slow day.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Bill: Signed Bill: Signed Bill: Signed...

Governor O'Malley signed the Living Wage Act and several bills including:
"The bill freezing university tuition was another that O'Malley said demonstrates the state's commitment to helping 'strengthen and grow our middle class.'

Despite a looming $1.5 billion budget deficit, O'Malley has pledged to try to continue holding the line on tuition at University of Maryland campuses. Annual tuition for in-state undergraduates at the system's flagship campus in College Park will remain at $6,566 this fall.

A separate bill signed yesterday calls for a state study of textbook costs for college students. The bill was sponsored by Del. Craig L. Rice (D-Montgomery), a freshman lawmaker.

Another bill to help working families that became law yesterday will give counties more flexibility in promoting affordable housing programs.

O'Malley also signed a bill to rename the district courthouse in Silver Spring for former Judge L. Leonard Ruben, who collapsed and died outside the building in March. His widow, former state Sen. Ida G. Ruben (D-Montgomery), was at the ceremony yesterday."
Regarding the budget deficit O'Malley I have one suggestion: Tax the Rich.

I'm Not Dead! And This Blog Isn't Either!

It's just one of those times where you have to only concentrate on final papers and exams. Yes it's that time again at Universities across the United States: We're approaching Finals Week. I'll catching up with the news that's here today.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Math Nightmare is Over. Until This Fall.

I have finally completed the coursework for Math 003, and will finally having my final text next week. That's one class out of the way...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Arrest Warrants Issued! ICC wants Ahmed and Ali

Finally, we're getting some progress on the Darfur situation.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued its first arrest warrants over the Darfur conflict for a Sudanese minister and a Janjaweed militia leader accused of murder, torture and rape.

The two men are: Ahmed Haroun, Sudan's secretary of state for humanitarian affairs and a former minister in charge of Darfur; and Ali Kosheib, a principal leader of the Khartoum-backed Janjaweed.

They face a long list of 42 and 50 charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes respectively.
Any way you can nab these guys, do so. Sudan will do anything to resist any attempt.

Car-Free Zones?! Americans Should Expand Them.

To Car Drivers: Don't like the idea? Use Public Transport!

Tanks! What is It Worth!? Absolutely Nothing!

Interest why SWAT teams are so much popular these days: Blame the Pentagon.
The Pentagon giveaway program began in the late 1980s, and is almost certainly responsible for the dramatic rise in the number of SWAT teams across the country, which led to the 1500 percent increase in the number of total deployments over the last 25 years, and to the increasing use of paramilitary tactics for nonviolent crimes. Many criminal justice experts say the program, along with the fact that SWAT teams and narcotics officers are often trained by former members of elite military groups like the Army Rangers or Navy Seals is responsible for the "cowboy" mentality that pervades many SWAT and narcotics units.

It isn't hard to see why. Outfit domestic police officers in military clothing, arm them with military gear, train them in military tactics taught by ex-military personnel, then tell them they're fighting a "war" on drugs, and we shouldn't be the least bit surprised when they treat city streets like battlefields, drug offenders like enemy combatants, and victims like Katherine Johnston and Isaac Singletary as mere casualties of war. Posse Comitatus isn't some quaint relic from the Civil War era. It shows a clear understanding between the two institutions' missions. One is charged with protecting our rights. The other is charged with annihilating an enemy. It's probably a good idea not to get them confused, no?
Normally I would not post from a libertarian news source but this is relevant because the War on Drugs are fueling the rise of SWAT teams. What's the point of them anyway? Police and the armed forces are not the same. Congress ought to keep them separate. (But that will never happen)

Modern Day Slavery! Tanzanian Sues Country's Envoy!

Human Trafficking is no different from historical slavery.
The lawsuit states that Alan Mzengi drafted a contract stipulating that she would work eight hours a day, five days a week taking care of the couple's house and their children. She would be paid $900 a month, from which $150 would be deducted for room and board. The contract also stated that she would be eligible for overtime pay, according to the lawsuit.

About a month after she started working at the couple's home in Bethesda, Mazengo said, she realized her bosses weren't going to adhere to the terms of the contract. But she felt that she had no recourse, she said, because the couple took her passport and because she spoke virtually no English.

Mazengo said she was forced to work from 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. every day caring for the couple's children, cleaning and cooking, according to the suit. Additionally, she cooked for the couple's African food catering business, which they ran from their home, the suit states.

On one occasion, Mazengo said in the interview and in the lawsuit, Stella Mzengi struck her in the face. The couple also refused to take her to a doctor for more than two years as ingrown toenails became so painful she couldn't wear shoes, Mazengo said. Despite her condition, Alan Mzengi "ordered her to shovel snow in her bare feet," according to the suit.

In August 2004, Mazengo said, when she asked Alan Mzengi for her wages, he bought her a one-way ticket to Tanzania and told her she would be paid when she returned home. Mazengo called one of the clients of the catering business, who had been friendly to her, to say goodbye. During the phone call, Mazengo said, she began to weep and told the customer about the conditions she had endured. The customer asked her to take a cab to her home, where she eventually got in touch with CASA de Maryland, Mazengo said.
Honestly, I do not care about diplomatic immunity. Slavery and Human Trafficking is a crime, and anyone who is convicted of should go to jail and pay the back wages of any and all victims by prevailing living wages of each day they have been enslaved.

DC Want to Build Another Oak Hill

...D.C. should build its replacement facility somewhere in the District, closer to the homes and families of the youths detained.
That's what the DC Government should do, instead of building another Oak Hill facility.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Corrupted! NeoLiberal Bush Allowed Student Loan Controversy!

This is why neoliberalism sucks, it only benefits the wealthy. Like the student loans controversy that's reported on today's Washington Post. To tell you the truth, I rather have the Department of Education abolished loans and use the money to be used for those loans into expanding PELL grants.

How to Address a Budget Deficit?

Here's some ideas: Repeal the sales tax, legalize slots, and raise the state income tax for rich folk. That should be easy. (But politics is never easy.)

Another Reason to End the War on Drugs

NORML to UMD Police:

"Maybe they should be working on other types of crime instead of busting students with small amounts of pot," Cosner said. "I mean, who are they helping? This is not keeping me safe."

Crime Alerts! Comming to a Cell Phone Near You!

UMD Alert has launched for all your emergency notifications.