November 20th, 2009

Canadian parents win legal battle against homework




Usually it is the children, not the parents, who are loath to spend their evenings practising spelling and learning times tables. But a Canadian couple have just won a legal battle to exempt their offspring from homework after successfully arguing there is no clear evidence it improves academic performance.

Sherri and Tom Milley, two lawyers from Calgary, Alberta, launched their highly unusual case after years of struggling to make their three reluctant children do school work out of the classroom.

After waging a long war with their eldest son, Jay, now 18, over his homework, they decided to do things differently with their youngest two, Spencer, 11, and Brittany, 10. And being lawyers, they decided to make it official.

It took two years to negotiate the Milleys' Differentiated Homework Plan, which ensures their youngest two children will never have to do homework again at their current school. The two-page plan, signed by the children, parents and teachers, stipulates that "homework will not be used as a form of evaluation for the children". In return, the pupils promise to get their work done in class, to come to school prepared, and to revise for tests. They must also read daily and practise their musical instruments at home.

"It was a constant homework battle every night," Sherri told Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper. "It's hard to get a weeping child to take in math problems. They are tired. They shouldn't be working a second shift."

"Why were we putting our family through that stress?" she wondered. "If we don't want it all, we shouldn't have to have it."

Two years ago, Sherri began collecting studies on homework, most of which suggest that, particularly for younger grades, there is no clear link between work at home and school performance. Working with the staff at St Brigid Elementary Junior High School, she formed a homework committee. When no firm changes resulted from the committee, the couple began negotiating the legal document that decided the matter.

"We think it's a parent's right to choose what's in our children's best interests," said Sherri. "But we're thankful the school did the right thing."


I'm torn. I hated homework and thought the majority of it was useless to me, however I was a KID, and that was what we were supposed to think! Plus I'm still not very mature and have trouble seeing this from a parent or teacher's perspective.

But I know that it helps kids understand the least...that's what they told us...
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US survey shows southern counties most obese

US survey shows southern counties most obese

ATLANTA – The first county-by-county survey of obesity reflects past studies that show the rate of obesity is highest in the Southeast and Appalachia. High rates of obesity and diabetes were reported in more than 80 percent of counties in the Appalachian region that includes Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia, according to the new research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The same problem was seen in about 75 percent of counties in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia and South Carolina.

The five counties with the highest rates were Greene and Dallas counties in Alabama and Holmes, Humphreys and Jefferson counties in Mississippi. All are small, rural counties in the west central areas of each state, and each reported obesity rates of around 44 or 43 percent. The national adult obesity rate is roughly 26 percent.

The statistics are estimates for the year 2007 — based on surveys, census figures and other information for that and other years — and include a margin of error. The obesity rates in many counties were about the same, so it's difficult to say any county or counties was clearly the single most obese county, CDC officials said.

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Y'know, if it was just "Southern people eat fatty foods," then we would have been fat for a LOT longer--the obesity boom is a recent thing. It's not just Southerners' delicious, delicious fried food. And the fact that the highest rates are in poor areas is also a big ol' sign that there is some kind of problem with the healthiness of the food they can afford as well as the availability of healthier food.
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Shenanigans Friday: November 20, 2009.

“They say women talk too much. If you have worked in Congress you know that the fiLOLbuster was invented by men.” --Clare Boothe LOLce
Please exploit these resources:
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by lone_concertina
... cause it was the only macro made last week :P
india / mumbai

reliving mumbai's terror attacks

The Mumbai Terror Attacks: A Special Report
By Ted Genoways
November 13th, 2009

On a blustery Saturday afternoon last March, Jason Motlagh and I sat in my office, discussing the Mumbai terror attacks of November 2008. Jason had recently completed an article for us on separatist rebels within India, and we had been kicking around ideas for a follow-up. Now that he had covered India’s internal terror threats, why not examine the largest and most audacious foreign terror attack ever carried out on Indian soil? And, yet, there didn’t seem to be a single, thorough accounting of what exactly had happened on those fateful days.

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The reports themselves - SIXTY HOURS OF TERROR: Ten Gunmen, Ten Minutes, It's Do Or Die, No Hostages Should Remain Alive, By the Grace of Allah.

I'm not copy-pasting the report itself here for a couple of reasons. First, it's too long for a single post. Second, I've anticipated and read each part over the last four days in a state I can only describe as clouded with emotion. I'm not ready to re-read it to go through for highlights etc. If other ontd_p'ers feel like they could or should, please do.

All I can say is that I think it's a substantial achievement, much better than the report that came out in
Vanity Fair last month - in fact, it's on a different level - and while I'm sure there are flaws, they're not ones I feel at all qualified to spot. As a journalist, a blogger and a Mumbaikar, I think this is a landmark piece of work. I thought it'd be interesting to the comm.


Angry supporters boo Palin for leaving in the middle of her book signing: ‘Quittin’ on the job!’

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin was in Indiana yesterday for a book-signing at a Borders store. One thousand lucky fans with wristbands to meet Palin stood in the rain all day waiting for her to arrive. However, Palin quit the event before she had the chance to sign all the books, leaving 100 supporters out in the cold:
“I’m very disappointed. I think it was very rude. She could have at least apologized, and she didn’t even do that,” said Teresa Hedrick. [...]

“We bought two books from Borders to have our receipt and our wristband to get it signed tonight,” said one woman. “My books are going back to Borders tomorrow.”

“We gave up our entire workday, stayed in the cold. My kids were crying,” said one man. “They went home with my wife. She was out here in the freezing cold all day. I feel like I don’t want to support Sarah.

People who didn’t get to meet Palin “went home only with a piece of paper with Palin’s signature.” Video from the event shows angry wristband-holders loudly booing Palin and yelling, “Sign our books!” and “Quittin’ on the job!” Watch it:

(HT: Ben Smith)


Bunches of angry folks posted comments on Sarah Palin's Facebook page......and boy are they pissed. I wouldn't be surprised if she ends up deleting most of the complaints, and/or tries to blame the bookstore for the whole situation.

The end of the free internet in Britain?

If we can’t stop this, it’s beginning of the end for the net in Britain

That’s what Cory Doctorow suggests when reporting the news that Mandelson is seeking to use a back door to grant himself powers that grant him yet more powers to do just about anything in the interest of protecting Copyright.

It’s terrifying stuff that, if he’s successful, will cripple Britain’s technological progress. I use a programme called, “Drop Box” and it allows me to transfer files from my MacBook to my PC using the Internet. I don’t want such files to be publicly available because they’re my own personal private files. But Mandelson wants these services to disable privacy modes so that Movie Studios can check I’m not stealing from them. Forcing us to make the contents of our online storage public is just one of the powers Mandelson wants to gift himself, unchallenged. In addition to other powers he could have if he gets his way is the ability to demand ISPs turn over their records and of course the infamous threat to ban households from the internet if they’re suspected of copyright infringement.

It’s all in the name of Copyright theft – otherwise known as ‘Mandelson’s extremely rich friends’. It’s crony capitalism, favouritism and economic and social planning all rolled into one horrible, toxic bomb.

Whether or not Mandelson could actually succeed in wiping out Copyright theft on the internet is academic (he can’t, as it happens, no matter what he tries). What he can do is condemn Britain to a sort of internet dark age where technology is held back if it’s a threat to the vested interests Mandelson represents.

He wants access to these powers without debate or scrutiny, and that he wants to be able to wield the powers without debate or scrutiny. He MUST be stopped, This MUST not be allowed. Your Twitter Hashtag to go mental on is #webwar.

The Guardian covers the story from the point of view of what the Tories could do with these same powers. If that’s what it takes to stop it, that’s fine – but in and of itself – what he’s already planning to do with it – are more than bad enough to be utterly terrifying.

This is a guest post by Charlotte Gore. Charlotte blogs here.

Source: Liberal Conspiracy

Christian Bale

(no subject)

Man arrested for paying teens to spit in his face

File this one under “Sicko of the week.” A Southern California man has been arrested for paying teenagers to spit in his face.

Police say the 39-year-old suspect also had teens yell profanities at him and slap him in the face.

Charles Hersel was arrested Wednesday for misdemeanor child annoyance, after police caught him paying $31 to a teen to spit in his face during a sting operation at the Westlake Promenade mall.

Capt. Frank O’Hanlon said Hersel sought out young male Westlake High School students on the MySpace social networking website.

“It didn’t take long for word to spread among local teens that they could get paid to spit in a man’s face,” O’Hanlon said.

Several teens also reported to police that Hersel tried to pay them to urinate and defecate on him.

Hersel is currently free from jail awaiting his first court appearance.

Christian Bale

(no subject)

NewsBusted: What Makes Sammy White?

In this episode, “NewsBusted” covers: Republicans, Democrats, Jobless Americans, Texas Governor Rick Perry, Fidel Castro, President Obama Poster, Al Gore, Current TV, Sammy Sosa, Lamar Odom, and Khloe Kardashian.

music | Erikah Badu

"Colorado billboard links Obama with jihadists".

By KRISTEN WYATT (AP) – 2 hours ago

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. — A billboard showing President Barack Obama wearing a turban has sparked a lot of attention at the suburban Denver used car dealership that put it up.

The sign, completed Friday by artist David Lee, shows a grinning, cartoonish Obama and bears the words "PRESIDENT or JIHAD?"

Underneath the president's image is a big yellow square with the phrase, "BIRTH CERTIFICATE, PROVE IT!"

The words "WAKE UP AMERICA! REMEMBER FT. HOOD" appear at the bottom of the billboard at Wolf Interstate Leasing and Sales, about seven miles west of Denver. The sign is visible from Interstate 70. Collapse )


Frankly, old meme is old;there arent enough "CRY MOAR" macros in the world. LOL


The Klan is coming to Ole Miss. WAT.

Ole Miss Students Social Networking Against Klan

by Darrell Creecy
November 20, 2009

The Mississippi White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan plans to protest the University of Mississippi's decision to drop its controversial fight song Saturday before the football game against Louisiana State University. In response, Ole Miss students of all races are using Facebook to organize opposition and counter-demonstrations.

The Klan told Oxford media that its members will appear in full Klan regalia at the university in front of Fulton Chapel on Nov. 21 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. to hold a peaceful protest on the right to free speech. "We'll be there with robes on. It will probably just be a silent protest," KKK Great Titan Shane Tate of Tupelo told the Daily Mississippian. "We don't believe in hurting anybody, and we're not going to come up there with guns and ammo, but we will defend ourselves if we have to."
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I find the Klan titles/terms really lulzy ("klavern?" "Great Titan"? LOL WUT). But it's good to see that Ole Miss is trying to move into the future, so to speak. But at the same time, a lot of Ole MIss kids are still apathetic or of the mindset that ~race stuff~ is "in the past" and therefore unimportant so.. :/

Pink Floyd

One giant scar on mankind

One giant scar on mankind
November 17, 2009

Illustration: Greg Bakes.

Almost 20 years ago, on December 6, 1989, a young man went looking for women at l'Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal. Here, in the middle of this highly civilised Western city, he wanted to find women and kill them. He killed 14 women that day.

The killer's name was Marc Lepine, though he was born Gamil Gharbi, an Algerian French-Canadian whose Algerian father believed women must be subservient to men.

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Interesting opinion article from the SMH. What this man did is extremely awful, but it's also an extreme example of a problem that is present in a much less dramatic fashion at all levels of society. I'm all for confronting violence against women, so I think it's an important article. I also think that it's a lot harder for men to admit that they (and people they know) could also be damaging and violent toward women without being so... dramatic about it. That's what I think's important about this, acknowledging that the violence is widespread, that it's hidden, that it needs to be faced.

I'd never heard of Marc Lepine before I read this. I filled myself in on the lurid details by reading this article at

a touch of life

CBC - Peru gang accused of killing to sell human fat (as anti-wrinkle cream)

Three members of a Peruvian gang have confessed to killing people and draining the fat from the corpses to sell on the black market for use in cosmetics, according to police officials.

Col. Jorge Mejia, the chief of Peru's anti-kidnapping police, said at a news conference on Thursday that two of the suspects were arrested carrying bottles of liquid fat and told police it was worth $16,000 a litre.

Medical experts, however, expressed skepticism that a major market exists for fat, saying that while human fat can be used in anti-wrinkle treatments, it is always extracted from the patient being treated.

rest of the article at CBC Friday, November 20, 2009 , also check out: The - Peruvian gang 'killed peasant farmers for their fat' Saturday, 21 November 2009

ETA, Historical Addition: Blood Countess Elizabeth Bathory of Hungary, kidnapped and murdered at least 80 maidens in Castle Csejthe, and bathed in their blood, until she was finally arrested and convicted in 1610. Bathory was a sadist long before the blood-bathing incident, she was inspire when she felt that the skin of her hand was softer, after she slapped a maid so hard she drew blood.

Now if I was rich and gross and desperate to stay wrinkle free, and I decided the thing to do is rub fat from my fellow human beings that enjoys drugs and junk food and has most of the disease I could also catch on my face, I could contact a liposuction surgeon and ask for byproducts...but that doesn't have the same Noble Fineness of having thugs murder and milk some peasants for their fats. Dude, stick to lanolin! (or if ye be a veg-only-consumer, try Shea Butter)

Tea Party To Claim Another GOP Victim: This Time is McCain.

John McCain Could Lose Senate Primary To Tea Party Supporter

Rasmussen announced a new poll on Friday showing Senator John McCain may be in trouble at home where a polarized electorate has him facing constant criticism from both the left and the right.

The poll shows McCain tied with former Congressman and current talk radio host J.D. Hayworth in a hypothetical Republican primary. Hayworth, who has become an outspoken local hero among immigration-control activists, lost his House seat to Rep. Harry Mitchell (D) in 2006. Since then, Hayworth has promoted the Tea Parties on his radio show and has spoken at Tea Party events, including the April 15 rally in Phoenix. Hayworth has expressed interest in running but has been tight-lipped on whether or not he intends to actually file as a candidate against McCain.

Rasmussen has McCain at 45% and Hayworth at 43% (4% margin of error).
Although McCain's loudest opponents from the right usually cite immigration as the key issue, Minutmen founder Chris Simcox only reached 4% in the poll. According to the poll, Hayworth is more popular overall among the GOP, especially among the younger GOP sect. McCain fares better with females and moderate Republicans.

Rodney Glassman, the only Democrat who has filed to run against McCain, was not included in the poll. Glassman is a young Tucson city councilman who has the support of the local and state Democratic Party structure and is considered an up-and-comer in Arizona politics.

McCain has not faced a serious challenge to his senate seat since 1986.

Tough Bank Amendment Passes Unanimously. GOP Goes Missing That Day...

Rep. Jackie Speier's Tough Bank Amendment Passes With Room Nearly Empty

Don't sleep on Jackie Speier. The freshman Democrat from California came into the House Financial Services Committee room Thursday ready to fight for her long-shot amendment to limit the leverage ratio for big banks.

"I expected a roll call vote," said Speier, fresh off a star turn on the Colbert Report.

Lobbyists and committee staffers expected that the amendment -- which would mandate that banks essentially could not lend out or invest more than 12 dollars for every dollar they keep in reserve -- would only get a roll call and that it'd be soundly defeated, bounced by a coalition of Republicans and bank-friendly Democrats, who call themselves "New Democrats."

Instead, there were barely any lawmakers in their seats when her amendment came up during an all-day debate on comprehensive financial regulatory reform.

One of the two or three Republicans in the room asked for a roll call, but then quickly reconsidered and withdrew the request.

It passed by a unanimous voice vote.
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Obama - Pie

Chris Matthews Criticizes Obama Using Cheney's "Dithering" Remark

On Friday night's "Hardball" with Chris Matthews, MSNBC host Matthews took a page out of Dick Cheney's book and accused the president of "dithering" over Afghanistan.

"President Obama has his chin out on just about every hot issue out there. Health care. Terror trials. Job losses." Matthews began. He then launched a series of aggressive questions going after many of the president's recent decisions.

"Is he just too darned intellectual? Too much the egghead? Why did he bow to that Japanese emperor? Why did he pick Tim Geithner to be his economic front-man? Why all this dithering over Afghanistan? And who thought it was a wonderful idea to bring the killers of 9/11 to New York City, the media capital of the world, so they could tell their story?"

The former vice president accused Obama of "dithering while America's armed forces are in danger," in October, to much backlash.