Australian Petition Update - Gun Paranoia Control (a link)
30 minutes ago
As part of its focus on this so-called "human factor," Israeli security officers interrogate travelers using racial profiling, singling out those who appear to be Arab based on name or physical appearance. Additionally, all passengers, even those who do not appear to be of Arab descent, are questioned as to why they are traveling to Israel, followed by several general questions about the trip in order to search for inconsistencies. Although numerous civil rights groups have demanded an end to the profiling, Israel maintains that it is both effective and unavoidable. As stated by Ariel Merari, an Israeli terrorism expert, "it would be foolish not to use profiling when everyone knows that most terrorists come from certain ethnic groups. They are likely to be Muslim and young, and the potential threat justifies inconveniencing a certain ethnic group."
CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS ORDERED OFF TREE
California officials pull stars and other religious emblems after atheist calls them 'extremely offensive' and part of 'cult'
Black groups on Wednesday urged the government to improve the count of African-Americans in next year's high-stakes census, saying they won't be satisfied with a tally that has historically overlooked millions in their community.
The National Urban League, the NAACP, Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson met with Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to voice their concerns the Census Bureau might not be doing enough to ensure an accurate tally. Roughly 3 million blacks were missed in 2000, while many whites were overcounted.
"The undercount of blacks in the last count and the overcount of whites by 1 percent is not just a Washington statistic," Sharpton said at a news briefing after the meeting. "It manifests itself in goods and services that cost us."
"We want what is ours," he said.
The groups called for the Census Bureau, an agency of the Commerce Department, to expand its paid advertising to cities such as Newark, N.J.; Oakland, Calif.; parts of Mississippi and other areas that have high percentages of hard-to-count blacks, many of whom are distrustful of government workers.
They also are pushing for more census funding specifically targeted at black communities. About $23 million, or roughly 17 percent of the $133 million allocated for media buys, is currently earmarked for black communities to promote the census.
The black leaders said they wanted to see a change in how the government tallies prisoners, so they are counted as residents of the cities in which they previously lived, not in the places where a prison is located.
The deaths of children are prompting the recall of some 50 million window blinds.
The recall involves two kinds of popular window coverings: Roman-style shades and roll-up blinds.
They are blamed for the deaths of eight children since 2001.. and the near strangulation of 16 others.
1) I am a human being, and I believe that there are only human ideals and ideals linked to the country of origin; every ideal which brings hatred among peoples and entails the power of one ethnicity over another I believe it to be human egoism, which sooner or later must disappear and to which disappearance I must contribute according to my possibilities.
2) I believe that every peoples are equally part of humankind, and I value every person only according to his personal values and actions, and not according to his/her origin. Every offense or persecutions of people because they belong to a different ethnicity, with a different language or religion, I regard it as a barbarity.
3) I believe that every country does not belong to a particular group of people, but equally to every people who live in it, regardless of their language or religion; the mixing of the country’s interests with those of one or another group of people, language or religion I regard it as reminiscence of barbarian times, when there was only the right of fist and sword.
4) I believe that in his/her own family life each person has the natural and indisputable right to speak whatever language or dialect he/she wants and to confess whatever religion he/she wants; nevertheless, when communicating with people from other origins he/she must, when it is possible, aim to use a neutral language and to live according to neutral religious principles. Every attempt of a person to impose his/her language or religion to other people when it is not absolutely necessary, I regard it as a barbarity.
Last week when Michelle Jordan and her 3-year-old daughter boarded a Jefferson Lines bus in Minneapolis, the driver asked them to move to the back of the bus because he said Jordan's daughter was distracting him by singing to her doll. But Jordan says that as the only black person on a bus of six passengers, she felt singled out because of her race.
In response, Jordan refused to retreat to the back and instead sat in the sixth row of the bus. The driver responded by kicking the pair out of the bus outside a convenience store in Abbotsford, Wisconsin.
The giving tree recently taken down in an Ashland Elementary School will be put back up Wednesday.
Bellview Elementary had the tree removed from its lobby around Thanksgiving. School Principal Michelle Zundel says a family asked to have the tree taken down because it was offensive and uncomfortable for their children. The tree was replaced by two snowmen figures and a table filled with presents. The tree had been decorated with tags with requests from needy families.
Zundel says the decision to put the tree back up came after she received multiple emails and phone calls from concerned parents. The principal made the announcement at the beginning of a community meeting about the issue Tuesday evening.
"The reason I removed the tree, ironically, was to create a better sense of inclusion. This decision had exactly the opposite affect," Zundel said.
The Ashland School District also received hundreds of emails about the controversy from people across the country. The district plans to use Tuesday's comments to create clearer guidelines for teachers and principals in the future. The district plans to form a committee to address the issue.
"It has been a whirlwind. But it's been amazing," she told Walters. "I mean, if you think about this year, I had to get these two beautiful girls settled into a new city, into a new home, into a new school. We got a dog. I visited eight countries with my husband. I planted a garden. I've started a mentoring program. It has been everything. And now, here we are at our first Christmas in the White House."
The Pinkstinks pressure group claims that young girls are being led up “pink alleys” by stores which target them with presents such as pink fairy wings and princess dresses.
It is organising a boycott of shops including the Early Learning Centre, which the group claims are leading the “pinkification” of girls' toys which end up crushing their ambitions later in life.
Bridget Prentice, the Justice Minister, said that she was supporting the campaign because she was concerned that shops were creating Christmas gifts which were aimed particularly at either girls or boys.
She went on: “It’s about not funnelling girls into pretty, pretty jobs, but giving them aspirations and challenging them to fulfil their potential.
“We want to say to organisations like the Early Learning Centre that we rely on them to be progressive about encouraging girls to think of themselves as equal, and not to reinforce the old stereotypes.”
Emma Moore, a mother of two girls who founded the Pinkstinks group with her twin sister Abi, who has two boys, lives in Mrs Prentice’s Lewisham constituency.
She told the News Shopper local newspaper: “Ask yourself what we want girls and boys to learn from an early age.
“Is it that pink, passive and pretty is for girls and that blue, bold and challenging is for boys?
“Since the early 1990s manufacturers and retailers of children’s products have fabricated restrictive boundaries of what it is to be a girl in today's society.
“As a result body image obsession begins younger and younger and beauty is valued over brains.”
Pinkstinks has 2,000 supporters on the social networking website Facebook.
Safe Schools Czar Kevin Jennings was the founder, and for many years, Executive Director of an organization called the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). GLSEN started essentially as Jennings’ personal project and grew to become the culmination of his life’s work. And he was chosen by President Obama to be the nation’s Safe Schools Czar primarily because he had founded and led GLSEN (scroll for bio).
GLSEN’s stated mission is to empower gay youth in the schools and to stop harassment by other students. It encourages the formation of Gay Student Alliances and condemns the use of hateful words. GLSEN also strives to influence the educational curriculum to include materials which the group believes will increase tolerance of gay students and decrease bullying. To that end, GLSEN maintains a recommended reading list of books that it claims “furthers our mission to ensure safe schools for all students.” In other words, these are the books that GLSEN’s directors think all kids should be reading: gay kids should read them to raise their self-esteem, and straight kids should read them in order to become more aware and tolerant and stop bullying gay kids. Through GLSEN’s online ordering system, called “GLSEN BookLink,” featured prominently on their Web site, teachers can buy the books to use as required classroom assignments, or students can buy them to read on their own.
According to GLSEN’s own press releases from the period during which its recommended reading list was developed, the organization’s three areas of focus were creating “educational resources, public policy agenda, [and] student organizing programs”; in other words, the reading list (chief among its “educational resources”) was of prime importance in GLSEN’s efforts to influence the American educational system.
The list is divided into three main categories: books recommended for grades K-6; books recommended for grades 7-12; and books for teachers. (The books on the list span all genres: fiction, nonfiction, memoirs, even poetry.)
Out of curiosity to see exactly what kind of books Kevin Jennings and his organization think American students should be reading in school, our team chose a handful at random from the over 100 titles on GLSEN’s grades 7-12 list, and began reading through.
What we discovered shocked us. We were flabbergasted. Rendered speechless.
We were unprepared for what we encountered. Book after book after book contained stories and anecdotes that weren’t merely X-rated and pornographic, but which featured explicit descriptions of sex acts between pre-schoolers; stories that seemed to promote and recommend child-adult sexual relationships; stories of public masturbation, anal sex in restrooms, affairs between students and teachers, five-year-olds playing sex games, semen flying through the air. One memoir even praised becoming a prostitute as a way to increase one’s self-esteem. Above all, the books seemed to have less to do with promoting tolerance than with an unabashed attempt to indoctrinate students into a hyper-sexualized worldview.
We knew that unless we carefully documented what we were reading, the public would have a hard time accepting it. Mere descriptions on our part could not convey the emotional gut reaction one gets when seeing what Kevin Jennings wants kids to read as school assignments. So we began scanning pages from each of the books, and then made exact transcriptions of the relevant passages on each page.
Below you will find dozens of excerpts taken from books on the GLSEN “Booklink” recommended reading list for grades 7-12 (i.e. for children between the ages of 12 and 17). To prove that these books are indeed recommended by GLSEN for children, click on each book’s title to see its individual listing on the GLSEN Web site. And to prove that each excerpt is transcribed exactly as it appears in each book, click on the page numbers or the small images along the left to see scans taken directly of the book pages in question. (Ellipses ["..."] indicate unrelated passages not included in some of the transcriptions; click on the full-page scans to see the complete extended quotes.) Each passage is preceded by a brief summary, given in italics.
You decide for yourself if you think these are appropriate for kids as young as 12 years old to read. And then decide if you think the man who headed the organization responsible for recommending these books to children should be in charge of school safety in this country.
Keep in mind that, although the material below has been deemed by Kevin Jennings and GLSEN to be appropriate for children, some of the excerpts contain explicit language and pornographic descriptions, so if you don’t want to see such things, stop reading now.