Archive for the ‘Making News’ Category

News Worth Noting

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

This in-like-a-lion and out-like-a-lamb month of March starts off on the 2nd with Read Across America Day, followed happily by Daylight Saving Time on the 12th, St. Patrick’s Day on the 17th, and the Spring Equinox on the 20th.

Meanwhile, however:

  • America reels from the shooting of 17 students and teachers in Florida at the hands of Nikolaus Cruz. In response, the President is calling for the arming of teachers, while the National Youth Day of Action Against Gun Violence is set for April 20.
  • The Supreme Court will be deciding the fate of unions’ “fair share” dues collection from non-members who benefit from their bargaining efforts.
  • Every state is federally mandated to collect and track students’ personal information from birth or preschool onwards. Be advised: These Student Longitudinal Data Systems are easily shared with vendors, government agencies across states, and so on, all without parental knowledge or consent.
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird have been removed from Duluth, MN high schools to protect “the dignity of students” and prevent them from feeling uncomfortable with racial epithets. Duluth is not alone in thinking high schoolers can’t handle such language.
  • Philadelphia is considering establishing set-aside places where users can shoot up in public with no repercussions; drugs will be on hand to counteract overdoses.
  • U.S. life expectancy has slipped yet again thanks to drug and alcohol use. In 1960, we enjoyed the highest life expectancy in the world, we’re now 1.5 years lower than the 35 OECD countries.
  • Scientists have now successfully cloned monkeys, begging the question, “Can humans be far behind?”
  • A proposed California bill would make plastic straws illegal unless requested.

And so it goes; well or not? You decide…

The Latest Online Threat: Kids Cyberbullying Themselves

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

With thanks to USA Today‘s N’dea Yancey-Bragg:

iStock bulliedAs if news about kids’ online activities couldn’t get any worse, it just has…

Indeed, according to the Cyberbullying Research Center, about 6% of our kids, 6 through 17, have actually bullied themselves digitally. Says the organization’s co-director, Sameer Hinduja, “It’s a new phenomenon, and this is definitely happening… We have a tendency to demonize the aggressor, but in some cases, maybe one out of 20, the aggressor and the target are the same.”

And sometimes with lethal effect. In the piece, Yancey-Bragg cites the case of 14-year-old Hannah Smith who ultimately hanged herself. 98% of the messages she received she’d sent herself.

Reportedly, “digital self-harm” is seen three times more often in non-heterosexual teens, with cyberbullying victims 12 times more likely to target themselves.

All this at a time when the CDC says that, in 2015, 36% of all teens felt “desperately sad or hopeless, or thinking about, planning, or attempting suicide, up from 32% in 2009.”

A major reason: the rise of social media.

Welfare Spending: In Need of Reforming?

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

Just as the cost of living and taxes keep going up every year, so does spending on welfare programs. Indeed, citing theĀ U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Surveys of State and Local Government Finances, journalist Gabrielle Olya recently reported that spending on public welfare–think Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, medical assistance programs, food stamp administration, child welfare services, etc.–exceeded $609 billion in 2015 alone, with the main reason being the expansion of Medicaid programs.

Whatever your politics, this should give pause–and it certainly has for writers of The Tribune-Democrat, The Associated Press, which did an opinion piece, “Tightening Welfare Rules Is Necessary.” It ends with this:

“…Reforming public assistance as a whole is a good idea.

“Welfare was never meant to become a way of life. It was a way to help the poor until they could transition back into the workforce.

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 was the latest federal government attempt to encourage the move from welfare to work.

“We don’t begrudge the public assistance that worthy individuals receive, but we do not condone those who cheat the government, and ultimately taxpayers, by receiving more than their share.

“Those unscrupulous individuals are why the system needs to be tightened.”

Have they got a point?

 

 

 

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

 

 

 

 

Society keeps changing dramatically, with many saying not for the better. For instance:

  • About the kneeling NFL players, columnist Chris Freind wrote, “America isn’t perfect, but it is the freest, fairest, and most generous nation in history, where opportunities remain endless and past mistakes are both acknowledged and atoned for… Showing respect for the National Anthem is as close to scoring an uncontested touchdown as it gets.”
  • As for college campus safe places, the dis-inviting of conservative speakers, the banning of books, etc., columnist Michael Gerson wrote, “Education must mean more than the avoidance of offense… This means that true education always involves risk–particularly the risk of giving offense. Students are not defiled by the existence of terrible words and ideas. They are defiled by the acceptance or normalization of those words and ideas, which is precisely what [books like] To Kill A Mockingbird–and all true education sets out to prevent.”
  • On the Boy Scouts’ decision to admit girls first into the Cub Scouts and then older girls in 2019, Kathy Hopinkah Hannon, president of the Girl Scouts wrote, “I formally request that your organization stay focused on the 90% of American boys not currently participating in the Boy Scouts… and not consider expanding to recruit girls.”
  • Then there’s this: When First Lady Melania Trump sent ten Dr. Seuss books to a school in every state, Cambridge, Massachusetts librarian Liz Phipps Soeir refused to accept them saying that they are “steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes.”

What’s your take on such goings-on?