Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Anti-Jewish Germany

From the BBC:
"Auschwitz rap: German Echo music prize scrapped in anti-Semitism row"

Germany's music industry is abolishing its prestigious Echo prize, after an outcry over its award to a rap duo with lyrics denounced as anti-Semitic. German rappers Kollegah and Farid Bang won the hip-hop/urban prize for an album featuring verses comparing their muscles to an Auschwitz survivor. The music industry said it did not want the Echo to be seen as a platform for anti-Semitism. The brand was so badly damaged a completely new start was needed. Germany's Jewish community has faced a wave of attacks and threats in recent months, described by Chancellor Angela Merkel as "a new phenomenon" distinct from the old, far-right anti-Semitism.  "We have many refugees among whom there are, for example, people of Arab origin who bring another form of anti-Semitism into the country," she said at the weekend. Berlin and several other German cities were holding rallies against anti-Semitism on Wednesday. Those taking part were urged to wear kippahs (Jewish skullcaps) to show their support for the Jewish community.  Last week, two young men wearing kippahs were attacked by a man shouting anti-Semitic abuse in Berlin. One rally was called off in the Neukölln area of the capital on Wednesday after organisers said they were spat on and called terrorists. An Israeli flag was seized by a passerby. The decision to award Kollegah and Farid Bang the best rap album prize for their album JBG3 (Young, brutal, good looking 3) led to a succession of musicians handing back their Echo awards in protest. One of the tracks on their album, 0815, includes the line: "My body is more defined than those of Auschwitz inmates."  Another includes the words: "I'm doing another Holocaust, coming with the Molotov." Berlin-based conductor Daniel Barenboim said he was returning his prizes in protest at the rappers' lyrics which he condemned as "clearly anti-Semitic, misogynist, homophobic and contemptuous of human dignity". Rock singer Marius Müller-Westernhagen said he would be handing back the seven Echos he had won since the 1990s. Others include pianist Igor Levit and renowned musician and record producer Klaus Voormann, who designed the Beatles' Revolver album cover. But the most searing criticism came on the night of the awards when the lead singer of Die Toten Hosen spoke out on stage after winning the rock award. It was one thing to be provocative, but using misogynist, homophobic, far-right or anti-Semitic content was crossing a line, said Campino.  Kollegah, a Muslim convert, has apologised for his Auschwitz lyric.  He said on the night he did not want to engage in political debate. "We are here to party" he said.  The duo's record company, BMG, which has sold more than 200,000 copies of the album, said it was utterly opposed to anti-Semitism and pledged to contribute to a campaign against anti-Semitism. The Echo classical and jazz prizes, due to be awarded at the end of May, will also be affected by the German industry's decision to scrap the brand. In its statement the German music industry association (BVMI) said Germany had the third largest music market in the world and still needed to recognise artists who crossed genres and generations.  

^ This is the latest in overt Anti-Semitism found throughout Germany today. The fact that these rappers won in the first place and also the promotion of "Mein Kampf" play in Constance, Germany where those wearing swastikas get in for free and anyone who pays has to wear a "Star of David" shows how much Germans continue to hate Jews. Add to that the recent attacks on those wearing skull caps, those going to synagogues, etc. and you have a Germany that is ready to return to it's 1933 past. The German Government does little to nothing to stop these Anti-Semitic acts. I've heard some "Love To Hate Trump" people use Germany as a model-example. If that is an example on how to discriminate and attack Jews then they would be correct.  ^

Alfie Evans

From the BBC:
"Who is Alfie Evans and what is the row over his treatment?"

Life support for seriously ill toddler Alfie Evans has been withdrawn following a lengthy legal battle between his family and the courts. The fight has attracted widespread media attention and seen his parents clash with doctors over the youngster's care. This is how the story unfolded.

Who is Alfie Evans?
Alfie was born to parents Tom Evans and Kate James, from Bootle in Merseyside, on 9 May 2016. He was first admitted to Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool in December 2016 after suffering seizures and has been a patient in the hospital ever since. Doctors diagnosed a degenerative neurological condition which they have not been able to identify definitively Alfie's parents and the hospital have clashed over what should happen to Alfie, who has been in a semi-vegetative state for more than a year His parents said they wanted to fly him to a hospital in Italy but this was blocked by Alder Hey, which said continuing treatment was "not in Alfie's best interests".  The Alder Hey Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust went to the High Court to seek a declaration that "continued ventilator support is not in Alfie's best interests and in the circumstances it is not lawful that such treatment continue". Sitting at the High Court in Liverpool, Mr Justice Hayden began overseeing the case on 19 December. Alder Hey said scans showed "catastrophic degradation of his brain tissue" and that further treatment was not only "futile" but also "unkind and inhumane". But his parents disagreed and wanted permission to fly him to the Bambino Gesu Hospital in Rome in the hope of prolonging his life. The Italian hospital, which has links to the Vatican, suggested operations to help Alfie breathe and keep him alive for an "undefined period". The judge said he would make a decision on what was best for Alfie if an agreement was not reached.

Who decides?
One of the dilemmas Alfie's case has raised is whether doctors are the right people to determine whether withdrawing life-support treatment is in "the best interests" of a terminally ill child.  One of the key arguments presented by his parents was that they should decide what is best for their son.  It was the same case made by the parents of Charlie Gard, the 11-month-old baby who died last year following a similar battle over his treatment.  The law in the UK falls somewhere in-between. The 1989 Children's Act makes it clear that where a child is at risk of harm the state can and should intervene. This means that the rights of parents are not absolute and the state has been emboldened to challenge the view of parents where they believe a child's best interests are not being served. If a public body disagrees with the parents' choices, they must go to court in order to override this parental responsibility.

What did the judges rule?
Mr Justice Hayden said doctors could stop providing life support for Alfie against his parents' wishes, saying the child required "peace, quiet and privacy". Mr Evans said he believed his son was still responsive, telling reporters outside court Alfie was "improving". But Michael Mylonas QC, representing the hospital, said: "One of the problems of this case is they [Alfie's parents] look at him and, barring the paraphernalia of breathing and feeding, he's a sweet, lovely, normal-looking boy who opens his eyes, [and] will smile..."  The hospital asserted that any movements by the child were "spontaneous seizures as a result of touching". Mr Justice Hayden ruled in favour of hospital bosses on 20 February and doctors were set to withdraw ventilation on 23 February before his parents embarked on a lengthy legal battle.

How the case unfolded
Alfie's parents refused to give up hope and took the case to the Court of Appeal on 6 March where judges upheld Mr Justice Hayden's decision. On 20 March, the couple appealed to the Supreme Court where justices refused to give the couple permission to mount another appeal. Despite this, their lawyers went to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) after exhausting all legal avenues in the UK. But three judges ruled the submission "inadmissible", saying they were unable to find any violation of human rights.  On 11 April, Mr Justice Hayden then endorsed an end-of-life care plan for Alfie, setting a date to switch off life support.  Lawyers for Alfie's parents began a final legal bid to take control over the treatment of their son on April 16, claiming he was being "unlawfully detained". But this was rejected for a second time by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.  On 18 April, Mr Evans flew to Rome for a meeting with the Pope, pleading with him to "save our son".  Despite an urgent application to the ECHR on Monday, judges refused to intervene in the case, prompting angry scenes at Alder Hey Children's Hospital.  Within hours, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs granted 23-month-old Alfie Italian citizenship, hoping it would allow an "immediate transfer to Italy". Pope Francis then tweeted his support for the family: "I renew my appeal that the suffering of his parents may be heard and that their desire to seek new forms of treatment may be granted." But this last-ditch appeal was dismissed by Mr Justice Hayden who stated that "Alfie is a British citizen" who "falls therefore under the jurisdiction of the High Court." The Italian Embassy has since clarified it was not trying to challenge any decisions made previously by the British courts.  A spokesman described the granting of citizenship as a "signal" to the judge that should he change his mind, they are ready to facilitate his transfer to the Italian hospital.  A further hearing then took place on Tuesday afternoon in which Mr Hayden said the case had now reached its "final chapter". He rejected claims by Mr Evans that his son was "significantly better" than first thought because he had been breathing unaided for 20 hours after doctors first withdrew life support. Alfie's parents then launched a further appeal against the order stopping them from taking him to Italy, which will be heard on Wednesday afternoon by a panel of three Court of Appeal judges, headed by Sir Andrew McFarlane.

^Another Socialist death panel (again in the UK.) It would be one thing if 1 parent was for and 1 against but both parents are for treatment. It is the doctors and the judges that are refusing treatment or even for him to go out of country so it wouldn't cost the Brits any more money. Well done NHS. If you want to have no control over your own life or the life of your children then you should move to the UK where uncaring doctors and uncaring judges will decide what you want (and base most of it on saving money rather than saving your life.) It is illegal in the UK for doctor-assisted suicide, but legal for doctor-judge death panels. Go figure. ^

Only Digital

From the BBC:
"Young can 'only read digital clocks'"

Do young people really struggle with traditional analogue clocks with hands? That's the claim in a debate between teachers - with suggestions that digital clocks are being installed in exam halls for teenagers. It follows a report in the Times Educational Supplement of a conference being told that pupils needed a digital clock to be able to tell the time. Malcolm Trobe, of the ASCL head teachers' union, said young people were much more used to using digital clocks. As such, schools could be trying to give them more help by letting students use digital clocks in exam rooms during the summer GCSEs and A-levels. "To adults it might seem second nature to use a standard clock face," said Mr Trobe, ASCL's deputy general secretary. But younger people were much more familiar with seeing the time in a digital format - on computers or mobile phones. "Young people find it a bit easier to use a digital clock - and if they're timing themselves for questions, it might make it less likely that they'll make mistakes," said Mr Trobe. He said, as an example, if students had to answer a question in 15 minutes, it could be easier for them looking at a clock with a digital format, if that was how they usually told the time. There were no official indications about taking down analogue clocks, he said, but such claims were being made by teachers on social media. One of the examples on Twitter being quoted is from a head of English, "Ms Keenan". But she told the BBC that the digital clocks that had been installed had broken down - and now had been replaced by a traditional analogue clock. She said it wasn't the case that a majority of students can't tell the time using such analogue clocks, but it could be a barrier for some. For the "digital generation", she said an analogue clock could be becoming an "anachronism". Will this be a trend for the approaching summer exams? Only time will tell.  

^ Sadly, today's youth don't know many basic skills that people learned for centuries. It isn't just using an analogue clock, but also using cursive, how to do research without the Internet, etc. ^

What's Anzac Day?

From the Australian War Memorial:
"The Anzac Day Tradition"

What is Anzac Day?
Anzac Day, 25 April, is one of Australia’s most important national occasions. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.

What does ANZAC stand for?
ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The soldiers in those forces quickly became known as Anzacs, and the pride they took in that name endures to this day.

Why is this day special to Australians?
When war broke out in 1914 Australia had been a federated nation for only 13 years, and its government was eager to establish a reputation among the nations of the world. When Britain declared war in August 1914 Australia was automatically placed on the side of the Commonwealth. In 1915 Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula in order to open the Dardanelles to the allied navies. The ultimate objective was to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul), the capital of the Ottoman Empire, an ally of Germany. The Australian and New Zealand forces landed on Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders. What had been planned as a bold stroke to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915 the allied forces were evacuated from the peninsula, with both sides having suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. More than 8,000 Australian soldiers had died in the campaign. Gallipoli had a profound impact on Australians at home, and 25 April soon became the day on which Australians remembered the sacrifice of those who died in the war. Although the Gallipoli campaign failed in its military objectives, the actions of Australian and New Zealand forces during the campaign left a powerful legacy. What became known as the “Anzac legend” became an important part of the identity of both nations, shaping the ways in which they viewed both their past and their future.

Early commemorations

In 1916 the first Anzac Day commemorations were held on 25 April. The day was marked by a wide variety of ceremonies and services across Australia, a march through London, and a sports day in the Australian camp in Egypt. In London more than 2,000 Australian and New Zealand troops marched through the streets; a London newspaper headline dubbed them “the knights of Gallipoli”. Marches were held all over Australia; in the Sydney march convoys of cars carried soldiers wounded on Gallipoli and their nurses. For the remaining years of the war Anzac Day was used as an occasion for patriotic rallies and recruiting campaigns, and parades of serving members of the AIF were held in most cities. During the 1920s Anzac Day became established as a national day of commemoration for the more than 60,000 Australians who had died during the war. In 1927, for the first time, every state observed some form of public holiday on Anzac Day. By the mid-1930s all the rituals we now associate with the day – dawn vigils, marches, memorial services, reunions, two-up games – were firmly established as part of Anzac Day culture. Later, Anzac Day also served to commemorate the lives of Australians who died in the Second World War, and in subsequent years the meaning of the day has been further broadened to include those who lost their lives in all the military and peacekeeping operations in which Australia has been involved. Anzac Day was first commemorated at the Memorial in 1942. At the time, government orders prohibited large public gatherings in case of a Japanese air attack, so it was a small occasion with neither a march nor a memorial service. Since then, Anzac Day has been commemorated at the Memorial every year.

What does it mean today?
Australians recognise 25 April as a day of national remembrance, which takes two forms. Commemorative services are held across the nation at dawn – the time of the original landing, while later in the day, former servicemen and servicewomen meet to take part in marches through the country’s major cities and in many smaller centres. Commemorative ceremonies are more formal, and are held at war memorials around the country. In these ways, Anzac Day is a time at which Australians reflect on the many different meanings of war.

The Dawn Service
It is often suggested that the Dawn Service observed on Anzac Day has its origins in a military routine still followed by the Australian Army. The half-light of dawn was one of the times favoured for launching an attack. Soldiers in defensive positions were woken in the dark before dawn, so by the time first light crept across the battlefield they were awake, alert, and manning their weapons; this is still known as the “stand-to”. As dusk is equally favourable for battle, the stand-to was repeated at sunset. After the First World War, returned soldiers sought the comradeship they had felt in those quiet, peaceful moments before dawn. A dawn vigil became the basis for commemoration in several places after the war. It is difficult to say when the first dawn services were held, as many were instigated by veterans, clergymen, and civilians from all over the country. A dawn requiem mass was held at Albany as early as 1918, and a wreathlaying and commemoration took place at dawn in Toowoomba the following year. In 1927 a group of returned men returning at dawn from an Anzac Day function held the night before came upon an elderly woman laying flowers at the as yet unfinished Sydney Cenotaph. Joining her in this private remembrance, the men later resolved to institute a dawn service the following year. Some 150 people gathered at the Cenotaph in 1928 for a wreathlaying and two minutes’ silence. This is generally regarded as the beginning of organised dawn services. Over the years the ceremonies have developed into their modern forms and have seen an increased association with the dawn landings of 25 April 1915.

The National Ceremony
At the Australian War Memorial the National Ceremony begins with the traditional order of service, including the veteran’s march, Commemorative Address, laying of wreaths, hymns, the sounding of the Last Post, and observance of one minute’s silence, and the national anthems of New Zealand and Australia.

^ This is an important day in both Australia and in New Zealand. It shows the sacrifice that both countries and their citizens have made and are making to keep the world safe. ^

Bypassing Veto

"Western nations find way to bypass Russian veto at UN"

Western powers seem to have found an effective way to bypass Russian veto on Syria probe at the UN Security Council. Ian Martin, a former UN official and Amnesty International chief, said: “The Russian veto need not be the end of efforts for collective action by the UN. The responsibility of asserting accountability for the use of chemical weapons, and for bringing an end to the horrors of the Syrian conflict, rests with the world community as a whole,” The Guardian reports. The proposal is known to have support among western officials fearing the absence of an attribution mechanism not only gives Syria free range to continue to use chemical weapons, but also to deliver a severe blow to the international world order. Western governments, worried that the impasse is weakening the wider authority of the security council, want to pick up a rarely used route, first set up in the 1950 Korean crisis. Called “uniting for peace”, it would enable nine members of the 15-strong security council to bypass a Russian veto and refer the matter to a full vote at the general assembly. It would then require a two-thirds majority by the general assembly for an attribution mechanism to be agreed.  The 1950 “uniting for peace” route was explicitly designed to be used when the security council could not meet its responsibilities over maintenance of peace. The UN secretary general, António Guterres, said at the weekend that the world had entered a new cold war era where the threat of instability was greater than the previous cold war. The western powers have made concessions to secure a compromise UN resolution on attribution, but will not concede the principle that Russian could veto the inspection team findings on Syria chemical attacks.

^ This bypass should be used since some countries are abusing their power in the Security Council. ^

Anzac Day

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Fixing The Past

From Disability Scoop:
"Lawmakers Seek Reparations For People Sterilized"

Rosie Zaballos liked to host playtime tea parties and was sweet to everyone she met. But her older brother worried that the 16-year-old, whom her family described as “a little slow,” might someday become pregnant. In his 30s and married, he had three kids of his own. And their mom was sick and needed help. So he took Rosie to be sterilized at a state-run hospital so she couldn’t have babies who might place an extra burden on the family. Rosie never came home. She died during the operation. This painful history, recounted by Rosie’s niece, Barbara Swarr, was rarely discussed in Barbara’s family when she was growing up in a Spanish immigrant neighborhood in Hayward, Calif., just southeast of San Francisco. But in the past few years, Swarr, now 70, has pieced together the details of her aunt’s short life and the prevailing attitudes toward immigrants, poor people and those with disabilities that allowed more than 20,000 Californians to be sterilized under the state’s eugenics law — often without their consent — over a 70-year period in the 1900s. “This was something nobody thought twice about. ‘If they are not all there, if they are Hispanic … make sure they don’t breed these inferiors,'” Swarr recounted with a mix of sadness and bitterness. Across the country last century, more than 60,000 people deemed unfit to reproduce were sterilized, many against their will or without their knowledge. It was a public health strategy embraced by 32 states under eugenics laws that advocated “better breeding.” It began at state prisons in Indiana and spread to two-thirds of the country, targeting people with mental illness, disabilities and anyone who exhibited “abnormal” behavior. California abolished its eugenics law in 1979 during Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown’s first term and apologized in 2003 under Gov. Gray Davis, also a Democrat. Legislation under consideration in the state’s Senate would go a step further to pay reparations, following in the footsteps of North Carolina and Virginia. The bill, by state Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), would establish the Eugenics Sterilization Compensation Program for the living survivors of state-sponsored sterilization from 1909 to 1979. As currently written, the measure doesn’t specify the amount of state money survivors would receive — a detail that is still being hashed out by lawmakers. North Carolina lawmakers in 2013 set aside $10 million, and two years later Virginia authorized $25,000 for each victim. Researchers and advocacy groups estimate that roughly 800 survivors may still be alive today in California, although none have publicly come forward, whether because they’re ashamed of what happened to them or they just don’t realize they were victims. Skinner said she hopes that publicity surrounding her bill will encourage survivors to come out and speak out. “We are trying to ensure this is not forgotten,” she said. “It was a completely unjustified wrong that the state authorized and that the state implemented.” In California, state records described the women who were sterilized as “weak-willed,” “dependent on others” and “feeble-minded.” The reason for their sterilization: Their mental condition was “likely to become transmitted to descendants.” State law authorized medical superintendents at 12 state homes and hospitals to perform “asexualization” on patients — vasectomies for men and fallopian tube removals for women. Sonoma State Hospital carried out about 5,000 sterilizations, more than any other place in the country, according to records compiled by Alexandra Minna Stern, a professor at the University of Michigan and an expert on eugenics laws. Those records also show that Latinas in California were 59 percent more likely to be sterilized than non-Latinas. They were young girls and women who probably didn’t speak English well and ranked low on IQ tests, said Stern, who uncovered the state’s sterilization records in a file cabinet at the Department of Mental Health in Sacramento. In Southern states, African-Americans were targeted for sterilization. In Iowa, it was the poor. Being Hispanic, black or poor was characterized as a disability in those days, Stern said. “The way these laws played out, they impacted racial minorities, but it was through the disability lens, which makes it more insidious,” she said. California historian William Deverell, a professor at the University of Southern California, traces the eugenics laws to a time when social reformers believed they could perfect the human race for the betterment of society — much like agriculturists at the time were trying to perfect avocados or citrus fruits. “It’s such a fascinating moment because a lot of do-good human types were eugenicists,” Deverell said. “They had this notion they could bring perfection to bear even in the gene pool.” The hope, historians and advocates say, is that Skinner’s legislation will raise awareness about the sterilizations and the fact that they were little more than a vehicle for state-sanctioned discrimination. They note that these procedures occurred at state facilities as recently as this decade, when doctors sterilized 148 women in California prisons from 2006 to 2010, according to a report by The Center for Investigative Reporting. The bill requires markers to be placed at the institutions where sterilizations took place, and it calls for the creation of a traveling historical exhibit about eugenics laws. It’s critical to educate people about this aspect of California’s “dark history,” said Myra Dúran, policy manager for California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, a statewide advocacy group. “It’s important to find the women who were sterilized because it’s important to get their voices heard.” That’s what Swarr wants for her aunt. “I honor her by trying to find out about her,” said Swarr, who owns the house where Rosie Zaballos grew up. “I don’t want her to be forgotten. I don’t want her to be just a statistic.” 

^ This is a very sad part of the histories of many US States and there needs to be something done in every state that sterilized unwilling people. ^

Greedy Charities

I'm sick and tired of all the charities that have become so "holier than thou" with what they will now accept. Food banks that won't take unexpired canned food, libraries that won't take books, the Red Cross that won't take blankets or other supplies. They all just want money and complain when no one will donate to them. Beggars can't be choosers and charities need to start remembering that.

PACE Recognition

"PACE officially recognizes Russia's occupation of Donbas"

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has adopted a decision recognizing the occupation by Russia of part of Ukraine. "Russia is an occupier! The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has adopted a decision recognizing certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions occupied by the Russian Federation. This is the victory of the Ukrainian delegation to PACE, which in the long term will increase Russia's responsibility for violating the norms of international law," PACE Vice President Volodymyr Ariev wrote on Facebook on Tuesday, April 24.  He also said PACE had taken into account the amendment of the Ukrainian delegation in the report "State of emergency: proportionality issues concerning derogations under Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights." "It's a victory! An important amendment proposed by the Ukrainian delegation to PACE was adopted in the report 'State of emergency: proportionality issues concerning derogations under Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights,' and the Assembly voted to recognize the occupation by Russia of part of Donbas! Fairy tales about coal miners, tractor drivers and post exchanges are no longer part of international documents," Ariev added. As UNIAN reported earlier, Ariev said on April 23 PACE had refused Ukraine's request to hold an urgent debate over the illegal election of the Russian president in occupied Crimea and other aspects of Russian policy.

^ It has only taken several years for them to state the obvious. ^

Stunned Police

From the BBC:
"Toronto van attack: Calm actions of police stun US"

The calm actions of a police officer who arrested the Toronto van suspect without firing a shot have prompted praise and, in some quarters, astonishment. Video from the scene shows suspect Alek Minassian pointing an object at the officer and shouting: "Kill me!" The officer tells the man to "get down" and when the suspect says he has a gun, the officer repeats: "I don't care. Get down." Videos on social media show Mr Minassian lying down as the officer arrests him. Many in North America are asking how the suspect did not end up dead in a hail of police gunfire. It contrasts with incidents in the US where police have shot and killed unarmed people. "Research has shown that Canadian police are reluctant users of deadly force," says Rick Parent, a criminologist at Simon Fraser University in Canada's British Columbia.  "An analysis of police shooting data over many years revealed, that in comparison to their American counterparts, Canadian police officers discharge their firearms far less, per capita that US police. However, like American police officers they take many risks in protecting the public." One US-based academic told the BBC that the officer would have had a "duty" to kill the suspect, if the object he was pointing was a gun.  Mike McCormack, president of the Toronto Police Association, told the Globe and Mail newspaper that the officer was a "hero" and could have justified opening fire. "This officer looked at what was going on and determined he could handle it the way that he did," he said. He said he had spoken to the officer, who had told him: "I just did my job. What I did was no big deal. But look at these poor people."  Canada's Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale praised the "brave and professional" police response. Some on social media have praised the officer's "restraint" - while others such as author Viet Thanh Nguyen highlighted the apparent contrast with the behaviour of some US police. However, Michael Lyman, professor of Criminal Justice Administration at Columbia College of Missouri, told the BBC that the officer may have had a "duty" to kill the suspect. "Assuming the suspect is holding a gun and pointing it toward officers, it is concerning that the officer is not engaging the suspect with deadly force," he said.  Professor Lyman said that the officer might not have opened fire out of fear of public criticism after the event. "People died as a result of the suspect's actions. Can we assume that the officer knew this? If so, this changes things a bit in that the level of public threat is higher. Under this circumstance, it would seem that the officer had a 'duty' to respond with deadly force - assuming what he was holding was a firearm," he said.   Professor William Terrill from the Arizona State University School of Criminology & Criminal Justice said the officer may have judged that the object held by the suspect did not pose a threat. "It's possible the officer thought the object in the person's hand was not a gun, or not a real gun. The fact that the officer left the cover of his car and exposed himself out in the open would further support such a supposition," he said. "It's also possible the officer recognised a potential suicide-by-cop incident and chose not to engage with deadly force. The only remaining option I can posit is the officer simply froze." David Klinger, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Missouri-St Louis said the video did not show enough detail for an informed assessment of the officer's actions. "If the cop could clearly see what was in the suspect's hand, and that it wasn't a gun, then it's a simple matter of a cop doing his job correctly," he said

^ It's all well and good for Canadians in general to use their "pleases" and their "thank yous" but when it comes to someone who is killing and hurting others I would want a police force that is not "reluctant" to use deadly force as the Canadian police seem to be. I say that as a Canadian. There was a time when most of the British police didn't even carry guns and yet vans running over and killing people and other terrorist attacks changed that. This is not the first time a van attack happened in Canada in recent years and the Canadian police need to face the sad reality of the 21st Century rather than an idolized history of a by-gone era. They should think about the wounded victims (15 of them in this case) and the families of the dead victims (10 of them in this case) rather than the sensibilities of the attacker. I'm sure Canadians would rather be safe and alive than PC and dead - just like the rest of us. ^

1933 Or 2018?

From the BBC:
"Germany's Jews urged not to wear kippahs after attacks"

The leader of Germany's Jewish community has advised Jews to avoid wearing traditional skullcaps (kippahs) following anti-Semitic attacks. Josef Schuster, the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told Berlin public radio that Jews should exercise caution in big cities. His comments come ahead of a "Berlin Wears Kippah" solidarity march in the German capital on Wednesday. Last week, two young men wearing kippahs were assaulted in the city. The attacker was filmed shouting anti-Semitic abuse. Jewish organisations in Germany have expressed alarm over a number of recent anti-Semitic insults and threats in schools. At the weekend, Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned what she described as "another form of anti-Semitism".  She told Israel's Channel 10 TV network that aside from anti-Semitism by right-wing groups, similar threats were coming from some Muslim refugees in the country.  "Defiantly showing your colours would in principle be the right way to go [to tackle anti-Semitism]," he said. "Nevertheless, I would advise individual people against openly wearing a kippah in big German cities," Mr Schuster added. But he also stressed that if Germans refused to stand up to anti-Semitism "our democracy would be at risk". "This is not only about anti-Semitism - it goes along with racism, it goes along with xenophobia. You need a clear stop sign here." Mr Schuster's comments apparently contradict the position taken on the kippah issue by the Berlin-based Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Anti-Semitism - the organisation which shared video of last week's attack on Facebook.  "I used to always advise my Jewish friends and acquaintances not to wear a kippah so as not to show their Jewish identity. I changed my opinion," a spokesman said last week. "We must take up this fight and be visible again in public." Separately, the head of Germany's Central Council of Muslims condemned recent anti-Semitic attacks. "Anti-Semitism, racism and hatred are great sins in Islam, therefore we will also never tolerate that," Aiman Mazyek told Germany's Rheinische Post newspaper. Germany's Jewish population has grown rapidly since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Before 1989, the population was below 30,000 but an influx of Jews, mainly from the former Soviet Union, has raised the number to more than 200,000.

^ Is this 1933 or 2018? ^

Convenient Bank

When you write your bank the following: When you are going on a trip, where you are going and who is going on the trip and your bank responds with the following questions: When are you going? Where are you going? Who is going? = It's time to get a new bank. They are supposed to be capable of dealing with military-related matters yet for the past several years they can't even seem to understand why someone in New England can't simply go into one of their "convenient" locations in Maryland.

Increased Pay

From the AP:
"AP-NORC Poll: Amid strikes, Americans back teacher raises"

Americans overwhelmingly believe teachers don't make enough money, and half say they'd support paying higher taxes to give educators a raise. The findings of the new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research come amid recent teacher strikes and other protests over low pay, tough classroom conditions and the amount of money allocated to public schools in several Republican-led states.  Tens of thousands of Arizona teachers voted last week to strike after rejecting an offer of a 20-percent raise, because it didn't include a vow from state lawmakers not to further cut taxes before providing more money for the state's schools. "To educate children and barely get a living is obnoxious," said Elaine Penman, a company manager in Tucson, Arizona, who added she and others went outside to cheer on protesting teachers who were marching by. She's among the 50 percent of Americas who say they'd pay a higher tax bill if it meant more money for teachers. "I'm a parent and I benefit directly from what teachers do," said Penman, who has two children in traditional public schools and one in a charter school. In 2016-2017, the average salary for a public school teacher was $58,950, down slightly from the previous year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.  Overall, 78 percent of Americans said that's not enough. Just 15 percent think teachers are paid the right amount, while 6 percent think they're paid too much. In a 2010 AP-Stanford poll, 57 percent of Americans said they thought teachers are paid too little. Americans in states with the lowest average teacher salaries — less than $50,000 a year — were slightly more likely to think teachers were paid too little and that the national average should be an important factor in determining salaries. The AP-NORC poll found that parents and those without children are about equally likely to think teachers are paid too little. It's a sentiment that crosses party lines, too. Nearly 9 in 10 Democrats, 78 percent of independents and 66 percent of Republicans think teacher salaries are too low. Slightly more than half of Americans — 52 percent — also approve of teachers leaving the classroom to strike in their search for higher pay, while 25 percent disapprove. Among those who say they've heard about the recent teacher protests, 80 percent say they approve of such tactics.  The recent run of teacher protests began in March in West Virginia, where teachers won a raise after going on strike. The strategy soon spread to Oklahoma, Kentucky, Colorado and Arizona, where educators joined together online and have held increasingly frequent protests during the past six weeks. The poll found that 51 percent of Americans have been paying at least some attention to the protests. People living in states with the lowest teacher salaries were more likely to have heard about the protests than those in states with the highest teacher pay. Americans believe state and local governments share responsibility with teachers and their unions for the disruptions caused by the strikes. Vernita Grimes, 68, of the District of Columbia, said teachers aren't making enough money for the work they do and she supports them having the right to strike, "even though I know kids are losing valuable teaching time."  But Caitlyn Scott, 27, of Kent, Ohio, said teachers are earning "about what they should," and she opposes strikes by teachers. "I think they kind of committed to being there for the entire school year," she said. Half of Americans would be willing to shoulder the cost of paying teachers more and providing more money to schools via higher taxes, with only 26 percent opposed. But while 69 percent of Democrats say yes to higher taxes for schools, only 38 percent of Republicans and 30 percent of independents say the same. People living in urban areas are more likely than those in rural areas to support such a tax increase, 57 percent to 40 percent.

^ I firmly believe teachers need to make more money for the services they provide. With that said I don't believe they should achieve that by going on strike since it hurts the students. ^

Classy Kneeling

From First Edition:
"Teen Basketball Players Kneel During Funeral Procession Out of Respect"

A group of kindhearted basketball players took a knee as a funeral procession passed through their Louisiana neighborhood. Sisters Lynn Bienvenu and Johannah Stroud were in Washington Parish attending the funeral of their cousin, Velma Kay Crowe, when they saw the boys stop their pickup game outside Franklinton Junior High School and drop to their knees to show support to the family.  The sisters did not want the moment to pass without allowing others to witness, so they snapped a quick photo and shared it on social media.  "They took a knee not out of disrespect, but out of honor," Bienvenu wrote in her post. "There was not an adult in sight to tell them to stop playing." The picture has since gone viral.  It reportedly isn’t the first time the boys have showed respect in this way.   According to local citizens, coaches and teachers at Franklinton have made a point to instill in the students the importance of showing respect when a funeral procession passes.  Bienvenu says the simple act has reminded her why she has such a huge heart for her small hometown.  "This meant a great deal to our family," Bienvenu said. "May God bless each one as I feel they will achieve greatness."

Now these are classy athletes who know how to show respect - unlike the "professional" athletes who make millions and kneel. ^

Monday, April 23, 2018

Crazy Air

From the AP:
"Korean Air heiresses to resign as smuggle probe widens"

Korean Air Lines said Monday that two daughters of its chairman will resign from their executive positions amid mounting public criticism over the women's behavior and allegations that the family engaged in smuggling. An official at the Korea Customs Service, meanwhile, confirmed that authorities raided the airline's headquarters in Seoul seeking evidence on alleged smuggling and tariff evasion.  Chairman Cho Yang-ho announced the resignation of his daughter Hyun-ah, who returned to leadership last month after a four-year hiatus following a "nut rage" scandal, and her younger sister Hyun-min, who is under investigation for allegedly hurling a cup of water at a business meeting. "We are deeply sorry for upsetting the public and Korean Air employees with my family's problems," Cho said in a statement. "Everything is my fault. I apologize to the public." Cho said Korean Air will create a new management position to hire a senior manager outside the Cho family member and establish a compliance committee. A former Constitutional Court judge will head the committee to beef up internal oversight, the flag carrier said. Hyun-ah achieved worldwide notoriety after she had an onboard tantrum in 2014 when a first class flight attendant served her nuts in a bag instead of on a dish. Cho was the head of the airline's cabin service at the time. The plane was forced to return to the gate at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport. She was released from jail after South Korea's appeals court suspended her prison term for coercion and obstruction of business. Her sister, who is also known as Emily Cho, oversaw the company's marketing and commercials. She apologized on Facebook for allegedly throwing the cup of water at an ad agency official during a meeting. South Korean media reports have cited anonymous tips from airline employees that the Cho family smuggled foreign goods into South Korea by disguising them as corporate assets. A Korean Air spokesman said the family is fully cooperating with the investigation. The Cho family's troubles angered many South Koreans who resent abuses of power by elite families connected to many of the country's biggest publicly listed businesses. Such family-run conglomerates dominate the South Korean economy. The families and their companies are facing growing pressure for stricter oversight and more transparency in corporate governance.

^ There is something very off with this whole family. There is usually one "bad apple" in a family, but when you start having 2 family members  - especially siblings - act this kind of crazy then you really do have to start looking at their upbringing. ^

Judging Video

From Fox News:
"'Tyrannical' judge told 'not to return' after she berates defendant who died three days later"

A Florida judge was relieved of her duties Friday after berating a woman in a wheelchair who was having trouble breathing due to two medical conditions and who died at home three days after the encounter. Broward County Circuit Judge Merrilee Ehrlich gave defendant Sandra Faye Twiggs, 59, who was in court facing misdemeanor charges resulting from a family dispute, a tongue-lashing in a video dated April 15. The judge’s berating of Twiggs was so extreme that the wheelchair-bound woman’s public defender, Howard Finkelstein, called for the judge to be banned from presiding over criminal proceedings. “It is not appropriate for anyone to endure that kind of treatment,” Finkelstein's chief assistant, Gordon Weekes, told the Miami Herald. During the video, which was posted on YouTube and as a comment on a judicial gossip site, Twiggs asks about receiving treatments and the judge can be heard shouting her down, saying, “I’m not here to talk about your breathing treatments.”  Twiggs appeared before Ehrlich in a video feed from the North Broward Bureau during the hearing in bond court. At another point in the hearing, the judge shouted, “You’ve already said too much!”  Broward Chief Administrative Judge Jack Tuter said Saturday that he’s telling Ehrlich not to return to the courthouse because of her treatment of Twiggs, reports the Sun-Sentinel. “In light of recent events, we have decided Judge Ehrlich will be told not to return to the courthouse as her retirement is effective June 30,” Tuter said. “I will be working this weekend to find a substitute to cover Judge Ehrlich's [family court] division.” Twiggs, who suffered from asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, had been released on bail and died Wednesday in her sleep. “We never knew anything about this video until yesterday,” Carolyn Porter, Twiggs’ goddaughter, told the Florida publication. “She tried to tell us how they treated her, but she had anxiety, and every time she tried to talk about it, she couldn’t breathe.” In an April 20 letter to Tuter, the public defender said that Ehrlich was “bullying” other defendants that day.   “She raised her voice to many defendants, berated the attorneys and was impatient and exasperated during the proceedings,” Finkelstein wrote. He went on to write that Ehrlich’s demeanor was “embarrassing” and lacked “civility,” describing her as “aggressive and tyrannical.”  Her sister, Anna Lee Twiggs, told CBS Miami that Sandra Faye said “Anna, they treated me like a dog in the courthouse. They didn’t let me talk. The judge was so cruel.” “When she came home from being in there she was never the same,” Carolyn Porter, Twiggs’ goddaughter, told CBS Miami. “I was outraged,” Finkelstein told the Sun-Sentinel. “What I saw there was somebody that is not mentally and emotionally fit to sit in judgment of human beings. ... Nobody should suffer attacks like that because a judge is having a bad day.” Attorney Bill Gelin, who runs the JAABlog site, told the paper that he contacted Twiggs’ family on Friday to confirm that she had died. No one had spoken to them or apologized on behalf of the legal system for the despicable way Twiggs was treated until I called,” said Gelin. “This was sickening to me, so I did it for them.”

^ This is just plain disgusting. Ehrlich clearly abused her position and deserves more than to be suspended prior to her June retirement. She deserves to be fired rather than being ablshe to retire without any consequences for this and the other times she abused her power (I'm sure there are many other times if you just look for them.) Ehrlich and people like her are why we need to have more cameras in the courtroom. ^

Girls In Boy Scouts

From the AP:
"Beyond cookies: Thousands of girls are becoming Cub Scouts"

Ten-year-old twins Tatum and Ian Weir aren't about to let matching, minor injuries deter them from their goal of becoming the first sister-brother pair of Eagle Scouts. "I cut myself, too!" Tatum said, pausing only briefly during a recent Cub Scout meeting to touch her thumb to her brother's before continuing on with a woodworking project. New Hampshire's Daniel Webster Council, which includes Durham's Pack 154, is among more than 170 nationwide participating in an early adopter program as the Boy Scouts of America begins welcoming girls into the organization in new ways. The soft launch followed the Boy Scouts' announcement in October that it would begin admitting girls into the Cub Scouts starting later this year and would establish a new program next year for older girls based on the Boy Scout curriculum. "We heard from our families, 'OK, you've made the decision, can you please give us a way to do this right now because we've got families and daughters that are just really excited about it," said Boy Scouts spokeswoman Effie Delimarkos. "We heard that so much that we decided to kick off this early adopter program with the understanding that a lot of the materials we're working on, in terms of uniforms and handbooks and so forth were still in development," she said. "But folks were very understanding. They just wanted to be able to start." About two-thirds of councils nationwide signed up, bringing roughly 3,000 girls into the Cub Scouts so far, she said. Under the new plan, Cub Scout dens — the smallest unit — will be single-gender, either all boys or all girls. The larger Cub Scout packs will have the option to remain single-gender or not. Scouting leaders have some leeway, however, particularly in smaller communities. In Durham, for example, den leader Tuck Pescosolido recently led a group of four girls and four boys as they built wooden toolboxes. As the project got underway, the girls raised their hands and waited to be called on, while the boys were somewhat silly, cracking jokes about flying airplanes when asked about drilling pilot holes. But once they settled into the activity, things leveled out. "I didn't want to stereotype. But yes, I did expect perhaps the girls would be a little bit calmer, would be a little bit perhaps easier to manage in my role as the den leader, and to a certain extent that has played out," Pescosolido said. "But it's done so in a great way. It's not that the girls are sitting still. It's that they are very highly engaged in the task and they're less, perhaps, distracted by other things than the boys are." The girls have gotten an enthusiastic welcome from Scout leaders and the boys themselves, he said. Some of the new members are friends the boys recommended, while others are sisters of Scouts. BSA officials have said the changes are aimed, in part, at making things more convenient for busy families, though that notion doesn't sit well with some leaders at the Girl Scouts of the USA. "To me, a daughter is not a matter of convenience. You've made the choice for your son based on what you thought was best for him, and the daughter should be getting a similar decision. We know facts prove that the Girl Scout program is the better program for the girls and young women we serve," said Patricia Mellor, CEO of the Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains, which serves Vermont and New Hampshire. "I welcome opportunity for girls, but for years, I've been reading the cases and the information coming out from Boy Scouts that their program was specifically designed for boys, only for boys," she said. "I see that they're not changing their programming and wonder why they believe a program designed by men  In Durham, 9-year-old Sadhana Muppala said she didn't know much about Girl Scouts — "I feel like they make cookies" — but has enjoyed her Cub Scout experience so far. Building the toolbox was even more fun than she expected, she said, "Because we got to do it ourselves." Tatum Weir agreed. She had been to a few of her brother's meetings — their dad is the assistant den leader — and was eager to join. "I thought it would be pretty cool because I thought it would be a good opportunity to do with my brother," she said. "There's a lot of cool activities." Asked what he likes about Cub Scouts, Ian Weir ticked off a short list: going places, nature, and "Tatum's in it." "I was a little skeptical because it was me and my dad's thing, but when Tatum got in it was even more fun," he said.  

^  Growing up I was a Cub Scout and then a Boy Scout. My mom was the den leader for the Boy Scouts (for my brother and me) and for the Girl Scouts (for my sister.) I went to different events in both organizations and have to say I think the Boy Scouts did a lot more. The Girl Scouts sell cookies that they don't even bake while the Boy Scouts did activities inside and outside year-round. I felt bad for my sister because we were always going camping or doing some sort of community event while she watched. I have been involved with the Boy Scouts for years and so no longer know first-hand what they do today (the same with the Girl Scouts) but it would be nice to see both the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts to remain separate while at the same time doing lots of fun community services and other activities. The two organizations should also do more events, activities together. ^

Bullying To Change

From the BBC:
"Shania Twain apologises after saying she would vote for Donald Trump"

Shania Twain has apologised after saying she would have voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 US election. The Canadian singer, who cannot vote in the US, told the Guardian she appreciated the President's honesty. "I would have voted for him because, even though he was offensive, he seemed honest," she said. "Do you want straight or polite?" After a social media backlash, the star issued a statement saying the comments were not "representative of my values". Twain, whose hits include That Don't Impress Me Much and You're Still The One, recently returned to the spotlight after a 14-year break, triggered by the collapse of her marriage followed by vocal problems and a battle with Lyme disease. She spoke to the Guardian as she embarked on her first tour since 2002. The comments about President Trump were not the focus of the interview, but were picked up by media outlets around the world. The 52-year-old said she felt the President was "transparent - and politics has a reputation of not being that, right?" Liberal fans treated the comments with a mixture of surprise and anger - with one declaring "Shania Twain't" - while conservatives welcomed her comments. Following the debate over her comments, Shania posted a four-part statement on Twitters, saying: "I would like to apologise to anybody I have offended. "The question caught me off guard. As a Canadian, I regret answering this unexpected question without giving my response more context," she continued. "I was trying to explain, in a response to a question about the election, that my limited understanding was that the president talked to a portion of America like an accessible person they could relate to, as he was not a politician. "My answer was awkward, but certainly should not be taken as representative of my values nor does it mean I endorse him. "I make music to bring people together. My path will always be one of inclusivity, as my history shows." In the Guardian interview, Twain also discussed her stepfather, Jerry Twain, who she said had abused her physically, emotionally and sexually from the age of 10. "I'm not going to go into details about it. I don't mind saying it, because I do think it's important that people understand you can survive these things," she said. "I feel the sexual abuse goes hand in hand with the physical and psychological abuse when it's somebody you know," the star said.  "I learned to block it out. Abusers need to manipulate you, whether it's before or after, and what I said to myself is: 'OK, there's something wrong with this person and that person is not well.' "

^ The Love to Hate Trump strikes again. They have bullied Twain into changing her comments. So much for the ultra-Liberals being  for free speech and free thinking. There's a reason I don't think being ultra-Conservative or ultra-Liberal is a good thing.  Being too far on either side makes you lose sight of reality which is clearly becoming the case with the Love to Hate Trump group. ^

Royal Boy

From the BBC:
"Royal baby: Duchess of Cambridge gives birth to boy"

The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to a baby boy. The child, who was born in the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, central London, is fifth in line to the throne and the Queen's sixth great-grandchild.  The new arrival, who is the third child of Catherine and the Duke of Cambridge, was born at 11:01 BST weighing 8lbs 7oz. A Kensington Palace statement said Catherine and her new son are "both doing well". William was present for the birth, the palace added. The statement added that members of both families had been informed and were "delighted with the news". Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted her "warmest congratulations" to William and Catherine. She said: "I wish them great happiness for the future." The duchess was admitted to hospital shortly before 6:00 on Monday with the announcement of the birth coming shortly after 13:00. Senior royal doctors consultant obstetrician Guy Thorpe-Beeston and consultant gynaecologist Alan Farthing oversaw the birth. Both were also called in for the arrival of Prince George in 2013 and Princess Charlotte in 2015.  The new prince, born on St George's Day, shares a birthday with Lady Gabriella Windsor - the daughter of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, who was born at the Lindo Wing on 23 April 1981. The name of the new child has not yet been announced.

^ It's nice to know the baby is well. ^

Basic Failure

From the BBC:
"Basic income trial falls flat in Finland"

The Finnish government has decided not to expand a limited trial in paying people a basic income, which has drawn much international interest. Currently 2,000 unemployed Finns are receiving a flat monthly payment of €560 (£490; $685) as basic income. "The eagerness of the government is evaporating. They rejected extra funding [for it]," said Olli Kangas, one of the experiment's architects. Some see basic income as a way to get unemployed people into temporary jobs. The argument is that, if paid universally, basic income would provide a guaranteed safety net. That would help to address insecurities associated with the "gig" economy, where workers do not have staff contracts.  Supporters say basic income would boost mobility in the labour market as people would still have an income between jobs. Finland's two-year pilot scheme started in January 2017, making it the first European country to test an unconditional basic income. The 2,000 participants - all unemployed - were chosen randomly. But it will not be extended after this year, as the government is now examining other schemes for reforming the Finnish social security system. "I'm a little disappointed that the government decided not to expand it," said Prof Kangas, a researcher at the Social Insurance Institution (Kela), a Finnish government agency. Speaking to the BBC from Turku, he said the government had turned down Kela's request for €40-70m extra to fund basic income for a group of employed Finns, instead of limiting the experiment to 2,000 unemployed people.  Another Kela researcher, Miska Simanainen, said "reforming the social security system is on the political agenda, but the politicians are also discussing many other models of social security, rather than just basic income".  When Finland launched the experiment its unemployment rate was 9.2% - higher than among its Nordic neighbours.  That, and the complexity of the Finnish social benefits system, fuelled the calls for ambitious social security reforms, including the basic income pilot. The pilot's full results will not be released until late 2019. n February this year the influential OECD think tank said a universal credit system, like that being introduced in the UK, would work better than a basic income in Finland. The study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said income tax would have to increase by nearly 30% to fund a basic income. It also argued that basic income would increase income inequality and raise Finland's poverty rate from 11.4% to 14.1%. In contrast, the OECD said, universal credit would cut the poverty rate to 9.7%, as well as reduce complexity in the benefits system.

^ I called it from the beginning. ^