Lesson For Today: Children Make Good Slave Labor - Common Dreams brings us the following story: For-Profit U.S. Schools Sell Off Their Textbooks which reveals the tribulations of one for-profit company which an area has given up its schools to. Hard times in the economy have resulted in some... economizing.
Days before classes were to begin in September, trucks arrived to take away most of the textbooks, computers, lab supplies and musical instruments the company had provided -- Edison had to sell them off for cash. Many students were left with decades-old books and no equipment.
And the best part, put the kids to work...
As a final humiliation, Chris Whittle, the company's charismatic chief executive and founder, recently told a meeting of school principals that he'd thought up an ingenious solution to the company's financial woes: Take advantage of the free supply of child labor, and force each student to work an hour a day, presumably without pay, in the school offices.
You Say It's Your Birthday... - Today's My Birthday! I'm now 35 years old. I remember the party my friends gathered together for when I turned 30. It seems like it was yesterday.
Fruits of war -
Ananova - Iraq war 'will increase risk of terror attacks' A US-led war on Iraq would heighten the risk of further terrorist attacks by al-Qaida, according to a report.
The report by the Oxford Research Group warns the civilian death toll in Iraq would reach 10,000 from conventional warfare alone.
- Spirited Away - Took the kids to see Spirited Away this weekend. It's a film by Hayao Miyazaki, who also has directed a number of other popular anime such as Princess Mononoke, Kiki's Delivery Service and My Neighbor Totoro.
I saw Princess Mononoke when it was released to rental stores and I didn't quite connect with it. It didn't make a whole heck of a lot of sense to me. However, I really enjoyed Spirited Away, and so did my daughters. It's got a great plot which reminded me of The Wizard of Oz just a little bit, in that this young girl becomes lost and must get back to the world she knows. However, getting back is not all she has to do; she also has to save her parents from being permanently transformed into pigs and perhaps eaten.
This is a film full of imaginative characters and a persistent, brave female main character. It's no wonder it made quite an impression on my younger daughter.
I recommend the film for peope of all ages. It may be a little frightening for younger children, but Mattie is 4 and handled it fine.
- Blog DIY - I've written a review of the new O'Reilly book "Essential Blogging." Check the review out if you're interested in starting your own blog. It's a great book for absolute beginners.
And if any of my friends start a blog, please let me know so I can add you to my blogroll.
- Before you die, you see the Ring - Yeah, I went to see the Ring, that new horror movie. I saw it on Saturday at a midnight show. I thought it was very creepy and definitely worth the admission price if you like weird horror films with a touch of mystery.
The film involves an urban legend regarding a videotape which, once it has been viewed, somehow kills the viewer seven days later. Is the legend true? What's going on?
You can view the actual videotape footage (which doesn't actually make much sense) at IFILM where it is called An Open Letter. I think the name of the movie changed, and perhaps that was the original title. In any case, I recommend you see the movie, then go to iFilm some night when you are at home alone and re-watch the notorious video footage. I dare you not to get a little creeped out, thinking you might hear the phone ring... (But see the movie first for maximum effect.)
Charles Schultz Philosophy - Someone sent me the following text, attributed to the "Peanuts" creator. It can be found many places on the net (just search Google and see) but I reproduce it here for the heck of it:
You don't actually have to take the quiz. Just read the QUIZ straight through, and you'll get the point (an awesome one) that it is trying to make!
Take this quiz:
1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.
How did you do?
The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers.
But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten.
Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.
Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
6. Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you.
The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards.
They are the ones that care.
Pass this on to those people who have made a difference in your life.
"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today.
It's already tomorrow in Australia."
Posted by James at 1:12 PM
October 15, 2002
My Peace Pumpkin -
My Peace Pumpkin - Here's the pumpkin I've got hanging out in front of my house now. It's a little bit hippy, but I liked it better than the stark "NO WAR" stencil. I think it gets the message across fine. (Click the image for the full picture)
We may be heading off full steam to war, but I don't have to like it.
If you've been feeling like all our questions haven't been answered or that the country is being steamrolled, this is a pretty easy way to make a statement regarding what sort of activity you think the Bush administration should be engaging in.
Posted by James at 7:26 AM
I've been duped! - That
I've been duped! - That prostitute story is an urban legend. I should ahve known, but I was blinded by the BBC. Can't you trust any news source anymore? Dammit!
Posted by James at 7:22 AM
October 11, 2002
Mysterious Guantanamo Disappearance - Two
Mysterious Guantanamo Disappearance - Two weeks ago, Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Foraker put on his civvies, grabbed a flashlight and disappeared into the night.
Posted by James at 12:47 AM
October 10, 2002
October 8, 2002
Toilets of Japan - Talking
Toilets of Japan - Talking toilets? Water and air jet toilets? Toilets that guard your health and report your vital statistics to a central location? It's all in the cards, and some of it is already in place. This story is a must read: Japanese Masters Get Closer to the Toilet Nirvana
This quote is especially funny:
To some, this is a sign of a nation gone perilously soft. They worry that the cosseted Japanese youths of the future, sitting dreamily on air conditioned thrones, will be no match for their squat-toilet neighbors — the worker bees of industrial China or the spartan soldiers of North Korea.
Posted by James at 5:36 PM
On Preventive War - I
On Preventive War - I thought the following statement, made by our senator on the subject of preventive war was worth posting in its entirety.
STATEMENT OF SENATOR EDWARD M. KENNEDY ON THE BUSH DOCTRINE OF
We face no more serious decision in our democracy than whether
The question of whether our nation should attack Iraq is playing
On September 20, the Administration unveiled its new National
But in the discussion over the past few months about Iraq, the
Traditionally, "pre-emptive" action refers to times when states
By contrast, "preventive" military action refers to strikes
The coldly premeditated nature of preventive attacks and
Historically, the United States has condemned the idea of
In the early days of the Cold War, some U.S. military and
The first round of that debate ended in 1950, when President
Arguments for preventive war resurfaced again when the
The argument that the United States should take preventive
Yet another round of debate followed the Cuban Missile Crisis
As these earlier cases show, American strategic thinkers have
In each of these cases a way was found to deter other nations,
Now, the Bush Administration says we must take pre-emptive
The document openly contemplates preventive attacks against
I strongly oppose any such extreme doctrine and I'm sure that
It is impossible to justify any such double standard under
The Administration's doctrine is a call for 21st century
This is not just an academic debate. There are important real
It would also send a signal to governments the world over that
Obviously, this debate is only just beginning on the
It will also be a debate among vast numbers of well-meaning
Posted by James at 11:34 AM
October 4, 2002