Archive for March 2006

No Lunch Money? You Get Bread and Water

Sunday, March 12th, 2006

It’s no secret that public schools everywhere, and in Hawaii in particular, are hurting for money. Normally, you hear of this problem through the story that our classrooms need this, our teacher need that, and so on. But of course, it costs money to satisfy Junior’s growling stomach. But even with reduced price and free lunches, some parents still can’t bring themselves to give their kids lunch money.

According to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, some schools are responding by providing “alternative lunches” until the parents pay up.

The “alternate lunch” varies from school to school but generally consists of a starch such as crackers, a piece of bread, or a cinnamon roll, and either juice, milk or water—far from what is required under the balanced-meal guidelines of the National School Lunch Program.

Quite simply, the unlucky kids, literally, get little more than bread and water.

Says Board of Education member Mary Cochran:

“My concern is that there are different avenues that aren’t being explored. All children should be provided lunch, and if schools can’t be creative enough to ensure that happens, they shouldn’t penalize the children,” Cochran said.

Agreed. The article does mention that ideas such as sending the past due accounts to collections is given. Of course, they could try the proverbial way of paying off a meal you can’t pay for…put the kids on permanent KP duty until the bill is paid. At least they’d still get fed.

Which Would You Choose? (UPDATED)

Saturday, March 11th, 2006

Originally found at Firedoglake, here’s a dilemma that’ll really make you think, and which has relevance given the current state of politics today. It was put in a simpler manner than this, but I’m going to take dramatic license with it:

You are a firefighter in a major U.S. city. You are a family person, married, and a regular attendee at your local church and a staunch follower of your faith. You and your spouse have also been trying to have children unsuccessfully for about a year. One day you get the call: A fire has broken out at your local university, and it’s a big one. A three-alarm fire. Your truck races to the scene to find nothing short of an inferno.

You are told that the fire had started on one end of the building, but the laboratory on the other end of the building has not yet been touched. It houses a major research experiment into in vitro fertilization. The university has spent years on what would be the next advance in fertility treatments, and its loss would be catastrophic.

Suddenly, you are told that there is someone still in the building. One of the researchers, unable to find childcare, had brought her two year old daughter with her. She was called out of the lab to a meeting, and it was in that meeting that the fire alarm had gone off. Apparently in the rush to evacuate no one had thought to take the child out of the building as well. You are assigned to go into the building and get the experimental embryos and the child out safely. The mother pleads with you to bring her daughter out safely. She shows you a picture of her child. She is as cute as a button. But business is business. In you go.

When you go in, you find that the flames are at the door to the lab, and the building is beginning to lose structural integrity. The fire is starting to burn through the door. Once you get in the lab, you have time to take only one of them with you. Which would you try to save, the embryos or the child?

Update: Changed the scenario slightly to give “you” more incentive one way…

A Brand New Look

Saturday, March 11th, 2006

As I mentioned here, I’ve just completed the mockups of the new look and am in the process of moving them over. As a result, things might be a little wonky for a while until things settle down…links might take you someplace else. If you do run into difficulties, please comment here.

Bosnia Butcher Dies in Prison

Saturday, March 11th, 2006

Breaking news: The talk of the world today is that Slobodan Milosevic, considered the chief architect of the “ethnic cleansing” policies that led to wars in Bosnia and Kosovo, was found dead in his prison cell in The Hague before his war crime tribunal could come to an end.

More Wisdom on the Ports Deal

Friday, March 10th, 2006

Yes, I live in the middle of the Pacific. The Honolulu Advertiser is my local paper, and it’s a great local paper at that. But it’s not exactly the first choice of people looking for national commentary. Allow me to throw some props their way for a great editorial.

George Bush will never forget who his biggest political allies are.

By some measurement, it is his friends, the Arabs.

And he’ll owe them big time for getting him out of one of the biggest political messes of his administration.

And the Advertiser is not afraid to go out on a limb and join the minority opinion:

There was no good reason to reject the deal — aside from outright xenophobia and bigotry. … So Bush was taking a principled stand in wanting the deal to go through. Congress, however, took the issue shamelessly into new arenas of demagoguery with both Democrats and Republicans trading on the public’s fear and deep-seated anti-Arab sentiment.

Where Do I Stand?

Thursday, March 9th, 2006

“I Return Enclosed the Symbols of My Years of Service”

Thursday, March 9th, 2006

Joseph DuRocher’s life is one of public service, as a public defender for Orange and Osceola Counties in Florida, and before that as a naval aviator in the 1960s. Surely his lieutenant bars and aviator’s wings are a point of pride with him.

Make that…were a point of pride with him. He returned his badges to President Bush and accompanied them with a scathing critique of his foreign policy.

Read the letter of a true patriot. (Via Mad as Hell)

RIP: Dubai Ports World Deal

Thursday, March 9th, 2006

Give props to Dubai Ports World for knowing when to drop a hot potato. After weeks of watching Democrats, congressional Republicans, and the Bush administration go after each other’s collective throats, DPW decided to bow out and sell their newly-acquired American operations to a U.S. entity. It’s not clear what that means, but it appears that the debate has been rendered moot by the decision.

I’ve been following Richard Silverstein’s Tikun Olam, one of the few progressives to come down in favor of the deal. Needless to say, he’s none too happy about the outcome. Says Richard:

I hate to wish ill upon my country and fellow countryfolk. But if UAE chooses the European Airbus instead of Boeing for that next $10-billion airplane deal this spring, we’ll have only ourselves to blame.

I agree. This could be damaging. We might not see any damage right away, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Arabs started divesting themselves of all things American. Understandable. Why would any country in their right mind invest in a country whose government is a total, racist, xenophobic basket case?

He Likes Big…Books

Thursday, March 9th, 2006

An enterprising Christian comedian has created a parody of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s classic “Baby Got Back” (video, lyrics). Hilarious!

(Via Evil Bobby)

Jessica’s Gift: Less Toddlers to Die This Fall

Tuesday, March 7th, 2006

Starting this fall, the Centers for Disease Control will recommend that all children from age 6 months to 5 years be vaccinated against influenza. The Washington Post tells the story of Jessica Stein, who succumbed to the virus in January 2002 at the age of four, and credits moving testimony by her father as having swayed the committee in charge of national flu vaccine policy.

Call it Jessica’s Gift.