Mom Sues After Being Arrested For Allowing Kids To Play Outside

In July 2011, a Texas mom spent the night in jail after a neighbor called and told police that children were playing outside unsupervised. Tammy Cooper was arrested on child endangerment charges. Now, she’s suing her neighbor Shelley Fuller, the arresting officer and the La Porte Police Department.

Cooper’s children, age 6 and 9, were playing outside when a neighbor called 911 and claimed the children had been abandoned. When police arrived, Cooper told them she had been sitting outside the entire time. Nonetheless, she spent 18 hours in jail.

Cooper, who says she routinely allows her children to play outside while she keeps on an eye on them from inside the house, was handcuffed in front of her children.

“The incident also led to an investigation by Child Protective Services, requiring Cooper to take her children to the CPS office in Houston,” reads the complaint. “Her children were separated from her and interrogated by child abuse investigators. CPS found no cause for concern regarding the well being of Cooper’s children and dropped the investigation.”

Florida School System Expected To Vote On Paddling

A school system in Florida might decide to bring back paddling. Though seldom used, corporal punishment is legal in schools in 19 States, including Florida.

New school board member and former principle Carol Ely is an advocate of corporal punishment. When she takes her seat on the board, the old standard of discipline will be revisited.

Ely was the principal of Shady Hill Elementary in Ocala, Fla., for 14 years. She says that, in her experience, paddling is far more effective than other methods of discipline, such as suspension.

“The return rate of children for corporal punishment has been almost zero,” she said.

Some parents are in favor of the idea, such as Linda McClean: “I would let them get a spanking and when they get home they would get another one for disrespecting school.”

But others disagree with the practice.

“No one should ever hit my kid. It should never be allowed,” said parent Jerrilyn Taylor.

Ely will pursue making corporal punishment an option when she joins the board next month.

How To Rid Your Food Of Nutrients In One Minute Or Less

Convenience comes with a price. That’s definitely the case with microwaves. If you’re thinking of zapping your veggies, you may want to think again.

A study published in Bioeclectromagnetics in 2008 found that cooking asparagus in the microwave reduces the vitamins available.

In 2001, a study was published in the Journal of Nutrition which suggested that heating garlic in the microwave for one minute inactivates alliinase, an enzyme in garlic that fights cancer.

In 2003, an article in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture showed that microwaving broccoli can remove as much as 97 percent of its antioxidants.

Microwaving may seem like the quickest and best option when preparing food. Although it may be the quickest, it is by no means the best. Not only do you lose essential nutrients when you choose to microwave your food, it also affects the taste and texture.

Instead of microwaving, try steaming.

School Lunch Regulations Create Black Market, Hunger, Wasted Food

Some entrepreneurial students in Massachusetts are using the restrictions on school lunches as a way to make a little extra money. A black market for chocolate syrup is forming. The sugary substance sells for 50 cents a squeeze.

On Aug. 1, chocolate milk became a thing of the past for students at Greater New Bedford Vocational-Technical High School. But that hasn’t stopped students from making their own.

“Of course they got rid of dessert, (but) flavored milk … I don’t understand why we can’t have that,” student Paige Lame told the Standard Times.

The rules also reduce the amount of protein students can have while increasing their servings of fruits and vegetables.

Students are largely not in favor of the new rules. Massachusetts introduced new lunchroom guidelines this year, as have many schools across the Nation.

“You’re paying more for less,” said student Erik Cortez of New Bedford. “I get it, but why should they have the right to tell you what you can and can’t eat?”

If students don’t eat the lunch, then the program is of no benefit, a fact that the Federal government seems to have overlooked. More students are bringing their lunch or just throwing away what they are given in the cafeteria.

“Last year, my son didn’t bring lunch. This year, he’s bringing lunch because he’s hungry,” said a parent of a New Bedford student.

In Wisconsin, students have taken to YouTube to protest.

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IB7NDUSBOo&w=420&h=315]

 

Florida School District Hopes To Celebrate LGBT History Month

A school district in south Florida is expected to celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender History Month. During LGBT History Month, a different “icon” is recognized every day.

Tomorrow, Broward County School Board members are expected to approve a decision to support LGBT History Month. Kindergarteners and seniors alike will be introduced to new role models.

Started in 1994 by Rodney Wilson, a high school history teacher in Missouri, LGBT History Month takes place every October and has been well received in California and Philadelphia.

“Administrators, teachers, staff, parents and students are encouraged to take part in LGBT History Month in any way that is most positive and uplifting to their schools and communities,” states the Broward County school board’s proposed resolution. “And to coordinate efforts to highlight exemplary role models from the LGBT community.”

Michael Rajner, a former member of the Broward school system’s Diversity Committee, said: “It gives youth a role model to look up to. And to realize that they themselves are a wonderful human being, and can be a productive, important member of our society.”

Some believe that if schools would support LGBT History Month, it would help put an end to bullying.

Eliana Mor, a 17-year-old female who says she has been picked on for wearing boy’s clothing, supports the decision.

“Coming from middle school and being bullied for so long, for so many years and seeing how everything has come full circle, it’s just great to see,” she said. “I knew by age 10, yeah, I liked boys, but I liked girls, too.”

NYC Schools Give Out Morning-After Pill

The New York City Department of Education is supplying morning-after pills to students. It has become a practice in at least 13 schools.

Making the practice even more controversial is that parents are not notified when the school nurse gives girls emergency contraceptives. Girls as young as 14 are given pills when they ask for them.

The birth control is supplied by CATCH (Connecting Adolescents To Comprehensive Health). Health Department doctors write prescriptions that enable school nurses to give out the drug. This fall, students can receive birth-control injections every three months.

A student must simply inform a school nurse that she has had unprotected sex. If the girl passes a pregnancy test, she can be given the pill.

Last year in five schools, 567 students received Plan B tablets and 580 students were given Reclipsen, according to the New York Post.

Parents are able to sign a form stating that their daughter cannot be given contraceptives. But according to the Department of Education, only 1-2 percent of parents have opted out.

New Jersey Bans ‘Big’ Smiles

If you go to get your driver’s license in New Jersey, put on your sad face. The State has banned “big” smiles, saying they interfere with facial-recognition technology.

The policy has been in effect all year, but it has not been talked about much. That is, until Velvet McNeil spoke to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

She told the newspaper that she stormed out when she was told not to smile, but not given a reason.

“Your picture means a lot,” she said. “It’s who you are.”

But the smile police are a little lenient. Raymond Martinez, commission of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, says a “neutral smile” is OK.

Elyse Coffey, a spokesperson for the Motor Vehicle Commion, said that a slight smile is acceptable, but people should not smile as if they won a lottery.

“The digital photos allow us to conduct a facial recognition scrub, which allows us to check the photos of our 19 million faces to make sure each driver has only one driving record and you are who you say you are,” Coffey said. “We’re asking customers not to make exaggerated facial expressions.”

Group Attacks University Of Tennessee For Praying Before Game

Praying before a game is a tradition in many football programs. But the University of Tennessee recently re-evaluated the process after a group complained.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote a letter to Chancellor Jimmy Cheek, urging the school to stop the ritual. The letter cites surveys, court cases and even the Sermon on the Mount in an attempt to convince Cheek that praying before a game is unConstitutional.

Earlier in the year, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga started having a moment of silence before games, instead of a prayer. The FFRF wanted the University of Tennessee to volunteer to do the same.

Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the foundation and author of the letter, said: “This is a public university, not a Christian club. It’s open to all comers and should be welcoming. When you’re not religious or are of another faith and you get prayed at during events, it’s really very grating. It’s a sock in the gut for you to go for a sporting event and then be told to conform to someone else’s religion.”

Presently, Tennessee officials have no intention of changing the ritual.

Jesus’ Wife: What’s The Big Deal?

In the eyes of some people, Jesus got married this week. Elated liberals and cantankerous conservatives both decided to attend the wedding.

Karen L. King of Harvard announced her discovery of a fragmented text at the International Congress of Coptic Studies. The text reportedly conveys the idea that Jesus was married. Since then, the media has been ablaze with commentary about this mysterious woman and the implications to Christianity.

I didn’t pay much attention to the story until I was driving home in the afternoon and the story was on a conservative radio talk show. The program was trying to get an additional hour on the air because there were so many callers.

Liberals and conservatives alike have looked like fools in their analysis of the issue. Jesus’ purported wife has been turned into a political football (surprised?) which is being kicked back and forth between the two camps. Some liberals are heralding the text, saying that it destroys the concept of traditional marriage and gender roles. Somehow, they reason, if a fourth century writing says that Jesus had a wife, then we should all be able to shack up with someone of the same gender. On the other half of the field, conservatives are pointing to the text as proof of the liberal’s devious plan to chip away at traditional Christianity one belief at a time.

Both sides are showing their ignorance.

Huffington Post has blown up with posts about the revolutionary find and its implications.

Michael D’Antonio wrote: “The implications of professor King’s discovery are profound.” No, they aren’t.

Rebecca Pahle wrote: “this particular discovery is pretty interesting (to me, anyways) in that it challenges the traditional Biblical view of woman’s relationship to man.” No, it doesn’t.

Conservatives have attacked King, saying she is just another liberal academic trying to dismantle Christianity. King is probably not your typical Sunday morning country churchgoer; but, in my limited experience, most of the people who work in Ivy League divinity schools aren’t trying to destroy your grandma’s beliefs.

The text simply shows what a group in the fourth century believed or what they were trying to convince people of. That’s what writing does. If the world spins for another 2,000 years, people will be able to read FOX News and MSNBC and see what they were trying to push in 2012.

There’s nothing revolutionary about this text, there’s plenty of ancient writings in which you could find something that might not line up with a traditionally held belief about the Old or New Testament. This latest text is just the flavor of the week.

Why aren’t we talking about the writings that bear the names of Enoch, Baruch, Esdras and the Maccabees? Or how about Gabriel’s Revelation, which supposedly cast doubt on the resurrection story? What about the Testament of Abraham? And where’s Huffington Post’s coverage of the Gospel of Thomas? There’s plenty of good material in there for the Bible basher.

If you were to regularly attend conferences like the International Congress of Coptic Studies, you would encounter this sort of thing quite frequently. Yes, this was a revolutionary find in the field of biblical studies, but it’s not worth all the media fuss. It doesn’t make King an enemy of traditional beliefs, it doesn’t redefine sexual roles and it doesn’t even mean that Jesus was married. It’s just something a person wrote in the fourth century. It shows what they believed or wanted others to believe. Just because a person jots something down doesn’t make it authoritative. Imagine if all the blogs today were treated as historically authoritative 1,500 years from now. What a mess!

Biblical scholars come across this type of thing on a somewhat regular basis. It helps them understand how the ideas and writings of ancient communities evolved.

As they teach you in preaching class, no discussion of a text should conclude without a personal application, so here’s how the text applies to you:

If you don’t believe the Bible is the inspired, authoritative word of God, then this ancient text tells you that somebody in the fourth century wrote that Jesus had a wife.

If you do believe the Bible is the inspired, authoritative word of God, then this ancient text tells you that somebody in the fourth century wrote that Jesus had a wife.

Stop! You’re On Camera

You might want to start following the instruction of your high-school driver’s ed instructor: Come to a complete stop at stop signs. Red-light cameras have become the norm in some cities. Now stop signs can record you, too.

Washington, D.C., is preparing to install 16 stop sign cameras by the end of 2012. If a person is caught on camera rolling through a stop sign, he will be fined $50. The car must come to a complete stop.

Before the cameras are installed in the city, residents will be given a 30-day warning period.

California was the first to install stop sign cameras. Failing to stop has resulted in $175 tickets. Tens of thousands of people have been ticketed.

“If it’s something not posted or people are not aware of it and they didn’t announce it and kind of just put it there, it’s kind of misleading. I just got a ticket in the mail, a dittoed off sheet with a picture of my vehicle and my license plate. I just think they’re revenue for California,” one ticketed driver said.

Maryland is also considering installing stop-sign cameras.

Obama Campaigns With Jay-Z And Beyonce

President Barack Obama hung out with the hip-hop crowd in hopes of getting re-elected in 2012. He told those in attendance that he and rap mogul Jay-Z have some things in common.

Jay-Z and Beyonce held a fundraiser for the President at Jay-Z’s 40/40 Club in Manhattan. Obama said that Beyonce “couldn’t be a better role model for our daughters because she carries herself with such class and poise.”

The President went on to say that he shares “a little bond” with Jay-Z.

“Jay-Z now knows what my life is like. We both have daughters, and our wives are more popular than we are. So we’ve got a little bond there. It’s hard, but it’s OK,” said Obama.

While Obama spoke next to a 350-bottle tower of $800-per-bottle champagne, the President stuck to a familiar theme: his understanding of poverty.

“And the good thing about so many of us here–and I know, I speak for Jay and Bey–is we remember what it’s like not having anything, and we know people who were just as talented as us that didn’t get the same break, the same chance,” Obama said. “We remember some of our parents or grandparents who came here as immigrants and got a little bit of help along the way to go to that school or be able to start that first business.”
While in New York, Obama also appeared on “The Late Show with David Letterman.” The GOP responded by putting out the following list:

Top 10 Things Obama Should Be Doing Instead of Hobnobbing With Jay-Z, Beyonce, Letterman

  1. Get an intelligence briefing.
  2. Tell Americans how he’s going to get nearly 47 million Americans off food stamps.
  3. Come up with a plan to reduce the number of Americans living in poverty.
  4. Meet with his jobs council.
  5. Explain why the Vice President of the United States would cite China’s state-run agency to attack Governor Mitt Romney or for anything for that matter.
  6. Meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
  7. Declare China a currency manipulator.
  8. Provide a detailed plan for what he is going to do to create middle class jobs.
  9. Provide a plan that actually balances the budget at any point in the future.
  10. End the war on coal that cost 1,200 jobs just today.

City Tells Man It’s Illegal To Clean Sidewalk

A business owner in Corpus Christi, Texas, is at a loss for what to do after the city informed him: He cannot wash bird poop off the sidewalk in front of his restaurant. The city claims the droppings go into the storm drain and then into the bay, polluting the water.

John Webb, manager of Crawdaddy’s, has been washing the sidewalk for 18 years, but recently he was told it was against the law.

“If I can’t wash my sidewalk off, what am I supposed to do? I’m at a loss at how to clean this up,” he said. “Now I’m stuck with having dirty sidewalks and this bird poop. It’s nasty,”

Officials say that Webb is violating the city storm water ordinance. Hosing off the sidewalk could result in a $2,000 fine.

City officials believe that it’s OK for rainwater to wash away the bird poop because that is a natural occurrence.

“It just seems kinda foolish that rain washing it off is a natural occurrence, but a water hose washing it off is a pollutant. It just really doesn’t make much sense to me,” said Webb.

Team Obama Thinks Romney May Have Upper Hand In Debate

The Obama campaign does not want voters to have high expectations of President Barack Obama when he takes the stage to debate Mitt Romney, according to The Associated Press. Obama’s team thinks the debate will present “a challenge.”

“While Mitt Romney has done 20 debates in the last year, he has not done one in four years, so there certainly is a challenge in that regard,” said Jennifer Psaki, Obama’s campaign spokeswoman.

Obama’s aides believe that Obama is not well-suited for debates, given his tendency to ramble and stray off topic during news conferences.

The President has been practicing with Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.). Kerry has been acting the part of Romney.

Romney has been honing his skills with Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio). Portman pretends to be Obama.

Three Presidential debates are scheduled for October: Oct.  3 in Denver; Oct. 16 in Hempstead, N.Y.; and Oct. 22 in Boca Raton, Fla.

The Vice-Presidential debate will be held Oct. 11 in Danville, Ky.

College Professor Allegedly Tells Students To Vote For Obama

A college professor in Florida has been placed on leave after allegedly passing out Barack Obama campaign materials. Sharon Sweet of Brevard Community College is being investigated.

Allegedly, Sweet told students to sign a pledge that stated: “I pledge to vote for President Obama and Democrats up and down the ticket.”

The college received a call complaining about the incident. It was then that the school began an investigation.

“Based on the allegations, Associate Professor Sweet has requested, and been granted, a leave of absence without pay effective immediately,” wrote John Glisch, associate vice president for communications at BCC. “The college will continue its investigation into the matter, which will include interviews with all students in her class.”

Under Florida law, an employee of the State cannot “use his or her official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with an election or nomination of officer or influencing another person’s vote or affecting the result thereof.”

New Black Panther Party Considers Going To Polls To Prevent ‘Intimidation’

The New Black Panther Party might be at the polls in November. National chairman of the New Black Panther Party Malik Zulu Shabazz said in a recent radio interview that they might show up at the polls to prevent “intimidation against our people.”

During an interview on WABC Radio’s “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio,” Shabazz was asked about the Democratic National Convention, President Barack Obama and the election in November.

Shabazz said there is obviously less excitement in 2012 than in 2008. “Many in my community don’t have the same enthusiasm.”

He went on to call Obama “a disappointment,” and said that the Democratic Party is taking the black vote for granted.

Although Shabazz is not happy with the present administration, he said the black community should consider Obama and the Democratic Party “the lesser of two evils.”

According to Shabazz, the New Black Panther Party will consider forming a presence at the polls so that black voters will not be intimidated.

In 2008, members of the New Black Panther Party made an appearance in Philadelphia. Two members were charged with voter intimidation, but charges were dropped.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4MTQVMatW0&w=420&h=315]

ACLU Says DNA Collection Violates Constitution

The American Civil Liberties Union will try tomorrow to convince a Federal appellate court in San Francisco that DNA collection of innocent citizens is unConstitutional and an attack on personal liberty. The ACLU wants to get rid of California’s Proposition 69, a proposition which allows police to obtain DNA from every person arrested on felony charges.

All those arrested on felony charges have their cheek swabbed with a cotton swab. This gives the State information on those who are found not guilty and released. About 11,000 samples are collected monthly.

Maryland enacted a similar law, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unConstitutional in April.

Those in favor of such laws say that DNA is just part of the justice process, allowing people to be found even decades after a crime. But the ACLU believes that if DNA is taken from a person who is found innocent, the innocent person’s privacy has been violated.

Lily Haskell was arrested, charged with a felony and swabbed for DNA after attending an anti-war rally in San Francisco. Charges were quickly dropped.

“Now my genetic information is stored indefinitely in a government database, simply because I was exercising my right to speak out,” Haskell said.

Public Health Campaigns May Contribute To Obesity

According to research out of Yale, there’s a fat chance that public health campaigns will help overweight Americans. The messages could have the opposite effect.

After analyzing 1,041 Americans and 30 public service announcements, the researchers concluded that the campaigns may make members of the intended audience feel worse about themselves. As a result, many will go to fridge to find comfort.

“Public health campaigns that are designed to address obesity should carefully consider the kinds of messages that are disseminated, so that those who are struggling with obesity can be supported in their efforts to become healthier, rather than shamed and stigmatized,” researcher Rebecca Puhl said.

The messages rated the most motivating were those that simply offered health tips.

“By stigmatizing obesity or individuals struggling with their weight, campaigns can alienate the audience they intend to motivate and hinder the behaviors they intend to encourage,” Puhl said.

County Installs Cameras To Watch Cameras

Prince George’s County in Maryland now has surveillance cameras that will watch surveillance cameras. The residents of Maryland are tired of speed cameras, so some people have been destroying them. The county hopes the new cameras will slow down the damage.

So far, six people have damaged speed cameras. In one instance, a person pulled a gun and shot the camera. On another occasion, someone cut off one of the four legs of the camera. On July 3, a person lit a camera on fire.

“It costs us $30,000 to $100,000 to replace a camera,” said Prince George’s County Police Maj. Robert V. Liberati. “That’s a significant loss in the program. Plus it also takes a camera off the street that operates and slows people down. So there’s a loss of safety for the community.”

There is already one camera watching a camera. By the end of the year, the county hopes to have about a dozen more.

Liberati says the plan is all about public safety, not an infringement on privacy or a tactic to increase revenue.

NAACP Protests Pennsylvania Voter Law

About 200 protesters gathered yesterday across from Philadelphia’s City Hall in anticipation of a State Supreme Court hearing on a new voter ID law. Pennsylvania State Supreme Court justices began hearing arguments in an attempt to decide whether the law, which will require voters to have photo ID, is Constitutional.

Last month, in a decision that surprised many, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert E. Simpson Jr. upheld the law. Many believe the law is a tactic intended to prevent minorities from voting.

Jerome Mondesire, president of the Pennsylvania conference of the NAACP, called the law “a criminal offense against Democracy.”

The national head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Benjamin Jealous, believes that anyone who wants to require voter ID is an extremist.

“This is not a Republican thing, it’s an extremist thing,” Jealous said. “None of [us] should be sent back to the day when we had what can only be called a poll tax.”

Executive director of the Pennsylvania American Civil Liberties Union urged voters to show up at the polls and vote early.

U.S. Median Income Reaches Lowest Level Since 1995

Under President Barack Obama’s watch, the U.S. economy continues to slide downward. The median income of Americans is now the lowest it has been since 1995.

Median income fell 1.5 percent during 2011 to $50,054. It has fallen 4.1 percent since Obama took office. Median income has not been below $50,000 since 1995, but the new number is frighteningly close.

According to the Pew Research Center, Obama’s policies have hurt Republicans more than Democrats. When Obama took office, just 13 percent of Republicans considered themselves to be lower class. Now, that number is 23 percent.

While the figures seem disparaging for Obama, he will likely point to the number of insured Americans as proof that his policies are helping. According to the Census Bureau, the number of people without health insurance in 2010 was 50 million, but that number dropped to 48.6 million in 2011.

18-Year-Old Football Player Kisses 65-Year-Old Boyfriend, Gets Kicked Off Team

A freshman football player at the North Dakota State College of Science feels discriminated against after he was kicked off the team following a kiss. Jamie Kuntz kissed his 65-year-old boyfriend in a press box.

A teammate saw the kiss and informed his coaches. When the 18-year-old lineman was questioned about the kiss, he lied and said he had kissed his grandfather.

The team released Kuntz, saying that he was being dismissed because he had violated the team’s manual which addresses “lying to coaches, teachers or other school staff.”

Coach Chuck Parsons wrote Kuntz: “This decision was arrived at solely on the basis of your conduct during the football game; and because you chose not to be truthful with me when I confronted you about whom else was in the box with you. Any conduct by any member of the program that would cause such a distraction during a game would warrant the same consequences.”

Kuntz has left North Dakota State College of Science, but hopes to play football somewhere else.

He claims to have met the older man online more than a year ago.

A support group for Kuntz has been formed on Facebook.