August 2006

Check out this article on a group of people who are trying to shame our government into doing what is right.  Wish the public didn’t have to resort to trickery, but at least now more people know about what they are doing to the people who live in public housing in New Orleans.


Impostor Speaker Dupes La. Officials

Impostor Speaker Dupes Officials at Katrina Conference


NEW ORLEANS Aug 28, 2006 (AP)— A man claiming to be a high-ranking federal housing official addressed a conference Monday on public housing in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, claiming the government was reversing its policy.

Following speeches by Gov
. Kathleen Blanco and Mayor Ray Nagin, a man who said he was the “deputy assistant secretary” of the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a total reversal in the government’s policy on public housing in New Orleans, claiming HUD would halt plans to demolish thousands of public housing units.

William Loiry, president of Equity International, which organized the conference in Kenner, La., said “everything seemed legitimate” about the man who made the speech until he suggested that people leave the conference, board buses and attend a ribbon-cutting at a public housing development.

When Loiry and security officers went to find the speaker, he was gone.

The man left a phone number on a flier handed out at the conference. A man who answered at the number and identified himself as Andy Bichlbauer said he and his loosely affiliated band of “Yes Men” have pulled off similar pranks, including several involving the World Trade Organization.

HUD spokeswoman Donna White said the government’s plans remain unchanged. Demolition and redevelopment of several major projects will go ahead as planned, she said. She called the speech “cruel.”

The agency’s inspector general’s office is investigating the matter, said Jerry Brown, a HUD spokesman.

About 1,000 people had registered for the conference.

The Yes Men:

So, I am not the tallest person on earth, but it never occurred to me that could affect how SMART I am.  What do y’all think of this gem in YAHOO NEWS today?

Taller people are smarter: study

Fri Aug 25, 5:53 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) – While researchers have long shown that tall people earn more than their shorter counterparts, it’s not only social discrimination that accounts for this inequality — tall people are just smarter than their height-challenged peers, a new study finds.

“As early as age t
hree — before schooling has had a chance to play a role — and throughout childhood, taller children perform significantly better on cognitive tests,” wrote Anne Case and Christina Paxson of Princeton University in a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

…  to continue click here.


I was at a party last week and ALL the dads were wearing white or tan shorts, polo shirts with collars and the same kinds of shoes.  ALL the moms were wearing sleeveless tops and either shorts or skirts.  A friend said “That’s cause they’re republicans.”  What do you think?  Do all the liberals YOU know wear 60’s clothes?  Do all the republicans dress the way I describe above?  Can you wear pearls and be a liberal?

Please click on the title of this column and leave a comment.  I’ll post them all on Friday.



This is in today’s New York Times.  If this is how much they value public education in New Orleans, what does it say about how much they value us as teens?  As citizens?


Rough Start for Effort to Remake Faltering New Orleans Schools

Lee Celano for The New York Times

A Louisiana Department of Education employee, right, explaining registration rules to parents on Friday at Clark High School in New Orleans.

Published: August 21, 2006

NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 20 — On Debra Smith’s third attempt to enroll her younger sister in a public high school here last week, patience evaporated. For the student, disappointment turned into tears.  Ms. Smith said the school her sister, now a 10th grader, attended before Hurricane Katrina — one of just five the city is still operating — turned her away because of poor grades. Two other options were full.

“Why am I still sitting here begging to get a child into school?” Ms. Smith asked at a registration center teeming with confused and angry parents. Many saw their schools disappear with the storm, replaced by a small but labyrinthine system of state, city and charter-operated schools, each with its own rules, applications and starting dates.

“Why should I think the sch
ools are going to be any better if they can’t handle the registration process?” she asked. “Where’s the space for these kids?”

For parents throughout the city, the first post-storm back-to-school season is having an inauspicious start. But it is perhaps most chaotic for those relying on a new state effort to rescue dozens of city schools that were a disaster even before Hurricane Katrina. The storm offered one of the worst school districts in the nation an opportunity for rebirth in the Recovery School District, state officials said.

The Recovery District, which was created in 2003, included five schools before the hurricane. But the district really began to take shape when the state took over 107 of the city’s worst-performing schools shortly after the storm. The Louisiana Department of Education had already considered the city school district to be in “academic crisis,” but after the hurricane, the district neared collapse. The state’s goal was to help the schools meet national performance standards and match the state graduation rate, among other things.

“The mission of the R.S.D. is to create a world-class public education system in New Orleans, in which every decision focuses on the best interests of the children,” the state’s promotional literature said.

Those lofty goals are at risk now because of a late start to planning for the school year. Well into the summer, it was still unclear how many schools would be chartered and how many teachers and classrooms would be needed. In addition, more students returned to New Orleans than state officials had expected.

The state began interviewing and hiring the hundreds of teachers needed for its Recovery schools only about a month ago. It has about 60 percent of the teachers it will need on Sept. 7, when 8,000 students are expected for the first day of school.

Compounding the problem, the district, with 17 schools, has only 10 administrative staff members, and they are not yet working in permanent offices. In addition, the district has said that at least one storm-damaged school building will not be ready before classes begin, and others face the same risk.

“It’s going to be a challenging year,” said Siona LaFrance, the district’s communications director. Ms. LaFrance added, though, that the district had just signed a lease for office space and that it would be hiring more staff members. She said the district hoped to avoid
recreating the bloated bureaucracy of the old school district.

Still, the shaky start has deflated some of the optimism many residents had when they heard about the state taking over schools that the city had mismanaged over the years. It is particularly worrisome to those who are depending on the schools.

“That’s hurting to your heart when a child says, ‘Mama, I want to go to school,’ and you can’t find one,” said Yvonne Thompson, who is raising a 14-year-old granddaughter who needs special-education classes. Standing outside a registration center, Ms. Thompson added, “I don’t understand what’s going on.”

Robin Jarvis, the superintendent of the Recovery District, said no child would be denied a space. But Dr. Jarvis added that officials were grappling with having more students back in the city than had been expected. Nine of the 17 Recovery schools are already at capacity.

………   click here for more

I am the sister of an Army National Guard corporal, and I am generally the first to defend and support the military and the soldiers. But stories like this one make me sick, and I hope that this article is only partially true.—Freckles

Click on the question above if you would like to comment.

AP probe looks at recruiting misconduct


By MARTHA MENDOZA, AP National WriterSat Aug 19, 12:20 PM ET

More than 100 young women who expressed interest in joining the military in the past year were preyed upon sexually by their recruiters. Women were raped on recruiting office couches, assaulted in government c
ars and groped en route to entrance exams.

A six-month Associated Press investigation found that more than 80 military recruiters were disciplined last year for sexual misconduct with potential enlistees. The cases occurred across all branches of the military and in all regions of the country.

“This should never be allowed to happen,” said one 18-year-old victim. “The recruiter had all the power. He had the uniform. He had my future. I trusted him.”

At least 35 Army recruiters, 18 Marine Corps recruiters, 18 Navy recruiters and 12 Air Force recruiters were disciplined for sexual misconduct or other inappropriate behavior with potential enlistees in 2005, according to records obtained by the AP under dozens of Freedom of Information Act requests. That’s significantly more than the handful of cases disclosed in the past decade.

The AP also found:

_The Army, which accounts for almost half of the military, has had 722 recruiters accused of rape and sexual misconduct since 1996.

_Across all services, one out of 200 frontline recruiters — the ones who deal directly with young people — was disciplined for sexual misconduct last year.

_Some cases of improper behavior involved romantic relationships, and sometimes those relationships were initiated by the women.

_Most recruiters found guilty of sexual misconduct are disciplined administratively, facing a reduction in rank or forfeiture of pay; military and civilian prosecutions are rare.

_The increase in sexual misconduct incidents is consistent with overall recruiter wrongdoing, which has increased from just over 400 cases in 2004 to 630 cases in 2005, according to a General Accounting Office report released this week.

The Pentagon has committed more than $1.5 billion to recruiting efforts this year. Defense Department spokeswoman Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke insisted that each of the services takes the issue of sexual misconduct by recruiters “very seriously and has processes in place to identify and deal with those members who act inappropriately.”

In the Army, 53 recruiters were charged with misconduct last year. Recruiting spokesman S. Douglas Smith said the Army has put much energy into training its staff to avoid these problems.

“To have 53 allegations in a year, while it is 53 more than we would want, is not indicative of the entire command of 8,000 recruiters,” he said. “We take this very seriously and we take appropriate action as necessary to discipline these people.”

I was on the radio today, on Bob Kincaid’s program, but talking to Jon & Bruce cause Bob is off doing other stuff today.  You can listen here:

I have been on Mike Malloy’s program on Air America Radio about three times and Jon Elliott’s program once, but today was my first time on Bob’s show.  It was also the first time that I went on without a topic or a question —– I just went on to say hi and to advertise this column.  Kinda cheesy, but hey.

So ……  have you ever called in to a poltical radio show?  If not, do you think you ever would?  Why not?  How else do you participate in politics and in democracy?

Click on the word Freckles above to leave a comment.







  1. If it is 104 degrees outside, that means that half the classrooms are also above 100 degrees and the other half are around 60 degrees. 
  2. The school bus is about 200 degrees, and I only ride in the morning.
  3. It is absolutely impossible to get to a locker at lunch time, manage the lock, get through the lunch line and then ACTUALLY EAT in the time allowed.
  4. Classroom 210 south is nowhere near classroom 210.  It is in a different building entirely.  Who numbers these places???
  5. Most of my friends are in different classes entirely and there’s no time (yet) to meet most of the new people.

  6. They are giving homework ALREADY!!!!!
  7. I miss SUMMER already!!!!!
Type your cut contents here.


Thanks for your comments!


1 day ago
Dress codes at school and at work (Entry Link)

they weren’t too strict when I was at school today.

(Comment Link) (Reply to this)

2 days ago
Dress codes at school and at work (Entry Link)

dress codes
Daniel Solis:
Luckily my school doesn’t have uniforms, but they are very strict. There are no warnings and if you get caught wearing something you’re not supposed to wear you get ticketed and then you have to change your shirt or something. A kid should also be able to express themselves in any way they want. For example a prep gets to express themselves in hollister clothes, so why shouldn’t a goth be allowed to. Also hair seems to be a big issue. No big hair because it’s “distracting.” How distracting can it be? not too much for most people.

(Comment Link) (Reply to this

So …. Freckles goes back to school this week.

New subjects, same friends, and the same dress code.

As I look through my closet to see which tops are OK, which ones need a 2nd shirt on top, which shorts and skirts are long enough, I find myself thinking about dress codes.  I understand why the schools want to keep gang attire out and why they want us to dress in a way that we don’t distract each other, but then I look at the outside world.  Do you know that people who work for the US Congress can dress in shirts that would be banned at my school?  Really!  ABC News is reporting it at:

3Cbr />
Chech that out!  Check out the tears and the spaghetti straps.  Now either the standards at my school are way off or the standards of Congress are!

Different schools and districts seem to have different ideas of what is acceptible and what is not.  Some only outlaw skimpy clothes.  Others ban gang attire, and still others seem to have no rhyme or reason that I can see.  No hoodies or cargo pants in a Tennessee district.  Check out what the AP reports about Texas schools: 

– The Arlington school district has expanded its dress codes to include mouths – and earlobes.

Students may no longer wear mouth jewelry known as “grills” – shiny teeth caps – or the earlobe-stretching practice known as “gauging.”

“The district is having to respond to fads because they’ve become distracters or a safety hazard for those around them,” said Malcolm Turner, the district’s executive director of student services.

The nearby Irving, Grand Prair
ie and DeSoto districts also ban grills, and some also address gauging – the process of placing increasingly large items in the ears to stretch the lobes.

But students said the body modification is simply self-expression.

“Really, a grill is just like an earring. It’s fashion,” said junior Devonte Wright, 16.

But school officials said they hoped to teach students that life would require them to follow specific regulations in specific settings.

“We want to instill in them a sense of modesty and a sense of community,” said school board trustee Gloria Pena. “We’re preparing them for the work force, and in the work force there are rules.” 

If you want to spend your ENTIRE morning crosschecking your outfit with the most comprehensive list of dress code rules I could find, click here.  Other schools are very simple — they sell or give you a uniform and you wear it.

What are the rules where you study or work? So …. do you dress for success?  Do you show skin in the hopes of getting a better job?  Do you dress for you?  For your friends?  For your boss?  For the person you want to attract?  Do we even know any more what kinds of clothes are appropriate for different places?  Are there even different types?

Click on DRESS CODES in the title if you’d like to comment.


Today I want you to consider how people in the United States can be denied justice.  As we all know, the Patriot Act takes away many of our constitutional protections.  But even a court-appointed lawyer is no guarantee of constitutional ‘due process’ when a person is arrested under the regular
US laws.  

Consider the case of Kirstin Lobato, a teenager who wasn’t in the wrong place at the wrong time, BUT NOT EVEN THERE AT ALL! Did you ever get accused of something that you didn’t do? Did you argue your case to your parents and teachers?  Did you ever get punished for something that is not your fault?  That is THE WORST. 

Now imagine that you are 18 and have had some problems with drugs and some family problems.  Imagine that some guy tried to rape you and you fought back.  Now imagine that the police are at your door a month or two later, after you confided to your teacher about the attack, and they’re asking you questions.  You cooperate, right?  Of course.   You think they are taking your statement about the attack, right?  Well not in
Las Vegas in 2001.
Read the story below, and if you want to help out, I’ll give you a link at the end of this post.Here is a summary of the case from an article published in 2004, but if you click on the link at the bottom you can read a lot more about the case:

Las Vegas Police and Prosecutors Frame Woman 170 Miles From Murder Scene – Kirstin Lobato’s “Very Peculiar Story”

 By Hans Sherrer

Edited by Natalie Smith-Parra,

JD EditorJustice: Denied magazine, Issue 26, Fall 2004, pp 5, 19-23  

Nineteen year-old Kirstin Lobato was convicted in May 2002 of murdering a homeless
Las Vegas man who was beaten, stabbed and sexually mutilated on July 8, 2001. She was sentenced to a minimum of 40 years in prison. Yet multiple witnesses confirm that on the day of the man’s death Kirstin was in Panaca, Nevada, 170 miles from
Las Vegas. Her presence in Panaca is consistent with crime scene evidence that positively excludes her from having anything to do with his death, and that there is no evidence she had ever met the man. In a masterful frame-up that may be marveled at for decades as a text book case of how the three branches of the legal system interact to ensure a wrongful conviction, prosecutors worked hand-in-glove with the police to orchestrate, in the courtroom of an overtly compliant judge, the conviction of a plainly innocent young woman.
Click for the  full article

When we say the Pledge of Allegiance in school, one of the things we are saying we have is a nation with liberty and justice for all.  What about justice for Kirstin?  If you’d like to learn more or find out how to help, click here: JUSTICE 4 Kirstin


Well, the story about justice denied is on hold for now, so instead let’s talk about making a difference.

We under-18’s can’t vote yet, but you older teens and adults can.  So why don’t you?  People DIED for the right to vote.  WOMEN & BLACKS fought for years and years for the right.  Felons still don’t have that right, but lots of you do.  So ….  why don’t more of you vote?

Only 18% of voters in Michigan voted yesterday in the primary.  Kansas City was around 14%. Some Alabama counties had only 10% of eligible voters voting yesterday.  Connecticut had one of the highest turnouts in the country, but does that mean that the rest of America doesn’t really care about their primaries?

Do you think that this low turnout is because people don’t care?  Or because they don’t trust the voting machines?  Or because they think it doesn’t really matter who they choose.

I make this commitment.

I will vote in every election I am eligible for after I turn 18 and I will stay informed so I know who I want to vote for.  Can you say the same?


2 more hero stories to share with you. Any others out there?  Click the word “And” in the title and you can leave your own.  You can sign it or be anonymous.

I am working now on a story called “And Justice for All” about how even before the Patriot Act and enemy combatants, it was STILL hard then for people to get justice from the criminal justice system.   Should be ready Monday.


p.s.  My email box JUST got set up today, so if you sent me any EMAIL before that I am afraid the server ate it.  Found out that I can’t access anything on LiveJournal from school, but I can read Powers&Morrison stuff, so that’s the best place to contact me after Aug 15.

My Hero is
2006-08-05 10:32 pm (local) (link) DeleteFreezeScreen
My Hero is dead, but my 1st Cousin Ed was a great guy that gave all he had for people. He died during the police academy, which he didn’t have to go through having been a policeman before, but he refused to not go. He went out of his way to do good for the ones needing a voice and help. He was my hero.

(Reply to this)

2006-08-05 10:44 pm (local) (link) DeleteFreezeScreen
Actually, I suppose a hero could be somebody who does things that you look up to. Such as my auntie Phyllis. She had a brain tumor and a messed up hip so she couldn’t walk AND she was blind. And then SHAZAM. She moved to a nursing home, caught the most sought after guy at the home (which made the rest of the women stop talking to her xD), lived really happily right next to him for a while, and kept up with
what she did all the way up until she died ’cause she was all looped up from the drugs and fell down. She was quite a person.

(Reply to this)

Hi y’all

So far only two people have written in to tell us about their heroes, and they are below my post.  Anyone else have a hero??

I have only one hero in my life and all the friends who know me knew EXACTLY who I was going to choose.  So ….. for the rest of you who don’t know me that well just yet ……..

My hero is my brother Andy who became my guardian when he was still in his teens, right after my mom went to prison.  Andy has given up a whole lot to become the best mom or dad of anyone anywhere!  He makes mistakes like all people do, but then he tries to correct them and I know he works really hard at everything he does.

Andy is a corporal and even though he has not fought in any wars (THANK GOD!) he is still a hero to all the soldiers that ride in a truck, tank or helicopter that he fixed, armored or prepared for the desert.

I am a teenager and he could leave me to raise myself if he didn’t want to be bothered, but he doesn’t do that.
  He teaches and guides me and gives me rules to be safe and gives me a clean and wonderful apartment to grow up in (that I have to clean most of the time, but oh well).   He spends time with me and goes running with me and comes to all of my school events.

Andy could just put in his time at the base but he doesn’t.  He does his job the absolute best that he can and he cares about ALL the troops over there in Iraq.  He will get on the internet at night to help a mechanic friend over there and will make sure that the troops that leave his base have the very best equipment and vehicles they can possibly send.

Andy is my hero and a little bit Americas hero too.


(Click on the words MY HERO at the top of the post if you want to comment.)


2006-08-05 04:12 pm (local) (link) DeleteFreezeScreen
a hero can be anyone you want them to be.
jay leno is my hero.
and for a lot people even paris hilton can be their hero.
war heroes are just doing their jobs.
sadly a lot of these young people died in a false war.

(Reply to this)(Thread)

Re: heroes
2006-08-05 04:57 pm (local) (link) DeleteFreezeScreen
War heroes are risking their lives for their jobs. There’s a difference there, honey.

(Reply to this)(Parent)

I agree with what you said
2006-08-05 09:05 am (local) (link) DeleteFreezeScreen

OK. Most soldiers are heroes and a few are not.

And moms who take care of their kids are heroes, but moms that don’t are NOT.

Who is your hero?

Rachel ([
info]choco_rachel) wrote,

sports “heroes” are just people who can play something well. They’re not heroes, that’s stupid. REALLY stupid.

Good point on WTC victims, though. I’ve heard some stories, though, about how some people actually helped others during the attack…

And to say that only SOME soldiers are heroes is ridiculous. They’re all sacrificing so much for so little money. Rather than saying a few soldiers should be recognized as heroes, we should say that a few soldiers shouldn’t be recognized as heroes.

A hero is somebody who does something selfless. Ho hum. Every mother that takes care of her children is a hero. That’s about it.

So, it seems that we’re having trouble coming up with heroes in the politics of our country.  So ……  where else can we find heroes?

Politicians tell us that all the soldiers, marines & guardsmen in Iraq are heroes, but then we find out that while they’re all brave, some of them are not as honorable as we want them to be.  Some of them follow illegal orders and either torture prisoners or murder innocent people, so they can’t all be our heroes.  Maybe a few, but not the entire group.

They also tell us that all the people who died on 9-11 from the terrorism are also heroes, but I don’t know if that is completely true either.  They were victims, but heroes?  Definitely the firemen and police who rushed in to the trade center, but all the people inside?  All the people on the planes?  What did they do that was heroic?

So maybe sports heroes, but maybe not.  They are heroes to their sports teams and their fans but they are not heroes
to the country or to the world.

So who does that leave?  Our families?  Our friends?  The kid who doesn’t do what peer pressure tells him?  The person who tries new things when they are hard?  What do you think?  Who is your hero?  I will tell you mine tomorrow.

Click on the word MORE at the top to leave your reply and I will post them tomorrow.


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