November 2007


According to CNN, the man who took hostages at Hillary Clinton did so because of his “inability to get mental health treatment.” People in his town say that this has been a problem for a long time.

This country does not do enough for people with mental illness. There are not enough clinics, not enough hospitals, and too much stigma. Even in jail, there’s not enough help for people with mental health problems.

I hope that the government sees this as a reason to have more mental health care in clinics and elsewhere. But more likely they will use it as an excuse to just throw more mentally ill people in jail and not offer them any help at all.

Arrest ends standoff at Clinton campaign office

A man complaining about his inability to get mental health treatment held hostages for more than five hours Friday inside Sen. Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign office in Rochester, N.H., before surrendering to police. Police identified the man as Leeland Eisenberg. Five hostages were released unharmed. full story

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In general, I have really strong opinions about things. But I am not sure how I feel about the reports of online bullying of kids. On the one hand, kids need to be protected from sexual abuse and all that kind of stuff. On the other hand, is the online world better or worse than the regular world?

Here is what CNN is saying:

ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) — As many as one in three U.S. children have been ridiculed or threatened through computer messages, according to one estimate of the emerging problem of cyberbullying.

 

art.child.computer.jpg

 

The frequency and severity of online aggression experienced by young people is the topic of new research.

Another new study found the problem is less common, with one in 10 kids reporting online harassment.

But health experts said even the lower estimate signals a growing and concerning public health issue.

“I wouldn’t consider something that 10 percent of kids report as low,” said Janis Wolak, a University of New Hampshire researcher and co-author of the second study.

Wolak and other researchers, though, found that in many cases the incidents of online harassment were relatively mild.

What they don’t say is how young the “kids” are and how bad the harassment is. Are they being harassed by kids or adults? Did anyone teach them how to reply or don’t reply? I’ve had a few really pesky obnoxious boys send me way too many IM’s or weird messages, but I just blocked them on my IM and my email.

Compare that 10% to this:

The schoolyard continues to be a source of in-person bullying: Studies indicate roughly 17 percent of early adolescents say they are victims of recurring verbal aggression or physical harassment.

One adult sent me two pictures of sexy ladies with blood all over them, through my facebook page. That was creepy and I blocked him, reported him, and told other people to stay away from him. That was at 15. I probably would have been more freaked out at 12 or 13, but that’s probably why I wasn’t allowed to get a facebook account until high school.

Sometimes online bullying can be very serious, like the case of the thirteen year old who was deceived by an adult and fell in love with a non-existent cute boy.

Last week, officials in a Missouri town made Internet harassment a misdemeanor, after public outrage over the suicide of a 13-year-old resident last year.

The parents of Megan Meier claim their daughter, who had been treated for depression, committed suicide after a teenage boy who flirted with her on MySpace abruptly ended their friendship, telling her he heard she was cruel. The story gained national prominence this month when it was revealed the boy never existed — it was a prank allegedly started by a mother in the girl’s neighborhood.

This was a HORRIBLE story, but the biggest problem is that the “prank” was done by an adult. A really immature and mean adult!

I think that the difference, at least for me, is whether the person doing the harassing is a kid or an adult. I know how to answer back, ignore or even punch kids who are mean or who tease. Online, I have “ignore” buttons and know how to block emails. But it’s much harder for me to be rude to an adult. I think that’s true for most kids and teens. and it is probably the reason that kids can be victims to molesters.

(Big Brother STOP reading. The rest if this is private. )

When I first started wanting to surf the internet, my brother gave me a limited account and he checked the sites I went to, the people on my buddy list, and even said he had the right to read my emails. I don’t use my last name online and don’t use my real photo. I was not allowed to do facebook or myspace until 9th grade.

I became politically active online in 8th grade and met adults from all over the world. My brother got extremely involved in my buddy lists and my emails, and I resented it, but I also know he was protecting me.

I complain a lot that I live with Big Brother from 1984, but when I read news stories about kids who were so deceived that they killed themselves, I am glad that my brother protected me from a lot of the internet hate, and in a few years I’ll probably be glad that my google and yahoo searches are restricted.

I am terrible at writing conclusions to essays. I have nothing to conclude here. Maybe just this. Kids can usually work out kid stuff with other kids, but I think it is OK for adults to restrict kids on the internet since you never know if the person on the other end of your chat is another kid or an adult impersonating a kid. And …. nobody should bully. If you are bullying or being mean, it is time to see a counselor and learn to be nice to other people.

I guess that was two conclusions. Oh well.

I am a statistic:

Two-point-four million American children have a mother or father in jail or prision right now.

….

The children of prisioners suffer from anxiety and attention disorders, or from post-traumatic stress. They are likely to bounce from one care-giver to another;  

Fortunately, I don’t fit the statistics in other ways:

..to have and to cause trouble in school. Often poor to begin with, they get poorer once a parent is arrested.

These children are far from blind to their parents’ failings-they live with them every day , and they have more at stake than anyone in seeing their mothers and fathers rehabilitated, and living within the law. But in one way or another, most say the same thing: things were hard. Mom got arrested. Things got worse.

In my case, things got a lot better, but mostly because of things that had nothing to do with the crimes my mom went to jail for.   The reality is that my mom’s life would be much better if she were getting psych and drug abuse treatment rather than being in prison, and we would probably worry about her a lot less.

Politically, this is the part of that article that jumped out at me, but I don’t know enough about the issue know what the solution is:

“A successful corrections system doesn’t grow”, criminologist Stephen Richards has observed. “If they were correcting anybody, they’d shrink”. As our failing prison system continues to expand its reach, more and more of our children fall under its shadow, denied the light of parental attention they need in order to grow.

I may be a statistic, but none of these statistics means that I have to turn out a certain way.  There are a lot of my mom’s footsteps I don’t plan to follow.

When I was in elementary school and my mom lost her job and our house because of using drugs and her mental illness, we were sometimes hungry.  I was 8 when we lost the house and 9 when she lost her job.  My older brother always made sure that I had enough food, but sometimes it was a struggle.  I didn’t have warm enough clothes for walking to school in the winter, and it was much more important to my mom that we LOOK good than have the right clothes for the weather.  No coat was better than one with holes.  We were never homeless but we never had a lot in those days.

Today is a whole lot better.  I have everything I need and a lot of extras.  I don’t ever have to be hungry.  I’m planning to go to TWO Thanksgiving feasts tomorrow.  But a lot of people are hungry.   The Bush economy has made the really rich even richer but it has made a lot of people very poor. People are struggling and so are the groups that help them.

Chinodeb sent me this article and I bet that it is as true in other parts of the country as it is in Arizona.

More people seeking aid; agencies struggle to help

John Rudolf/News-Herald Photos Becky Reid and her daughter Sammi, 4, are among hundreds of Havasu families in need this holiday season.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007 10:33 PM MST

Arms laden with boxes and with three young children in tow, Becky Reid made her way though the parking lot back to her car, a four-door sedan that looked as if it had seen better days. Putting the boxes in the trunk, she opened them up to take a quick look inside.

“Macaroni. Yum!” said her 4-year-old daughter, Sammi.

A look of relief crossed Reid’s face as she opened the other box. “Soap, toothpaste, toilet paper. … This is great,” she said.

Reid’s family is one of hundreds of local families struggling to get by with less this holiday season. A stumbling local economy, rising prices for everything from a dozen eggs to a gallon of gasoline and a meltdown in mortgage lending have all contributed to push more families over the edge into poverty.

“Times are tough. Jobs aren’t turning up,” said Reid, a single mother.

The boxes of food and hygiene products came courtesy of Calvary Baptist Church, which raised more than $7,000 to pay for a delivery from Feed the Children.

“It’s really easy to go about our daily lives and not realize that people are in need and are going without,” said Sean Haynes, who organized the giveaway. “This is something I knew we had to do.”

(more…)

Nothing political today.  Just really really cute animals.no dogs here

yummy fish

ducky

who wins

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I saw it first!

kitty stuck in a sandal

I really like these because they make you think. Roll the mouse over the pic to see what the title is.

Pittsburgh Penguin

alligator shoes

space war

airplane ride

painted nails

The government and schools are too interested in the rules sometimes and not interested enough in what is fair. Take this case for example:

An Immigration Nightmare

Meet Pedro and Salvacion Servano, a married Filipino couple who have been in the U.S. for 25 years.

Pedro Servano, 54, is a prominent family doctor in an underserved area of central Pennsylvania. His 51-year-old wife runs a grocery store and bakery….. Pedro Servano works at Geisinger Medical Group in Selinsgrove, where he has about 2,000 patients.

Two of their four children graduated from Temple University, while one is in high school and another is in middle school. Several years ago, the Servanos bought and renovated two properties in nearby Sunbury. Salvacion Servano recently opened a small grocery store there, selling Asian goods and baked items.

In 1978, while they were single, their mothers applied for visas for them to come to the U.S. They married in the Philippines in 1980. Mrs. Servano’s visa application was granted in 1982, and she came to the U.S. Dr. Servano’s visa was granted in 1984 and he followed. They’ve lived here ever since, raising their family, working, contributing to the community, paying taxes.

More…

The Servanos applied to become U.S. citizens in 1990 and were refused. Why? Because their visa applications said they were single (which they were when their mothers filed them.)

Now, their appeals exhausted after an immigration official said they lied on their visa applications, they’ve been told to report to ICE for the start of deportation proceedings the day after Thanksgiving.

His legal team is considering emergency appeals in court and directly to the U.S. attorney general’s office. The family has lobbied for help from politicians. Friends scheduled a prayer vigil in Sunbury for Saturday night.

Even an ICE official is on their side:

“I fervently believe in the ICE mission. However, the Servanos did not sneak into this country illegally, they have broken no laws, and they have not been a burden to the economy. They pose no threat,” DHS counterterrorism operative Bill Schweigart wrote in a letter obtained by The Daily Item of Sunbury. “I cannot fathom how deporting the Servanos fulfills any portion of the ICE mission. In fact, I would argue the action runs counter to it.”

Hopefully there will be some action alerts letting us know how we can help the Servanos.

Jeralyn talks about how this is a case where they need to reform immigration laws, but to me it is also a case about when people need to have a sense of fairness and common sense and not just follow the rules just because they are the rules.

But this is not just a case of the need for immigration reform and a path to legalization. It’s a reminder of the need for Congress if it enacts such reform to avoid policies that require people like the Servanos to go to the back of the line and return to their home countries and wait years and pay substantial fees in order to return.

When you hear the Democratic candidates bemoan Congress’ lack of immigration reform, it’s important to ask of each one: What exactly is your reform proposal? Does it entail a one-size-fits-all policy of requiring everyone in the U.S. without proper documentation to return to their country of origin and wait in line to come back before being approved for citizenship? If so, it’s not immigration reform. It’s a continuance of the failed policy we have now.

There has to be a way to recognize and provide relief for people like the Servanos. It can’t be done with a blanket “go home, wait and then come back” policy.

Here’s more on what we need our candidates to support in terms of immigration reform.

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