community Service means Business!

10 May 2008

NY cops stop the wrong black guy

Now check this out and trust me I am not making this up. Mind you the following incident happened while the NYPD is under increasing scrutiny for racial profiling.

Two of NY's finest who happen to be white walked up to a SUV that belongs to the NYPD and asked the black man inside to get out an ID himself. After the black man a 3 star chief in the NYPD identified himself one of the two the geniuses decided it would be a great idea to argue with him. Now the idiot is on desk duty minus his gun and badge. Read the entire story by clicking the link below:
African American Opinion 5/10/08 2:00 PM The Team ( stop and frisk racial profiling police nypd new york

If pigs could fly

Ed Cone tells a story of an airline's exquisite stupidity. He shows a picture of the jammed seats behind his jammed row 11 and the empty seats ahead and says:

What's going on? An industry that has forgotten about customer service.

Almost nobody opted to pay $30 bucks extra to sit in "economy plus," which promises a few inches of extra legroom. When it became clear that the flight would be packed six across from row 11 back while row after row sat empty in the front, people asked if they could move up. The flight attendants said no, you have to pay for those seats. Not very customer-friendly or situationally aware, but comprehensible.

So a guy asks if he could pay on the spot. Nope. People were laughing at the United's cluelessness, but it wasn't very friendly laughter.

When the drink cart came by I bought myself $5 worth of stress relief and asked the flight attendant (politely) why she could sell me a drink but not a seat. She looked at me like I had two heads and said they are in no way set up to take reservations, you have to do that with a service representative.

I started to say I didn't want a reservation, I wanted to hand her $30 and move up one freaking row, but it felt like I was on the phone with Bangalore and couldn't get a supervisor, so I just shut up and drank.

To recap: They don't know how to allocate their seating categories, they aren't going to let people spread out across a half-empty plane as a courtesy, and they turn down the chance to upsell on the spot, even though they do commerce in the aisles all the time.

What a stupid industry.

They're so stupid they think their business strategy is to imprison passengers. They're so stupid they don't know how to take passengers' money. They're so stupid they don't realize — or apparently care — how stupid they are. Too bad the all-powerful internet couldn't give us all wings.

BuzzMachine 5/10/08 8:57 AM Jeff Jarvis wwgd default customerism airlines Comments

Losing a Home, Then Losing All Out of Storage

The foreclosure crisis is hitting the self-storage center, and some companies are auctioning off the property of people who cannot keep up with their bills.

NYT > Home Page 5/10/08 4:10 PM storage foreclosures auctions

9 May 2008

Going my way

One of my favorite words of Japanese is actually wasei eigo or "made-in-Japan English." It's the phrase "going my way," and it refers to people who live life in their one way without being overly concerned with society all around them, free to ignore social rules as they choose. As with the (Japanese) word "my pace," it's used as a fixed phrase no matter what the subject is, which makes for some strange sentences like, "That person over there is really 'going my way.'"

Another word that changes when imported into Japanese is "free." While the term most often has to do with absense of cost in English, in Japanese it's more about freedom of choice, so a "free ticket" here would be a ticket that let you go on any attraction rather than one that didn't cost you anything. A shirt that says "free size" will supposedly fit anyone (although large gaijin like me know better), and when a Japanese person goes to sell something at a flea market, in his mind he's really going to a "free market" where anything can be bought or sold freely.

Are you an "about" person? The Japanese use this English preposition as an adjective meaning vague or imprecise.

Messing up English can be fun!

Japundit 5/8/08 11:00 PM Peter Payne only in japan living in japan japan gaijin in japan engrish cool Comments

Bad Girls

Doing time in the Rhode Island Training School is punishment for young women who break the law. What's surprising is how many would rather be in the big house than out.
WireTap Magazine 5/9/08 3:00 AM Beth Schwartzapfel, Rhode Island Monthly

Taser parties

Meeting the women shunning kitchen ware for stun guns
BBC News 5/9/08 3:31 AM americas

New Job Board is Launched Targeting the 40+ Job Seeker

With Pittsburgh remaining one of the hotter job markets around the nation due mostly to the hiring of replacement workers because of the larger percentage of workers reaching retirement age a new website was just launched targeting the 40+ job seeker. was specially designed for baby boomers and employers seeking to reach them. Content on the site is focused toward advice for this age group in their job search as well as job opportunities specifically from companies open to hiring them due to their higher skill levels, dependability, loyalty and work ethic.

With the AVERAGE age in the Pittsburgh metro area approaching 40 (according to the 2000 census the average age in this area reached 39, where nationally it was 34) this is welcome news as the 40+ age group is the fastest growing demographic using the Internet. Our area is currently losing more employees to retirement than are coming into the workforce from our schools. This is creating higher demand for workers 40+

Although the website is very young, look for lots of updates coming over the next 6 months. According to Amy Hoster, Product Development Manager for, is dedicated to the largest growing demographic in the country, the Baby
Boomers. 80% of the baby boomers plan to work at least part-time past the traditional retirement
age. Alliance for the Experienced Workforce reports "By 2010 nearly 1 in every 3 hourly workers in the United States will be over the age of 50." Baby Boomers skills, knowledge, and experience are
invaluable to our economy and our labor market, and now to recruitment managers across the country.
The 'Burgh Works, A Pittsburgh Jobs Blog 5/9/08 9:16 AM Pittsburgh Employment Guide (R) ( wiser worker pittsburgh job news

U.K. turns CCTV, terrorism laws on pooping dogs

The U.K. has the most surveillance cameras per capita in the world. How can local town councils justify the massive surveillance program? By going after pooping dogs.
CNET 5/9/08 12:41 PM

Helmand Gripped by Opium Harvest

By Matiullah Minapal and Aziz Ahmad Tassal in Helmand (ARR No. 288, 09-Apr-08)
The distinctive red, white, and pink poppy flowers have all but gone from the fields in Helmand province, leaving in their place the bare pods containing valuable opium paste. 

With harvest season, or "nish", in full swing, the schools are empty, the fields are buzzing, and even the police are getting in on the action.

Gul Wali has come to Helmand from his native Nangarhar province in the ea...

Elderly aches that hide deeper pain?

SINGAPORE: When elderly people complain about their perennial aches and pains, do not brush them off the aches could be a sign of something more serious, like depression.
Channel NewsAsia Front Page News 5/9/08 7:03 PM singapore local news

It's happened: Boy hit by hybrid, mom blames quiet running

Filed under: , ,

When an eight-year-old boy on a bicycle gets hit by a car while riding in the middle of the street, the blame often points directly at the youth. However, if the car in question just happens to be a quiet hybrid-electric... there just may be reason to accuse the vehicle.

Last weekend, a youthful Owen Erickson was riding his two-wheeler with a friend when he was struck by a Toyota Prius and tossed onto the hood of the popular hybrid. Thankfully, he was unhurt. His mother, however, was quick to place some of the blame on the "totally silent" Prius, claiming her son never heard it coming. As a scapegoat, the hybrid-electric vehicle is taking more than its fair share of heat. Two years ago, we blogged about the silent danger of hybrids. Earlier this year, Maryland launched a study, and passed legislation aimed at vehicle noise levels (more specifically, the "lack of" audible decibels), citing a legitimate concern for the blind. Just last month, a bill was introduced in the House of Representatives to study whether or not a "minimum sound level" needs to be established for these highly-efficient silent runners.

We obviously haven't "heard" the end of this hybrid-electric argument as it begins to gain momentum around the country. Whether future Prius models are equipped with blaring sirens or not, we do know that Moms will still need to teach their children to not play in the middle of the street. Thanks for the tip, Tyler!

Autoblog 5/8/08 10:12 AM Michael Harley toyota silent quiet prius noise hybrid-electric hybrid electric-only deaf dangerous Comments

8 May 2008

The truth about the ‘surveillance society’

Those complaining that CCTV cameras don't cut crime are missing the point: these cams are fundamentally political rather than practical.

Industrialization by Illusion: T&T Today

By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
May 08, 2008

Trini PeopleIn his 1972 article titled "The meaning of development", Professor Dudley Sears argued that "a country which had doubled per capita income could not claim to have experienced development if poverty, inequality, (inflation/ spiraling high cost of living, food shortages, human safety/security, level of crimes) and unemployment had not been reduced."

In lay man's terms, this phenomenon can best be classified as "growth without development"; in other words, it represents a scenario wherein an inverse relationship exists between economic, financial and industrial expansion/growth and the Quality of Life (QOL) and Basic Human Needs (BHN) of the citizenry of the country. Today, Trinidad and Tobago resembles such a phenomenon/scenario.

Trinidad and Tobago News Blog 5/8/08 10:10 AM News politics general t&t culture

the United Kingdom: Harass young thugs, police urged

The home secretary is urging police to turn the tables on youths who ignore warnings about anti-social behaviour.
BBC News 5/8/08 11:29 AM politics

An Uninsured Doctor in the House [Features]

One of the first things U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen (D–Wisc.) did when he took office last year was to nix his congressional health care coverage. The move stunned a human resources staffer, who, the lawmaker says, looked at him as though he were insane.

"I'll respectfully decline until you can make that same offer for all of my constituents," he says he told her, explaining his decision to turn down what many say is the Cadillac of U.S. health plans.

Scientific American 5/8/08 12:00 PM society & policy health

7 May 2008

the United Kingdom: Cannibis Crackdown Leads to Re-Classification

Previously a Class C Drug, Cannibis is due to be reclassed to Class B in early 2009. The government is taking steps to reclassify the drug as more 'skunk,' a more stronger type of the drug, now accounts for 81 per cent of the Cannibis avaliable on the streets compared to just 30 per cent previously in 2002. 
 The Government worries that children as young as 13 are now using Cannibis and "may binge on skunk in the same way as alcohol trying to achieve the maxium ...

6 May 2008

Choose your diapers carefully

When you buy cloth diapers you don't run the risk of harming your baby due to chemicals used in the manufacture of the disposable ones, you do less 57 per cent harm to the environment due to the ecological footprint that they leave and you save around $1000 per baby.

Channel: Health & Fitness Tags: Shopping Disposable Diaper baby Hot Stories 5/5/08 7:09 AM pyderi array Comments

Chokeholds, Headlocks, Beatings In Texas State Hospitals

Thanks to a reader for passing along this account of reports indicating that 70 employees of Texas's state hospitals have been fired in recent years for openly beating patients. It's a complete outrage that such events were allowed to take place. While I know that state hospitals are very difficult places for employees to work (akin to prisons), there is little justification for such widespread abuse, especially considering that the patients are not dangerous criminals.

What's astonishing is that state employees were using chokeholds on patients. Almost every police department in the US banned the use of chokeholds in the 1980s after a series of deaths from the use of the procedure.

"The psychiatric hospitals, which have about 2,500 patients daily, had 137 confirmed abuse cases in 2007. The state schools for people with disabilities, which have twice as many residents, have an average of 300 confirmed abuse cases per year.

"But some advocates fear the mentally ill patients may face greater risks. Patients of the psychiatric hospitals are largely indigent, transient and not connected to their families, so they have few allies as they bounce through the mental health system.

"'It's a population that's easy to abuse because they're not on the radar in any way,' said Richard Hansen, a Texas mental health advocate who was chemically restrained, shackled and beaten to the point of broken ribs years ago while suffering from bipolar disorder in a New York mental hospital."

The whole thing is disgusting. How come the Treatment Advocacy Center isn't talking about this on its website? Cat got your tongue Fuller Torrey?

Furious Seasons 5/6/08 11:55 AM Philip Dawdy ( mental illness

Local Food Gets Globalized

A new documentary, simply titled Asparagus!, gives us big reasons to care about this one little green stalk. The film focuses a magnifying glass on Oceana County, Michigan, the asparagus capital of the world. Over the course of 53 minutes, we meet many of the residents, family farmers, and farm workers for whom asparagus defines life.

WireTap Magazine 5/6/08 1:52 PM Suemedha Sood

Philippine government plans monthly allowance for poor families

MANILA : The Philippine government plans to give each poor family in the country a monthly allowance to help them cope with soaring food prices.
Channel NewsAsia Front Page News 5/6/08 2:37 PM south-east asia

Some North Side Sections To Get Security Cameras

With crime on the rise in parts of Pittsburgh's North Side, some community leaders hope to gain an edge on criminals by installing surveillance cameras.

Brazil Tour Offers 'Chance to Meet Drug Dealers'

Visitors taking tours of Brazil's shanty towns are being introduced to armed drug dealers, a Brazilian newspaper reports.
BBC News 5/5/08 4:43 PM americas

The United States' Poorest are Also the Heaviest


There are things that we can do to tackle this issue of low-income fueled obesity, the first of which is to strengthen state nutrition programs. Families need to have increased access to nutritious foods, and this can be done by changing the course of hunger assistance programs (“food stamps”).

Wisconsin's nutritional program, FoodShare, gives its recipients a lump sum each month to be used for food. For a family of four, a maximum benefit of $542 may be paid out, depending on income level and other special circumstances. One problem with low-income families using FoodShare is that the household may spend its entire allotment before the month's end, leaving a period where food may become scarce. During this time, some family members may go hungry, which causes the body's metabolism to lower and more fat to be stored. ..MORE

Closed Circuit TV boom 'failing to cut crime'

Huge investment in CCTV technology has failed to cut crime in the UK, a senior police officer warns.
BBC News 5/6/08 9:43 AM uk

5 May 2008

Chikamatsu on the Art of the Puppet Stage [from "Naniwa Miyage" 『難波みやげ』by Hozumi Ikan 穂積以貫]

In Naniwa Miyage (1738), Hozumi Ikan recalls a chat he had with Chikamatsu Monzaemon (1653-1725) on the art of the puppet stage, in which Chikamatsu made the following points about his craft.

1. It's the Audience, Stupid

Chikamatsu talks about his art primarily in terms of the audience's response-- a mode of discourse which seems to be the norm in the Japanese tradition. A play is successful, he argues, only when it produces in the viewer a desired effect.

This is a doubly difficult task for the writer for jōruri theater, who has no human actors at his disposal, and must instead "impart to the lifeless wooden puppet a variety of emotions, and attempt in this way to capture the interest of the audience." He cites as an example of effective rendering the scene from "The Village of Falling Flowers" in Genji monogatari, in which an anthropomorphized pine tree, annoyed at the surrounding snow's being cleared away, recoils its branches and shakes off some of its snow. It was from scenes such as this that Chikamatsu learned to impart life unto dead objects in a way that effectively moves the viewer.

2. Well-Tempered Feelings

While feelings may be "the basis of writing," they must, Chikamatsu insists, be presented in a controlled and deliberate manner. "I take pathos," he says, "to be entirely a matter of restraint. It is moving when the whole of a play is controlled by the dramatic situation, and the stronger and firmer the melody and words, the sadder will be the impression created." Note again that he speaks of success not in terms of the internal components of the work― as, say, Aristotle did ― but rather in terms of the work's capacity to move the viewer. Still, Aristotle might have agreed with Chikamatsu on one important point: that the viewer is moved more deeply when the emotion is not simply stated in the narration, but rather is revealed through the controlled manipulation of dramatic tension within the play.

3. The Tyranny of Meter

Chikamatsu advocates a language that is suitable to the jōruri form and free from all excess, whether that excess is the result of a strict adherence to the 5-7-5 pattern, or from unnecessary "grammatical junk" (e.g., the particles such as wa, or the -te form of the ren'yōkei construction), which is often meaningless and cumbersome. He warns, "If an author adheres implicitly to the rules of metrics, his lines may prove awkward to recite." Chikamatsu then provides an example where he contrasts an awkward, metrical line ― "Toshiha mo yukanu, musume wo ba"― with a more fluid, unmetrical rendering― "Toshi mo yukanu musume wo." He concludes by confessing, "I am not concerned with metrics in my writings and I use few particles." Despite this claim, however, many of his lines, and in fact some of the most moving passages of his plays, do in fact conform to the 5-7-5 pattern.

4. Toward a "Notional" Realism?

Chikamatsu holds that each character should meet the audience's expectations of social class; for example, the role of a low-class prostitute should be written so that her dress, speech and behavior conform to the audience's expectation of such a person. Though it sounds at first as if Chikamatsu is advocating a realism of sorts, he is in fact describing a kind of realism once-removed, which I call "notional realism." Chikamatsu does not seek to mirror nature as it is; rather, his aim is to preempt the expectations of the audience, and present them with an exaggerated image of their own notions. "Would it prove entertaining if an actor," he rhetorically asks, "were to appear on the stage and perform with his beard growing wild and his head shaken?" The answer is, of course, no; in fact, the audience would be bored to death with a makeup-less actor who was an exact duplicate of a real retainer.

Whereas with Plato's idealism the "ideal form" has an existence independent from the perceiving mind, with Chikamatsu's "notional realism" the characters correspond only to the anticipated notions of the audience, which may or may not be reliable representations of reality. In this sense, Chikamatsu's "notional realism" is perhaps more akin to Berkeley's idealism than to that of Plato. (Then again, perhaps it is inappropriate to draw comparisons to either.)

Such a "notional realism" may remind one of the works of Tanizaki Jun'ichirō (1886-1965), who, whether or not consciously influenced by Chikamatsu, seemed to share a similar notion of representation. When attacked (as he often is by feminist critics) for creating female "types" rather than "individuals," Tanizaki can be defended on the grounds that his fiction is not concerned with the presentation of women as they are per se; rather, he is interested only in presenting woman as they are perceived and altered by the imaginations of men. (An exception to this might be his Sasame yuki.)

In conclusion, it seems that the rising demand for realism among the Edo public was all but ignored by Chikamatsu, who stubbornly (and correctly!) insisted that realism, in the colloquial sense, is artless, insipid, and to be avoided whenever possible, as it "would permit no pleasure in the work." If real women never speak in such a way, so be it! This is how they would speak if they could, Chikamatsu seems say. "Such things fall under the heading of art," he insists, and "it is because they say what could not come from a real woman's lips that their true emotions are disclosed." He points out that exact copies of life are indeed vulgar, as is illustrated in the famous example of the court lady who, unable to meet her lover, had his exact duplicate made, only to soon grow bored of it. Successful art is always artificial, and the more stylized it is, the better. Recalling Chikamatsu's words, Hozumi sums up this idea:

"This is what I mean by the slender margin between the real and the unreal. It is unreal, and yet it is not unreal; it is real, and yet it is not real. Entertainment lies between the two."

This Article is Copyrighted © 2005 - 2008 by Beholdmyswarthyface.
『BEHOLD MY SWARTHY FACE。』 3/27/08 11:55 PM Ryan older literature in english

Stolen youth [for Sale]

A campaign aims to crack down on 'internal trafficking'
BBC News 5/4/08 8:11 PM uk

Fists and kicks

Why are teen girls fighting each other like boys?
BBC News 5/5/08 5:06 AM magazine

For the Elderly, Being Heard About Life’s End

"Slow medicine," which encourages less aggressive care at the end of life, is increasingly available in nursing homes.
NYT > Home Page 5/5/08 8:25 AM nursing homes medicine and health families and family life doctors death and dying aged

America's Dropout Crisis: What this means to the future of America?

"Invest in the human soul. Who knows, it might be a diamond in the rough." -Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955) Marc H. Morial I participated in a conference organized by General Colin Powell in Washington, D.C., in April and learned that every 26 seconds one American high school student drops out of school-that's over 3,000 youth per day; nearly 10,000 youth each month; or 1.1 million young people a year. And unfortunately, the crisis has hit minority communities particularly hard.

African-American News 5/5/08 8:37 AM

4 May 2008

School Loans - Loans For Students

It is important to understand as to why would a student apply for a student personal loan with bad credit. Student personal loans with bad credit is still a realty for all the people who have a bad credit rating. We can now avail of loans to take care of a variety of expenses that we would otherwise find difficult to handle.

Channel: Money Tags: Student consolidation loan Student loan loan Hot Stories 5/3/08 3:15 AM coolguyz array Comments

Vengeance and the recycle of violence

Two recently published articles on inter-group violence highlight the how the cycle of vengeance is remarkably similar across two different cultures: one in tribal peoples from New Guinea, the other in street gangs from Chicago.

In an article for The New Yorker Jared Diamond writes about the cycles and social customs surrounding vengeance in New Guinea by examining how one Handa tribesmen sought to exact revenge on another tribe for the death of his uncle.

The social customs about what counts as vengeance, how and whom it may be exacted upon are complex, but it's interesting that Diamond concludes that the desire for vengeance is a powerful motivation (ranking alongside love, anger, grief, and fear) which feeds the cycle of retribution even past the point where the original cause of the conflict has been lost in the sands of time.

A similar theme is echoed in an article published in today's New York Times on gang violence in Chicago. It focuses on a project called CeaseFire started by epidemiologist Gary Slutkin.

The project uses an interesting method which thinks of violence like a disease which can be transmitted through vengeance, and so applies an approach taken from disease prevention models to try and stop the spread of shootings.

Slutkin employs mostly ex-members of the Chicago underground who know both the streets and the players to intervene and mediate disputes when violence has flared on when the situation seems ready to explode.

The idea, just like in clinical epidemiology, is to target the most 'infected' members to reduce transmission - in this case, by engaging those causing the most violence and cooling the need for vengeance.

After a quick search, there seems to be remarkably little research on the role of vengeance in violence (although almost all supports its role).

This tends to parallel the research into violence in general. As one of the biggest killers in the world, I'm always struck by how little attention it gets.

Link to Jared Diamond article 'Vengeance is Ours'.
Link to NYT article 'Blocking the Transmission of Violence'.

Mind Hacks 5/4/08 8:00 AM vaughan ( togetherness

Common drugs hasten decline in elderly: study

Elderly people who took commonly prescribed drugs for incontinence, allergy or high blood pressure walked more slowly and were less able to take care of themselves than others not taking the drugs, U.S. researchers said on Saturday.

Channel: Health & Fitness Tags: Incontinence Elderly Seniors Hot Stories 5/4/08 12:39 AM TechnologyExpert array Comments

California teen gives birth in shower, walks to hospital

A 17-year-old girl gave birth secretly at home, then walked four blocks to a hospital with the baby still attached by its umbilical cord.

Channel: News Tags: Teenager California Childbirth Hot Stories 5/4/08 1:34 AM TechnologyExpert array Comments

White Powder Cocaine No Longer Just for Yuppies

WASHINGTON (AP) -- They were indelible images of the cocaine world of the 1970s and '80s: Rich yuppies and white suburbanites partying down with a couple of lines of "blow." Stockbroker Charlie Sheen snorting up in the limo in "Wall Street." Woody Allen's sneeze in "Annie Hall."

More than 30 years later, the image remains but the reality of coke in the United States has shifted significantly. Long portrayed as a white crime, Hispanics now make up the overwhelming majority -- 60 percent -- of federal offenders facing powder cocaine charges.

In fact, data show, more Hispanics than whites or blacks have been sentenced on federal powder charges as far back as 1992. Law enforcement officials say that's because federal agents almost exclusively pursue cocaine traffickers from South America and Mexico instead of end-of-the-line U.S. consumers.

Channel: Do No Evil Tags: Cocaine Powder Yuppies Hot Stories 5/4/08 1:40 AM TechnologyExpert array Comments


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