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Tue, 18 Jan 2022
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US, North Carolina: State Inspectors Searching Children's Lunch Boxes

girl at school lunch frowning
© iStock
A mother in Hoke County complains her daughter was forced to eat a school lunch because a government inspector determined her home-made lunch did not meet nutrition requirements. In fact, all of the students in the NC Pre-K program classroom at West Hoke Elementary School in Raeford had to accept a school lunch in addition to their lunches brought from home.

NC Pre-K (before this year known as More at Four) is a state-funded education program designed to "enhance school readiness" for four year-olds.

The mother, who doesn't wish to be identified at this time, says she made her daughter a lunch that contained a turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, apple juice and potato chips. A state inspector assessing the pre-K program at the school said the girl also needed a vegetable, so the inspector ordered a full school lunch tray for her. While the four-year-old was still allowed to eat her home lunch, the girl was forced to take a helping of chicken nuggets, milk, a fruit and a vegetable to supplement her sack lunch.

The mother says the girl was so intimidated by the inspection process that she was too scared to eat all of her homemade lunch. The girl ate only the chicken nuggets provided to her by the school, so she still didn't eat a vegetable.

Comment: Never mind that there is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate and fiber does an incredible amount of damage to the human digestive tract. Human beings are not herbivores and do NOT need vegetables if they get a sufficient quantity of meats and fats!

See: Fiber Menace: The Truth About the Leading Role of Fiber in Diet Failure, Constipation, Hemorrhoids, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn's Disease, and Colon Cancer

and: GutSense


New Zealand Mum: Prostitution to Pay for Studies

Tania Wysocki
© Dean Purcell
Tania Wysocki is having to look at escort work to pay the childcare and transport bills.

A solo mum who wants to study so she can get off welfare says she has had to turn to prostitution to pay for childcare and transport to the course.

Tania Wysocki, a 38-year-old mother of two preschoolers at Paerata near Pukekohe, advertised herself on a website two weeks ago in a last-ditch effort to raise the money she needs for childcare when she starts a veterinary nursing course at Unitec in Mt Albert next week.

She wrote to Prime Minister John Key two days after Christmas saying she could see no other way to do the course, which she hopes will help her get off the domestic purposes benefit (DPB). Mr Key's office passed the letter on to Social Development Minister Paula Bennett, who has yet to respond.

Work and Income's Pukekohe office told Ms Wysocki in writing that she could get only nine hours a week of subsidised childcare for the fulltime course, plus a one-off $500 loan towards the weekly $72.20 cost of a 10-trip student train pass from Pukekohe to Mt Albert.

She may need at least 36 hours. "We regret the delay but she will be able to begin the academic year with the correct childcare subsidies," Ms Evans said.

But the subsidy will cover only part of Ms Wysocki's childcare fees, and the $500 loan falls far short of her transport costs for a year, so studying will still cost her about $113 a week more out of her own pocket than staying at home on the benefit.

Yesterday, after Herald inquiries, Auckland regional social development commissioner Isabel Evans said Ms Wysocki had now provided further information and was actually entitled to up to 50 hours a week of subsidised childcare.


Don't mess with Texas: U.S. court blocks Keystone XL

The Keystone Oil Pipeline
© TransCanada Corporation/Handout, Reuters
The Keystone Oil Pipeline is pictured under construction in North Dakota in this undated photograph released on January 18, 2012.

Washington - A Texas family farm has won a temporary restraining order to block TransCanada Corp. from building the Keystone XL pipeline through its property, accusing the company of dealing in bad faith and withholding vital information about the project.

Lawyers for TransCanada and the Crawford Family Farm in northeastern Texas's Lamar County are now set to square off at a hearing Friday that could determine whether to approve the Calgary-based company's petition to condemn the property under eminent domain laws.

"We don't think they have negotiated in good faith," said attorney John Pieratt, who represents farm manager Julia Trigg Crawford.

"They just want to build the thing without us having our day in court."

At issue is TransCanada's effort to gain a right-of-way easement allowing it to build the future Keystone XL pipeline across the Crawford farm.


US Texas: Austin Police Department and 'Babysitting While White,' Part Deux

© austinchronicle.com
A few years back Grits posed the question, "Is babysitting while white reasonable suspicion for police questioning?" after my granddaughter and I were detained and questioned at length in my neighborhood on suspicion of some nefarious deed (it was never quite clear what). In that incident, the police were pretty clear I was stopped solely because Ty, like her mother (who came to live with my wife and me when she was a child) is black, while I'm an almost stereotypical looking white Texas redneck. At the time, Grits was amazed that three squad cars were dispatched to question me for walking down the street with a child of a different race, detaining me for no good reason and scaring the bejeezus out of then-two-year old Ty.

Last night, though, Ty and I got the full jump-out-boys treatment, making our earlier interaction with Austin PD seem downright quaint. It could only have been more ridiculous if they'd actually arrested me, which for a while there didn't seem out of the question. (This is a personal tale much more than a policy analysis, so if you're only interested in the latter, don't bother to read further.)


More Anti-Smoking Hysteria: Kuwait Bans Smoking In Public Places

© chaiou7aleeb.wordpress.com
Kuwait issued Monday a blanket ban on smoking in public places including hotels, restaurants and cafes.

Commerce and Industry Minister Amani Buresli ordered the ban upon recommendations from Health Ministry.

Minister Buresli said the ban covers all forms of smoking including water pipe.

The minister asked restaurants, cafes and entertainment places to allocate well-isolated places for smokers.

Inspectors will monitor all public places to ensure full respect for the new rules, Buresli said.

She also warned that the ministry will take puntive and legal actions against violators of the ban.

The Ministry of Health also banned smoking in shopping malls, schools, universities, hospitals, airports, government offices, sports clubs, libraries, recreational places and other public places.

The two ministries urged all Kuwaiti citizens and foreign residents to help enforce the ban that aims to protect public health.

Comment: Governments are continuing to attempt to suppress smoking in spite of studies suggesting that smoking may not be the health hazard we have been led to believe and can actually be helpful for some people. For more unbiased information see:

Let's All Light Up!
Nicotine helps Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Patients
Nicotine Lessens Symptoms Of Depression In Nonsmokers
Scientists Identify Brain Regions Where Nicotine Improves Attention, Other Cognitive Skills
Can Smoking be GOOD for SOME People?

Eye 1

US: Female Passengers Say They're Targeted By TSA

2/13/2012 update: This story has led to new legislation being introduced in the U.S. Senate.

Women passengers complain that TSA agents are targeting them for extra screening.

The Transportation Security Administration has a policy to randomly select people for extra screening, but some female passengers are complaining. They believe there is nothing "random" about the way they were picked.

A Dallas woman says TSA agents repeatedly asked her to step back into a body scanning machine at DFW International Airport. "I feel like I was totally exposed," said Ellen Terrell, who is a wife and mother. "They wanted a nice good look."

When Ellen Terrell and her husband, Charlie, flew out of DFW Airport several months ago, Terrell says she was surprised by a question a female TSA agent asked her. "She says to me, 'Do you play tennis?' And I said, 'Why?' She said, 'You just have such a cute figure.'"

Terrell says she walked into the body scanner which creates an image that a TSA agent in another room reviews. Terrell says she tried to leave, but the female agent stopped her. "She says, 'Wait, we didn't get it,'" recalls Terrell, who claims the TSA agent sent her back a second time and even a third. But that wasn't good enough.


US: Elie Wiesel: Mitt Romney Should Tell Mormon Church To Stop Performing Posthumous Proxy Baptisms On Jews

Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor who has devoted his life to combating intolerance, says Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney "should speak to his own church and say they should stop" performing posthumous proxy baptisms on Jews.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner spoke to The Huffington Post Tuesday soon after HuffPost reported that according to a formerly-Mormon researcher, Helen Radkey, some members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had submitted Wiesel's name to a restricted genealogy website as "ready" for posthumous proxy baptism. Radkey found that the name of Wiesel had been submitted to the database for the deceased, from which a separate process for proxy baptism could be initiated. Radkey also said that the names of Wiesel's deceased father and maternal grandfather had been submitted to the site.


US: Does PETA Ad Featuring a Young, Pantless Woman in a Neckbrace Promote Veganism, or Offend?

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is known for its provocative ads--many of them featuring women in various states of undress--that aim to draw attention (however indirectly) to animal rights. But their latest ad, a Valentine's Day video that warns women about the "dangers" of their boyfriends' burgeoning veganism, may have crossed a line.

The ad, released online Monday, shows a limping, pantsless woman sporting a neckbrace, struggling to carry a bag of vegetables home from the store. (Unsurprisingly, we'll warn that this ad, embedded below, may be a bit too racy for the eyes of younger viewers.)


Accused Spree Killer Demands 'Cocoa Puffs'


Attorney Pete Mazzone (center), says that his client Holly Ann Grigsby (left), should have access to sugary treats while she awaits trial on aggravated murder charges.
The attorney for an accused spree killer argued Monday that his client should have access to sugary treats while she awaits her aggravated murder trial inside the Snohomish County Jail.

Holly Ann Grigsby and her boyfriend, David Pedersen, are accused of murdering four people from Washington state to California. At a hearing, Grigsby's attorney said his client's right to commissary had been abruptly taken away last December.

"The jail decided to take that privilege away without any reasoning, without anything," said Attorney Pete Mazzone. "We were asking for the court to allow our client to have the privileges that other inmates in the general population of the jail have, one of which is the ability to buy things from the jail store."

Comment: "The only people who seem to ever complain are the really high notoriety cases". That is to say, the clinical psychopaths who are unable to feel an ounce of remorse for their crimes and therefore have no problem making such demands.


France Sees Rise In Evangelical Churches

© unk
Hillsong Church, Paris
The atmosphere is like a pop concert: in a darkened theater in the lively Montparnasse area of Paris, hundreds of young people sing catchy songs and wave their arms in the air, while a group plays booming music on stage.

But this isn't a pop gig. Welcome to Hillsong Church. The Australian-born Pentecostal church set up a branch in Paris in 2005 and has seen its congregation grow from a few dozen people at its first meetings to around 900 now at each of its two weekend services, conducted in French and English.

Hillsong's pastor, Brendan White, won't disclose membership figures. But on a recent Sunday, the 1,000-seat Théâtre Bobino - where the church holds its main services - was nearly full.

This youthful, enthusiastic, multi-ethnic crowd is in sharp contrast to the diminishing gatherings in French Catholic churches, and it represents the rise not only of Hillsong, but of the evangelical movement as a whole in a country that is officially secular, observers say.