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Sat, 19 Jan 2019
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Turning schools into prisons: More cops is NOT a solution to shootings, it's a deathblow to liberty

School bus and prison bus
Just what we don't need: more gun-toting, taser-wielding cops in government-run schools that bear an uncomfortable resemblance to prisons.

Microcosms of the police state, America's public schools already contain almost every aspect of the militarized, intolerant, senseless, overcriminalized, legalistic, surveillance-riddled, totalitarian landscape that plagues those of us on the "outside."

Now the Trump Administration wants to double down on these totalitarian echo chambers.

The Justice Department, headed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has announced that it will provide funding for schools that want to hire more resource officers. The White House has also hinted that it may repeal "Rethink School Discipline" policies, heralding a return to zero tolerance policies that treat children like suspects and criminals, especially within the public schools.

As for President Trump, he wants to "harden" the schools.

What exactly does hardening the schools entail?


Power rationing hits Venezuela as drought causes severe outages

dinner by candlelight
© REUTERS/Carlos Eduardo Ramirez
Juana Guerrero uses a candle to illuminate the table while she dines during a blackout in San Cristobal.
Venezuela imposed electricity rationing this week in six western states, as the crisis-hit country's creaky power grid suffered from a drought that has reduced water levels in key reservoirs needed to run hydroelectric power generators.

The four-hour formal outages began on Thursday. But many residents scoffed at the announcement, wryly noting that they have been suffering far more extended blackouts during the last week.

"We have spent 14 hours without electricity today. And yesterday electricity came and went: for six hours we had no power," said Ligthia Marrero, 50, in the western state of San Cristobal, noting that her fridge had been damaged by the frequent interruptions.

Crumbling infrastructure and lack of investments have hit Venezuela's power supply for years. Now, the situation has been exacerbated by dwindling rains.

Green Light

China to bar people with bad "social credit" from planes, trains - "once untrustworthy, always restricted"

China Bullet Train
© Getty Images
CRH2 China Railways High-speed bullet train as it arrives from Hangzhou, at the Shanghai South Railway Station.
People who would be put on the restricted lists included those found to have committed acts like spreading false information about terrorism and causing trouble on flights, as well as those who used expired tickets or smoked on trains, according to two statements issued on the National Development and Reform Commission's website on Friday.

Those found to have committed financial wrongdoings, such as employers who failed to pay social insurance or people who have failed to pay fines, would also face these restrictions, said the statements which were dated March 2.

It added that the rules would come into effect on May 1.

Comment: See Also:

Heart - Black

South Africa: Shocking testimony reveals that mother beat her infant over the course of two days in attempted exorcism

crying baby
© Getty Images
According to shocking new court testimony, the mother of a seven-month-old baby girl allegedly beat the infant continuously for two days in an attempted exorcism.

An unnamed witness revealed the terrifying details on Wednesday during a bail application for Evelyn Jacobs. Jacobs and Emmanuel Welcome face charges in the murder of the baby.

The witness spoke in a South African Magistrate's Court.

"According to the testimony of a witness who wishes to remain anonymous, on October 12, 2016, the accused (Jacobs) and a friend, Veronica, went to Welcome's shanty," Detective Constable Kgositsile Taolo, the investigating officer, told the court, according to Nigeria's daily newspaper The Punch. "Jacobs had her seven-month-old baby with her at the time."

Wine n Glass

Red, white & booze: 37 million Americans are "binge drinkers" CDC study says - but due to self-reporting numbers likely far higher

cheers drink beer
© Kim Kyung Hoon / Reuters
Americans are no strangers to boozing it up, according to a new study that found that one in six US adults are binge drinkers. Alcohol enthusiasts in the US are chugging a collective 17.5 billion "binge drinks" per year.

The study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, found that 37.4 million Americans, or one out of every six adults, binge drink about once a week. They drink an average of about seven drinks per binge, meaning they chug a collective 17.5 billion drinks each year. That boils down to about 470 binge drinks, per binge drinker, annually.

"This study shows that binge drinkers are consuming a huge number of drinks per year, greatly increasing their chances of harming themselves and others," study co-author Robert Brewer, lead researcher in the CDC's alcohol program, said in a statement.

Comment: Meanwhile in Russia: Breaking against stereotype, Russians under Putin are drinking less and living healthier lives


A United flight was diverted because it mistakenly put a dog on wrong flight (again)

United Airline flight
© Getty Images
United Airlines has had yet another incident with a dog on one of its flights. No, not the one with the dog that died in the overhead bin. Or the dog that was mistakenly sent to Japan. Shockingly, the beleaguered airline had another incident with another dog.

United flight from Newark, N.J., to St. Louis was diverted after the airline learned it had a dog bound for Akron, Ohio, on board, the Washington Post reports. The pup was mistakenly loaded onto the St. Louis flight, company spokeswoman Natalie Noonan told the Post on Saturday."

After realizing the dog had been put aboard the wrong flight, the airline decided to have the plane follow the dog's itinerary. It headed to Ohio after the airline "chose the fastest option to reunite the dog with his family," Noonan said.

Passengers were provided compensation for the delay.

Comment: See also: Flying crazy air: What's going on with airline travel?


Since lethal injection drugs are unavailable, Oklahoma will start using nitrogen gas to execute death row inmates

execution protest
© Alex Wong/Getty Images
Anti-capital punishment advocates hold a banner at a protest at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Anti-capital punishment advocates on Thursday condemned an announcement by Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter this week that the state would begin using nitrogen gas to execute death row inmates, after being unable to secure lethal injection drugs.

Following challenges by prisoners and rights advocates, some manufacturers have stopped selling certain kinds of drugs to states for lethal injections, leaving some ready to use those on death row as guinea pigs as they experiment with the ways to carry out executions.

Oklahoma temporarily suspended its use of the death penalty in 2015 after the state used the wrong drug in one execution and left another inmate writhing in pain for 43 minutes due to an improperly placed IV. Later, that inmate died from what was determined to be a massive heart attack.


Homeless family of 4 found dead in parked van in California, authorities suspect carbon monoxide poisoning

Family living in van
A homeless couple and their two young children, all dressed for bed, were found dead from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning in a parked van that had its windows covered with blankets and a shade to block out the light outside a Southern California strip mall, police said Friday.

Garden Grove Police Lt. Carl Whitney said a man, a woman, a boy and girl were found inside the white Honda van outside a CVS store late Thursday after a woman reported a foul odor coming from the vehicle.

"They were in pajamas and sleeping gear and it looks like they were all asleep inside the van," Whitney said.

There were no signs of obvious trauma. The cause of death is still under investigation, but authorities suspect carbon monoxide poisoning based on their initial observations, Whitney said.

Comment: See also: Arrests & crimes against homeless in Los Angeles skyrockets - report


More feminist blathering: Star Trek posters and other 'geeky stuff' ruins the 'ambient belonging' of women in tech fields

Captain Picard facepalm
The top librarian at MIT recently argued that to make tech workplaces more inclusive and welcoming to women, ditch Star Trek posters and other geeky stuff cluttering office walls.

"There is research that shows that workplaces that are plastered with stereotypically 'tech or nerd guy' cultural images - think Star Trek - have negative impact on women's likelihood of pursuing tech work and of staying in tech work in general or in that particular work environment," said Chris Bourg, director of libraries at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"Replace the Star Trek posters with travel posters, don't name your projects or your printers or your domains after only male figures from Greek mythology, and just generally avoid geek references and inside nerd jokes," Bourg added. "Those kinds of things reinforce the stereotypes about who does tech; and that stereotype is the male nerd stereotype."

Bourg made the comments during her recent keynote address to the code{4}lib convention in Washington D.C, according to a post on her blog.

Comment: Men, on average, prefer working with things. Women prefer working with people. No amount of 'fem-splaining' will change that. It's rooted in biology. If a woman is geeky enough to work in STEM she'd probably like Star Trek anyway.
Sex and the STEM fields: Stubborn ideologies meet even more stubborn facts

Heart - Black

Ranking the world's most hated professions

Actress Louise Fletcher
© Silver Screen Collection / Getty Images
Actress Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, 1975.
Among thousands of occupations in the world there are numerous jobs that evoke a sickening feeling. RT Business takes a look at some of the most hated professions.

Liking or disliking career choices commonly reflects the individual's perspective. However, our impressions on the issue do not always depend on life experience, but mostly on an image popping up in our heads when we start thinking about certain professions. Here, we list five of the most hated jobs in the world.

#1 Dentists

Just the sound of the drill makes many people queasy. For most of us a trip to dentist is equal to a real act of bravery, as it's always associated with a little bit of discomfort, if not outright pain. People's personal experiences with dentists typically multiply by sadistic images often seen in movies such as Little Shop of Horrors.