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Pediatricians oppose school suspension, expulsion

A group representing pediatricians says disciplining students with out-of-school suspension or expulsion is counterproductive to school goals and should only be used on case by case basis.

The policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that pediatricians familiarize themselves with the policies of their local school districts, and advocate for prevention and alternative strategies.

"The adverse effect of out-of-school suspension and expulsion on the student can be profound," the experts write in the journal Pediatrics on Monday.

"Data suggest that students who are involved in the juvenile justice system are likely to have been suspended or expelled. Further, students who experience out-of-school suspension and expulsion are as much as 10 times more likely to ultimately drop out of high school than are those who do not," they add.

Kathy Cowan, director of communications for the National Association of School Psychologists in Bethesda, Maryland, said their organization largely supports the AAP's statements.

"Sometimes (out-of-school suspension and expulsion) are absolutely necessary, but they're not effective at improving behavior in general," Cowan told Reuters Health.

Comment: While it appears to be good that pediatricians are standing up against harassment of children by school administrations, there is another problem. Often monitoring of children by doctors and counselors result in forced Pharma solutions rather than counseling:

Thought crimes: What's really behind the punishment for fake guns in schools
How kids are getting hooked on pills for life
Is your child mentally ill? "Yes," according to Big Pharma-funded doctors (ka-ching!)


There are more male nurses and they're getting paid way more than their lady colleagues

male nurse
© Dan Kosmayer/Shutterstock.
There are more male nurses than ever before, and - naturally - they're making more money than their female peers, according to a new nationwide study.

The proportion of male registered nurses jumped from 2.7% in 1970 to 9.6% in 2011, according to data from the 2011 American Community Survey. The number of men who are licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses also rose from 3.9% in 1970 to 8.1% in 2011. (Licensed practical nurses work under the direction of doctors and registered nurses.)

"A predicted shortage has led to recruiting and retraining efforts to increase the pool of nurses," report author Liana Christin Landivar, a sociologist in the Census Bureau's Industry and Occupation Statistics Branch, said in a statement. "These efforts have included recruiting men into nursing."

Women still made up 91% of the nursing workforce, but men, on average, earned $60,700 a year in 2011, compared with $51,100 a year for women. The gender wage gap is such a myth though, right?


Rumors about secret gay lobby before Pope's resignation

Christiane Amanpour and John Allen report on rumors of a secret gay lobby within the Vatican and sex abuse allegations.

Alarm Clock

Detained for silence: The return of McCarthyism

seattle three
© The Progressive Press
Civil liberties advocates are raising alarm over the treatment and detention of three Seattle area activists with ties to area anarchist collectives and the Occupy Wall Street movement. "The Grand Jury Refusers," as they're referred to by the area bloggers, have become subculture icons within the activist circles since their detention in September, for refusing to answer questions regarding their political affiliations and contacts.

The questions come purportedly as part of a larger federal investigation into the May 5th "May Day" protests, during which substantial amounts of property were damaged and vandalized.

According to Matthew Duran, Katherine Olejnik and Maddie Pfeiffer, all of whom are presently in solitary confinement at the SeaTac Federal Detention Center under (civil) contempt charges, the questioning and subsequent detentions are part of a greater effort by the federal authorities to crack down on activists and dissidents.

The FDC (Federal Detention Center) has declined to state to the press or to the lawyers of the detained, exactly why the three are being held in solitary. However, Brendan Kiley of the Seattle news site, "The Stranger," notes in his most recent piece that their move from the standard pre-trial general population units to the Special Housing Unit (SHU), came after the publication of an article about visiting with Duran and Olejink in which they describe the events of the secret grand-jury hearing.


North Carolina smoking ban enforcement bill not gathering much support

North Carolina - A bill to give New Hanover beach towns the power to enforce smoking bans on the beaches has hit a 'snag,' according to one local lawmaker.

At the New Hanover County local officials caucus Monday morning, Wrightsville Beach Mayor David Cignotti stressed the need for the law that would give the beach towns municipal authority.

Wrightsville Beach voters approved a smoking ban on the town's beaches in November with the support of about 65 percent of voters. The Carolina Beach Town Council also passed a smoking ban in August.

Ocean beaches in North Carolina are considered state property, but Wrightsville is an exception because it owns a large portion of its beach.

But there's a conflicting law that says parts of the beach that have been nourished are under state control, bringing up serious enforcement questions when it comes to the smoking ban.


Why I'm quitting Facebook

© Corbis
I used to be able to justify using Facebook as a cost of doing business. As a writer and sometime activist who needs to promote my books and articles and occasionally rally people to one cause or another, I found Facebook fast and convenient. Though I never really used it to socialize, I figured it was OK to let other people do that, and I benefited from their behavior.

I can no longer justify this arrangement.

Today, I am surrendering my Facebook account, because my participation on the site is simply too inconsistent with the values I espouse in my work. In my upcoming book Present Shock, I chronicle some of what happens when we can no longer manage our many online presences. I have always argued for engaging with technology as conscious human beings and dispensing with technologies that take that agency away.

Facebook is just such a technology. It does things on our behalf when we're not even there. It actively misrepresents us to our friends, and worse misrepresents those who have befriended us to still others. To enable this dysfunctional situation -- I call it "digiphrenia" -- would be at the very least hypocritical. But to participate on Facebook as an author, in a way specifically intended to draw out the "likes" and resulting vulnerability of others, is untenable.

Cupcake Choco

The Chocolate Wars: A bitter tale of greed and child slavery

Child Labour_1
© Greener Ideal
One wonders with a title as 'provocative' as this, what's to follow; regrettably, nothing more than a truthful and bitter tale of greed and child slave-labour, mainly because of what I like to call "The Chocolate Wars". These corporate battles have been going on for quite some time, and are still, mainly being waged by the major Chocolate companies against their own distant labourers; where, they are knowingly using children as human slaves.

Countless reports and eye witness accounts over just as many countless years have claimed that these young children are being worked to the point of malnutrition, exhaustion, and starvation; under filthy, dangerous, and deplorable working conditions. All the while, these 'Barons of Chocolate' posturingly promote the virtues of their chocolates; as they remain hidden away within their corporate ivory towers of power, many, many thousands of miles away; safely protected and distanced from the deadly reality of, 'life as a child-slave on the cocoa plantation'!

Teetering on the precipice of this 13+ billion dollar industry, is a sad tale of two million children world-wide, working themselves almost to death, just to feed our insatiable chocolate habits! Children as young as 8 can be sold or even forced into slavery by local 'agents', working on behalf of our all too familiar corporate 'Barons of Chocolate'; specifically, in order to recruit the cheapest of workers for their cocoa plantations. In the same way, as in other parts of Africa, where at the same age, they are forced to kill and fight in local wars.

Comment: Our eating one less M&M isn't going to solve the problem. The problem is the psychopathic middlemen between the producers (the farmers and these child-slaves) and the consumers. As with all other industries, we need to excise the parasites at the top.


Wisconsin police crack 1957 case of 7-month-old infant's death

Ruby Klokow
© Eric Litke / The Sheboygan PressRuby Klokow, 76, pleaded guilty Monday to the second-degree murder of a her 7-month-old daughter in 1957.
On March 1, 1957, a 7-month-old girl named Jeaneen Marie Klokow died at home. Sheboygan, Wisc., investigators ruled that she'd fallen off her mother's couch by accident.

For decades, that was that.

Except she'd been killed. And decades would separate the medical advances and nagging consciences that resulted in her mother's guilty plea to second-degree murder in Sheboygan on Monday morning.

"It's really an incredible thing," Sheboygan County District Atty. Joe DeCecco said by phone on Monday, and he would know: Prosecuting someone nearly 56 years after the fact required improvisation.

Hours earlier, 76-year-old Ruby C. Klokow formally pleaded guilty to what she'd recently confessed in front of Sheboygan detectives who had revived the case -- she had abused her daughter to death.

Except the second-degree murder charge she confessed to no longer exists under Wisconsin law. The crime scene was long gone -- knocked over years ago where the county sheriff's department now stands. Case files were missing, and good luck asking the original investigators where they went.

"Half the people that were around then were dead now," DeCecco said. The other half were mostly too old to remember what happened.

But some memories hadn't eroded over half a century.

Within the world of criminal investigation, infant-abuse cases can be among the toughest to prosecute. There are often no witnesses other than the suspect, and investigators often must try to find the difference between a loving mother's bad fall and something more malicious.

A 2008 tip by James Klokow, one of Ruby's sons, captured investigators' interest.

Heart - Black

Batman 'Joker' child-killer claims 'no choice'

Kim De Gelder
An artist's impression of Kim De Gelder on the first day of his trial at Gent's courthouse on February 22, 2013.
A nursery killer who carried out murders disguised as Batman villain 'The Joker' told a court on Monday he was left "no choice" but to stab to death two toddlers and their minder at a Belgian creche -- despite saying he knew murder was wrong.

"I was aware that you should not (kill) but I did not see any other choice," Kim De Gelder told the court in Ghent, which is considering whether the 24-year-old can be held responsible for his knife rampage.

"I was pushed towards this choice, perhaps from outside. It came directly," De Gelder said in reply to lengthy questioning by the presiding judge.

De Gelder is charged with killing the two infants and their 54-year-old carer in an attack on the Fable Land nursery in the town of Dendermonde in January 2009, as well as the attempted murder of 22 others at the creche -- including 16 babies and toddlers.

De Gelder is further charged with murdering an elderly woman in a separate attack a week earlier.

The court must determine whether De Gelder can be considered sane or not. On Friday, his lawyer told the 12 jurors his client was a paranoid schizophrenic who "is irresponsible and cannot be punished."

Just after the release of cult 2008 Batman movie The Dark Knight, De Gelder entered the nursery with his hair dyed red and his face painted white with black around his eyes -- like the film's villain 'The Joker,' as played by the late Australian actor Heath Ledger.

Last year, US youth James Holmes was accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 in a cinema screening the sequel of the film.


Sequestration: Canadians will feel the pinch from automatic U.S. spending cuts

© The Canadian Press
Are you having trouble getting your head around this thing called sequestration?

America's TV talking heads and political bloggers are getting people south of the border jittery as the first round of automatic federal budget cuts - about US$85 billion - take effect later this week.

But why should we care up here in Canada? Here's why. Do you like to scoot across the border to shop for bargains? Well, scooting's out. Expect longer waits - maybe hours - to get through customs as border points face reduced staffing.

Planning an air trip? Closure of some U.S. air traffic control centres will tangle airline schedules and force cancellation of flights, which given the interlinked nature of the world's air-travel system, will inevitably ripple into Canada, The Canadian Press reports. U.S. customs pre-clearance centres at airports could also be closed down.

Businesses are expected to feel the effect as well with a reduction in customs services as 8,000 positions are cut to meet government-mandated budget targets.