The Bullies at School Aren’t the People You Think…

I found this quite interesting.  You may too.

A new study discredits the archetypical bully image as a letter jacket-wearing jock or a pack of vicious girls. It’s actually the fence-sitters — the kids who stand the most to gain — who are the biggest aggressors.  The most popular students don’t have to use bullying to work their way up, and less popular kids typically just aren’t as aggressive, says study co-author Robert W. Faris, a sociology professor at the University of California, Davis.  And there’s a logical explanation, Education Week reports:  “Our interpretation is, kids view this as a means to an end. Once they get to the top, they no longer need to be aggressive. Aggression could be counterproductive: It could signal insecurity,” Mr. Faris said.

Bullies are the ‘middle children’ of schools, not the kids at the top and not the kids at the bottom.  The mediocre.  Fascinating.  So next time you hear about bullying at your kid’s school, it’s probably the invisible kid wanting attention doing it.

Fun Facts From Church History

Calvin was meticulous in his lectures on the Old Testament.  In fact, his series on Jeremiah consumed more than 123 hours.   But he was also punctual.  At the end of lecture 123, for instance, he remarked ‘I cannot continue now, for the clock is tolling’.    The lecture hall was next to the church and its bell tolled every hour, so that Calvin knew exactly when to start and quit.

More Academic Misconduct: Make Those Recruits Afraid!

College recruiters aren’t above scare tactics it seems, as a new report makes painfully clear.

Newly-released internal training documents from several for-profit colleges illustrate a culture that encourages recruiters to increase enrollment by focusing on emotions such as “pain” and “fear” to attract low-income students who are struggling with adverse personal and financial circumstances.  The documents, obtained by a Senate oversight committee, shed light on the high-pressure recruiting tactics employed by some for-profit schools to increase enrollment numbers and the profits that come from federal student-aid dollars.  “Remind them of what things will be like if they don’t continue forward and earn their degrees,” reads one document obtained from ITT Technical Institute, a for-profit school with more than 100 campuses across the country. “Poke the pain a bit and remind them who else is depending on them and their commitment to a better future.”

Don’t think that scare tactics are only used by for profit colleges though.  So called ‘non-profits’ (that’s a joke isn’t it) Universities know how to scare too.  Just think back to all those times you were told ‘if you don’t go to college, you won’t be able to make a good living’.

If you want to know what drives higher ed today, Cuba Gooding Jr. knows and sums it up nicely in his famous little line – ‘show me the money’.

Legal Interference Of a Good Kind

This is a strange one, but maybe there’s a simple explanation.

A man with a low IQ has been banned from sex by a judge who said the case raised questions about civil liberties, The Telegraph newspaper reported.  The 41-year-old man, known as Alan, has an IQ of 48 and a moderate learning disability, the newspaper reported. Alan was living with a man and having sex with him.

Maybe the court feels like he’s being taken advantage of.  And maybe the Judge is just protecting him.    Some people are in need of protection, so I don’t see a problem with it.  Though Tom Verenna does (from whom I learned about the story on FB).

His local council decided that his “vigorous sex drive” was not appropriate and he didn’t understand what he was doing, the Telegraph reported.  High Court Justice Nicholas Mostyn agreed that Alan did not have the mental capacity to understand the health risks and should not have sex with anyone. The judge’s order put Alan under the local authority that provides his housing.

Right.  If he’s behaving injuriously and dangerously (think STD’s and worse) he needs guidance and, again, protection.  Children are protected from predators, and people with limited mental capacity are also due protection.

Killed by the Chicken

Good for the chicken.  Ok not really (gosh, calm down).  But here’s another little tale which ought to teach those gamblers among you a lesson: what you bet on might kill you.

A California man attending a cockfight has died after being stabbed in the leg by a bird that had a knife attached to its own limb.  The Kern County coroner says 35-year-old Jose Luis Ochoa was declared dead at a hospital about two hours after he suffered the injury in neighboring Tulare County on Jan. 30.  An autopsy concluded Ochoa died of an accidental “sharp force injury” to his right calf.  Sheriff’s spokesman Ray Pruitt says it’s unclear if a delay in seeking medical attention contributed to Ochoa’s death. Tulare officials are investigating, and no arrests were made at the cockfight.

It must have taken forever to get him to the hospital.  At first I thought the knife had sliced through some major artery which would have resulted in massive bleeding.  But there are no such in the calf (are there, you med people?).  So whoever drove the ambulance or made the call for an ambulance wasn’t in much of a rush.

So, gamblers, next time that could be you.

You’re Under Arrest for the Beating Death of a 14 Year Old Girl

Muslim clerics in Bangladesh heard those words (in their own language no doubt) recently, according to our friends at the Washington Post.

Police in Bangladesh said Thursday they have arrested four Islamic clerics after a teenage girl was whipped to death for allegedly having an illicit relationship with a married man.  The clerics are accused of ordering 14-year-old Mosammet Hena to receive 100 lashes in a fatwa or religious edict at a village in southwestern Shariatpur district, the area’s police chief AKM Shahidur Rahman said. The area is 35 miles (56 kilometers) from the capital, Dhaka.  Fatwas are illegal in Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority nation governed by secular laws.

Clerics ordering the beating of a child.  Awful.  That didn’t even happen during the Reformation.   (It was always the civil authorities who ordered beatings and exiles and drownings and burnings and the like).  Anyway good for the government of Bangladesh for drawing a line in the sand and refusing to let extremists step over it without consequences.

Sadly, though, the girl perished.

The girl collapsed after she was lashed in public with a bamboo cane about 70 times on Monday, Rahman said. She was taken to a hospital where she died hours later the same day, the officer said.

So hopefully her abusers will be charged with murder.  Along with the clerics who ordered them to do it.  But most absurdly

Rahman said the 40-year-old man with whom Hena was allegedly involved was also sentenced to 100 lashes. But the man fled, escaping the punishment, he said.  “We are hunting for the man,” Rahman said.

Fled?  40?  For some reason I don’t think the pedophile will suffer the same consequences as the girl.  Women in Muslim countries are treated like trash, even in the most enlightened Islamic republics.

It’s A Banner Day!

First I got an email from an angry atheist denouncing my work in general and my little blog musings in particular and then I got an email from a pro-Bristol-Palin Christian who rebuked me in the name of the Lord (and the Bible) for my willingness to use theological sarcasm ‘after the manner of Luther’ (!!!) and for not being ‘edifying’ enough.

It’s a banner day when you have irritated the angry atheists AND the christian fundamentalists at the same time.

I wonder who I can annoy now? Muslim murderers? The totally depraved? The accreditation industry defenders? Christian Pastors who steal and cheat and whore? Catholic pedophiles? Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or Pentebabbleists?

The truth is, if my only friend in the world turns out to be the truth, then so be it. Although, honestly, I think at least my family likes me (every now and again). Still, I can’t be bothered to worry about the maniacal. If one diverts oneself from the goal for even a second and ‘having put his hand to the plow, looking back’, such a one isn’t worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Or to borrow a phrase from my favorite Deuterocanonical (go look it up, angry fundamentalists),

Even to the death fight for truth, and the LORD your God will battle for you. – Ben Sira 4:28.

Why In the Name of Heaven Does an 8 Year Old Need an iPhone Anyway?

iPhone 4 Bumper + Universal Dock w/o Adapter

Get one for your 2 year old... be the first idiot on your block

Any parent who buys their 8 year old an iPhone deserves whatever horrific bill they receive.  So these parents won’t be getting any sympathy from this corner of the world.

Over the winter break from school, 8-year-old Madison worked to dress up her simple mushroom home on the iPhone game Smurfs’ Village. In doing so, she also amassed a $1,400 bill from Apple.

What do you expect?  Give a kid a toy (which apparently is all the iPhone is… can you even make calls on it?) and they’re going to play with it.

The Rockville second-grader didn’t realize the Smurfberries she was buying on the popular game by Capcom Interactive were real purchases, much like buying a pair of shoes from Zappos or movie tickets from Fandango. After all, lots of children’s games require virtual payments of pretend coins, treasure chests and gold to advance to levels.

That’s because (insert shocked grimace here) she’s a KID!  She’s 8.  She’s not a thinker.  Her whole existence is based on being a passive recipient in a parental welfare state.

But like a growing number of parents, Madison’s mom, Stephanie Kay, was shocked to find very real charges from iTunes show up in her e-mail box days later.  “I thought the app preyed on children,” she said. “Note that the Smurf app states it is for ages 4-plus.”

Hey mom, don’t try to place the blame for your lack of oversight on Apple (as loathsome as that company is).  [And WHAT????  Aps for 4 year olds???  Are they kidding?  Are there really little 4 year old kids trapsing around Encino carrying their iPhones and using aps????  Good heavens.  It’s the end.]

We live in a messed up world.

No Miss, You Can’t Have your Dog Back

Some people, seriously, aren’t very good at thinking.  Take this future Darwin Award winner, for example:

The Minneapolis woman cited for attempting to mail a puppy will not get the animal back despite her determined appeal, a city administrative hearing officer decided Monday in a case that has received national attention.  Stacey Champion, 39, was charged with two misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty after authorities said she tried to mail the pup to her son in Georgia as a birthday present. The dog, a 4-month-old poodle-schnauzer mix, was sealed tight in a priority mail box with no food, water or air holes.  A clerk at the U.S. Postal Service found the puppy, whose name is Guess, when the box fell off the counter, seemingly by itself. The clerk picked up the box and heard panting from inside.

Stooopid.

Total Depravity: The Lewd Principal

A former Atlanta high school principal, fired last week, was arrested Monday after an investigation concluded that he sent a text message with a lewd photograph to a 16-year-old girl.  Andre Lescot Williams was taken to the Gwinnett County Jail and charged with distributing obscene material to a minor. It’s a misdemeanor offense, and his bond was set at $5,000.

Bizarrely

The allegation arose from a “domestic spat” involving a love triangle that included Williams and the mother of the teen, said Cpl. Jake Smith, a spokesman for the Gwinnett Police Department.  Williams sent angry text messages to the woman, Smith said.

‘Love triangle’?   He was involved with the girl’s mother and sent disgusting photos to the kid?  That kind of thing might be common in Australia, but in the South of America it’s just plain wrong for a lot of reasons.

He allegedly sent a picture of a part of his body to both the woman and her daughter, and police say the message to the teen was intentional because he wrote about the mother in the message.

Creepy and totally depraved.

If The Cleveland Cavs Were a Biblioblog…

They’d be Pastoral Musings.

The poor Cleveland Cavs, their dry spell just continues, as they lost their way into the NBA record books.  Last Saturday (February 5), the team earned the longest single-season losing streak record with 24 straight L’s, but the league keeps an overall losing streak record that takes into account skids stretched over two season.  Now, with their loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night (February 7), recording their 25th loss in a row, the Cavs have etched their names into the history books at the longest “L” streak in the NBA’s history, no matter how its counted.

Yikes.  That’s as sad as having a miserable Alexa ranking…

[There’s a link for ya, Miss Musings…].   😉

Islamic Violence Against Christians

Hundreds of Islamic hard-liners stormed a courthouse and set two churches on fire Tuesday in central Indonesia to protest what they considered a lenient sentence for a Christian convicted of blaspheming Islam.  Jakarta resident Antonius Richmond Bawengan, 58, was found guilty of distributing books and leaflets that “spread hatred about Islam” and sentenced to the maximum five years in prison. Islamic hard-liners shouted during the rioting that the man should have received the death penalty. Anti-riot police fired into the air to disperse the crowd.

How very different these people are from the Christians in Cairo who circled and protected Muslims at prayer during the height of the protests.

Today in Egypt

Official photograph of Egyptian President Hosn...

The smartest guy in Egypt

Hosni Mubarak’s brilliant strategy of stalling is continuing.  This time he’s set up a ‘reform committee‘.  Committee is code word for delay and discussion and delay and debate and delay.  Anyone who has ever been on a committee knows that 99% of the time it’s all about talk but hardly anything is ever done.

Egypt’s embattled President Hosni Mubarak has set up a committee to discuss and recommend constitutional changes that will relax eligibility rules for who can run for president and limit the number of presidential terms.  Vice President Omar Suleiman said Tuesday that Mubarak also decreed the creation of a separate committee to monitor the implementation of all proposed reforms.

Well played sir, well played.  However, the author of the piece has apparently never been on a committee.

The moves are the first concrete steps taken by the longtime authoritarian ruler to implement reforms promised during two weeks of mass protests. So far government concessions have fallen short of the demands of protester demands that Mubarak immediately step down.

Concrete steps?  That’s laughable.  Committees aren’t about concrete steps.  If you want something done the last thing you do is appoint a committee.  If you want something really done you get some ‘A personality’ type person and appoint them to do it.  So again, nice delay tactic Mr. President.  Maybe no one will notice that’s what it is.