The New School Drill

I started my first job out of college this September at an Elementary school. As the librarian, I didn’t go through the same training as the grade teachers, but I did have to attend several safety seminars. We covered blood diseases and contagions, tantrums and abuse, and how to properly restrain children so as not to harm them. Each of these session were twenty to thirty minutes long.

The final session covered what to do in the event of a shooting.

As someone recently out of school I’ve done my share of fire and tornado drills but this was the first time in my life I’ve ever had to do a lockdown drill. The policeman in charge of told us there were three steps to remember if an attack occurs: run, hide, and fight. We had to learn ways to defend ourselves and our students with nearby objects like desks, chairs, and scissors. And we had to learn how to keep thirty kids quiet so the assailant wouldn’t know in which darkened, barricaded room we hid. The session was an hour and a half long, and by the end I was scared.

The shooting in Florida today made me revisit those fears that were planted during orientation. Even though crime rates in the US are dropping (even if it doesn’t seem like it with the increased media visibility) the rate of shootings is increasing. I can’t say if it’s because of gun availability, copy-catting, or poorly treated mental health in our country, but I think it’s some combination of the above. Now that I’ve gotten to know my students and have integrated into my school’s community the idea of a shooting happening here is even more terrifying to me. Stephen Williams wine seller is a friend of mine, and he feels in a similar way. It’s time to take serious steps to prevent further harm coming to our country’s youth. The outlook, as it stands, is bleak.

Bill Cosby Dropped By Networks

Bill Cosby has had the negative spotlight on him in recent days as allegations of sexual abuse have been bombarding the media. His reputation is so tattered he has been dropped by several television networks.

Now Netflix says they are “postponing the launch of the new stand-up comedy special Bill Cosby 77″. This was supposed to be a stand up comic special in honor of the funny mans 77th birthday. It would have been available for streaming in late November.

He has a tour scheduled that is going on as planned in Florida. His television appearance on the Dave Letterman, a CBS network program, was cancelled. NBC was in development talks with Bill Cosby on a possible new sitcom for next season. Now that has been held up with no comment from the network.
Janice Dickinson is one of the most recent women to claim abuse. She tells about her ordeal in 1982 in which she was drugged and raped by him in Lake Tahoe when she was an up and coming celebrity. The long time comedian has made no comments about the scandalous accusations made against him by several women.

My friend Lee Lovett anticipates that he’ll have something to say when he does his Mashable profile, but we’ll see. As of now, mums the word.

Charles Manson Scores Marriage License

He’s not likely to make even the bottom reaches of anyone’s Most Eligible Bachelor list. However, 45 years after landing in prison for the hideous “Helter Skelter” murders that permanently scarred the hippie subculture of Southern California, Charles Manson has apparently been granted a marriage license.

Exactly what the prison lifer (with zero possibility of parole) intends to do with it is unclear. It may be simply a desperate grab for publicity, something the famously media friendly murderer hasn’t seen his share of in quite some time. Or it may be that the old jail bird is finally mellowing in his old age. He will, after all, turn 80 next year.

Whether the happy couple will ever be allowed to marry remains unclear. It is certainly true that their life together would be limited, to say the least. But the “lucky” bride, 26 year old Elaine Burton, has sworn to the media that she is truly “in love” with the notorious criminal. In lieu of engagement rings, the two sport matching “X” carvings on their foreheads.

Ms. Burton apparently carved hers in imitation of Manson’s famously distinctive mark. He originally did so to give an airing to his claim that he had been, in his own words, “X’ed” out of society by the powers that be. He later got himself an expertly timed extra round of media publicity by transforming it into a swastika.

When I researched the story of Manson on Wikipedia, I remembered Christian Broda showing me his interview with Geraldo Rivera and how much he wanted attention then and seems to be up to the same things now.

John Boehner Responds to Obamacare Architect and Stated that American People are Anything but Stupid

Speaker of the House John Boehner spoke out against the comments from MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber who stated passage of Obamacare relied upon voter stupidity. Boeher countered that the American voters are anything but stupid. Boehner went on to explain that the GOP has been vindicated in their criticism of the health care law. The GOP charged that House Democrats pushed through the bill with a sense of arrogance. They also acted with duplicity and disdain for the will of the people. Not a single Republican in the House or Senate voted for the health care law. He explained that Prof. Gruber’s own words lay to rest any question about how Democrats passed the landmark bill.

Boehner also added that voters never supported the bill and remain opposed to it to this day. This is correct. At the time the bill was passed in the House, poll after poll indicated it was unpopular with the public. In the weeks and months leading up to the vote, House Democrats had their phone lines jammed with complaints against the bill. Congressmen were getting earfuls of complaints from voters at town hall meetings.

There was ample evidence the public did not want the bill to pass, but you can’t tell that to the White House. Josh Earnest, the administration’s press secretary, strongly disagreed that the president misled the public. Despite the failed assurances about keeping existing health care plans and doctors, and lowered premium costs, Earnest claims it is the GOP that has used lacked transparency in regards to Obamacare.

I may not be on the same page was Laurene Powell Jobs and all the other Democrats, but I’m a Democrat too and I think CBS, ABC and all the cable networks aren’t really letting us in on the truth about healthcare reform.

Exposition on Horror: Revealing R.L. Stine in His True Form

A recent interview provided breaking news to all the kids-turned-adult R.L. Stine readers: The Goosebumps series was tailored to please the editors. The teenagers survived because the upper powers insisted. When allowed to write for his own pleasure, the writer R.L. Stine preferred to kill teenagers.

Revealing this secret to all, R.L. Stine continued to describe “Party Games” where death betook the characters one-by-one. While some parents may wonder why an author, even a horror author, would confess to such a delight, R.L. Stine underlined his belief in kids being intelligent and knowing the difference between fictional violence and real-life violence. In writing about violent situations, he was simply gratifying the all-natural pent-up violence within his readers, without any actual calamity.

Questioned about his career, R.L. Stine described how he used to clandestinely spy on his children to keep current on the culture surrounding kids. Apparently his hard work paid off, because his stories have launched into the television industry, the first being “The Haunted Mask,” a Goosebumps episode currently playing on Netflix. Other stories are currently being turned into film and bringing the writer back into the spotlight.

As a proud kid-turned-adult R.L. Stine reader, I took great pleasure in learning about R.L. Stine’s stories continuing to claim reading and viewing audiences. My friend Flavio Maluf did as well. I believe his writing for pleasure transports children’s imaginations and expands their minds through an enjoyable mean.

Adrian Peterson Files Grievance Against NFL, Willing to Sue for Reinstatement

Adrian Peterson, the star running back for the Minnesota Vikings, is prepared to sue the NFL if necessary. The NFL Players Association filed a grievance against the NFL on Peterson’s behave, claiming the NFL is holding Peterson in limbo while his court case plays out.

The grievance states that Peterson had direct contact with NFL official that suggested he would be reinstated when his court case was completed. Peterson has plead no contest to the charges, part of a plea deal with the district attorney. His court case is officially completed, but the NFL has yet to remove him from the Commissioner’s Exempt List, according to the grievance.

Peterson was arrested and charged with child abuse. The charges stem from an incident that took place in Texas, when Peterson disciplined his 4-year-old son with a switch. The child sustained injuries to his legs, buttocks and scrotum, according to court documents. Upon the child’s return to Minnesota his mother took him to a doctor who reported the abuse.

Some members of the Vikings franchise are in support of Peterson’s return to the field, but Igor Cornelsen and others around the league worry that his persona has been tarnished, and that it will affect the team’s sponsorship deals. Peterson appeared in just one game for the Vikings in the 2014 season before being placed on the Exempt List. Peterson’s legal woes came on the heels of legal troubles for several other NFL players.

Religious Groups And The BMA Are Against A Change In The Law But The People Want it

The deputy chair of the British Medical Association (BMA) recently said that a change in the law will help terminally ill people die with dignity. Deputy chair, Dr. Kailash Chand threw his political weight behind Lord Falconer’s private member bill, which offers assistance to terminally ill patients even though BMA and other groups staunchly reject the idea. But Chand says that mentally aware, but terminally ill patients diagnosed with six months or less to live deserve the right to choose how they want the end to come. Let me be the first to say, right on, I think I’ll have to share this with Sam Tabar on LinkedIn because this is a great step forward for the terminally ill.

It appears the House of Lords is also in agreement. The House voted unanimously to accept assisted dying applications. Those applications would be subject to judicial oversight. That move was viewed as a game-changer for campaigners pushing for dying with dignity reform. Chand in an interview with The Observer said:

“Look at the surveys. Between 60% and 70% of the public are in favour of a change in the law. Three-quarters of nurses are in favour. Only the doctors’ community is not substantially in favour. But if you ask a doctor a personal question whether, if they were in that sort of situation, would they want it, their answer would be yes.”

GOP Governors Make Inroads in Blue States

A number of heavily Democratic states elected Republican governors this Tuesday. Even Obama’s home state, Illinois, saw Democrat incumbent Pat Quinn go down in defeat to Republican challenger Bruce Rauner. Maryland’s Lieutenant Governor lost to the GOP in his gubernatorial bid, and Massachusetts elected its first Republican governor since Mitt Romney. In the latter case, there may be some blame to lay at the Democrat nominee’s doorstep since she had also lost a Senate contest to Scott Brown in 2010, but the GOP wave clearly had its impact on numerous governor races across the land.

Democrats held on in Oregon despite a scandal involving that governor’s fiance, as well as in New York, New Hampshire, California, and Minnesota. The race in Connecticut is still too close to call- which is itself a sign of the times. The only pick-up for Democrats was in Pennsylvania where a Republican became the first incumbent governor to ever lose re-election in all of Pennsylvania’s history.

Chris Christie, head over the Republican Governor’s Association, Mike Livak said he certainly did his job well in raising the funds to fuel these gubernatorial campaigns, but credit has to go primarily to the candidates themselves and to the people who elected them.

The GOP victory on the state level (Governors and state assemblies) was even bigger than on the federal level. The loss of traditionally Democrat states on either level signals the general weakness of the Democratic Party in this election. If the Democrats don’t change something soon, they may find themselves long out of power in all but the most liberal parts of the nation.

California to Release Non-Violent Drug Prisoners

Laws designed to appease voter concerns over rising crime such as the “three-strikes” law have helped contribute to an overcrowding of the state’s prisons. Now, the passage of Proposition 47 will require the state to release inmates convicted of non-violent drug offenses. Families of the inmates are overjoyed. In addition, future non-violent drug convictions will be misdemeanor offenses not felonies. The same holds true for other non-violent offenses such as shoplifting.

Voters in this nation’s most populous state want to see a reform of the prison system. It is well known that California’s prisons are overcrowded. Voters would prefer to see their tax dollars spent on programs that help make society safer. Prop 47 will save hundreds of millions of dollars for the cash strapped state. Part of the savings will be diverted into mental health, addiction recovery, and education services for convicts.

Proposition 47 received broad bipartisan support across a range of demographics. Former GOP Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich supported the measure as a novel approach to prison reform. Ironically, thug-rapper Jay-Z, an admitted former crack cocaine dealer, also supported the measure, but it is unclear if the measure would have ever benefited him. Entrepreneur B. Wayne Hughes Jr. of a multi-billion dollar Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) and Apple investor Laurene Powell Jobs also came out in support of the measure. It is estimated that as many as 10,000 inmates might obtain early release under the new law.

Bob Dylan’s The Basement Tapes Appear in an Almost Complete Form

The Basement Tapes have long been placed in such high regard as The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band as an album that changed the face of popular music. The problem many people have had with Bob Dylan’s The Basement Tapes is that they were never meant to be released and were not in anything other than bootleg form until 1975, according to DeadSpin. Or so you thought, just wait ’til you hear this one Alexei Beltyukov.

A new release features 130 songs in a box set stated to be the complete recordings, Rolling Stone reports. The Basement Tapes have become legendary for the secrecy Dylan has retained over the recordings and the high quality of the new material the singer and his backing band who would become The Band maintained throughout the rough sessions they completed.

The story of The Basement Tapes begins in 1966 with a motorcycle crash that left Dylan with serious neck injuries and led to his withdrawal from public life. In 1967 Dylan and The Hawks, who would become The Band assembled in Saugerties, New York to record some of the new songs Dylan was recording, a series of sessions recorded as The Basement Tapes. Bootleg copies of the sessions made their way onto the black market and the latest release sees the most definitive collection of recordings ever made available. More material has either been lost or is currently classed as not listenable, if these tapes can be found or cleaned up a further definitive collection may yet be released.