For years, a New York community’s public school system has been drained of resources by school board members who are more interested in assisting sectarian institutions than in improving public education. But thanks to complaints from angry residents, the state has finally assigned a financial monitor to oversee the board’s activities.
The controversy centers on the East Ramapo Central School District in Rockland County, which is home to a large concentration of Orthodox Jews. This group dominates the local school board - seven of the board’s nine members are Orthodox men. But these men don’t send their children to public schools, enrolling them instead in private yeshivas. And it seems the only reason they got elected to the school board in the first place is so they could divert as much taxpayer money as possible to sectarian institutions their kids attend.
The New York Times explained recently that about 24,000 Orthodox children attend yeshivas. Approximately 9,000 kids, most of them from minority families, are in the public system. And that system is being slowly drained of money.
“Since 2009, the board has cut 245 public school positions, including special education teachers, guidance counselors, all social workers and all elementary assistant principals,” The Times reported. “Full-day kindergarten has been reduced to half-day, and instrumental music has been eliminated for kindergarten through third grades. Summer school has been eliminated, as has transportation for field trips. Athletics and extracurricular activities have been reduced by 50 percent.”
It appears that much of the money siphoned from public schools was used to help the yeshiva students instead. The Times reported that even as the public system was being bled dry, “spending on programs that benefit private school students - specifically, transportation and special education - have increased substantially.”
… but on their interactive page they use Flash.
The BBC was first granted a royal charter in 1927, and the charter has been renewed every 10 years since then. Its current charter expires on Dec. 31, 2016, and the BBC has already begun preparing for its renewal.
As part of that process, the BBC today released the first part of a report entitled “Future of News” that examines the changing news industry and how the BBC plans to adapt to evolving technologies and new ways that the broadcaster’s massive audience — both locally in the U.K. and globally — consumes the news. The second part, which is forthcoming, will offer more detailed proposals on how the BBC will address these changes.
“The internet is not keeping everyone informed, nor will it: it is, in fact, magnifying problems of information inequality, misinformation, polarisation and disengagement,” the report says. “Our job is keeping everyone informed. To do this, BBC News is going to have to start thinking how it is going to deliver on its mission to inform in an age beyond broadcasting.”
The tide may have turned on the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.
Last week, only 99 cases were reported. That’s the lowest weekly count since June.
Cases have plummeted in the two countries hit hardest by Ebola, Liberia and Sierra Leone. In December, Sierra Leone was reporting more than 500 cases a week. It tallied only 65 last week.
The epidemic has moved into a new phase, WHO said. The focus has shifted to “ending the epidemic” instead of simply slowing it down. That means concentrating on finding sick people and ensuring they don’t spread the virus, instead of building new treatment centers and diagnostic labs.
The number of measles cases from the outbreak linked to Disneyland has now risen to at least 98. But measles remains extremely rare in the United States.
The rest of the world hasn’t been so fortunate. Last year roughly 250,000 people came down with measles; more than half of them died.
Currently the Philippines is experiencing a major measles outbreak that sickened 57,000 people in 2014. China had twice that many cases, although they were more geographically spread out. Major outbreaks were also recorded in Angola, Brazil, Ethiopia, Indonesia and Vietnam.
Measles causes an intense fever, coughing, watery eyes and a signature full-body rash. The disease is rarely fatal in developed nations with modern health care systems but can cause brain damage and permanent hearing loss.
Once the virus starts spreading among kids who haven’t been immunized, it’s very difficult to stop.
Here’s a word to the wise: If your or your company prefaces surveys with statements like “anything less than a 5 is not satisfactory” then you aren’t interested in honest feedback, and you are wasting your money on surveys. The only purpose the survey is serving is to get some executives an automatic bonus forconsistently making their (fake) survey numbers. If your company has workers rate customers then eventually you will be out of business.
Customer reviews are a new form of credit report, one that measures manners instead of finances. Although such ratings have been tried before — eBay was a pioneer — the practice has taken off with the rise of the so-called on-demand economy.
Strangers may be eager to drive you places or rent you their house for the weekend, but they require some level of confidence. So companies from Airbnb to the new taxi services use reviews to weed out those they do not wish to serve.
In response, some consumers are becoming more polite and prompt. But the knowledge that they may be rated is also encouraging people to submit more upbeat reviews themselves, even if the experience was less than stellar. When services choose whom to serve, no one wants to be labeled difficult.
“It’s a Barney world,” said Michael Fertik, the chief executive of reputation.com, referring to the purple dinosaur who sings, “With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you/ Won’t you say you love me too.”
The Washington Post has a profile today of Dr. Jack Wolfson, an Arizona cardiologist and holistic medicine, uh, doer or whatever, who’s made something of a name for himself by providing a flimsy, fraudulent rime of expertish cover to the reprehensible, morally criminal anti-vaccination crowd in the U.S. It’s really something! Which is a way of saying that, if you read it, it will make you punch a hole in something and mutter things under your breath that will include the word “prison.”
The claims of this lunatic fringe have been debunked so utterly, repeatedly, and absolutely, by literally every single credible authority that has ever, ever, ever examined them, that to acknowledge their existence, even for the purpose of repudiating them, is to lend them a credibility they will never come close to earning for themselves. Unfortunately, the not-completely-derelict segment of the populace occasionally is forced to engage with the stupid, baseless conspiranoia gibberings of these “anti-vax” shitheads, for the sole reason that the proliferation of these gibberings does active harm to the human race—by providing vectors for harmful diseases such as, for example, the measles, currently doing its thing in a California populace left exposed by gaps willfully blasted into herd immunity by the state’s many affluent anti-vax morons. And so it is that a psychotic clownfraud like Jack Wolfson must be treated with more seriousness than the sad raving crazy person wearing a sandwich board in your local city intersection: Wolfson, unlike that feverish, bad-smelling outcast, is an actual danger to the public.
Funerals have taken place in southern Pakistan for the victims of a suicide attack on a Shia mosque during Friday prayers which police say killed at least 60 people.
Dozens were also wounded in the attack in Sindh province’s Shikarpur district, making it one of the worst sectarian attacks in Pakistan in recent years.
Sunni militants linked to the Taliban said they carried out the attack.
An official day of mourning has been declared across Sindh.
When Ayman Karim fell in love last summer, he wanted others to experience his joy. Iraq was reeling from an escalating war with Islamist extremists, and men from his home city of Basra were dying by the dozens.
“We were living in the dark,” said the 26-year-old. “We needed a point of light to make people happy. I was happy, and I wanted to share my love with everyone.”
His idea: to bring the tradition of the “love lock” to Iraq by encouraging sweethearts to affix padlocks to a bridge in this southern city in an affirmation of their love.
That’s a long way of saying Google is taking the opposite stance of many in the broadband industry, such as Comcast, Verizon and others, who argue that aggressive rules would slow the industry’s investments in better Internet infrastructure — and by extension, their ability to offer better service to you and me.
Asked whether the growing prospect of aggressive federal net neutrality rules has done anything to shift Google Fiber’s investment plans — either in the short term or long term — the company told me, basically, no.
“The sort of open Internet rules that the [Federal Communications Commission] is currently discussing aren’t an impediment to those plans,” Google said in a statement, “and they didn’t impact our decision to invest in Fiber.”
In what likely could become the largest-ever federal investigation into software piracy, authorities in Kansas City quietly have moved over the last year to seize more than $18.3 million in cash and real estate from those who allegedly profited.
Since January 2014, authorities have frozen the assets — including silver ingots, jewelry, luxury automobiles and collectible coins — of a network of online software vendors with hubs in Kansas City, Nevada, Colorado, Maryland and Washington state, court records show.
Those vendors sold counterfeit and unauthorized computer software and stolen activation key codes that they had obtained in Singapore, China and Europe, authorities alleged in civil court filings.
The criminal investigation, which still is underway, easily could become the largest software piracy case ever pursued by U.S. authorities.