Child Abuse Prevention Month: Major fail in US culture being safe for children

 

How often do we see signs of abuse but take no action?  Child abuse is a crime.

A child in an abusive home is at high risk for getting caught in Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking according to current research. The damage done to the psyche from physical, emotional or sexual abuse leaves a child extremely vulnerable to anyone who will show some attention and bestow some sense of worth upon him or her. These children are the ones sought out by exploiters because they have a fundamental belief that they don’t deserve anything better than more abuse.

 

Child sex trafficking then becomes the most egregious and devastating form of child violence. Sadly, because the scenario involves the selling of sex, these minors often go unnoticed by the system and are not classified as abused. Instead, they are sometimes criminalized themselves. Additionally, perpetrators are rarely caught, charged and convicted.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. In an excerpt of the Presidential Proclamation for the month, President Barack Obama asserts that the biggest part of prevention of child abuse is having healthy families.

 

“Over half a million American children suffer neglect or abuse every year. A strong and well-informed family unit is the surest defense against child abuse, and parents and caregivers who have support from relatives, friends, neighbors, and their communities are more likely to provide safe and healthy homes for their children. Trusted friends and active community members can help ensure families get the support they need by offering their time and resources, taking an active role in children’s lives, and fostering a safe environment for young people to learn and grow. By coming together in service to our communities, we do more to meet our obligation to do right by the next generation.”

 

The President’s number of abused children is low by commonly cited reports, the most recent from ChildHelp indicating that 6 million US children suffer abuse and neglect every year. Representing about one in 12 children, this figure shows a huge fail in American families and culture for achieving the goal of being safe and healthy places for minors.

 

Since abused children are far more likely to become abusers or victims of further abuse and/or trafficking, it makes sense to aim prevention efforts at the families. But, what does it take to turn around a whole generation of families that are abusive and dysfunctional before these values become inculcated into their children? President Obama hit on some key points. Healthy members of the community need to invest in their extended families, their neighborhoods, schools and religious or civic groups as role models, mentors, support and especially as those who value children.

 

If we don’t honor our most vulnerable in these ways, they will become easy prey for the profiteers who choose to sexually exploit the emotionally damaged ones.

 

If you suspect a child is being abused, please call the National Child Abuse Hotline: 1 800-4-A-child (1 800 422-4453).

Child Abuse Prevention Month: Major fail in US culture being safe for children – National sex trafficking | Examiner.com.

Secret Service prostitution scandal: Another name for sex tourism?

Obama says he will be "very angry" if the allegations of secret service agents and military members engaging in prostitution are verified.

The security clearances of 11 of President Obama‘s secret service agents were pulled on April 16 as part of a prostitution scandal investigation. The agents were in Cartagena, Colombia last week to prepare advance security measures for the President’s attendance at the Summit of the Americas in that city. At least one agent was reportedly entertaining a prostitute in his room beyond the hotel’s curfew of 7:00 AM, and she complained to police that the man owed her money, which was then paid on the spot. All of the agents and some military personnel were sent home for inappropriate behavior.

Prostitution is illegal in Colombia, but is overlooked by police within designated tolerance zones. Many of the preliminary comments by White House officials focus on the possible breach of security and potential for blackmail that have been engendered with the agents’ behavior. While these in themselves are extremely serious issues, almost nothing is being said about the legal and moral impropriety of government staff supporting the international sex trades.

 

Secret Service prostitution scandal: Another name for sex tourism? – National sex trafficking | Examiner.com.

Criminal charges will be amped up if secret service escorts are underage

Six secret service agents have been dismissed or voluntarily stepped down due to a prostitution scandal.

Secret service agents and military personnel, numbering at least 11 of each, are already in legal hot water over the prostitution scandal in Cartagena, Colombia. Investigators from that country have given notice over the past two days that they are verifying the ages of the females to see if any of the escorts are under 18.

 

Using children for prostitution is illegal in both the US and Colombia. Criminal charges will be filed against any men who hired minors, possibly in both countries.

 

Six of the secret service agents have already resigned, retired or been dismissed, due to their involvement in the sexual escapade in which the US men were observed drinking heavily and partying on the beach with the women and inviting them back to their rooms. A party room to hold 30 had been reserved earlier in the evening.

 

No word has come out yet to identify any sanctions, besides separation from their jobs, which may be levied against the agents. If criminal charges are only set up related to involvement of minors, the implications from this incident are enormous:

 

  • If government officials are going to cavort with prostitutes, make sure that you pay them what was promised so no one raises a fuss (so you don’t get caught)
  • Extra-marital sexual activity is expected (and the norm, perhaps?) for US contingents who are away from home, especially if the supervisors encourage the whole unit to indulge. (Just don’t get caught.)
  • Make sure that the escorts are not juveniles.
  • Be sure to charge all the refreshments and entertainment to the public tab, since the hotel stay does involve work-related activities (even if these events are after-hours).
  • Just for good measure, post sexually-charged comments and pictures on your social media
  • In most other lines of work, blog comment consensus seems to be that what people do on their free time doesn’t matter, and it matters in this case only because sensitive information and the security of the president may have been at stake.

After all, losing a job with the government still brings the accrued pension, and it is likely that the men will be able to get other jobs. That doesn’t seem to address the common perception that engaging with prostitutes is just business as usual for government workers, nor provide any serious consequences for actions that could have had disastrous results. Perhaps a woman causing a ruckus about a broken agreement is what was needed to bring to light the behavior of those charged with the protection of the President of the United States.

Criminal charges will be amped up if secret service escorts are underage – National sex trafficking | Examiner.com.

President Obama urges US to raise number of professionals in STEM career fields

When the President of the United States mentions the same topic in several speeches, it must be vitally important.  President Barack Obama seems passionate about bringing the US back up in the rankings for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers.  He has referenced this goal in the 2011 State of the Union addressthe 2012 budget proposal, and the Presidential Proclamation that March 2011 is National Women’s History Month.  A few decades back, this country was a world leader in these fields, but has for many years fallen behind most of the key nations around the planet.

In 2008, America ranked 25th in math and 21st in science out of 30 industrialized nations. The United States also trails at least 19 countries that produce more scientists and engineers, evidenced by only 16% of college graduates obtaining STEM degrees.  By contrast, nearly half (47%) of Chinese graduates have majors in the STEM fields.

In the 2012 budget proposal, President Obama calls for funding to prepare 100,000 STEM teachers for grades K-12 over the next decade. The good news for Arizona students is that Arizona State University is actively recruiting future science teachers, and is backing up their invitation with substantial scholarships.  The STARR Noyce Scholarship program provides qualified students with $13,000 to $17,000 per student per year,

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How does homeschooling fare in the current economic and political climate?

Kevin Jennings has plans to make all schools "safe" for non-heterosexual students.

  

The decision to homeschool one’s own children is a concept that brings varied responses.  For some, it is the logical course to which parents feel called by God.  For others, it is circumstantial–things aren’t working out right in the public school, or the cost of private school has become prohibitive.  Another group will take it year by year based on how they feel, what the kids want, new life changes that make it easier or more difficult to teach the students at home.It is my observation that the current political and economic climate will simultaneously make home education increasingly more difficult and yet compellingly more desirable.  These opposing forces will be explored in a series of articles, from the perspective of providing support and resources to those who choose to start or stay the course with homeschooling. ********* 

 Scenario #1. 

With many people out of jobs, families are needing to do whatever they can to stay afloat, and that may mean both parents need to have some sort of income.  For some homeschoolers, public school looks like a great option:  free, convenient, less time-consuming, and giving the teaching parent opportunity to work during school hours while children are safely cared for and educated by others.Speaking of safely, there is an official government position newly established to ensure the welfare of children while they are being educated.  In June, Education Secretary Arne Duncan appointed Kevin Jennings to head the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools. [1]  That sounds pretty good on the surface, and we all would agree that keeping children safe is a good thing.The problem comes in looking at the background of Mr. Jennings and his overtly spoken agenda for the schools in America.  As the homosexual founder of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Jennings has written several books in which he celebrates the gay lifestyle and openly advocates for unhindered promotion of such in all school venues, even down to early elementary grades.[2] [3] [4]  Additionally, in some of these same publications, Jennings shares his own drug and alcohol history with the implication that his life has been improved by substance use.In other speeches, Jennings has disclosed that he originated the term “safe schools” to set up places in which the non-heterosexual students would be “safe” from the “hate crimes” of sexual-orientation-negativity from other students and teachers.  The hallmark of these schools would not be the evidence of tolerance for all orientations, but rather the embracing and defending of these lifestyles by the straight contingents. [5]Read more.

Homeschoolers: if you created jobs in a district that doesn’t exist, how much would that stimulate the economy?

Arizona map of Congressional Districts seems to be missing some data. I wonder who moved the district boundary lines.

Homeschoolers generally include Arizona Civics and History and Geography in their curriculum, so this shouldn’t be a very difficult question:

How much money does it take to save or create jobs in Arizona’s 86th district?

A quick internet search (for those who have forgotten) for the Congressional District map shows the document on the left, with a total of eight districts.  However, federal government reports indicate that massive amounts of money have been spent (with jobs saved or created) in Arizona’s 9th and 86th districts.

The United States government has set up a fascinating website on Recovery.gov to show how the stimulus funds are being spent.  The following article from ABC news reports that non-existent districts all across the nation have received funds and numerous jobs have been positively affected.

Here are some interesting notes about these reports:

  • ABC is reporting on these discrepancies.  I thought ABC only reported on things that gave a positive side to the news from the administration.  Perhaps this is a REALLY big deal.
  • If you take the administration figure of 640,329 jobs that have been created or saved, divided into the $159 billion spent, the average cost per job is $248K.[1] I wonder if the people hired are happy with their wages?
  • Numerous errors have been found in the number of jobs reported–some as high as ten-fold what the actual numbers are. [1] [2]
  • When the numbers were crunched to reflect cost per job, Jared Bernstein, chief economist and senior economic advisor to the vice president, called that “calculator abuse.”[3]
  • Just a brief check of the funds spent near my home in Arizona yields many projects worth hundreds of thousands of dollars which have zero jobs reported saved or created.


ABC NEWS Exclusive:  Jobs ‘Saved or Created’ in Congressional Districts That Don’t Exist

Recovery.gov Lists Millions Spent and Hundreds of Jobs Created in Districts Not on Map

By Jonathan Karl

Nov. 16, 2009

Here’s a stimulus success story: In Arizona’s 9th Congressional District, 30 jobs have been saved or created with just $761,420 in federal stimulus spending. At least that’s what the website set up by the Obama Administration to track the $787 billion stimulus says.

There’s one problem, though: There is no 9th Congressional District in Arizona; the state has only eight Congressional Districts.

There’s no 86th Congressional District in Arizona either, but the government’s recovery.gov Web site says $34 million in stimulus money has been spent there.

In fact, Recovery.gov lists hundreds of millions spent and hundreds of jobs created in Congressional districts that don’t exist.

Read more about this exclusive report.

Arizona provides an 85 foot Christmas Tree to grace the White House Lawn

capitol_christmas_tree_1995_2

Arizona will make history with the first Capitol Christmas tree from the state for 2009.

Every year, one state is chosen to provide a Christmas tree to grace the US Capitol lawn, and will likely be the most photographed tannenbaum of the year.  For 2009, Arizona will supply the tree that will take the record for being the tallest of all the previous 45, measuring in at 85 feet. 

The magnificent Blue Spruce will be cut at a special ceremony Saturday, November 7, in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.  Then it will tour Arizona for ten days before making its way across the country.  On Monday, November 30, it will be presented to the United States Congress in preparation for the decorating ceremonies.

School children from around Arizona have created ornaments to be hung on the Christmas Tree, and one student will be selected to help decorate and light the tree in Washington DC. 

Here are some unit study topic ideas:

  • Make a graph of the heights of the previous trees and the contributing states
  • Collect pictures and discover the differences in the varieties of spruce, fir, and pines that have been used at the White House
  • Find the number of ornaments on the Capitol Tree and the number of other Arizona trees that will be brought into the government complex in Washington DC
  • Who is the staff person in charge of the trees and the Capitol grounds?
  • How did Arizona get to be this year’s donor, and who selected the tree to be cut?
  • When is the decorating ceremony?  Can you watch it on TV or the Internet?
  • Attend the tree cutting ceremony and one of the Arizona tour stops and create a photo-journal article about the event.
  • Find out about the trees that are used in Arizona for local Christmas trees. What percentage come from our state, and what percent are brought in from elsewhere?
  • Collect articles on the history of the Christmas tree, and the meaning behind various kinds of decorations
  • Research the Christmas traditions at the White House and discover unique aspects from each of the presidencies
  • Can the public attend the lighting ceremony?  How do people get tickets? (Hint:  application date is November 4-6, 2009.)
  • How are the program participants selected for the Christmas tree event?

You are invited to the Cutting Ceremony of the Capitol Christmas Tree 2009
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