"Sexting:" Innocent Exploration?

. Tuesday, May 26

Some youths in the US now face pornography charges for "sexting," using a cell phone to send nude images of themselves to friends. Peter Cumming, a York University professor, claims that the practice is a modern-day version of spin-the-bottle or strip poker. He says there needs to be a line between nudity and pornography, and that sexting is just another way of exploring sexuality.

Earlier this year, three teenage girls were caught with a photo of two girls from the waist up, wearing only a bra. The girls were sentenced to five weeks of behavior courses and ordered drug tests. One boy was labeled a sex offender for sending his girlfriend's parents a nude photo of her after an argument.

Cummings final argument was, "online activities are safer than traditional sexual games because there is no immediate physical contact and thus are less likely to lead to pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases."

A family planning organization, no name mentioned, did a survey and found that 20 percent of American teenagers have participated in sexting.

As innocent as it may be for teenagers to send nude photos of themselves to their peers, it is not difficult to get those photos online. It wouldn't take a crafty teenager much to hook up with a buyer of teen nude photos. And, as quickly as teenagers change their minds about anything, including the person they are currently dating, sexting is probably already a major supplier of child pornography.

A parent I know has already implemented a solution: Her teenagers do not have texting on their cell phones.

Instead of labeling teenagers sex offenders for the rest of their lives - and ruining their lives - why not promote parental involvement and common sense intervention?

Susan Boyle Proves that Looks Ain't What Counts in Music

. Sunday, May 24

Today is the day of Britain's Got Talent semi-final, and Susan Boyle is ready. There's no word about which song she'll sing, and she swears she won't transform herself either. She is just concentrating on her performance. Her performance will hit the web instantly on the Britain's Got Talent site.

The photos of Boyle available online show this "frumpy" woman caught quite unaware by the media attention, particularly the paparazzi. For the last month, she has become an overnight sensation. How this takes its toll on her will play out in today's performance.

Think about 30 or 40 years ago, during the time before cable TV and MTV, before the Internet, and you will find many popular musicians of the day were physically unattractive. Their music spoke for itself and dominated the consideration of whether the musician was any good. You might see a photo on an album cover, or they might appear on a TV variety show, but still, the looks - good or bad - played a much lesser role in popularity than it does today. Those that did have the looks would branch into TV as a way of promoting perhaps a less than stellar musical talent.

The question becomes one of just how much real talent goes unheard just because the physical package isn't considered attractive? Susan Boyle is proof of that.

Mom and Son Now Fugitives

. Wednesday, May 20

Colleen and son Daniel Hauser are now on the run, having fled Monday night before Tuesday's court date to reveal the results of the latest x-rays and tests done to check the status of Daneil's Hodgkin's lymphoma. The tumor has returned to its pre-chemo treatment size and is pressing on the port placed in his chest to deliver the chemo therapy, causing a considerable amount of pain. Daniel's doctor said that he is "at risk of substantial physical harm if no action is taken." Police believe that mother and son are traveling with Susan Daya, a California lawyer, and Billy Best, a man who had run away from home to avoid chemo therapy for a cancer similar to Daniel's in 1994 and who is now advocating publicly for Daniel. Collen Hauser is now charged with medical neglect, contempt and kidnapping, and a nation-wide search is on.

Hauser Cancer Saga Continues

. Saturday, May 16

What appeared as a high-level state, low-level national story yesterday seems to be ramping up in frenzy. Today, the media is calling 13 year old Daniel Hauser "Medicine Man" after his mother testified in court that her son holds the position of elder and medicine man in Nemenhah Band.

Brown County stated that they do not believe Daniel has any idea of what it means to be a medicine man or an elder, and within documents filed, Daniel cannot read because of a severe learning disability, further hindering his ability to understand his circumstances. He has stated that he will kick and fight any attempts to force him to submit to the chemotherapy injections. Without treatment for his very treatable cancer, he has less than 5 percent chance of survival.

Phillip Landis founded Nemenhah Band in the 90s, and was supposedly diagnosed with cancer that he treated with natural remedies. So convinced he was these remedies that cured him, he fraudulently advocated natural treatments and landed in an Idaho prison for four months.

Two things come to mind when reading the updated AP article: First, there must be something major going on that someone has decided we need to be distracted from as this story now has the makings of a media frenzy. Secondly, how the media is dryly presenting thin facts screams "cult" and extremist fundamentalism of a small religious group could result in exponential growth with all the media attention.

A 13 Year Old's Life vs Religious Beliefs: Court Rules Boy's Life Wins

. Friday, May 15

Meet Daniel Hauser. This Minnesota boy is 13 years old and has Hodgkin's Lymphoma. His doctors say he has a 90 percent chance of survival with a series of chemotherapy and radiation. He received one round of the chemo, and his tumor shrunk.

Then, Colleen and Anthony Hauser, Daniel's parents, decided to opt for "alternative medicines" such as herbal supplements, vitamins, ionized water, and other natural remedies. The Hausers are Roman Catholic and follow the philosophies of the Nemenhah Band. At 13, Daniel is unable to read and does not believe that he is ill.

The state has charged the Hausers with medical neglect since the parents believe that chemo injections are an assault on their son's body. At least 5 doctors testified that chemo and radiation treatments are the best course of action and that have already proven effective in treating Daniel's cancer.

Brown County District Judge John Rodenburg has ruled that the Hausers have medically neglected their son, has allowed Daniel to stay with his parents, and has ordered the boy be re-evaluated with x-rays and a visit to an oncologist. If the tumor hasn't grown, the recommended treatments may be court ordered, but "would not order chemotherapy if doctors find the cancer has advanced to a point where it is too late."

Aren't we a bit past the point of sacrificing children for gods?

Don't Clap, Throw Money at Leno

. Sunday, May 10

Today, Jay Leno is holding two free comedy shows in a little town called Wilmington, OH. They expect thousands to show up for the event at the Roberts Centre.

Why? It seems the presidential candidates used Wilmington during the campaign to call attention to how small towns in America are effected by the recession (Who's kidding who? It's a depression!). DHL Express used to employ 8,000 workers there, up until last year, and it is expected that half of the 3,500 left working will be unemployed soon.

OK, so Mr. Leno's shows are supposed to be a "morale booster." I get that. But it seems a bit hollow to me. It's like saying "I'm sorry your house burned down" when in fact what you're really thinking is "I'm glad it wasn't mine!"

What would be a real help is to hold shows in less financially strained areas, charge admission, and then donate money collected for an extended unemployment fund for that town, then plan on doing the same for all the small towns in America. Didn't you think of that, Mr. Leno? Put your money where your mouth is, sir!

Then again, maybe no one would pay to see the show. Hmm.

Two Year Sentence for Cyberbullying Proposed

. Wednesday, May 6

HR 1966, the Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act proposed by Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Los Angeles is a grandstand attempt to curb electronic speech that's intent is to “coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person.” This loosely named 'electronic speech' includes email, instant messaging, blogs, websites, telephones and text messages. The bill is now before the House Judiciary Committee.

The bill is a response to the Lori Drew case, prosecuted for cyberbullying 13 year old Megan Meier who then committed suicide. Drew was prosecuted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and declared she violated MySpace's ToS.

The Cyberbullying Prevention Act clearly goes beyond common sense and into the ridiculous. Sure, it's a noble cause, but why not put the energy and effort into prevention instead of a band-aid bill that will infringe upon the rights of every US citizen?

This is as tenuous and ill-defined as the argument that watching too much TV causes violence in children. Never once did the do-gooders ever suggest watching no TV at all, a sure-fire way to prevent violence in children, wouldn't you say? If they did that, the consumer market would break down, at least for outlandish toys and cereals, candies, drinks and snacks, not to mention video games and clothing fads that are driven, perpetuated and sustained by TV advertising. Depending on which group of scientists receive the pay is how the studies side, yay or nay. The same thing hasn't even begun yet about the social effects of Internet communication and we've already got a band out to step on our rights.

It wouldn't be much to silence the American people completely by adopting this act. While Obama credits his use of the Web for his election, it is also powerful enough in reverse to be perceived as a threat to his government. That is how it should be!

As much as advertising and big business has tried, they cannot infiltrate online communication enough to control it. The status quo is threatened, as is the capitalist economy and consumer society. They have managed to whittle away at the newspapers and magazines that were the biggest threat and now have no choice but to attack our one freedom of speech left to us: The Internet.

I think I will stock up on rotten tomatoes so I will have them on hand to throw at the idiots who continuously work to deny us our rights. Hey, I'll see you in prison.

Update: According to my site statistics, someone from housegate10.house.gov located in Manassas, Virginia viewed this article 4 times. Now, if that ain't proof that Big Brother is watching, I don't know what is!

Sign of Things to Come?

. Sunday, May 3

It was only a matter of time before something like this started happening. For some, there isn't much choice. Already.

Two men in upstate NY were arrested for stealing a calf from a nearby farm where they were camping. 21 and 18 years old, the two were unemployed and hungry.

They shot the calf with arrows, gutted it, sliced off steaks and roasted them over a fire. They were arrested and put in jail.

The article weakly presents the incident as a prank of two young guys camping, then stealing a calf just to enjoy the steaks.

But what if the two unemployed men were actually living in the tent, not camping, and hadn't had anything to eat for many days? Jail doesn't seem like all that bad of a place to be right now, especially since the nights in upstate NY are still quite cold. Three meals a day and a warm bed.

Perhaps we'll see more incidents like this in the days and months ahead.

Bat Fungus Closes Caves

. Friday, May 1

Remind me of the purpose of these creatures? Please? 

Scientists have closed caves in 33 states this week in an effort to control "white-nose syndrome," a fungus that appears like a white dusting on the noses and wings of hybernating bats. It's estimated that the fungus has killed 500,000 bats so far, though there is no risk of transmission to humans. With the fear of some bats on the endangered species list, scientists will petition the Forest Service to close caves in the southern states as well, probably within a month. The fear is that people going from cave to cave carry the fungus on their shoes and equipment, spreading the deadly fungus.

Oh. Right. Bats control the bug populations, primarily mosquitoes, eating up to their body weight each night. Losing 500,000 bats means 2.4 million bugs are enjoying a stay of execution.

And, if you're caught in a cave, it's a $10,000 fine.