Category Archives: Current Events

Police dog released on mother with baby stroller at Anaheim

Anaheim, California: the place where a police attack dog was released on a mother and her baby stroller (see 1:25 for the scene followed by a short comment from the mother).

So this happened, and I am beyond appalled. The families were reportedly having a community picnic to discuss a future rally in support of  Manuel Diaz who was shot by police. According to Sgt. Bob Dunn, the department’s spokesman, the crowd advanced on officers and threw bottles as the officers investigated the scene of a second shooting that killed Joel Acevedo. The police officers then fired bean bags and pepper balls at the crowd.  According to Anaheim Sgt. Bob Dunn, Diaz  was  “one of three men who ran away from officers who approached them in an alley,” which lead to the fatal shooting.

Oh, and that police dog? Dunn said the dog somehow got out of a patrol car and was “deployed accidentally.”

Of course, the situation must  be looked at from all sides. According to a few sources, police say Diaz was a known gang member. This would give reason for him to run from the police perhaps in fear of being caught for being involved in gang-related crimes. I still cannot understand how this would justify the murder of Diaz. According to the news report, Diaz was approached in an alley and shot while he ran away, but a video of the incident shows that Diaz’s head was covered in blood, raising doubts about whether the police’s actions were justified.

Though if you’re looking for justification, you might find a few questionable theories if you read the comments on the Yahoo news article, where “illegal immigrant” is used in many of them. What basis is there to support this claim that Diaz was an illegal immigrant? Ah, yes, we have this undoubtedly valid piece of evidence : his Latino name. (/sarcasm)

I may not live in the USA, but where I am from we call this discrimination. I am very well aware many view illegal immigration as a prime issue in the US and there are valid reasons for which I will not argue with, but to instantly assume that Manuel Diaz was an illegal immigrant is absolutely ignorant and unforgivable.  No matter the situation of Manuel’s criminal history or legal status in the US, police opened fire on children and “accidentally” unleashed a police dog. You cannot argue against these facts. It is absolutely absurd for a police officer to wield a weapon he/she cannot control, what makes it any different if that ‘tool’ was a dog?

All in all, I’m really not sure what to think of this whole situation. I still cannot wipe the grime off the idea that a child was shot because police knowingly fired into that crowd.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , ,

Oh, you got sick during your vacation leave? Have another.

by Willem van de Kerkhof

The Court of Justice of the European Union made a decision this week that if you get sick during your guaranteed, annual, four to six weeks of paid vacation leave, you should get to have another. After all,

…the purpose of entitlement to paid annual leave is to enable the worker to rest and enjoy a period of relaxation and leisure. The purpose of entitlement to
sick leave is different, since it enables a worker to recover from an illness that has caused him to be unfit for work.

I thought this was a great ruling on the side of the European Union, particularly during a time when Europe is ” mired in recession, governments struggling to reduce budget deficits and officials trying to combat high unemployment.” In light of the economy, I’m sure this was a difficult decision to make. People are still people, and they deserve to live their lives well without working themselves to the bone. After reading about this ruling in the NY Times, I decided to research other countries’ vacation policies.

In doing so, I have learned that Canadian workers are entitled to two weeks of vacation leave per year, paid a minimum of 4% their regular wage.

In China, the number of days granted for paid leave increases with the time length of consecutive employment (this is not uncommon among countries). That is to say if you have worked under an employer for one to ten years, you are entitled 5 days of vacation leave with full pay; 10 to 20 grants you ten days; 20 and above grants you 15 days.

On the other hand,  Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of the USA “does not require payment for time not worked, such as vacations, sick leave or holidays (federal or otherwise).” Although there is no legislated minimum, it has been estimated that average employers grant their employees 15 days of vacation. The USA is the only advanced country without a national vacation policy.

This information really made me think about the extent to which full-time employees (in the most generic sense) spend working. I can’t help but be reminded of the feelings I had when I wrote my previous blog post: What can I do with my life such that I will feel satisfied spending 8 hours a day doing my work? Will I really be able to find a career for which I will happily wake up at 7am every weekday? I’m not sure about my future, but for now I will concentrate on gaining experience and information about careers I can potentially pursue as I finish up my undergraduate degree.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Caine’s Arcade: Dreams come true on the Internet

Caine is a boy from East LA that runs a cardboard arcade in his father’s auto parts store. When he first set up his arcade, he dreamed of having lots of customers play his on his homemade machines, but his father’s customers were not very open to playing in the arcade. Caine’s first customer, and the driving force behind this viral dream-come-true, was Nirvan Mullick. Nirvan happened to pass by the auto parts shop when he saw Caine’s arcade. Nirvan was impressed by the little boy’s creativity: Cain had implemented a ticket dispensing mechanism that consisted of crawling behind the cardboard machine and feeding tickets through a rectangular slit. He also had a working claw machine made up of a hook attached to a string which traveled along a track pad, and a security system featuring unique number codes inscribed in marker on each fun pass. Nirvan was so impressed he organized a flash mob of customers for Caine, an event that rounded up hundreds of people and ignited Caine’s online fame.

Although Caine’s innovative contraptions are clear examples of his intelligence, Caine doesn’t do well in school and struggles to sit down and do his homework. I feel like this is an example of a fundamental issue in many educational systems, a problem I described in my previous post. Educational systems concentrate only on a few aspects of the human intelligence. There are still so many other types of human intelligence and learning styles that are not emphasized in the typical school curriculum. It would shame me to believe that a brilliant child such as Caine may have been brought up feeling he was completely stupid because he does not do well in school. How can we be proud of our North American system of universal education when so many children are deprived of a true learning experience?

I’ll keep this post short, since I believe the linked documentary says so much more about the wonders of nurturing children successfully. Alas, I am not an educator by profession. Check out this blog post by a qualified educator to read more about the problems in the standard educational system.

Here’s a link to Caine’s official website, where you will find more information about Caine’s Arcade foundation.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Breaking Down the TIME 100 Poll 2012

Annually, USA’s TIME magazine hosts an online poll of 100+ names to be voted as the most influential nominees. These nominees range from individuals such as Rihanna and Aung San Suu Kyi to icons like Anonymous and the Kony 2012 movement. The list is meant to reflect the “leaders, artists, innovators, icons and heroes you think are the most influential people in the world,” but based on the names I went through (it’s a fairly long list) I estimate the majority are from the States.

I  feel like since the TIME 100 Poll was first introduced, the poll has consisted of a list in which half the nominees are actually “influential” icons and the other half were chosen because TIME staff thought “Hey, if we put [inset pop icon name here] on the poll, we’ll get thousands of their followers to visit our site! It’s the ultimate marketing strategy that doesn’t cost us a dime! I mean, it’s not like any of these obscure foreign icons will win…”

…but then “foreigners” did win. Of particular interest, Korean pop star Rain won the poll last year with “406,252 ‘influential’ votes and 33,813 ‘not influential’ votes.” He also won in 2006 and 2007, and came in second during 2008. I remember reading the comments for last year’s publication, and there was quite a bit of hate on both sides. Regardless, you’d think TIME would give Rain some credit for his worldwide following but when it came to the description of his accomplishments, one can’t help but feel a bit of animosity,

The South Korean pop star turned actor Rain, 28, took the top spot in the TIME 100 reader poll for the third year, trouncing competitors from Barack Obama to Lady Gaga. That’s pretty impressive online power for a guy whose main claim to Western fame is a role in the 2009 film Ninja Assassin.

(emphasis is mine)

This year, Rain didn’t make it to the list of nominees. Which brings to my biggest question regarding the TIME 100 Poll: how do these nominees get chosen? Who chooses them? (If you happen to find out, let me know! I scavenged TIME’s site but came up empty.)

One thing that is severely overlooked with regards to this poll is the nature of the voting process: the descriptions of each nominee are the contributing factor to their success during the polling. I believe this for a number of reasons:

1. No registration is required to vote. You can vote as many times as you like per day. This means that pop star fans will be flocking to vote for their idols, the main reason I believe they are included on the list—to generate traffic. This leads me to my second point…

2. There are so many people on the list that the majority of voters that actually stick around to see who else is on the list are voting purely based on the content of each nominee’s description.

To conclude my rant, the descriptions are what make the nominee in the TIME 100 Poll. Since TIME writes the descriptions, which vary in persuasive tone, and seemingly chooses nominees arbitrarily, I think the poll is more or less a hit and miss competition. There are definitely nominees whose influence is indisputable, but I find a lot of them on grey ground. This is usually the case when I read the descriptions for actors/actresses and some CEO’s. Of course, influence is arguable in all cases.

Despite my apprehensiveness, I believe the poll is a great opportunity for people to receive well-deserved recognition for their work during the year and for readers to learn about what people are doing all over the world.  It makes me think about what “influence” actually means to me and what it could mean to other people around the world. What do you think of the TIME 100 Poll?

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,