UN watchdog group condemns United States for human rights record.


It is very disappointing to see what the rest of the world thinks of our human rights practices when we condemn so many nations for their alleged poor human rights records. The article linked below paints a bleak picture of the U.S.’s “post racial” society.

FRIDAY, AUG 29, 2014 02:36 PM EDT A UN watchdog released a report on racism in the U.S. and we are not doing well

 

When it comes to human rights, the United States must practice at home what it preaches abroad.”

 

 

 

 

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UN watchdog group criticizes U.S. record on human rights

 

 

 

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UN

We choose our friends because of . . . our shared genetic code?


Friends tend to have shared DNAimageimagehttp://www.upworthy.com/the-scientific-reason-someone-befriends-you-might-freak-you-out-just-a-bit?c=upw1

I wasn’t prepared for the scientific discovery described in the video linked above–that we choose our friends on the basis of our shared genetic material–particularly the DNA associated with the sense of smell. Although science seems to embrace this idea, I remain skeptical because of the large circle of racially diverse friends I have. 

The video also has another interesting finding–evolution appears to speed up among friends with shared DNA. I found the video interesting and think it would be worth your while to take a look at it.

Bullying Hurts. How to Help Your Child Stand Up and Speak Out.


A great blog post about bullying, particularly against Asian Americans, created by a physician with a mix of high quality videos and interesting and informative narrative. I would encourage all to view this post who have been victims of bullying, parents of bullied victims, or simply bystanders witnessing acts of bullying but chose not to speak up.

Doctor's Notes

bullying

Watching your children succeed in school is rewarding. What happens when your child dreads going to school? There could be a few reasons why children would rather not be at school, especially after summer fun. In case it is more than the back-to-school blues, it is important be aware of the under-recognized yet wide-spread social issue of bullying.

Bullying can take place in various forms—physically, emotionally, psychologically, and now, takes place more and more online (it’s called cyber bullying). The truth is, bullying can affect your child’s health and academics. Children who are bullied are much more likely to experience depression and anxiety, substance abuse, and decreased academic achievement.

Watch this video to get an insight into the world of bullying. This short film was created by Project AHEAD interns to bring to light the effects of bullying.

 

Bullying can be an especially devastating problem in the Asian American…

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Your Life Is Probably Just A Videogame (Really)


Although I am firm in my Russian Orthodox faith, the idea that we are living in a virtual world has intrigued me since I first watched The Matricx Trilogy. This blog post does a great job of exploring this notion of a virtual reality in which we all currently reside.

Thought Catalog

“Happiness consists in realizing it is all a great strange dream.” — Jack Kerouac

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There is a very real chance that we are, right this moment, and unaware of the fact, living inside of a video game. This is not a metaphor. This is not an attempt (admittedly, sadly characteristic of me, I get it, whatever) at trolling a sometimes too-easily confused class of perennially-furious anonymous internet commenters. This is an answer to the question of the nature of our reality that is plausible, recently popularized, and linked to a powerful thought experiment that I will outline below, implications of which I can’t escape, and that you might not be able to either. So before you read on, consider the degree to that you are satisfied with your life; if you aren’t looking for a mindfuck, probably go and find a listicle ASAP. One of mine, even. Have you…

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Don’t Mix Politics and Racism


The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) issued the following statement on Aug. 7, and I believe the short statement is certainly worth your time.

I have written about microagression racism before and the JACL describes both overt and microagression racism in its statement. 

 

Microagression statement

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Questions and Answers about the Epidemic of Bullying of Asian American Students in Public Schools


I have written several posts about the unaddressed bullying of my Asian American daughter (who excels academically and athletically) at her former school. After some brief research, I soon learned that my daughter’s mistreatment was not unusual for Asian American students attending American public schools. In response to this bullying epidemic and other issues facing the Asian American community, President Obama established the AAPI Initiative to seek redress for these issues.(See http://www.whitehouse.gov/aapi.

The article linked below contains numerous resources of assistance to one seeking information on bullying of Asian students.

http://www.askhelpbox.com/when-students-especially-asians-get-bullied-it-is-mostly-verbal-name-calling-or-physical-attack

 

 

 

Native Americans concerned with the effects of fracking on the water table on their sovereign lands


Mountaintop-mining (a form of surface coal mining where the tops of Appalachian mountains are removed to expose valuable coal reserves) and “fracking” (a form of accessing oil and gas reserves that many claim to be destroying water quality and causing subsidence and small earthquakes), are both forms of extracting natural resources for energy production. Both processes involve highly charged support or opposition by the coal/gas & oil industry (and their service industries), on one side, and environmental groups (and their supporters) on the other.

Pro-Mountaintop Mining Coal Miners

Leveling Appalachia

 

As an environmental attorney working in Appalachia, I have had the misfortune of working on both mountaintop mining issues and oil & gas fracking issues. Unlike other highly charged issues on which I have worked during my career, there is virtually no opportunity for any compromise on either side of these issues, turning political policy decisions on the subjects into metaphorical IEDs, ready to explode and alienate a large segment of voters, regardless of which side benefits from a given policy.

Fracking Policy–Supporters & Opponents are Polar Opposite

Anti-Fracking Process Description

 

Although I have worked with Native American tribal liaisons regarding ancestral artifacts and human remains, I have never worked with them on issues related to natural resource extraction/exploitation–though I did discuss the issue hypothetically in a graduate level Environmental Ethics course I taught as an adjunct professor. As expected, the students in the course were divided in their strongly held beliefs on both sides of the issue of whether natural resources should be allowed to be removed by private industry from Native American lands, with obvious environmental effects, if the action would result in cheaper electric bills. 

Native American view of land as sacred

 

The Nation of Change article linked below shows one Native American tribe’s views toward the practice of “fracking” and the effects this process will have on their traditional lands.

 Native Americans Launch ‘Love Water Not Oil’ Ride to Protest Fracking Pipeline

Anishinaabe Native American Activist Poster

Anishinaabe Native American Dance Troupe

 

I would be interested in receiving feedback on readers’ particular views on these two natural resource extraction methods.

Privacy? What is privacy in the Information Age?


The death of privacy in the digital age

http://www.kentucky.com/2014/08/19/3387373_vincent-cao-too-many-believe-that.html?sp=/99/349/&rh=1

 

 

In the past I did harbor some measure of concern about my social media privacy, but eventually I came to the realization that there was no longer a reason for my concern–Big Brother has (or will have) all of my posted information anyway . .. so there is no need to worry. I simply strive to be a little more cautious about what I post to social media or what I say in email to friends.

 I do, however, constantly preach to my teenage daughter about the need for caution when using social media, even though she has yet to give me a single reason to question her judgment on such matters. When I see some of the posts she shows me from her classmates, I cringe about the many interviews and opportunities that will be denied them by prospective employers or boards reviewing applications to professional schools.

The linked article above provides a very good description of the current state of privacy in our addicted-to-wifi society and our “digital thumbprint.”

Digital fingerprint–evidence for the rapidly approaching future

 

How to write a school policy to DISCOURAGE a bullied victim from reporting a bullying incident!


School Bullying

 http://www.houmatoday.com/article/20140820/OPINION/140819669

The story linked above provoked me to comment on a bullying complaint policy recently adopted by a school district in my state currently being investigated by the U. S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (OCR) for racial/ethnic harassment, discrimination and retaliation, all or some of which fall under the umbrella term “bullying.” Bear in mind that under Title VI of the Civil a Rights Act, a complaint can be made to OCR within ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY (180) DAYS of the incident.

In agreement with the article linked above, every study I have seen has found that students are reluctant and often wait long periods of time to tell their parents they have been bullied. Despite Federal guidance to the contrary, a local school district (with a well-deserved reputation for allowing bullying to continue unabated) has adopted a new policy requiring students to prepare and submit to the SCHOOL DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT a written complaint describing the bullying they have suffered WITHIN FIVE (5) DAYS of the incident OR FORFEIT THEIR RIGHT TO REDRESS. This policy doesn’t even pass the straight face test. It is a policy clearly designed to repel any attempts to investigate bullying allegations, given the short time period allowed to report an incident and by including an intimidation factor–requiring a bullied victim to report his complaint to the highest  ranking official in the school system.

 

Statistics on School Bullying

 

 

 

Trading Jeremy Lin Was A Huge Mistake For Houston Rockets


I agree. I think former NBA Commissioner David Stern was right on point during the height of “Linsanity” when he suggested that discrimination and/or inaccurate Asian stereotypes contributed to Jeremy’s inability to gain substantial playing time.

Why was Jeremy Lin's s superior play described as "against all odds." He has the height and quickness to play in the NBA. Apparently, his Asian features were the only odds he was facing.

Why was Jeremy Lin’s s superior play described as “against all odds.” He has the height and quickness to play in the NBA. Apparently, his Asian features were the only odds he was facing.

My ethnic Kazakh daughter certainly excels at basketball despite her Asian features. Her size,nearly 6′ (150 cm), and strength have not held her back, though she has endured the same ethnic/racial taunts and slurs as has Jeremy. Jeremy is the most humble and compassionate professional sports figure With whom I have ever spoken (though former New England Patriot WR, Troy Brown, is in in that class also). Mr. Lin, after learning from his mother of my daughter’s mistreatment from her former teammates, arranged and had a 30 minute video chat with my daughter, discussing their shared experiences and giving her practical advice on dealing with the slurs and taunts.

Kazakh warrior Milena Clarke, following her video chat with Jeremy Lin.

Kazakh warrior Milena Clarke, following her video chat with Jeremy Lin.