Up in the sky. It's a bird. It's a plane. No, it's the government spying on you.
We're used to seeing photos from military drones on the local news but they could be coming to a neighborhood near you. Late last year, the U.S. government gave the OK to test civilian drones. On one hand, they sound very beneficial. They would be used by police departments and television news broadcasts.
On the other hand, these drones can be equipped with missiles and there is a real possibility of their miss use. They could, for example, be used to spy on people or they could accidently collide with aircraft.
Dan Elwell, vice president of Aerospace Industries Association, says the drones are no different than the paparazzi circling a site in a helicopter and using a high-powered camera.
Terri Burke from the American Civil Liberties Union, however, says, the drones are "a large step closer to a surveillance society in which our every move is monitored, tracked, recorded, and scrutinized by the authorities."
As we have seen from past technologies, things like wire taps, social media and video cameras can have both benign and malicious uses. While most people use these technologies for their intended purpose, they also can be used to commit crimes. This means Burke has a clearer picture of the future than Elwell.
What do you think? Would you want drones in your neighborhood?
Levis wants you to know hotness comes in all shapes and sizes. Or at least that's what its ads say.
Levis has taken flack lately for an ad campaign for its Curve ID line which is supposed to put women at ease about their body shape but shows three women with negligible difference between them. Critics say the ads fail to show any difference in body types and, worse, neglects to show the average woman who is a size 14. Levis says the ad being criticized is an old one and that adjustments have been made to the current campaign. The critics say they haven't seen any real changes.
The critics are partially right. There is no difference between the body shapes of the women presented in the ads and none of them are size 14 but that's all they got right.
One critic, Shelby Knox, is quoted as saying, "If you put the words 'Bold Curve' next to a woman, I expect her to have, um, bold curves and preferably legs that don't look like toothpicks."
Another, Taylor Owen, said, "They've made some nicely fitting jeans, albeit jeans that still fit squarely into a body-oppressive paradigm."
And while the models in the ad are not size 14, they are not toothpicks nor are they unrealistically thin. The women shown in the campaign are of a normal, healthy weight for a female of their height. They have breasts, hips and a round butt. They are no means undernourished or unrealistically small. Since when has not being obese made a person an oddity? This is a sad commentary on modern society.
So what do you think of the women pictured in the Levis ad?
Regular readers of P.O.V. know the Duggars are a reoccurring subject. They seem like such lovely people, but at the same time I don't understand many of their core beliefs.
Take, for example, the case of being a submissive wife. Michelle Duggar was in the news -- yes, again -- for recently offering advice on a healthy marriage. According to the story, she was distributing pamphlets providing tips on how to be a submissive wife.
The tips included never reminding your husband of past failures because it would crush his spirit, to looking at him with admiration when he talks and to accept him as the leader.
Now, the Duggars have never been accused of being advocates for women's rights, but that the same time, prior to this, they also have never been accused of pushing their views on others.
One online comment read, "I feel that Michelle is sending out all the wrong messages to young woman and girls."
Another, however, stated, "I think Michelle is right on. ... I found when I started yielding more to my husband, he changed for the better, too."
I agree with the former. Marriage is supposed to be a partnership. One spouse should not be the leader and the other the follower. They should make decisions jointly. Also, are men such fragile creatures that their wives must be careful not to damage their egos? Of course, not. So why must a wife be careful what she says and always look at her men with admiration?
What do you think? Is Michelle Duggar correct or way off base?
We already know that home buying shows like House Hunters are at least patially staged. The people featured in the show are real home buyers, but they already have made a purchase. They aren't really deciding which home to buy because the decision was made before the cameras even started rolling.
In addition, no rational person buys something as expensive as property after only looking at three, especially in a new city. And the real estate agents featured on these shows are always keen on pushing people to look at houses priced higher than their budget. Even more shocking in today's economy, many of the home buyers are willing to spend more than they intended because the home was "the right fit".
But my question is this: Are these home buyers paid more if they complain? So many of them go into a house and verbally rip it apart. It has carpeting in the bedroom but they like hardwood. It has Corian instead of granite. They don't like the paint color or the wallpaper. The majority of the time, they complain about things that can be lived with for a while and easily changed.
For once, I would like to hear them complain about things that really matter. I want to hear complaints about how bad the school district is or that it's an hour's commute to work. I want to hear that the house has termite damage or black mold.
It also would be nice to see the home buyers go through some stress during financing or negotiation.
In other words, if you're going to make a reality show, why not make it seem more realistic.
Over the past several months I have been watching reruns of the legendary parental savior super nanny, Jo Frost.Nanny Jo offered her advice to struggling parents through seven seasons on the ABC network and then decided to leave the show.Nanny Jo has recently been replaced by a new American nanny, Deborah Tillman. Nanny Deborah can be seen on Lifetime. The show still holds the same concept, struggling parents at their wits end seeking professional help. I've never paid too much attention to the show until I started to seek some parental advice for dealing with behavioral issues.Since then the following thoughts have preoccupied my mind.
What deems Nanny Jo qualified to offer parental advice when she doesn't have children?I am slightly puzzled by this thought because I feel that an individual needs actual parental experience before they can offer in depth child rearing advice. I realize that Nanny Jo has child rearing experience, however, to take care of a child from birth is an entirely different experience compared to spending a limited amount of time with a child.Sort of like the notion I love to watch children that aren't mine because I get to give them back at the end of the day.
Is the show staged?How can any individual determine how to rear a child or handle a difficult family situation in 24 to 48 hours or even one full week? I don't care what type of expertise or experience one may have, there is no way that a person can walk into a difficult parental or familial situation and change the child's behavior, let alone parenting technique in such a short period of time. I hate making assumptions, however, I am going to assume that Nanny Jo isn't the only one who decides how to handle the situation.There are probably many experts involved and a lot of preparation "possibly" acting put in place.Remember, the show is not LIVE and it wouldn't be the first time reality television included a script.
Nanny Deborah has children, what other qualifications make her able to offer professional advice?Nanny Deborah faced her own child care dilemma and turned it into a business.She built her own child-care business based upon bad personal child-care experiences she faced in finding the proper care for her children.This still doesn't convince me that Nanny Deborah is qualified to offer in-depth parenting advice.Would you feel comfortable letting a person into your home whom had to send in an audition tape?Sounds, unrealistic to me.Possibly just made for entertainment, they refer to Nanny Deborah as a "star".
I had a college professor who disliked shows and individuals whom claimed to be experts.She referred to them as pop psychologists. Pop psychology is considered popular techniques and ideas that are well-known to many people.Pop psychology, is comparable to "self-help," not necessarily given or supported by a qualified professional.
I have to admit, however, the show is very entertaining and extremely dramatic.You witness out of control children and parents whom have no clue on how to control their children.The nanny does offer some helpful techniques, but I am still not sold on the timeframe.Rome was not built in a day.
Extremely passionate about writing and blogging, Dana began two blog sites in 2011: A motivational fitness site and an anti-bullying blog. The sole purpose of the fitness blog was to keep herself motivated. Receiving various compliments from friends and readers, she continues this blog to help others reach their goals. Writing allows her to express herself freely. Professionally, Dana has worked in hospital support services and management for 11 years. Her ultimate dream is to write a novel. She is knowledgeable about several diverse topics such as business administration, management, parenting, entrepreneurship, relationships and much more. "I truly love to motivate and inspire others". ~ DRA
Tough love or anger problem? Did you hear this story on the news or maybe saw it on YouTube?
A North Carolina father lost his temper with his 15-year-old daughter after she posted on Facebook that she was tired of picking up after him and that when he was old and disabled she wouldn't be around to help him. He claims, as an IT professional, he "stumbled" across the post. Sounds to me like he was spying on his daughter. Whatever happened to requiring your kids to have you as a Facebook friend so you can monitor what they are doing?
Not only did the father loose his temper, but he took her laptop and shot it with his handgun. In addition, he recorded an eight-minute rebuttal to his daughter and posted the whole thing on YouTube. Since then, he has been visited by the police, the media and child protective services.
Clearly this father-daughter relationship is strained and they need to work on their communication skills. But to go so far as to shoot a laptop, record the whole thing and post it online, that's a whole new, higher level of dysfunction. He deserves to be investigated by the police and CPS. If he could get angry enough to shoot a computer, what else could he get angry enough to do?
In addition, shooting the computer is not a waste of the money spent to buy it, it's also bad for the environment because I'm guessing it's now headed for a landfill.
Last week's question: Why do people attend class reunions? Click all that apply.
Results: To reconnect with old friends -- 2 responses, To see who went fat, got bald, ect -- 1 response, To flaunt their success -- 3 responses, Curiosity -- 3 responses, Nostalgia -- 1 response, Other 0 responses
Is this school doing what's right for the kids, or has it gone too far? An elementary school in Newton, MA, is banning candy this Valentine's Day.
According to a letter sent to parents from the principal, parents are encouraged to give their children non-food items for classroom Valentine parties. Candy, it said, violates school policy on food sharing and disrupts classroom activities. It also said it hampers efforts to teach healthy eating habits.
When I first heard this story on the local news, my first thoughts were, "why Valentine's Day?" If anything, shouldn't a holiday be an excuse for a treat. I also wondered why the school didn't work harder to ban sugar during the rest of the year. Nothing was mentioned during the telecast about the school's efforts to teach healthy eating habits.
Now I would like to know what sort of healthy eating habits the school is promoting. If it is like most public schools in this country, it is probably serving pizza, carbonated beverages and foods high in sodium in its cafeteria. How many public schools do you know that serve soup, salad and water? Is the school simply teaching the food groups or has it taken it a step further and is actually teaching students about nutrition? Unfortunately, I have no answers to my questions.
So what do you think? Is a ban on Valentine's candy a good idea?
The following post was written by a guest blogger. It's views do not necessarily reflect the views of P.O.V.
USA: Propaganda Capital of the World
By Quian Daiman
After looking up the word “propaganda” this is what I found:
·Official government communications to the public that are designed to influence opinion. T he information may be true or false, but it is always clearly selected for its political affect (American Heritage Dictionary)
·Information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation or etc.
·The deliberate spreading of such information, rumors or etc.
·The organized dissemination of information, allegations, etc., to assist or damage the cause of a government, movement or etc. (World English Dictionary)
When you think of propaganda, you always think of communism. The truth is our country has it down to a science. So much so that most of us never notice it and pass it off as “giving the people what they want.” Stereotypes are passed through television and radio programming 24 hours a day.
At least residents of communist countries like China and North Korea know they are being manipulated whereas we think we are free to formulate our own opinions of situations based on the freedom of information. What is not considered is our educational system systematically sways our views and ideologies of what we don’t know. So who’s really playing the fool in this scenario?
This is the ugly side of the greatest country in the world where you can have an opinion that is not systematic without repercussions. Layers on top of layers are enforced then re-enforced through our racial profiles, education system, political affiliations, social groups, religious doctrines and economically segregated communities; they all add up to propaganda.
Often times when people speak of the “American arrogance,” that is what they are referring to. Most of what we believe is fact actually is not, even though that is what we have been told all our lives. We speak backwards at times by putting the preposition and prepositional phrase in a different place than the rest of the world. Our beliefs are subjective when other countries live in an objective world. While in other countries we are less likely to blend into the cultural climate, instead we want to express our individuality at the expense of natives. The list of things we do wrong seems endless, adding to the distain that other countries have for Americans. Funniest part is that the U.S. is a small portion of what would be considered as America.
We boast and brag about our “great democracy,” that of late has done nothing noteworthy let alone great, as if we invented it. Telling other countries to join our cause for “democracy” and throw out your dictator or we will ostracize you and impose sanctions. Which is what we have said to Burma and Cuba through several presidential administrations, but where does a poor country find the resources to do such a daunting task? Knowing that if there were diamonds, gold or oil we would have done it for them, such is the case for Iraq, Libya and a few African countries.
In Arizona, the attorney general has decided to select which classes are good or bad for students to attend. Arizona HB2281 was passed to deter Mexican American residents from feeling any “ethnic solidarity.” Consequently, books were yanked off the shelves, papers and course work audited and school districts funds docked with no evidence or clear explanation being presented. The verdict was to cancel the classes, rewrite the history books to avoid “controversial aspects of history.”
Our disinterest in politics and education baffles the whole world. Sometimes I really believe that people don’t understand the importance of the two. Like automated lifestyles, where if you stay on this set path you will have a complete life, but if you deviate, something bad will happen and you will be a defective product. Education is freedom and politics is life or death. Our freedoms are being taken away from us daily by politicians that work with and for large corporations that own print media and television networks. Investigative reporting has been replaced by propaganda peddling. When was the last time a reporter or editor got fired for running the facts?
Quian Daiman’s life has taken many twists and turns. It has been up and down numerous times. Diversity is all he’s known since leaving his humble yet ignorant beginnings in a all black, Los Angeles, CA, neighborhood. Now living in an all white suburb of North Orange County, CA, he can see that grass is just grass; it takes the same effort to keep it green in North Orange County as it did in L.A. Throughout all the conversations he has had over the years, one thing is apparent -- we all need the truth. Just The Truth Blog is just that.
Susan G. Komen apologized to Planned Parenthood last week. As well it should have. Its decision earlier in the week to cut funding to the organization was based purely on political reasons, nothing else.
Or, as Komen President Nancy Brinker put it, “We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political. That is what is right and fair.”
Planned Parenthood is under investigation from a Florida Republican representative, Cliff Stearns. Stearns alleges the government funding of Planned Parenthood is in realty the government funding of abortion.
Contrary to many misperceptions, abortions are only a small percentage of what Planned Parenthood does. The vast majority of their services are providing health screenings and birth control to low income women. Each year, they perform approximately 170,000 breast exams and 6,400 mammograms to women who otherwise could not afford to receive them.
Cutting funding to Planned Parenthood was, in essence, Komen's way of saying, whether they liked it or not, that these women do not matter. And it appears to me that their decision was only reversed after they received backlash for their decision while Planned Parenthood received an increase in donations.
Brinker says Komen's decision to cut funding was not a political one but instead was a "fiduciary duty". She says she is saddened to hear their decision makes others doubt the Komen mission. Seems like a little too late. Almost like a politician apologizing to constituents after wrongdoing.
Sometimes we don't realize how lucky we are to live in an industrially advanced nation. When families have babies here, the majority are happy simply to have a healthy child. Others do have a preference for gender, but love their offspring regardless.
Long gone are the days when boys were preferred over girls. But even in those days, girls did not go without the love of their families. Women were never condemned for not having sons.
That is not the case in modern Afghanistan. Girls are seen as a burden; women who give birth to them are abused. Enough of a burden that, in late January, a woman was murdered for giving birth to a third daughter. She was murdered by her husband with the assistance of his mother.
The crime has been condemned by women's right's groups, religious leaders and community elders. After strangling his wife to death, the husband fled. His mother was arrested.
But condemnation of the crime isn't enough. Unless Afghan society changes the way it thinks, crimes like this will continue. And if they continue, then we are poorer as a species.
The following post was written by a guest blogger. It's views do not necessarily reflect the views of P.O.V.
Five Keys to a Great Online Personality
I've become really particular about how I present myself online. Since I started my blog, my content has evolved into specific themes. Before I update Twitter, I consider what message I want to get out. I'm dedicated to creating the best online persona possible.
I truly believe a fantastic online presence can bring you a lot of success. What does your online persona say about you? It's become extremely easy to judge someone based on their Google results.
Here are five simple ways to make sure you make a great virtual impression:
1. Don't Over abuse Email:
Email has become our main form of communication, but it's simplicity comes at a cost. Emails can be discarded, set as spam or misinterpreted. An email, while convenient, can quickly damage your image. I've received multiple emails, personally and professionally, that use atrocious spelling and punctuation. In one scenario, the individual left the body of the email completely blank and wrote their entire message in the subject box. While it may have been a quick email, receiving a message like that gives the wrong impression. Take the extra time to make sure you're sending a positive and professional message.
2. Never Underestimate your Facebook Profile:
Although Facebook is generally used socially, businesses are flocking to the site to promote themselves. Why shouldn't you use Facebook to promote yourself? If you're looking for a career that has any kind of internet presence, it's important to remember that your profile should project a positive and professional image. That means no inappropriate images, no foul language, and absolutely nothing you should be writing in a diary instead. A social media guru once told me, "Never put anything on Facebook that you wouldn't put on a billboard over I-95." Remember that before you post or upload questionable or offensive content.
3. Give more than you take on Twitter
It's tempting to ask everyone on Twitter to follow you. However, as easily as followers come, they can go. It's important to keep your Twitter feed fresh, adding relevant and helpful content. If you're looking to run a Twitter handle for your home decor blog, posting articles about DIY projects and up and coming designers is a good idea. By providing helpful solutions to common problems, you're keeping your Twitter audience engaged and hungry for more. While it's fun to keep it personal, try to avoid unprofessional or controversial topics like politics and religion (unless that's the subject matter of your blog or business). It can alienate potential followers and even offend some. I'm all for freedom of expression, but if you're looking to build a large following, you don't want to take any chances. Make sure to check in with followers, retweet their tweets and give them helpful feedback. It makes all the difference.
4. Brand Your Blog or Website
From blogging to e-commerce, it's important to build a specific brand. That should include your content. You can learn a lot from the most popular social media profiles and personal websites. Perez Hilton is a great example -- his site is about celebrities and pop culture. An article about how to maintain your garden or a post about religion wouldn't belong there. His site is consistent and cohesive. If you're looking for a more specific genre of blog or personal page, try Googling the most popular ones for inspiration. Getting a lot of traffic to your blog or website isn't an accident. By knowing your audience and subject matter and having a clear vision, you can create an ideal brand.
Note: Notice I said "inspiration." Copying the format of a similar site is always a bad idea. You want to set yourself apart, not copy someone else.
5. Don't Disappear!
Continue to make a great impression your audience by staying current. The quickest way to lose an online audience is to ignore them. This principle can be applied to all of social media outlets. When I'm not updating my blog (I post biweekly), I'm on Twitter every day. I frequently update my LinkedIn profile. I try to connect with my fans, reach out to social media rock stars for advice, etc. I'm never silent. When someone visits a social profile, blog or website that hasn't been updated in more than a month, they usually won't come back. Think of it like the milk in your fridge: more than a week or two, it's going to be sour. You don't want to be sour, ever. You want your content to be current, relevant and fresh.
Melissa Weidenborner is a former army wife and currently resides in Philadelphia with her husband and their two dogs. She is a graduate from Temple University and works as an SEO/social media manager. Her blog, Melissa's 100, has been featured on CBS Philly. Her aspirations include becoming an author and visiting Iceland. If she had any free time, she'd enjoy wine-tasting, creative writing and throwing tantrums on planes with Alec Baldwin.
Man builds house out of money, the promo on the local newscast said. I had all sorts of ugly images in my head of avarice, greed and multi-billionaires having so much money they didn't know what to do with it. Then the story aired and all my assumptions had been wrong.
In truth, the home was built by an unemployed, homeless Dubliner Frank Buckley. Buckley, an artist, designed the home out of 1.4 billion decommissioned, shredded Euros. His home is a political statement.
Not only is the house made of worthless money, it was built in the lobby of an office building -- a four year old, brand new, office building which can't find any tenants. And its artist, Buckley, is the victim of unscrupulous mortgage lending practices.
Far from being an symbol of the wealthy flaunting their money, Buckley's house is a sad commentary on modern economic times.