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Alex Baer

Schoolhouse Shock

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You'd think electrically punishing children, as ways of getting their attention, would be outlawed by now in America -- but you would be wrong.  You would have thought this would have come up before now -- and it has, over and over.  And you know: The shocks still go on and on.

* * * * *

My first nudge in the direction of the Judge Rotenberg Center, the JRC, came in an email today, asking for my support, on a petition at  It began:

"Hi, my name is Gregory Miller.  I used to work at a school in Massachusetts named [the JRC] where we used powerfully painful electric shock devices (45-91 milliamps at 66 volts) on students to control their behaviors.  These devices are much stronger than police stun guns (1-4 milliamps).  Unlike stun guns, the electrodes most commonly used at school are spaced 3-4 inches apart so that the electrical volts passing through the flesh create the maximum amount of pain with those amps and volts.

Last Updated on Monday, 07 May 2012 17:57

Wheels Within Wheels: The Trauma of Getting from Here to There

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After having the, uh, stuffing beat out of us all week, there is finally a story to make us want to sit up straight, stand up, even cheer, launching rolls of paper streamers into the air:  The land speed record has been set in Australia by a motorized toilet.

Talk about a go-kart-type vehicle with get-up-and-go: This one managed 46 miles an hour on a timed course.

Last Updated on Friday, 04 May 2012 15:30

Anniversary & Sarcophagus

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Speaking of the continuing meltdown horrors at Fukushima...

Speaking of the fresh fuel rods jammed into damaged buildings so fragile they couldn't ride out a wiggle...

Speaking of hydrogen gas and steam explosions carrying radioactivity aloft...

Speaking of all the radioactive water dumped into the sea, over and over again, sometimes by accident, sometimes by helplessness and design...

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 April 2012 18:49

Today's Special, Recycled Again

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Let's see now -- which template to use today in the ol' homestead and standby, the Mainstream Cafe?  Not good to use them without some creative rotation, you know -- best to keep mixing it up, so's it keeps the product looking fresh.  When it comes to food for thought, the main dish can't be splotchy and a sickly green -- it can't be sprouting multicolored, science-project fur, not and get sold to the public and swallowed whole, like everybody all up and down the food chain wants.

Of course, between you and me, the stuff is almost identical -- we might as well be pushing soy served up a zillion different ways:  pummeled, tenderized, injected with flavor and some color, then -- Bam! Texturized, too.  You'd never believe your taste buds or your eyes.  Same thing here, no difference at all.  Facts is facts, like the man says.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 April 2012 19:19

Penalty Flags for Bullies, Rowdies, & Hooligans

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At long last, we have a path for possible success, a template of civility to use in treating many terrible and ferocious maladies,  such as runaway, take-no-prisoners, violently predatory, vulture capitalism -- even on sports hooliganism, too.

That we have to teach civility in society says quite a bit, right out of the gate, uh, right off the bat.  That is to say: Right from the opening kickoff.

The NFL has made its pre-game announcement to football fans:  If you're tossed out of a game for unruly, drunken, violent behavior, be prepared for the ref's penalty call.  The truth of those consequences:  a four-hour, online course, at 75 bucks a throw, before anyone will let you back in and welcome you into the civilized fold.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 April 2012 21:03

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