Sunday, November 28, 2010

Lunsford Take The Money and Run (Spoof Song)


Voting for the 2010 Shiitake Awards is taking place, so I set the mood by sharing the lyrics for one of the spoof songs featured in the 2009 Shiitake Awards. CLICK HERE to visit the Shiitake Awards during the month of December to vote, to watch the 2009 awards show, or to find out more about the third annual Shiitake Awards if you're not familiar with the awards show. No surprise, Mark Lunsford was a double winner (or loser, depending on your perception).

Lunsford take the money and run
[Spoof of "Take the money and run" By: Steve Miller Band]

This here’s a story about Mark Lunsford’s money woes
Some people asked where his foundation money goes
Got a custom chopper and a hummer parked outside
People got suspicious he was taking them for a ride

The IRS wanted to search his castle
You know ol’ Lunsford didn’t want that hassle
Hank Asher came in to bail out this bum
So now he’ll take the money and run

Lunsford take the money and run
Lunsford take the money and run
Lunsford take the money and run
Lunsford take the money and run


[Spoof of "Mr Sandman" By The Cordettes]

Mister Sandman Extorted Me [bum bum bum bum]

He needed money to buy him some weed [bum bum bum bum]

He tried to cheat me out of my clover [bum bum bum bum]

But one call to the cops and now its over!

Mister Paul Sandman sits all alone [bum bum bum bum]

Inside that jail cell he calls his home [bum bum bum bum]

For all the things he stole from me

Paul Sandman extorted me!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Unaccompanied adults: How far will we take Predator Panic?

I'd love to give a nod to Lenore Skenazy's Free Range Kids blog for this story.

Chess Players Ticketed in Inwood
Predator Panic in this country seemingly has no end. It is becoming more common for city parks to ban adults from being near playgrounds unless accompanied by an adult. Apparently this is the case in New York City, as seen in this sign. This week, seven people were cited (they could have been arrested) because they did a terrible thing-- they were playing Chess in the park
Hide your children! After all, the game of Chess has been teaching violence for a millennium or so; the object of the game is to use your army of pawns, Castles (rooks), Knights, Bishops, and even your Queen to capture the enemy king. Each piece "kidnaps" the enemy pieces (and there is no telling about the conditions of confinement upon capture, especially when our poor Queen is captured). It is a terrible game, teaching militarism, which ultimately leads to despotism-- even church members and women get in on the violence! I won't even mention the sexual undertones of the game, with most pieces shaped like a phallus. Seeing as how the Queen is the most sought after and versatile character in the game, much of the strategy involves boxing her in like you're trying to gang-rape her, so it is obviously promoting violence against women. Since the queen is the only feminine piece on the table, and not shaped very womanly, Chess promotes racism. Since most Chess games involve white and black pieces, it is possibly racist as well. Thus, those who play the game should be monitored closely.

Okay, enough sarcasm. It is time to analyze this idiotic story:
Since blogger is acting up I'll have to summarize: Seven men were issued a citation for "Failure to comply with signs," specifically, playing chess near a playground area (which means they must be accompanied by a minor). Note I said "near;" the tables are separated from the playground by a fence. Adding to the story is the fact that the seven chess players are known by the community and has even taught some of the children in the neighborhood how to play the game. Many members in the community expressed outrage over the citations. However, the way the police showed up and approached the players implies someone called the police, likely by a "concerned citizen" (a.k.a., a paranoid helicopter mom). 
611 img 06.jpgWe are already teaching children to fear men as potential sexual predators. How far are we willing to take this panic? In the interest of fairness, I wonder why we cannot have child-free zones besides strip clubs and bars. After all, with all the danger outside, keeping children at home seems to be a logical solution. Maybe we can even take the hint from South Park and build a wall around our cities to keep the outsiders out, at least until the story is released that most child abductions are by the parents, so they exiled the children. At this point in our culture, the art is not far from truly imitating the life.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

NCMEC drops the ball, speads more stranger danger

I have to admit one good thing about the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children; they have been trying to dispel the "stranger danger" myth. Today, they released a major setback in their quest to dispel this myth. Below is their latest press release:


Rather than cut and paste the entire article, I will cut out the high points and point out the contradictions.

NEMEC: "An estimated 800,000 children are reported missing every year. That is 2,000 children every day or one child every 40 seconds. NCMEC analyzed more than 4200 attempted abductions for the five year period from February 2005 and March 2010 and found that:"

The stat is from the NISMART-2; 800,000 missing child reports are just that-- missing person reports. They do not clarify that fact that of the 800k reports, the vast majority are runaway/ throwaway children. Part 2 is a structural issue because it implies that each of the 800,000 reports are the same as abductions.The problem is they took two stats that are not alike and put the two together. They clarify this later on in the report but by then the damage has been done.

NCMEC: "Parents also need to understand that most of those who abduct children are not 'strangers'. The phrase 'stranger danger' is pervasive in our culture. However, teaching children to only be afraid of strangers is the wrong message. Children don’t get it. Children view a 'stranger' as someone who is 'ugly' or 'mean'. If someone spends time talking to a child or is even just around a child they think they “know” the person and don’t view them as a stranger. Research shows that of the 58,000 non-family abductions each year 63% involved a friend, long-term acquaintance, neighbor, caretaker, baby sitter or person of authority and only 37% involved a stranger. The number of pure strangers is not insignificant but it remains far smaller than other offenders who have easy and legitimate access to children."

This should have been mentioned without the 800,000 missing child report statistics, most of which are runaways. From the 58,000 "non-family abductions, that'd be roughly 19,000 "stranger" abductions. The definition of abduction in the NISMART-2 report is rather vague. The criteria is extrapolated from the NISMART-2:

Thus, NISMART–2 defined a missing child in two ways:
first, in terms of those who were missing from their caretakers
(“caretaker missing”); and second, in terms of those
who were missing from their caretakers and reported to
an agency for help locating them (“reported missing”).
NISMART–2 counts a child as missing from the caretaker’s
perspective when the child experienced a qualifying
episode during which the child’s whereabouts were
unknown to the primary caretaker, with the result that
the caretaker was alarmed for at least 1 hour and tried to
locate the child. For an episode to qualify, the child had
to be younger than 18 and the situation had to meet the
specific criteria for one of the following NISMART–2
episode types (summarized in the sidebar on page 4):
■ Nonfamily abductions (including a subcategory,
stereotypical kidnappings).
■ Family abductions.
■ Runaway/thrownaway episodes.

Nonfamily Abduction
A nonfamily abduction occurs when a nonfamily perpetrator
takes a child by the use of physical force or threat of bodily
harm or detains a child for at least 1 hour in an isolated place
by the use of physical force or threat of bodily harm without
lawful authority or parental permission; or when a child who
is younger than 15 years old or is mentally incompetent, without
lawful authority or parental permission, is taken or detained
by or voluntarily accompanies a nonfamily perpetrator
who conceals the child’s whereabouts, demands ransom, or
expresses the intention to keep the child permanently [Emphasis added]

Stereotypical Kidnapping
A stereotypical kidnapping occurs when a stranger or slight
acquaintance perpetrates a nonfamily abduction in which the
child is detained overnight, transported at least 50 miles, held
for ransom, abducted with intent to keep the child permanently,
or killed.

But there was no mention of the stats for "stereotypical" abductions, which was 115, the high-profile cases people fear most. There is no clarification between the different types of missing person reports, and without even knowing the NISMART-2 was quoted, you have no way of clarifying the facts.

This poses another question--why did they look at only attempted abductions rather than actual abductions? The scenario is a little stereotypical. What were the other scenarios involved? I'd like to know.

The bottom line: They should know better than to write such a easily misread article.

This news story already shows how the article is already misread and misinterpreted; notice the headline:

New Stranger Danger: Sex offenders target middle school-aged children

Read more:

"JUPITER, Fla.-- It's something many kids have to do, walk to and from school. But it's a passage of childhood filled with peril.... The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says a startling amount of attempted abductions, 43%, now involve kids between the ages of 10 and 14. 38% of attempted abductions take place to and from school. And about the same number of cases,37%, occur between the hours of 2pm and 7pm. The results were released in August after the NCMEC analyzed over 4200 attempted abductions between 2005 and 2010..."

No mention of the NCMEC's warning about how the number of true stranger abductions. After all, the whole point is to scare you. Do we really need ignorance and fear to be the catalyst for teaching a few tips on prevention? I have no problem with the safety tips. However, our culture of fear mongering has also made us very blind and hypersensitive to the true degree of risk. It is sad we cannot learn honesty in addressing the issue. The NCMEC really dropped the ball on this one!

UPDATE: Read eAdvocate's dissection of the CBS 12 article by clicking on the link below:

Friday, November 5, 2010

Collective Punishment: Should one man suffer for the sins of another?

Collective punishment is the punishment of a group of people as a result of the behavior of one or more other individuals or groups. The punished group may often have no direct association with the other individuals or groups, or direct control over their actions. In times of war and armed conflict, collective punishment has resulted in atrocities, and is a violation of the laws of war and the Geneva Conventions. Historically, occupying powers have used collective punishment to retaliate against and deter attacks on their forces by resistance movements (e.g. destroying whole towns and villages where such attacks have occurred).

This is the Wikipedia definition of "collective punishment."Collective punishment, simply put, is the concept of punishing a group of individuals for the sins of one person. Sex offender laws are a prime example of collective punishment.

You need to look no further than the Adam Walsh Act to understand this concept. The law was named after a child who was killed in 1981, before my fifth birthday. I was still living in Baltimore, MD in 1981, so there is a pretty good chance I had nothing to do with young Adam Walsh's disappearance and death. Yet, nearly 30 years later, I am punished for his death by a law passed in his memory. In fact, there are 715,000+ (and growing) individuals who had nothing to do with Adam Walsh's tragic death, but are punished in his name.

What happened to Adam Walsh was tragic indeed and no one deserves that kind of fate. However, should I be held accountable for a tragic murder that had occurred when I was in Kindergarten? Should I apologize over and over again for something I did not do? Society seems to think so. I don't. Somehow not claiming responsibility for a crime I didn't do somehow makes me "unrepentant?" I don't think so.

Sex offender laws should be based on reason rather than revenge. Revenge motivated laws have tarnished the memories of those children we have named laws after. Why is it we can name a law after Adam Walsh to satisfy our bloodlust but we won't throw our support to a grieving family who believes in rehabilitation of former offenders, as in the case of Esme Kenney? Where is an Esme's law that supports the things that the Kenney family believes in, such as a common sense approach to the issues?

The answer is simple. America supports revenge, not rehabilitation. That is why we have the highest incarceration rates in the world, beating out Russia and China. Ironically, as a former offender, I'm supposed to apologize for every tragedy that happens, accept whatever punishment they arbitrarily throw my way, and if I complain, I'm "unrepentant." To that I say, is Esme Kenney's family as deserving of a voice as Adam Walsh's family? Think about it.