Monday, October 6, 2008



Times, UK - Ministers are considering spending up to L12 billion on a database to monitor and store the internet browsing habits, e-mail and telephone records of everyone in Britain. GCHQ, the government's eavesdropping centre, has already been given up to L1 billion to finance the first stage of the project. Hundreds of clandestine probes will be installed to monitor customers live on two of the country's biggest internet and mobile phone providers - thought to be BT and Vodafone. BT has nearly 5m internet customers. Ministers are braced for a backlash similar to the one caused by their ID cards program. . . A total of 57 billion text messages were sent in the UK last year - 1,800 every second.


NY Magazine -
Patric Verrone, the president of the [Writers Guild, defined "branded entertainment" for the FCC. He emphasized that it involves not merely sponsored props but elaborate interweavings of brands into scripts, ads indistinguishable from the show itself. "Most Americans, like the proverbial frogs in the slowly boiling water, may not notice how prevalent it has become. Yet Nielsen Media Research tells us that product integration has occurred more than 4,000 times on network prime-time television in 2006." Since Verrone's testimony, that proportion has risen vertiginously, jumping 39 percent in the first three months of this year versus the same time period last year. Within the top-ten broadcast-TV shows, advertisers paid for 26,000 product placements in 2007. And in June the WGA presented a startling proposal to the FCC, demanding that networks declare their sponsors in a banner at the bottom of the screen.




Star Tribune, MN
- A Shakopee man who spent two months in jail after being found with white powder has been cleared after tests showed the powder was deodorant, not cocaine. Cornelius F. Salonis, 31, was arrested Aug. 3 on suspicion of drunken driving and jailed after police said they found cocaine in his car. Salonis' attorney blames a faulty field test for the false positive result. Richard Hillesheim says a state crime lab concluded that the powder was deodorant. Last week, prosecutors dismissed the felony drug charges and allowed Salonis to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of drunken driving. He was sentenced to a year in jail. But the judge stayed nine months of the sentence and removed an additional month for good behavior. So with the two months he already had served, Salonis was freed.


WYC, Cleveland
- Dozens of North High students are sitting at home for challenging Akron's new dress code. District leaders confirm that the students were wearing hooded sweatshirts or 'hoodies' in violation of the district's new dress code policy. . . According to Julia Mann, district spokeswoman, many of the students agreed to take their hoodies off when faced with discipline, but more than 30 were suspended for insubordination. One student tells Channel 3 News that the student body was upset that the 'hoodie' policy wasn't being enforced equally from school to school. The student also said that classmates wore hooded sweatshirts as a way to stay warm Wednesday on the first cold day of the year.

Susan Meehan - Once a week, the first graders at Ross [Elementary School in Washington] are asked to write a postcard. The idea is for them to improve their writing, vocabulary, and even grammatical/sentence structure skills. Ms. Butler, their teacher, helps by putting words up on the blackboard that she thinks the children might want to incorporate into their postcard - words along the lines of, "kindness," "helpful," and "generous." The kids are asked to address their postcards to another member of the class. The subject of the card is thanking the recipient for a kind act the recipient had performed during the week. The cards are read out loud and the children are thanked. The children love doing this, and of course, they love being the recipient of cards. It is a wonderful behavior changer; there are no class bullies, and I suspect that none of these children will ever become class bullies. They are being trained to become kind, decent persons, and this early-age training will, I believe, stick. One interesting aspect of the Kindness Game is that at the beginning, the popular children received the greatest number of postcards, but this has gradually changed, and the spread of postcards is quite even.




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