The Pledge is Always the Pledge, Even In Colorado.

A high school in Colorado has decided to allow its students to say the pledge of allegiance in Arabic. Students received some heat from their contemporaries, but mingled in among the harsh words, were words of praise. Its takes a special kind of bravery to be able to speak what is arguably one of the most powerful statements in a language that is seen by many in the United States as inferior.

“No matter what language it’s said in, pledging your allegiance to the United States is the same in every language,” said sophomore club member Skyler Bowden. School recites pledge in Arabic

When I was a child, I once got in trouble for saying the pledge in Spanish. About ten years later, prominent members of the Hispanic community released a version of the star spangled Banner fully in Spanish to combat the rising racism and border controversies against undocumented workers specifically, and Hispanics in general. To this day, I prefer the Spanish version, “Neustro Himno”, to our Star Spangled banner.

I also congratulate the high school students for taking a step towards true cultural competence. These students are our country’s future, and they make me proud.

Jokes Not Withstanding

Every time I see someone who is shocked about how screwed up the world is, I feel a bit depressed.  Not for their lofty morals; not even for their facade of innocence; but for the knowledge that they think there is supposed to be a worldwide-accepted norm of conduct.  These people actually believe that all the humor in the world should be family friendly.  Let us just say that the rumble sound you just heard was all of the UK busting a gut laughing. I now respond to a … disgruntled blogger.

This person wrote on their blog:

“So tonight I saw a picture on Facebook which disturbed me. It was posted on a site which embraced all things distasteful in the name of humour by trolls who get their kicks doing this.  The picture showed a young woman, bound and gagged, looking frightened and underneath it said ‘It’s not rape. if she really didn’t want to she’d have said no.’  So the ‘gag’ was actually the fact she was wearing a gag. How clever.” Facebook Fail by J. Bolouri

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Poverty Does Crazy Things to People.

A mother in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan has been arrested for allegedly selling her daughter for 650,000 rupees ($12,000).

The mother said she sold the girl to raise money to repay a fine of 450,000 rupees ($8,383) imposed on her by the village council, police said.

Police say the girl was sold a month ago, but the crime came to light when she tried to run away from the couple.

Read the Full Story at the BBC: India mother arrested for ‘selling 11-year-old daughter for $12,000’

It is stories like this, that remind me of why I became a social worker in the first place.

Human Rights Watch report says DC’s police under-report sexual assault complaints

(Washington, DC) – Victims of sexual assault in Washington, DC, are not getting the effective response they deserve and should expect from the district’sMetropolitan Police Department (MPD), Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Sexual assault cases are too often not properly documented or investigated and victims may face callous, traumatizing treatment, despite official departmental policy to the contrary.


The 196-page report, “Capitol Offense: Police Mishandling of Sexual Assault Cases in the District of Columbia,” concludes that in many sexual assault cases, the police did not file incident reports, which are required to proceed with an investigation, or misclassified serious sexual assaults as lesser or other crimes. Human Rights Watch also found that the police presented cases to prosecutors for warrants that were so inadequately investigated that prosecutors had little choice but to refuse them and that procedural formalities were used to close cases with only minimal investigation. The mayor and City Council should create an independent mechanism to monitor police department response to sexual assault complaints.


“Sexual assault is the most underreported violent crime in the US, largely because many victims fear that their cases will not be taken seriously and that police will not believe them,” said Sara Darehshori, senior counsel in the US Program at Human Rights Watch and the author of the report. “Unfortunately, for some victims in DC who bravely came forward and reported their assaults, those fears were realized.”

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Environment Can Play A Role in Genetic Susceptibility To Psychological Disorders.

Schizophrenia and other serious psychological disorders typically manifest during young adulthood or late adolescence. For years researchers have tried to find out causal factors, their associated triggers and prevention strategies.


A study performed by a team headed by Akira Sawa, director of the Johns Hopkins Schizophrenia Center, appeared in the journal Science on Jan. 18 indicates that chronic stress during adolescence influences the function of a gene known to place people at risk for developing several types of mental illness. The study’s findings also indicate the importance in mental illness of epigenetics, which is the study of how people’s experience and environment affect the function of their genes.


In the paper, researchers describe a mechanism for why this happens, along with a possible drug that might help prevent the onset of the disease by targeting the stress system.


The study can be found: At the Journal Science.
Sawa A. Et al. (2013).  “Adolescent Stress–Induced Epigenetic Control of Dopaminergic Neurons via Glucocorticoids” Science, Vol. 339 no. 6117 pp. 335-339. DOI: 10.1126/science.1226931.


Continue reading “Environment Can Play A Role in Genetic Susceptibility To Psychological Disorders.”

We Lie to Our Children

As everybody knows, unless your just not payign attention, most parents tell lies to their children as a tactic to change their behaviour. Often in my case it did not work, but it was a popular practice in my childhood. A study of families in the United States and China indicates that this practice is an international constant and may have long-term effect on behavioral development. Oddly, the most frequent example related to parents threatening to leave children alone in public unless they behaved in socially acceptibole ways. “I’m goign to leave you little Jimmy!!!” (Oh the KMart memories!)

Persuasion ranged from invoking the support of the tooth fairy to telling children they would go blind unless they ate particular vegetables.
Another strategic example was: “That was beautiful piano playing.”

Read more on the BBC’s website: Most Parent’s Lie to Their Children.

How Martin Luther King Got His Day.

Martin Luther King, Jr. famously fought long and hard for racial equality. So perhaps it’s fitting that it took the efforts of several Americans more than 30 years to establish a holiday in his honor. Read more: How We Got MLK Day and Who Stood in the Way -by Nikki Gloudeman.

I would not say fitting. More like very sad. As in, this is very sad that it took so long for a country to recognize the leader of a minority; a leader who put is personal freedoms on the line for his beliefs; a leader whose only hope was for a better life for all Americans to be recognized.

They didn’t ask this kid. However, If they did, I would say that recognizing him for his accomplishments and legacy is much more important than celebrating the lives of some expired “heros” whose only virtue and legacy is … answering a call to arms. Peace before war, is my opinion.