Blog Posts by Liz Goodwin

  • Local fire department lifted principal’s daughter to roof for prom stunt

    Screen shot 2011-05-12 at 12.51.24 PMJust yesterday we wrote about how one Connecticut senior's grand romantic gesture got him banned from the prom. Today it looks like high-drama prom-goers in Texas are trying to outdo him.

    Channel 2 News reports that Cypress Falls High School principal Becky Denton solicited the help of an entire team of volunteer firefighters to hoist her daughter onto the roof of the school on a ladder truck so that a young lothario could ask his classmate to the prom. You can check out more photos of the stunt on their website, which the news station found on Facebook.

    A Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District spokeswoman told the news station that the principal has been told that "future prom events should not jeopardize student safety."

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  • German TV news host confuses Star Trek logo for Navy SEAL emblem

    Screen shot 2011-05-12 at 10.39.47 AMThe ins and outs of other cultures can seem fairly mysterious to outsiders, admittedly. But we can't really get over the image of a German TV newscaster solemnly presenting a logo fashioned by Star Trek enthusiasts while explaining the Navy SEALs to his fellow countrymen.

    The German site Bildblog appears to have been the first to capture the error with this screenshot, at right. Channel N24's host Mick Locher explained during the segment that the Navy SEAL Six team raided Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan and killed him—as the emblem made by Star Trek fans flashed on the screen behind him.

    "And they also have the 'Team Six' that carried out the mission. They don't have the skull in their emblem for nothing," Locher said, according to a translation from the fan site TrekMovie.

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  • Senior banned from prom over conspicuous ask-out technique

    Screen shot 2011-05-11 at 4.59.22 PMHere's further proof, if any should be needed, that grand romantic gestures are overrated.

    High school senior James Tate wanted to impress his friend by asking her to their prom in Shelton, Conn., in a way the whole world would notice, The Connecticut Post reports.

    So naturally he went to the school in the middle of the night and taped foot-high pieces of cardboard on its entrance to spell out "Sonali Rodrigues, Will you go to prom with me? HMU Tate." (Gawker says HMU means "hit me up." Kids these days.)

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  • Muslim Americans still find acceptance elusive in the wake of bin Laden’s death

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    On Friday morning, Masudur Rahman boarded a plane to attend a conference in North Carolina on Americans' distrust of Islam. Agents with the Transportation Security Administration had twice screened both Massud and his traveling companion Mohamed Zaghloul and determined that the two men were not a threat, and they were cleared to join all the other similarly screened passengers on the Delta regional flight operated by Atlantic Southeast Airlines.

    That's why it came as a shock to the pair when the staff ordered them to deplane, reportedly because the pilot didn't want them on board. An Atlantic Southeast spokesman says the airline is investigating the incident, and that the company takes "all allegations of discrimination very seriously."

    Rahman and Zaghloul didn't arrive at the conference until the evening, and Rahman said he was too stressed by the experience to concentrate on the weekend's topic of "Islamophobia," or the fear of Islam.

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  • Do school districts pick on poor parents?

    AP110208170222 (1)In a report on a homeless Connecticut woman who is facing criminal charges for using a false address to enroll her son in a public school, the Associated Press asks whether school districts and local governments are treating poor parents unfairly by selectively prosecuting them.

    Tanya McDowell, whose case we've written about extensively here, appears in court in Norwalk today to face charges of felony larceny for enrolling her 5-year-old in school using her friend's public housing address. (The city, not the school district, is bringing the charges against McDowell.)

    The AP points out that while at least 26 other children were illegally enrolled in the Norwalk school district, McDowell is the only one facing criminal charges. In a similar case in Ohio, at least 50 children were removed from the wealthy Copley-Fairlawn district for using false addresses, but only one parent, Kelley Williams-Bolar, ended up in jail. Both McDowell and Williams-Bolar are poor and black, which has sparked civil rights activists to allege they are the victims of discrimination. McDowell is being represented by a lawyer from the NAACP.

    "It is, in our view, an uneven enforcement that comes down mostly to poverty," Williams-Bolar's lawyer David Singleton told the AP. "The criminalization of this is really troubling. To the extent we see people prosecuted, I think it's mostly going to be people who are unable to afford to pay their way out of it."

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  • Forbidden City art theft embarrasses Beijing officials

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    Beijing art officials are confessing their embarrassment after a thief knocked a hole in the wall of one of the city's most historic sites and made off with millions of dollars worth of valuables that were on loan to the Palace Museum.

    The May 8 theft at the famed Forbidden City was caught on security cameras, according to China Daily. Palace Museum officials held a press conference Wednesday to release photos of the stolen valuables and to apologize to the Hong Kong museum which had lent the pieces to the Forbidden City museum.

    Refreshingly, no one took a "mistakes were made" approach to the theft; Palace Museum officials practically rushed to take the blame.

    Museum director Ma Jige stood up and bowed in apology to Wang Xiahong, curator of the Liang Yi Museum in Hong Kong, saying he felt "very guilty and sorry." Meanwhile, Wang said her museum would continue to donate pieces to the Beijing exhibition, despite the burglary.

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  • Under pressure, Navy drops same-sex marriage plan

    AP110324115283The U.S. Navy abruptly reversed its position yesterday, announcing that it was suspending a plan that would have allowed Navy chaplains to perform same-sex marriages on military bases.

    Rear Admiral M.L. Tidd, the Navy's top chaplain, sent a note invalidating his memo from last month authorizing the marriages. "My memorandum of 13 April 2011 is hereby suspended until further notice pending additional legal and policy review and inter-Departmental coordination," he wrote.

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  • FIRST LOOK: FEMA asks for money back from natural disaster victims

    Welcome to First Look, our daily roundup of early-bird news:

    • FEMA is asking natural disaster victims to return $22 million in government aid. (AP)

    • China and the United States have reached a deal on currency. (Washington Post)

    •The Navy has reversed its decision to allow chaplains to perform gay marriages. (AP)

    • The Obama administration will make a push to reach out to the Muslim world. (WSJ)

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  • Why geeks make better adults than the in-crowd

    78036433What makes you a total weirdo in high school is most likely the ticket to your future success, according to a new nerd wish-fulfillment book called the Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth, by reporter Alexandra Robbins.

    Robbins followed seven self-described outsiders at public and private high schools for a year and concluded that what makes kids popular—conformity, aggression, visibility, and influence—won't make them happy or successful after they graduate. She distinguishes between perceived popularity, when peers say someone is at the top of the social hierarchy, and actual popularity, when peers report actually liking someone. Her book focuses on the former, a state that Robbins says tends to evaporate outside of the high school gate.

    In good news for nerds everywhere, what makes people unpopular in the hallways of high school, mainly an unwillingness to conform, tends to translate into success as an adult. Robbins lists several companies—including Yahoo!—that prioritize hiring quirky individuals who shun conventional thinking. She also name-checks historical and current celebrities, including director Steven Spielberg (who was taunted for being Jewish in high school) and Lady Gaga (a self-described former theater "freak"), whose weirdness led to later fame. (Other now-validated former outsiders she touts: Steve Jobs, Taylor Swift, Bruce Springsteen and Angelina Jolie.)

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  • FIRST LOOK: Woman strips naked on Delta flight

    Welcome to First Look, our daily roundup of early-bird news:

    • Obama will take credit for cracking down on illegal immigration on the border today. (Washington Post)

    • The Mississippi River has crested at 48 feet. (AP)

    • David Brooks argues that the unemployment crisis is structural. (New York Times)

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