There Are Books…In My Microwave

Teen carries textbooks in microwave to protest school’s backpack ban

Two thoughts come to mind as I read this.

  1. Good on this kid for standing up for something he feels strongly about and having the courage to question authority. The world needs more like him. He gets extra credit for creativity, too.
  2. Who are all of these people getting maimed by backpacks? How is this possible? I spent many of my growing up years attending a school full of blind people, yet can recall not a single book bag related injury. Has there been such a sturdiness revolution in backpack construction since the 80s and 90s that this is a thing now? Is the same true of school supplies? Have people really gotten this careless an inattentive? Ok, so maybe yes to that last one, but seriously, if that’s the case, the problem isn’t the backpacks.

U.K. teenager Jacob Ford thought his school’s new policy banning backpacks in the hallways was “ridiculous.”  So he decided to do something he thought was equally ridiculous.
The 17-year-old went to class with his books in a cooking pot in protest. Then, he carried books in a wicker basket. And finally, he brought them to school in a microwave.
The Spalding Grammar School in Lincolnshire, U.K., 200 km north of London, decided to enforce the bag rule after a staff member and two students were injured by students carrying large backpacks and bookbags slung over their shoulders.

Until this year, students in the U.K.’s equivalent of Grades 11 and 12 had been exempt from a previous backpack ban for students between Grades six to 10. 
Repeated requests for comment from the school, by email and by phone, were not returned. But head teacher Steven Wilkinson told U.K. media outlets there was more to the story.
“We have a student who has behaved in an increasingly inappropriate way, actions the likes of which I have never witnessed, and who has been sanctioned entirely in line with the school’s policies,” he told local newspaper, Spalding Today.

Just spitballing here, but perhaps had the school not forced the removal of a student petition against the ban that had gained hundreds of signatures and scolded them for starting it, ignored a long letter from this student and generally didn’t seem to care a whole lot about the will of the people, behaviour wouldn’t have been an issue. But what do I know? Rules, you see, are rules.

What Are You Going To Do With The Money? I Think I’ll Buy A Samurai Sword

After I published my earlier post, I got to thinking about Colin Farmer.

Farmer, you may recall, was the victim the last time we wrote about British police making a Taser-related oopsie. Yes, he was the blind fellow in his 60s walking to a pub using his white cane when he was attacked by an officer who thought he was a crazy man swinging a Samurai sword. There had been talk of a lawsuit, but I pretty well lost track of things after that.

So today I looked it up, and it turns out that there was a lawsuit, one which Farmer won in 2015.

Mr Farmer brought legal action against Lancashire police for false imprisonment, assault and battery, and breach of the Human Rights Act. The claim has been settled for an undisclosed sum, said his lawyer Sophie Khan.
Lancashire police admitted that the officer used unreasonable force and did not carry out a proper risk assessment before firing, said Ms Khan.
“This should be a clear example of why Tasers have no place in policing,” said Ms Khan. “We just don’t need them. The experiment with Tasers has failed and they should be shelved now.”
Lancashire police declined to comment.

So…Uh…I Guess We Failed The Exam, Eh

Obviously not every police officer is a racist, but at this point, I would hope that we can all agree that there is simply too much evidence to the contrary to ignore the fact that the world’s police forces have a wee bit of a racism problem. But if you need more proof (you shouldn’t), try this on for size.

Police in Bristol, England, came upon Judah Adunbi, a black man out walking his dogs. Assuming he was a robbery suspect they had been looking for, they decided to have a chat with him. This upset Adunbi, and he reacted as such.

Surely that’s an admission of guilt from some young punk who lacks the proper respect for rules and authority. That’s what we’d all like to think, because it would be awesome to be able to trust in our law enforcement. But what’s more likely is that his reaction was an expression of frustration, because he was not a robber. But more important than what he wasn’t is what he is. Adunbi is a founding member of the police department’s Independent Advisory Group, which among other tasks works with police on matters of race relations and use of force. So either he’s bad at his job or the cops are horrible students, because guess what happened next. Go on, guess.

The officers asked his name but, agitated, Adunbi refused to tell them.
“I’ve done no wrong,” he said, the entire incident captured by a neighbour who started filming. “Leave me alone.”
He does make an effort to show he’s not a threat. When an officer says he’s holding his keys in a threatening manner, he puts his hands over his head, then clasps his arms behind his back. Still, the confrontation intensifies.
“I’ve asked you to remain calm,” an officer asks.
“Your sergeant is going to Taser me for whatever reason,” Adunbi says, his incredulity mixing in with a thick Caribbean accent.
His entreaties are not enough. When Adunbi tries to go into his home, the officers stop him at the gate. A struggle ensues, and an officer pulls out a black and yellow stun gun.
She pulls the trigger and yells “Taser” three times.

A prong strikes Adunbi just below the chin, sending 50,000 volts through his body. He falls to the ground, now paralyzed, his head striking the pavement.
“All right, you’re being Tasered. OK, you’re under arrest.”
When he was taken to the hospital, the wire from the Taser still dangled from his face.

And perhaps this whole thing upset him even more because it’s the second time in a decade that it’s happened. He was awarded a settlement from police after another mistaken identity incident in 2007, one which thankfully does not appear to have involved a Taser.

In this case, police initially charged him with assaulting a constable in the execution of duty and using threatening or abusing behaviour, but thankfully sense was seen and the case was dropped. The obligatory statement issuing, soul searching and investigating are still ongoing.

Today In Things Too Dangerous For The Public: Drumming On Empty Bean Cans

Listen to me very carefully, children of the United Kingdom. Don’t you dare click this play button. If you click it, you’ll see people singing, having what looks to be a nice time and playing the drums on tin cans. When you see that, you’re going to want to do it yourself. And when you do it yourself, you’re going to get injured. So don’t you dare click that button, you hear me?

You clicked it, didn’t you? I know you did. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Fine. Keep it up. But when you get yourself hurt, don’t come running to me or to the Advertising Standards Authority. There’s a reason they banned that commercial from broadcast television. They know you can’t be trusted with dangerous things like tin cans and must be protected from your own child-like stupidity.

In the ad, several people are seen singing and drumming on empty tin cans. The song has a positive message about love, but the ASA fears it carries more sinister connotations: If a child were to try replicating the song with his or her own cans, they might cut themselves on the sharp edges of the can’s lip or lid.

According to Heinz, who’s beans are being recklessly shilled in the above ad, no injuries have been reported, because of course they haven’t. But the ASA isn’t budging.

“We considered there was a health and safety risk [in recreating the ‘Can Song’] particularly if a child was to attempt to play the song with an empty tin without adult supervision,” it said in a statement.

I’m not trying to say it’s impossible to nick yourself on a can. I’ve done it once or twice. Much like paper cuts, it’s amazing how much those little scratches can bleed sometimes. But strangely, the only times I’ve run afoul of the can gods have been when I’ve been using them properly. Ditto for everyone else I’ve ever seen have this happen. So maybe we need to ban cans altogether lest a child try to prepare and eat something. Clearly that’s much more dangerous. And hey, cans have paper on them, and there’s a reason it’s called a paper cut. So yeah, down with cans, and down with paper! Thank you, ASA. You have no idea how many lives you’ve saved today.

Dancing Cooker Bomb, Dance, Dance, Yeah!

Yes, this is a thing that really happened. Just wait until you hear why. It might be even dumber than you’re expecting.

A nursery suggested referring a four-year-old boy to a de-radicalisation programme after he mispronounced the word “cucumber”, it is alleged.
Concerns were raised after the youngster drew a picture of a man cutting the vegetable.
Staff in Luton told the child’s mother they believed he was saying “cooker bomb” instead of “cucumber”.
The case was sent to a police and social services panel instead of the de-radicalisation scheme Channel.
It decided not to take further action.
The boy’s mother, who has not been named to protect her son’s identity, concluded the confusion was due to the way her son pronounced the word.

Cooker bomb? I don’t routinely hang out with British 4-year-olds and spend the day discussing cucumbers, but I seriously can’t even with this.

Of course this is all the government’s fault. Well, government and school administrators who can wrap their heads around neither vague legislation nor common sense. It’s also the sort of thing that makes you wonder if maybe those home school people might be on to something.

Teachers and public service workers have a legal obligation to report any concerns of extremist behaviour to the authorities since July.

Just under 2,000 under-15s were referred between January 2012 and December 2015.

Teaching unions say there is confusion over the government’s counter-terrorism strategy in schools.
Alex Kenny from the National Union of Teachers said: “Teachers are scared of getting it wrong.
“They think Ofsted is going to criticise them if they haven’t reported these things, and you end up [with] the boy making the spelling mistake, or the boy saying something in Arabic – that then gets reported on.”

Woopsie Daisy! So Sorry, Miss. God, I’m Such A Butterwiener!

I…I…I…I have no words for this right here.

A Saudi millionaire has been cleared of raping a teenager after claiming he might have accidentally penetrated the 18-year-old when he tripped and fell on her.
Property developer Ehsan Abdulaziz, 46, was accused of forcing himself on the teenager as she slept off a night of drinking on the sofa of his Maida Vale flat.
He had already had sex with her 24-year-old friend and said he might have slipped over on top of the younger woman.

The jury acquitted Abdulaziz, of Maida Vale, of one count of rape after just 30 minutes of deliberations.
In his evidence, Abdulaziz demonstrated how the complainant had put her hand behind his head to pull her towards him, causing him to fall down.
“I’m fragile,” he said. “I fell down but nothing ever happened, between me and this girl nothing ever happened.”
He said it was possible he had semen on his hands after the sexual encounter with her friend.

Well, I suppose a sham trial like this is exactly what we should expect in a place like Saudi…wait, what’s that? the Southwark Crown Court is located in England? Jesus Christ!

What a proud day this must be for the British justice system. Actually make that British system, because any sense of justice was clearly absent that day.

Thanks To the U.K. Government, Children Will No Longer Have Access To Age Inappropriate Music Videos Until They Put In 30 Seconds Of Work

What a fantastic, child protecting initiative this is. I’m sure it will work exactly as intended. But don’t just take my word for it. I imagine all of those little kids who absolutely cannot get Facebook accounts because they haven’t yet turned 13 would feel exactly the same way were they to actually exist.

The U.K. government and a film classification board have finalized a program to give age ratings to music videos produced in the country and streamed online, with minors restricted from watching videos rated for users 18 and older.
Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music will submit music videos produced in the U.K. to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), the same organization that rates movies in the country.
The U.K. government introduced the process as a pilot project in October 2014, and has adopted it as a fixture, it said Tuesday in a press release.

“Many children have easy access to music videos online and some parents are rightly concerned that some of these contain imagery or lyrics not appropriate for a young audience,” reads the release.

Their grand plan for keeping this harmful material out of the impressionable eyes and ears of the young folk? Sign in with your Google account, little mister.

Yup…that’s it. The whole thing. Nothing else to it. There is no part two.

Governments and corporations really do think we’re stupid, don’t they? And to an extent they’re absolutely right. No doubt there are parents all over the place who think this is a great idea because little Junior is so honest or so innocent that the idea of making a separate profile where he and all his friends just happen to be 18 would never cross his mind. Some days I honestly wonder if there’s a condition that causes grown up people to forget every single thing about being a kid. Positionofauthorityitis, or something like that.

They Should Apply For A Permit To Move Their House 6 Feet

11-year-old Jon Lawson has to walk 40 minutes to school each day because a change to the calculations used by Durham County Council in the UK means that his house falls 6 feet outside of the you get a free bus pass limit. That’s a bit silly and it sucks for a family that’s going to have to jigger its routine now, but things are like that sometimes. Rules change, and sometimes they don’t change in your favour. Mom or dad can probably just drive him to school if the walk is too much or the weather is bad, no harm done.

But of course, this being the United Kingdom, there is harm done. And as usual, that harm is done to good sense.

Even though mom and dad may have to drive young Jon now, they won’t have to worry about his older brother Liam, because he can take the bus. Yes, Liam goes to the same school and lives in the same house and was given the exact same free pass that little brother was denied.Why? Because his pass was granted under the old rules, not the new ones.

Did somebody say headdesk?

Of course this is all about fairness, say officials.

“In the interests of fairness to all pupils, we must ensure that our policy is applied consistently,” said Jane Jack, school admissions and transport manager for Durham County Council. She forgot to add and moronically, but I’m sure that was simply an oversight.

“We do acknowledge that it may seem unusual for different decisions to have been made in relation to two brothers going to the same school.

“This has occurred because we have updated the system we use to measure walking distances, upon which we base our decision.

“Although the older brother qualified when he was properly assessed using the previous system, the younger brother does not qualify when properly assessed using the current system, which takes into account, for example, changes to available walking routes.

“While we understand this may cause frustration for the family concerned, it is important that we apply the current policy equally to all applicants.”

This could only be dumber if they based the decision on Liam’s bedroom being on the side of the house closer to the school.

Hopefully the council will soon be properly assessed, and not for bus pass eligibility.

Behold The Samurai Sword Of Soft Justice

Remember that time the British cop tased a blind guy because he thought his white cane was a samurai sword? Well, the wheels of justice have turned as the wheels of justice do, and the hammer of harsh punishment has been swung squarely in the direction of the officer in question. As such, it has been so ordered that PC Stuart Wright offer victim Colin Farmer a sincere pat on the back and a sorry ’bout that, lil buddy at a time and location yet to be determined.

In a statement, Lancashire constabulary said: “The officer was dealt with under stage 3 of the Police (Performance) Regulations 2008 for gross incompetence by a panel made up of Assistant Chief Constable Tim Jacques, Chief Supt Richard Goodenough-Bayly and Mr Ashley Judd, the constabulary’s head of human resources.

“The panel found that the officer failed to perform his duties to a satisfactory standard on October 12, 2012, though his actions did not amount to gross incompetence.

“The officer will be issued with a written improvement notice and be required to demonstrate specific performance improvements over a set timescale. Additionally, the officer has expressed considerable regret over this incident and arrangements will be made for him to offer a personal apology to Mr Farmer.”

Jacques added: “First and foremost I would like to sincerely apologise to Farmer on behalf of the constabulary for what happened that evening and the resulting distress and anxiety he undoubtedly suffered.

“The officer made a dreadful mistake when he discharged his Taser, but was acting on a reasonable and honestly held belief that his actions were necessary to protect the public. The officer did not perform his duties to a satisfactory standard but we did not feel that this amounted to gross incompetence.

“In addition to the findings relating to the individual officer, this investigation has raised a number of issues for the constabulary to consider including the training given to officers carrying Taser.”

A written improvement notice? Well, that changes everything.

Seriously, I hope Farmer still decides to sue the bejesus out of everyone in sight. The department needs to realize that rather than reviewing the training you give to the folks you’re unleashing on the public with weapons after something has gone wrong, you really ought to be doing that before it gets the chance.

Lol OMG UR Fat Love Teh Government XOXOXO!

Seriously, who comes up with this stuff? Who stands up in a meeting and says “I’ve got it, you guys! I can solve our fat people problem! You see, what we’re gonna do is wait until they’re 18, set a minimum butterball threshold and then text them every day to remind them that getting off the couch is something they really ought to consider.”

“But we can’t just go around texting people we think are fat…can we?”

“No, that’s the best part! They’re going to sign up for their daily scoldings voluntarily!”

“Hmmm. Interesting. How much is this going to cost?”

“Around 10 grand, give or take.”


“But isn’t this kind of silly? How do we expect people to sign up to be told that they’re too fat…”

“Shut up, Wilson! Nobody wants to hear your doom and gloom. We’re going ahead with it! Somebody fetch me the public’s checquebook!”

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is sending texts to obese people in the area to help motivate them to lose weight.

Over 100,000 people in the region are overweight or obese, the council said, and the texts are for those who are aged at least 18, have a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or over and who have proactively signed up to receive the motivational messages.

They will be sent daily texts, a weekly questionnaire and a follow-up questionnaire. A sample of 500 recipients will also have a telephone interview. All this, plus the licence for the NHS-owned Simple Telehealth text service is equal to £10,000.

Examples of the texts sent include ‘aim to eat a variety of fruit and vegetables each day’, ‘aim to eat regular meals and keep a check on snacks and drinks’ and ‘maybe walk to the shops or use the stairs more often’.

The texts may also ask questions, such as ‘are you pleased with the amount of exercise you’ve done in the last seven days, text yes or no’. If the respondents text yes, they get a reply like ‘that’s great, keep going’, or if the answer is negative, they get a text encouraging them to do more exercise.