Thursday, December 28, 2006

Merry Christmas...

...and Happy Holidays to all.
From Darlene, Sophia and David,
Wishing all of you the best of the season.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Where have you been to?

create your own visited country map
or check our Venice travel guide

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Honduras Greens Slam Pollution - Prensa Latina

Honduras Greens Slam Pollution - Prensa Latina: "Honduras Greens Slam Pollution

Tegucigalpa, Sep 7 (Prensa Latina) Environmental Organizations and people from the locality of Valle del Siria protested the pollution of the water table with cyanide and arsenic.

Faced with evidence of locals with skin, respiratory problems and other afflictions, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry (SERNA) confirmed those reports Wednesday.

According to the ministry, studies by experts from the organization revealed the existence of cyanide over international levels in tests of water in the Valle de Siria, the country's eastern zone.

SERNA Minister Mayra Mejias stated that results of these tests made from August to December 2005 contained illegally high cyanide levels.

The Valle people have repeatedly denounced that some children and adults suffer skin diseases due to the pollution caused by Entremares company, which has open mines."

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Grief in Honduras after Fort Lauderdale slaying | 08/20/2006 | Grief in Honduras after Fort Lauderdale slaying: "Grief in Honduras after Fort Lauderdale slaying

JUTICALPA, Honduras - The men left their young families behind in this poor city next to the mountains and settled in a strange place called Fort Lauderdale.

There, they found lawns that needed mowing, cars that needed washing, sheetrock that needed hanging -- and people willing to pay decent wages for such work.

The money that Oscar Castro and José Alfredo Sánchez sent home to their wives and children bought a refrigerator, furniture, private schools and food. It even afforded them a taste of middle-class Americana: buying on credit.

All the while, of course, the men were breaking the law. Castro and Sánchez had entered the United States illegally, like an estimated 10.5 million others who have since become the subject of the nation's emotional debate over undocumented immigrants.

To see another side of the issue, The Miami Herald went to Juticalpa this summer, to visit the parents, the children and the wives Castro and Sánchez had left behind.

The men went back as well. They were in coffins."

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Teaching Crisis in Honduras - Prensa Latina

My fellow teachers in Honduran schools make just over 3$ an hour. That is at least 1/4 what a first year foreign hire teacher makes at EIS. These teachers deserve our help and support. Without them, the future of this country is dire.

Teaching Crisis in Honduras - Prensa Latina: "Teaching Crisis in Honduras

Tegucigalpa, Ago 8 (Prensa Latina) Honduras was under an apparent calm after the government and teacher s unions discussed about an eventual solution to the crisis of the national educational system.

Around 2.5 million children and teenagers are without classes since the Teaching Organization Federations of that Central American nation began a strike in demand of salary improvements last August...

Among demands is the payment of $3.07 an hour and an increase of $1.16 per lesson starting next year, but president Manuel Zelaya only has offered them an increase of ten cents per hour."

Friday, July 14, 2006

Fire Rainbow




Fire rainbow"

Garifuna Community Leader in Honduras Threatened with Death

Read Article: "2006-07-13 | An Afro-descendent community leader in Honduras, Jessica Garcia, was forced at gunpoint to sign a document surrendering land and rights to a powerful real estate company. After refusing to accept a bribe to endorse the document, a representative of the company threatened to kill Ms. Garcia, the leader of the San Juan Tela Patronato, which represents the interests of the San Juan Garifuna community, and to murder her children.

This incident is only the most recent in a series of mounting threats and violent attacks faced by the Garifuna community and their leaders over the last several years. Powerful business interests, who seek to benefit from developing Garifuna territory into major tourism projects, engage in intimidation and violence, with virtual impunity."

Friday, June 30, 2006

Death Row Millionaires? Nah.

Cecil has all the answers:
The Straight Dope: Have any millionaires ever been executed in the United States?: "Prosecutors often don't even pursue the death penalty against the rich--think O.J. Simpson, Robert Blake, Phil Spector, and John du Pont (of the chemical du Ponts). You needn't hire a Johnnie Cochran or a Clarence Darrow to get the treatment. An analysis of Georgia cases showed that prosecutors were almost twice as likely to ask for the death penalty when the defendant couldn't afford a lawyer. Nationwide an estimated 90-plus percent of those arrested for capital crimes are too poor to retain experienced private counsel. In Kentucky, a quarter of death row inmates were defended by lawyers who were later disbarred (or resigned to avoid disbarment); other states are similar. A few states have offices dedicated to providing a proper defense for capital defendants, but a Texas jurist summed up the attitude elsewhere: 'The Constitution does not say that the lawyer has to be awake.' So is it cynical to oppose the death penalty on such grounds? Nah. Just realistic."

Thursday, June 08, 2006

What Effect Reading Has on Our Minds - MSN Encarta

What Effect Reading Has on Our Minds - MSN Encarta: "Here are two facts that probably won't surprise you: Reading makes you smarter, and the more reading you do, the better.

Why this is so and how the magic happens, though, is quite interesting.

In a paper called What Reading Does for the Mind, Anne E. Cunningham, associate professor of cognition and development at the University of California, Berkeley, makes the case that reading:

* increases vocabulary more than talking or direct teaching;

* substantially boosts general knowledge while decreasing the likelihood that misinformation will be absorbed; and

* helps keep our memory and reasoning abilities intact as we age."

CNN report on Al-Zarqawi death

General Caldwell sounds convinced but apparently he does not know that Muslims are prohibitted from having tattoos. - 'Painstaking' operation led to strike on al-Zarqawi - Jun 8, 2006: "Al-Zarqawi's body was taken to a secure location, visually identified by 'scars and tattoos consistent with what had been reported and what we knew about him,' and by fingerprints, Caldwell said. 'We have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that Zarqawi was in the house. It was 100 percent identification.'"

CNN report on Al-Zarqawi death

General Caldwell sounds convinced but apparently he does not know that Muslims are prohibitted from having tattoos. - 'Painstaking' operation led to strike on al-Zarqawi - Jun 8, 2006: "Al-Zarqawi's body was taken to a secure location, visually identified by 'scars and tattoos consistent with what had been reported and what we knew about him,' and by fingerprints, Caldwell said. 'We have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that Zarqawi was in the house. It was 100 percent identification.'"

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Honduras has 9.5 Times the Murder Rate of NYC

Dominican Today: "Violent deaths in Honduras up by 14.7 percent so far this year

Tegucigalpa.– The violent death rate in Honduras was up by 14.7 percent in the first quarter compared to the same period in 2005, according to a study released Tuesday in this capital.

In the year's first quarter, police reported 1,308 violent deaths, 168 more than in the first three months of 2005, said the study prepared by the Observatorio de la Violencia in Honduras.

The study says that men between 15 and 24 years of age are the main victims of violence in this country.

Honduras has a population of 7 million people, about the same as New York City, which had fewer than 550 murders last year. Much of the violence here is blamed on youth gangs."

Leader of Honduras Gang Escapes From Jail

Leader of Honduras Gang Escapes From Jail: "Leader of Honduras Gang Escapes From Jail

The Associated Press
Tuesday, June 6, 2006; 11:59 PM

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras -- A leader of a violent kidnapping gang that abducted and killed the son of a former Honduran president was among four inmates who escaped from a prison outside the capital on Tuesday.

The prisoners used makeshift saws to cut through the bars of their cells at the National Penitentiary outside Tegucigalpa. A rainstorm muffled the sound of the escape, but guards may also have been involved, prison director Rafael Castro told reporters"

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Backstory: How to get into Harvard by almost trying |

Backstory: How to get into Harvard by almost trying | "Backstory: How to get into Harvard by almost trying
By Chuck Cohen
Are your child's SAT scores lower than Dick Cheney's approval ratings? Is junior's grade-point average only visible with a magnifying glass? Is there a definite absence of participation in sports, clubs, and charitable work to put on that college application? Then perhaps it's time you paid good money for Mr. Chuck's 'This Way To Harvard,' the college admission service that will overcome laughable test scores, mediocre grades, and the lack of any application-worthy activity other than intense pouting.

Is Mr. Chuck expensive? You better believe it. But to show why it makes sense for you to take out a second mortgage and sell the family heirlooms to get your child into a prestigious college, we invite you to read our case histories. By creating new personas for nonpersona children, the Mr. Chuck Ivy League admission rate has soared almost as high as Mr. Chuck's bank account."

Professors want their classes 'unwired' |

Professors want their classes 'unwired' | "Learning
from the May 04, 2006 edition

Professors want their classes 'unwired'
By Maia Ridberg | Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor
NEW YORK – When Don Herzog, a law professor at the University of Michigan, asked his students questions last year, he was greeted with five seconds of silence and blank stares.

He knew something was wrong and suspected he knew why. So he went to observe his colleagues' classes - and was shocked at what he found."

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Civilian deaths prompt 'values' refresher - Jun 2, 2006 - Civilian deaths prompt 'values' refresher - Jun 2, 2006: "WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Don't leave wounded enemies to die. Don't desecrate the dead. Don't cause unnecessary suffering. Don't steal things while searching private homes. And don't photograph detainees, especially when they're hooded.

These mandates may seem like common sense, or at least common courtesy, but reports of U.S. troops killing civilians in Iraq have prompted the military to offer all Iraqi-based troops a refresher course on 'the importance of professional military values.'

Along with the aforementioned values, the 38-slide presentation includes other tidbits, such as ones reminding troops that theft, war crimes and prisoner abuse are considered 'acts inconsistent with common values.'"

Honduras: UN experts concerned at detention, police powers in justice system

And the United States is not much better when it comes to its own extra-legal detentions.

Honduras: UN experts concerned at detention, police powers in justice system: "Honduras: UN experts concerned at detention, police powers in justice system

2 June 2006 – Despite improvements in the judicial system in Honduras, the continued remand detention of nearly 2,000 people, some for more than 10 years, and the “excessive power” of police in the criminal justice system remain matters of concern, according to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

Government officials assured the experts they were aware of the problems and committed to continuing and strengthening the reform process, Group Chairperson Leila Zerrougui, an Algerian judge, told a news conference in Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital, at the end of as visit to the Central American country.

“The Working Group is encouraged by these assurances and hopes that the Government will be able to address some of the concerns expressed already before it adopts its final report on the visit at the beginning of September,” Ms. Zerrougui said.

The Group, whose other member was Spanish judge Manuela Carmena Castrillo, noted that the new criminal procedure code, which entered into force in 2002, had resulted without any doubt in greater transparency of judicial proceedings and a reduction of the delays in the administration of justice.

The share of prisoners held without sentence, which in 2002 amounted to 92 per cent, has shrunk to approximately 62 per cent by March.

But the experts expressed concern with regard to the discrimination to which at least 1,800 persons in remand detention under the old criminal procedure code are subjected. They have been deprived of their freedom without being found guilty of a crime for at least four years – and in some cases more than 10 years.

Among the pre-trial detainees held under the old criminal procedure are persons who were acquitted by the first instance court but continue to be detained because the prosecution has appealed the acquittal. “Their detention is doubly arbitrary,” the experts concluded.

The Group also noted that prosecutors exercise only weak control over the investigative police. As the police also run the prison system, they exercise physical control over all persons in detention at all stages, and not only during the first 24 hours while they are in the holding cells of police stations.

The experts voiced concerns over the Government’s strategy to fight the violent youth gangs, citing its apparent nearly exclusive reliance on repression and marginalization, as well as occasionally on unlawful means, while making no efforts to try to reintegrate into society the thousands of adolescents and young adults belonging to these groups."

Deportations to Honduras "Everyone who wants to 'round up' illegal immigrants and 'send them home,' should consider the case of Estephanie Izaquirre, who is sitting in the Polk County Jail today.

The 18-year-old parentless teenager came to the United States illegally from Honduras when she was 13. She was able to remain here by using a provision in the law allowing child immigrants to get a green card. She started to build a life. She made friends. Spent time with family, including an uncle who is a Des Moines school principal. She graduated from East High School in Des Moines this spring.

Then she turned 18. The next day, her attorney, Jim Benzoni, received an e-mail from an immigration official informing him the young woman should come to the office and 'complete the paperwork.' He thought that meant she was going to get a green card.

Izaquirre was thrilled.

When she showed up, a deportation officer arrested her.

The plan is to deport her to Honduras. Where she has no family. Where the person who was supposed to look after her pushed her into prostitution. Where people will not care 'if she dies,' Benzoni said.

If Iowans can't recognize the sheer inhumanity of what's going on here, they should note the sheer absurdity of the cost of 'rounding up' people. Benzoni said the girl could spend months in the county jail. He estimated the process of getting her back to Honduras could cost as much as $5,000. Those are taxpayer dollars.

Multiply that by the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in this country.

That's $60 billion. And counting, since more illegal immigrants will come."

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Files Contradict Account of Raid in Iraq - New York Times

$2500 is the cost to kill in the Marines.Files Contradict Account of Raid in Iraq - New York Times: "The list of 15 victims deemed to be noncombatants was put together by intelligence personnel attached to the battalion, Major Hyatt said. Those victims were related to a Haditha city council member, he said. The American military sometimes pays compensation to relatives of civilian victims.

The relatives of each victim were paid a total of $2,500, the maximum allowed under Marine rules, along with $250 payments for two children who were wounded. Major Hyatt said he also compensated the families for damage to two houses."

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Honduras President Admits Up in Crime - Prensa Latina

What struck me the most was "according to official sources, at least six people die by violence every day in Honduras."
Honduras President Admits Up in Crime - Prensa Latina: "Tegucigalpa, May 26 (Prensa Latina) Honduras´ President Manuel Zelaya Friday admitted that insecurity in his country is “serious and critical” and urged all social sectors to support the fight against violence.

However, social, religious and human rights organizations have attributed this phenomenon to the poverty and economic crisis into which the nation is plunged.

“Common violence invades our streets and affects all social classes, evidence that all Hondurans have to be organized in the search for accurate responses to this serious problem,” Zelaya stated.

Representatives of the non-governmental organizations considered that before increasing the number of police throughout the territory, he must first provide the entire population with access to health and education.

Meanwhile, the dignitary committed to a series of measures to reduce high rates of violence, as according to official sources, at least six people die by violence every day in Honduras."

Friday, May 26, 2006

He disappeared in Honduras

Numb and number - "in 1989, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights actually held Honduras responsible for the disappearance of a student activist, Manfredo Velasquez Rodriguez, at the National Autonomous University of Honduras. The court relied on exactly the same logic used by Amnesty and Quisumbing: that the abduction (in Honduras) -- and the killings (in the Philippines) -- fit a historical pattern.

The Court’s language was uncanny. “Those disappearances followed a similar pattern, beginning with the kidnapping of the victims by force, often in broad daylight and in public places, by armed men in civilian clothes and disguises, who acted with apparent impunity … It was public and notorious knowledge … that the kidnappings were carried out by military personnel or the police, or persons acting under their orders....The disappearances were carried out in a systematic manner [especially considering that the] victims were usually persons whom Honduran officials considered dangerous to State security.”"

Yum, garbage.

Reuters Odd News Summary: "''Freegans'' forage for food in bins
LONDON (Reuters) - Ross and Ash are about to dig in to a meal of chicken rogan josh, king prawn makhani and rice, chicken balti and naan bread followed by pineapple, strawberries and grapes for dessert.
All of which came out of a bin.
''Everything I eat comes from dumpsters,'' Ash says. ''For me it's a logical lifestyle choice. It's such a natural thing to use up that waste.''
Some call them ''dumpster divers,'' others brand them ''skip lickers,'' but Ross Parry and Ash Falkingham like to count themselves among the Freegans -- a growing band of foragers who seek to live entirely from the waste of others.
In this brief trip to a small supermarket skip in southeast London, they have recovered enough food to provide themselves -- and several others -- with an impressive evening meal, as well as bread, muffins and teabags for the next morning's breakfast."

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Teens suffer soap opera virus... right around final exams

Teens suffer soap opera virus - Yahoo! News: "LISBON (Reuters) - An illness that medical officials are calling the 'Strawberries with Sugar Virus' is sweeping Portuguese schools as children complain of symptoms similar to those suffered by characters in a television soap opera.

More than 300 children have complained of symptoms including rashes, breathing difficulties and dizziness at 14 schools in different parts of the country. Some schools have been forced to close.

The outbreak came a few days after the popular 'Strawberries with Sugar' teenage television show aired an episode about a life-threatening virus descending on a school.

Medical officials believe many children, after watching the show, feared their own minor rashes and wheezes were something serious. Others noted the outbreak came at the same time as end-of-year exams"

DNA study shows it was messy when humans and chimps parted ways - Yahoo! News

DNA study shows it was messy when humans and chimps parted ways - Yahoo! News: "NEW YORK (AP) - Humans and chimps diverged from a single ancestral population through a complex process that took four million years, according to a new study comparing DNA from the two species.

By analyzing about 800 times more DNA than previous studies of the human-chimp split, researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard were able to learn not just when, but a little bit about how the sister species arose.

'For the first time we're able to see the details written out in the DNA,' said Eric Lander, founding director of the Broad Institute. 'What they tell us at the least is that the human-chimp speciation was very unusual.'

The researchers hypothesize that an ancestral ape species split into two isolated populations about 10 million years ago, then got back together after a few thousand millennia. At that time the two groups, though somewhat genetically different, would have mated to form a third, hybrid population. That population could have interbred with one or both of its parent populations. Then, at some point after 6.3 million years ago, two distinct lines arose."

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Dave's New Phone Number

1 - 567 - 202 - 1123

on Skype. You can call it from a normal phone.

Leave a message if I'm not answering or not online.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Ex-gang members in Honduras face tough road on return to society > News > World -- Ex-gang members in Honduras face tough road on return to society: "By Alexandre Meneghini

8:48 a.m. May 13, 2006

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – Former President Ricardo Maduro took on Honduras' street gang problem with a zero-tolerance campaign, ordering police to arrest anyone who appeared likely to be part of a gang – even if they had not committed any crime.

But the widespread roundup of suspected gang members led to overcrowding and violence in the Central American nation's ill-equipped prisons.

Maduro's successor, Manuel Zelaya, who took office in January, is trying conciliation. He has urged gang members to turn in their weapons in exchange for a chance to enter rehabilitation programs that offer alternatives to the criminal life, including job training and education.

Still, the old zero-tolerance policy has left many young men with the stigma of being viewed as gang members despite having no record of criminal offenses. Many struggle to find work and live in society after photos identifying them as criminals appeared in the news media.

Even before joining the violent street gangs, young men know there is no way back to ordinary society. Honduras' gangs recognize only lifetime membership and trying to drop out is considered a death sentence.

The only exception is if a gang member proves he has become a churchgoing Christian. The former gang will keep watch to ensure that the dropout is not drinking, using drugs or hanging out on the streets and that he is always carrying a Bible."

Flying Robot Attack Called Unstoppable

TLC :: News :: Article: "May 11, 2006— It may sound like science fiction, but the prospect that suicide bombers and hijackers could be made redundant by flying robots is a real one, according to experts.

The technology for remote-controlled light aircraft is now highly advanced, widely available and, experts say, virtually unstoppable.

Models with a wingspan of five meters (16 feet), capable of carrying up to 50 kilograms (110 pounds), remain undetectable by radar.

And thanks to satellite positioning systems, they can now be programmed to hit targets some distance away with just a few meters (yards) short of pinpoint accuracy.

Security services the world over have been considering the problem for several years, but no one has yet come up with a solution.

'We are observing an increasing threat from such things as remote-controlled aircraft used as small flying bombs against soft targets,' the head of the Canadian secret services, Michel Gauthier, said at a conference in Calgary recently.

According to Gauthier, 'ultra-light aircraft, powered hang gliders or powered paragliders have also been purchased by terrorist groups to circumvent ground-based countermeasures.'

On May 1 the Web site Defensetech published an article by military technology specialist David Hambling, entitled 'Terrorists' unmanned air force.'

'While billions have been spent on ballistic missile defense, little attention has been given to the more imminent threat posed by unmanned air vehicles in the hands of terrorists or rogue states,' writes Hambling."

How "Daddy" affects your job: psychologist - Yahoo! News

How "Daddy" affects your job: psychologist - Yahoo! News: "NEW YORK (Reuters) - Successes or failures of employees in the workplace can be traced to what kind of father they had, a psychologist argues in a new book.

In 'The Father Factor,' Stephan Poulter lists five styles of fathers -- super-achieving, time bomb, passive, absent and compassionate/mentor -- who have powerful influences on the careers of their sons and daughters." - Education law leaves children behind - May 12, 2006 - Education law leaves children behind - May 12, 2006: "WASHINGTON (AP) -- Not a single state will have a highly qualified teacher in every core class this school year as promised by President Bush's education law. Nine states along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico face penalties.

The Department of Education on Friday ordered every state to explain how it will have 100 percent of its core teachers qualified -- belatedly -- in the 2006-07 school year."

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

UK says UFOs caused by natural forces, not aliens - Yahoo! News

UK says UFOs caused by natural forces, not aliens - Yahoo! News: "LONDON (Reuters) - Hopes -- or fears -- that the Earth has been visited by alien life forms have been dismissed in an official report by British defense specialists.

The Ministry of Defense confirmed Sunday a secret study completed in December 2000 had found no evidence that 'flying saucers' or unidentified flying objects were anything other than natural phenomena."

Kitchen and bedroom blessings offered by vicars - Yahoo! News

Kitchen and bedroom blessings offered by vicars - Yahoo! News: "LONDON (Reuters) - British homeowners wanting to liven up their sex lives, ward off bathroom germs or calm kitchen rows can now call on God -- or at least his ministers -- for help.

A new service is being offered by vicars in the north of England who give blessings to people moving to a new home."

Just call me Dolph - Yahoo! News

Just call me Dolph - Yahoo! News: "WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Bottlenose dolphins can call each other by name when they whistle, making them the only animals besides humans known to recognize such identity information, scientists reported on Monday.

Scientists have long known that dolphins' whistling calls include repeated information thought to be their names, but a new study indicates dolphins recognize these names even when voice cues are removed from the sound." - U.S. has second worst newborn death rate in modern world, report says - May 9, 2006 - U.S. has second worst newborn death rate in modern world, report says - May 9, 2006: "American babies are three times more likely to die in their first month as children born in Japan, and newborn mortality is 2.5 times higher in the United States than in Finland, Iceland or Norway, Save the Children researchers found."

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Honduran congressman killed at home

The last paragraph makes me especially uncomfortable.

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) -- A Honduran congressman was shot to death by at least three unidentified assailants while resting in a hammock at his home, authorities said Tuesday.

Ramon Salgado, a congressman from Honduras' governing Liberal Party, was attacked Monday night in the Atlantic coast city of San Pedro Sula, 60 miles (100 kilometers) north of the capital of Tegucigalpa, District Attorney Manuel Lopez said.

The assailants fired some 30 M-16 machine gun rounds at Salgado, who was hit at least 14 times, Lopez said. Salgado died later in surgery at a local hospital, he added.

No one had been arrested, and police had not determined a motive for the attack.

Salgado, 43, was elected congressman representing the coastal province of Colon three consecutive times beginning in 1998.

More than 100 prominent Hondurans have been slain in the last five years, including labor leaders, environmentalists, journalists, politicians and businesspeople. Most of the slayings have gone unsolved.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Poor Homes over 800,000

Tegucigalpa, Apr 28 (Prensa Latina) Honduran President Manuel Zelaya said near 800,000 homes are ridden with destitution and 500,000 children live in abject poverty.

At a seminar on Gender, Economy and Development, Zelaya said most households, made up of women and children, are ridden with extreme poverty, poor diet, lack of medicine and unemployment.

He admitted that most of the seven million population suffers deprivation, and announced projects, like the 52-million-dollar rural housing allocation to favor single parent families led by women.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Send in your email protest to support Honduran workers

Burger King Allows Labor Rights Violations

Thanks to Eduardo Kaffati, the Burgler King. Let him know personally:

Abe Huyser Honing

Go Away, Right Away

That's the essence of what employees of several Burger Kings in the Central American country of Honduras were told in wee hours of the night shift by managers cautious to make sure no customers were witness to their illegal firings.

And it's essentially the message Miami-based Burger King Corporation has given to U.S. advocates who've approached the company on the workers' behalf.

In Honduras, the owners of Burger King and other fast-food restaurants are all too accustomed to getting their way, right away.

A "Tourism Incentive" law allows them to set up shop tax-free. ("Let's fly to Tegucigalpa, Honduras-I hear they have great Whoppers there!" Right.)

The fact that the Minister of Labor works side by side at the same law firm as the lawyer for BK's Honduras franchise owner probably doesn't hurt, either.

So last year when execs at INTUR, the company that runs all of Honduras' Burger Kings, got wind that some workers in these restaurants were organizing to ask for a few things their way (complaints included having to pay for uniforms out of their meagre salaries and being forced to work overtime without pay), the execs apparently were not happy.

They demonstrated this unhappiness by firing 27 employees of Burger King and other INTUR-owned fast-food restaurants whose names appeared on a list of "organized" workers-never mind that most had never attended a meeting or even knew where they were held-and denying them the two-months' severance pay required by Honduran law for firings without warning.

Mandatory severance pay might sound to the U.S. ear like a cushy deal. But in Honduras, where companies like BK can pay their employees as low as $120 a month and the unemployment rate shoots upwards of 36%, it can mean the difference between satisfying your children's hunger or feeding them stone soup.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

For a Harvard Student and Aggrieved Novelist, Plagiarism Generates Interest


CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 28 — On Thursday night Little, Brown announced that it was pulling the Harvard sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan's chick-lit novel, "How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life," from bookstores because numerous passages in it had been plagiarized.

On Friday morning Maggie Hsu, a sophomore biology major at Harvard, went to the Harvard Coop bookstore, where she bought the last copy of "Opal" before clerks removed it from shelves. Ms. Hsu said that she had planned to purchase the book before the controversy erupted, but that the recall sent her to the bookstore. "I've been talking to a lot of people about this, and what everyone seems to be asking is, 'Why would anyone do this?' "...

...Earlier this week Steve Ross, Crown's publisher, described Ms. Viswanathan's actions as "nothing less than an act of literary identity theft." When Little, Brown said on Monday that it would "eliminate any inappropriate similarities" in future printings of "Opal," Mr. Ross questioned how quickly that could happen and said that leaving the original edition on the shelves during the time it took to make the revisions was "of great concern."

Friday, April 28, 2006

Computer Document

Mr. Schult needs some new ideas.
You can help him find out more about what is on these websites.

With a partner, that is you and one other person, create a word document and write both your names on it. You are going to email this document as an attachment to Mr. Schult's email address. His address is:

On this document, write down something new that you learned. Each website is different. Try to visit them all but if you find one you like, stay there.

Copy down the URL address of each website you learn something new on and put that in your document as well.

Write down 3 new things you learned and their website for 5 points.
Write down 5 new things you learned and their website for 7 points.
Write down 7 new things you learned and their website for 9 points.

Write down 7 new things you learned and something else that Mr. Schult does not already know, and their website for 10 points.

Your document should have the name of you and your partner, a sentence of two about what you learned, the website where you found the information.

Here are the websites you can use.

Good luck!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Honduras Culture Plunder on Rise

Tegucigalpa, Apr 25 (Prensa Latina) The plundering of objects of great cultural, historical and religious value continues escalating in Honduras, said Yani del Cid, the special Attorney General of ethnic groups and cultural heritage.

Yani´s remarks came after several thieves broke into San Juan Bautista Catholic Church in Ojojona community, south of Tegucigalpa, and plundered valuable objects.

The church robbers made off with a bust of St. Jose, from the second half of the 18th century, a silver crown, an oil painting of St. Miguel Arcángel, a silver and wood cross from the colonial period and an imperial crown of gold, among other objects.

The attorney said that agents from the Criminal Investigation General Department will inspect the zone.

Fort Lauderdale Woman Shot Dead While Vacationing In Honduras

POSTED: 6:58 am EDT April 26, 2006

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras -- A Fort Lauderdale, Fla., woman is dead following an armed robbery on Honduras' Caribbean coast.

Authorities said a pair of gunmen shot and killed Adaline Lopez on Monday in Villanueva, about 125 miles north of Honduras' capital, Tegucigalpa.

Police said Lopez, 40, was on vacation and was preparing to fly back to the United States when she stopped at an ATM and withdrew $2,000.

A pair of assailants apparently watched her withdraw the money and approached her vehicle. They demanded Lopez get out of the car, but she tried to drive away.

The men opened fire, shooting Lopez in the neck.

The gunmen escaped with some money and remained at large Tuesday night.

Lopez was born in Honduras but immigrated to the U.S. 25 years ago and became an American citizen. She lived in Fort Lauderdale with her Honduran husband and two children.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


* Flimsy moral standards.

* Every friday is a relgious holiday. If your work/school objects to that, demand your religious beliefs are respected and threaten to call the ACLU.

* Our heaven is WAY better. We've got a Stripper Factory AND a Beer Volcano.

Flying Spaghetti Monster

Finally a religion we can all digest.


'Spaghetti Monster' is noodling around with faith

By Dan Vergano, USA TODAY

Is the world ready for The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

The Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe, Earth and its creatures after drinking heavily from heaven's beer volcano. The Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe, Earth and its creatures after drinking heavily from heaven's beer volcano.

Will its revelations — that pirates control global warming, that there's a beer volcano in heaven, and that superstition trumps science every time — overwhelm religious belief for all mankind?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

AIDS and $$ in SPS

The exchange rate is 20Lps to 1$. 700Lps is around 35$. Just over one dollar per day.

On the Honduran North Coast, a man with a good paying job like packing bananas for Dole earns Lps. 700 a month. Food for a family of five costs Lps. 63 a day, according to official government reports.

For the entire Honduran prison system, the total budget for medicines is Lps. 100,000 a year, even though dozens of prisoners are HIV positive. Obviously, with budgets like these, there is no room to buy drugs to fight AIDS. The new "triple cocktail", which reduces HIV blood levels to almost zero, currently costs $1 million a year. This is out of reach for 96 percent of the world’s AIDS sufferers...

...Garifuna communities in Honduras have been particularly hard hit by AIDS. In Santa Fe, there are 25 known cases of AIDS, most in their terminal stage. It is believed, says Tifre, that the rate of reported to unreported cases in Honduras is 1 to 30. There are only 5,000 people in the Santa Fe area, giving an HIV infection rate of almost 20 percent. This is not unrealistic. In San Pedro Sula in some industries, like seamstresses, watchmen, and food processors/sellers, the AIDS infection rate is 30 percent.

Living in San Pedro Sula

Maybe this is what is meant by the trickle-down effect.

World Vision fights poverty and sub-standard housing


San Pedro Sula has been experiencing an industrial boom thanks to the thriving maquila industry. This industrial growth has created thousands of new jobs and has been the reason for a large influx of rural people to this industrial center.

But while this boom may be good for the economy, it has also led to a shortage of low cost homes. Utilities such as water, electricity and telephone have also been over burdened by the rapid growth of the metropolitan area. There are many marginal communities without running water or electricity.

Typical construction of the houses in these marginal communities is cardboard boxes and large sheets of plastic held in place by mud. The dirt floors become muddy every time it rains. Standing water in walkways is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Cooking is done outside on crude wood burning stoves.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Venezuelans demand justice after schoolboy murders - Yahoo! News

Venezuelans demand justice after schoolboy murders - Yahoo! News: "'We're protesting against the insecurity we are living with and to demand justice. Everyone is suffering because of this, it has nothing to do with ideology, we living in a crisis,' student leader Isabel Plaza told local television.

Police on Tuesday found John Bryan, Kevin and Jason Faddoul, aged 17, 13 and 12, dead from shotgun wounds to their heads alongside the body of the family's driver.

Investigators say a group of men dressed in police uniforms had stopped the victims at a false roadblock as they left for school on February 23. Kidnappers later demanded ransom of more than $4 million.

The Faddoul brothers were born and grew up in Venezuela and also held Canadian passports through their father, a businessman and naturalized citizen." - Schools that canceled prom offer compromise - Apr 5, 2006 - Schools that canceled prom offer compromise - Apr 5, 2006: "NEW YORK (AP) -- Two Long Island high schools that canceled their senior proms after years of burgeoning excess that included limos and weekend house rentals in the Hamptons announced a cut-rate compromise Tuesday that will involve bus rides and other more modest arrangements.

Instead of hiring chauffeurs, students will take buses to a Manhattan pier for a dinner cruise. Instead of tuxedos and fancy ball gowns, the dress code will be jackets and ties for boys and dresses for girls.

The cost is expected to be about $100 per student -- a fraction of the cost of the wild parties of the past."

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Tired of male domination, 5 Saudi women change sex - Yahoo! News

Tired of male domination, 5 Saudi women change sex - Yahoo! News: "Al Watan newspaper said the five women underwent sex change surgery abroad over the past 12 months after they developed a 'psychological complex' due to male domination.

Women in Saudi Arabia, which adopts an austere interpretation of Islam, are not allowed to drive or even go to public places unaccompanied by a male relative."

"Loyal" donkeys better than wives, says textbook - Yahoo! News

"Loyal" donkeys better than wives, says textbook - Yahoo! News: "'A donkey is like a housewife ... In fact, the donkey is a shade better, for while the housewife may sometimes complain and walk off to her parents' home, you'll never catch the donkey being disloyal to his master,' the newspaper reported, quoting a Hindi-language primer meant for 14-year-olds.

The book was approved by the state's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party government but has sparked protests from the party's women's wing.

State education officials in Rajasthan, a western state known for its conservative attitude toward women, said people should not be upset by the comparison, the paper said.

'The comparison was made in good humor,' state education official A.R. Khan was quoted as saying. 'However, protests have been taken note of and the board is in the process of removing it (the reference).'"

Jesus may have walked on ice? - Yahoo! News

Jesus may have walked on ice? - Yahoo! News: "A drop in temperature below freezing could have caused ice thick enough to support a human to form on the surface of the freshwater lake near the western shore, Nof said. It might have been nearly impossible for distant observers to see a piece of floating ice surrounded by water.

Nof said he offered his study -- published in the April edition of the Journal of Paleolimnology -- as a 'possible explanation' for Jesus' walk on water.

'If you ask me if I believe someone walked on water, no, I don't,' Nof said. 'Maybe somebody walked on the ice, I don't know. I believe that something natural was there that explains it.'

'We leave to others the question of whether or not our research explains the biblical account.'

When he offered his theory 14 years ago that wind and sea conditions could explain the parting of the Red Sea, Nof said he received some hate mail, even though he noted that the idea could support the biblical description of the event."

Lack of women turns tables on suitable boys - Yahoo! News

Lack of women turns tables on suitable boys - Yahoo! News: "The sex ratio in many of Rajasthan's districts has dropped to 922 girls for every 1,000 boys, according to the last census. In one or two villages, it has plummeted to less than 500, the paper reported.

The joint engagement pact, called 'aata-saata,' or the 'double-couple plan,' has emerged as young women find themselves much in demand in a state where the traditional preference, as in much of India, has been for sons.

Heavily skewed sex ratios have emerged in several parts of India as couples use ultra-sound technology to achieve their desire for a baby son despite such tests being illegal.

A joint study carried out by researchers in India and Canada recently suggested that half-a-million unborn girls may be aborted in India every year.

But now the absence of girls is changing village dynamics, the newspaper said.

'There are no girls. If there is one in a house, the father is like a king. He can demand anything,'"

Friday, March 24, 2006

CowPi: A Foul Question

CowPi: A Foul Question: "Aristotle: Actuality precedes potentiality in terms of value. An egg is a potential chicken. A chicken is actual. Therefore, the chicken came first.

Evolutionist: There existed a bird, a proto-chicken, whose DNA mutated when it laid an egg from which the first chicken hatched. So, the egg came first.

2nd Evolutionist: Ah! That was a proto-chicken’s egg, not a chicken egg. A chicken must come from a chicken egg. The chicken came first.

Biblical Creationist: The chicken was first according to Genesis 1:21, “So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind.”

Non-Biblical Creationist: At first it seems that either the egg or chicken could be created first. But if the egg was created first, there would be no chicken around to feed and care for the first hatchling. So, the chicken would have been created first.

Existentialist: What is the true meaning of the “essence of chickenness”? What were the circumstances of the pre-chicken prior to it becoming a fully actualized chicken? In other words, how did the pre-chicken exist without enough “chicken essence”? Whatever the answer, it was the egg that contained the necessary “chicken essence” needed to eventually become the chicken. Therefore, the egg was first.

Geneticist: For passing along its DNA, a chicken is an egg’s way of making another egg.

Rationalist: I lay eggs, therefore I am a chicken.

Postmodern Relativist: From the egg’s point of view, the chicken came first. From the chicken’s point of view, the egg came first.

Hindu: The egg and chicken are only stages within the cycle of life. There is no beginning or end to the cycle. So, neither one came first.

Pagan: The egg is a symbol of life, an initiator of things to be.

Taoist: The egg and chicken are one.

Zen: How many feathers does a chicken have?

The Matrix: There is no chicken. There is no egg.

Lexicon: Chicken comes before egg in the dictionary.

Culinary: Depends on the recipe."

The Straight Dope: Is astrology for real?

The Straight Dope: Is astrology for real?: "...But to say astrology can be helpful doesn't mean it has any objective validity. Studies have shown that (1) astrologers trying to deduce someone's personality from his chart do no better than chance; (2) astrologers studying the same chart come to opposite conclusions as often as not; (3) the birth dates of people with occupations linked to certain signs (e.g., politicians, scientists, soldiers) are in fact randomly distributed throughout the zodiac; and (4) couples with 'incompatible' signs get married and divorced at the same rate as compatible couples."

Friday, March 17, 2006

Two U.S. soldiers die in Honduras accident

Two U.S. soldiers die in Honduras accident: "Two U.S. soldiers die in Honduras accident


TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras -- A speeding bus crashed into a small van carrying a group of U.S. soldiers in northern Honduras, killing two and injuring one, authorities said Thursday.

The accident happened Wednesday near the village of Agua Caliente, on the Atlantic coast 220 miles north of the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa, Transport Police Commissioner Jose Luis Flores said.

The U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa declined to confirm the identities of the victims pending notification of next of kin.

Flores said the driver of the bus was speeding before he crashed into the van carrying the soldiers. The soldier driving the van was unable to avoid the collision.

The bus driver was uninjured but was immediately detained by police.

The soldiers were traveling from La Ceiba to the industrial city of San Pedro Sula, Flores said. They had been participating in joint military exercises with their Honduran counterparts for the past month."

Monday, February 20, 2006

"Psychic" admits bilking elderly clients - Yahoo! News

I keep saying, "I told you so." Stop believing. Start doubting."Psychic" admits bilking elderly clients - Yahoo! News: "MIAMI (Reuters) - A self-proclaimed psychic and fortuneteller pleaded guilty Thursday to bilking elderly clients in south Florida out of more than $2 million over an eight-year period, federal officials said.

Linda Marks, 57, of Delray Beach, was accused of preying on the elderly and people suffering from incurable diseases, telling them she could cure them by praying over their money."

US Scientists enlist clergy in evolution battle - Yahoo! News

US Scientists enlist clergy in evolution battle - Yahoo! News: "...pastors are speaking out against it. Warren Eschbach, a retired Church of the Brethren pastor and professor at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania helped sponsor a letter signed by more than 10,000 other clergy.

'We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests,' they wrote.

Catholic experts have also joined the movement.

'The intelligent design movement belittles God. It makes God a designer, an engineer,' said
Vatican Observatory Director George Coyne, an astrophysicist who is also ordained. 'The God of religious faith is a god of love. He did not design me.'"

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

At Churches Nationwide, Good Words for Evolution - New York Times

Christian Fundamentalists read carefully...
At Churches Nationwide, Good Words for Evolution - New York Times: "On the 197th birthday of Charles Darwin, ministers at several hundred churches around the country preached yesterday against recent efforts to undermine the theory of evolution, asserting that the opposition many Christians say exists between science and faith is false."

U.S. and Israelis Are Said to Talk of Hamas Ouster - New York Times

Glad to see that the USA is such a big supporter of democracy. Oh wait, that is only for government that support a pro-US stance. Can't have governments democratically elected that oppose the USA, unless of course, the possess nuclear weapons. Ever wonder what Iran is up to or why?
U.S. and Israelis Are Said to Talk of Hamas Ouster - New York Times: "JERUSALEM, Feb. 13 — The United States and Israel are discussing ways to destabilize the Palestinian government so that newly elected Hamas officials will fail and elections will be called again, according to Israeli officials and Western diplomats.

The intention is to starve the Palestinian Authority of money and international connections to the point where, some months from now, its president, Mahmoud Abbas, is compelled to call a new election."

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Oddly Enough News Article |

Just love the fact that he talked non-stop.Oddly Enough News Article | "SYDNEY (Reuters) - A former New Zealand navy diver left adrift at sea for three days survived by eating crayfish and sea slugs after he became separated from friends while diving near an island off the country's coast.

Robert Hewitt, 38, was suffering hypothermia and severe dehydration when he was found in mist and rain by former navy colleagues who joined police divers after an air search was called off, New Zealand Press Association reported.

'This defies survivability, it's bloody awesome,' said police search and rescue Senior Sergeant Bruce Johnson.

Hewitt was found wearing only the bottom of his wetsuit and a yellow catch bag containing the remains of the crayfish and sea slugs that he had eaten during the ordeal, NZPA reported.

Johnson said the diver may have been protected by the thickness of his navy-issue divesuit, and was alert and 'talked non stop' when rescued."

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Where do I stand...

...on the latest violence over political cartoons depicting Mohammad? Michelle Malkin states my position with clarity and courage. In the priority of rights, freedom of speech must supersede not offending others.
By Michelle Malkin · January 30, 2006 09:37 PM"

Friday, February 03, 2006

Muddle of the Road

Now that just makes it all clear for me. Thanks GW.

Urban Legends Reference Pages: Politics (Muddle of the Road): "Bush Explains Medicare Drug Bill — Verbatim Quote
Submitted on 2005-12-13

WOMAN IN AUDIENCE: 'I don't really understand. How is it the new plan going to fix the problem?'

Verbatim response: PRESIDENT BUSH:

'Because the — all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculated, for example, is on the table. Whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those — changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be — or closer delivered to that has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the — like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate — the benefits will rise based upon inflation, supposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those — if that growth is affected, it will help on the red.'"

The Shame of Shane (tefltrade)

The Shame of Shane (tefltrade): "People are leaving Shane in droves, and they are experiencing problems recruiting new staff. This is mainly due to the multitude of illegal practices the company carries out and acts of intimidation that have become common knowledge via the internet and word of mouth in Japan.

For example if you are sick they charge you a day and a half’s pay (people have been forced to leave due to this and incur huge debts), and pay the cover teacher half a day’s pay (if they are lucky)."

Monday, January 30, 2006

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Sophia Paige Schult

Welcome to the world, Sophia. Born on January 18 in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Sophia enjoys sleeping, drinking her mother's milk and taking walks with her father in the Baby Bjorn.
Sophia's Birth Announcement
Sophia's Picture Page

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Latin America's prisons

209% Jail occupancy level in Honduras with 79% of the prisoners without a sentence. And the guards let them kill each other.

BBC NEWS | In Depth | In figures: Latin America's prisons: "In figures: Latin America's prisons
Human rights groups are warning of a crisis in Latin America's overcrowded jails, where riots and violence are on the rise. They say tens of thousands of inmates - many of them imprisoned without sentence for year - are living in deteriorating conditions.

Below are key statistics compiled mainly by the Latin American Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Delinquency - Ilanud - over the last decade.

Honduras prison rioting kills 13
Gang members in Honduras prison
Prisons in Honduras are dominated by gang culture
Thirteen inmates have died and another was injured by gunfire in rioting at a high-security prison in Honduras.

Saturday, January 07, 2006 - Drug turf war blamed for Honduran prison violence - Jan 6, 2006 - Drug turf war blamed for Honduran prison violence - Jan 6, 2006: "Soon after the shootout, inmates' bodies lay in pools of blood within the cellblock, all with stab wounds apparently inflicted by homemade knives and 10 bearing gunshot wounds.

Each of those 10 received an execution-style shot to the head, though some already were dead at the time.

One of the victims had been decapitated."

Friday, January 06, 2006

DNA re-test ordered on executed Virginia man - Wikinews

DNA re-test ordered on executed Virginia man - Wikinews: "Coleman, 33, maintained his innocence to the end, saying 'An innocent man is going to be murdered tonight. When my innocence is proven, I hope America will realize the injustice of the death penalty as all other civilized countries have,' as his final words before being strapped into the electric chair."

Monday, January 02, 2006

Nearer, My God, to the G.O.P. - New York Times

Nearer, My God, to the G.O.P. - New York Times: "A look at the tactics and theology of the religious left, however, suggests that this is exactly what American politics does not need. If Democrats give religious progressives a stronger voice, they'll only replicate the misdeeds of the religious right.

For starters, we'll see more attempts to draw a direct line from the Bible to a political agenda. The Rev. Jim Wallis, a popular adviser to leading Democrats and an organizer of the Berkeley meeting, routinely engages in this kind of Bible-thumping. In his book 'God's Politics,' Mr. Wallis insists that his faith-based platform transcends partisan categories.

'We affirm God's vision of a good society offered to us by the prophet Isaiah,' he writes. Yet Isaiah, an agent of divine judgment living in a theocratic state, conveniently affirms every spending scheme of the Democratic Party. This is no different than the fundamentalist impulse to cite the book of Leviticus to justify laws against homosexuality.

When Christians - liberal or conservative - invoke a biblical theocracy as a handy guide to contemporary politics, they threaten our democratic discourse. Numerous 'policy papers' from liberal churches and activist groups employ the same approach: they're awash in scriptural references to justice, poverty and peace, stacked alongside claims about global warming, debt relief and the United Nations Security Council.

Christians are right to argue that the Bible is a priceless source of moral and spiritual insight. But they're wrong to treat it as a substitute for a coherent political philosophy."