Saturday, April 21, 2012
Thursday, July 14, 2011
The following list will be updated as new numbers come across my desk. These are phone numbers of collection agencies who violate federal laws by threatening arrest or warrants. Please file complaints against any of the following numbers if they call and use illegal collection tactics. Always file complaints with the FTC and/or your state Attorney General's Office.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Shock and Awe Journalism: How We Feed the Panic Machine
This guest post was written by Andie P., who is currently enrolled in classes through onlineuniversities.net with the goal of receiving her sonogram tech certification.
The outcry is universal. People want less sensationalism. Viewers demand more from their news other than fire, explosions, violence, and misbehaving of celebrities and politician. What do the people then receive? Shock journalism.
How can there be such a disconnect between what people say they want from their news outlets and what the news outlets offer? Are journalists so infatuated by the shock that they report on only the sensationalism without any regard to viewers? Or are there mixed signals from people demanding more newsworthy stories and what they eventually choose to view?
Economics of Journalism
Shock journalism is great for the news industry; it's inexpensive and quick to turn into a news story. Journalists can even use information from a previous story to create a news story to be aired at a later time. This recycling of news is ideal for journalists required to meet a 24-hour news cycle. Previous stories are restructured quickly and with little expense to the network, maximizing profits while still fulfilling the obligation of provided viewers with something new.
Sharing news among networks is also prevalent in the industry. While there is an appearance that journalists are battling one another to get the most exclusive story, notes, sound clips, and images are actually all shared in a "I'll scratch your back if you scratch my back" gesture. According to the University of Southern California-Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, collaborative partnerships commonly occur amongst news gatherers to extend financial resources. Journalists share information to ensure good favor with other journalists on the next event. This action limits the amount of coverage with all journalists using the same information.
Why Viewers Tune In?
The shallow, mass-produced shock journalism stories stimulate just enough interest to keep people captivated. Christopher Peterson and Martin E.P. Seligman, in the article "Values in Action (VIA) Classifications of Strengths," explain that as shock journalism intrigues a viewer, the story is incomplete. The viewer is left with an empty feeling. Rather than being turned away by such a draining story, the viewer acts in contrary; they are supplied with such limited information that they demand more. Journalists only report enough to keep viewers interested. Viewers are then coerced to incorporate their own analysis in an attempt to complete the story, but they're never satisfied because they don't have the real answers. When the viewer becomes an active participant in the new story, journalists are sufficiently doing their job in shock journalism. Viewers that are active participants signify a want for more, even though more will never be enough.
A recent example of shock journalism is the proliferation of Charlie Sheen in the news. After last year's accusation of threatening his wife, Brooke Mueller, with a knife, the actions of Sheen continue to dominate the headlines. Sheen's $500 thousand splurge on escorts and drugs, and his erratic behavior on the "Two and a Half Men" set has been well documented by journalists. A report on the troubles of a celebrity like Sheen is the ultimate example of shock journalism. People's interest is quickly grasped because it is a celebrity story; Sheen's troubles only encourage the viewers' attention. The reoccurrence of Sheen in the news supplies journalists the opportunity to incorporate past occurrences in recent news events. Viewers insist a resolution as to why Sheen, with so much money and popularity, is behaving in such a manner. Journalists continue feeding the viewer's intrigue with just enough information while supplying little resolution.
Shock journalism is a self-perpetuating engine that feeds off of human curiosity and want for every event to be resolved. Only when viewers realize that shock journalism offers nothing more than information scraps will journalists begin reporting a news story that is as in-depth as it is important.
The World's Third Largest Industry
By Frank W., a forensic scientist with an interest in earning a paralegal certification.
If I asked you to name the third most profitable industry in the world, would you have the answer? Would you guess Hollywood, oil, or diamonds? Maybe a cash crop like sugar, coffee, or bananas would come to mind?
If you did, you'd be wrong. The truth is far from being as innocent as food, luxury, or entertainment.
The third most profitable industry in the world, lagging behind drug trafficking and arms sales, is human trafficking.
What is Human Trafficking?
This pandemic is defined as the sale and exploitation of humans for sex and prostitution, pornography, involuntary labor, and debt bondage. From 14-year-old prostitutes in Cambodia to poor Central Americans enslaved on farms in the US to child servants in rich Haitian households, it is one of the most far-reaching, unprosecuted, rampant issues we face as a global society.
How it's Done
Depending on the trafficking ring, the starting country, and the destination country, traffickers use a variety of tactics to enslave humans, including intimidation, lies, and manipulation. Some people are sold by family members for cash, others are seduced by promised modeling contracts, and still others are kidnapped on the street.
Trafficked humans are then indebted to their slave drivers for the amount of money used to bribe border officials, pay their families, and to repay the cost of their food, clothing, and shelter. Many are kept for months or years, suffering physical violations, such as beatings and rape, as well as emotional and mental abuse.
Some Scary Statistics
The human trafficking epidemic may seem far away from you,
- More U.S. citizens, both adult and children, are found in sex trafficking than labor trafficking; U.S. citizen child victims are often runaway and homeless youth. (Source: US Department of State)
- On average, a human slave is purchased for $90. (Source: Free the Slaves)
- There are an estimated 27 million slaves in the world, more than ever before at any time in history. (Source: National Geographic)
- In Cambodia, a brothel customer is charged up to $400 for a child virgin; afterwards, his or her rate drops to as low as $2. (Coalition Against Trafficking of Women)
- The human trafficking industry earns an estimated $9 billion dollars per year. (DoSomething.org)
What You Can Do
Get informed. Though slavery is a massive industry growing at a rapid rate, the general population knows very little. Do research. Learn telltale signs that someone is being trafficked. Share information with others.
Advocate. There are a number of governmental and non-governmental organizations working towards eliminating this horrendous crime. Signing petitions, helping fundraise, and promoting organizations all help.
What will you do to help eradicate human trafficking?
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
As September inches closer, we approach the ten year marker of one of the most shocking, painful blows that America has ever been dealt. Amidst the impending September 11th ceremonies and tributes, we will be called to remember and pay tribute to those who gave their lives in the service of the American people on that day. Unfortunately, those military veterans and rescue volunteers also placed their long term health at risk, simply by breathing in the air at Ground Zero.
The dangers of asbestos are no longer a secret. Millions of servicemen and women have been exposed to the toxic substance over decades of US Military and commercial history. Yet those who played a part in the September 11 efforts, whether involved in rescue attempts or the clean up afterwards, may have been exposed to an extremely large concentration of toxic dust. Studies done shortly after the attack in 2001 showed that the collapsing of the World Trade Center did not only release asbestos into the air. the force of the explosion may have broken the asbestos fibers into irregularly minuscule pieces, making them difficult for the EPA to detect using average microscopic equipment. Therefore, when the EPA scanned fro dangerous levels of toxicity, their readings may not have been as accurate as they thought. According to experts from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, aerolization is easier if the asbestos particles are smaller. Thus, the fibers make it to the lungs or stomach more easily. According to their statistics, 70% of Ground Zero rescue workers have developed and will still develop alarming respiratory conditions because of exposure to asbestos and other toxic dust particles that clouded over the area.
If asbestos is inhaled or ingested, serious chronic illnesses, like mesothelioma or asbestosis, may ensue. Mesothelioma symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, and chest heaviness. Because these symptoms are common to many other illnesses, victims are often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed until the cancer has metastasized. By then, treatment is generally ineffective and life expectancy is short.
Besides mesothelioma, military veterans and rescue workers of Ground Zero are contracting asbestosis. Similar to mesothelioma, asbestosis is a scarring of the tissue of the lungs because of a buildup of asbestos fibers. This scarring prevents normal inhalation and exhalation, which in turn can cripple healthy muscle and brain functions. Unfortunately, rescue workers and military veterans who have experienced deteriorating lung function are showing little to no signs of recovery.
Witnesses claim that the New York City departments responsible for allowing evacuated New Yorkers to return to Manhattan disagreed on the level of health precautions that were necessary after the World Trade Centers collapsed. Manhattan residents were permitted to reenter the city, although the Office of Emergency management and the department of Environmental Protection disagreed on how safe that decision was.
Though the safety of workers and residents is still being disputed, it is important that military veterans and personnel, as well as rescue workers and volunteers, get screened for mesothelioma and asbestosis. Early detection makes treatment more effective and increases the life expectancy of those diagnosed. If asbestosis or mesothelioma symptoms are suspected, requesting a chest x-ray, MRI, CT scan, or PET scan could save the lives of those who risked theirs on September 11, 2001.
Further asbstos regulations needed: http://anthonylemons.blogspot.com/2009/02/further-asbestos-regulations-needed-to.html
Is Groud Zero safe?: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3067591
Mesothelioma Symtoms: http://www.mesotheliomasymptoms.com/
This article was written by Tiffany Best; guest author.
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
It appears that President Obama has the priorities of the United States mixed up. The economy is in shambles, and he seems to feel that we need a reduction in our nuclear arms. While Iran is building up their nuclear developmental plans, Obama believes we should be reducing our own. His stance is weakening our position in the eyes of the World. We do have a stance that we will never fire our weapons first, so to reduce our nuclear weapon cache only displays that we are willing to bow down to other nations, thus making us appear weak. This president seems to care not of the welfare of the United States citizens, all while trying to seem like a caring individual to the World. In my view, Obama is performing a disservice to us citizens. You thoughts?
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Saturday, August 01, 2009
Time and time again, I have heard the same problem from so many people; They are working hard simply to survive and make ends meet, and when they need a helping hand, such as free or reduced priced lunches for their children in school, they are denied. They are told that they are making too much money to qualify for the free lunch program. In other words; they need to be on public assistance.
I personally know a single mother of two, who works two jobs simply to scrape by. There are occasions when the need for a helping hand arises and she is denied any assistance at all, simply for having pride in herself and holding down two jobs. She refuses to quit her jobs simply to qualify for public assisted programs. All of us who work, pay for these services, yet when we need to dip into the pot from time to time for ourselves, we are refused help of any kind. What incentives are there for workers to remain working? It seems that we would all be able to afford housing and food if we all just gave up our jobs and sat on our asses collecting money from whatever programs are offered to us. I understand that there are situations that do require public assistance, and that working would be impossible for certain individuals, but there are plenty of able bodied persons who simply choose to not work.
Did you know that many states offer free cell phones and service to families on public assistance? Check with your state to see if your paying the cell phone bills of others. I have to pay for my talk time. I could get so much for free, simply by quitting my job and signing up for tax payer provided services. I would never do so however, simply due to personal ethics. The entire point of this article was that those who do work and need assistance once and awhile are denied and that just is not right. We pay and pay into a system that only others can benefit from. That's disgusting. Your thoughts?
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
BEWARE!!! If you receive a call from Brewer Micheals and Cain (888-774-1338) refuse to speak to them. They will start out with the usual speech; "Case number blah blah blah.." They will attempt to fool you in believing that they are a law firm with lawyers on the payroll. Do not allow their illegal tactics to scare you. They are simply debt collectors. Under no circumstances should you agree that you owe the debt that they are saying that you owe. Also, do not send them a dime. They will tell you that they will be filing motions in a court of law in regards to the debt in which they are calling in reference to. These are empty threats simply to scare you in sending them money. They have an address that is actually a UPS store in North Tonawanda, New York, between Niagara Falls and Buffalo. P.O. Box 217 North Tonawanda, New York 14120. They are constantly changing the name of their collection company in an attempt to avoid the authorities. They employ ex-cons and other unsavory types to make the collection calls. If you receive a call from them, send them a 'Letter of Validation' via certified mail. You can get a sample letter on the side of my blog here. If after they receive the letter and they persist their calls to you, file an online complaint with the New York Attorney General's office immediately. If you have any questions or wish to share your experience in dealing with these debt terrorists, please do not hesitate in contacting me. You may also leave a comment under this story.
Here is a hidden video of these crooks: