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October 21, 2010

100 PR buzzwords you need to stop using right now

100 PR Buzzwords that need to go six feet under
The big winners: Cutting Edge, Game Changing Cutting Edge – “Here are my reasons as to why ‘cutting edge’ hits the top spot. First, it doesn’t really mean anything unless you are talking about something that makes blood when you lean on the corner of a table. Second, it’s a giant cliche and when people use cliches they are not actually talking; it’s as if they read too many copies of Fast Company magazines and are parrotting what is in there. I always say explain everything—use English, not jargon. Finally, everything can be considered by the “talker” as being on the cutting edge— but who is to judge? The fact is, a differentiator is something that is so new, so different, that you don’t have to use crazy terms in order to get our attention.If you’re in PR or marketing and say “Here is why our product is newer and better—and really unique,” you better be able to back it up. And if you can’t, then give an brand spanking new angle for its use— cause everything does not have to be mind-blowing. It just has to be different!”
*Thanks, Sarah!*

October 12, 2010

School accused of using webcams to spy on students settles case

Lower Merion district's laptop saga ends with $610,000 settlement | Philadelphia Inquirer | 10/12/2010
The Lower Merion School District will pay $610,000 to settle lawsuits over its tracking of student laptop computers, ending an eight-month saga that thrust the elite district into a global spotlight and stirred questions about technology and privacy in schools. School board members voted unanimously Monday night to pay $185,000 to the two students who claimed the district spied on them by secretly activating the webcams on their laptops. The bulk of the money, $175,000, will be put in trust for Blake Robbins, the Harriton High School junior whose family brought the issue to light in February. Jalil Hasan, who filed his lawsuit this summer after graduating from Lower Merion High School, will receive $10,000. The district will also pay $425,000 in legal fees to their attorney, Mark S. Haltzman. The announcement brought an abrupt end to a case that divided Lower Merion parents, fueled an acrimonious court battle, and was on pace to cost the district several million dollars. It also followed weeks of behind-the-scenes negotiations between Haltzman and district lawyer Henry E. Hockeimer, including two days of mediation ordered by the federal judges overseeing the cases and pressing for a resolution.

October 10, 2010

White Men With Guns Built This Country

White Men With Guns--Reconstruction Redux - Keka - Open Salon
I saw it. But I couldn’t believe it. There I was, in a fast food drive through, behind a man whose back window decal, in small white letters, sent me a message that sent a chill down my spine—just as he’d hoped it would, no doubt. It said: THIS COUNTRY WAS BUILT BY WHITE MEN WITH GUNS Now, I was there because I needed something to eat badly. I’ve been tending a new puppy that behaves and has to be tended like a newborn, so you only get so much “break’ time if you’re keeping to your schedule. I had just enough to grab a bite, get some work done…and get ready for play time number…I’m not sure which. But I lost my appetite entirely, when I saw that decal. I’ve lost my appetite for America, period, to be honest—he’s just one of the many reasons. Forget that fact that if he really believes this, this guy must never have read a history book in his life—it’s the fact that he felt comfortable driving around with that ridiculous statement on his back window that galls me most. But I saw it comin'. . . .
Please read the whole thing.

October 09, 2010

Poor people don't have Fourth Amendment rights

Short version: If you're on welfare the state has the right to come into your house at any time and see if you are doing anything that would invalidate your welfare status. Legal Theory Blog: Budd on the Fourth Amendment, the Home, & the Poor
. . . Triggering this development has been a series of challenges to aggressive administrative practices adopted by localities in the wake of federal welfare-reform legislation. As a precondition to public assistance, some jurisdictions now require that all applicants submit to a suspicionless home search by law-enforcement investigators seeking evidence of welfare fraud. In turning back challenges to these intrusions, contemporary courts have significantly curtailed the protections of the Fourth Amendment as applied to the poor. While the courts that sanction these practices disclaim any sort of poverty-based classification underlying their analysis, no other rationale withstands scrutiny. Neither precedent nor the principled extension of existing doctrine justifies recent outcomes or explains why the holdings should not be applied to authorize a vast - and, thus, unacceptable - expansion of suspicionless search practices directed at the homes of the less destitute. The developing jurisprudence accordingly represents an implicit concession that the poor constitute a subconstitutional class for purposes of the Fourth Amendment. Framed most charitably, the decisions understand poverty as a condition of moral culpability and thus accept it as a surrogate for the individualized suspicion that otherwise would be required to justify the intrusions at issue. The premise of the dissolute poor, tracing back centuries, remains alive and well in American law, and we have a bifurcated Fourth Amendment to prove its enduring vitality.