Monday, April 28, 2014
A couple weeks ago, Mennes posted a photo of a smiling Quinn on Instagram after he was sick. It was adorable. (And, really, her entire Instagram is worth looking at because everything this kid does is adorable.)
“It’s been a long week of illness for this one, but it looks like he’s finally on the mend,” Mennes wrote.
She received encouraging words from her followers, but one comment, from a @JusesCrustHD, really rubbed her the wrong way. He called Quinn “ugly.”
Mennes knew this day would come eventually. She had experienced her fair share of mean comments and cruel behavior towards the Down syndrome community before, but this time someone attacked her son personally. Instead of just ignoring it, she decided to respond to him and give him some advice: Don’t be a jerk. See the response at the bottom of the pic below; Mennes goes by maemennes on Instagram.
Mennes then reported the account, and it was shortly banned.
She wanted to take a different approach with the hope that her children would be able to treat others with “respect and dignity.”
“I'll be honest; it's hard not to be angry about it, but I can't allow myself to carry that weight on my shoulders,” she wrote on her blog. “I can't allow myself to feel anything but sorry for an individual with so little tact. Because in end, you will be the one to face the consequences of your choices someday.”
This post originally appeared at The Daily Dot. Follow The Daily Dot o
OAKLAND, Calif. – The Los Angeles Clippers wore their shooting shirts and practice jerseys inside-out before their playoff game against the Golden State Warriors Sunday afternoon in a protest against the alleged racial comments attributed to Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
The Clippers discussed the possibility of boycotting Game 4 of their first-round playoff series with the Warriors in a team meeting Saturday after the alleged comments were made public, but opted to play. The players haven't commented much on the controversy, allowing coach Doc Rivers to speak for the team.
As the Clippers players took the court before Sunday's game, they all tossed their warm-up jackets with the Clippers name on the front to midcourt and then warmed up with their shooting shirts inside out.
Matt Barnes and Jamal Crawford convinced their teammates to do the protest before they ran onto the floor for pregame warm-ups, sources said.
The players also wore black wristbands on their left arms and black socks as part of the protest. Sterling did not attend the game, but his wife Shelly sat across from the bench wearing black.
The Clippers players are contemplating making a bigger statement during Game 5 of the series against the Warriors on Tuesday in Los Angeles, a source told Yahoo Sports. The source said the players needed more time to decide what they wanted to do and would prefer a stronger statement on their home floor at Staples Center.
Rivers admitted before the game he was a little worried about how his players were doing in the aftermath of the report.
"You know, from a coaching standpoint, you're concerned," Rivers said. "They've been pulled in a million directions over the last 24 hours, and so that's a fact."
Rivers said the Clippers had tried to prepare for the game as normal as possible, but admitted the controversy had become a distraction.
"The mental preparation, on the other hand, I just – honestly, I don't know," Rivers said. "Because, listen, as much as this is basketball, this is life. And our guys, they have family. They have friends. And they have cell phones. And I can't imagine how much they've been pulled on and talked to and what you should do and what you shouldn't do and what you should say. And that's abnormal to a normal playoff game."
NBA commissioner Adam Silver was at Sunday's game and expected to meet with Sacramento mayor and ex-NBA player Kevin Johnson, who is representing the National Basketball Player's Association.
Silver said Saturday the NBA hoped to complete its investigation of the alleged comments within a few days. He would not specify any possible sanctions or punishment.
SITTWE, Myanmar (AP) — The two children stood on the beach, at the end of the only world they knew, torn between land and sea.
They couldn't go back to their tiny Muslim village in Myanmar's northwest Rakhine because it had been devoured in a fire set by an angry Buddhist mob. In the smoke and chaos, the siblings became separated from their family. And after seven months of searching, they had lost hope of finding anyone alive.
The only way was forward. Hungry and scared, they eyed a rickety wooden fishing boat in the darkness. Mohamad Husein, just 15, dug into his pocket and pulled out a little wad of money for the captain. He and his 9-year-old sister, Senwara Begum, climbed on board, cramming themselves tightly between the other ethnic Rohingya in the small hull.
As the ship pushed off, they didn't realize they were among hundreds, if not thousands, of children joining one of the world's biggest boat exoduses since the Vietnam War. They only understood it wasn't safe to stay in a country that didn't want them.
Mohamad had no idea where they were headed. And as Senwara looked back in tears, she wondered if she would ever see her parents again.
Neither could imagine the horrors that lay ahead.
From Malaysia to Australia, countries easily reachable by boat have been implementing policies and practices to ensure that Rohingya Muslims don't wash up on their shores — from shoving them back to sea, where they risk being sold as slaves, to flat out barring the refugees from stepping onto their soil.
Despite pleas from the United Nations, which considers the Rohingya to be among the most persecuted groups on earth, many governments in the region have refused to sign refugee conventions and protocols, meaning they are not obligated to help. The countries said they fear adopting the international agreements could attract a flood of immigrants they cannot support.
However, rights groups said they are failing members of the religious minority at their most vulnerable hour, even as more women and children join the increasing mass departure.
"The sense of desperation and hopelessness is growing," warned Vivian Tan of the U.N. Refugee Agency.
About 1.3 million Rohingya live in the predominantly Buddhist country of 60 million, almost all of them in Rakhine state. Myanmar considers them illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh, though some families have lived here for generations.
When the country was under military rule, young men took to the seas on small, dilapidated boats every year in search of a better life. But since the bumpy transition to democracy in 2011, sectarian violence has killed up to 280 Rohingya and forced more than 140,000 others from their homes. Now people of all ages are fleeing, many on massive cargo ships.
Women and children made up 5 percent to 15 percent of the estimated 75,000 passengers who have left since the riots began in mid-June 2012, said Chris Lewa of the nonprofit Arakan Project, a group that has tracked the boat journeys for a decade. The year before, around 9,000 people fled, most of them men.
It's a dangerous voyage: Nearly 2,000 Rohingya have died or gone missing in the past two years, Lewa said. Unaccompanied children like Senwara and her brother are among the most at risk.
The Associated Press reported from Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand on their plight, interviewing family members, witnesses and aid groups. Data were collected from the U.N., government agencies, nonprofit organizations and news reports at the time.
The relief the two children felt after making it safely away from land quickly faded. Their small boat was packed with 63 people, including 14 children and 10 women, one seven months pregnant. There were no life jackets, and neither sibling could swim. The sun baked their skin.
Senwara took small sips of water from a shared tin can inside the hull piled with aching, crumpled arms and legs. With each roiling set of waves came the stench of vomit.
Nearly two weeks passed. Then suddenly a boat approached with at least a dozen Myanmar soldiers on board.
They ordered the Rohingya men to remove their shirts and lie down, one by one. Their hands were bound. Then they were punched, kicked and bludgeoned with wooden planks and iron rods, passengers on the boat said.
They howled and begged God for mercy.
"Tell us, do you have your Allah?" one Rohingya survivor quoted the soldiers as saying. "There is no Allah!"
The police began flogging Mohamad before he even stood up, striking his little sister in the process. They tied his hands, lit a match and laughed as the smell of burnt flesh wafted from his blistering arm. Senwara watched helplessly.
As they stomped him with boots and lashed him with clubs, his mind kept flashing back to home: What had he done? Why had he left? Would he die here?
After what seemed like hours, the beating stopped. Mohamad suspected an exchange of money finally prompted the soldiers to order the Rohingya to leave.
"Go straight out of Myanmar territory to the sea!" a witness recalled the commander saying. "If we see you again, we will kill you all!"
The Myanmar government denied that the Navy seized any ships during that period.
The refugees plodded on, but the boat was falling apart. A sarong stuffed in a hole could not stop water from bubbling through. The sticky rice and bits of bread Mohamad had brought for his sister were gone.
When they finally floated ashore, someone said they were in Thailand. Senwara didn't even know where that was.
Thailand is the first stop for almost all Rohingya fleeing by sea, but it does not offer them asylum. Up until a few years ago, the country had a "push back" policy of towing migrants out to sea and leaving them, often with little or no food, water or fuel. But after photos leaked of the military dragging one such boat in 2009, the government changed course.
Under its new "help on" policy, Thai authorities give basic supplies to migrants in its waters before sending them on. Other times, however, they direct the boat to traffickers who hold the asylum seekers for ransom, according to human rights groups that have interviewed scores of escapees.
Those who cannot get money are sometimes sold as slaves to work on fishing boats or in other industries without pay. Others flee, usually back into the hands of agents, where the cycle continues.
Royal Thai Navy spokesman Rear Adm. Karn Dee-ubon denied cooperation with traffickers and allegations of boats being towed out to sea. He insisted the navy always follows humanitarian principles, but added that other Thai agencies could be involved in such activities.
After the children's boat entered Thai waters, all of its passengers were marched into the jungle where their hands were tied and they were told not to leave, survivors said. They were given rice and dry fish crawling with bugs.
Days later, they were put on another small boat without an engine. Then, survivors said, Thai troops pulled them far out to sea, cut the rope and left them to drift without food or water.
The boat rolled with the wind and currents. Senwara drank sea water and ate a paste of ground-up wood. She vomited, and diarrhea poured out of her.
The next day, someone spotted what looked like a shadowy tree in the distance. The men used a little boy's mirror to flash signals in its direction.
When the boat came near, Indonesian fishermen smiled and spoke a language no one understood. The Rohingya could only make out that the crew was Muslim.
Indonesia has been sympathetic to the Rohingya, and its president has sent a letter to his Myanmar counterpart calling for an end to the crisis. Protesters in cities across the world's most populous Muslim nation have condemned the violence.
Yet Indonesia has not opened its doors to the Rohingya. It only allows them to stay until they can be resettled elsewhere, which can take years. In the meantime, they are kept in overcrowded detention centers and shelters, and no one can legally work.
The Indonesian and Malaysian governments fear that letting the Rohingya stay could lead to a greater influx of illegal migrants.
"At stake is national interest," said Yan Welly, an Indonesian immigration official. "Let alone a flood of immigrants could affect efforts in coping with problems of our own people."
The number of Rohingya housed in Indonesia jumped from 439 in 2012 to 795 last year. About 20 percent of the children who arrived were traveling alone, according to U.N. data.
Some go the official route: They register with the U.N. Refugee Agency when they arrive and wait to be resettled in another country. However, no Rohingya in Indonesia were referred for placement last year.
Ultimately, it is up to accepting nations, with their own policies and criteria, to decide whom to accept. To avoid the long delay, many asylum seekers run away and never get recorded.
In the past, thousands paid smugglers to take them by boat across a deadly stretch of ocean to Australia's Christmas Island. But that country recently took a hard line, transferring everyone arriving by sea to impoverished Papua New Guinea or the tiny Pacific island of Nauru. Australia's new policies also include towing vessels back into Indonesian waters, which has left the two governments sparring.
The boat carrying Mohamad and Senwara only made it as far as Indonesia.
After nearly a month and hundreds of miles at sea, they were rescued off Aceh's coast in the west. U.N. and news reports confirm the rickety ship arrived in late February 2013 and was towed because it had no engine.
The asylum seekers were transferred to a filthy detention center with about 300 people — double its capacity — including more than 100 Rohingya. They soon clashed with 11 Buddhists from Myanmar picked up for fishing illegally in Indonesian waters, according to a police report obtained by The AP. The Rohingya complained the Buddhists were harassing their women.
A riot broke out in April 2013, and the nightmare the children thought they had escaped began replaying itself. Men threw splintered chairs and spewed rage into a darkness so black, it was impossible to see who was fighting whom. Eight Buddhist fishermen were beaten to death.
Senwara slept through the brawl in a separate quarter for women. But when she awoke the next morning, her brother was gone.
She was now all alone.
After a few months in jail with other Rohingya arrested for the fight, Mohamad was released due to his age. He soon left for neighboring Malaysia on a small boat to find work and avoid further trouble.
For many fleeing Rohingya, Malaysia, is the preferred destination. Around 33,000 are registered there and an equal number are undocumented, according to the Rohingya Society of Malaysia. Those numbers have swelled with the violence in Myanmar.
But increasingly, migrants risk getting caught up in group arrests and sent to detention centers. Up to 1,000 have been detained in a nationwide crackdown, the Society said.
Those who arrive in the Muslim-majority country are not eligible for free health care or education, relying mainly on help from the U.N. and aid groups. But it usually doesn't take long to get illegal work on construction sites or in factories.
Mohamad found a job as a street sweeper in the city of Alor Setar, earning about $70 a month. He now lives in a tiny hovel with about 17 other Rohingya men sleeping on every inch of floor.
For the first time, he is earning a living on his own. But he remains tortured with guilt for leaving his little sister behind.
Soon after the detention center riot, Senwara was registered as an asylum seeker. She was moved to temporary housing sponsored by the International Organization for Migration in Medan, which is made of small concrete dorm-style rooms with a large play area in front. A Rohingya woman who knew Senwara's parents from childhood took the girl in.
Although Senwara smiles around her new foster parents, she remains hurt and angry that her brother left.
Mostly, her heart aches for
A Houston middle school teacher has been charged with having an improper relationship with a student after she allegedly gave a boy a lap dance in front of the entire class.
Felicia Smith, 42, a teacher at Stovall Middle School, was removed from campus after she admitted to giving a male student a lap dance for his birthday on Feb. 26.
According to a male student, Miss Smith placed a chair next to her desk and other students yelled for him to sit down in it. Music began playing and the teacher began performing a “full contact lap dance,” according to court records, the Houston Chronicle reported.
The student said Miss Smith rotated her buttocks against him and rubbed her hands all over his body. Toward the end of the dance, the boy said, Miss Smith got on her knees and placed her head between his legs. The student admitted that he slapped her on the buttocks a few times, according to documents.
Investigators with the Aldine Independent School District Police have reviewed video of the performance.
“The teacher was removed from the campus during the investigation and has not returned,” police said in a statement, KHOU reported. “The district takes this allegation seriously and is fully cooperating with prosecutors. The safety and security of our students will continue to be a top priority in Aldine ISD.”
Miss Smith is free on $30,000 bail.
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WHAT DO YOU THINK?
- Consumers aren't lovin' Ronald McDonald's new makeoverThe clown's look, two years in the making,got a thumbs down from Twitter users.
What do you think of the makeover?
- I like the new Ronald.
- I like the old Ronald.
- I like them both.
- Who's Ronald McDonald?