The News That Matter, All At a Glance

Applied Scholastics A Haven for Literacy

A Haven for Literacy
Learning to ReadNew learning center opens in downtown Clearwater, Florida.

A new model tutoring center, the Applied Scholastics Community Learning Center, opened its doors in the city that is the spiritual home of the Scientology religion: Clearwater, Florida. The center offers literacy and tutoring programs based on the research and writings of L. Ron Hubbard. Study Technology allows a person to learn any subject successfully, enabling them to achieve the goals they have set in life for who they want to be and what they want to do.

Judge Linda Babb of Florida’s 6th Judicial Circuit Court spoke to the crowd gathered to celebrate the occasion. “An education is the foundation one needs in order to build a successful life,” said Babb. “However, when a foundation isn’t properly laid, it won’t support the rest of the structure. When a teacher fails, a student doesn’t learn and their life crumbles just a little. So, I truly welcome this Community Learning Center to Clearwater. And I encourage you to continue reaching out to our children, teaching them that they can learn. This fabulous Learning Center will keep more kids from winding up in my courtroom.”

The new Applied Scholastics Center is one of eight humanitarian and social betterment facilities opened in Clearwater, Florida in the last nine months and supported by the Church of Scientology. Each facility is committed to a single global humanitarian initiative for the betterment of Clearwater and the Tampa Bay area. They include: United for Human Rights, Foundation for a Drug-Free World, Scientology Volunteer Ministers, Citizens Commission on Human Rights, The Way to Happiness Foundation, Criminon and Narconon Suncoast.

CIA and PR Spooks Invest in Social Media Mining

Uncle Sam: I want you to spy on U.S. citizens

In 1999 the Central Intelligence Agency created a start-up funding company called In-Q-Tel to invest taxpayer money in high-tech companies that might prove valuable for the intelligence agency’s spying apparatus.

In 2009 In-Q-Tel invested in Visible Technologies, a social media monitoring company that became part of the worldwide PR and advertising conglomerate WPP in 2012 to serve as WPP’s “preferred social listening and analytics platform.”

The Intercept recently acquired documents that reveal the CIA funding focuses on “social media mining and surveillance.” PATHAR is one of several tech companies receiving funding.

PATHAR’s product, Dunami, is used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other domestic law enforcement agencies for “advanced text analytics tools to gauge potential conflicts and interpersonal or intergroup relations,” according to the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Such social media intelligence gathering must clearly include U.S. citizens, which would violate the CIA mandate that prohibits domestic intelligence or law enforcement.

$2.4 Billion

The first subway station to open in New York City in a quarter century cost $2.4 billion. Yet winter riders who raced for trains in the Hudson Yards station had to dodge falling water and puddles on the ground, and saw icicles clinging to the ceiling. Lawsuits ensued with the alleged culprit being a sprayed-on concrete, a known cause of leakage.

Discrimination Tossing Out Rights

“Tactical Map” of the Muslims

James Payne, the city manager of SeaTac, Washington, intended to create a “tactical map” of the Muslims who live near Seattle’s SeaTac Airport, according to The Seattle Times, in case he “needed to go into the neighborhoods to ‘make the peace.’” An investigator found that Payne wanted to know “with a great deal of specificity … where Sunni and Shiite Muslim residents lived.” Payne has resigned from his job.

Unethical Principals

Unethical Principals Reading, Writing and Graft

Students learn from teachers, who are overseen by principals, but no one in the Detroit Public Schools was keeping an eye on the principals.

Barbara L. McQuade, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, charged 13 current and former principals with conspiring to defraud the system by taking kickbacks from a school-supplies vendor that may have totaled as much as $2.7 million.

“The real victims in a case like this are, of course, the students and the families who attend Detroit Public Schools,” McQuade said. “A case like this is a real punch in the gut to people who are trying to do the right thing.”

The district has fewer than one-fifth of the students that it had in the 1970s and had been so poorly run that it has been under the control of an emergency manager appointed by the governor since 2009.

So much for leading by example.

Pushing Drugs Prosecutor Targets Pill-mill Doctors

Dr. Hsiu Tseng convicted of second degree murder
Pill PusherDr. Hsiu Tseng convicted of second degree murder.

Before sentencing her to 30 years to life in prison for second-degree murder, a California judge said Dr. Hsiu Ying “Lisa” Tseng had been “very irresponsible.” Thirteen of her patients overdosed on drugs that she had prescribed, and three of them died.

Los Angeles County District Attorney John Niedermann secured Tseng’s conviction and has aggressively pursued other cases against doctors who blindly or willfully overprescribed opioids and other dangerous drugs. Tseng repeatedly blamed drug companies, other doctors and her patients’ families for the overdoses, rather than taking responsibility. Tseng’s denial caused Niedermann to coin the phrase “wheel of blame.”

Prosecutors around the country have watched the way Niedermann won convictions of overprescribing doctors. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Mark Nomady told the Los Angeles Times, “With Niedermann, if there’s a chance, he’ll take it—100 percent. He definitely is aggressive. … L.A. is way ahead of the curve.”

University Slaves Better than Nothing, But Not Enough

Harvard Presidents Edward Holyoke (left) and Benjamin Wadsworth (right)
Harvard Library; Harvard Art Museums; Arader Galleries
Harvard PresidentsEdward Holyoke (left) and Benjamin Wadsworth (right)

At its most pervasive, slavery affected nearly every aspect of the United States, and it still resonates today. Though institutions can’t undo hundreds of years of human rights abuses, some of them are at least acknowledging that they played a role in the perpetuation of this inexcusable institution.

In April, Harvard University President Drew Faust dedicated a slate plaque on campus that lists the names of slaves who worked for former presidents of the university. Titus and Venus worked for President Benjamin Wadsworth from 1725 until 1737, and Juba and Bilhah worked for President Edward Holyoke from 1737 until 1769.

At the dedication ceremony, Faust said Harvard “was directly complicit in America’s system of racial bondage,” adding that the plaque is meant to remember “stolen lives.”