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The Vox Box

Archive for April 2008

Reporter is accused of “Committing Journalism” in Zimbabwe

From the New York Times

Barry Bearak, a news reporter, was imprisoned in Zimbabwe for doing his job—journalism.

I was being charged with the crime of “committing journalism.” One of my captors, Detective Inspector Dani Rangwani, described the offense to me as something despicable, almost hissing the words: “You’ve been gathering, processing and disseminating the news.”

And I’d been caught at it red-handed, my notes spread across my desk, my text messages readable on my cellphone, my stories preserved by Microsoft Word in an open laptop.

This guy had two dozen policemen and officials in his hotel room, searching for incriminating evidence. Obviously they found his notes and lappy, but other than that, there wasn’t much else.

Here’s the whole article

What would you do if this happened to you? Do you think journalism is the means for capital punishment?

“Hannah Montana” now embarrassed by her Vanity Fair pics

You have probably heard by now that Miley Cyrus is under fire for some pictures in Vanity Fair.

She says she thought the shots were artistic at the time, but now she’s just embarrassed. Vanity Fair says her family was present at the shoot and all approved at the time.

Here’s a pretty good video clip on the topic:

Miley Cyrus photos too racy?
Miley Cyrus photos too racy?

Miley is 15 and kids as young as kindergarten adore her. My 5-year-old wears her shoes…

QUESTION: Does Miley have a right to be embarrassed? Are the photos a big deal or not even provocative in the first place? Do you think this soils her image at all?

What a good son…

Looking for a Father’s Day gift idea?

LONDON (Reuters) - Found: drinking companions to join elderly gentleman for a friendly beer at his local pub.

Mike Hammond was bombarded with offers after advertising in his village post office for someone to accompany his 88-year-old father Jack on visits to a southern England pub from a nursing home.

He offered the lucky winner 7 pounds ($14) an hour plus expenses and, after sifting through the applicants, decided on a job-share. Drinking duties are to be divided between a retired doctor and a former military man.

“Dad’s now going to be going down to the pub several times a week — three with his new friends and twice with me,” Mike Hammond told The Times on Thursday. “I want to give him some of his old life back.”

Miley Cyrus franchise worth $1 billion

ASSOCIATE PRESS - Miley Cyrus is already way richer than her dad, Billy Ray, and she’s only 15.

People magazine reports that the Miley Cyrus franchise will be worth a projected $1 billion by the end of the year. She tops the magazine’s list of the richest teen celebrities.

Not that Miley is seeing much of the money. Her mom says most is invested and Miley can’t touch it until she’s 18.

The Jonas Brothers are also on the list, making $12 million a year. Fourteen-year-old Dakota Fanning makes $4 million a movie.

Twelve-year-old Abigail Breslin makes $2 million a film, but has to live on an allowance of $11 a week.

Thirteen-year-old Mark Indelicato makes nearly a half million dollars for a season of “Ugly Betty,” but he has an allowance of $50 a week.

QUESTION: How much money do you get from your parents, if any, to use a week?

The World’s Worst Tourist Traps

On MSN Travel, today, there is a discussion of the world’s worst tourist traps.

Slideshow here…

Their list includes the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Seattle’s Experience Music Project.

QUESTION: What would top your list of worst tourist traps?

Stewart asks Obama: “Are you going to enslave the white race?”

Obama says that isn’t the plan, by the way…

QUESTION: When politicians appear on shows such as this, does it make them more “human” to you?

Ever have a day where you feel like you were trapped in an elevator for 40 hours?

Well, this is what it really feels like:

This poor man went for a smoke break and then became trapped in his elevator. Since he was working late on a Friday night, it was nearly two days before he was discovered.

It was all captured on the security cameras. Here we can watch him pace, sound the alarm repeatedly—even open the doors to relieve himself when natured called.

You also see people work on the other elevators, but apparently not notice his…

Full story…
He had no watch, no cell phone, no food or water. His only sustenance was a pack of Rolaids.

“Rolaids aren’t a very good meal,” White said.

The the most difficult part of the ordeal, he said, was going 41 hours without water. At one point, White thought he might die of dehydration.

He relieved himself by opening the elevator doors a bit and urinating down the elevator shaft.

“I hoped that might be a signal to people in fact: ‘why is the elevator leaking?’”

QUESTION: Have you ever been trapped in a similar situation? How did you deal?

Jogging pilgrim stuns motorists

Cars drive on a city highway in Berlin March 10, 2008. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

BERLIN (Reuters) - Police in Germany were shocked to find a man running down a major highway pulling a three-wheeled trailer — but even more surprised to learn he was a Polish pilgrim on a 3,000 km (1,800 mile) trek.

Motorists near Coburg in Bavaria saw the man towing a load with a rod attached to his back and called police.

“Officers’ initial astonishment quickly turned into admiration,” a police statement said on Tuesday.

After questioning the man, police discovered he was a devout Roman Catholic Pole on his way home from a European pilgrimage that had taken him as far as Portugal.

Inside a converted roof luggage box, which also served as a bivouac, the 35-year-old was carrying all he needed for the journey, police said. After inspecting the vehicle, officers declared it roadworthy and sent him on his way.

QUESTION: What is the longest you have ever gotten off your butt and walked?

Man finally gets his own dog back…

From the San Fancisco Chronicle

In Lake Oswego, Oregon, Ken Griggs finally brought home his real dog after two separate attempts. He at first claimed that a boarding kennel gave him the wrong Black Labrador. He should have gotten his own, dog, Callie.

During the break in late March, Callie shared a kennel with a lookalike named Dixie. When Griggs went to retrieve Callie on March 30, he somehow ended up with Dixie.

Griggs knew something wasn’t right when Callie wouldn’t heel and the family cat — normally pals with Callie — hissed at the dog.

Griggs returned the dog to the kennel and Allison Best, the kennel owner, examined whether Callie might have gotten mixed-up with any of the other black Labradors staying there that week and contacted the owners.

The Sherwood woman who owns Dixie told Best her dog seemed to have undergone a personality change. But the woman was insistent that she had the correct dog.

The owners still met, though on March 31st.

Griggs arrived at the Dundee kennel before the Sherwood woman and a black Lab got excited when he and his children approached. The kids declared it was Callie, and everyone went back home to Lake Oswego.

But it turned out to be the same dog Griggs had just returned.

Still thinking there might be a Callie impostor roaming his house, Griggs took the dog to his regular veterinarian. She confirmed through X-rays that the dog lacked Callie’s surgical marks.

The case finally resolved itself when the kennel owner got a phone call from an acquaintance of the Sherwood woman, who had told her that “Dixie was not Dixie.”

Best visited the woman’s house Tuesday and examined the dog. After realizing it was Callie, she told the woman she needed to meet with Griggs.

So, as you can imagine, everything worked out just fine, and Callie spent the rest of the day playing with Griggs’ four children.

“I’m happy and relieved and just want things to get back to normal,” Griggs said after the exchange.

Best told The Oregonian newspaper she had no comment about how the confusion might have occurred.

“We tried to do everything we could, and it’s really unfortunate we had two customers who couldn’t identify their dogs,” she said.

See the whole article.

What would you do in a situation like this? Have you ever lost a pet?

Is YouTube and MySpace to blame for Internet beating?

The teenagers charged with beating a classmate: Cara Murphy, Brittini Hardcastle, Mercades Nichols, Kayla Hassell, April Cooper, Brittany Mayes, Zachary Ashley and Stephen Schumaker. Photographs by Scott Wheeler/The Ledger

See below or here if you have been living under a rock and haven’t heard the whole story.

For a New York Times story:

Grady Judd, the Polk County sheriff, released three minutes of the videotaped beating, which went on for roughly half an hour. Before the gag order stopped him from doing interviews, he said the attack might have been retaliation for comments Ms. Lindsay posted on her MySpace page about some of the other girls.

By his account, the eight teenagers under arrest — Mercades Nichols, 17; April Cooper, 14; Brittini Hardcastle, 17; Kayla Hassell, 15; Brittany Mayes, 17; Cara Murphy, 16; Zachary Ashley, 17; and Stephen Schumaker, 18 — were not initially remorseful. He said he hoped that the attention the case had drawn would raise awareness about the Internet’s power to desensitize young people to violence.

The victim’s parents have taken a similar line. “For whatever reason, this MySpace, my-you, this YouTube has gone too far,” said Talisa Lindsay, in an interview outside their home. “It’s just too much.”
Her husband, Patrick, who stood beside her, went even further, declaring that Internet companies were to blame for what happened.
As far as I’m concerned,” he said, “MySpace is the Antichrist for children.”

Last week, six of the 20 most-viewed YouTube videos were related to the attack.

QUESTION: Do you feel YouTube and MySpace are partly to blame for this attack?

Japan’s tomb with a view

Tombstone maker Ishinokoe puts scanable QR codes inside gravesites, allowing mobile phone users to pay respects and post comments.

The world’s largest ferris wheel opens

Apr. 15 - The world’s largest Ferris wheel, the Singapore Flyer, opens its capsules to the general public, offering a bird’s eye view of the city-state as well as parts of neighbouring Malaysia and Indonesia.

It’s 541 feet high. For comparison, the observation deck of the Space Needle is 520 feet. I’d poop my pants…

The Flyer had better enjoy it’s moment of fame. The Great Wheel of China will open in Beijing at the Olympics in 2009 at 682 feet.

QUESTION: Could you take a ride?

Barbie Project Gets Teen Artist In Trouble

Teacher Marty Scanlon gave his advanced art class at Helena High School an assignment to make a chair out of the material of their choice. The only requirement was that it be useable as a chair. Senior Jana Barros designed a chair adorned with pink ribbon and strategically attached unclad Barbie dolls. The chair also had the word “false” written a couple of dozen times in pink glitter glue. Barros said she was trying to send a message about the unrealistic body image Barbie dolls represent. But the chair, which was among pieces in a hallway art display, was offensive to some female staff members who voiced their concern to Claudia Morley, the school’s assistant principal/Alana Listoe, Helena Independent-Record. More here

Question: All in all, are Barbie dolls good for young girls? Or do they create unrealistic expectations re: personal appearance?

Music and the ‘Net

I thought this was interesting. It was a few weeks ago, but thoughtful, nonetheless.

From Attack of the Show.

Do you buy music in CDs or online with clients like iTunes? How do you think musicians will sell their music in the future?

Can Sips at Home Prevent Binges?

Lisa Adams/NYT

Parents always want to share their passions with their children. Whether you’re a fan of baseball or the blues, sailing or tinkering with old cars, few things are as rewarding as seeing a spark of receptivity in the eyes of the next generation.

I can’t help hoping that my sons might share my taste in music and food, books and movies, ball teams and politics. Why should wine be any different?

Full article…

If you agree that learning how to drink alcohol at home is the way to NOT drink like an idiot later in life, check out the above linked New York Times column by Eric Asimov.

Dr. Vaillant compared 136 men who were alcoholics with men who were not. Those who grew up in families where alcohol was forbidden at the table, but was consumed away from the home, apart from food, were seven times more likely to be alcoholics that those who came from families where wine was served with meals but drunkenness was not tolerated.

He concluded that teenagers should be taught to enjoy wine with family meals, and 25 years later Dr. Vaillant stands by his recommendation. “The theoretical position is: driving a car, shooting a rifle, using alcohol are all dangerous activities,” he told me, “and the way you teach responsibility is to let parents teach appropriate use.”

QUESTION: Should teenagers be allowed to drink at home and learn how to do so responsibly? Should it be legal to do so?

Download edition: The April 2008 Vox

The April edition will be out this week. Here it is for all of you who prefer online…

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Pages six & seven, the centerspread: Click here for file
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Another S-R Poll

Here is the latest S-R poll published to coincide with Child Abuse Prevention Month and the Our Kids: Our Business campaign.

400 Spokane County and 400 Kootenai County residents were asked: Thinking about your family, friends, neighbors and acquaintances, are there any children that you believe or suspect are being abused or neglected?

“Signs of abuse may go unnoticed.” (Full article.)

Many had something to say about this poll. How would you have voted? Do you agree with the results?

Sorry, But School Happened Again

So how was your first day back? What cah-razy stories did your friends have of Spring/Winter Break-3? Did you also get more homework than you want to deal with?

Huzzah Senioritis!

This post is getting interesting…

So I’m moving it to the top…

Are drugs and alcohol the #1 problem you face?

In a recent poll, the Spokesman-Review asked: What’s the biggest problem our kids face? Most of 800 people ranked drugs and alcohol.

Full article here…

Problems within the family was a close second—pretty much a tie.

Ask a similar question anywhere in the country and drugs and alcohol would probably be No. 1 or No. 2, said Del Ali of Research 2000, a Kensington, Md., company that conducted the surveys in late March.

“That’s a top concern,” said Ali, who handled the polling for The Spokesman-Review, KHQ, KXLY and KSPS as part of a month-long media partnership to highlight problems with child abuse and neglect. “It’s not necessarily ‘my son or daughter is engaging in it,’ but they fear that the influence is there.”

QUESTION: What do you think? Is this the biggest problem facing youth today?

April Fool’s On the Internet

You cannot believe everything you read on the Internet, but especially not today. Here are a few of the best ones:

- Google’s Virgle Project

- The BBC discovered flying penguins:

- tells you all about the Hybrid Air Force One

- Google’s Special GMail Feature: Set Custom Time

What is the best April Fool’s joke you’ve pulled (or had pulled on you)?

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About this blog

In 2006, then-editor Steve Smith of The Spokesman-Review had the idea of starting a publication for an often forgotten audience: teenagers. The Vox Box was a continuation of the Vox, an all-student staffed newspaper published by The Spokesman-Review. High school student journalists who staffed the Vox made all content decisions as they learn about the trade of journalism. This blog's mission was to give students an opportunity to publish their voices. The Vox Box and the Vox wrapped up in June 2009, but you can follow former staffers' new blog at

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