Patt Morrison for October 1, 2010

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“Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.” One hundred and forty characters and a live stream later, 18-year-old Tyler Clementi jumped to his death off the Washington Bridge into the Hudson River. Three days earlier, his Rutgers roommate Dharun Ravi had streamed from a hidden camera live video of Clementi making out with another boy in his dorm room. The September 22 death is the latest apparent suicide by a young American to follow the online posting of intrusive material. In response, Rutgers University is kicking off a two-year effort to teach the importance of civility, focusing on the abuse of new technology. But does Clementi’s death argue for tougher laws against malicious acts online? Does new technology require new ethics? And is there any realistic expectation of privacy in the age of Facebook?
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Navigating the foster care system is a tough business for the kids who must live it, but life outside of the system can be even tougher. Once foster youth turn 18 they are essentially on their own: penniless and aimless, foster kids at 18 are more likely to be homelessness, incarcerated, or addicted to drugs than the average teen. Yesterday California implemented a common sense solution to this problem when Gov. Schwarzenegger signed AB12, the California Fostering Connections Success Act, which allows foster youth to stay in the system until they are 21. Under AB12 foster youth who continue their education or job training and who work at least a part-time job would be eligible for extended benefits until they are 21. The costs for these extra years of benefits will be cost negligible for California, as AB12 is designed to bring the state into compliance with a 2008 act of Congress that made federal matching funds available for these kinds of programs. Can three extra years help the thousands of foster kids manage the difficult transition into independent adulthood?

Hear the issues from the perspective of former foster care youth

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Comedy Congress from the Crawford Family Forum!

The only true medicine for the pain of politics is laughter—after all, if we weren’t laughing at the (mostly) unintentional humor emanating from Washington D.C. and state capitols, chances are we’d be crying. Only five weeks until the much anticipated midterm elections, and you can tell because the collective hysteria and volume from politicians across the country is on the rise. As Tea Partiers clash with labor unions—a battle between ideologies AND waistlines—and our President flails away in an attempt to get anybody to believe in hope again, it might be hard to make sense of all the political nonsense. Tomorrow we’ll probably cry about our lost jobs, but today join us in laughing at the madness of it all—the truth hurts far less when it’s told by comedians.
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