Archive for August, 2010|Monthly archive page

Cost millions of dollars but they don’t know if it works

In culture on August 28, 2010 at 13:13

I saw a story in a newspaper yesterday. It was about fosterparents, boarding school etc.

12,700 minors aged between 0 and 17 are placed outside their home. Some were removed as a baby because their parents did a poor job and the training of such skills is expensive. Some due to their own actions. They could have committed a crime while they were below the age of criminal responsibility and then they are often sent of to a continuation school (in Danish called Efterskole).

Now the expert come back telling us that they are not sure if the fostercare concept is better than risking a baby P scandal.

The biggest problem is the mix of punishment and banishment from the home. Normally the Danish social and justice system deals with juvenile crime this way. The many first times (sometime 70) the kid gets a warning or a small fine. Then just as lottery they are shipped off in foster care, residential so-called treatment or even prison where they due to lack of space are jailed with adults (Hopefully they remember not to bow for the soap). But this decision could be done after the second time or after the 70’s time. If the decision is made by the social services it all depends on the budget.

Then there is the problems of the various options of placement. The cheapest option are the continuation schools. What kind of students do you find there. First there are those who are sent there by their social services and ordered to play nice just to avoid something worse. Then there are those who have rather religious parents and don’t like the democracy danish youth culture with all the free choices. In the old days they shipped their children off to the middle east to train with a bomb belt or get married so they can take a cousin back to Denmark. The Danish government became aware of this and introduced a 24 year old rule where you have to be 24 before you can get married with a foreigner. So now many children are sent to strict religious continuation schools. It doesn’t matter if they are jailed by Christian extremists even if the parents have another belief. Just as long as they are jailed then it is good. Last but not least you find some who actually wants to be at the boarding school because the boarding school offer a special activity.

It is a explosive mix to handle at a school and some schools kick every fifth student out during a school year. Then they typically ends up with no school that school year because their local schools back home have no room for them because the money follows the students so when a larger number of students leave the public schools for boarding schools the public school looses the money and have to make cuts.

Another alternative is foster care. The supervision of foster care family are relaxed. Some are in the business for the children other are in it for the money. The law regarding deaths of children were in fact changed because a fostercare family where the father was a doctor did write the death certificate of several of his foster care children before some discovered what was wrong. Just this year there was a scandal over at Mern where the conditions are not fully disclosed to the public.

Finally there are the so-called residential treatment facilities. There have been so many scandals including some of them that I would have to write more pages than you can find i all the Harry Potter books if I should mention 10 percent of them. In the old days Godhavn in the nothern part of Sealand did set the standard and it has been followed by Atlantis in Naestved, Solhaven in Farsoe, Schubert Minde in Ringkoebing and many more. They are so happy with Solhaven in Aalborg because when the teenagers escape home the police are on overtime.

Because the entire area is a question of budget some are taken home when the cash flow is low. In fact the first 14 year old they arrested when the age of criminal responsibility was lowered from 15 to 14 was a boy who together with some 20 kids were sent home because the local town wanted to save 12 million DKK. Most people know that the only reason for lowering the agelimit was that the state wanted to enforce treatment by use of the court system because they know that the cuts by the cities will result in expenses by the state to the prison system once the kids turn 18.

So much trouble for something the experts now tell us that they cannot tell is working or not.

What are they doing in other countries? Because I give some money to charity I also get mails in return. One of those mail was about a girl from Oregon called Morgan who will be shipped to boarding school Academy at Sisters (Sisters is the name of a town) for the entire next year just because she got poor grades. Seems a lot of overkill for just poor grades. I could understand if it was a question of religion, bomb threats or armed assault, but poor grades. I is almost to laugh at if we hadn’t talked about a poor girl who will loose out to life.

The fact is that despite culture parents seems to want their children to look exactly as them. Choose the same kind of work as them. Marry the same kind of spouse as them. It doesn’t matter if times has changed. The children should be children in the saw way as they were when the grandparents were young.

Once it doesn’t happen, the parents give up and ship them away instead of fighting for their cause. It has become more common and it is no longer only the poor families who dump their children down at the cityhall.

It is strange times and very stressful for the families who have children.

Update: Just as I finished it I saw that Paris Hilton was arrested again in Las Vegas based on drug related charges. Here we have a girl who have done the time at Provo Canyon School in Utah and at CEDU which had a campus where a child murderer had free access. She is a typical outcome of residential placement.

The worst 21 days of my life.

In culture on August 22, 2010 at 06:36

My work did sent me to do a project in the lovely town of Vordingborg. Unfortunately my firm has no housing in Vordingborg, but only at the nearest town with the name of Naestved. There is nothing wrong with Naestved, the housing the firm provided or the project in general. My problems were with the transport. The workplace was in the middle of Vordingborg and private parking firms exist in Vordingborg. They are in general run by some eastern Europe mafia if you judge them by their methods used.

I remember a co-worker who lived in Hilleroed at the time. One day he decided to visit a local supermarket. When he entered the parking place the sign read: “Do only park within the marks.” When he returned he saw a worker from the parking firm note his car. His pointed down at the white line and asked if he had parked within the marks. The worker from the parking firm replied that it was not the white lines which did count. It was a little 5×10 cm sign in the same colors as the bricks at the wall in front of the car which told if the specific parking space was for public use or rented out to a firm in the neighborhood. Because getting a fine regardless if it was issued from a private parking firm is a shame for the family, my co-worker did commit suicide and the present policy of the firm is to not enter a private owned parking space at any cost and in general avoid to buy goods at shops which have no free parking. But that is another story.

I had to use public transport. Because I didn’t want to pay for detours with bus or train I had to buy a 30 days card. The rules in Denmark are that you have to pay extra if the train doesn’t work and they insert busses as replacement which have to drive extra zones to make it to the final destination unless you buy a card for a 30 days minimum. They have a lot of trouble with this in Copenhagen because they are replacing the train tracks.

I also had to pay for a ticket from the town of Ringsted, which is located 25 kilometers north of Naestved to Vordingborg. It was cheaper than the ticket from Naestved to Vordingborg. It is something about that the system in Denmark doesn’t like local travelers. Normally local travelers are poor people working low-paid jobs in the larger cities. Long distance travelers are businessmen wearing expensive suits. The system is constructed so they get better prices for reasons unknown.

It was 21 hard days. The train sets we rode in was from the 1950’s. They were noisy and you flew round in the cabins on the bumpy tracks. They did replace them a month later, but my neck still hurts. We were a couple of passengers who yelled at each other so I got their story about how cold the train sets are in the winter and the 1993 summer of illness among the drivers of the trains where you people only made it to work one or two days per week.

I am cured from ever using public transport again. If necessary I will ride my bike the entire 30 kilometers 2 times per day during my entire stay if I ever have to work on the project in Vordingborg again.

Update on the most important news in the world right now

In culture on August 13, 2010 at 17:48

Rather surprised did the biased judge remove herself from the case against Lindsay Lohan. More surprisingly it was the district attorney, who was about to make a complaint against the judge.

The removal of Judge Revel could be decisive point where Lindsay Lohan could avoid being the new Frances Farmer. For those who don’t the story of Farmer I can tell that she once like Lohan was a talented actress who happened to drive drunk. Drunk driving is a serious crime. It needs to be punished with fines, prison time or even worse community services (In our culture we pay taxes for all social benefits. Voluntary work or community service is a public disgrace for the person who is doing it.). But Farmer was over-treated in the hospital system it did very much cost her the promising career she could had. Let’s hope that Lohan manages to get out of this case so she can go back doing what she did before:

Promoting her movies by attending the nightlife. It is what the consumers want and it is first and foremost the consumers who pay for the jobs in the media industry.

It would be good if the case will be over soon. I has supposed to attend some kind of fundraising for a minor flooding somewhere in the Middle East, but because the headlines is focusing on hourly updates of her time in prison and later rehab I didn’t find the surplus to deal with something which is placed on page 30-something in our newspapers.
Lindsay Lohan’s torment is the most important news in the world right now.

It affects us every day because the extreme religious groups supporting people like Judge Revel do also their dirty work in Denmark. This week the religious extremists and their paid research told us the news that an increased number of teenage girls are drinking alcohol to be drunk. It is news I don’t buy. They are of course drinking so they can learn about each other. Girls in Denmark have to walk in groups in order to avoid rape or forcefully abduction out of the country.

In fact they published an article this week there they proved that the number of rapes had dropped rather dramatically.

The reason is that the girls look after each other. The condition for looking after people is that you know who they are and what they stand for. The only way to learn about people is to socialize with them and it is here in Denmark best done over a beer or a glass of wine.

What would happen if we didn’t allow our youth to drink as the extremists want? The answer you can learn if you read Danish newspapers. Several places in Denmark the rescue workers need police protection before they can enter a neighborhood and do their jobs. In Odense a police patrol discovered the usual suspects driving around and wanted to check their car. When the stopped the police patrol was stoned by a number of youth. That is what happens when the youth don’t sit down and socialize quietly.

Most Danes like me cannot deal with such a situation. We cannot understand it. We long back in time when Denmark was a safe country to live in.

As a culture we are under pressure from two sides. The extreme Westboro Baptist Church with their local aides in our healthcare department and local churches and the group of youth with an ethnic background which let you fear that they have a bomb belt strapped around their waist. It is just awful to be an ordinary Dane. We could really need some help right now and the easiest way would be to free Lindsay Lohan so the news media in the western world could focus on more domestic news.

We are preventing ourselves from beating the crisis

In politics on August 7, 2010 at 18:04

Few can disagree about the fact that we are in the middle of a major economical crisis. We all know that the only answer to beat the crisis is to increase productivity and start to earn some money.

In Denmark where we have few natural resources we had a historical advantage. We are extremely mobile. Despite the short distances where driving a car from Copenhagen to Aalborg a distance over 400 kilometers with 150 kilometers per hour instead of the legal 130 kilometers per hour will earn you only 25 minutes, people continue to do that and they don’t care about any fines.

They do that because they will benefit their workplace and keeping their co-workers in jobs. They are willing to go the extra mile due to loyalty and commitment.

Based on this attitude, we shouldn´t worry about the crisis. We would see the light soon.

But then we were hit by a new civil war between the citizens in our major towns and the people at the countryside. It is not difficult to trace where this conflict did start. Some years ago Denmark started a makeover of the entire administration in all parts of Denmark. We had some 270 municipalities and 13 counties before the reform. After the reform we had 5 regions and 99 municipalities. Our police reorganized and now it is impossible to report a theft in person. You have to do it on the internet. There are no or little local contact between the state police and the population. The courts have backlogged a lot of cases and in fact some 2,800,000 cases are put aside as cold cases because there are no resources to investigate them.

Once they started to discuss the placement of new hospitals it became clear that not even the 5 regions could decide where they should be located on their own. The Danish people party pushed the politicians to let the location of a new hospital in Jutland be decided in Copenhagen. The populations at the countryside who are seeing their local policeman disappear, the schools closing to be moved to the larger cities and the local library being closed started their own party. The common list (“Fælles-listen” in Denmark) is the civil riot attacking the ever more centralized government of Denmark.

The old politicians are not ready to deal with this civil war. They have their problems with holidays, tax-problems and restaurant bills to deal with. They cannot offer the population outside the 5 larger cities anything, so they are trying to detain the insurgents.

The method they have chosen is to restrict mobility. Because the police force is caught up with doing administrative work never to be seen in the streets where you need them, they will install some thousand speed cameras around the country where they can cash in money most efficient – not where they could have saved lives the most if they functioned as a concept at all. All the world knows about speed cameras is that they cash in money. Swindon removed all their cameras and they didn’t see even a slight increase in the number of traffic accidents.

I cannot predict if this strategy will work, but while they are testing it the industry in Denmark will suffer some 15-20 loss of mobility and estimated 50-60,000 will be thrown out in unemployment. It is not needed during a period of hard struggle where we try to rebuild our economy.

I understand that the common list is a threat against the established political system in Denmark. The people behind the common list are smarter than the farmers in France or the truckers in Greece. They don’t choose violence or strikes. They aim to take over the political system instead using the only tool democracy can be hurt with: Using the democratic process at hand.

Once again our democracy faces a dilemma. Is it all right to use undemocratic method to shackle the insurgents, methods which are questionable and not very precise to avoid a future defeat at an election? Before 9/11 the answer would have been a clear no, but as result of the war on terrorism our values have slipped and I guess that 50-60.000 unemployed will be regarded as acceptable costs.

We are stuck with the economical crisis and due to the war on the countryside there is little we can do about it.

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