Leftover Link News Chum Stew

Today’s lunchtime entree: Leftover link news chum stew. It’s yummy:

USA Today has an article on a Florida public school that has sold access to it’s children to a Evangelical Baptist group in exchange for school supplies. Combee Elementary School in Lakeland, Fla., has been “adopted” by First Baptist Church at the Mall. The Church, in turn, has stocked a resource room with $5,000 worth of supplies. It now caters spaghetti dinners at evening school events, buys sneakers for poor students, and sends in math and English tutors. According to the Pastor, Pastor Dave McClamma, “By befriending the students, we have the opportunity to visit homes to talk to parents about Jesus Christ.”

The New York Times has an article about a school integration problem, this time in Israel. It appears that a group of Orthodox sephardis (Jews of Southern Europe, Middle East, and African background) want to send their daughters to an (Ultra) Orthodox Ashenazi school (Jews of Russian and Northern/Eastern European background). Specifically, the Ashkenazi parents at a girls’ school in the West Bank settlement of Emanuel don’t want their daughters to study with Sephardi schoolgirls of Mideast and North African descent. The Ashkenazi parents insist they aren’t racist, but want to keep the classrooms segregated, as they have been for years, arguing that the families of the Sephardi girls aren’t religious enough. This has resulted in one of the largest protests in Jerusalem’s history, is a reminder of the ultra-Orthodox minority’s refusal to accept the authority of the state. Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that the 43 sets of parents who have defied the integration efforts by keeping their daughters from school were to be jailed on Thursday for two weeks. Here’s the part that sounds eerily familiar: ”Everyone wants to send their children to Ashkenazi schools,” said another demonstrator, Zion Harounian, 62, a Sephardic father of nine. ”The quality of the Ashkenazi schools is much higher. They are stronger politically, so they get more money.”

In New York, it appears people have been lying in court. Big time. But a new law aims to change all that by instituting no-fault divorce. What happened is this: New York’s current divorce law has a list of specific reasons for divorce, and “not liking your spouse” isn’t one of them. So couples must stretch the truth to find a category: “You need to go to the gym” becomes mental cruelty; obviously pregnant women claim not to have had sex in a year; and there have been a rash of affairs with lawyer’s secretaries. But if no-fault passes, people can truthfully admit the reasons for the divorce: they just couldn’t stand their spouse any more.

We all know who founded Apple, right? Jobs and Wozniak, right? Wrong. There was a third co-founder: Ron Wayne. This is his story. In short, he was there at the founding, and had an agreement that gave him a 10% stake in Apple, which would be worth more than $22 billion today. However, afraid that Jobs’ wild spending and Wozniak’s recurrent “flights of fancy” would cause Apple to flop, he bailed out after 12 days and agreed to take $800 for his shares.

With all the worries about the BP spill in the Gulf, there are calls to boycott BP gas. Of course, this doesn’t affect BP at all, because (a) most gas isn’t produced by the station brands anymore, and (b) BP gas is mixed and sold at loads of different branded stations. In fact, it only hurts the local station owners, who make very little on the gas anyway. Where do they make their money? On the markets attached to the stations. Further, their food has gotten fancier and now rivals restaurants in quality. Here’s an example. A Mobil stations at Santa Monica and Sepulveda boulevards added a deli to offset rising rents and reduced profit from gasoline. It took a while to get going, as customers got used to the idea of buying food at a gas station, but now the deli is key to keeping the operation in the black. On a good day, according to the owner, he sells up to 700 orders, with the morning bestseller being the breakfast burrito, which comes with eggs, cheese, the meat of your choice and a side order of potatoes and sells for $3.79. The deli doesn’t come close to generating as much revenue as gasoline, which is selling for about $3 per gallon. But the food is considerably more profitable, accounting for 25% of the station’s income after expenses.

Lastly, a New York study has indicated it is almost impossible to get rid of rats from the NY Subway System. Rats reside inside station walls, emerging occasionally from cracks in the tile to rummage for food. They aren’t in the track area itself due to the electrified tracks. Of 18 stations examined in Lower Manhattan, about half of the subway lines got a fair or poor rating for infestation. Officials found no obvious solutions: poison packets and traps have proved no match for a rodent that can jump two feet from a running start and can fall 40 feet onto a concrete slab and keep running. Their best suggestion: install poison bait in the rooms that store garbage for a more surgical strike. I did find it interesting that the article didn’t suggest the obvious solution: cats.