3 thoughts on “Open Thread

  1. ADL Praises Google for Responding to Concerns about Rankings of Hate Sites
    4/22/2004 2:38:00 PM
    To: National Desk, Technology Reporter
    Contact: Myrna Shinbaum, 212-885-7747, or Todd Gutnick, 212-885-7755, both of the Anti-Defamation League
    NEW YORK, April 22 /U.S. Newswire/ — The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today praised Google for responding to its concerns about rankings of extremist Web sites. Google has assured ADL that its staff is looking at various technical modifications that will enable the Internet search engine to better identify and categorize racially offensive sites that come up in search results.
    In a letter to ADL, Google President Sergey Brin apologized to users who found the search results for the word “Jew” upsetting and promised to work for a solution that would satisfy ADL’s concerns and those of users offended by the No. 1 ranking of an anti-Semitic Web site.
    “We are extremely pleased that Google has heard our concerns and those of its users about the offensive nature of some search results and the unusually high ranking of peddlers of bigotry and anti-Semitism,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “Google has shown great responsiveness to this issue and a willingness to consider changes to better identify extremist Web sites, so that users can still have the benefit of Google’s unique search technology while being alerted when they are about to enter into a hate zone.”
    In response to a deluge of e-mails about Google, ADL contacted the company earlier this month to express its concern and offer suggestions for categorizing hate sites without censoring them in the results. Google’s response was immediate and has led to ongoing discussions between ADL’s Internet monitoring team and Google’s technical experts.
    Until the technical modifications are implemented, Google has placed text on its site that gives users a clear explanation of how search results are obtained. Google searches are automatically determined using computer algorithms that take into account thousands of factors to calculate a page’s relevance.
    “We apologize for the upsetting nature of the experience you had using Google and appreciate your taking the time to inform us about it,” Brin said in his letter. “This is clearly an issue that we care deeply about, and we plan to explore additional ways of addressing it in the future.”

  2. also see fact sheet on case at: http://www.nownys.com/docs/neustein.pdf
    NOW-NYS Demands Federal Investigation
    Family Courts Fail to Protect Abused Children: A National Crisis
    For Immediate Release
    April 2, 2004
    Contact: Kathryn Mazierski, President NOW-NYS – 716.285.5598
    NOW New York State joins hands with prominent women’s organizations, national child advocacy groups, and Jewish organizations in recognition of April as national child abuse awareness month to publicly demand a federal probe of the American family court system.
    “All too often, credible charges of child sex abuse made by mothers are flagrantly ignored or suppressed by family court judges, court-appointed “law guardians” and biased mental health experts,” says NOW-NYS President, Kathryn Mazierski.
    This shocking fact is confirmed by two decades’ worth of research by academicians, women’s legal centers, and child advocacy groups into what happens to mothers who make good-faith reports that their children have been sexually abused by the fathers.
    “In case after case, the mother who makes the report is the one punished — stripped by the court of her custodial rights, sometimes even denied visitation and phone contact with her child,” stated Mazierski.
    The children forced to live with alleged sexual offenders in such cases have often shown signs of severe clinical depression, delinquency, anorexia and dissociative disorders.
    This phenomenon can be observed in so many states, and involves such profound violations of the rights of the mothers and the children concerned, that a federal investigation into the Constitutional and civil rights violations of mothers caught in the family court system is the best way to seek a remedy. Such an investigation could also reveal whether these abuses are part of a pattern of corruption, or even the deliberate exploitation of children. At a minimum, it appears that taxpayer money — 50% of which is federal – is being misused when the system it finances is being used to victimize the children it is meant to protect. This alleged misuse of federal monies violates both the spirit and the letter of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, under which the federal government financially supports the states in “developing, establishing, and operating programs designed to improve the handling of child abuse and neglect cases, particularly cases of child sexual abuse and exploitation in a manner which limits additional trauma to the child victim” (42 U.S.C. §§ 5106c(a)-(a)(1)). In fact, all too often, the family court system does the exact opposite.
    Among the best-documented sex abuse cover-ups by a family court is the case of Dr. Amy Neustein.* The outrageous circumstances under which her allegedly abused six-year-old daughter was wrenched from her home – and delivered to the father she had accused of molesting her – have been chronicled repeatedly in the press, most recently in The Forward, which quoted Rabbi Yosef Blau, Spiritual Director of Yeshiva University, who supports a federal level “detailed investigation” of the Neustein case to “shed light on some of the tragic abuses of the system.”
    “We strongly encourage an investigation of family court cases, starting with the Neustein case, which has been described by Eileen King, D.C-based Regional Director of Justice for Children, as ‘one of the most meticulously documented cases of child sexual abuse’ in recent history, as well as one of the most abysmally mishandled.”
    “We believe that an examination of how in so many cases, like Neustien, judges, state agencies and biased “experts” suppress evidence of child sexual abuse will help to reveal a pattern of mistreatment of women and children in the family courts that is reminiscent of the all-too-familiar abuse of rape victims in criminal trials,” remarked Mazierski.
    Research has revealed such abuses as these in our nation’s family courts:
    Judges who threaten and insult children who have reported being abused — calling them liars and pressuring them to recant — behind closed chamber doors;
    Judges who threaten to fine or jail a mother’s attorney for trying to present valid evidence of sexual abuse;
    Judges who remove allegedly abused children from their mothers without a legally required hearing;
    Biased “law guardians,” supposed to represent an allegedly abused child, who obstruct criminal prosecutions of the alleged abusers and keep evidence of sexual abuse from the family court; and
    Biased mental health experts who defend allegedly abusive fathers with such fraudulent theories as “parental alienation syndrome” and accuse the mothers of “delusions.”
    Additional Contact List:
    Michael Lesher, Esq. (attorney, journalist and co-author of a forthcoming book on family court malfunction) 973-470-0212
    Dr. Mo Hannah (professor and psychologist, co-chair of the recent Battered Mothers Custody Conference at Siena College) 518-210-2487
    Eileen King (Regional Director, Justice for Children) 202-462-4688
    Sue Lob (Founder and President, Voices of Women) 212-696-1481
    Vicki Polin (Executive Director, Awarness Center “National Jewish Sex Abuse Resource Center”) 443-857-5560
    Rabbi Yosef Blau (Spiritual Director , Yeshiva University) 212-960-5480
    Rabbi Asher Herson (Director, Lubavitch-Chabad Center of NW NJ) 973-2020-6040

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