Texas teen arrested over clock is moving to Qatar with his family


The Texas boy arrested for bringing to school a homemade clock that was mistaken for a bomb is moving to Qatar, his family said on Tuesday, a few hours after he was at the White House for an astronomy night hosted by President Barack Obama.

Ahmed Mohamed, 14, a bespectacled ninth-grader who became an Internet sensation for an arrest that supporters said was influenced by bias against his Muslim religion, has accepted an offer from the Qatar Foundation to study at its Young Innovators Program.

“This means, that we, as a family, will relocate to Qatar where Ahmed will receive a full scholarship for secondary and undergraduate education,” his family said in a statement.

The teenager, who dabbles in robotics and had attended a Dallas-area high school, has basked in celebrity status since his arrest in September. The family has been traveling the globe to meet dignitaries.

Sudanese state radio reported that his father took him to meet Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. The Sudanese leader is accused by the International Criminal Court of masterminding genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes during Sudan's Darfur conflict.

After Mohamed was seen in a NASA T-shirt in handcuffs, the Twitter hashtag #IStandWithAhmed trended globally and was cited in praise from Google co-founder Sergey Brin and Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, who said: “Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest.”

No charges were filed and police in the Dallas suburb of Irving said in September they were reviewing their actions in the case..

At the White House on Monday night, Obama briefly met Mohamed as he shook hands with students at the event, giving the student a hug.

At the time of the arrest, Obama's Twitter feed had a message of support for Mohammed, which read: “Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great.”

“It was amazing, and a honor meeting President Obama,” Mohamed said on Twitter after meeting Obama.

Police to review handling of Texas student handcuffed over clock


Texas police will review decisions made when a Muslim teenager was taken away in handcuffs after high school staff mistook his homemade clock for a bomb, the Irving police chief said on Friday. 

“One thing is clear to me, regardless of what we did, no matter what decision was made, there would've been people who agreed with it and people who disagreed with it,” police Chief Larry Boyd told CNN.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations said Ahmed Mohamed, 14, is Muslim and the case was an example of the climate of hate and manufactured fear around the religion.

The bespectacled ninth grader in a NASA T-shirt was led away in handcuffs from MacArthur High School on Monday after school officials discovered the clock.

By Wednesday, the Dallas-area student had become an Internet sensation and won several invitations, including one from President Barack Obama to visit the White House.

“The officers made the best decision they thought that they could make at that time, based on the information that they had,” Boyd said.

“Of course we will review this. Of course we want to go back and look at this and all the decision points and all the alternatives, and make sure we give our officers the best guidance we possibly can because this won't be the last controversial decision that they have to make.”

After school resource officers determined the device was not a bomb, Boyd said, officers investigated whether Mohamed brought the device to school with the intent to create alarm. Boyd said it was against the law to make a hoax bomb and cause people to be scared and call law enforcement.

The school principal or vice principal and officers talked to Mohamed as they tried to figure out what was happening, Boyd said. 

“There were factors and details to this that for whatever reason weren't shared at the time,” Boyd said. “Once we were able to get all of that information, that allowed us to get to the point where we could settle the matter.”

No charges were filed and police said they considered the case closed.

White House invites Texas student arrested over homemade clock


Texas teenager Ahmed Mohamed who was taken away in handcuffs this week for bringing to his Dallas-area school a homemade clock that staff mistook for a bomb won a personal invitation from President Barack Obama on Wednesday to attend an astronomy night at the White House.

Mohamed, 14, was accused of making a hoax bomb, police in Irving said. The Council on American-Islamic Relations said he is Muslim and the case serves as an example of religious bigotry.

The bespectacled Mohamed is a ninth grader who was led away in handcuffs and a NASA T-shirt from MacArthur High School on Monday for making a project he put together to impress his new high school classmates and teachers.

On Wednesday, he became an Internet sensation.

“Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great,” a message on Obama's Twitter feed said.

The White House invited Mohamed to participate in its astronomy night next month with NASA astronauts and other young people, spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters.

“In this instance, it's clear that at least some of Ahmed's teachers failed him. That's too bad,” he said.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg also invited the teenager to drop by his California-based company.

“Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest. The future belongs to people like Ahmed,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

The incident has launched a social media campaign called #IStandWithAhmed, which was the No. 1 trending topic in the United States on Twitter on Wednesday with about 600,000 tweets, many critical of the school district and police.

“My hobby is to invent stuff,” Mohamed told the Dallas Morning News in a video it posted online.

He told the newspaper he enjoys robotics and was looking to continue his interests as he started high school so he showed the clock, which had a digital display and a circuit board, to a teacher. The teacher notified officials.

“They took me to a room filled with five officers,” Mohamed told the Morning News.

A spokeswoman for the Irving Independent School District said at a news conference that school officials could not discuss the matter to protect the student's privacy. Police said no charges have been filed and they considered the case closed.

Mohamed was handcuffed and taken to a detention center where he was fingerprinted and had mug shots taken. He was freed when his parents came for him.

Mohamed has been suspended from school, the Morning News said.

Police said the device was in a case and could be mistaken for a bomb. Police spokesman James McLellan said Mohamed's religion had nothing to do with their response.

Two school police officers initially questioned the student and he told them he had built a clock. He did not offer further explanation, McLellan said.

“He didn't explain properly what it was and they felt compelled to arrest him,” McLellan said.

Israel extends Daylight Savings Time


Israel's Knesset passed a bill extending Daylight Savings Time.

The bill, which passed its second and third reading Monday night, sets the change to Daylight Savings Time for the first Sunday after Oct. 1, making it 193 days a year — 11 more than under its previous law.

Under a law passed in 2005, Israel is required to move to Standard Time on the Sunday morning before Yom Kippur, which falls anywhere in September and half of October each year.

Haredi Orthodox parties opposed the measure, saying that ending Daylight Savings Time before Yom Kippur makes the 25-hour fast easier since it ends earlier.

Israel this year changed back to Standard Time in mid-September, more than a month before the United States.

Creativity for a cause


Esther Netter, CEO of the Zimmer Children’s Museum, speaks with infectious enthusiasm about her museum’s upcoming exhibition, “Show & Tell: The Art of Harmony,” which opens Sunday, May 6.

“Look at what artists can do!” she says in the museum’s storage room as she points to the wide array of objects, each based upon a musical instrument.

She is gearing up for the third “Show & Tell” exhibition, following previous ones in which artists produced sculpture, painting and mixed-media forms based upon a clock or a telephone of their choice. The shows have always been remarkable, not only for the personalities who provided their phones or clocks — including Ariel Sharon and Elizabeth Taylor — but also for the artwork’s deeper resonance related to the themes of time, communication and now music.

The musical connection seems a perfect one for artist Robert Rauschenberg, whose “White Paintings” — canvases with all-white surfaces — famously influenced composer John Cage to produce his so-called “silent” music.

In “Show & Tell,” Rauschenberg has provided a mixed-media work titled, “Fugue.” A pigment transfer on paper, “Fugue” suggests a polyphonic composition in that it features drawings of piano keys in black and white juxtaposed with metronomes, painted red and looking almost like miniature pyramids. With its layers of piano keys on top of one another headed toward infinity, “Fugue” induces the kind of hypnosis one might experience listening to certain fugues, which can transport the listener into a trance.

Rauschenberg, who signed his work with his initials and thumb print, his signature since his stroke some years ago, was brought into this project by his friend, Barbara Lazaroff, the restaurateur and architectural designer.

Lazaroff has contributed a work bearing the title, “If Music Be the Food of Love, Play On,” the opening line from Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” As one might expect of a restaurateur who partnered with Wolfgang Puck, she includes a series of colorful dinner plates beneath this verse, each with its own mini-theme, such as love, betrayal, marriage and cowardice. In a statement about her work, Lazaroff writes, “Both music and cuisine are art forms that evoke our visceral and cerebral memories.”

Proceeds from the sale of the works will raise funds for youTHink, the Zimmer’s outreach program for students, and while the show includes some famous contributors, many of its works come from lesser-known figures.

Peter Schulberg, for instance, wittily comments on the architects of the Iraq War with a set of drums marked by the images of George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld beneath paintings of the American flag. The images are displayed on a curved side of a pair of drums, presenting museumgoers with the temptation to beat the faces of Rumsfeld and Bush.

Los Angeles-based artist Alison Saar comments on domestic concerns in a manner more dissonant than harmonious, depicting Yemaja, the Afro-Brazilian goddess of the sea, in a turquoise hue. The goddess’ eyes are obscured by the keys of a kalimba, an African thumb piano — we cannot see them, and they cannot see us.

Work such as that by Schulberg and Saar reflects the Zimmer’s mission over its roughly 15-year existence, which is to educate children of all backgrounds and instill in them progressive values. As Netter says, “We want to teach them how to be a mensch.”

“Show & Tell: The Art of Harmony” opens May 6 at the Zimmer Children’s Museum. For information, call (323) 761-8989 or visit

Time to Watch and Learn at the Zimmer


Clocks and watches can do far more than simply tell time. A new exhibit at the Zimmer Children’s Museum shows that when sliced, diced and deconstructed by artists and humanitarians, timepieces can edify, entertain and even inveigh against social injustice.

“Show & Tell: The Art of Time” features 74 works ranging from whimsical clocks decorated with painted pink bunnies to clocks that comment on race, class and even the wretched state of California’s youth prisons. Several high-profile artists, including Charles Arnoldi and designer Paul Frank, submitted works, and all the timepieces are on sale for $500 to $15,000. Nearly half the works already had sold during the exhibit’s April 30 to May 6 preview. Proceeds will go to youTHINK, a Zimmer program for public-school students that uses art to teach fourth- to 12th-graders to think critically about issues of social justice.

“The art is over the top, and the community response has been incredible,” said Esther Netter, the Zimmer’s chief executive. “This is a grand slam for the museum.”

“The Art of Time” is a successor to “Show & Tell: The Art of Connection,” a 2004 exhibit that showcased 179 phones decorated by artists, humanitarians and entertainers. That exhibit raised more than $125,000 for youTHINK. However, the challenges of gathering and displaying so many works led Netter and her staff to curate fewer works this time around and not seek submissions from athletes, actors and most others in the entertainment industry.

Given “The Art of Time’s” early success, said Netter, Zimmer has plans afoot to unveil another ambitious collection in May 2007. “Show & Tell: The Art of Harmony,” will feature musical instruments as works of art.

Los Angeles artist Kingsley said nonprofit groups regularly ask him to contribute works for worthy causes, but that he turns down many requests. He agreed to donate a clock for the current exhibit and a refashioned musical instrument for next year’s show, because he supports the Zimmer’s mission of touching young people’s lives through art.

“This is an opportunity for us artists to give back to the community,” said Kingsley, whose “Gramps,” a grandfather clock wrapped in pieces of canvass painted in red, blue and green, fetched $10,000 before “The Art of Time” officially opened.

Other works on display also make a strong impression. Kenan Malkic’s stark “I Can Still Work” depicts a shattered, albeit still operational, clock held together with tape. Like his clock, Malkic’s a survivor: He lost both his arms and a leg after stepping on a land mine in Bosnia at age 12.

“My clock proves that it is what’s on the inside that counts, ” he says in a note running adjacent to his work.

In a more fanciful vein, designer Frank created a black-and-red animal-like figurine with its face fashioned out of an alarm clock. The piece, called, “Tor Tor,” resembles Pokey, the claymation pony from the “Gumby” cartoons of the 1960s.

In a plea for racial unity, lawyer/artist Stephen Frank Gary’s “Isn’t It About Time” features a large clock surrounded by branches, trees and wires. Gary has replaced the clock’s numbers with painted white, red, brown and black human hands

“Isn’t it about time,” he asks in the program notes, “that we join together as one?”

“Show & Tell: The Art of Time” exhibit will run from May 7 to June 9 at the Zimmer at 6505 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles. Admission is free. For more information, call 323-761-8992, or visit www.zimmershowandtell.org.

 

The Fastest Therapy in the West


First there was speed dating. Now, there’s speed healing.

Welcome to The Ten Minute Method, a new form of condensed counseling offered by a Chatsworth therapist that promises to be both fast and affordable at $18 a session.

You may be thinking: 10 minutes? That’s just long enough to rearrange the throw pillows on the couch, pick at your cuticles as you fixate on a poorly framed Matisse print and hear, “We have to end now,” as your shrink eyes the clock on the end table. Not so, according to Richard Posalski, a licensed clinical social worker and marriage, family and child counselor who invented The Ten Minute Method.

“When people know they only have ten minutes, they’re prepared to crystallize what’s going on with them in a straightforward manner,” says Posalski. “In conventional therapy, roughly 75 percent of the time can be just venting and never getting to the problem.”

After 30 years in the business — Posalski was a social worker for the Jewish Big Brothers of Los Angeles and a member of the field faculty of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion before going into private practice — he says less “clutter and confusion” helps him use his intuition to get “right to the heart of the matter.” The therapist describes his counseling style as “Jewish pragmatic.”

So far, he’s conducted about 80 10-minute sessions and has helped patients with a wide range of problems, from one woman’s question about how to handle her sister’s holiday visit, to a mom’s inability to let go of anger at her son’s little league coach. Sessions, both in person and over the phone, deal with “everyday” issues, the type of concerns people are always approaching Posalski with at parties, as in: “This dip is great. By the way, have you ever treated anyone deathly afraid of flying?” Being approached at social events only reminds the counselor that most people have at least one question they’d love to ask a professional.

“There are all kinds of people that want help but would never get into therapy. Either it’s too time-consuming or too expensive, or maybe for the average person, the notion of having their psyche probed is a deterrent,” he explains.

If the idea of a 10-minute therapy session calls to mind those massage therapists who set up chairs at holiday office parties or in front of the health food store, that’s no coincidence. In fact, that’s how the counselor got the idea, watching a masseur set up his chair in the lobby of a local bed and breakfast. He thought, with limited time and resources wouldn’t a talk be as good as a rub?

“I just want to help people feel better,” he says. “And you don’t have to feel crazy to take advantage of a therapist.”

Posalski’s Web site is www.The10minutemethod.com. He can be reached for appointments at (818) 773-9988.