Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Becoming Aware of Your Cervical Health

Friday, December 17, 2010

Yeah, There Are Still Double Standards. So What?

People still have respect for a man when a he cries in politics, but let a female politician shed some tears and hear everyone shout that she’s weak.

It’s a double standard the majority of the time, and in 2010 this way of thinking still holds true. But it’s not worth crying over.

Sarah Palin made the news again, while making an appearance on "Good Morning America," after she complained about the double standard when it comes to politicians crying in public.

The ex-Alaska governor was asked about incoming House Speaker John Boehner's tendency to shed a few crocodile tears during an interview with Robin Roberts of "GMA." “While Palin said she had respect for her fellow Republican's emotional side, she suggested he gets a pass because he's a man.”

Palin continued by saying:

"I don't know if a woman would be given a pass necessarily. That's one of those things where a double standard is applied. I'm sure if I got up there and did a speech, and I started breaking down and cried about how important it is to me that our children and grandchildren are provided great opportunities, I'm sure I would be knocked a little bit for that."

Palin also mentioned that it is ok that there are double standards out there for women because it encourages women in politics to work harder and be tougher. But  it's ironic that she brought up the fact that there was a double standard in the first place.

I just want to know why, if she was ok with this originally and was compelled to be tougher in politics that she would bother complaining to the entire the world. And it is especially irrelevant because Boehner did receive some slack indirectly about his constant weeping.

But it’s not all unfair for women in politics. Female public displays of emotion can go both ways. Hillary Clinton's teary remarks on the presidential campaign trail in early 2008 gained critiques from fellow candidates and commentators, but also were seen as a contributing factor in her primary victory in New Hampshire. Maybe Palin should realize that the world isn't fair, stop complaining and just keep to herself for once.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

How Much Should College Tuition Be?

Lately it feels like The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, that was supposed to have invested heavily in education both as a way to provide jobs now and lay the foundation for long-term prosperity, isn’t really working out for California College students.

Recently, all 23 California State University campuses have been burdened with the news of receiving a 15.5 percent jump in tuition (5 percent for the spring 2011 semester and another 10 percent for the fall), after CSU officials approved the increase to compensate for state budget shortfalls.

The increase in tuition will result in the average undergraduate student paying $654 more for an annual cost of $4,884 in 2011-2012. The raise in tuition is said to add an additional $175 million annually to the CSU system.

A third of that revenue is planned to be set aside for financial aid. But when college tuition has already proved itself to be unaffordable for students in the first place, why did the California State University Board of Trustees approve the fee hike for all CSU campuses?

At times, it really seems as though college students are being deterred from graduating our universities. Despite expanded federal aid including tax credits, veterans' benefits, and a record expansion of the Pell Grant program for low-income students, college affordability still appears unattainable.

As tuition has crept higher over the years, federal aid has actually lowered. The maximum Pell Grant covers just 34 percent of the average cost of attending a public four-year college, which has gone down from 45 percent two decades ago causing students to either apply for school loans or shell tuition out of their own pockets.

The only students who seem to be okay with the rate they pay for their tuition are some illegal immigrants.

The Supreme Court of California have recently made the decision to uphold AB 540, also known as the DREAM Act, a state law allowing students who attend high school in California for at least three years and graduate to pay in-state tuition at California public colleges and universities. This includes non-residents and some undocumented immigrants.

There has already been a decline in the number of American students who are refusing to pay out-of-state tuition and instead going to college closer to home. The decrease in students paying out of state tuition has reduced the number of applicants that are admitted and has in return added to the need for the raise in tuition for everyone else. Having illegal immigrants paying in-state-tuition currently only further hurts the UC and CSU budget crisis.

The problem is not that these undocumented immigrants are attending California universities, but it is that they are rewarded by paying in-state-tuition while legal citizens who want to go to school in a different state or country are mandated to pay out-of-state tuition.

I do believe that education should be available to everyone. On average, college degree holders earn more and have a better chance at getting hired for various positions. But I also am aware of the budget crisis that we have for our colleges and universities. And though it may sound cruel, I don’t think it’s fair that tuition for legal U.S. students keeps rising while illegal students get to pay less than other equally hard working students who are coming elsewhere to earn a college education.

Originally posted on So Educated.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Food Safety Bill That Doesn’t Help Everyone

It is no surprise that the concern regarding the safety of our food has risen recently. Over the past few years foods like meat, peanut butter, spinach and eggs have become tainted with food borne illnesses and undergone nation-wide recalls. So when the U.S. Senate passed the Food Safety Modernization Act (SB 510) on November 30, 2010, we all assumed that it was a step in the right direction--right?

The answer is both yes and no.

On the one hand this bill will regulate standards and requirements to limit food safety risks.
Safety guidelines would be put in place and farmers would be encouraged to use environmental conservation practices on their farms in order to reduce the likelihood of contamination with food-borne pathogens.

All of which is according to the Senate committee.

SB 510 would also allow the FDA to mandate that a company recall a food product it suspects is infected.  And when each year approximately 75 million illnesses, including approximately 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths, occur because of tainted food, more regulation in the food industry seems like a great idea.

But what the bill fails to do is fueling opposition with small farms and raw milk producers.

Groups in opposition of this bill complain that the Tester/Hagen Amendment that was recently added to the bill excludes small farmers and farms making less than $500,000 annually.

They argue that the bill will give the FDA too much power and that eventually they will abuse it. The bill threatens to exclude local and organic farms as well due to its one-size-fits all policy.

SB 510 still has to be voted on in the House. But with this many discrepancies regarding certain farmers, I believe that this bill should undergo more revisions to include the groups of people that they have seemed to have left out.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

World AIDS Day 2010

Every year December 1st is observed as World AIDS Day (the first of which was observed in 1988). World AIDS Day is devoted to raising awareness of the AIDS epidemic caused by the spread of HIV infection, and chooses to do so by choosing annual themes

This year’s theme, Lights for Rights, is encouraging cities and towns all over the world to leave the lights on and breakdown some of the needless stigma that surrounds HIV/AIDS. The World AIDS Day campaign is encouraging people to go out and get involved in promoting awareness.

What is HIV/AIDS?

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. HIV spreads by way of bodily fluids and it can be contracted by sexual intercourse without using a condom with someone living with HIV, sharing infected needles, syringes or other injecting drug equipment or from an HIV-positive mother to her child during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding.

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a disease that affects the human immune system which is caused by HIV.


According to the CDC, an estimated 56,300 Americans are newly infected with HIV each year. And according to the The World Factbook, 33,000,000 were predicted to be living with HIV/AIDS in the year 2007.

A recent report from the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has brought news that fewer people are becoming infected with HIV than 10 years ago, and those who have already acquired the virus are living longer. But every day 7,397 people contract HIV at a rate of 308 people every hour.

In the year 2008, 2.0 million people died from AIDS. And since it was first recognized in 1981, AIDS has killed more than 25 million people making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.


Because HIV can be transmitted by having sex, through someone’s blood, or from a mother to child, the best ways to reduce your risk is abstain from sex and wearing condoms consistently and correctly.

Other ways of preventing transmission is to use shared needles and to take antiretroviral drugs during pregnancy and labor as well as administering the medication to the newborn baby to reduce the chances of the child becoming infected.

Remember for you and your partner to get tested for HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases to further stop the spread. It is one of the major ways to reduce the increase in cases of those with HIV.

And though, abstinence greatly reduces your chances of becoming infected with HIV, educating the public about safe sex and sexually transmitted diseases can help more people in the long run. Having the information to protect yourself and others from harm is very important.

HIV is preventable when caution is used. ONE, a grassroots advocacy and campaigning organization, is already advocating for a world where no child is born with HIV in 2015. Hopefully this and other campaigns can rid the world of new cases of people contracting HIV. And I also pray that one day we will have a cure for those who already have the virus.

Reposted via Surf Bakersfield Mag.

Madonna narrates the video, "I Am Because We Are."