Saturday, December 17, 2011

We've Moved

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...But don't worry. This site will be left up for you to go back and read old posts and to share my articles with your friends. I just won't be updating this particular site anymore.

New posts on this blog are moving over to my blog on WordPress. Jazzed About Stuff will always post music on Mondays, and will try posting other stuff on Wednesdays and Fridays as well. So if you've ever found this blog interesting and you want to read more, click on this link, and subscribe for more more blog posts on the issues as well as other interesting things.

Thanks,
Jasmine

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Talk of Strange Culture


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Imagine; one day you wake up and the love of your life is gone forever. Death takes her away and leaves you with a terrible sense of grief and loneliness. You’re hearts heavy, and when you pick up the phone to call the paramedics, the FBI show up at your door.

This is the story of Steve Kurtz, an associate professor of art at the State University of New York, Buffalo. Kurtz woke to find that his wife had died in her sleep due to heart failure, but instead of being able to grieve over the sudden loss of his wife of 27 years, Kurtz’s project full of harmless Petri dishes preparing an art exhibition on genetically modified food for the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art was confiscated by the FBI.

Within hours of their arrival, the FBI whisked Kurtz away under the suspicion of bioterrorism, his wife’s body was confiscated for autopsy twice, and his home quarantined with his cat locked away inside without food or water.

Even now, seven years after the incident and two years after the final trial verdict, the public still doesn’t know how easily an innocent civilian behavior can become a suspicious act, how sneaky labels aren’t telling anyone what they are actually consuming, or the amount of restriction the government’s placed against the public’s first Amendment right.

It’s scary to think that this has all happened, that this situation turned into as big of an issue as it did, and that people are even frightened for being detained for sharing information and saying what’s really on their minds.

Below is a film done by Lynn Hershman-Leeson, who artistically “bends the nonfiction form to her own unconventional will” and pieces together a series of re-enactment, news clips, interviews that retell the story that everyone should have been told.


And here is the link for the updates on Mr. Kurtz’s trial. http://caedefensefund.org/

Friday, December 2, 2011

Another Bullet in the Government’s Gun

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Here's a little something I wrote for a class. I think it's appropriate in sight of the recent passing holiday.

(Tom Toslino, Navajo, as he arrived at Carlisle and-after 3 years)


The House Concurrent Resolution 108: Another Bullet in the Government’s Gun


When one thinks of America they often think of the “American dream” and the “land of opportunity” where individuals young and old, and of every shape, color, and creed can make a name for themselves. They envision a wonderful life with all the joys and perks of a middle class standard family in a proper first world setting, but what many individuals have quickly learned throughout the existence of this mixed up melting pot of a country we call the United States is that this dream doesn’t happen for everyone, and that equality in this young country isn’t always seen. The House Concurrent Resolution 108, is really just one example of the years of scrutiny that one minority group in particular are subjected to, and it’s only one piece of the puzzle that almost killed an entire diverse culture and loaded another bullet in the government’s gun.

The House Concurrent Resolution 108 was actually passed August 1, 1953, and it declared that the U.S. Congress should enact a policy that would abolish Federal supervision over American Indian tribes. The American Indians were subjected to the same laws, privileges, and responsibilities as other U.S. citizens. The crucial point of the matter is that it actually led to the beginning of an era of termination policy, in which the federally recognized status of many Native American tribes was revoked. This “resolution” ended government responsibility to tribe members and withdrew legal protection to territory, culture, and religion. The decision opened the flood gates for states with large Indigenous populations like California, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Oregon, and Nebraska, to do whatever they wanted to the Native Americans. But the sad fact is that this wasn’t the first time the Native Americans were mistreated and pushed around by government.

This all actually stated when the first early English settlers landed on the big hunk of rock that we now call America. The “Americanization” of the Native Americans from 1790 to 1920 was the era where these new non-native people tried to “civilize” the Indians. Unfortunately though, during the process, the helping hands from the missionaries destroyed their culture by subjecting the native people to attend their churches, study and only speak English (and on the other side of the continent, Spanish) and leave their tribal traditions behind. And it was the Dawes Act of 1887 that officially offered less of the land that they already owned to the Native Americans if they became U.S. citizens and gave up their traditions.

After the Act, ninety-three million acres of land was hashed up and redistributed, mostly going to single individuals and not the original tribes, but losing their land wasn’t their biggest problem. From the year 1857 to the year 1920, assimilation had taken children from their families, killed individuals, and nearly destroyed the Native American culture. Tribes fought in the Supreme Court during the assimilation era of 1890 to 1928, but were instead just ignored, forced to relocate in smaller sections of land, and the children taken away and locked up in boarding schools where they were taught English and were not allowed to ever use or teach their native tongue.

The assimilation continued throughout the centuries and later led to the Indian Termination policy that lasted from the mid 1940’s to the 1960’s. The termination policy was the government’s belief that the Native Americans were better off further assimilated into mainstream America. The Native American Indians ultimately were no longer exempt from federal or state taxes and, as a result, the education, health care, and economy suffered tremendously due to the lack of government funding. By 1972 there was a seventy-five percent dropout rate for the Menominee Tribe, and students who did graduate and wanted to go to college couldn’t receive any scholarships under the new laws. There was really no health care and many of the Native American people fell into poverty before constant protest and cases fought in court finally allowed the Native Americans to regain their sovereignty. But after centuries of the incessant raping of the Native American Indians culture and land no amount of sovereignty could piece back together all that they had lost after the American government shot its gun.

Works Cited
Americanization of Native Americans, Wikipedia. November 27, 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Americanization_of_Native_Americans

Indian Termination Policy, Wikipedia. November 11, 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_termination_policy

The House Concurrent Resolution 108, Wikipedia. July 22, 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_concurrent_resolution_108

Friday, November 11, 2011

Occupy Protesters: Lazy or Just Fed Up?


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The unemployment rate is currently at 9 percent according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, and monthly job growth has slowed to an average of just 90,000 new jobs a month over the past six months, a pace at which growth in the working-age population will always exceed the number of new jobs being created. All something that can’t be fixed by dumping McDonald’s application on protesters. That was exactly what The Chicago Board of Trade did to Occupy protesters in Chicago, and this wasn’t their first stunt.

The Chicago Board of Trade also plastered “We Are the One Percent” on their windows last month right in front of all the people general fed up with the way unemployment is heading or just those who previously felt alone in their belief that the current economic system is broken.

Dumping McDonald’s applications on protesters can’t solve everything. McDonald's has already declared their plans to hire 50,000 new employees in a single day in April, but the restaurant was consequently swamped with more than one million applications. There are simply not enough jobs for the 13.9 million unemployed people in America as of October, a McDonald's spokeswoman told the Huffington Post in April.

And even though people are aggravated by the unemployment rate, government corruption, collapsing environment, labor standards, World Bank lending practices, housing policy, and the increasing wealth disparity, and are trying to do something about it by voicing their opinion, people like The Chicago Board of Trade and other people populating the one percent are calling these protesters lazy college dropouts.

The thing is there are not just teens and college students out there protesting. There are people out there married with kids who are out of a job and are desperate to find another one despite there not being enough. There are also elderly people slipping into poverty and college kids graduating into piles of debt with no way to enter into the competitive job force.

This contagion called the 99 percent force a reconsideration of the way the nation does business because as members of a democratic country, they are entitled to do so, even though we appear to be falling away from democracy with the way giant corporations run things. The protesting against corporate greed and the social and economic inequality shouldn’t just be kicked to the side and covered up with photocopied McDonald’s applications.

The one percent populated by the banks, the mortgage industry, the insurance industry who happily take bailouts from the federal government, but who look down on programs helping the rest of the population, and the uninformed individuals oblivious to the happenings of the state and causes of the economy who call these protesters lazy and throw McDonald’s applications on top of them are incredibly ignorant and rude. They are just forcing the gap between the 99 and one percent further and ignoring the many rising inequalities presented today.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Flip-Flopping in the GOP


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There seems to be a lot of confusion going among the Republican presidential candidates. Front running official in the national polls seem to have trouble pinning down what they actually believe in and what constitutes as a decent joke.

Take for instance Herman Cain. On Saturday, Oct. 15, Cain had made a comment curbing illegal immigration with a giant man-killing electric fence in Tennessee. The next day he apologized for his statements saying that his proposal for zapping Mexican immigrants crossing the border was all a very terrible joke on NBC's "Meet the Press,” but by Monday, Oct. 17, Cain took back his apology and changed his mind again in Arizona, home of Sheriff Joe Arpaio who is well known to put securing the border at the top of his list, and said that the fence joke wasn’t actually a joke.

Not only is Cain’s man-slaughtering fence idea making every sane person worry about the expenses coming out of their own pockets, but the majority of the population isn’t too keen of electrocuting people, or the fact that Cain can’t make up his mind on the issue.

With constantly flip-flopping views like that, how is it that anyone can trust his opinions on anything else? It’s as if he’s just trying to give the people what they want to hear and then secretly do what he wants if he gets elected to office.

"Words have consequences, both in shaping ideas and inspiring actions,” said the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in a statement made in ‘The Hill.’ “Whether or not he made his comments in jest, Mr. Cain's words show a lack of understanding of the immigration issues our country is facing and a staggering lack of sensitivity. Surely, Mr. Cain understands the duty that candidates have to offer responsible policy proposals."

If Cain does finally get to push his own secret agenda, the 2,000 mile long stretch of land would be covered with a fence that can cost anywhere from $2 million to $70 million per mile depending on the terrain and the style, according to an article by Mother Jones. This is of course not piecing in the finances of maintaining the fence running enough electricity in it to kill someone.

"When I'm in charge of the fence, we going to have a fence.” Cain said during his speech in Tennessee. “It's going to be 20 feet high. It's going to have barbed wire on the top. It's going to be electrocuted, electrified. And there's going to be a sign on the other side that says it will kill you."

Perhaps flip-flopping Cain is just confused about the issue in the first place. It seems fairly common place to do so with Republican presidential candidates such as Mitt Romney’s views on abortion.

During his 2002 campaign for governor, Romney supported abortion rights saying “I will preserve and protect a women’s right to choose,” during a debate against his Democratic opponent Shannon O’Brien. Then during his term as governor, Romney vetoed a bill in 2005 that would expand access to emergency contraception. In an op-ed explaining his veto he wrote that he was "pro-life" and also wrote that while he didn’t favor abortion, that he would not change the state's abortion laws. Then six years later, Romney made clear is current anti-abortion stance, writing in a National Journal op-ed, that he supports overturning Roe v. Wade and defunding Planned Parenthood, "If I have the opportunity to serve as our nation's next president, I commit to doing everything in my power to cultivate, promote, and support a culture of life in America."

Romney recently flip-flopped on an amendment that would define life as beginning at conception which would outlaw most forms of birth control and throw women back into the dark ages.

At a campaign stop in Iowa last week, Romney said "life beings at conception, birth control prevents conception," but said he was "not campaigning for an amendment of some kind."
Even though, naturally, two weeks earlier Romney told Fox News host Mike Huckabee that he would "absolutely" support such an amendment. Certainly a statement, like Cain’s border control proposal, which leaves everyone standing on the fence about these presidential hopefuls and voters confused on what promises and opinions coming out of the mouths of the GOP candidates that they can believe in.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Is the Plastic Bag Ban in Pasadena Taking it Too Far?


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“No civilization in human history has collapsed for a lack of a means to convey small goods to their abodes,” Ellis Sterling said in an article for the Los Angeles Times. “However, civilizations have failed for abusing their environment and depleting their resources.”

Is it really going to kill people to remember to grab a few reusable bags into a grocery store when they go out and shop? Reusable bags not only cut out the 130 non-biodegradable plastic bags that one uses during a year, according to the Earth Resource Foundation, but they save you five cents per bag every time they’re presented at the register. The question shouldn’t be, is the plastic bag ban in Pasadena taking it too far, but it should be, why didn’t anyone think about banning plastic bags sooner?

There is absolutely no benefit to using plastic bags other than the mild convenience of not having to take bags with you into the store. It’s complete and utter laziness compared to the fact that plastic bags are continuing to demolish the availability of our natural resources, and the damage the environment from the extraction of petroleum used to make in the hazardous production and pollution.

Plastic bags take up to 1,000 years to decompose on land and 450 years in the water, which someone who isn’t probably going to last more than 100 years, should be ashamed of. So many marine animals and birds end up dying from being entangled or chocked with the chemical ridden plastic bags because people somehow convinced themselves that magic plastic fairies whisk the 500 billion plastic bags used each year and hide it in some other realm.

Plastic bags aren’t helping anyone. They’re reused by some as small trash can liners or lunch-pails a few times, but then they get a few holes in them and they stay buried in the ever growing landfills for the rest of our and our many future descendants’ natural born lives.

All it takes is to grab a few reusable shopping bags the next time anyone needs to buy beer and an emergency bag of Oreos to help save our planet from being overrun with trash. And the ban, which will take place within 60 days, and that requires grocers, convenience stores and vendors to stop offering plastic bags and to charge 10 cents for paper bags isn’t cruel and unusual punishment. It’s taking initiative on something that should have been done a long time ago.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Amanda Knox Leaving Italy

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Shouts of joy from Italian prisoners and family members were heard as 24-year-old, Amanda Knox, was taken away from her jail cell and sent back to the United States. Plenty of “Welcome Home Amanda” signs filled her home town of Seattle, Washington and half priced drinks were served in celebration for Knox’s overturned murder conviction, but all the merriment in the world will never ease the pain of murder victim, 21-year-old-Meredith Kercher’s, family or help find the other people responsible for Kercher’s death.

“If those two are not the guilty parties, then who are the guilty people?” Lyle Kercher, a brother of the victim, asked.

The Italian appeals court threw out Knox’s conviction on Monday in the sexual assault and fatal stabbing of her British roommate under the international spotlight due to doubts over compromised DNA evidence. The court’s decision to remove the conviction that placed Knox as one of three people who killed Kercher stunned the victim’s family and angered the prosecution leaving everyone following the trial with no sure way of knowing what actually happened.

The victim’s family, at one point, was all certainly convinced that Knox, her former boyfriend, Raffael Sollecito, 27, and Rudy Herman Guede, a drug dealer, were all guilty of the crime. The family had answers and was ready to put the trial behind them, but they were left with daunting questions when Knox and her ex were exonerated by the appellate panel.

The original trial was so watered down with uncertainty that such things like Knox telling police that she was there in the room when her roommate was murdered and then retracting her statement and saying that she was never there will keep your head spinning. The way the fickle trials took place only adds to the opinions of the Italian justice system being not at all as it is cracked up to be.

It leaves everyone but Knox, Sollecito, and Guede only speculating as to what really happened. Everyone can cogitate as to what might have happened but they weren't there to see it come to pass and anything at the crime scene possibly pointing to any one individual had to be thrown out because it was mismanaged.

Knox’s home town is also populated with individuals that trust the Italian justice system and believe that she is innocent. They assume that she was just a young college student caught up in a difficult situation. But there are many people who have followed the case and still think that Knox is guilty like after the first trial had proved and think that she should have served the 25 years in prison she was originally ordered to do, but because all of the evidence and testimony were compromised there is no way of knowing who’s right.

Without concrete evidence no one can ever know if Knox, Sollecito, or Guede was telling the truth, and with that, the realization of not knowing who else was really involved in the sexual assault and murder Merideth Kercher will haunt her family for years to come. No one will quite ever know if Knox was really innocent of the heinous crimes committed and it’s partially the fault of the sloppy police work used to collect the evidence to blame. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Why An Eye For An Eye Leaves The Whole World Blind


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Capital Punishment; it’s a life or death situation that people have been debating about for years. Does it make sense to end someone’s life because they have at one point ended someone else’s? My answer has always pretty much been no. Even if all of the evidence in the world pointed to one single person, you still can end up with a situation like in the movie, The Life of David Gale.

The scenario that ends with the death of a possibly innocent man isn’t just for the movie screen though. The recent execution of Georgian inmate, Troy Davis, has caught the attention of everyone from the Pope to former president, Jimmy Carter.

Citizens who believed that Davis was really an innocent man on death row, the anti-death penalty activists, and the Human Rights Group Amnesty International all gathered in the streets to push for an appeal in case that left a lot of questions unanswered, but after over 20 years of waiting in a jail cell for a crime that he might have not actually committed Davis was executed by lethal injection on September 21, 2011 anyway.

“If I knew then what I know now, Troy Davis would not be on death row,” juror, Brenda Davis, told CNN regarding the 1989 case in 2009. The then 19 year old was arrested for killing off duty policeman, Mark MacPhail, with the help of questionable witness statements that have since withdrawn their statement saying that police forced them into accusing the 41 year old. People protested also knowing that no murder weapon was found and that there was no DNA evidence.

The thing is Troy Davis isn’t the only possibly innocent man who have been put to death or left praying to get off death row. Newly available DNA evidence has exonerated and released more than 15 death row inmates since 1992 in the U.S., but it’s only available in a fraction of capital cases. Who’s to say how many more inmates are just sitting in a jail cell waiting to die for a crime that they haven’t committed?

According to the Death Penalty Information Center a list of 8 inmates “executed but possibly innocent,” and at least 39 executions are claimed to have been carried out in the U.S. despite the knowledge of possible innocence or serious doubt about guilt. How many more times will an innocent person be put to death before we realize that maybe killing people as a punishment isn’t really fool-proof?

Putting aside the argument that all life, whether it is a cute little rabbit or a crazed and deranged serial killer shouldn’t be left up to anyone else but fate or what have you, many people still seem to find a flaw in the idea that it makes sense to kill a person because that person killed another person. In the end it all just sounds like a bloodied revenge and not of the supposedly fair justice system that is in place today. Instead, people continue to die because of the archaic thinking that an “eye for an eye” is the best way to live their lives, when in fact it just leaves the whole world blind.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Whole Earth Packaging Helps Children Go Back to School While staying Environmentally Friendly


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“Whether you’re looking for renewable and sustainable products, or the finest herbal incense, you’ll be able to find it at Whole Earth Packaging.” Here’s what some of the people from the environmentally-friendly group has to say about keeping green while heading back to school.

Back to school is a great time to teach kids about taking care of our planet! It’s easier to teach kids earth friendly habits while they’re young. Since many grade school children usually follow along with what their friends are doing, teaching your child about saving our planet might rub off on their friends, too! Here are some of the ways you can show your child how to be environmentally friendly at school.

  • ·         Make sure they know why it’s important that they turn off the lights when leaving a room, both at home and at school (if they’re allowed to, of course).
  • ·         Tell them to use both sides of the notebook paper whenever they can, and explain that in doing so they’re saving trees.
  • ·         Instead of packing brown bag lunches, use a lunch box.
  • ·      Avoid purchasing plastic silverware to pack in lunches. Whole Earth Packaging has spoons, forks and knives made of biodegradable corn material. You can also provide them with eco-friendly straws to use in their school lunches. They can share these fun tips with their friends.
  • ·         Find out if the school has a recycling program. If they do, teach your child about the importance of recycling.
  • ·         Always buy organic school supplies, or supplies that don’t have a lot of packaging. Teach your child to use the supplies until they’re not good anymore.

Teaching your child these few simple things can help save our planet, and will instill earth friendly values that will last a lifetime. You can find more renewable and sustainable products at WholeEarthPackaging.com, your number one source for eco-friendly products!

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Diet Book For Toddlers

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Imagine tucking in your 6 year old daughter into bed, you grab a short children’s book and you begin to clear your throat to start reading, but instead of light-hearted story about pink ponies or courageous princesses you start reading a story about an overweight teen wishing to lose weight.

Would you read this to your young and impressionable child? I probably wouldn’t. The book, 'Maggie Goes on a Diet,' by author Paul Kramer isn’t your typical children’s book. Maggie’s diet journey, meant to encourage teens to make healthier choices, actually isn’t really going over so well.

The book starts off with Maggie being teased in school for her weight, she has no friends and she eats to cope with all of the taunting. It’s only after Maggie looses the weight that she starts making new friends and becomes popular—great message right?

This picture book targets young readers from the ages of 2 through 8, and with the way the story is written, it’s easier for children to misinterpret the original message and obtain a negative body image or major eating disorders.

I think the author of this book really did have good intentions when writing Maggie’s story, but after reviewing the book it seems as though there could have been another way to go about this. What do you think?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Killed by Fresh Water Parasites

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This is sad to hear even though it's rare. The parasite, also known as the brain eating amoeba, enters through the nose, travels through the sinuses and infects the brain and cerebrospinal fluid. The parasite tends to grow in stagnant freshwater during high summer temperatures.

There are nose clips people can wear to reduce risk, but someone who doesn't want any risk needs to stay out of freshwater ponds and streams, especially those that are stagnant. Symptoms of this parasitic infection include fever, nausea, stiff neck and a frontal headache and should seek medical attention.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Health Food Only For The Rich

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Whenever I go to the store and try to buy healthier food options I always feel as though the cashier is secretly robbing me of all my money. I begin wondering why I have to sell my first born to pay for a couple of carrots and for a brief moment I even consider just rushing through the drive through, and my suspicion of being robbed is pretty much justified by a recent study.

According to the Journal Health Affairs, it costs at least an extra $7.28 a week to eat healthy and an extra $380 a year for those darn carrots. With the latest update of U.S. nutritional guidelines "My Plate," formally known as the food pyramid, calling on Americans to eat more fresh foods containing potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin D and calcium, even more frustrated shoppers will be tacking on hundreds more dollars to their annual grocery bill.

So what’s an angry shopper to do? Well, the frustration can be relieved somewhat with visiting the local farmer’s market, buying more locally and getting involved with the new trend of growing your own food if you can find the time. The $400 bill made up of organic carrots usually only gets that high when you’re shopping at grocery stores that ship and truck their food long distances. The angry shoppers dropping top dollar at the register isn’t just paying for the lack of chemicals soaking into your fruit, but the gas, time and extra money it took to get it from the farm to the store.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Job Experience Vs. Higher Education

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I had just come home from a long day at work at my minimum wage paying department store job when I was confronted with this question on a website that I had happened to stumble upon:

Considering the ever-increasing cost of higher education, and the student loans which many college kids amass while working for their various degrees, do you feel the economy actually turned the tide and made job experience just as or more valuable than higher education?

It’s true. The economy is in the crapper and there are millions of students out there drowning in college debt. Is it worth it? I still think so, but I do think having a bit of experience under your belt is also an incredibly smart thing to do.

I wrote in an earlier blog post about whether it was worth it or not to go to college and obtain a degree:

“People with a college education tend to be unemployed or a shorter amount of time than people with just a high school degree, said professor Sandra Emerson, MPA Director of Political Science at Cal Poly Pomona. “When the economy went south in 2008 there was a tendency for individuals with only high school diplomas to be the ones who were unemployed first and stayed unemployed longer. Those people went back to school because they realized their options were limited. It doesn’t mean people with a college education don’t go back to school, but you path is clearer during economic downturns.”

Regardless of how much more you would make as a college graduate, actually having a degree is far more beneficial to anyone dabbling in the job force than anyone just trying to reach, and keep that success, without it.

Having both job experience and a college education is obviously key, but if you had to choose between the two I would still put my foot down and claim that it is more beneficial to have a degree in your back pocket.

It’s a widely accepted notion that college gives future job seekers that extra boost when trying to break into the “real world.” Students not only receive the added skills necessary to think and communicate in a clear and intelligible way, but they have something that can be used to better themselves and their chances for success in life, and it’s something that nobody can ever take away from you.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Relieving Stress Through Yoga

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Stress happens to all of us. We become overwhelmed with our hectic schedules and often can’t find the time to just sit down and take a breather. But too much stress can wreak havoc on our health if we don’t manage it properly.

Poorly managed stress can manifest itself in a variety of symptoms like sleep disturbances, muscle tension, headaches, anxiety, fatigue and lack of energy. And many people under stress have a greater tendency to engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as excessive use or abuse of alcohol and drugs as well as poor nutritional choices than their less-stressed counterparts.

So how can you deal with stress?

Obviously avoiding stressful situations altogether would be the best option. But for those of us who can’t just up-and-quit our jobs and steer clear of the things that make our heads spin, we can relax in other ways.

Time management, setting priorities and sleep are just some of the ways we can deal with stress. Avoiding drugs and alcohol as well as thinking positive and exercising are even better ways to combat stress. A great way to relax with exercise is restorative yoga. Not only do take your mind away from your fast-paced life for a moment, you can also unwind from the stress and strengthen your body at the same time.

What do you get out of taking a restorative yoga class?

To answer some of my questions, I spoke with Gloria Escover who is a yoga instructor at Inner Body Works again. The studio is located downtown between “H” and “Eye,” one block from the Fox Theater. Inner Bodyworks is Bakersfield’s oldest, full-service, dedicated yoga studio who welcomes the community to the tradition of yoga.

By taking a restorative yoga class you learn how to relax and de-stress with simple poses. The class helps you restore your body whether you’re recovering from an illness or a surgery. It helps you stretch and strengthen your body with gentle exercises that can include the use of blankets, comfortable blocks and bolsters used like pillows.

Who is the class for?

Anyone can take this class. It doesn’t matter if you’re out-of-shape or you’re an experienced yogi looking for a way to manage your stress. The class is a great way to dip into yoga as a beginner. It’s a non intense class that gently restores your body over time.

How do I sign up?

You can sign up for the class by calling the studio at 661.324.1808. And for more information, you can email them at info@innerbodyworks.com. You can also keep up with Inner Body Works on their blog.
And just remember that stress can really hinder your body from being healthy. But with the right tools you can manage stress with ease and perform at your optimum level of fitness.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Yoga During Pregnancy

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During pregnancy a woman’s body goes though many changes in order accommodate and carry a child. Her baby relies on the vitamins and nutrients that she consumes from during her term and benefits from the healthy choices that are made.

Along with visiting your doctor, taking prenatal vitamins and eating a healthy well-balanced diet, pregnant women are also recommended that they exercise during their pregnancy. Exercising during pregnancy has been shown to be extremely beneficial as it can help with preventing excess weight gain, reducing pregnancy related problems like back pain and swelling, but it can also lessen the amount of recovery time after you give birth. But if you choose to exercise during your pregnancy, a low-impact and less intense exercise activity should be your best choice.

What’s considered low impact exercise?

Activities such as walking and swimming can do the trick. But an even better way to work on strength, flexibility and relaxation is to opt for a yoga class tailored specifically for pregnant women. And I was actually able to sit down with someone who teaches prenatal yoga at a studio here in town.

To answer some of my questions, I spoke with Gloria Escover who is a yoga instructor at Inner Body Works. The studio is located downtown between “H” and “Eye,” one block from the Fox Theater. Inner Bodyworks is Bakersfield’s oldest, full-service, dedicated yoga studio who welcomes the community to the tradition of yoga.

What’s the focus of a prenatal yoga class?

A prenatal yoga class is designed for pregnant women anywhere in their pregnancy from 8 weeks up till the time they give birth. The class teaches the women how to relax during pregnancy and labor as well as the actually birthing process. The class incorporates strengthening exercises for the body as well as tips on nutrition and how to eat properly.

The class is a great way to keep fit and to meet other pregnant women in the area. And although it’s not a Lamaze class, women are educated in how to stay healthy while carrying a baby.

How do I sign up?

You can sign up for the class either the first day or prior. The class is once a week and lasts for 6 weeks and you only pay $10 per week. And for more information you can call the studio at 661.324.1808 or email them at info@innerbodyworks.com. You can also keep up with Inner Body Works at their blog.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Multivitamins: Do You Really Need To Take Them?

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As a kid I remember being told to take my Flintstones vitamins every morning after I ate breakfast.  My mom would say that I would grow up to be healthy and strong if I did. But as I got older I questioned the advice that my mom used to give me about those chew-able fruit-flavored supplements. Do you really need to take multivitamins?

Well to answer that question, it’s actually yes and no.

For those of you out there who actually follow the recommended food guide pyramid the answer is no. If you are eating a wide range of foods in moderation then you are already receiving the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of specific vitamins and minerals.

Why take a daily multivitamin when you are already receiving the vitamins and minerals needed? As for the majority of Americans, the answer of whether or not you should consume a daily multivitamin is yes.

According to the most recent Healthy Eating Index survey conducted by the USDA, most Americans do not eat a healthy balanced diet on a daily basis. The typical American diet does not include all of the vitamins and minerals that are needed to stay healthy.

Taking a daily supplement is like swallowing a nutritional insurance policy. The majority of the U.S. population usually grabs a hamburger and soda every week at In-n-Out and rarely picks up in vegetables from the grocery store. And when we do go shopping for a snack, wandering eyes look for the quick and easy-to-prepare processed foods in the vibrantly colored packages. And although we do at times try our best to stay healthy, a pill filled with everything that you would need for the entire day can be taken after a meal. So why not reinsure your health?

Being deficient in vitamins by eating poorly and not taking a multivitamin can lead to major illnesses like cancer, heart disease, kidney and liver disease, osteoporosis, stroke and diabetes. People who are pregnant, over the age of 50, on special diets, on weight-loss regimens, smokers, anyone who drinks an abundance of alcohol and people with poor appetite are really recommended to take a multivitamin because of the lack of vitamins that they are more likely to receive.

So when eating right and exercising just doesn’t give you a full reassurance in your health or you know you may not be as healthy as you would like to be, taking a multivitamin supplement could be a great choice in becoming a little bit healthier.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Look, Smoking Does Kill

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I don't know about you, but if I saw a picture of a guy with a hole in his neck and holding a cigarette on my own pack of smokes I would probably quit right there.

That’s exactly the reaction the Food and Drug Administration is trying to stir up since they released nine new labels for cigarette packs that aim to show the dangers of smoking. The intense images show such things as a diseased lung, a smoker wearing an oxygen mask and an emaciated cancer patient. But more than 40 countries around the world already require warnings as graphic as the new U.S. labels, if not more so.

The circulating images are causing a bit of anger and a lot of disgust among American smokers. The truth is, according to the FDA, smoking kills 1200 people a day in the United States alone and many people aren’t aware of that.

"We are so far behind," says Michael Cummings, chair of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute's Department of Health Behavior. "We're a third world nation when it comes to educating the public on the risks of smoking."

Smoking literally damages nearly every organ of the body. Tobacco has caused more deaths each year than by all deaths from HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined.

For the kids who are thinking about starting to smoke, first know that it isn’t cute, it doesn’t make you look cooler, and it just kills. I don’t mean to sound like Nancy Reagan right now, but when it comes to smoking tobacco just say no.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Saving Face Over Saving Lives

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Given the chance to prevent AIDS and save lives, some people would rather just throw a hissy fit and condemn the UN’s battle against AIDS.

The three day UN summit, that lasted from June 8-10, for the “30th anniversary of the discovery of AIDS set the target of more than doubling the number of people on retroviral treatment to 15 million by 2015. It said mother-to-child AIDS transmissions should also be eliminated by then,” but instead of supporting the UN’s efforts toward eradicating AIDS, protests sparked by the Vatican and some Muslim nations over its endorsement of condoms erupted.

Those in opposition of the UN at the summit voiced their anger over “endorsement of condoms and calls to help prostitutes, gays and drug users.”

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.

About 34 million people around the world have the disease, 1.8 million die from it each year and there are 7,000 new infections each day. Obviously people are disregarding abstinence and continuing to have sex. Shouldn’t there be a worldwide concern about making sure the most reasonable way of preventing the spread of a deadly disease is taught to everyone?

To be honest, I don’t think it was necessary for anyone to express that much apprehension over the beneficial and life saving condoms. According to the UN Population Fund, the global need for condoms to combat HIV and for family planning has shot up from an estimated 13 billion in 2004 to about 19 billion in 2010.

It’s estimated that more than one million people are living with HIV in the USA and that more than half a million have died after contracting AIDS, clearly speaking for itself that we need to continue to stress the use of condoms. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Weird Home Remedies

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And you thought you ran in to some weird home remedies.



CNN's Nadia Bilchik talks to T.J. Holmes about some of the world's most unusual cures.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Meet Your Meat and Drop the Torture

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I read an article, Zuckerberg: Just go Vegetarian Already, the other day about Mark Zuckerberg and meat-eaters. The author, Jake Richardson, talked about Mark Zuckerberg and his personal challenge that led him to kill animals by himself for meat, instead of letting a slaughterhouse or butcher do it. “CNN quoted him as saying he has learned a lot about sustainable farming and raising animals,” which I believe great.
Richardson, however, pointed out although some articles have indicated this approach is more honest, when it comes to “ending an animal’s life to make it into dinner that there is no ‘kindest’ way to do it.”
That’s where I would have to disagree.
You can talk to people about the many health and environmental reasons of why people should go vegetarian, but no matter how hard you try, not everyone will give up meat.
To be honest, even though I’m a vegetarian, I have to agree with what Zuckerberg is doing. Like the many other individuals living around the world, Zuckerberg is taking the time to find out where his meat is coming from.
I admire the fact that he is eating locally (which avoids the leveling 55 square feet of rain forest for a single meal or dumping 2,400 gallons of water down the drain) and that he knows that what he is actually consuming was once a living creature.
Now I’m not going to go a “crazy-Avatar-fangirl” on you but James Cameron explained my standpoint in such a poetic way. The majority of meat-eaters in America aren’t very sure of where their meat comes from. “Animals are abused, mistreated, and slaughtered every day so we can eat meat. They suffer so we can have a cheese burger from McDonalds; chickens are treated inhumanely so we can have chicken nuggets although we don’t have to.
We take more than they need, never really acknowledge where it comes from, and we never give enough back to the environment to help sustain ourselves for the future.
Don’t get me wrong though, people have eaten meat for thousands of years whether they were designed to eat meat or not. You’re not going to convince Mark Zuckerberg or a simple farmer living up in the mountains of Tibet to stop eating meat, because they’re not torturing any of the animals that they eat.
I don’t have a problem with meat-eaters. I just have a problem with meat-eaters who know exactly where their meat comes from (or chooses to be in the dark on the issues) and continue with their poor environmental/ethical choices by doing nothing about it.
Knowing where your food comes from and eating locally raised meat is a great start to get on my nice list. Avoid factory farming and eat sustainably, not just because it’s great for the animals and the environment, but because it’s also healthier for you. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

A College Conspiracy?

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A growing number of people are claiming the belief that Americans with college degrees earn $1 million more in lifetime income compared to high school graduates without a college degree is just a myth as talk surrounding the rising cost of college tuition bubble up.

The documentary, “College Conspiracy,” presented by the National Inflation Association calls for students at the University to drop out because it “just isn’t worth it” despite the majority of the population, with and without a college degree, believing otherwise.

“People with a college education tend to be unemployed or a shorter amount of time than people with just a high school degree, said professor Sandra Emerson, MPA Director of Political Science at Cal Poly Pomona. “When the economy went south in 2008 there was a tendency for individuals with only high school diplomas to be the ones who were unemployed first and stayed unemployed longer. Those people went back to school because they realized their options were limited. It doesn’t mean people with a college education don’t go back to school, but you path is clearer during economic downturns.”

Regardless of how much more you would make as a college graduate, actually having a degree is far more beneficial to anyone dabbling in the job force than anyone just trying to reach, and keep that success, without it.

“Many folks without degrees have high salaries, but on average, the opportunities available to degree holders are substantially, experientially (if not quantifiably) much greater,” said Professor David Speak, Chair of Political Science Department Cal Poly Pomona in an email

According to a report done by the U.S. Census Bureau entitled “The Big Pay Off: Educational Attainment and Synthetic Estimates of Work-Life Earnings, a college master’s degree is worth $1.3 million more in lifetime earnings than a high school diploma, but that extra value of having a degree is worth far more than just the extra $1.3 million.

“Whether that [$1 million] figure is 'accurate' or not seems to miss the point,” said Speak. “You might luck out and have an uncle who will hire you without a degree—or a complete stranger, for that matter.  But your own first person experience could probably corroborate the advantage that having a degree gives you in seeking employment in the first place.”

You can essential do any number of things with a college degree, but if you happened to enter the job force as a plumber you’re only limited to plumbing. In an economic downturn, having a degree opens you up to more options better marketing your own self.

“The purpose of college is to invest in students’ human capital and to advance their own innate potential,” said Emerson. “The problem is giving you a better opportunity is not guaranteeing too make a $1 million. It’s an opportunity to invest human capital in the hopes that greater investment will result in greater productivity.”

It’s a widely accepted notion that college gives future job seekers that extra boost when trying to break into the “real world.” Students not only receive the added skills necessary to think and communicate in a clear and intelligible way, but they have something that can be used to better themselves and their chances for success in life, and it’s something that nobody can ever take away from you.

Friday, May 20, 2011

What A Great Reason to Call CPS

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According to WebMD, Botox is the brand name of a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. In large amounts, this toxin can cause botulism, which you probably associate with food poisoning. Despite the fact that one of the most serious complications of botulism is paralysis, scientists have discovered a way to use it to human advantage. Small, diluted amounts can be directly injected into specific muscles causing controlled weakening of the muscles.

Why the hell would you put that in an 8-year-old’s face? You have to be completely brain dead to believe that it was a good idea to purposely inject a highly toxic substance, that will in no doubt ruin anyone’s face, just because you mistaken your daughter’s dimples for wrinkles.

Well good thing this nutter took pictures of her stupidity. Kerry Campbell admitted on national television to injecting her eight-year-old daughter with Botox and eve showed the pictures of her pricking her child, IN THE FACE, with huge needle full of crap.

The beautician from Birmingham, England, who lives in San Francisco, declined to tell "Good Morning America" where she got the drug but said it was a trusted source (because that just sounds safe).

"My friends think it's cool I have all the treatments and they want to be like me” said 8-year-old Britney. “I check every night for wrinkles, and when I see some I want more injections…the injections used to hurt, but now I don't cry much."

Her saint of a mother even convinced her into wanting a breast and nose job so she can "be a star." Great job on the parenting Kerry.

Botox shots are already known to be painful and any person with an ounce of common sense knows that this procedure isn’t recommended for anyone under 18 for COSMETIC purposes.
Now, apparently, the girl is no longer living with her—thank God.

A source close to the girl told ABC News that she is not living with her mother, and she is doing well. According to ABC News' Good Morning America, Campbell has lost custody of her child and is under investigation (for very good reasons mind you).

I hope this story shows other parents who may be thinking about pumping up their children with toxins to just lay off it and let kids be kids.