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July 31st, 2003
Skool

Sheesh, I haven’t even gotten my diploma yet (stupid university was supposed to mail it since they spelled my name wrong), and here I am deciding it’s time to go back to school. I didn’t make it even a year without exams and papers and homework…what a glutton.

Seriously, when the economy is bad, going to school looks like a better idea all the time. I’m applying as a post-baccalaureate undergrad since I missed the deadlines for grad school. I’m going to study business, since I’m insisting on doing this entrepreneur thing with Soap Dreams. I’m hoping to get accepted into the MBA program in Fall 2004. I promise to study hard and get a good score on my GMAT…

Anyway, this allows me to put off my loans a while longer (and rack up a few more, but it’s only money…) and get cheap health care from Student Health Services (I hope they’re as good as OSU’s SHS was). I may think I’m crazy when it comes time to load up the books and trot off to class with a bunch of 18 year olds (I have to take the intro undergrad stuff as pre-reqs to the grad program), but at least I’m older, wiser, and hopefully, smarter than they are.

Cross your fingers.

Posted by Claire at 10:36 PM | Days Go By | Comments (0) | Tweet This Post

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July 30th, 2003
Yee Haw!

It’s another media round-up!

Grounding the flying nun: this is a salon.com article, which means watching a stupid commercial before you can read it…but it’s a good article, so do it, okay?

The Bush Administration’s Top 40 Lies about War and Terrorism: it’s long, but thorough. Bush Wars Blog has the annotated version with sources.

Fresh from the “what WERE they thinking??” files… Gambling on terror.

There you go, the editorials and articles I found interesting today.

Posted by Claire at 02:17 PM | Politics | Comments (0) | Tweet This Post

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July 29th, 2003
Not Okay

“Used to laugh at my pain, but it?s just not fun anymore”

Not Okay   ~~   Medicine For Melancholy

Posted by Claire at 11:11 PM | Days Go By | Comments (0) | Tweet This Post

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July 28th, 2003
A Similar Idea

While I like this idea, I have another, similar, one which I’d love to see take shape someday.

The article referenced above talks about a lawyer who had the idea of having other professionals, as well as himself, set aside $100 a month for 10 years, with the idea of giving the money to a college-bound kid upon graduation. Specifically, a low-income college bound kid. The kicker to all this is designating the children as scholars when they are young–they grow up with the expectation of receiving this money, which is supposed to encourage (and provide a large incentive) to not only stay in school, but to excel and apply to college. This is a great program, and I applaud those taking part.

But what about the other kids? The kids who aren’t college material, who are low-income. Don’t they deserve a program like this? There are plenty of careers out there that pay a good wage that don’t require a college degree–plumbers, electricians, builders, auto mechanics, etc. What these jobs have in common is that they do require training, either by apprenticeship or at a vocational training school…and these programs cost money. What if you started a kid out as a freshman in high school (when it becomes more apparent who is college-bound, and who is not) and promise money for vocational training upon graduation? How many kids who drop out because the school bureaucracies don’t care about them, might stay in school and out of trouble, if they knew they had a future? These kids get designated as throw-aways because they aren’t going on the college-bound path, which is getting to be the only path that is valued as cash-strapped schools cut out all the vocational classes in order to preserve the core academics and advanced classes. Aren’t the plumbers and mechanics and electricians in our society just as important as the white-collar college-degree professionals? Society needs both to survive.

How about doing something like this for all the kids with developmental disabilities? You know, those “retards” society would like us to forget exist? They’re people too, and believe me, with training many of them will become functioning, contributing members of society. But many of their parents can’t afford to send them to programs that train them, and places like Goodwill can only serve so many people at a time. These kids need a program like Marathon too. They deserve it as much as the college-bound kids.

Let’s face it–charities for vocational students and the developmentally disabled just aren’t “sexy” like “Send a Kid To College!” when it comes to appealing to the upper-middle class people who can afford a ten-year $100/month commitment. I say shame on anyone who thinks that the only children worth helping are those who are “smart.” All children deserve a future, not just the “smart kids.”

Posted by Claire at 02:43 PM | Activism | Comments (0) | Tweet This Post

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Nutrition, etc.

I’ve gone off on this before, but I’ll go off on it again. It’s time to rant about weight loss.

Our brilliant congressmen, Kurt Schrader and Randy Miller, have decided to reject federal grants for things like a program to reduce obesity in Oregon, among other things. “Print brochures to give to people that say ‘eat more fruits and vegetables?’” said Miller. “That’s like putting cancer warnings on cigarette packages. It doesn’t work.” While I’m not going to debate the legitimacy of printing cancer warnings on cigarette packages, the proposed program the grant would have covered would have done a lot more then just print brochures.

From the article: “At least a dozen dietitians and coordinators statewide would have been hired to do a wide range of intervention activities: visit schools to talk to students about nutrition, chart out routes for children to walk to school instead of getting a ride and help employers set up exercise programs at work for employees.”

The reality of the matter is that a large majority of adults don’t have a clue about what proper nutrition is. The blame for this can be placed at the feet of many institutions, as well as individuals. Yes, people COULD take the time and effort to learn. However, frequently they don’t know that they don’t know, so to speak. I won’t even get started on how difficult it is to even access a nutitrionist–insurance frequently doesn’t cover visits, so people have to pay out-of-pocket, which a lot of folks can’t afford. Some health food stores have them on staff for free, but it’s not really advertised, and folks who don’t regularly shop there won’t have a clue.

Buy a package of chicken breasts. See how HUGE they are? Did you know that a proper portion size is about a THIRD of one of those things? Most people don’t, and they eat a whole chicken breast and get three times the protein they need in a meal. The big fast food chains are to blame for this too–they use enourmous portions of chicken and beef, and most people don’t know that they shouldn’t have any meat at all at dinner if they ate a Big Mac or Whopper or Carl’s Jr. burger for lunch. Don’t even get me started on the mind game that is supersizing.

Restaurant aren’t exempt either. Look at all the commercials encouraging people to eat more, like Olive Garden’s endless pasta plates and “all the salad and breadsticks you want.” Restaurant serving sizes are also much too big, but the American public has been conditioned to want MORE MORE MORE or they feel cheated.

Food suppliers have to encourage people to eat more in order for them to sell more, and that is exactly what they have done. In the process, we have cut health programs from schools, and if nutrition is covered in schools at all, it’s usually limited to “This is the food guide pyramid, follow it” which doesn’t really teach anything useful. This notion of portion size and how much fruit and veggies doesn’t come across until someone is holding up plastic food and saying “This is how much chicken you should have at a meal.” Then it becomes real, and you have a guide in your head for comparison.

A program of nutritionists could teach people this, especially kids/teenagers. People don’t exercise unless it’s made convenient for them, and helping employers set this up makes it convenient.

It’s not enough to simply say “People know they should eat more veggies and exercise, so we shouldn’t bother with this.” The problem of obesity is so much more complex. That attitude fails to consider the fact that people are constantly bombarded with messages to eat more (consider advertising, supersizing, all-you-can-eat specials, etc), and just saying “Eat less” isn’t effective or helpful. We must teach people HOW to eat less, through proper nutrition and portion size.

Posted by Claire at 10:02 AM | Politics | Comments (2) | Tweet This Post

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