Breastfeeding- Best for Baby, Best for Mom

Read below, then head on over to The Federal Government's Source for Women's Health Information for more information.

Best for Baby
A mother's milk has just the right amount of fat, sugar, water, and protein that is needed for a baby's growth and development. Most babies find it easier to digest breast milk than they do formula. Breast milk has agents (called antibodies) in it to help protect infants from bacteria and viruses and to help them fight off infection and disease. Human milk straight from the breast is always sterile.

Best for Mom
Breastfeeding saves times and money. You do not have to purchase, measure, and mix formula, and there are no bottles to warm in the middle of the night. Breastfeeding also helps a mother bond with her baby. Physical contact is important to newborns and can help them feel more secure, warm and comforted. Nursing uses up extra calories, making it easier to lose the pounds gained from pregnancy. It also helps the uterus to get back to its original size more quickly and lessens any bleeding a woman may have after giving birth. Breastfeeding also may lower the risk of breast and ovarian cancers.


Breastfed Baby May Mean Better Behaved Child

Be sure to read the entire article at http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=93796

Breastfed Baby May Mean Better Behaved Child
By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Add yet another potential benefit to breastfeeding: Fewer behavioral problems in young children.

Parents of youngsters who were breastfed as infants were less likely to report that their child had a behavior problem or psychiatric illness during the first five years of life, a new study found.

And the likelihood of mental health issues decreased in proportion to the duration of breastfeeding, meaning that a child who had been breastfed for a year was less likely to have behavior problems than a child who had been breastfed for just two months.

"This is an early finding, but it suggests that breastfeeding during infancy could have an effect on behavior during childhood," said the study's lead author, Dr. Katherine Hobbs Knutson, a resident in the department of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.


Previous research has shown that breast milk offers numerous benefits for babies and that breastfeeding can benefit both mother and infant. Babies who are breastfed are less likely to suffer from ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, wheezing, and bacterial and viral illnesses, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Research has also linked breastfeeding with a reduced risk of obesity, diabetes, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and certain cancers, according to the AAP.

For mothers, breastfeeding helps the uterus quickly return to its pre-pregnancy shape and helps burn additional calories, which can help get rid of extra pregnancy weight, the AAP reports. Additionally, breastfeeding is believed to help nurture the mother-child bond.

The new study reviewed more than 100,000 interviews of parents and guardians of children between the ages of 10 months and 18 years who participated in the National Survey of Children's Health. Parents were asked about breastfeeding and about their child's behavior and mental health.

Examples of questions included: Are you currently concerned a lot, a little or not at all about how your child behaves? How he/she is learning pre-school or school skills? Has a doctor or health professional ever told you that your child has behavioral or conduct problems?

Parents of children who were breastfed were 15% less likely to be concerned about their child's behavior, compared to formula-fed infants. And the breastfed children were 37% less likely to have a medically diagnosed behavioral or conduct problem, according to the study.

And, Knutson said, the effect of breastfeeding appeared to be cumulative, with those who were breastfed for a longer duration even less likely to have behavior problems.

She also said the study found "a correlation between breastfeeding and cognitive development."

"These findings are certainly intriguing," said Dr. Debra Bogen, a pediatrician in the division of general academic pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

The study adds to the "overwhelming evidence that women should, if they can, offer breast milk to their babies," she added.

Both Bogen and Knutson said the nutritional composition of breast milk might have an effect on the way a baby's brain develops, and that better nutrition could explain the behavioral differences. But both experts felt it was too soon to know for sure the exact cause of the potentially protective effect.


Optimizing your Milk Supply

Optimizing Your Milk Supply After Returning to Work or School

There are three critical components necessary for successfully maintaining milk supply when reentering the workforce or returning to school:

A high quality breast pump that removes milk quickly and effectively

A place to use a breast pump at work/school that is clean, private, and with access to electricity, if needed

Time to use a breast pump at work/school at least every 3 hours

The information provided on this page will help you understand how to manage working and breastfeeding.

Selecting a Breast Pump

When assessing the performance criteria of a breast pump, the breastfeeding baby should set the standard. When a baby nurses he creates approximately 200-250 millimeters Hg negative pressure and sucks approximately once every second (45-55 times/minute).

breast pump suction pressures range from 20-650 mm Hg negative pressure. Pressures above the high 200s often cause pain. Pressures below 150 are reported to be ineffective at extracting milk. A breast pump that is similar to a nursing baby creates 200-230 mm Hg negative pressure and cycles about once every second. Two Medela pumps meet both criteria for suction pressure and cycles (sucks) per minute: the Lactina and the Pump In Style. Both of these pumps are also designed for frequent, long term use and their simultaneous double pumping action may help maintain milk supply more effectively.

If only working or taking classes part-time - less than 4 hours a day or 2 eight-hour work/school days - the Medela Mini Electric or Avent Isis are other options. Although these pumps do not meet both criteria for performance, they are still acceptable when used in this limited and short-term fashion.

When choosing a breast pump, you should consider where at work/school you will be using it. Will you have access to an electrical outlet? If not, does the pump convert to battery operation or can it be used in your car? Both the Lactina and the Pump In Style are electrically operable and can also be powered by a vehicle lighter adapter or battery pack. The Mini Electric can be powered with an AC adapter, 2 AA batteries, or manually. The Avent Isis pump can be operated manually without the need for additional power sources or worry about wear and tear on motor parts.

Breast pumping in the Weeks Prior to Your Return to Work/School

During the time after your baby is born and before you return to the workplace or classroom, your primary goal will be to establish your supply. This is best done through frequent day and night feedings and the avoidance or limitation of supplemental bottles.

Also during this time you will want to select or purchase your breast pump. This will allow you time to become familiar with the operation and cleaning of your pump, enabling you to determine if you need extra parts, etc. and to remedy any pumping problems.

This is also a good time to begin stockpiling your milk reserve and introducing your baby to an alternative feeding method, usually a bottle. Be advised that you will want to avoid bottles unless medically indicated for at least 4 weeks if possible in order to lessen the risk of nipple confusion. Plan to pump milk to stockpile whenever the opportunity arises:

In the early days when the milk supply may be more than the baby needs, often referred to as the engorgement period.

On the other breast when the baby only takes one side.

A few minutes (5-10) after feedings.

In the morning hours when milk supply is most plentiful.

When pumping during these days, expect to only be able to pump small amounts as your body adjusts to a different type of stimulation and while your baby is nursing frequently throughout the day and night. You may have to pump several times in order to acquire the amount needed for one bottle. Once you return to work or school, however, and begin missing feedings regularly, you will be able to pump greater amounts.

Managing breast pumping in the Work or School Setting

Frequency of pumping: Ideally you should plan to pump at least 3 times during an 8 hour work/school day, 2 times during a 6 hour day, and at least once during a 4 hour day. If pumping opportunities are extremely limited,brief pumping sessions of 5 minutes are better than no pumping. If there is no pumping for prolonged periods; i.e.. 8-9 hours or more, expect milk supply to drop. Supply can be increased through frequent nighttime and weekend (days off) nursing sessions.

Some mothers resort to reverse cycle feeding if pumping is not an option at work. This is simply feeding your baby at least as frequently during the night hours as he would normally feed during the day. It is made easier by bringing the baby to bed with you so that you can obtain the rest that you need.

Possible locations for pumping: a women's restroom, lounge, locker room, or break room, an unused conference room or office, an employee health office, your vehicle, or a designated employee breast pumping room. Wherever you decide to pump, make sure that you have access to electricity (if needed for pump operation), the location is private and comfortable (not too hot or too cold; comfortable place to sit), and there is sufficient cleanliness for collecting milk. If using a public restroom wash area to wash pump parts after collecting milk, consider bringing your own wash basin from home in order to maximize hygiene.

Consider doing a "practice run" the week before you return to work/school. Leave the baby with the caregiver and go to your workplace or school a couple of times during the day to pump when you normally will be pumping. This will give you the opportunity to identify any problems; i.e.. With the pump, location of pumping, whether or not your collection/cleaning/storage options are adequate, and the estimated time required for pumping.

Strategies for Maintaining Milk Supply

The number of breast emptying (nursing or pumping) sessions per every 24 hours is critical:

8 times is optimal

7 times is minimal

6 times - expect milk supply to decrease

More frequent feedings can be encouraged by increasing skin-to-skin contact and co-sleeping.

Avoid bottles and pacifiers whenever you and baby are together. This will ensure that all the baby's sucking needs are met at the breast and that you receive vital stimulation to maintain your supply.

Minimize any stress in your life and delegate responsibilities when you can.

Optimize your physical status by going to bed earlier, increasing rest times on off days, getting moderate exercise (increases Prolactin levels which in turn increase milk supply), and consume adequate fluids (many busy moms do not take the time to drink enough, so make it a point to have something nearby that you can sip throughout your work/school day).

A Typical Work/School Day for the Breastfeeding Mother

Set your alarm clock 20-30 minutes early. Nurse your baby during this time even if you have to awaken him.

Dress yourself and the baby.

Eat a well-balanced breakfast including something to drink.

Nurse again before leaving.

Plan to pump around midmorning.

Have something to drink and a snack.

Plan to pump again - or nurse if possible - at midday/lunchtime. Eat a well-balanced meal with something to drink.

Plan to pump around mid-afternoon. Have a snack With something to drink.

Pick up baby after work/school and nurse as soon as you arrive home.

Eat a well-balanced dinner with adequate fluid.

Nurse on demand throughout the evening. This is beneficial to increasing your supply and it helps your baby reconnect with you.

Work in some moderate exercise as this increases the hormone that is responsible for milk production.

Have a bedtime snack with something to drink.

Nurse on demand throughout the night. Bring baby to bed with you to allow for adequate rest.

Is it Worth All This Effort?

Using a breast pump at work/school takes a real commitment. Some mothers make this effort so that they are clearly distinguishable from their baby's caregiver. Only a mother can breastfeed. Others decide to pump at work or school simply because they enjoy breastfeeding and want to continue it for as long as possible. Pumping while at work/school makes this more possible.

There is no doubt about the continued health benefits of breastfeeding to you and your baby even after you return to work or school. Even with the cost of a breast pump and related supplies and the added burden that pumping brings, the cost of NOT continuing to provide your baby with breastmilk after your return to work/school is HIGH! The cost of formula ranges from $48 - $190 per month and specialized formulas required by some babies cost even more. Additionally, formula-feeding is associated with more frequent doctor's office visits and hospitalization, prescriptions, and parental absenteeism from work/school in order to take care of an ill baby. Breastmilk cannot be purchased. Only YOU can provide it!

Guidelines for Storing Expressed Milk for Moms of Healthy, Full-term Babies

The following are some guidelines for storing expressed milk for moms of healthy, full-term babies. Moms who are storing milk for a baby who is in the hospital should follow any guidelines required by the hospital.

Before expressing milk, always wash your hands and make sure the containers you plan to store the milk in have been washed in hot, soapy water and thoroughly rinsed, or have gone through the dishwasher.

Always date the milk before storing it.

If you are expressing or pumping milk to be given to your baby in the next 30 minutes, the milk can simply be kept at room temperature - there are no special storage guidelines.

Milk can be stored in a normal refrigerator with other food items. The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the US Centers for Disease Control say human milk does not require special handling or storage in a separate container.

Breastmilk can be stored at room temperature (66-72 degrees Fahrenheit) for up to 10 hours

Breastmilk can be stored in the refrigerator that maintains a temperature of between 32 and 29 degrees Fahrenheit for up to eight days.

Breastmillk can be stored in the freezer section of your refrigerator that has a separate door for up to 3 months.

Breastmilk can be stored in an upright or chest freezer at a constant temperature of 0 degrees (Fahrenheit) for 6 to 12 months.


Use plastic or glass containers With tops that fit well or special bags designed for storing breastmilk (many pump manufactures make milk storage containers). Thin bottle liners are not recommended. They tend to rip and tear easily.


Milk stored in the freezer should be placed in the middle of the freezer and not kept on the freezer door.

If you plan to add milk to an already frozen container, cool the milk in the refrigerator first. Adding warm or room-temperature milk to a frozen supply could thaw the frozen milk.

Milk that has been frozen and thawed can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours, but should not be refrozen.

Freeze milk in two-four oz. servings. This will allow you to thaw one serving at a time to help avoid wasting the milk.

Whichever container you choose, don't fill it to the top -allow room for expansion when freezing.


Thaw frozen breastmilk under warm, running water. Do not boil! Heating the milk will destroy its nutrients.

Shake before testing the temperature or serving it to your baby (it is common for the cream to separate from milk in storage).

Avoid microwaves. Breastmilk heated in a microwave tends to have "hot spots" that could burn your baby.


La Leche League

La Leche League provides phone support from experience mothers, accredited by La Leche League International. Monthly support meetings for information and support are also available.

Arizona Dept. of Health Services Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Hotline (bi-lingual)
Contact #: 1-800-833-4642

Breastfeeding National Network (Medela)
Contact #: 1-800-835-5968

Ameda Helpline
Contact #: 1-877-992-6332, Option #2


What is the God Delusion?

The God Delusion is a kick ass book from Richard Dawkins, scientist. I recommend this book to everyone.

You can check it out from your library or you can ignore copyright laws and download an audio book version from the internet somewhere using bittorrent technology.


Iraq Vet Crushed by Police Horse

In case you hadn't seen this video yet, it shows how dangerous raising your voice against your government can be. People should not be afraid of their government.


What are free and equal elections?

Free and Equal is a website / organization that promotes ending the duopoly of the Republican and Democrat reign on Amerikan government.

For far too long has this nation suffered under the false pretense of change and hope. For far too long has this nation been subject to staggering corporate profits, stagnant wages, and selfishness. It is time for a change. (Real change, not the pseudo-change that Obama or McCain preached during their campaign).

Check out the site.


Breastfeeding Testimonials

Breastfeeding Testimonials

I was able to stay at home with my son for almost a whole year after he was born, but then I went back to school and work. I continued to breast feed my son during the times that we were together. Since I put him in daycare in Sep. 2003, he has only been sick once. Several of the other children in his class have been sick many times. He is now 18 months old and I still breast feed him once a day. I believe this is the reason he has been able to stay so healthy.


When my third son Colt was born I told my doctor that I would be ready to go back to work right away. WIC promotes breastfeeding and I could bring my baby with me to work, "Why stay home?" I was a working mom! We headed off to work together when Colt was a few weeks old. He and I never missed a day of work for those first 4 months we were together. Then Colt had to stay home though and I had my first "problem". He WOULD NOT take a bottle. The "problem" was solved though. Dad or "Mr. Mom "as I lovingly called him drove around town and the office area with Colt stopping by for visits every few hours throughout the day. This routine continued on until Colt was about a year old. I owe gratitude and appreciation to the WIC program for their support to my breastfeeding endeavors and to Mr. Mom for his patient driving abilities.

Kelly and Colton Carpenter

Maricopa County WIC Program

I recently became a new mom, and I wanted to exclusively breastfeed while working full time. I faced the obvious challenge of being away from my baby and having to work full time. Luckily the county policy allowed me to bring my baby to work for the first three months, and provided me with an electric breast-pump after my baby turned three months. Being able to breastfeed during these first three months helped me overcome the initial obstacles of breastfeeding.

My baby is now eight months old and is still completely breastfed. Our success is largely due to the county's breastfeeding policies.

This is written by Yolanda Escajeda, Community Nutrition Worker, Maricopa Co. WIC Program

I am Yolanda's supervisor at the WIC office. While she was bringing her baby to work, she was able to balance her job responsibilities and breastfeeding with a little help from her co-workers. It was really fun having a baby at the office. Having the baby at the office prompted conversation between the staff and the clients, and helped promote breastfeeding to our clients.

Andrea Wilson, RD

In May of 2000, I was lucky enough to get to bring my son to work with me. He was 7 weeks old. Every morning, until he was 6 months old, my husband would get him ready for work while I did the same. We would leave the house with a trunk full of essentials and arrive at work ready for the day. In the beginning he would spend a majority of his day on his "Boppy" pillow sleeping and nursing. As he got older and more curious he spent more time in his bouncy seat and "Pack and Play" playing and interacting with anyone that would walk by. My son went to meetings, conferences, computer software testing, and anywhere else my job would need us to go. He had regular visitors from around the office and for the most part brought a sense of peace. It's hard to be mad or upset when there is a baby around. No, it was not always easy to have him at the office but the difficult times were few and luckily I had strong support from my co-workers to conquer any troubles. My son is extremely social today and I attribute that to his early office experience. He is also extremely healthy which I attribute to the complete availability of breast milk until he was 7 months old.

After I returned to work without him I took part in our office's pumping program, which consisted of an electric pump and the time necessary to adequately pump. Due to this program, I was able nurse my son until he was 15 months.


Arizona Department of Health Services

Office of Nutrition Services

"Intel's openness in regards to the needs of breastfeeding mothers was very refreshing to me as a working mom. Intel provides mother's rooms for women at work while away from their babies. With both my sons, I worked flexible hours and was given the opportunity to use the mother's rooms provided by Intel for nursing mothers. This allowed me to continue to put the health and comfort of my children first while still applying my efforts and focus on Intel. The mother's room was equipped with phone, internet and email access to allow me to continue to be productive for Intel while taking care of my children's needs as well."

Maryann Iannitti, Intel Marketing Manager.

I have 2 children the first son is now 4 and a half and I only had a small amount of trouble but for some reason I decided to stop when he was 3 months old. My second son is nearly 13 weeks. I was determined to breastfeed for at least 6 months. Well Isaac had a different plan for me. Due to health problems when he was born he had to have a bottle of either breast milk or formula when I wasn't there and was tube fed for a week. This made him quite a lazy feeder who didn't want to work for his food. After many many stressful feeds I decided that I couldn't take anymore so I hired a medela breast pump and express all his feeds. While I don't attach Isaac I am still exclusively breastfeeding him and am very proud that I lasted this long. I admit it is very tiring expressing every 3-4 hours and feeding Isaac a bottle every 2-3 hours during the day and usually once at night. The only drawback is that I have to make sure that I express before I go anywhere and try to be near my pump when I start to get a bit full. I hope other new mums will decide to go this way if they have problems with their babies attaching.

Good luck to everyone!



Exercise of the week: truck pulls

I used to do this in high school.

Except I pushed around a compact car.


Fire Dennis Erickson

Fire Dennis Erickson (or at least don't offer him an extension)

I never thought that hiring Dennis Erickson to coach Arizona State football was a good move for the Sun Devils. Here is why:

Lack of Control Over His Program
During his time at the University of Miami, the Hurricanes were found to have broken NCAA rules on Pell Grants due to a member of the financial aid office, and were placed on three years' probation not long after Erickson left the school for 'lack of institutional controls.'

2008 Stats (as of 29 November 2008)
76th in scoring offense with 264 points
91st in total offense with 3551 yards
40th in scoring defense with 241 points allowed
43rd in total defense with 3633 yards allowed
19th in penalties with 86 penalties for 741 yards

2007 Stats
38th in scoring offense with 420 yards
57th in total offense with 5577 yards
59th in penalties with 80 penalties for 734 yards

Dennis Erickson would be better for a different football program, not at Arizona State.

Refurbished, could be the way to go

Going green is somewhat of a big deal now. Why not, go green and get a refurbished electronic unit instead of a brand spanking new one. You are in a sense, recycling.

Check out the following video. It talks about refurbished high definition televisions from secondact.com.

Second Act News Feature (WCCO-CBS) from Second Act on Vimeo.

If you would like to see what secondact.com is selling now, be sure to follow this (commission free) link, or the link on the right (if it is being displayed).

update:SecondAct.com is no more.

The team at Second Act would like to thank all of the customers who have shopped with us over the past 6 years. Unfortunately, owed to the current economic environment, we have been forced to cease operations. We have thoroughly enjoyed assisting you with your HDTV purchases and regret having to leave the scene. We hope that you have felt well served by our efforts on your behalf.

Also, the tv I bought at secondact.com seems to have busted. Check out this blog for more info: http://samsunglcdtvtrouble.blogspot.com/


Exercise of the week: drop lunge

This week, try the drop lunge. It is a challenging lower body exercise that doesn't require any equipment.


What is Buy Nothing Day?

What is Buy Nothing Day?
Black Friday is perhaps the most important day in the world. This is a day that people stand up to the consumerist attitude of much of the world and say, "No. I do not believe that I need to spend all my money on crap I don't need. I do not need to pay exorbitant amounts of money, in fees and interest charges, to banks so that I can buy stuff. I am beyond that."

Watch the video and learn a little bit:

Visit the site to learn a little more


Humanitarian struggles to save lives

Reservation ban of water for migrants is reported
By Brady McCombs
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 09.03.2008

A Tohono O'odham tribe member who has been putting water in remote desert areas for the past seven years for the benefit of illegal immigrants says he has been told to stop.

The order was given Saturday morning while Mike Wilson was southwest of Sells on the reservation showing 11 non-tribal guests one of the four water stations he operates, Wilson said.

A Tohono O'odham police officer approached Wilson and said the district chairwoman, Veronica Harvey, had instructed her to tell Wilson to take down the water station and escort his guests off the reservation, Wilson said. He didn't take down the two 55-gallon water barrels but left with his guests, he said.

Tohono O'odham Chairman Ned Norris Jr. confirmed Tuesday that Baboquivari District leaders asked Wilson and his guests to leave, but he said he has no knowledge of the request to remove the water station.
Phone calls to Harvey requesting comment were not returned.

The tribe has a standing decision not to allow humanitarian groups to place water on the reservation. Norris, who became chairman after that decision was made, has said the decision falls to the reservation's 11 districts because it's a matter of local concern. He said the same thing about the reported decision to ask Wilson and his guests to leave on Saturday.

"The tribal constitution authorizes each district to govern themselves on issues of local concern," Norris said. "This, in their view, is an issue of local concern."

Wilson gave the following account of Saturday's events:

Early that morning, Wilson and the group were at one of his water stations east of the village of Topawa on Federal Route 10, commonly known as Fresnal Canyon Road. He was talking about the history of his work in maintaining the water stations to eight seminary students from Denver, their professor and two retired Tucson pastors, the Rev. John Fife and the Rev. Gene Lefebvre.

A tribal police officer drove up to the group and told Wilson that she had received a complaint about non-tribal members being in the Baboquivari District. She told him that the Baboquivari District is a restricted district, which means O'odham are required to notify the board and get permission before bringing in any non-tribal guests, the officer said.

Wilson said he had never heard of the rule.

Fife said the officer told them she needed to check on the matter with the district and waited for 15 to 20 minutes before delivering the order to remove the station and to leave. She told the group that the seminary students were banned for life, Fife said.

After Wilson refused to take down the water station, the officer told Wilson that the district would do it. But as of Sunday, all the water stations were still up, Wilson said.

He said he believes he upset Harvey by bringing out such a large group of visitors.

The seminary students and their professor had been in Southern Arizona for about a week studying border issues, Fife said. They went with Wilson to learn more about the illegal-immigrant deaths on the reservation, he said.

Fife, the retired pastor of Southside Presbyterian Church and a leader in the old Sanctuary Movement, doesn't understand why the Baboquivari District kicked the group off or why it asked Wilson to remove the water station.
Fife has spent time on the reservation in his many years involved with border issues, including an internship on the Tohono O'odham Reservation in 1963.

Wilson's four water stations are in the Baboquivari Valley, which is the deadliest corridor for illegal immigrants in the United States.
The corridor had claimed the lives of 229 border crossers from the beginning of fiscal 2000 through November 2007 ― more than three times the average number of deaths in other segments of the U.S. Border Patrol's Tucson Sector, according to the Arizona Daily Star's analysis of 1,156 deaths recorded by the federal agency. Most immigrants died from the heat.

Seventy bodies of illegal immigrants were recovered on the Tohono O'odham Reservation in 2007, and 83 were found from Jan. 1 through June 12 of this year, the latest numbers available.

Wilson has experienced problems with his lifesaving efforts in the past.

From 2001 through 2003, the water jugs he placed in the desert were slashed by vandals on a continuous basis, he said. In September 2003, nearly a quarter of the 4,000 gallon jugs of water were slashed in one rash of vandalism.

Around 2003, he switched from water jugs to 55-gallon water barrels. In 2006, all eight barrels at the four stations were stolen.
"I'm upset that the Tohono O'odham Nation would continue in this ― what I consider a crime against humanity," Wilson said. "That they would take down my water stations."

● Contact reporter Brady McCombs at 573-4213 or bmccombs [at] azstarnet [dot] com


Help farm workers this Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving presents an opportunity to help farm workers. You know, the people that do the hard job of planting and harvesting crops.

Here is one way you can help out:
The United Farm Workers Thanks & Giving appeal is our annual Thanksgiving solicitation. We're asking for your generosity in supporting the work the UFW does to improve the lives of farm workers and their families. Thanks & Giving asks us to give "thanks" for our healthy, prosperous lives, while "giving" to help poor farm workers and their children to live better lives.


Exercise of the week: chair pose

Workoutz.com has recently added this yoga pose to it's library of exercise videos. Check it out.


Tell your politicians to stop supporting the MPAA & RIAA

On October 13 President Bush signed into law the PRO-IP bill. This is good news for the Recording Industry Association of American and the Motion Picture Association of America and bad news for consumers like you and me.

Any law the president of the RIAA describes as "music to the ears" is
guaranteed to be big trouble. On October 13th, President Bush signed the
misleadingly named PRO-IP bill into law, giving the DRM-loving segments of the
entertainment industry a substantial foothold in the Department of Justice,
paving the way for unwarranted seizures of computer equipment, and funding
entertainment industry propaganda with your tax dollars.

This was yet another gift to the industry and an attack on the public's
interest, from our own representatives and senators. Just because the bill has
become law does not mean that we should let them off the hook for their votes.
Take this important opportunity to write and call them, to let them know that
this is unacceptable and that you expect an explanation for their votes.

More information can be found on the Defective by Design Blog


WIC on Fox

My job, WIC, got it's own 15 seconds of fame on a local Fox affiliate


Your baby at home

Your Baby at Home

You will probably be very excited to bring your baby home from the hospital. It might even be a little scary. Your baby will seem so small and fragile you might worry about hurting baby. Baby's crying may make you nervous. If this is your first baby, everything is new to you. As you spend time with your baby, you'll learn to become more relaxed. Soon you'll know what baby likes and what upsets baby. Until then, here's what you should know about the first weeks at home.

A time to rest

You'll probably feel quite tired. Your body has worked very hard to have your baby. And now she'll be waking up many times in the night. But it's important for you to get enough sleep. During the day, nap while your baby sleeps. Don't worry about cleaning the house or doing the laundry, it's time for others to help you with that. Ask your friends to help you with those chores. As baby gets older, baby will sleep more at night.

When your baby cries

Baby's crying might upset you. That can make you feel like a bad parent. Don't worry. Babies cry. A lot. Soon you'll be able to figure out what baby wants when baby cries.

For now, start by looking at her diaper. If it is wet or soiled, change it. If baby is still crying, baby may be too hot or too cold. Check by putting your hand on the back of baby's neck. If too hot, take off some of baby's clothing. If too cold, wrap baby in a small blanket.

Still crying? Feed and burp baby. Here's how to burp your baby:
Hold baby upright with baby's head on your shoulder. Support baby's head while you gently pat her back with your hand.

Sometimes babies cry because they want to suck on something. Help baby find baby's thumb or fingers by guiding baby's hand to baby's mouth. Or give baby a pacifier. Some babies like to be carried or taken for a car ride (in a properly installed child safety seat). If your baby's cries make you angry, take a break. It's best to step back, leave baby with someone else and go for a walk or do something else for stress management. If no one is available to help you, put your baby down and call your doctor to ask for advice.

The best ways to bond with your baby

Every time you pick up your baby or sing baby a song, the two of you are growing closer to each other. To help baby learn that baby can always feel safe with you, spend lots of time with baby. Here are some other ways to help baby feel loved:

  • Hold and touch baby often. Cuddling baby will make baby feel secure. It won't spoil baby.

  • Breastfeed your baby.

  • Talk to your baby. Baby won't understand the words yet, but baby will like hearing the sound of your voice.

Don't forget about your partner

Your partner is probably excited, worried, and tired too. Your partner may also feel alone. In many families, the mother takes care of the baby. Dad may want to help. There are plenty of chores your partner can do. Diapers need to be changed, baby needs to be bathed and dressed. This is an opportunity to take some much needed rest.


What is the Birth to Five Helpline?

Offering Parenting Resources for Families with Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers

Birth to Five Helpline

The Birth to Five Helpline is open to all families with young children looking for the latest child development information from experts in the field. Professionals may also take advantage of this free service.

An extension of the successful Helpline is the Fussy Baby Program. The Fussy Baby Program is an affiliate of the Fussy Baby Network at Chicago's prestigious Erikson Institute, and expands the organization's Birth to Five Helpline. This program provides telephone and in some instances, home visiting support to help families navigate challenges associated with hard to soothe infants.

Staffed by early childhood development specialists, registered nurses, disabilities specialists, early literacy specialists, and mental health counselors, the Helpline provides access to the Fussy Baby Program as well as:

  • A toll-free number for all Arizona families with young children and parents-to-be

  • Professional telephone consultation

  • Individualized child development information

  • Home visitation services in some cases

Topics covered are wide-ranging and include:
  • Health and Nutrition

  • Child development

  • Language Development

  • Sleep

  • Discipline

  • Colic (inconsolable crying)

  • Getting ready for school

  • Early literacy


Support Breastfeeding!

Calling all parents: Support Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is an important thing to do. The following mostly discusses how the non breastfeeding parent can make it easier for their partner to breastfeed.

Why should partners encourage breastfeeding?
  • Research shows that breastfed babies have fewer colds and ear infections.

  • The nutrients in breastmilk help build the baby's brain and immune system.

  • Breastmilk is always the right temperature and ready to serve.

  • Breastfeeding builds a close bond between mother, father, and baby.

How can fathers be a part of the breastfeeding team?
    Here are some suggestions:
  • Help around the house. If there are other children, take care of them so mom can get some rest.

  • Take your baby to mom for breastfeeding. If mom needs something while she's breastfeeding, offer to get it for her.

  • Do things that will make mom feel good about herself:

    • Praise her for breastfeeding

    • Do something special for her

    • Be proud!

  • Make time for just you and your baby. Babies need cuddles and hugs from their dads, too.

  • When mom is breastfeeding, help her feel comfortable and relaxed.

  • Your support can make mom feel more comfortable about breastfeeding, even in public.

    • When the baby gets hungry and needs to eat in public, mom can breastfeed without people noticing her.

    • Mom can use a blanket or a shawl to cover up while breastfeeding. People will think she's simply cuddling the baby.


Pregnant Exercise

Exercise and Pregnancy

Along with eating the right foods, regular exercise is a great way to keep you and your baby healthy.

When you're pregnant, exercise will help you feel your best. But don't exercise to lose weight. This is a time when you should be gaining weight.

Don't do much more exercise than you did before you got pregnant. It's better to stick with what you're used to. Ask your doctor which exercises are right for you before you start.

Walking is best.

Walking is the best exercise for pregnant women. This is true even if you didn't walk much before. Special exercise classes for pregnant women are also good, if you can afford them. Hospitals and community centers may offer these classes. Ask around.

Make a plan.

Put together a plan of exercises that you'll stick to. And then decide how often you'll do them. Try to schedule 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, like walking, most days of the week. Remember that you can add up the time that you are physically active, so if you only have time to be active for 10 minutes 3 times a day, take advantage of each opportunity.

Take it easy.

You must be careful when you exercise while you're pregnant.
  • Don't exercise in very hot or very cold weather.

  • Be very careful about your body. Some things are different now. Joints like knees and elbows can be injured more easily. This is because of the increase in flexibility that your body uses to prepare for childbirth.

  • Drink plenty of water.

  • Don't let yourself become too hot. The warm up and cool down are just as important now as they are at any other time. Start off slowly for the first 5 to 10 minutes. Then you can go a little faster. Slow down again at the end for about 5 to 10 minutes.

  • Watch your balance now that your belly is much bigger. Avoid activities that require extra balance or that pose a greater risk for falling.

  • After 20 weeks, avoid during exercises on your back.

When to stop.
Your doctor may want you to stop exercising when your due date gets closer. And at any time during your pregnancy, be sure to stop exercising right away if you:
  • feel pain

  • have cramps in your uterus

  • feel blood or fluid coming from your vagina

  • get dizzy

  • have trouble breathing

If the problem doesn't go away after you stop exercising, make sure to call your doctor.

What Palin didn't know

Whoah, Fox sure did a quick turn around huh:

Look for a Palin run to the White House in 2012.


Reasons to not vote for Obama: He isn't real change

Debra Sweet, from the World Can't Wait, put it much better than I could have:

All of us living in this country will confront change after tomorrow's election, but not the change most people think they are getting. If Obama wins, he will preside over changes we don't want and shouldn't get sucked into supporting.

I'm calling on you to keep resisting the crimes being done by your government. Tuesday, let's go out among the people at the polls, and in the evening, be among those celebrating a presumed Obama win to challenge them on the facts, and on their consciences, and raise these questions:

What are people even getting to vote about after this two year long campaign? Did you get to vote on whether the U.S. should occupy Iraq? Or whether the CIA, the private contractors, or the military should use torture and secret detentions?

And what is there to celebrate in an Obama presidency? Making us feel good about the country again when Obama is trying to unite us to fight the "good war" in Afghanistan? Happy that some combat troops will be removed from Iraq, while air strikes kill more civilians in Pakistan and Syria? How could we celebrate "national unity" when Obama's vote for the FISA law opens the way for unprecedented political repression and spying on the people?

I know, from talking to many people, that lots of people have "settled" for Obama, as opposed to McCain. Others are hoping against hope...and will be open to hearing what we have to say. If what we say is unpopular, or angers people, then so be it. You don't change political terms by shying away from controversy. And you can't learn what people really think without challenging their assumptions.

This is not the time to "wait and see" what Obama will do after January 20, or after 6 months or a year...or never, because if he does what's in the peoples' interests he won't be re-elected? He's telling us what he will do, and the worst thing would be to get passive in the face of it.

Wednesday, November 5, World Can't Wait is holding the first anti-war protests while Obama is president-elect. (see sidebar: if the election is stolen for McCain, there will be 5 pm protests at federal buildings that day which we will join with our message).

Millions of people will be overjoyed to see Bush gone after 8 disastrous years. But they project their hopes on a candidate who is not even promising what they want. To be blunt, most people, when you ask them, don't know what Obama's program is. They need to know what Obama is planning, not that which they are being hood-winked to believe in, as Dennis Loo calls it.
What matters now, the busy/cheney legacy.

1) Obama, the "anti-war" candidate wants to leave 50 to 80,000 troops in Iraq, but move the combat brigades to Afghanistan, and add then add more troops. My friend Missy Beattie, whose nephew was killed in Iraq in 2006, wrote on Counterpunch, "I'm sick of Obama's 'right war' in Afghanistan." He first promoted sending drones and special forces into Pakistan last spring. The Bush regime publicly disagreed, but secretly began attacks on Pakistan in July, which have killed scores of civilians.

Joe Mowrey wrote on Obama's "progressive warfare" in a piece that begins with why Colin Powell, salesman for the Iraq debacle with his own war criminal history, should have driven people from Obama with his endorsement. "Let's catalog of few of Barack Obama's progressive qualifications to be next President of the United States of Imperialism. Well first, there's his adamant condemnation of the war in Iraq. Why, he was against it from the very start. Of course, that hasn't prevented him from voting continually to fund the Occupation. But hey, he has to get elected before he can implement all his wonderful changey policies, right? You know, like maintaining a presence of 50,000 to 80,000 troops in Iraq, along with a dozen or so permanent military bases and the world's largest foreign embassy. Then there is his pledge to escalate the "good war" in Afghanistan. We've only killed about 10,000 or so innocent civilians there in the last few years. I won't feel safe until we can push those numbers much higher. And Pakistan? Sending robot drones out to drop bombs on people is my kind of progressive war. Obama has assured us he'll continue that policy and actually increase the number of illegal violations of that country's sovereignty."
Name that Candidate

2) The June 2008 FISA Bill: Lots of people have told me this is where their hope for Obama flew away. Obama campaigned against Bush's FISA law. Then he voted FOR it, including immunity to the telephone companies, so no one can sue them for violating federal law for years by handing over email and phone traffic to the NSA. Bush could never have gotten his FISA bill through Congress in 2006, but by 2008, when the Democrats controlled the House, they gave him everything he wanted. People expected Obama, who taught Constitutional law, to protect their rights, but Obama went out of his way to make an unpopular vote to bolster the "war on terror" and set the basis for expanded political repression. He voted for an amended USA PATRIOT Act that had more draconian curbs on political protest than the 2001 version.

3) Obama vows to expand Bush's "faith-based initiatives" that have wrapped the delivery of shrinking social services in Christian fundamentalist messages. Chris Hedges, a scholar of right wing populism, makes the point in American Fascists that the hard core Christian "fascists" running the reactionary movement of which Sarah Palin is a rising star, don't want to come to an agreement with gay people, women who won't submit to their prescribed role in the family, or people who don't share their religious views. "They are out to eliminate you," said Hedges.

American Fascists

Hedges new piece today on Truthdig.com

As a defender of women's reproductive rights, and abortion doctors specifically, for 26 years, I know they have, and want to eliminate us. In this context, Obama wants to find "common ground" with the program of ending abortion and birth control. He voted against the ban on so-called "partial birth" abortion in the Senate, but now says it's up the states, as long as there's a health exception for the woman concerned. Obama: "I don't think that 'mental distress' qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term. Otherwise, as long as there is such a medical exception in place, I think we can prohibit late-term abortions." Barack Obama on Abortion

Obama is not protecting women's endangered rights with his goal of "ending the polarizing debate on abortion."

A McCain/Palin presidency would be dangerous. If they win, it will be as illegitimate as Bush's selection was; a terrible further leap in the fascist direction Bush took this society in after 9/11. We should lead people -- who will correctly be horrified -- not to accept a stolen election.

But putting our principles aside just to keep McCain from being elected won't stop this juggernaut of war and repression.

As all this settles in, people who get alarmed need to know there's a force to join with that will firmly oppose this program. Malcolm Shore writes in "What Now - The Difference Four Years Can Make" about what it means to have World Can't Wait on the political scene. It's more essential now than it has ever been that we be out among people with a sober, clear reality to help people see the responsibility we who live in this country have now.

We are a minority. If what we say is unpopular, or angers people, then so be it. We have a responsibility to act on what we know to be true. Our strength can be an anchor to others, as they discover the program they will be forced to accept, or resist.

We will be here, organizing a movement of resistance with a realistic aim -- to bring these crimes and this whole direction to a stop. If you don't want to join us now, remember us and join us when it does become clear to you that the crimes of your government have to be stopped. Then, join with the kind of movement that CAN make it happen.

Only the independent action of the people can create the conditions where those in power can be forced to act in accordance with our demands. This is the change we can believe in.

How about this? Stop thinking like an American, and start thinking like someone who cares for the whole planet.

I'll write when we know the outcome of the election!

Debra Sweet, Director, The World Can't Wait - Drive Out the Bush Regime

I'd like you to read the Call to Drive Out the Bush Regime signed by tens of thousands since 2005.

Why would we accept any of this, no matter who the president?

PROTEST Wednesday November 5

World Can't Wait will hold the first anti-war protests in the era of president-elect Obama.

No matter who the president is, stop the endless wars!

Step up as someone who won't accept these crimes. End the wars in Iraq/Afghanistan. Stop the airstrikes on Pakistan & Syria and the secret operations in Iran.

* If the election is stolen, representing a further escalation of the fascist direction the Bush Regime has been taking society for the past 8 years, don't accept it! Paralysis and demoralization are not acceptable.

New York City: Federal Building, 26 Federal Plaza 5:00 pm

San Francisco: Powell & Market Streets 5:00 pm

(details being posted at worldcantwait.org)

Learn about the 2008 Arizona Ballot Issues

Prop. 100 - Protect Our Homes

Sponsor: Arizona Association of Realtors
What it would do: Amend the state Constitution to prohibit the creation of real-estate transfer taxes.
Pro: The initiative would protect families and businesses from a damaging real estate sales or transfer tax on homes or property. Since home and property owners already pay annual property taxes, an additional tax, levied at the time people buy, sell or transfer ownership of their home would be double taxation.
Con: The measure would close off one avenue of potential tax income for the state and change the state's Constitution to protect real estate corporations and developers. It is an attempt to tie the hands of Arizona's elected officials as they try to deal with the costs of meeting Arizona's needs.
The bottom line: Would close off one avenue of potential tax income for the state.
RareHero says vote NO: Limiting income for the state is never a good thing. At a time when the state is struggling to find money to pay for anything (like higher education) voting for this proposition would really hurt Arizona's future.

Prop. 101 - Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act

Sponsor: Doctors, patients and business owners
What it would do: Bars the state from restricting patients' ability to choose their own health-care system or insurance program, or to pay directly for medical services. Blocks the state from penalizing patients for choosing to obtain or decline health-care coverage.
Pro: The Medical Choice initiative would preserve the rights of patients to make their own health-care decisions and block health-care reform proposals influenced by insurance companies, lobbyists and other special interest groups that try to cut costs and thereby limit health-care options for consumers. It would create a constitutional amendment that would lay the groundwork for a solution to the health-care crisis.
Con: The initiative could bar any type of single-payer universal health-care system in Arizona, thereby limiting access to health care for some patients. It is too ambiguous and vague, and would end up in the courts as lawyers try to interpret the meaning of the law. Because the initiative would amend the state Constitution, the law, and any unintended consequences, would be extremely difficult to reverse.
Rarehero says vote NO: The initiative could bar any type of single-payer universal health-care system in Arizona.

Prop. 102 - Gay-marriage ban

Sponsor: Referendum sponsored by Senate President Tim Bee and House Speaker Jim Weiers, both Republicans
What it would do: Amend state Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. State law already contains that definition.
Pro: Arizona's law preserving marriage as legal only between one man and one woman is not enough. The state needs a constitutional amendment. As evidenced in several states, laws can be declared "unconstitutional" by a few judges who rule based on their own personal views.
Con: The measure is unnecessary, as there is already a law in Arizona that prohibits marriage except that between one man and one woman. That law has survived court challenges; it was upheld by the state Court of Appeals and the Arizona Supreme Court let it stand. Arizona does not need unnecessary amendments of the state Constitution.
The bottom line: A more expansive measure that would have barred the state from recognizing civil unions of same-sex couples failed in 2006. But it's unclear whether opponents can mount a successful challenge a second time around.
RareHero says vote NO: I'm already against marriage, especially for people that get married before the age of 28 so it should come as a surprise that I don't support this proposition because it is my firm belief that people are people. If a person wants to marry another person, go for it. They're probably just going to get divorced later anyway. I just don't understand why some of you are so set on the idea that gay marriage will destroy Amerikan families. Like Lewis Black said, we're so fucked up we better put it in the constitution so we don't forget who we're supposed to marry.

Prop. 105 - Majority Rules, Let the People Decide

Sponsor: Fast-food franchisee MJKL Enterprises/alcohol distributors
What it would do: Require that any initiative imposing new taxes or fees, as well any that mandate new spending, must have support from a majority of Arizona registered voters, whether they go to the polls or not.
Pro: The Majority Rules Initiative would make it harder for special interests to use ballot initiatives to raise our taxes. Previous initiatives have created out of control state spending and burdensome regulations by special interests of using the ballot box. This initiative says if the voters of Arizona want to enact new taxes and mandates on government and the private sector, the measure must be passed by a majority of those qualified to vote in that election.
Con: This deceptive initiative is intended to tie the hands of voters in Arizona. The measure will make it nearly impossible for civic and community organizations to affect public policy through the will of the voter.
The bottom line: Raises the threshold for voters to increase taxes and spending. Currently, it takes just a majority of voters who actually vote to pass new taxes.
RareHero says vote NO: Limiting income for the state is never a good thing. At a time when the state is struggling to find money to pay for anything (like higher education) voting for this proposition would really hurt Arizona's future.

Prop 200 - Payday Loan Reform Act

Sponsor: Arizona Community Financial Services Association/payday lenders
What it would do: Preserves small, short-term loans known as payday loans through rate cuts, the elimination of loan extensions and a new repayment plan.
Pro: Every day in Arizona, thousands of hardworking people use a payday loan to meet unexpected financial challenges while avoiding expensive bounced-check fees, overdraft fees, late bill payment penalties, and other less desirable short-term credit options. The time has come to implement reforms in the industry to further protect consumers, improve the way companies do business in Arizona, and preserve this financial option for those customers who choose it. This asure would enact such reforms.
Con: The measure will not really reform the state's payday loan mess; things will only get worse because the problems will become permanent. Payday lenders are notorious for making huge profits by exploiting the financial hardship of people with limited resources, especially the poor and young people, and those living near military bases and in low-income communities. This measure would allow that to continue, and would halt the Legislature's efforts to reform payday loans.
The bottom line: Halts Legislature's efforts to kill payday loans.
RareHero says vote NO: I doubt that payday lenders would propose something that would limit their ability to take advantage of the people they serve.

Prop. 201 - Homeowners' Bill of Rights

Sponsor: Sheet Metal Workers' International Association
What it would do: Help homeowners deal with construction defects and deceptive sales practices.
Pro : It would give homeowners better legal footing in disputes with home builders by balancing the legal rights between homebuilders and their customers, who have been denied reasonable protection against deceptive sales practices and construction defects.
Con: The proposal creates a mandatory and complex litigation process that will cause unnecessary lawsuits without resolving homeowner's problems. The title is misleading and affords homeowners fewer rights than the laws that are currently in place in Arizona.
The bottom line: It gives homeowners better legal footing in disputes with home builders.
rarehero says vote YES: I support unions and so should you. This would help consumers fight back against predatory business practices.

Prop. 202 - Stop Illegal Hiring

Sponsor: Business group Wake Up Arizona!
What it would do: Provide more protection to employers who violate state employer-sanctions law while targeting the pay-in-cash labor market and identity theft.
Pro: The measure is tough because it gives law enforcement the tools they need to target the underground, black market cash economy; removes illegal immigrants' ability to conceal their undocumented status by strengthening identity theft statutes; and creates a two-strike penalty that puts employers out of business if they hire illegal immigrants. Most importantly, the law allows police to arrest employers who knowingly accept fake documents from any person seeking employment. It protects innocent employees by targeting employers who don't verify documents or who skirt taxes by paying cash only. It ensures a fair complaint process and protects law-abiding businesses and their employees. It does not mandate the use of flawed databases and directs all fines collected to schools and hospitals, where the effects of illegal immigration are great.
Con: The initiative is designed to sound good to voters while giving employers amnesty in advance for hiring illegals. Punishments include fines and/or loss of the company business license. But businesses not requiring a license are automatically exempt. Also exempt from punishment are incorporated companies, partnerships and Transaction Privilege Licenses. Most corporate retailers like restaurants, hotels and retail chains are exempt. Arizona's current employer sanctions law has been working extremely well at reducing illegal immigration in Arizona. The Stop Illegal Hiring ballot measure stands in stark contrast in both form and substance to our current law that was passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor.
The bottom line: A competing initiative toughening the employer-sanction law failed to qualify for the ballot, clearing the way for the business-backed proposal.
rarehero says vote NO: This one is a bit confusing. Be sure to read more about it here.

Prop. 300 - Legislative Salary Increase

Sponsor: Commission on Salaries for Elective State Officers
What it would do: Raise state legislators' salaries from $24,000 to $30,000
Pro: Lawmakers are seriously underpaid and deserve a raise. Their compensation of only $24,000 per year has not been raised for many years and must be improved to attract the best and brightest to legislative service, especially people who may not work for a large business or utility that can afford to subsidize their incomes. At the current salary, the pool of citizens able to serve in the Legislature is limited.
Con: Being elected to the Legislature is a civic minded contribution, not a career. Lawmakers should be able to meet for less than 100 days each year, pass a budget, and go home to pursue other jobs.
The bottom line: Arizona lawmakers are overdue for a pay raise. But the odds are against it: Voters have rejected a number of similar measures in recent years.
rarehero says vote NO: This is the same legislature that has voted time and again to cut spending where it has been needed most. That sounds a bit vengeful but I think people should vote no until the legislature starts doing what is expected of it. Unfortunately, voting no may inhibit others from pursuing public service because their bank accounts are unable to support a campaign and taking time off of their day job.


Wal Mart in Arizona

Are there good jobs at Wal Mart? There could be, as long as you aren't an associate.

Set the record straight!

According to a report on Fox News Tucson, jobs at Wal-Mart are getting better and gaining popularity among Arizonans. Unfortunately, the reporter’s depiction of Wal-Mart’s wages and benefits couldn’t be further from the truth.

Wal-Mart continues to offer low wages and meager health benefits to its workers, and it is routinely accused of forcing them to work off the clock or during breaks.


What is the Walton Family's Influence?

The Walton Family's Political Influence is a powerful one.
Wal Mart Watch reports
With over $12 billion in profits in 2007, Wal-Mart is the biggest and arguably most influential corporation in America. The majority owners, the Waltons, are therefore also one of the most influential families with a net worth of more than $100 billion. Over the past year, we have conducted an exhaustive study of public records related to political giving by Wal-Mart and the Walton family in order to determine how this influence is used to affect politics. The conclusion is clear. The Waltons are strong supporters of an extreme right wing agenda.

Learn more at The Walton Family's Influence.



What is the Bush Doctrine?

What is the Bush Doctrine and why doesn't Sarah Palin know it?

According to Wikipedia contributors it is as follows:
The Bush Doctrine is a phrase used to describe various related foreign policy principles of United States president George W. Bush, created in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks. The phrase initially described the policy that the United States had the right to aggressively secure itself from countries that harbor or give aid to terrorist groups, which was used to justify the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan.

Later it came to include additional elements, including the controversial policy of preventive war, which held that the United States should depose foreign regimes that represented a potential or perceived threat to the security of the United States, even if that threat was not immediate (used to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq); a policy of encouraging democracy around the world, especially in the Middle East, as a strategy for combating the spread of terrorism; and a willingness to pursue U.S. military interests in a unilateral way. Some of these policies were codified in a National Security Council text entitled the National Security Strategy of the United States published on September 20, 2002.

As to why Sarah Palin knows nothing of this, I have no clue. But the Republicans think she was their best VP pick so, whatever.

I guess this is just another reason to not vote for McCain.


What is Wal Mart Watch?

WalMart Watch is a website that educates consumers about the reality that Wal Mart Stores (WMT) does not want you to know about.

In Spring 2005, Wal-Mart Watch began a nationwide public education campaign to challenge the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, to become a better employer, neighbor, and corporate citizen.

Wal-Mart Watch aggressively tells a new, more truthful Wal-Mart story. We bridge the gap between ordinary citizens and community organizations concerned about Wal-Mart's unchecked growth and negative impact on our society. We challenge Wal-Mart to embrace its moral responsibility as the nation's biggest and most important corporation.

Our aim is real change—transparent and lasting—to benefit Wal-Mart communities. To date, we have made remarkable progress in getting Wal-Mart to respond to a wide array of concerns about its business practices. Wal-Mart has acknowledged the harm it causes by providing poor health benefits that force its employees to seek taxpayer-supported public assistance. It has taken some promising first steps on a long road toward creating a more environment-friendly business. We are hopeful the company is serious when it acknowledges that change is necessary, and we will continue to push Wal-Mart forward.

As our nation's largest employer and most successful company, Wal-Mart is most certainly an American institution. Wal-Mart occupies a unique position in our world by virtue of its size, reach and responsibility for the livelihoods of millions of workers and the needs of billions of consumers. And with such overwhelming influence come certain moral responsibilities.


Liberate yourself from all that junk!

Looking to liberate yourself from all that junk and clutter. Find it all in your home and get rid of it:

Winter Coats
Donate them to One Warm Coat, which sponsors coat drives around the country.
GO TO: onewarmcoat.org

Musical Instruments
From piccolos to guitars, Operation Happy Note sends secondhand instruments to soldiers deployed overseas.
GO TO: operationhappynote.com

Computer Equipment
Computers with at least a Pentium III Processor can be donated to the On It Foundation, which provides computers and Internet access to low-income families.
GO TO: theonitfoundation.org

The International Book Project will ship your old tomes abroad for use in schools, orphanages, and libraries.
GO TO: internationalbookproject.org

Old sneakers can go to the Nike-sponsored Reuse-a-Shoe (the used kicks don't have to be Nikes). The rubber is used to create play surfaces for kids around the world.
GO TO: letmeplay.com

The National Furniture Bank Association will give your couch to anyone who needs it, including domestic violence victims.
GO TO: help1up.org

Cell Phones
At Collective Good, you choose the charity, such as the Center for Domestic Violence Prevention, that your donation of a used phone will support.
GO TO: collectivegood.com

Random Knickknacks
Got something you don't know what to do with, but you're sure someone would want? Excess Access matches your items with local nonprofit wish lists.
GO TO: excessaccess.com


Emergency Test Preparation

A structured approach to cramming

  • Preview material to be covered
  • Be selective: skim chapters for main points
  • Concentrate on the main points

Begin with 5 sheets of paper:

  1. Identify 5 key concepts or topics that will be covered on
    the test Enter one at the top of each page  Use only key words or short phrases 
  2. In your own words, write an explanation, definition, answer,
    etc of several lines or so for the key concept Do NOT use the text or your notes
  3. Compare your response of (2) with the course source information (text and lecture notes)
  4. Edit or re-write your understanding
    of each topic considering this course information
  5. Sequence and number each page of your topics 1 - 5 in order of importance;  1 = most important
  6. Follow the above process for two additional concepts if you have time
  7. Place them in the 1 - 5 sequence and change numbering to
    1 - 7
  8. Follow the above process for one or two more concepts for
    a total of nine.  Follow your comfort level; add topics only as necessary
  9. Try not to exceed nine concepts;
    focus on the most important
  10. Review the day of the test, 
    but try to relax just before


What is glaucoma?

Just recently my mother was diagnosed with glaucoma. I knew very little about this disease so I decided to do a little research. National Eye Institute says:
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the eye's optic nerve and result in vision loss and blindness. Glaucoma occurs when the normal fluid pressure inside the eyes slowly rises. However, with early treatment, you can often protect your eyes against serious vision loss..

Early diagnosis is important. Early treatments can delay progression of the disease.

Be well.


Does reading in low light, damage your eyesight?

Does reading in low light, damage your eyesight?

Howstuffworks.com says
Most experts agree that reading in low light does not damage your eyes. It can cause eye strain, however, which has a number of unpleasant temporary symptoms and possibly some long-term effects.


What is lifelock.com?

What is lifelock.com?

A waste of money. Any credit protection service is a waste of money. Why should you pay someone money to do something you could do for yourself for free in as little as ten minutes?

Do not waste your money.

Read more about what I have written about credit:

And what Bankrate.com has written about credit:


Join us on October 15

What is Poverty?

What is Poverty?
Poverty is a big deal. Millions of people are living now without access to clean water, enough food, and appropriate shelter. I have been fortunate enough to have had relatively simple decisions to make during my twenty three years of existence. I have never needed to choose between food or something else. I have always had enough food to comfortably get by. I have always had a place to live. Below you'll see a map made using information from the 2006 World Food Program's percentage of the population malnourished data. As you can see, poverty is nearly everywhere.

What do we do about it?
This is a much more difficult question to answer. I believe that there are several things that individuals, communities, and governments can do to make progress towards ending poverty. Here is what I think:
  • First this is my list of things that should be made free and readily available to everyone (at least in the United States, because many parts of the world wouldn't need a kick ass public transportation system)
    1. food
    2. housing
    3. health care
    4. education
    5. public transportation
    Food, housing (or shelter), health care, and education are certainly a must. Food allows people to relax and focus their energies on personal and development. Hungry people think about food. Housing will keep people safe from the elements and offer a sense of security. Everyone needs free access to health care because there are few things worse than being truly ill. Education is more of a need for society. Society needs people to be educated enough to understand they way the world works and to be empowered enough to be able to make changes and improvements. This is what we need.

  • We can start making changes to provide those previously mentioned 5 things now. Sustainable agriculture and fair trade (not free trade) are part of that solution. Sustainable agriculture starts out with efficient use of rain water and allows us to preserve and grow our environment

  • Housing should be made to be energy efficient and with the conservative mindset. People should really move away from the consumer's philosophy and begin thinking about living in sustainable communities. Here is a link for creating sustainable communities Smart Growth Resource Library.

  • Fair trade is a big deal. Due to several free trade agreements the winner has usually been powerful corporations. The loser is always the poor worker. Look at the Amerikas. Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), people have been flocking to the United States in search of decent paying work. Those jobs are desperately needed to help feed their families. Those are jobs people are willing to risk dying for. Those jobs were lost when NAFTA made it cheaper to produce consumable goods. Free trade is bad for evolution. Fair trade is the way to go.
    Learn more at the fair trade resource network

  • Governments need to begin making future minded policy decisions that allow for sustainable growth and evolution. One way to provide immediate assistance is to funnel more aid money to the programs that need it. Is that even possible with such a massive deficit? Yes. Just change the way taxation works so that larger corporations and wealthier individuals (top 10% of the population) pay more of the tax. The bottom 60% would pay the absolute least amount of money (1% of income). These are just arbitrarily chosen numbers but I think it is a good place to start doing some research into whether a government can function like this.

This is just a start. The tip of a massive iceberg of change. We really need to take it upon ourselves to learn about new and better-for-everyone ways of doing things. It certainly shouldn't be easy but consider this a brick wall worth breaking through.

picture by Ben McLeod