20081030

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.

20081029

20081028

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.

20081027

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.

20081021

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

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

Sneakers
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

Furniture
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

20081020

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

20081018

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.

20081017

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.

20081016

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:
http://truthfulhero.blogspot.com/2008/05/limit-prescreened-offers-of-credit-and.html
http://truthfulhero.blogspot.com/2008/04/free-annual-credit-report.html
http://truthfulhero.blogspot.com/2007/07/dont-bother-paying-for-id-theft.html

And what Bankrate.com has written about credit:
http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/financial_literacy/fico-estimator.asp?caret=41
http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/Financial_Literacy/June07_credit_score_national_poll_a1.asp?caret=39a

20081015

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

Blog Action Day 2008


Blog Action Day 2008 Poverty from Blog Action Day on Vimeo.

20081014

Test Anxiety


Test anxiety is serious obstacle to performing well on an exam. Here are some helpful tips from the University of Buffalo Counseling Services

Most students experience some level of anxiety during an exam. However, when anxiety begins to affect exam performance it has become a problem.

What Causes Test Anxiety
  • Lack of preparation as indicated by:
    • cramming the night before the exam.
    • poor time management.
    • failure t organize text information.
    • poor study habits.

  • Worrying about the following:
    • past performance on exams.
    • how friends and other students are doing.
    • the negative consequences of failure.

Physical Signs of Test Anxiety
  • During an exam, as in any stressful situations, a student may experience any of the following bodily changes:

    • perspiration
    • sweaty palms
    • headache
    • upset stomach
    • rapid heart beat
    • tense muscles

Effects of Test Anxiety
  • Nervousness:
    • Having difficulty reading and understanding the questions on the exam paper.
    • Having difficulty organizing your thoughts.
    • Having difficulty retrieving key words and concepts when answering essay questions.
    • Doing poorly on an exam even though you know the material.

  • Mental Blocking:
    • Going blank on questions.
    • Remembering the correct answers as soon as the exam is over.

How to Reduce Test Anxiety
  • Study and know the material well enough s that you can recall it even if you are under stress.
  • Learn and practice good time management and avoid:
    • laziness
    • procrastination
    • day dreaming
    • Build confidence by studying throughout the semester and avoid cramming the night before the exam.

  • Learn to concentrate on the material you are studying by:
    • generating questions from your textbooks and lecture notes.
    • focusing on key words, concepts and examples in your textbooks and lecture notes.
    • making charts and outlines which organize the information in your notes and textbooks.

  • Use relaxation techniques, for example, taking long deep breaths t relax the body and reduce stress.

20081013

Why would they do that?

Why would they do that?

Why would who do what?

Who is the Federal Reserve.

What did the Federal Reserve do?

They released "as many dollars as banks want" into the economy.

Why would that be a bad thing?

It is bad because the Federal Reserve bank just increased inflation and reduced our purchasing power. This is bad stuff.

Read about news articles related to this here.

Learn more at www.zeitgeist.com.

You'll need to get to the third part of the film that discusses financials but it is worth it.

Exercise of the week: static v hold

Strengthen your abs with this weeks, Exercise of the Week!

20081012

Reasons to not vote for Obama: He is Arab

After watching the video I'm sold on not voting for Barack Hussein Obama.

Guess that leaves me with one other option
Hillary Clinton?

No,

VOTE FOR BRIAN MOORE

20081011

What is Judicial Watch?

Judicial Watch claims to be a watchdog organization that exposes public corruption among other things.

Taking a look at their page





one can see what they care about: public corruption, illegal immigration, open records, security and prosperity partnership, and Gardasil (the HPV vaccine recently made available to young females).

Most of their public corruption targets are Democrat.
Their position on illegal immigration is that it is a drain on the economy and a threat to national security. This fails to address the source of the problem - North Amerikan economic policies which make it incredibly difficult for poor non-Amerikans / Canadian to find enough work to be able to feed their families.

The site also addresses alleged inconsistencies about the Merck & Co (MRK) product: Gardasil.

This site does do some good. They promote transparent government and are wary of the North Amerikan Union.

20081010

Men Have Babies Too

Although men have little to do with actually giving birth, they must play a supportive role. Mothers need their partners' help and support so read on and learn how you can be of service.

picture by *clairity*

Before your partner gets pregnant
  • Go with her to her preconception checkup. Preconception care is medical care a woman receives before she is pregnant. This can help identify health and lifestyle risks that may affect the pregnancy and the chances of having a healthy baby.
    Encourage her to tell the medical provider about any medical conditions.

  • Quit using drugs. Encourage your partner to stop using tobacco, alcohol, or drugs. It is important that you both lead a healthy lifestyle to help you have a healthy baby.

  • Encourage her to maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or underweight may lead to problems with the pregnancy. Talk to your medical provider to be sure of what a healhty weight is.

  • Encourage her to take a multivitamin containing 400micrograms of folic acid every day. Getting enough folic acid (folate) before and in early pregnancy may help prevent certain birth defects of the brain and spinal cord.

  • Find out if you or your partner has a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Without treatment, these infections pose special risks. Be sure to ask about screening tests for HIV and other STIs.

  • Learn about pregnancy, childbirth and being a parent. Watch videos, read books, and talk with your family and friends.



While she is pregnant.
  • Be involved with your partner's pregnancy. Go with her to prenatal visits. Prenatal care is care received during the pregnancy. The purpose of this is to identify problems early, before they become serious for the woman or baby. Also attend childbirth education classes together to find out what labor and delivery will be like.

  • Talk with her about what you both want for the baby. Decide where the baby will sleep and make that part of your home colorful and welcoming. Look together at your finances. Discuss the kind of la bor and delivery support you want to have. This includes where you want the baby to be born and what friends or family you want with you.

  • Help her stay healthy during the pregnancy.
    • Help her eat healthy foods. Eat whole grain breads, lean meats, fruits, vegetables, low fat milk, cheese, and yogurt.

    • Encourage her to exercise. Go swimming or walking together. Be sure to ask the medical provider about the safest kinds of exercise during pregnancy.

    • Encourage her to talk to her provider about taking any kind of medicine to make sure it's safe to take.

    • If she is still using drugs, help her to stop using tobacco, drugs, and alcohol.

    • Help her stay away from hazardous substances that can harm the baby. These include secondhand smoke, some cleansers, and insecticides. If you have a cat, don't let her change the litter box - cat feces can cause an infection that could hurt the baby.

  • Help her rest and lower her stress. Help around the house. Clean up, shop for groceries, cook meals. Talking together about your hopes and plans for the baby can help lower stress.

  • Have safe sex with your partner. In most cases, it's OK to have sex during pregnancy. Have sex if you both want to. Be sure you and your partner don't have any other sex partners. If necessary take appropriate precautions - use a condom to prevent spreading any STIs. Have fun but consider being less aggressive until some time after the pregnancy.

  • BE SUPPORTIVE ABOUT breastfeedING. Breast milk is the best food for the baby. Dad's attitude toward breastfeeding is one of the most important factors in whether or not a mother begins and continues to breastfeed. Learn as much as you can about breastfeeding. Be sure to respect her decision on whether or not she breastfeeds.



During labor and delivery.
    Here is what you can do to help your partner during labor and delivery:
    • Tell her she is doing a great job. Be there in support.

    • Understand if gets angry. Having a baby is tough.

    • Walk around with her. She will tell you when she is unable to continue walking.

    • Take deep breaths with her. Remember what you learned during those childbirth and pregnancy education classes you took.

    • Feed her ice chips if her medical provider says its ok.

    • Tell her medical provider what she needs. You should know her pretty well.

    • If you are having a hard time or are feeling sick, ask a nurse or other support person to help out.



After your baby is born.
    Here is what you can do to be a good dad after you take your baby home.
    • Take some time off from work. This will help you develop a special relationship with your new baby.

    • Be patient with the baby and with your partner. New babies cry a lot because they are unable to tell you what they need. This is new for all of you and takes some getting used to. May I suggest hanging out a pediatrician's office for a few days in the month before baby is born to acclimate yourself to the soothing sounds of a baby's cry.

    • Ask friends and family for help. This is not the time to be shy about asking for help with cleaning, grocery shopping and meals. Everyone needs help with a new baby!

    • Rest. Make sure both you and your partner get plenty of rest.

    • Take care of the baby. This baby is now priority number one. Change diapers, give baths, rock the baby, cuddle the baby, read to the baby, and sing the baby to sleep.

    • SUPPORT YOUR PARTNER'S BREASTFEEDING. Bring the baby to your partner for night feeding and help them get comfortable.

20081009

What do you know about Sheriff Joe?



I don't know much but I know that he is trouble.

La Frontera Times has it's opinion of that maverick.

Watch yourself.


20081008

Ridiculous email of the week

Ridiculous email of the week:
Job - Urine Test

How greedy is it okay to be? The current financial crisis could be blamed on high powered greed and selfishness.

Here is an example of what I mean:
JOB - URINE TEST
(Whoever wrote this one deserves a HUGE pat on the back!)

Like a lot of folks in this state, I have a job. I work, they pay me. I pay my taxes and the government distributes my taxes as it sees fit. In order to get that paycheck, I am required to pass a random urine test with which I have no problem. What I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people who don't have to pass a urine test. Shouldn't one have to pass a urine test to get a welfare check because I have to pass one to earn it for
them?

Please understand, I have no problem with helping people get back on their feet. I do, on the other hand, have a problem with helping someone sitting on their ASS, doing drugs, while I work. . . .

Can you imagine how much money the state would save if people had to pass a urine test to get a public assistance check?

Pass this along if you agree or simply
delete if you don't. Hope you all will pass it along, though . . .

Something has to change in this country -- and soon!!!!!

Guess we could title that program, 'Urine or You're Out'.


This email tells me that some people have no idea how the government works.

Read the book, Take the Rich Off Welfare By Mark Zepezauer and you'll have a better idea of how the government really takes care of its people.

Excerpt from Take the Rich Off Welfare:
Welfare-the money government gives away to corporations and wealthy individuals-costs us more than $815 billion a year. That's:
  • 47% of what it costs to run the US government (which is about $1.73 trillion a year, not counting entitlement trust funds like Social Security and Medicare)

  • enough money to eliminate the federal debt in just over eight years

  • more than four times what we spend on welfare for the poor (currently around $193 billion a year)



20081006

Exercise of the week: supermans

This exercise will help to strengthen your lower back.

20081003

Hello my name is

In an effort to make myself more approachable I will wear a name badge sticker all day (excluding when I am at work because I already wear a name badge) every day for a trial period of four weeks. If successful I will continue to wear the stickers until I use up the entire package (100 days). If unsuccessful I will give someone else the stickers in the hope that they will try the experience.

If you think this is a new, exciting, and innovative way to introduce yourself to your world, think not. It has already been done. A book has already been published chronicling one person's experience doing this. I merely wish to emulate the experience and duplicate the results.

The author discovered that this was a great way to become much more approachable.

Learn more about the guy behind the name badge.


20081002

Meet someone new

How does a person meet new people?

How can a person meet new people and expand or create a local social network?

These and many more questions hopefully answered in today's post.
Meet someone new

Whether or not your goal is find a lover or a good friend, meeting new people can be challenging. Obviously there is the fear of rejection, finding someone that would make a good friend but does not reciprocate. It is possible you could meet someone that somehow ruins your life, driving you to your personal worst. These are just two of a seemingly endless list of possible negative outcomes.

There are plenty of potential positives:
  • new friend
  • workout partner
  • movie partner
  • financial advisor
  • travel buddy
  • breakfast partner


Perhaps the easiest way to meet new people is through others. I have a friend. I shall introduce that friend to another of my friends. Now my first friend has another friend. Our little social network has expanded. We are linked by our interests, similarities, and differences.

If I did not know anyone I could try introducing myself to someone at work, at the gym, in the park, at a store, or elsewhere. Once I have my foot in the door I can begin forming my own social network by having my few friends introduce me to others which could be my new friends. Following this series of steps seems easy but making first contact, especially if you are new could be very difficult.

If this is something you are interested in I suggest that you practice meeting new people.
  • Try to meet one new person a week for a month
  • Follow up with those people by meeting with them again within 2 weeks, perhaps over lunch, movie, or whatever fancies your interest
  • Within 2 months you should have made four friends that you can experience life with.


Your goal should be to find people that you can care about. It makes no good to have friends that are indifferent to your situation.

Good luck and let me know how it goes.

20081001

What is the Last Lecture?

What is the Last Lecture?

What is this national bestseller?

It is an event that took place September 18, 2007 at Carnegie Mellon University. It was a lecture, given by Randy Pausch, Professor.

It is also a movie you can watch on the internet.

It is also a book you can read.

Watch it below:


I won't tell you anymore than that. This is good stuff.

Learn more at The Last Lecture