20090629

What is Eco Cycle?

Eco Cycle is an organization dedicated to making recycling easier and to make environmental stewardship the norm.

Check it out at ecocycle.org

20090628

Medical Checkups

Start your pregnancy right by seeing a doctor. During visits, he or she will check both you and your baby for problems. If anything is wrong, your doctor will help you decide what should be done.

You'll have many questions about your pregnancy. Don't worry if you think a question seems dumb. When it comes to your baby's healty, all your questions are smart.

Ask the doctor or nurse your questions. Friends and relatives don't always have the right answers and usually aren't qualified to give you the correct information.

The medical care you get while you're pregnant is called prenatal care. If possible, ask your partner to go with you. That way, both of you will learn what's best for your growing baby.



First Checkup

During your first prenatal visit, you'll be asked some questions about your health. Your doctor or nurse will want to know:

  • if you have been pregnant before


  • if you drink, smoke, or take any drugs


  • if there are any diseases that run in your family or your partner's family


Doctor will also want to know if you've ever had any sexually transmitted infections or diseases.

Your doctor or nurse will take your blood pressure. You will be given a pelvic exam to check your reproductive organs, including your uterus and your cervix.

You'll be weighed and given a uring test. You may be told to take a prenatal vitamin. This vitamin helps you get extra iron and other things your body may need during pregnancy. Someone at the clinic will tell you your due date. Thats the day that the baby should be born. This is estimated by calculated the amount of time it has been since your last period.



Later checkups

You'll be weighed at every prenatal visit. Someone will take your blood pressure to make sure it's normal. High blood pressure could cause your baby to be born too small or too early. The doctor or nurse will test your urin again. Doctor will feel your belly to measure the size of your uterus. After about the 12th week, your doctor will listen for baby's heartbeat. You should begin to feel your baby's first movements at about the 20th week of pregnancy. Let your doctor or nurse know when this happens.

Near the end of the pregnancy, your doctor or nurse will look into the birth canal to see if the cervix is getting softer. The cervix is the opening of the uterus. It softens and thins to let the baby pass through.

Ask the questions about your labor and delivery-soon you'll be at the hospital.



After birth checkup

About six weeks after your baby's birth, you'll be checked again. The doctor or nurse will make sure your uterus is back to normal size. At this visit, you can ask about birth control. Even if you're breastfeeding you can still get pregnant. To make sure this doesn't happen too soon, use birth control when you begin to have sex again. It's best to wait at least three weeks after your baby is born to begin taking birth control pills that won't reduce your milk supply.

20090619

The Amazing Dancing Bird

Saw this via Science Friday



Be sure to listen to Science Friday and to follow @SciFri on Twitter.

20090618

Wal Mart Against Employee Free Choice

When former Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott was asked about Employee Free Choice he said:

"We like driving the car and we're not going to give the steering wheel to anybody but us."

After so many years of mistreatment, it's time that Wal-Mart workers get the chance to have a say.

Wal-Mart Watch has partnered with the Service Employees International Union to fight for the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it much easier for Wal-Mart workers to form unions. The bill, which is being introduced today in Congress, will help stop Wal-Mart from intimidating or firing workers who choose to organize.

But Wal-Mart and other big corporations are doing everything they can to stop this important legislation. Watch this short video about the scare tactics they're using to mislead Americans about the Employee Free Choice Act:

See the scare tactics used by Big Business to stop Employee Free Choice

http://action.walmartwatch.com/scary

We all know that Wal-Mart workers deserve a raise. The Employee Free Choice Act will help to rebuild America's middle class by finally giving 1.4 million Wal-Mart employees a fair chance to join their voices together and earn a seat at the table when determining their wages, benefits and working conditions.

Unfortunately, Wal-Mart and other corporations are lining up to spend big bucks scaring the American public about Employee Free Choice. Watch the following video of corporate CEOs making ridiculous and untrue statements about this bill -- and then send it to your friends and family to spread the truth about Employee Free Choice:

http://action.walmartwatch.com/scary

20090617

Save the World, one catalog at a time

What happens when more than one million people work with over 500 companies to reduce unwanted mail? You save a lot of natural resources, reduce waste and save money!

Catalog Choice has removed over 85 million unwanted catalogs a year from the mail stream. They have saved more than 192,000 trees and prevented 82 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of removing about 7,500 cars from the road.

Transforming the direct mail industry for the good of the consumer, environment and businesses is a tremendous effort. Thanks for doing your part to reduce unwanted mail and go paperless. Together, we are making a difference.

Learn more at Catalog Choice

20090616

My Letter to Saudi Arabia King

His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966 1 491 2726

15 June 2009

Your Highness,

I am writing to express my deep concern about the marriage of Amneh Mohamed Sharahili, a 10 year old schoolgirl whose marriage contract to a 25 year old man was executed in February 2009 with the consent of her father and who will be handed over to her husband in July 2009. It is commonly accepted that early marriage has physical, emotional, psychological, intellectual and sexual implications on children and violates their human rights. Amneh’s marriage will, among other things, deprive her of an education and severely jeopardize her right to mental, emotional and physical well-being.

I urge you to take urgent action to annul the marriage of Amneh and all other child brides whose marriage contracts have been executed but who have yet to be handed over to their husbands. I also ask you to ensure that child brides already living with their husbands are given a real choice to annul their marriages and, if they opt for annulment, to ensure that this happens swiftly without negative repercussions on the girls. I urge you to support the establishment of a codified personal status law to guarantee the rights of women in marriage and divorce, ensuring that such law is based upon principles of equality and non-discrimination.

I thank you for your attention.

Sincerely yours,

RareHero

Cc: The Human Rights Commission (email: hrc[at]haq-ksa[dot]org)

20090615

Tell EPA to Protect Us from the Toxic Pesticide Endosulfan

Dear Administrator Jackson,

We, the undersigned individuals, write to urge EPA to take swift action to cancel all remaining uses of endosulfan and revoke all food residue tolerances for this toxic chemical.

In 2007, EPA found that use of endosulfan in agriculture poses unacceptable risks to the health and safety of pesticide applicators who handle this pesticide, and to farmworkers who work in endosulfan-treated fields. Agency calculations also show that its use on tomatoes in Florida (one the few remaining food crops in the U.S. with significant endosulfan use) presents a grave threat to aquatic organisms.

Since then, scientists from National Parks Services, the USGS, and other federal agencies have documented that endosulfan contaminates sensitive ecosystems from Florida Everglades to the Sierra Mountains to the Alaskan Arctic The accumulation of endosulfan in the Arctic is a serious concern, which is why the European Union has proposed that this chemical be added the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. Listing endosulfan in the Convention would trigger a global phaseout of its production and use. The effect of endosulfan on amphibians has only begun to be explored, but is already apparent that it is extremely toxic to many species.

EPA data also indicate that use of endosulfan is declining, alternatives exist, and its continued use provides only minimal benefits to growers. It?s time for EPA to step up to the plate and begin reversing some of the damage done by the previous administration?s anti-regulatory stance . By banning endosulfan, the US will take a significant step towards regaining its position as a leader in environmental protection, and will join the 60 other countries around the world that have already phased out use of this dangerous pesticide.

Please take action now to protect the health of people and the environment at home as well as globally by banning endosulfan.
Sincerely:

RareHero

20090614

Another Reason for the California Employee Free Choice Act

Another Reason for the California Employee Free Choice Act

Supposedly we have the water available, we have the shade available, we have bathrooms available but dare not use them for fear of being fired. It was as if we had none at all.
-- Rigoberto Ramirez, Blueberry worker

We've shared stories with you about farm workers who've had no water to drink. This week we want to tell you about workers who do have water, but don't have the opportunity to drink it because of the pressure put on them by the companies they work for. Please read their stories and then take action to help them by sending Gov. Schwarzenegger and your legislators an e-mail today.

The following is from a May 26th complaint the UFW filed on behalf of workers at Munger Farms, where 3 farm labor contractors employ more than 40 crews and 1,000 workers to harvest blueberries. Pickers are working hourly, but have a huge quota of 5 boxes a day--which forces them to work through their breaks, not drink water or go to the bathroom for fear of losing their jobs. This is not an imaginary fear. It happened to about 60 workers on May 26. The workers were promised 3 days of work. They were fired after one day before they even had the chance to acclimatize themselves to the brutal pace demanded. Here is the story of an experienced blueberry picker, Guillermo Cruz:

We started working at 8 am and we were asked to pick 5 boxes of blueberries for the day which is a total of 65 pounds of blueberries. I did everything that I could to meet the quota. Company supervisors were constantly on top of us and yelling at us if we dropped any blueberries on the ground which made us very nervous and confused on what to do. Workers could not afford to go to drink water or even go to the restroom because of the tremendous fear of losing their jobs. Some workers even worked through their lunch breaks to try to meet the quota. The company would not even allow us to take our third break. Many workers were running and going as fast as they could to try to meet the goal. I was one of the few that was able to make 4 boxes and could not understand why I would be fired if I had done everything in my power to meet the quota. The time we worked we saw crews of 60 workers going and coming because of the tremendous pressure to meet the quota and the company was firing workers every day.

This is not the only incident. On May 26, the UFW filed charges on behalf of Giumarra vineyard worker Francisco Farfan. Francisco was suspended and sent home for the day after the foreman said Francisco had gone too many times to drink water. He was keeping up with the workload demanded. It was hotter than 100 degrees that day. Francisco believes he was suspended for taking safety measures that did not impede his work performance and to which he is legally entitled.

Two days later the UFW also filed charges on behalf of vineyard workers at Sunrise Agriculture. Again, the about 100 workers there did have water. The problem was they were not allowed to drink the water unless they were on an official break (10 minutes every 4 hrs) or at lunch. These workers also did not have shade to protect them from the sun and were not trained in heat safety as required by law.

Such incidents show that workers need the ability to speak up without being afraid of losing their jobs. It's why SB789 CA Employee Free Choice Act for Farm Workers is so vital. This bill will make it easier for farm workers to organize, speak up to improve working conditions and help enforce the laws that CA's government cannot enforce. SB789 passed the CA state senate and will next be heard in the assembly and then go to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.