Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Did you hear about this story?

Maybe it's not a story worthy of debate and discussion, but I had an emotional response and this seemed like a good place to put it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What if Mormons are right and Catholics and Protestants wrong?

that's the title of a fascinating article in the Belfast Telegraph discussing biblical and traditional defenses for baptism of the dead.

An interesting read.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Indian Givers?

I'm sure you've seen this story, because it's one of CNN's top headlines right now.   But, I wanted to know your thoughts on this:  should Native American tribes have a say in these adoption cases?
Please know that this is not an isolated case.  I know another family who lost their adopted son after a year for the same reason.  I also have a sister, whose husband is a member of a Native American tribe-- they have had potential adoptions fall through twice (toddler age children in foster care) because the tribe fought on behalf of the incarcerated father to let them keep the children in foster care rather than put them up for adoption.  Even though the potential adoptive father is 1/4 Native American.

Is this a well-meaning, but actually harmful law, or do think there is sound reasoning behind it?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Chapter Closed

I don't know the ages and stages of all y'all, but there are three news events that absolutely shaped my childhood: The McMartin Preschool Scandal; The Night Stalker; and the kidnapping of Adam Walsh.

And, after more than two decades, the latter has reached a close. Thank Heavens for small mercies. This family has waited and waited for closure, all the while making things better for kids every step of the way. Milk cartons with missing kids? The Walsh family. America's Most Wanted? Walsh family. Centralized missing persons databases? Walsh family again. There would be no Amber Alerts, no Polly Klass legislation, no Megan's Law without the pioneering done by this amazing family that has undergone the worst thing that I can imagine. I am a huge fan of them.

I am just a year younger than Adam Walsh, and vividly remember when he was kidnapped and killed. At five years old I heard the story and started living my childhood with a little more fear. Which was compounded a few years later by the other two happenings on my list.

What news events shaped you?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I tried to post this in the comments of the last post and it didn't work. So here you go. This was timely and no matter what may or may not happen, it's always nice to be able to do something for someone else. Particularly this time of year.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

sobering thoughts for a grasshopper like me

Because of recent and very specific counsel from my stake and ward leaders I have been pondering (and fine, I'll say it, having fears about) the future. "If ye are prepared we shall not fear." I know. But the truth is I'm not prepared. We're trying. We've been trying. But we're not prepared.

As I've watched our economy tank and been shocked and saddened by how we seemed to take everyone else's financial markets down with us, I can't help but worry about the future. As I witness the number of layoffs skyrocket (in my work I see evidence of bankruptcy and drastic budget cutbacks by companies across the nation on a daily basis) I feel on edge--because I realize it doesn't take very long for people to become desperate and I know what desperate people are sometimes become capable of.

Six months ago if I would have read this or this (shared via Google Reader by the very intelligent and thoughtful Geo of On Bright Street), I wouldn't even have considered the possibilities. But given recent events and recent statements by my very own church leaders, now I can't help but consider the possibilities.

And they are sobering.

I'm interested in your thoughts.

Monday, December 1, 2008

What would Keynes have done?

I try to avoid the financial pages--far too depressing. But I am trying to wrap my head around this financial disaster in order to prepare myself for the worst. I found this article from the NYT quite interesting.

The situation reverses, Keynesian theory says, only when some event or policy increases aggregate demand. The problem right now is that it is hard to see where that demand might come from.--N. Gregory Mankiw

“In the long run we are all dead,” --Keynes

Sunday, November 30, 2008

melamine in US infant formulas

Here's the skinny: Melamine, that chemical that killed babies in China and dogs in the US, has now been found in US formulas. Not in amounts as high as in China, but in amounts higher than should be found if it were simply from processing. I got my information from this and this article. Enfamil, Similac and Nestle are the three brands that report finding it.

The problem is, the FDA had previously said no amount of melamine was safe. And now, without conducting any tests, they have decided that a certain small amount of it is safe.

How do they know?

And, would I be foolish to continue to feed our son formula? Is it worth the risk?

Saturday, November 29, 2008's about survival

I saw this Wiki How-to on my iGoogle the other day and thought it might be timely. You know, just in case you might be spending time with family over the holidays...

* This is not a replacement for seeking help from a qualified mental health expert.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

How to stay in the black for Black Friday (and the rest of the holidays)

A co-worker sent me a link to 101 ways to trim your budget along with your tree this holiday season.

Good luck and Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

This disturbs me

Sorry, I'm not adept at posting links. Anyhow, the gist of the story is that a family went to visit grandparents and were sleeping in one room. The baby fell through the floorboards and was missing. The police were called in and they found the baby, safe and sound, although dirty from being trapped between the floorboards.

Social services removed the three children from the home of the grandparents and then the parents' home because both were too dirty.

Should Social Services remove children from dirty homes? Does that constitute abuse and neglect if the children are fed, clothed and loved?

Frankly, I feel torn. On one hand, I don't want children to suffer abuse or be neglected. In those cases, I support the decision of social workers to remove children from dangerous situations. But I have to question the wisdom of removing kids from a dirty home. Heaven knows, my home is not always clean. Does that mean I'm neglecting my kids and do I have reason to fear that my children will be taken from me? I'm concerned that Social Services has too much power and that there isn't a counterpoint or balance to their decisions. And its hard to trust that they are actually doing a good job when you read of kids dying because of abuse and neglect and then other children who aren't being abused but are removed from their homes.

What do you think?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Stocking Up

Don't you love the quirky local news stories where you live?

Across the country, gun sales are surging as some gun enthusiasts are concerned President-elect Barack Obama may change gun laws.

Some are concerned Obama will implement tougher laws when he takes office. As a result, there's been an enormous surge in firearm sales in New Hampshire, and nationwide.

Throughout the election, Obama made clear his support for the 2nd Amendment but said there should be room for "common-sense, effective safety measures."

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My heart is breaking over some of the meanness and hatefulness I've been watching unfold in recent weeks. I can honestly say that among the people I know personally on both sides of this divisive issue, I have not witnessed any hate or bigotry. I have mostly seen love and compassion, conviction and passion.

I am not naive enough to believe that there hasn't been bigotry and intolerance elsewhere, but I don't understand why so much hate has been directed at people of my faith. The irony is almost overwhelming.

So this morning I really appreciated reading this statement from Bishop Weigand, Head of the Catholic Diocese.

"The ProtectMarriage coalition, which led the successful campaign to pass Proposition 8, was an historic alliance of people from every faith and ethnicity. LDS were included--but so were Catholics and Jews, Evangelicals and Orthodox, African-Americans and Latinos, Asians and Anglos.

Bigoted attacks on Mormons for the part they played in our coalition are shameful and ignore the reality that Mormon voters were only a small part of the groundswell that supported Proposition 8."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

OK, I'll bite...back

Out of compassion and love for certain friends and family and because I myself have been so torn over the issue, I deliberately chose not to discuss Prop 8 online (although I did go on Facebook at least once to defend a courageous friend), but today I'm breaking my silence. I just saw the latest "anti" video that's going live today. I won't dignify it with a link or a rebuttal here, but if you haven't heard about it I will tell you it is mean and it's based on one great falsehood that has played prominently in one side of the campaigning.

I won't pretend to understand what it's all about, but I do know one thing:

Prop 8 is not about anyone taking away anyone else's rights. The rights are already in place by law. I know this because I took the time to read the California Family Code.

297.5. (a) Registered domestic partners shall have the same rights,
protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same
responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law, whether they
derive from statutes, administrative regulations, court rules,
government policies, common law, or any other provisions or sources
of law, as are granted to and imposed upon spouses.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Teens who watch Sex in the City more likely to get pregnant

the story

This is a "duh-- really?" sort of story. Kind of like when the breaking news cries "eating a bowlful of lard a day will make you fat!"

How do you restrict media content at your house?

Admittedly, I rarely have to say no because we don't have cable and my boys aren't all that interested in TV. But between The Office and DVDs (usually romantic comedies that I rent) my kids certainly see more sexually explicit content than I'd like.

What are your thoughts?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

the placebo affect

I heard this breaking news the other day on the radio, but thanks again to Azúcar for sending a link to this report about how half of American doctors surveyed admitted to prescribing placebos. (I'm especially happy for the link because this is where I tell you I almost have a crush on Dr. Nancy. She and John Stossel are my most trusted purveyors of news and information. They could tell me just about anything and I would believe it.)

"It's a disturbing finding," said Franklin G. Miller, director of the research ethics program at the U.S. National Institutes Health and one of the study authors. "There is an element of deception here which is contrary to the principle of informed consent."

"Doctors may be under a lot of pressure to help their patients, but this is not an acceptable shortcut," said Irving Kirsch, a professor of psychology at the University of Hull in Britain who has studied the use of placebos.

When I first heard this, I was appalled. But I know doctors are under incredible pressure to prescribe. I've seen it. Given the overuse of antibiotics and the state of the new superbugs I see a place for prescribing a placebo to someone who insists on not leaving the office without a prescription in hand (you may think I exaggerate, but believe me, I do not.)

And here's another thing, what about "informed consent?" Does everyone really have that anyway? There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who will take whatever the doctor gives them without question--in which case it really doesn't matter--and those who will ask the doctor and then their pharmacist and then still march right home and Google whatever it was they were prescribed before they take it--in which case a doctor likely wouldn't get away with prescribing a placebo anyway.

And finally,
In the survey, doctors were asked if they would recommend a sugar pill for patients with chronic pain if it had been shown to be more effective than no treatment. Nearly 60 percent said they would.

While I am one of those who want information and want to be in the know, I see the value in the potential psychological effect of a placebo. In cases where there is no other treatment available, I think using a placebo could be considered a humane approach (unless some pharmaceutical company is making big bucks off your px.

What say you?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Halloween Public Service News

One time, a while ago, I took Lil ~J and some neighborhood girls out trick or treating. I bullied a neighbor into going into his own child's stash because they were handing out mini yogurts. MINI YOGURTS. I told him "I can either teach these girls how to egg your house, or you can teach these girls that you are a good neighbor."
The Ten Most Disappointing Treats for Trick or Treaters

"Dentists and orthodontists should not be allowed to celebrate Halloween if they're going to get all tooth doctory on us. Do not bring your work home with you, folks! We all have a personal responsibility to brush, and maybe some of us will forget, but your complimentary bristles on a stick (instead of a Snickers) will not help us remember. It will make us despise you and your trade."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

This just in from Azúcar

Speaking of news that strikes a nerve...

Apparently I'm not the only parent dealing with dress code issues.

* Last month, Shabraia Dodd, 15, was charged with assault on a police officer after she was arrested for wearing a jacket to East Ridge High School in East Ridge, Tenn. Shabraia acknowledged that she was in violation of the dress code, which prohibits wearing jackets in class, but she said she was recovering from a cold and had offered to remove the jacket after class.

She said she refused to be handcuffed “because I didn’t commit any crime.”

Frankly, I would have gone the "Arrest me!" route (as quoted by another mother in an incident mentioned elsewhere in this story) over that one.

While the dress code giving me fits isn't this extreme (yet), it's just as inane. One day my daughter got sent to the office three times (and cleared each time) over the same issue. The collared shirt was one thing, but there are teachers who send kids to the office if the shirt is worn on the inside instead of the outside of another shirt. Another teacher who insists the shirt must be buttoned up (Hello?!). And there are children who are non-compliant who seem untouchable while others who get sent to the office for non-issues--wasting valuable instruction time.

The worst part for me, as a parent, is the school's non-compliance with their own enforcement terms. The first step for any violation (real or perceived) is supposed to be a call to the parents. I have instructed my daughter (who is in compliance with the code they approved, just not always the tiny details they are making up as they go) to tell administrators to please feel free to call me. Not once have they called.

What's up with that?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Apparently, Everyone is as Tired of This as I am.

Note: When I responded to CW's invite to this awesome news group, I let her know that my attention span was more inclined to cover "News" than, you know, News. You have been warned.

Can I tell you how happy I am about this?

"We felt it was very important to release the film after the presidential debates but before the election," Rothenberg said. "We felt interest in the election would be at its height, and interest in George W. Bush would be much greater now than after January. We feel we have a good corridor over the next two weeks."

(Or not.)

Politics aside, my hatred of Oliver Stone movies aside, the simple fact that America would rather see Chihuahuas or Marky Mark than W. makes me extraordinarily happy. Because it proves to me that I am not the only one who is SO STINKING SICK OF POLITICS.

Yo Quiero Taco Bell.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Do, re, me, me, ME

This article, The me, me, me generation: Have youths in America bought into 'entitlement' mentality?, struck a huge raw nerve with me today.

"I see no evidence that today's young people feel much attachment to duty or to group cohesion. Instead ... young people have been consistently taught to put their own needs first and to focus on feeling good about themselves. This is not an attitude conducive to following social rules or favoring the group's needs over the individual's."--Jean M. Twenge

Twenge agrees with the Harris boys that a cultural shift has occurred in recent decades that has created a mythical adolescence that should be free from responsibility or hard work — and that they should have everything they want without necessarily working for it.

"Kids didn't raise themselves, they didn't make this stuff up. Sometimes people think I'm blaming young people. That's not the way it happened," Twenge said.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Guess who came to dinner?

Granted, it was scripted, but I so much prefer it when the gloves come off and people--especially these two people--can laugh at themselves.

This little exchange was better than all the debates put together.

"I can't shake that feeling that some people here are pulling for me," Mr. McCain said, turning to the far side of the stage. "I'm delighted to see you here tonight, Hillary."

"I was originally told the venue would be Yankee Stadium. Can somebody tell me what happened to the Greek columns that I requested?" Mr. Obama said. Later, he added: "I do love the Waldorf Astoria. I hear from the doorstep you can see all the way to the Russian Tea Room."

"No matter what differences or divisions or arguments we are having right now, we ultimately belong to something bigger and more lasting than political parties," Mr. Obama said. "We belong to a community, we share a country, we are all children of God. In this country there are millions of fellow citizens, our brothers and sisters, who need us very much - especially now."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Does your brain need a hit of happy?

Apparently I'm not fat, I'm just dopamine receptorally challenged.

"Don't get your brain used to it," he said of non-nutritious food. "I would not buy Ho Hos for lunch every day because the more you eat, the more you crave.--Dr. Eric Stice"

(For the record, I thought the study was interesting, but when I got to that last quote I just had to ask, "He had to conduct a study to figure that out? Really?")

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I stole it from Azúcar

The link, not the money...

So where did all the money go?

"The banks and investors holding all those mortgage backed investments are also big losers, now that millions of homeowners are defaulting on their loans. The winners there are all the folks who profited from the lending boom. The mortgage brokers collected their fees and commissions on those mortgages, lenders took a slice when they sold them to Wall Street, which collected fees for packaging all them and selling them to investors. When the music stopped, there weren’t enough chairs. So if you're holding this mortgage backed paper, you’re going to have a tough time finding a chair to sit on."--John W. Schoen