Month: July 2011

Thoughts on “Ranks of hungry children swell, worrying doctors – The Boston Globe” [ALSO: Ending Childhood Hunger]

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Ranks of hungry children swell, worrying doctors – The Boston Globe.

“The emergency room survey found a similarly striking increase in the percentage of families with children who reported they did not have enough food each month, from 18 percent in 2007 to 28 percent in 2010.

BMC has also seen a 58 percent increase, from 24 in 2005 to 38 in 2010, in the number of severely underweight babies under the age of 1 who were referred by family physicians to its Grow Clinic, where doctors provide intensive nutritional, medical, and other services to boost babies’ growth. Such malnourishment is similar to what is more typically seen in developing countries, Sandel said.

While the nation’s spotlight has been trained on the other end of the spectrum, the problem of childhood obesity, Pérez-Escamilla and other researchers report evidence that early hunger may be linked to later obesity. […] Some studies have found that young children who grow up with not enough to eat can become overweight or obese adolescents and adults, though the link is not firmly established.”

A tragic story.  It is not just the unemployed that are hit by the recession, it is their children, too ….

There is a huge Presidential initiative to end childhood hunger in America, the National Anti-Hunger Organization (NAHO), which, in itself is a worthy ambition, but after reading the key suggested points for doing so (their projected goal is ending childhood hunger by 2015 [pdf]), this is no real solution.

The main points of this plan are nine, some of which I agree with:

1) Create economic growth that provides opportunity for all

Yep.

2) Increase the minimum wage.

Nope. The minimum wage is established state-to-state based on what they know they can afford; not every state is bankrupt like the federal government.  The minimum wage is a starting point, an entry level pay bracket that is not meant to sustain a certain lifestyle or an entire family for an extended period of time.  The personal initiative of moving out of this pay bracket is what should prompt an increased lifestyle of living, not an increased minimum wage.

3) Establish a tax system that helps families thrive. (i.e. Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit).

Yep.

4) Improve key supports to help families with children meet their basic needs (affordable housing, strengthen Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, low-wage child care programs, unemployment insurance, protecting families with a disabled member)

Well, look at this .  More spending….?  How is that going to sustain familial support in a long-run scenario?  This is a great right-now, temporary fix, but my hesitation in approving this stems from its precedents; it won’t be temporary, nor do I feel it is intended to be.  So, unless a ‘temporary’ clause, with a solid exit “weaning” strategy comes along, I have to say ‘Nope’.

5) Ensure access to affordable, quality healthcare

Yep. Stipulation: It should not be provided by the federal government. More federal spending =/= Sustainable economy

6) Increase access to and participation in the federal nutrition program

Nope. I really think I’m sounding like a broken record here, but there is just no way increasing federal spending and familial dependence on the funds released is going to produce any lasting results.  The permanent answer to childhood hunger is not increasing food assistance programs.  It is the first point; economic growth that provides opportunity for all.

7) Expand federal nutrition program eligibility to reach all food-insecure children

Nope. …….. How is expanding a federal assistance program going to stimulate the economy so parents can provide for their children?  How is expanding the horizons of federal spending going to help ANYONE? The temporary result may be that a child does not go hungry, but the lasting result is a failed economy and as a result a failed government; we face a collapsed nation and a scenario where no one can help anyone else, because our country does not exist anymore.

8.) Ensure that children have not only enough food but enough nutritious food

YES. Yes.  Other suggestions; American farming initiatives and incentives to grow healthy food by Americans that will stay in America…. not too familiar with the farming industry to be able to fully comment on what’s in place now and what can be changed, but I do know enough to know that we import way too much of our food…. we need to stop processing and start growing.

9) Provide the leadership required to reach the 2015 goal

This is just a shameless campaign plug for Obama. I don’t agree with the major points of this initiative and therefore don’t agree with the administration that suggested it, though I do believe the cause is a worthy one.  They have just gone about it in a way that will provide immediate results that will not stand the test of time and will ultimately cause more problems than they have solved …. this initiative has the right motive, but their method is wrong.  I think a federal initative is the wrong move.  The economy is the key to everything.  More jobs = more employment = less childhood hunger.  A simple solution, a much more difficult implementation.

Side note …… “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you” takes on a totally different meaning when the government is the one doing the feeding …. socialist state, anyone?

I do have a point to all of this.  I do know where I’m going and what I want to ultimately say …. which is that Public funding will never be able to care for the sick and ailing like private charity can.  Look at the current federal financial crisis.  How is that going to get any better by spending more money???  It is unfortunate, but families cannot depend on government assistance forever.  For a time, sure.  That’s what it’s there for.  I can understand that, I think anyone can.  But it has gotten to the point that unfortunately, families that truly need it cannot depend on it much, or at all, because the system has been exploited for so long and is about to go bankrupt with the rest of the country.  What is the answer? Private charity.

WHAT WE CAN DO TO HELP

  • The St. Vincent de Paul Society is founded on the initiative of feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, and clothing the naked, three of the Seven Corporal Works of Mercy as taught in the Catholic Church. There is a SVDP chapter in every major city and they are always in need of volunteers and donations and financial assistance.
  • Visit Share Our Strength’s website, for ideas on getting involved in the food bank in your community, as well as other initiatives that can help parents who are struggling to feed their children well.

Pole Dancing Class For 7-Year-Olds Slammed | www.myfoxny.com

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Pole Dancing Class For 7-Year-Olds Slammed | myfoxny.com

…. Uh…… with good reason.

Who in their right mind would enroll their 7-year-old daughter in pole dancing classes?  I feel like I shouldn’t even have to go into the list of why this is wrong, but it’s teaching them all of the wrong things about their lives and their capabilities ….

This isn’t even registering…..

Facebook + Bathing Suits = Bad Idea | Aggie Catholic Blog [ALSO: History of the Bikini]

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Facebook + Bathing Suits = Bad Idea | Aggie Catholics Blog

I want to quote a snippet from this blog post like I normally do, but it’s short enough (less than one page) and important enough that I will post the whole thing.  Click the link anyway, he’s got some really great other content and this is only a sample.

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Facebook + Bathing Suits = Bad Idea

“Something I never really wanted to post about, but feel I have to, because I don’t think that young women quite understand the problem.

Yesterday when I logged onto Facebook, I had several pictures of college co-eds in bathing suits, who are friends on Facebook, come up on my feed. In response, I posted the following on Facebook as my status:

A note to young women on Facebook, from a guy who works with young men struggling with pornography…you might look good in your bathing suit, but if you were able to see yourself through 20 year-old male eyes, which are struggling to see you as a human and not an object, you would never post that pic. Just a thought.

But, that isn’t enough to describe what is going on. So, here is the science behind it all:

Researchers used brain scans to show that when straight men looked at pictures of women in bikinis, areas of the brain that normally light up in anticipation of using tools, like spanners and screwdrivers, were activated.

Scans of some of the men found that a part of the brain associated with empathy for other people’s emotions and wishes shut down after looking at the pictures.

Susan Fiske, a psychologist at Princeton University in New Jersey, said the changes in brain activity suggest sexy images can shift the way men perceive women, turning them from people to interact with, to objects to act upon.

I believe that most young women who post pics of themselves in bathing suits aren’t looking to be objectified, but it is happening to them nonetheless. I hope this shows once again why modesty is a necessary virtue in our society today and it is an act of charity to your brothers-in-Christ to avoid immodest behavior, including posting pictures of yourself that are not modest.

A note for men – you are not off the hook for lusting after women because a woman dresses immodestly. There is no excuse for using a woman, regardless of how she might present herself. Your lust is your problem, not her problem. Her problem is immodesty.

I should add a note for the women – you would never have put on the bikini in the first place if you ever had 30 seconds behind those 20 year-old male eyes I describe above.

UPDATE: I forgot to post the history behind the bikini – I summarize it like this:
The modern bikini came from a Frenchman running a lingerie boutique. When he introduced it, he couldn’t find a model to wear it so he hired a stripper. It was a hit with the guys and caught on.”

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Thoughts on: “When the Best Place to be Born is the Worst Place to be Conceived | Blogs | NCRegister.com”

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Thoughts on: “When the Best Place to be Born is the Worst Place to be Conceived | Blogs | NCRegister.com.”

A friend asked a seemingly innocuous question recently: “If you could choose to be born in any time and place, when and where would it be?” Not surprisingly, my answer was: “Here in modern America.” The answer seemed obvious: By being born here and now, not only would I likely make it to adulthood thanks to our blessedly low infant mortality rates, but I would go on to have a life of freedom! We have unprecedented levels of personal freedom in our culture, and what’s not to love about that?

But my argument was turned on its head when my friend followed up with a similar question, to which I had a startlingly different reaction: “When and where would you choose to be conceived?”

Suddenly, modern America plummeted to near the bottom of the list….”

Jennifer Fulwiler has a very good point here.  She goes on to cite abortion statistics for this great big country of ours, harrowing statistics at that.

The answer to the abortion question is hardly a sound-byte.  It is a complex answer that involves  a lot of moving pieces; increased help for pregnant women, an increased network of support for those who choose to raise their child as well as for those who choose to place their child in an adoptive home, a better connection between couples who are willing to adopt and the mothers who want to place their children for adoption, and a lengthy laundry list of other factors as well.

I look at the numbers again and wonder how many pregnancies of Christian and even Catholic women that have been ended out of shame and fear of humiliation.  We as Christians are called to help and love one another without judgment, but how often does this actually happen?  How often do we look at a young pregnant girl without a ring on her finger and roll our eyes and continue on our way?  There are factors we are unaware of when we cast that hasty judgment, but our disapproval is only read as a judgment on her decision to carry the pregnancy to term.  Is that really what we want?  There are probably choices she made she is regretting or rethinking now, as she is wearing the product of a few bad decisions on her body for the next 9 months, and it is not possible to go back in time to change those.  We are present in the here and now, and the situation must be dealt with as it is, not in ideal fantasy-world where this would not have happened.

Offering help to pregnant women is the first and biggest change that can affect the abortion numbers.  So many women are unaware that help even exists; they think their circumstances are  beyond the scope of understanding and that they are alone.  How far from the truth this can be, if they only knew.

“When the best place to be born is the worst place to be conceived….” there is a problem.  Who will be part of the solution?

  • Check out Maggie’s Place, “a community that provides houses of hospitality for expectant mothers who are alone or are living on the streets.” (Phoenix, AZ; Tempe, AZ; Glendale, AZ; Cleveland, OH)
  • Check out the White Rose Women’s Center, “for the woman experiencing an unplanned pregnancy”. (Central Expressway in Dallas,TX; Greenville Avenue in Dallas, TX)

(Side note: I am always looking to increase my list of crisis pregnancy assistance, so if you know of a place that might make my list, please let me know.)