Monday, October 31, 2005

True love and flatter abs

True Love and Flatter Abs: How to navigate teen magazines
By Nancy Gruver

Even with cable and the Internet, many girls still turn to Seventeen, Cosmo Girl and Teen Vogue for the latest on celebrities, fads, fashion, makeup, music, movies, and other “must-buy” products.

Many of these magazines’ articles -- and ads, which can fill as much as 75 percent of the pages -- prey upon girls’ normal adolescent desire to be popular and attractive. They send the damaging message to girls that they are lacking and need certain products to try to make the grade. And they can have quite an impact: Studies have shown a relationship between reading fashion and beauty magazines and loss of self-confidence and healthy body image in girls.

How can we protect the girls in our lives from these hostile messages? Ban the magazines? I don’t advocate that, even though my daughters eventually banned Seventeen themselves, because they felt depressed after reading it. Teen girls need to make such decisions themselves. Rather than turning Cosmo Girl into forbidden fruit, try this:

Read the rest at Common Sense Media

Saturday, October 29, 2005

'By sitting down, she was really standing up for all Americans'

Rosa Parks to lie in honor at State Capitol
By JIM ABRAMS, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - In death, Rosa Parks is joining a select few, including presidents and war heroes, accorded a public viewing in the Capitol Rotunda. It's the place where, six years ago, President Clinton and congressional leaders lauded the former seamstress for a simple act of defiance that changed the course of race relations.

Full story at Yahoo! News

It's time for nation's young to follow Rosa Parks' ideals
By Frank Beckmann/Special to The Detroit News

A time to pay tribute
By Jannelle McGrew/Montgomery Advertiser


Friday, October 28, 2005

Loving, using...

What most people need to learn in life
is how to love people and use things
instead of using people and loving things.

- Anonymous

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Doctors & lawyers explain why

100 Doctors & Lawyers Warn Canada's Parliament Against Assisted Suicide Bill

Doctors: 'We do not want to become the executioners of our patients.'

OTTAWA, October 26, 2005 ( - A group of 100 physicians and lawyers has issued a strong warning not to legalize physician assisted suicide or euthanasia in Canada. This statement has been issued in advance of the second reading of private members Bill C-407 scheduled for October 31st. The Bill seeks to legalize physician assisted suicide.

The document was signed by 61 physicians (comprising essentially all medical specialties including several professors, practicing in such diverse fields as family and internal medicine, oncology, surgery, anaesthesiology, psychiatry, neurology, radiology, medical ethics and palliative care) and is being sent to all MPs to alert them to the dangers of altering existing legislation. The document has also been endorsed by 39 lawyers.

Full story at LifeSite

A nurse speaks

Why should Canadians oppose Bill C-407?

By Jean Echlin, RN, MScN

Nurse Consultant---Palliative Care

Dying with Dignity can only be achieved with expert hospice/palliative care, strong community and institutional health care and compassionate support of vulnerable people. This care must be available for all Canadians.

With 26 years experience as a palliative care nurse specialist and consultant; I have been at the bedside of more than one thousand dying individuals. Thus, I can assure you that persons, who receive timely, appropriate and expert pain and symptom management, including attention to significant socio-spiritual, psychological and emotional issues, do not ask for assisted suicide or euthanasia. With the inclusion of family members as the "unit of care," people want to live as long as possible! In fact, good hospice/ palliative care can actually extend the life span. As well, it gives patients an improved quality of life at the end of life.

Over the years of caring for people at the bedside as they face life-threatening or terminal illness, I have found that depression is a common symptom. Depression is treatable even in late stage disease, thus euthanasia and assisted suicide are a threat to people who need both medical and psychological support for clinical depression.

If euthanasia and assisted suicide were legalized, this would adversely affect the priority and need placed on the development of palliative care standards and norms of practice already developed by the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA). Expert palliative care requires a commitment of health care dollars. Euthanasia and assisted suicide is a financial, moral and ethical "cop out!" With financial efficiency and expedience a health care priority, these killing methods may catch on quickly in a system strapped for money and resources. Doctors and nurses should not be killers.

Euthanasia treats people as disposable objects. All Canadians should be concerned…even frightened by the possibilities.

All Canadians should oppose Bill C-407.

Jean Echlin was awarded the prestigious 2004 Dorothy Ley Award of Excellence in Palliative Care by the Ontario Palliative Care Association (OPCA).

Get news and information about the issues surrounding Bill C-407

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

It can be done!

Frankly, I believe that much of the conflicts and problems (whether real or imagined) in life would be avoided or greatly diminished if men and women understood each other more. Female intuition seems to give women a headstart in the quest to make heads or tails of the opposite sex; women's psychological makeup is more complex, too, so there is more for men to process and understand.

The title says it all:

Understanding the woman in your life
Steve Vinay Gunther

Finch Publishing

Sept. 2005

This is a book for any man who is struggling to understand the woman in his life... some of the time, most of the time or all of the time. An entertaining, no-nonsense guide, it is full of relationship-saving advice, delivered with warmth, as well as the occasional wake-up punch. When it comes to daily life with a partner, this book will give many men that 'Aha!' moment.

Read more about this and other titles at Finch Publishing

Monday, October 24, 2005

The fine print

To read without reflecting is like eating
without digesting.

- Edmund Burke

She's a former Washington Post bureau chief

I'll put no other introductions here except to say that this piece that Patricia Bauer has written for The Washington Post is heartening. And edifying. So, check it out.

This is what happens...

...when we forget that persons are not raw materials
or things to be disposed of when deemed unproductive
or objects that exist to give pleasure and other forms of gratification.

We may also forget that persons
-- no matter how tiny or cute or in need of a home --
are not puppies or kittens to be sold.

The next little step
There's no risk of all this getting out of hand, we're assured, because all these artificially created human embryos will be destroyed as soon as they've served their scientific purpose. Extract their stem cells, throw the remains in the autoclave and forget it.

Chinese police probe online baby auction

Media reports said the ad offered baby boys for 28,000 yuan ($3,500) and girls for 13,000 yuan ($1,600), reflecting the traditional Chinese preference for males. It promised to deliver infants within 100 days of birth.

Baby-selling by organised syndicates is big business in Malaysia
A “new modus operandi” has emerged. Women are forced into prostitution and denied contraception so that they can make babies, who are later sold at prices that can range from US$ 41,000 to US$ 50,000 each.

Swiss euthanasia-providing group branches out to Germany

Responsible for the killing of 453 people since its launch by Ludwig Minelli in Zurich in 1998, the assisted-suicide group Dignitas has now expanded into Germany with an office in Hanover, in the hopes of advancing the euthanasia cause in that country.

Human life, in all its stages, is not a commodity.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Pro-family efforts do pay off

In Manila a few years ago, not a few people rejoiced when a billboard promoting a sleazy movie was brought down. At the same time, it was one of those rare cases wherein we were grateful for the typhoons that slammed into our country during the June-October wet season. Why? This particular billboard was toppled down by the typhoon's strong winds! And it wasn't brought back up again.

In the case of Florida, forces of nature had nothing to do with the junking of an unwanted billboard. The vigilance and persistent efforts of pro-family groups did the job.


Sexually Oriented Billboards Coming Down in Florida

from staff reports

Pro-family activism pays off.

After years of opposition by pro-family groups, Viacom Outdoor has agreed to remove billboards promoting a pornographic bookstore in Florida.

Full story at CitizenLink

Remember David Parker?

He's the Massachusetts parent who went to his 6-year-old son's school to attend a scheduled meeting with faculty to discuss the inclusion of homosexuality in the school's curriculum (the lessons present homosexual behavior as positive and normal, based on the book the son brought home from school one day, assigned as required reading).

During the meeting, Mr. Parker asked for assurance that he would be notified before lessons regarding homosexuality were to be given to his son's kindergarten class. When he refused to leave the meeting without being given an assurance, the school called the police and had him arrested for trespassing. He ended up spending the night in jail.

Things progressed since that April day, and his trial for trespassing charges was supposed to have begun yesterday (Oct. 20). The charges were dropped, however, according to this story from WorldNetDaily.

This whole matter encompasses several different issues -- it's about parenting, one of the most noble occupations in the world and one that shapes entire generations. It emphasizes hands-on parenting, a much-needed approach these days if we are to help them grow up to be happy individuals and responsible citizens. It's also about conviction and knowing when to hold one's ground. Is it about homosexuality? Well, that is at the heart of the issue, but more than the general issue of homosexuality, more important is the need to keep in mind that some things -- such as homosexuality -- cannot and should not be made to appear natural, positive and normal. No amount of distortion or propaganda will change the truth.

Want to be edified? Mr. Parker gave a moving speech last month on Lexington Green, the site of the opening battle of the Revolutionary War more than 200 years ago.

Is it better to take the bull(y) by the horns?

Bullying Increasing: First Boys, Now Girls

Bullying can lead to bigger problems down the road

Oct. 12, 2005 (Washington) -- That schoolyard bully who pushes, punches, and threatens other children may in turn commit assault behaviors later, says a Washington-based pediatrician.

Bullying is a growing problem, with the average number of school-based violent events involving multiple victims increasing from one event per school year in 1992 to more than five events per year in 1998, according to a HELP Network fact sheet.

You can read the full story at WebMD

What can adults do about bullying?

What kids should do if they're bullied

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Bridging the gaps

Many of today's youth have potential but are lacking in motivation or the material means to pursue goals. Some have the drive to excel but without proper guidance from adults, they stray or fail to realize that they can be so much more. Some people are trying to change that.

“We help inner city girls succeed academically, but at Metro we go beyond academics,” comments Sharon Hefferan, Executive Director of Metro Achievement Center. “Our character education program, with its focus on instilling virtue, gives depth to the personal development of each girl. Inner city kids often fail in college and beyond, not simply because of poor grades, but also because they lack the personal discipline and virtues needed to excel. At Metro, we help the girls succeed by motivating them to excel as people.”

More about the Metro Achievement Center

Read about El Milagro kindergarten, a project that is helping impoverished children and their families in Peru.

What they need

There are two lasting bequests we can give our children:
One is roots, the other is wings.

- Anonymous

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Not just any Memorial Day

Besides the Int'l Life Chain, which took place on Oct. 2 this year, another annual event was held to stand up for and remember the millions of lives that have been deliberately taken through abortion. Oct. 3 was Pro-Life Memorial Day, wherein young people turned up outside the US Supreme Court for a night of singing, scripture-reading and prayer (more photos here).

Pro-Life Memorial Day, organized by Rock for Life (the youth arm of the American Life League), shall be celebrated every first Monday of October. Why? The Supreme Court always opens its session on this day; thus, it's an appropriate day to recall the victims of Roe vs. Wade (46 million lost to surgical abortion since the court's 1973 ruling).

The 2006 Pro-Life Memorial Day will be on Oct. 2.

We deserve to know the truth

I don't remember exactly when I first heard about RU-486. Maybe it was a little over a year ago, but since then I had known it to be a drug that, if taken by the mother, causes the death of her unborn baby. How the drug is marketed or presented to the public seems to be a different matter altogether.

Over the past few months, cases involving the drug were in the news -- and I saw it mentioned as well in a blog entry. Know what it's all about:

LOS ANGELES, October 11 2005, ( - In 2003, a 21 year-old student, Hoa Thuy Tran, died after taking the abortion drug regimen, RU-486, and now her family is suing the deadly drug's US marketer.

Read the rest here

Here's a related story:

PROVIDENCE, July 28, 2005 ( - Even while the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating deaths related to it, the manufacturers of the drug Mifepristone continue to deny that their drug was the cause of the bacterial infection that has killed five women.

Get the lowdown here

And Real Choice relates what happened to 38-year-old Brenda Vise and 18-year-old Holly Patterson, who both took the abortion drug.

So much information has been established about RU-486. Ignorance is no excuse -- the lives of both mother and child are at stake.

* RU-486 bumper sticker from

Friday, October 14, 2005

TV and cyberspace are not going to the dogs just yet

I imagine that one good thing about living in an Amish community is the absence (or low incidence) of problems that spring from TV exposure.

Sure, you don't get to witness people "conquering their fears," jumping off buildings or submerging themselves in vats of earthworms; you don't get the lowdown on real-life love triangles where a guy's ex-girlfriends engage in catty catfights on a "talk show." And you miss the barely-clothed "artists" at the 24-hour music channel shaking their booties (among other things) and moving as if every part of their female anatomy were up for grabs.

Yes, being part of any community that shuns television would mean depriving yourself of...uh, all that. And more.

But you know what else you miss out on when trash TV is not part of your viewing fare? The heady moments of elation upon learning of efforts to fight the ill consequences of communication technology. Here are two news articles which show that it's really concerted efforts that we need to have the upper hand over those who abuse and misuse the power of the media.

There really is too much on-air and online pollution (what an understatement), and they're doing something about it:

The FCC gets very serious about on-air indecency
The Commission launches a website that gives the public a user-friendly way to file complaints.

Yahoo! to bar minor-adult sex chat rooms
[Nebraska Attorney General Jon] Bruning said the agreement means "our children are safer online and predators have fewer opportunities to prey on them."

And, you can read about the recent establishment of an FBI porn squad in a previous post.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Speaking up for the voiceless

Last Oct. 2 was Int'l Life Chain Sunday, and life chains were formed across different parts of the United States and Canada. South Africa participated, too, as well as other countries though I have no details about that.

Indeed, it was a peaceful way to stand up for life and speak up for the defenseless.

With all the hype and global efforts on the war on terror, I hope people come to realize that even pre-born babies aren't spared anymore from acts of terror -- specifically when someone decides that they don't have a right to be born and thus snuffs the life out of them.

Pre-born babies need protection from acts of terror, too.

Connecting with the 'connected generation'

One mother I interviewed refers to her son's bedroom as "the technology cave." He has a TV, computer, stereo, iPod and cellphone. She won't allow food in his bedroom because "that forces him out into the open with us."

There are other ways to bring techno kids into the wider world. For starters, immerse yourself in their world. Ask them to go online to help you find Katrina relief groups. Let them teach you complex videogames. Then be the adult and say it's time to turn everything off and come to dinner.

That's from a recent Wall Street Journal article about the "wired generation." Of course high-technology is yet to reach a good portion of the global village, which is not exactly a bad thing. Consider what's happening to the youth of North America with all the gadgets that have come to control many of them (instead of the other way around). Still, the article ends on a positive note:

In North Granby, Conn., Kaycee Quinlan, 15, says she doesn't mind that her parents look over her shoulder when she's online. "I feel lucky to have parents who care," she says.

Her parents also have a quaint habit of trading not-so-instant messages with her -- sticky notes on the kitchen counter, often with scribbled hearts. "I'd way rather get those notes than cellphone messages from them," Kaycee says. "I come home, I'm alone, and when I see their handwriting, it's comforting."

Full story at The Wall Street Journal Online

Can a kid make the peace sign while holding water guns?

A seemingly innocent plaything from yesteryear -- like, say, your Popeye water pistol -- may be viewed in a different context in this day and age -- largely because of the changes that mass media have brought to our lifestyle and, consequently, our value standards. Now there are such things as "peace education" and "media literacy." Now we hear of "gaming addiction" and "cybergossip." "Instant messaging" and "blogging" provide yet other challenges to parents to keep up with technological advancements that are becoming a normal part of the culture that their kids are growing up with. Surrounded by these, any kid has access to information and images that may make him more aware of things like conflict, war, prejudice, and a host of other things that, if he's not guided well, may make him forget (or totally unaware of) the concept of peace and the need to work at it so that it reigns -- within oneself, in the family, on the societal level and between nations.

So how do we teach peace to a kid? Believe it or not, the toys he plays with has much to do with it. Here's some food for thought:

"Teaching Peace in Fearful Times"
A statement by the Alliance for Childhood

(an excerpt)

“It is easy to teach children about war,” says Joan Almon, U.S. coordinator of the Alliance for Childhood. “It is much more challenging to teach them how to create peace. In war, we draw lines and barricade ourselves against the enemy. Educating for peace means building bridges between people across every divide, including ethnic, racial, religious, and national lines.”

After the September 11 terrorist attacks, many new toys and games that glorify violence were marketed to children as young as age three. These include realistic toy weapons and battlefield gear.

These kinds of toys “focus children's play on violent themes, undermine lessons adults teach, and bring in scary real-world themes young children cannot fully understand,” notes the Toy Action Guide published by TRUCE, a national organization of educators concerned with how toys and entertainment affect children’s play and behavior (

“Such toys may fulfill a need for adults to feel patriotic or support U.S. troops,” says Diane Levin, professor of education at Wheelock College and author of Teaching Young Children in Violent Times. “But they often channel children into narrowly scripted play, and convey a message that violent play is okay and exciting. Children need more open-ended play materials that enable them to be creative and imaginative and to work out their own needs.”

Read more at Alliance for Childhood

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Silent solidarity

Protest against abortion will silence students at hundreds of campuses on October 25

FREDERICKSBURG, VA, September 28, 2005 ( - Stand True Ministries is gearing up for the second annual Students' Day of Silent Solidarity ( ) on Tuesday, October 25. On this date, students from hundreds of campuses in both the United States and Canada will take a vow of silence to express their contempt for the murderous act of abortion that has claimed one-third of their generation and continues to take the lives of over 4,000 babies per day in the United States alone.

"Thousands of American babies are permanently silenced every day by the violent act of abortion," said Bryan Kemper, president of Stand True Ministries. "This day is in honor of those children, and we will stay silent as an act of solidarity with these innocent victims."

Full story

For more info, go to

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Radio, books, TV, school

Has "where did you learn that?!" been one of your lines to your kids/nephew/niece/little brother/little sister/grandchild? Some parents actually wonder where their children pick up all sorts of ideas or irreverent new words that they (the parents) had no way of teaching the little ones. These days, a parent or guardian meets more and bigger challenges in guiding those under his/her care, especially the ones with very impressionable minds. The environment has become much more aggressive, and what your kid learns from it is not always sound.

What do you do? Be a more hands-on parent! Get more involved in your kids' everyday lives! Network with like-minded parents and families and help each other provide a better environment for young people (starting with your own). Be one step ahead (better if it's several steps ahead)! Here are some clues as to how erroneous ideas are making their way into the young ones' psyche:

From porn club to school board
A man who managed a sexually explicit “adult” club would make a fine school board president, according to the Asbury Park Board of Education (APBE) in New Jersey.
Concerned Women for America

Dr. Laura
Dr. Laura loudly pronounced, "This bastard! That's what he is, I'm sorry, but he's a bastard!" Okay, so I agree with her sentiments, but don't really want my 4-year-old to learn that word just yet. I quickly changed the station and glanced in the backseat to see if my daughter was paying attention.
A family runs through it

Novelists pen risque tales for teen, tween readers
Publishers peddle mature themes to adolescents with trashy books on the young, rich and racy
The Detroit News

And here, the good news -- one concrete way you can begin on your quest for a better relationship with your children and a happier, healthier atmosphere in the home:

A television in your child's bedroom? Just say 'no'
Isn't it satisfying when what passes for petty parental prejudice is vindicated by research? After enduring years of argument about our refusal to let our children have televisions in their bedrooms, I was able to flash a Times headline to them on Tuesday: “Take TV out of child’s bedroom, parents are told.”
The London Times

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Not your average teen mag

That's Jana Pettey in the photo, publisher and editorial director of Justine magazine. Justine is not new, though it hasn't been around as long as other better-known teen mags (I remember seeing issues of Seventeen around the house in the 1970s, and I was a Tiger Beat devotee for a while during the 1980s, ahem). And, it dishes out much more than your usual beauty-fashion-and-boys fare -- which means it's not the usual run-of-the-mill teen magazine. I've seen some new mags targeted at teenage girls which seem to carry more substantial materials (while still being funky) than the teen publications of old, but in my opinion, Justine stands out.

Here's part of an interview she had with American Family Association's Rebecca Grace:

Q: Did being a parent have anything to do with your creation of the magazine?

A: Absolutely! I think I ... represent many parents out there who are looking for safe places for their children, safe reads for their children, safe Internet sites to go to. We have a great interactive Internet site at So many parents, I think, today assume that if something is a teen magazine or a teen website that it is safe, and they're not. But a lot of parents say, "I never thought to look at that or read that or pay attention to that because in my mind it was for teenagers so that means its safe." Well, the limits have been pushed greatly.

You can read more at AFA Online

They're not superheroes...

...but they're certainly doing heroic things.

Obviously, Pay It Forward, the novel by Catherine Ryan Hyde, didn't end with the movie. It has spawned projects that help people of various needs and circumstances, in different parts of the world. Programs range from children selling "patriotic" accessories and donating part of their earnings to charity, to starting newsletters and founding organizations to improve the lives of those who need assistance in one way or another. Some people give a brief lowdown on what the novel/movie has inspired them to do:

Operation Care Packages!

Harmony for Youth, Sarnia, Ontario, Canada

A Short Course in Kindness News

Read more at Pay It Forward Movement
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