Life, Love, and Dirty Diapers

Have a CAN-DO Attitude

Sorry it’s been a few days since I blogged. It’s been busy and I’ve been trying to finish unpacking and my parents are coming later this day and my to-do list is too long and it just needs to be a to done list already.

Oh and I was working on making a new button for my blog. You can check it out in my sidebar and let me know what you think. Oh and as you can see, I have some other buttons in my sidebar and I am definitely willing to put more up, just contact me and let me know and if I think you’re a good fit, I’ll pop it on up there.

Anyways, what I want to talk about today is a really neat organization. The organization’s name is CAN-DO, which stands for Compassion into Action Network – Direct Outcome Organization. What this means basically is that CAN-DO really wants to make sure that your aid actually helps people and that they are totally transparent. How they accomplish this is by doing written updates, pictures, videos, and they even livestream some of their relief efforts. It’s really incredible because with CAN-DO you can actually follow your dollars from beginning to end.

They frequently work overseas and also with disaster relief efforts. In fact, they are currently preparing to mobilize for Hurricane Isaac. So if you’ve been wondering how you can help out with that, CAN-DO would be a great organization to check out. I think having that accountability and the checks to make sure that your aid money is actually helping people is so important. Nothing is more frustrating than donating to a cause and realizing that most of your donation went just to keep the organization running and very little to actually helping people.

You can check out CAN-DO here.

Disclaimer: I received no compensation for this post. I posted it because I believe in the mission of CAN-DO and I wanted to spread the word.

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10 Finds for You – August 15th

Okay, so one thing that I do is that I love to share other people’s articles and content. Why? Because there are a lot of great things out there. So periodically, I’ll do what I’m doing today, which is leave you a list of things I recommend reading (or watching). Just a few notes because I’m just going to leave the links and not add any of my extra commentary, leaving a link here does not mean I agree with everything on the site – I just think the particular link is interesting whether or not I agree with it. If you want to discuss any one in particular, leave a comment and I’ll happily discuss it with you and what I think about it.

1. What About American Girls Sold on the Streets?

2. Couple to attempt 50-mile swim across Lake Michigan

3. Women Scientists Still Face Discrimination

4. College Teams, Relying on Deception, Undermine Gender Equality

5. Sentencing Juveniles

6. ‘The Girl’s Guide to Homelessness’ Author Brianna Karp Offers Advice to Young People on the Streets

7. One-third of tween clothes are sexy, study finds

8. TTC & IF: WHO Annoyance

9. Sex and Self-Esteem: A Big Boost for Men, Not So Much for Women

10. Fathers: Key to Their Children’s Faith

Happy reading!

Melissa

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My Thoughts on the Contraception Controversy

So I know I’m in the middle of a series, but I have a few things to post before I go back to my series (I’ve been working on these, which is why I haven’t been posting as much). Because I need to make some things clear.

Mainly because I’m sick of people saying they speak for the women of America. I am a woman of America and I disagree with what they are saying when they say they speak for me, but that’s okay apparently, to make broad blanket statements about speaking for the women of America. They don’t speak for me, so I’m going to speak for me.

I’m not going to talk about the compromise right now, because it’s not really a compromise. Use your brains people – if insurance companies have to pay for it but not the employers, then how do you think the insurance companies are going to pay for it? They’re going to increase premiums for the employers. You can’t just pretend that there isn’t going to be a hidden cost and that we aren’t all going to end up paying for it.

And I’m not even going to talk about how I don’t agree with most things that are considered contraception, like the pill and the IUD.

I guess my problem is the definition of preventative care and defining contraception as preventative care. Because what does it prevent? Pregnancy – and pregnancy is not a disease. It’s a natural, normal part of life. In the great majority of cases, it is not life threatening and even when it is, there are really awesome OB/GYN’s to help you through it. Preventative care should prevent a disease and pregnancy is simply just not a disease. I’m a pregnant woman and I do not have a disease. I do realize that there is a very small percentage of women who are on birth control pills for health conditions that are not fault of their own. BUT, I do think that if we were to stop thinking that a birth control pill is an answer for these health problems, that we might be able to find real answers to them (for example, endometriosis, which is often managed with the birth control pill – there is currently no cure for this condition). Because to be honest, a birth control pill doesn’t really cure these diseases, it just manages the symptoms, at least from my understanding.  It is easy to prescribe a birth control pill and it’s easy to take a birth control pill, but it’s harder to search for a cure.

Examples of real preventative care include screening for diabetes, immunizations, screening for cancers, etc.

Now I want to talk about something that is real preventative care – that is prenatal care. And maybe I know all this because I’m currently pregnant, but it’s something that needs to be talked about.

Here are the benefits of prenatal care and why I consider it preventative. Proper prenatal care reduces maternal deaths, miscarriages, birth defects, low birth rates (3 times more likely without prenatal care), delivery complications (like preeclampsia and placenta previa), infant deaths (of which is near and dear to my heart since Milwaukee has high infant mortality rates – this is 5 times more likely without prenatal care), and premature birth.

Now the new law does cover some services associated with pregnancy. These include:

  • Anemia screening
  • Infection screening  (for certain infections)
  • Breastfeeding related support and in some cases, supplies
  • Folic acid supplements
  • Gestational diabetes screening
  • Rh incompatibility
  • Tobacco counseling

Now, while this seems like a lot, there is so much that is being left out. Regular visits are important, early ultrasounds to rule out ectopic pregnancy (which is life-threatening), anatomy scan (which is not necessary, but helps to discover birth defects, some of which we can now treat in utero and identify conditions like placenta previa which needs to be treated), iron supplements – I could go on.

I’m not looking for a handout, don’t mistake that. Yes, it can get expensive, but I love my child and so we find a way to make it work one way or another. I’m just saying, wouldn’t it make more sense, instead of fighting over contraception, which doesn’t prevent anything, we work on covering more services for pregnant women which has huge preventative effects. Remember how I mentioned one of the downsides to not receiving proper prenatal care was low birth weight? Well, besides the immediate risk to the infant which are very serious, I want to copy and paste something from the March of Dimes website about potential long term risks.

Some studies suggest that individuals who were born with low birthweight may be at increased risk for certain chronic conditions in adulthood. These conditions include high blood pressure, type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes and heart disease. When these conditions occur together, they are called metabolic syndrome. One study found that men who weighed less than 6 1/2 pounds at birth were 10 times more likely to have metabolic syndrome than the men who weighed more than 9 1/2 pounds at birth (10, 11).

It is not yet known how low birthweight contributes to these adult conditions. However, it is possible that growth restriction before birth may cause lasting changes in certain insulin-sensitive organs like the liver, skeletal muscles and pancreas. Before birth, these changes may help the malnourished fetus use all available nutrients. However, after birth these changes may contribute to health problems.

So why are we focusing on contraception which will not make us a healthier society as a whole, when we could focus on making sure every pregnant woman gets proper prenatal care and make society healthier overall? That’s true preventative care.

Just my two cents, because no, those people tv don’t speak for me. I speak for me.

Here are my sources by the way:

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The Women in Time’s Most Influential List 2011: Felisa Wolfe-Simon

I’m not immediately familiar with today’s person, Felisa Wolfe-Simon, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t influential. Let’s take a look at her.

  • She is a geobiochemical oceanographer.
  • She has a doctorate in Oceanography.
  • She also has a NASA fellowship in astrobiology.
  • Her primary work focuses on the idea that (and I’m quoting because I don’t really understand it well enough to put it into my own words) “a bacterium called GFAJ-1 could substitute arsenic, poisonous for most life forms, for phosphorus, considered an essential element for all living cells.”
  • That work is heavily disputed by others in her field and others claim to be unable to reproduce her results, a key part of the scientific process.

So, is she influential or not? I think it’s not a question that I can answer conclusively at this point. I think it depends a lot on whether or not her research turns out to be true. And that’s hard for me to answer because I don’t have the scientific background to be able to say whether or not her research is true. But it has stirred up quite the controversy in the scientific world – so I can’t say definitively whether it’s true or not because the scientific community can’t even decide whether it’s true or not. If her research is true, then it will change the way we think about life and how life works (according to everything I’ve read on it). And then she will have had a huge influence on the future and have been highly influential. If her research turns out to be just bad science, all she will be is the scientist who almost discovered something that didn’t exist and she might even become a laughingstock. So in my opinion, the jury is still out. Do you have any thoughts on Felisa Wolfe-Simon? Leave them below in the comments! 

Sources:

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The Women in Time’s Most Influential List 2011: Oprah Winfrey

All right, here is another woman who I feel is super famous. Oprah Winfrey. Let’s dive in.

  • Best known for having her own talk show (The Oprah Winfrey Show), which ran from 1986 until 2011.
  • In American history, she is the greatest black philanthropist.
  • She is thought to be a big influence on the talk show as a genre.
  • Some experts think that her endorsement of Barack Obama led to over a million votes for him in the Democratic primary. Just because she endorsed him.
  • She owns her own production company – Harpo Productions.
  • She co-founded the tv channel Oxygen.
  • In 2011, she launched OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, her own tv channel.
  • Her website gets an average of 70 million page views per month and 20,000 e-mails every week.
  • She has her own XM Satellite Radio channel.
  • Apparently, she has been appearing on Time’s Most Influential List since 2004 and is the only person who has been on it in all those years from 2004-2011.
  • She has two of her own terms (coined by other people):
    • Oprahfication: This is defined as confessing something in public for therapy.
    • “The Oprah Effect”: This is defined as her ability to influence people to do something (especially to buy something).
  • She has been able to raise millions of dollars for charity.

I definitely think Oprah is influential – almost scary influential in my opinion. I don’t know how she had managed to do what she does, to get the kind of following she has, and to have so many people think that her opinion is trustworthy. But she has. Actually, I think she is kind of a good example of what influential looks like, just because she is so influential. In fact, some sources I read even named her as the number one most influential person in the world and I don’t know if I agree that she’s number one, but it is true that she has TONS of influence. Just think about how many people are e-mailing her and visiting her website. That means whatever she puts on her website is being seen that many times. And then you have the people who watch her tv show and her tv channel, the people who read her magazine, and the people who listen to her radio show. That is a lot of people combined. How many other people have that kind of reach? Even her book club. Do you know when she introduces a book on her book club that it usually gets 1 million more in sales at least? Who else can do that? I don’t know if I’m an Oprah fan, but I would be wrong to dismiss her as not influential because clearly she is highly influential. I bet you even that if she ever decided to run for president (which I doubt she would), she could easily become president even if she didn’t associate herself with a political party – that’s how much influence I think she has.

Sources:

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The Women in Time’s Most Influential List 2011: Hillary Clinton

So Hillary Clinton – this is another person I am pretty sure most people have heard of, but let’s look into her background anyways and examine my thoughts on whether or not she’s influential.

  • She is the current Secretary of State.
  • She’s served in a variety of political positions, from First Lady to Senator and so on.
  • She was liked by a majority of Americans for the majority of her time in politics – at least according to poll data.
  • In 2011 as Secretary of State she
    • was the face of the US response to the Arab Spring.
    • was majorly responsible for the decision not to release photos of Osama Bin Laden’s dead body.
    • visited Burma/Myanmar (which was a major move as it had been more than 50 years since a US Secretary of State had visited the country).
    •  continued to work on her goal of empowering women worldwide.
  • She recently announced she is leaving politics.

Is she influential? I may not agree with her on every issue, but I definitely think she has been very influential in her political career. She’s held several positions that are just full of influence – First Lady, Senator of New York, Secretary of State. I think in 2011 because she was Secretary of State she was especially influential since the Secretary of State is often our spokesperson to the world and because she was really the face of the response to Arab Spring – a major event that I am positive 2011 will be remember for in years to come. However, all that being said, I don’t think she will continue to be influential after she leaves politics. Many politicians’ influence trickles away pretty quickly after they leave politics. So what do you think? Is Hillary Clinton influential? Leave your thoughts in the comments! 

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The Women in Time’s Most Influential List 2011: Blake Lively

I didn’t recognize the name Blake Lively off the top of my head, but I recognize her face from some of the roles she’s played as an actress. Things like Gossip Girl, Green Lantern, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and so on.  So let’s dive in an learn more about her.

  • She’s an actress.
  • She had a nude photo scandal (though of course she denied it).

Is she influential? Maybe it’s just me, because I spoke kind of the same way about the last actress, but I don’t think she is really that influential. Celebrities – yes, our culture is obsessed with them, but do they really have influence? Do they really change anyone’s life? In 10 years will anyone remember her? Even in 5 years? Actresses’ fame can be so fickle. So I don’t really think that she’s influential. Sorry, but what lasting impact will she leave? And I’m always disappointed when actresses have nude photo scandals. They always say that it’s not them, but I really don’t believe them sadly. I’m just too cynical for that. So what do you think, is Blake Lively influential? Am I wrong? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments – agree or disagree! 

Sources:

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The Women in Time’s Most Influential List 2011: Lisa Jackson

This post has made me realize how many people out there are named Lisa Jackson, as I googled her to learn more about her. But there’s only one of the specific Lisa Jackson I’m talking about. Let’s dive in.

  • Is trained to be a chemical engineer
  • Current head administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Is focusing on 7 key areas: “taking action on climate change; improving air quality; cleaning up our communities; protecting America’s waters; assuring the safety of chemicals; expanding the conversation on environmentalism and working for environmental justice; and building stronger state”
  • Current accomplishments: She “has outlined principles to modernize our nation’s 30-year old chemical management laws, called for unprecedented innovation in drinking water protection efforts and announced tough standards to clean the air we breathe.”
  • In the past year, has developed Mercury and Air Toxics Standards
  • Has promised to focus on groups of people who are most vulnerable to harm from environmental contaminants

Is she influential? I think so. As head of the EPA, she has a big role in shaping the environmental future of the United States in terms of regulations and things like that. And the environment has a much bigger effect on you than most people realize. I took a Literature and Environment class in my last semester of college and I thought I knew how the environment affected you and your health, but I learned there is so much more. So as someone who has the power to decide standards, she is super influential, for better or for worse.

Sources:

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The Women in Time’s Most Influential List 2011: Michele Bachmann

I think by now Michele Bachmann is a pretty household name. A representative from Minnesota that I had hardly heard of before has been thrust into the national spotlight with a run for president.

  • A state representative from Minnesota
  • She was attempting to gain the Republican presidential nomination for the upcoming race until she dropped out this morning (that’s breaking news)

Is she influential? Hard to say. I think government leaders to some extent are more or less influential. It’s hard because I would have answered this differently weeks ago, when she was more a front runner in the presidential race because as a potential president, of course she would be highly influential. But the numbers now are not playing out like she will be successful, which means she will probably disappear and we may well never hear much about her again. (Do you hear much about the people who didn’t do well in the Republican primary in 2008? Not really – not unless they ran again or made some significant win in the primaries.) So maybe it’s a wait and see. Iowa, after all, doesn’t have to doom you – but it can often doom you. And certainly, I’m sure she didn’t want only a 5 percent vote and to come in last. At any rate, it looks like Iowa won’t really matter at all for her, as she announced this morning that she is dropping out. At this rate, since she dropped out, I think she will continue to be less and less influential.

Note: I have often been asked on what I feel about women being president. My answer? I don’t think you should support anyone woman for president just because she is a woman. Additionally, I am almost, at this point in my life, harder on women candidates than male candidates. Why? Sort of for the same reason that George Washington had to be the right first president. I think the first woman president will set a precedent for future woman presidents, just like George Washington set the president for the rest of presidents. If he had acted too much like a king, then I doubt our democracy would have been successful. In the same way, my fear is that the first woman president elected, if unsuccessful, would make it harder for future women to be elected – so I always want to make sure when I look at a woman running for president that I ask myself “If she were to be the first woman president, would it be harder for women to be elected after her?” The first one of anything is important. So that’s my stance on women presidents.

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The Women in Time’s Most Influential List 2011: Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama. A pretty well known, household name right now I would say. Nevertheless, let’s take a look.

  • She is the current First Lady.
  • While she is involved in many causes, her best known one (in my opinion) has to do with eating healthy and ending childhood obesity (Let’s Move which “will give parents the support they need, provide healthier food in schools, help our kids to be more physically active, and make healthy, affordable food available in every part of our country.” – From the White House, link in the sources).
  • She also recently started an initiative for military families – big kudos there!

I have to say if I were First Lady, I don’t think all of the issues she worked on would be the same issues I would work on, but every First Lady sort of has their cause. We’re different people – and that’s okay. But nevertheless, her work has seen real results and I think that makes her influential because she’s not just saying “This is what we should do.” And then people ignore her. No – people have listened to her and made changes. Look at some of what Let’s Move has accomplished (taken from their website, link below):

  • Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act
  • “Three of the largest food service providers have committed to improving the food they provide to schools.”
  • Working on putting more than 5,000 salad bars in schools
  • Chefs Move to Schools
  • Working to ensure more playgrounds and Safe Routes to School
  • Let’s Move Cities and Towns

And that’s just part of it – so you can definitely see that this initiative she is leading is being highly influential in this country in her own way.

Sources:

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