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Thursday, October 22, 2009

No Excuse for Furlough Days in California State University System

As a former Chico State alum (who also attended Cal State Fullerton), I wasn't pleased to read an article this morning about the mandatory three day furlough that Cal State Fullerton and other state universities held recently.

What a bargain these students get for their tuition! Hike up fees but don't allow students to actually attend class. Wow, that's brilliant! These students pay for an education they don't receive. There is something seriously wrong with the state of California when they furlough our education system. What's going to happen next? They plan to furlough elementary, middle and high schools? Sorry kids, go home - you aren't allowed to learn today because we just don't have enough money for you to attend school.

I complained about fee hikes when I attended college in the early to mid-90s (and those were mere pennies compared to the outrageous fees students pay today). Not only are students ripped off with their education, but furlough days put university professors in a tough spot. I read that one professor apologized to his chemistry class about having to learn book chapters/complex chemistry formulas on their own. That's always fun.

However, once again the "power of the people" took over the Fullerton campus and their students made the best out of a bad situation. They rallied together and created protest videos in"vent tents" and held their own fun make-shift classes on campus (how to make your own record label, etc.) It was also nice to see that Fullerton allowed the students to rally on the campus grounds (even though classes were officially closed for three days).

To our fearless California leader - The Governator: pull your head out and actually DO something about our education system. What's going to happen next? Furloughs for ALL schools across the state of California? To all California university students, professors and staff - keep up the good fight! Education has never been a priority in California, but now it's loud and clear that the California state university system is on the bottom of the heap.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Bullying Needs to Stop - When School Bullies Turn to Violence

I was horrified when I watched the interview with the mother whose 15-year old son was burned by a pack of bullies at his school. This week a young boy in Florida was set on fire by fellow classmates/bullies because they were mad at him for snitching on them. The pack of boys allegedly stole the victim's father's bike.

My youngest sister was bullied when she was in junior high. As a result, my mom threatened to sue the school if the kids weren't at least suspended. The parents of these kids didn't even care. It sickened me when this happened to my sister, and luckily it didn't escalate into horrifying violence such as this young boy experienced.

I hope Florida tries these boys as adults (it sounds like they are leaning towards that sentence). I also think they should put the parents of these boys on trial too. How did they raise a pack of brutal, violent criminals? It's disgusting that these boys haven't even reached 18-years old yet and they think it was "okay" to set a young boy/another human being on fire.

I won't get into the impact of media violence and video games because that's a tired issue, and has been picked apart for years. The sad part is that the mom and the school were working together to set up a meeting with how to handle these bullies. However, it came a day too late . The young boy was ambushed at his home this week and set on fire by the other boys.

Bullying has to stop in schools. There should be absolutely zero tolerance and these kids should be expelled as soon as they show violent/bullying tendencies. We've had enough heartache and bloodshed in American schools - Columbine, Virginia Tech, etc.

My heart goes out to this young boy who is fighting for his life in a Florida hospital right now (and to his family).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

To the Book Burning Amazing Grace Baptist Church - You Aren't So Amazing

When I read the article about the Amazing Grace Baptist Church in North Carolina who plans to hold a book burning on Halloween night, I was disgusted. I posted the article link on my Facebook which caused quite a stir.

The ironic part about this story is that they aren't rounding up the classics like Hemingway and Melville. They plan to burn Bibles and faith-based works by the Pope and Mother Teresa. Yes, that's right - a "church" is burning Bibles and whatnot.

I was raised Catholic and even if you aren't Catholic, Mother Teresa has done amazing work in this world. I guess sacrificing your life and assisting the poor in Third World countries counts as "Satanic" work according to this particular church. To call Mother Teresa a "heretic"- that's a God-slap waiting to happen (a shout out to my friend Noel for teaching me about God-slaps).

They also plan to burn books by Billy Graham, Oral Roberts and Rick Warren who they deem as "heretics." Isn't that like turning on your own kind? Aren't Baptists Christian as well? I think that burning books of world-renowned Christian leaders/authors isn't very "Christian-like."

They also plan to burn all genres of music/CDs including "easy listening." Yeah, instrumental music has subliminal Satanic messages weaved throughout the melodies. I better send them all my instrumental jazz CDs (yes, jazz music was included in their list!)

According to this church, there is only ONE Bible (get it - only ONE) Bible that "true believers" should follow - the King James version. If you have a copy of the Living Bible, forget it - you aren't getting into the pearly gates of Heaven.

I wonder if they plan to burn the Koran and the Torah while they're at it. Perhaps the Bhagavad Gita? The Vedas, sacred scriptures of Hinduism? I'm sure Buddhist works will also be throw into their bonfire.

So Amazing Grace Church - here's my advice. I highly recommend you take the word "Grace" (and Amazing) out of your name because there isn't anything amazing or graceful about your church.

By the way, their website is shut down (thanks for that tidbit, Laura) and it's hosted by a Fundamentalist web hosting company with "Christian links" on their site.

I leave you with a quote from Mother Teresa:

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Breast Cancer Awareness Month - A Cause Close to my Heart

For those who don't know about my former career as a non-profit fundraiser (or my former life, as I like to call it), I helped plan a breast-cancer walk event for the American Society Cancer called Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and this is a cause very close to my heart. I have friends and family who are survivors and also have lost loved ones and friends to breast cancer. I remember when I first started recruiting for the Strides walk and a woman told me she didn't have to think about breast cancer for a few more years. I asked her, "Do you have breasts?" She replied, "Yes." My response: "If you have breasts, then you need to be concerned about breast cancer TODAY. Women as young as 18 have been diagnosed with breast cancer." It's amazing how many people are misinformed/ignorant about public health issues, especially breast cancer. Early detection is the KEY - I cannot stress that enough. After working for ACS, I saw how early detection saved women's lives.

I encourage all women 40 plus years old to get a mammogram. For women under 40, if you have a history of breast cancer in your family please consider getting a mammogram before age 40. I also encourage all women to perform monthly self-breast exams. Also, MEN can also get breast cancer so men please beware too.

My friend Melanie (super blogger, mom and fellow writer!) is giving away pink pajamas and socks as part of a campaign to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is a free giveaway so check out her information and enter to win cute pink pjs in honor of BC Awareness Month!

Please remember all the amazing breast cancer survivors and honor those this month who we have lost their fight against breast cancer. If you can donate or volunteer in the fight against breast cancer, please research before you donate or volunteer time to any charitable organizations. There are plenty of scammers out there who will use this opportunity this month to prey upon people and take advantage of people's generosity. Beware! You can pull up information on all charities online or call the charity directly and ask for their annual finanical reports.

So wear your pink ribbon, walk in the name of your loved ones and don't forget that this is a cause we need to fight year-round!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Michael Jordan...seriously?

My rant of the weekend: Michael Jordan and his public intoxication on a SF golf course (thank you to my bro for posting that tidbit on his Facebook). Wasn't it bad enough that San Francisco was ticked off at him for polluting the air by puffing on a big stogie on a SF golf course? His Royal Highness of Basketball should have been fined AND for a lot of money - he can afford it.

Now he thinks he's "too cool for school" because of all his bling and billions that he think it's cool to get hammered in public while playing golf - wow, I see he's really keeping up with his "positive" role model image for kids. Fail. He could take a few lessons from Tiger (and more than just his golf game).

Athletes (and retired athletes) with too much money - give some of your moola away to much-needed charities and stop acting like drunken, stogie-smokin' tools.

The new Nike slogan should be changed to: "I don't like Mike." Idiot.

Friday, October 9, 2009

How to Beat the Flu and Not Go Crazy

Once again, my immune system took a nose dive (echinacea, I want my money back) due to whatever microbes invaded my body this week. Flu shot? What is that?

I've been shackled to my bed this week and am not sure if it's mid-morning or mid-afternoon. My brain is still flu-foggy and have enough Emergen-C pumping through my veins to get me through next year's flu season. With the paranoia brewing over the H1N1 virus, I have some tips on how to survive the nasties- whether it's the garden variety flu or that pig one.

1. Make sure you have cable - seriously. I'm now caught up on all my bad reality tv shows like Rehab - Party at the Hard Rock Cafe. By the way, don't ever work at the Hard Rock in Vegas. The pool manager is a ludicrous tool.
2. If you don't have a laptop and you get the flu, you are screwed - buy laptop pronto.
3. Have a lot of fluffy pillows. I don't know why but soft, fluffy pillows make you feel instantly better.
4. Get a hiker's Camelback and attach it to your body - must...stay...hydrated.
5. Have someone buy you really bad celebrity gossip magazines and slide them under your door - it's the best time to catch up on Brangelina and those crazy Kardashian sisters.
6. Turn off your cell phone so people don't send you stupid text forwards - that will only make you feel worse. Who wants to see the pumpkin butt forward while you are hacking up a lung? Not pretty.
7. Eat a lot of steaming Top Ramen - it's cheap and full of starchy goodness (forget nutrients - it's all about the TR).
8. Don't watch "The Way We Were" on AMC 24,7. Once is all you need. Barbara gets annoying after awhile.
9. Watch Third Rock on Hulu - that will definitely make you feel better.
10. Don't mix TheraFlu with booze- I repeat: do not mix TheraFlu with booze. A hot toddy on its own is acceptable though. I think the pirates used to drink that...oh wait,they used to eat oranges to ward off scurvy...same difference.

And of course...get plenty of bed rest, wear a gas mask, and don't infect others with your pig flu germs.

Ok, time to eat some more Top Ramen and take a nap. ZZZZZ.