Saturday, September 26, 2009

This is not the time to go to college in California

California college students are letting everyone know that things are looking bad...

University of California campuses erupt into protest

Students and faculty members demonstrate against plans to
raise tuition fees and cut workers

By Mary O'Hara in California

In the sweltering California heat with their placards,
posters, red armbands and chants of "no cuts, no fees,
education should be free", the demonstrators packed in to
Sproul Plaza at the centre of University of California
Berkeley campus today meant business.

The crowd cheered and passing cars hooted as speakers implored
them to fight state authorities' plans to hike student fees
and lay off workers.

Daniella, a petite second-year Latina undergraduate sitting
quietly in the shade echoed what many making the rallying
calls were articulating. "My whole life I wanted to come here.
If they increase the fees I will have to drop out. We have to
fight this."

The Berkeley protest was one of many held across California in
an unprecedented day of action directed at university
authorities and state governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger as he
attempts to curb the state's multibillion-dollar budget
crisis. Faculty, students and unions from the University of
California's 10 campuses including its two most prestigious,
UCLA and Berkeley, joined forces in what was the biggest
student protest for more than a generation.

The scale of the protests has come as a shock to state
authorities. What began as a marginal dispute in the summer
between university faculty and their management over cuts in
salaries has in recent weeks escalated into a statewide
walkout by students and faculty as well as a day of strike
action by campus technical workers against layoffs and
diminished terms and conditions.

The turning point came two weeks ago when university
authorities warned of savage budget cuts to deal with a $750m
(£466m) shortfall and mooted huge increases in the cost of
tuition. "UC regents vote next week to raise student fees,
already up 250% over the last decade, by an additional 30%,"
was how one group of protesters summed up the situation today.

In a move that will reignite debates around racial inequities
in education one group demonstrating labelled the proposed
hike in fees as "twisted and racist", saying it would mean
more low-income and ethnic minority students would be unable
to afford a college education. They also criticised proposals
to increase the proportion of out-of-state students - who pay
markedly higher fees - to 26% alleging it would further reduce
the opportunities for young people from low-income groups or
ethnic minorities living in California to secure a university

In a swipe clearly directed at the governor's office one
provocative leaflet read: "Annually the state pays $49,000 per
prison inmate and less than $14,000 per UC student. If the
state can lock us up, it can invest in our education for
one-third of the cost."

A spokesman for the group Graduate Students of Colour said:
"Students of colour are asking a crucial question: Why now,
and why us? California's population of college-age adults is
majority black and brown. Whatever other reasons are cited,
that underlying condition is left unspoken."

In recent years student demonstrations in California have been
small-scale and largely single issue-led such as those held
after Hurricane Katrina when students protested against the
Bush administration's response in the immediate aftermath.
Signs that the latest protests were different and that
feelings were running especially high were evident in the
run-up to the walkout with fringe meetings mushrooming across
campuses to galvanise support. At UC Berkeley activists could
be seen donning red armbands while at UC Davis one preliminary
protest yesterday included a "naked" demonstration by a small
group of students accusing authorities of "stripping" the
education system.

Facebook and Twitter campaigns were also launched while over a
thousand faculty members across all campuses signed an online
petition rejecting budget cuts and proposing alternative ways
to save money such as trimming the salaries of education
bosses and senior officials plus tapping into reserve funds.

For many this latest wave of protest in California is
reminiscent of the 1960s when UC Berkeley in particular earned
a reputation as the epicentre of student activism when it
spawned the Free Speech Movement. It was also the last time a
former Hollywood actor, Ronald Reagan, was governor. Author
and scholar at UC Berkeley's geography department Gray
Brechin, who was an undergraduate at Berkeley during the 60s
unrest said the current dispute had been "simmering" under the
surface for months.

He said many in the university are concerned that California's
budgetary problems are being used as "an excuse" to dismantle
the state's public university system and move it toward a
system reliant on private donors for funding. "California is
beyond broke. The wealthiest state in the nation is bankrupt.
These problems began a long time ago. What we need is a more
progressive tax system to fund the university, not to
dismantle it."

The UC system, the largest network of its kind in the US with
over 220,000 students and more than 170,000 faculty, is widely
regarded as a flagship public university often outperforming
privately-funded prestigious schools such as Stanford just a
few miles from Berkeley in the home of hi-tech, Silicon
Valley. University authorities have staunchly denied
suggestions of an attempt to undermine public education.

California's colossal budget crisis has become an
ever-increasing thorn in the side of the governor as more
people feel the pain of cuts in expenditure on schools and
other services on top of the fallout from recession. The state
is an estimated $15bn in debt with no way out in sight.

Today's protests come close on the heels of another
politically sensitive initiative. Just last week the governor
granted early release to thousands of prisoners in a
cash-saving exercise. But if the prisoner release controversy
was embarrassing, the dramatic public education furore looks
set not only to be a more enduring and contentious problem but
possibly one that attracts nationwide attention.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

For those into Conspiracy Theories

You find out the most interesting things when you look at news sources from countries outside the U.S.



Friday, September 11, 2009

DREAMer Advocates in Houston on Univision


Wilson's Battle Cry Part IV

The President and the Right Wing Yahoos - what a contrast
No Way to Treat a President

By Eugene Robinson

Washington Post
Friday, September 11, 2009

Anyone who watched Wednesday night as President Obama explained his health-care reform proposals to Congress saw a chief executive making what sounded like a genuine appeal for bipartisanship -- and his opponents behaving like a bunch of spoiled first-graders. Obama should ignore them, even if they hold their breath until they turn blue.

House Republicans were particularly ostentatious in showing their disrespect not just for Obama but for the office he holds. The outburst by Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina -- who shouted "You lie!" when Obama said his plan would not cover illegal immigrants -- was only the most egregious display of contempt. Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House minority whip, fiddled with his BlackBerry while the commander in chief was speaking. Other Republicans made a show of waving copies of their own alleged reform plan, which isn't really a plan at all.

And Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas waved hand-lettered signs at the president, as if he thought he were attending one of those made-for-television town-hall meetings rather than a solemn gathering of the nation's highest elected officials.

Throughout the speech, there was grumbling, mugging and eye-rolling on the Republican side that was not only undignified but frankly un-American. When I was a correspondent in London, I covered far more raucous sessions of the British House of Commons -- that's how Parliament treats the prime minister, who is the head of government. In the United States, that simply is not how Congress treats the president, who is the head of state.

Congress didn't heckle Lyndon Johnson like that during the Vietnam War or Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal. Congress didn't even show that kind of bitterness and aggression toward George W. Bush, who did lie -- specifically, about the intelligence that his administration relied on to justify an unnecessary war that has cost 4,300 American lives and enough money to fund Obama's health-care proposals for a decade.

Wilson issued a statement of apology after the speech, saying he had "let my emotions get the best of me" and calling his interjection "inappropriate and regrettable." As apologies go, it sounded insincere -- a variant of the "mistakes were made" dodge. In fact, however, the right-wing Republicans in Congress, especially those in the House, are all too sincere. And that's the problem.

Last November's election so wounded the GOP that the nation is now suffering collateral damage. The Republicans who were punished at the polls for the failures of the Bush years were those in the most evenly contested districts, which meant they tended to be relatively moderate. Those who represent solidly Republican districts were safe, and their greatest fear isn't being defeated by a Democrat next fall but being challenged by a primary opponent who's even more of a right-wing yahoo.

There are quite a few Democratic pragmatists in Congress -- which is why health-care reform is being worked over so thoroughly by the Blue Dogs. In the Republican ranks, especially in the House, pragmatists are few and ideologues are legion. Many of them probably believe the nonsense they spout about creeping socialism and an urgent threat to America As We Know It. But it's still nonsense. The ideologues' sincerity just makes this toxic, rejectionist rhetoric more dangerous.

You will note that I have not yet mentioned race. For the record, I suspect that Obama's race leads some of his critics to feel they have permission to deny him the legitimacy, stature and common courtesy that are any president's due. I can't prove this, however. And if I'm right, what's anybody supposed to do about it? There's no way to compel people to search their souls for traces of conscious or unconscious racial bias. We could have an interesting discussion about the historical image of the black man in American society, but that wouldn't get us any closer to universal health care.

What will get us closer, I believe, is the clear, steely resolve that Obama showed the nation Wednesday. His most important line, I thought, came near the beginning: "I am not the first president to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last."

He told those of us who support a public health insurance option that we might have to settle for something less. He threw Republicans a bone on tort reform. And he drew one bright line in the sand: Throw spitballs all you want, but this will be done.


Wilson's Battle Cry Part III

The health care debate has gotten so ugly. You would think that being able to at least buy insurance is a human right...
New York Times, September 11, 2009, 6:38 pm

Illegal Immigrants Could Not Buy Insurance on New ‘Exchange,’ White House Says

The White House on Friday said it would bar illegal immigrants from purchasing health coverage through a proposed insurance marketplace. But the administration also said that the federal government would continue to require hospitals to provide emergency treatment to illegal immigrants at taxpayer expense.

The question of how illegal immigrants would fare under a proposed overhaul of the health care system came into sharp focus on Wednesday during President Obama’s speech to Congress. Representative Joe Wilson, Republican of South Carolina, shouted “You lie!” when Mr. Obama insisted that his health care overhaul would not insure illegal immigrants.

And the Obama administration’s determination to show that immigrants will not benefit from the health system overhaul highlighted the extraordinary sensitivity to the issue at a time when lawmakers still remain divided over whether the government should pay to provide health coverage for all American citizens.

A White House spokesman, Reid Cherlin, said that the president’s proposals would bar illegal immigrants from purchasing private insurance through the new government marketplace, known as an exchange, and that verification of immigration status would be required for anyone seeking to purchase coverage.

Although Mr. Obama in his speech referred to his “plan,” the White House has not developed a written legislative health care proposal and does not intend to do so, instead relying on committees in Congress, which have drafted several versions of the bill, some running more than 1,000 pages.

Mr. Cherlin said the White House was considering various enforcement options, including the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements program, which states now use to prevent illegal immigrants from accessing government aid programs for which they are not eligible.

The White House said that illegal immigrants would still be able to purchase health insurance through the private market, as they can now, but acknowledged that the private market was certain to shrink after the creation of the new marketplace.

Many illegal immigrants must now seek medical treatment in emergency rooms, which by law cannot turn them away. In recent years, the federal government has spent $250 million a year to reimburse hospitals for bills that go unpaid as a result. The White House said those reimbursements would continue.

A draft of the health care legislation approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee would allow illegal immigrants to purchase insurance through the new marketplace, but would bar them from obtaining government subsidies to help low-income individuals and families afford coverage.

Under that House bill, illegal immigrants would not be subject to a new requirement that all Americans purchase health insurance. Some non-citizens legally residing in the United States would be required to purchase health insurance, but they would be barred from obtaining subsidies even if their income were low enough to otherwise meet the eligibility requirements.

Senators who have been negotiating a compromise health care bill in the Senate Finance Committee said on Friday that they were contemplating steps to prevent illegal immigrants from benefiting from the health system overhaul, but some aides said they did not believe lawmakers intended to bar illegal immigrants from purchasing insurance at full cost, through the new exchange or otherwise, should they be able to do so.

The White House position could draw a backlash from advocates for immigrants. link

Wilson's Battle Cry Part II


Interesting that the President who really lied to us none stop never had anyone scream "liar" to him while he was giving a speech in Congress.

Wilson's Battle Cry Part I

Congressman Joe Wilson's battle cry woke everyone up when he screamed at President Obama during a speech saying that Obama lied when talking about undocumented immigrants and health care.

Just as the raucous behavior at the Town Hall meetings has surprised some... it seems to me that those outbursts and that of Wilson's are planned. He would not have done something so outrageous unless it was a planned event.


Shout Draws Focus to Illegal-Immigrant Issue

Coverage Question Is Complex, Experts Say, but Less Ominous Than Reform Foes Warn

Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 11, 2009

Republican Rep. Joe Wilson's shout of "You lie!" during President Obama's speech Wednesday night brought renewed attention to swirling questions about whether Democratic health-care legislation would extend coverage to illegal immigrants. Although the answer is more complicated than reform proponents acknowledge, it also does not square with the dark warnings of opponents who say the proposals would bring waves of undocumented immigrants into taxpayer-funded plans.

To counter claims that universal health care would cover illegal immigrants, Democrats and independent arbiters have pointed to language in the House legislation that says the federal subsidies, or "affordability credits," that would be the main avenue to expanding coverage would not be available to illegal immigrants.

This language does not assuage the bill's critics, who say the proposals lack the verification tools needed to assure that illegal immigrants do not gain coverage either through federal credits or expanded Medicaid eligibility for the poorest of the uninsured.

House Republicans have proposed amendments to close potential loopholes, but those measures have so far failed in committee. House Democrats say that the stricter rules could prevent eligible people from getting coverage and that eligibility regulations would be drawn up by federal officials. The bill's opponents say such a process would be inadequate.

"The other side appears to be saying, 'Trust us, [the government] will do the right thing.' Well, the trust issue is the core problem in immigration -- the political class is telling the public, 'We'll do the right thing,' and the public doesn't believe them," said Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for stricter immigration policy.

But many tax and social policy experts say the concerns over undocumented immigrants taking advantage of health-care reform are overstated, if not unfounded. The thorniest immigration issue, they say, may be sorting out how subsidies or Medicaid eligibility would work in families with both legal and illegal residents.

"Will some illegal immigrant get [help]? Probably. Will it be this big problem? Probably not," said Gerald Prante, an economist with the nonpartisan Tax to complete WP article

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cell Phones and Your Life - Part VI

"text messaging by drivers makes them 23 times more likely to crash or nearly crash"

September 11, 2009

Ford Backs Federal Ban on Text Messaging by Drivers

DETROIT — The Ford Motor Company on Thursday became the first automaker to endorse a federal ban on sending text messages while driving.

Ford issued a statement in support of legislation proposed by Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, that would cut by 25 percent the federal highway funding given to states that did not comply with a text-messaging ban. Ford also said it supports a similar proposal in the House of Representatives by Carolyn McCarthy, Democrat of New York.

“The most complete and most recent research shows that activity that draws drivers’ eyes away from the road for an extended period while driving, such as text messaging, substantially increases the risk of accidents,” Susan Cischke, Ford’s group vice president for sustainability, environment and safety engineering, said in the statement.

“Ford believes hands-free, voice-activated technology substantially reduces that risk by allowing drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Ford supports a ban on hand-held text messaging while driving.”

The ban would not affect use of Ford’s in-car communications and entertainment system, called Ford Sync, which allows most mobile phones to be used hands-free. The system can also read text messages aloud to the driver.

Ford Sync is standard equipment on many models and is available on other vehicles for about $400.

Senator Schumer praised Ford for its support of a ban.

“Ford deserves credit for stepping up as the first car company to endorse a ban on this dangerous habit,” he said in a statement. “We are gathering a critical mass of support for this bill, which will give us the momentum we need to get it passed.”

Text-messaging bans have already been enacted in 14 states and the District of Columbia.

The Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state highway safety officials, last month said it favors a nationwide text-messaging ban. It had earlier said that it opposed such a law because enforcement would be too difficult.

The association said it based its new position on a study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute concluding that text messaging by drivers makes them 23 times more likely to crash or nearly crash. link to NYT article

The Truth About Undocumented Immigrants

The University Leadership Initiative updated the facts about undocumented immigrants. We would like to share some of the facts we gathered. If you would like the entire fact sheet, please feel free to contact us via email at ; we would gladly share it.

Economic Impact of Undocumented Immigrants

  • Immigration increases the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by roughly $37 billion each year because immigrants increase the size of the total labor force, complement the native-born workforce in terms of skills and education, and stimulate capital investment by adding workers to the labor pool. (White House Council of Economic Advisers, Immigration's Economic Impact, June 2007).
The Health care System and Undocumented Immigrants
  • Workers without valid social security numbers contribute $8.5 billion annually to Social Security and Medicare. Such workers, most of them immigrants, usually receive no eligibility credits for their contributions. (American Journal of Public Health, August 2005, Vol. 95, No. 8)

Undocumented Immigrants' Effect on Social Security
  • Undocumented workers are providing the Social Security system with a subsidy of up to $7 billion per year and about $1.5 billion in Medicare taxes. ("Illegal Immigrants Are Bolstering Social Security With Billions," New York Times, April 5, 2005)
National Security and the Undocumented
  • An enforcement-only approach would shrink the overall economy, reduce opportunities for higher-skilled American workers and result in economic losses of roughly $80 billion over ten years. (Dixon, P.B. & Rimmer, M. T. August 2009. Restriction or Legalization? Measuring the Economic Benefit of Immigration Reform).

The Visa Process

  • Currently in 2006, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is in the beginning stages of processing visa and permanent resident application requests from 1999. (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services)

Deportation and Detention Effects

  • Detention and deportation waste taxpayer money. Non-violent immigrant detainees are the fastest growing portion of the U.S. prison population. In 2003, the federal government will spend approximately $743 million locking up immigrants. (The President's Fiscal 2003 Immigration Budget, February 4, 2002)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Borders & Immigration - Talk at the Rothko Chapel in Houston

Truth and Consequences on the Mexico-United States Border:

A Series Examining Issues Critical to Human Rights and the Environment

Inaugural Lecture by

Rubén Martínez

Emmy Award-Winning Journalist and author

Professor of English, Loyola Marymount University

Thursday, September 17, 7 p.m.

3900 Yupon

Houston, TX 77006


Going to College? Part II


September 6, 2009 - New York Times
Op-Ed Contributor

An Argument Worth Having

Freshmen are often overwhelmed by the intellectual challenge of college — so many subjects to be covered, so many facts, methods and philosophical isms to sort out, so many big words to assimilate. As if that weren’t enough, what your different instructors tell you may be flatly contradictory.

Students understandably cope with this cognitive dissonance by giving each of their teachers in turn whatever he or she seems to want. Students learn to be free-market capitalists in one course and socialists in the next, universalists in the morning and relativists after lunch. This tactic has got many a student through college, but the trouble is that, even when each course is excellent in itself, jumping through a series of hoops doesn’t add up to a real socialization into the ways of intellectual culture.

What the most successful college students do, in my experience, is cut through the clutter of jargons, methods and ideological differences to locate the common practices of argument and analysis hidden behind it all. Contrary to the cliché that no “one size fits all” educational recipe is possible, successful academics of all fields and intellectual persuasions make some key moves that you can emulate:

1. Recognize that knowing a lot of stuff won’t do you much good unless you can do something with what you know by turning it into an argument.

2. Pay close attention to what others are saying and writing and then summarize their arguments and assumptions in a recognizable way. Work especially on summarizing the views that go most against your own.

3. As you summarize, look not only for the thesis of an argument, but for who or what provoked it — the points of controversy.

4. Use these summaries to motivate what you say and to indicate why it needs saying. Don’t be afraid to give your own opinion, especially if you can back it up with reasons and evidence, but don’t disagree with anything without carefully summarizing it first.

It’s too often a secret that only a minority of high achievers figure out, but the better you get at entering the conversation by summarizing it and putting in your own oar, the more you’ll get out of your college education.

Gerald Graff, the past president of the Modern Language Association and a professor of English and education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has been teaching since 1963.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Going to College? Part I

The New York Times published a great piece on "advice for college freshman"
This post is about finding a good teacher and getting better at writing...


Op-Ed Contributor

The Hunt for a Good Teacher


New York Times - Published: September 5, 2009

I would give entering freshmen two pieces of advice. First, find out who the good teachers are. Ask your adviser; poll older students; search the Internet; and consult the teacher-evaluation guides available at most colleges. (As a professor, I am against those guides; too often they are the vehicles of petty grievances put forward by people who have no long-term stake in the enterprise. But if I were a student, I would take advantage of them.)

To some extent your options will be limited by distribution requirements (in colleges that still have them) and scheduling. But within these limits you should do everything you can to get a seat in the class of a professor known for both his or her knowledge of the material and the ability to make it a window on the larger universe. Years later you may not be able to recall the details of lectures and discussions, but the benefits of being in the company of a challenging mind will be yours forever.

Second, I would advise students to take a composition course even if they have tested out of it. I have taught many students whose SAT scores exempted them from the writing requirement, but a disheartening number of them couldn’t write and an equal number had never been asked to. They managed to get through high-school without learning how to write a clean English sentence, and if you can’t do that you can’t do anything.

I give this advice with some trepidation because too many writing courses today teach everything but the craft of writing and are instead the vehicles of the instructor’s social and political obsessions. In the face of what I consider a dereliction of pedagogical duty, I can say only, “Buyer beware.” If your writing instructor isn’t teaching writing, get out of that class and find someone who is.

Stanley Fish is a professor of law at Florida International University and a contributing columnist to The Times, who has been teaching since 1962. link

Xenophobia does us harm - Countries benefit from Migrant Workers

Op-Ed Contributor

Helping Migrants Weather the Storm

Published: September 6, 2009

New York Times

Perceptions of migration and broad recognition of the positive contributions that migrants make to society have regrettably regressed in most migrant-receiving countries during the current economic downturn.

As job markets in the developed world have contracted, a perception has emerged of migrants as the unwanted flotsam and jetsam of globalization, a reserve army of surplus labor that can be jettisoned or rehired with the ebb and flow of the global economy.

But while many migrants, especially the less-skilled, continue to be more affected than host populations in terms of exclusion from the job market, others are showing a remarkable capacity to batten down the hatches and wait for better to complete NYT article

Friday, September 4, 2009

Grow Your Own on an Empty Lot

Farmers Markets are becoming very popular in Houston and many other cities. People complain that the prices are too high. A small farmer does have much higher costs than the hugh industrial farms that provide food for your local grocery store chain , so the prices are realistic.

If they are too high for your budget, consider starting your own garden. In our neighborhood there are a number empty lots around that would be perfect. There is an abandoned house two doors down. We could make a garden in the yard of that house.

Unfortunately, we can't use the big lot behind us. Someone has appropriated it (not the owner or a renter) and has been parking school buses and pick up trucks there for years. When you park vehicles on land like that, the oil and grease from them sinks into the soil and ruins it for gardening, the soil gets poisoned.

A block away, across from a large middle school, there is a gigantic empty lot, just waiting for a garden. Its at the corner of Baird and Leeland in Houston. Maybe someone will want to start planting vegetables (you would need permission from the owner). Gardens are hard work, but the produce you get will be free (without pesticides).

Celebrating the abundant growth of the farmers market

Los Angeles Times

By Mary MacVean

Officials join with farmers, market organizers and some of Los Angeles' best-known chefs to celebrate the anniversary of L.A. County's first such market. The mayor announces a food policy task force.

When Lorraine Tenerelli tried to get her husband to bring their peaches to sell at Los Angeles County's first farmers market 30 years ago, he didn't want to be bothered. But he tagged along with her to a church parking lot in Gardena.

"When he saw the mob of customers, he said, 'We've got to plant more,' " Tenerelli said Thursday at the weekly farmers market outside City Hall. There, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other officials joined with farmers, market organizers and some of the city's best-known chefs to celebrate the anniversary and the growth of farmers markets to a total of 121 today -- more than any other county in the country, the mayor said.

The celebration ranged from serious to fun, including a salsa contest -- the eating kind, not the dancing kind -- plus chef demonstrations and plenty of food vendors, naturally.

Villaraigosa also announced a food policy task force that will "help turn L.A. into the farmers market capital of the world."

"When you think of it, what is more important than the food we put on our table?" he said.

Every week, 1,000 farmers and food producers sell their wares to about 250,000 shoppers in L.A. County markets, he said, adding later that he shops at the Sunday market in the Larchmont neighborhood.

The work and membership of the task force, in which the city is partnering with Occidental College and the L.A. Conservation Corps, have yet to be decided, Deputy Mayor Larry Frank said. But among the issues it will consider are school food; access by the poor to fresh, nutritious food; the environment; and a permanent market hub, he said.

"Everyone should have access to good food," said Evan Kleiman, chef-owner of Angeli Caffe, host of the radio show "Good Food" and emcee of Thursday's event. "We may have moved to the city, but we still want to eat like we live on the farm."... link to complete LAT article

American Fast Food leads Immigrant Kids to Illness

Photograph of a Botero Painting

As we know, obesity in children often leads to early diagnosis of diabetes. If your child develops diabetes, he/she will have to stop eating at McDonalds, Burger King, and Jack in the Box. So either change the diet now, or you will have to later. The consequence of a continued poor diet after diagnosis is lethal.

The study cited below is about immigrants. But this is not the only group affected. Just go to any suburban mall and you will see how many small children may end up diabetic in a few years. Click here for link to report.

- Sons of Immigrants Have High Obesity Levels, Report Finds

By Tara Bahrampour
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 4, 2009

The sons of immigrants to the United States suffer from alarmingly high levels of childhood obesity, according to a new report funded by the Foundation for Child Development.

Thirty-four percent of kindergarten-age immigrant boys are obese or overweight, compared with 25 percent of the sons of native-born Americans, according to an analysis of data collected by the U.S. Education Department. By eighth grade, that number rises to 49 percent, compared with 33 percent among natives. No similar discrepancy was found among girls.

Adult immigrants do not tend to become overweight until they have been in the United States for a while and become more acculturated, but "children from the newest, least acculturated immigrant families tend to be the most at risk of obesity," said the report, "Moving to the Land of Milk and Cookies," which was released this week. It relied on a federal study that tracked 21,000 children from kindergarten to eighth grade, a quarter of whom were children of immigrants.

The higher level of obesity among sons of immigrants cut across socioeconomic levels and was most pronounced among those whose parents do not speak English, the study found.

It was most prevalent among newly arrived Hispanic immigrants and non-Hispanic white immigrants. Black children of immigrants do not face a higher rate of obesity than their native counterparts, and the problem does not show up among Asian children of new arrivals, although it does appear among children of Asian immigrants who have been in the United States for 15 or 20 years, said Jennifer Van Hook of Pennsylvania State University, the report's lead author. link to complete WP article

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Why do employers cheat low wage workers?

If the wage is so low, why scrape a few pennies from them? Along with the previous post. The idea of hate crimes, and with stealing from people who get paid very low wages doesn't sound humane.

If the workers making minimum wage are being shafted, can you imagine what happens to undocumented workers?


Low-Wage Workers Are Often Cheated, Study Says

Published: September 1, 2009
New York times

Low-wage workers are routinely denied proper overtime pay and are often paid less than the minimum wage, according to a new study based on a survey of workers in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

The study, the most comprehensive examination of wage-law violations in a decade, also found that 68 percent of the workers interviewed had experienced at least one pay-related violation in the previous work week.

“We were all surprised by the high prevalence rate,” said Ruth Milkman, one of the study’s authors and a sociology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the City University of New York. The study, to be released on Wednesday, was financed by the Ford, Joyce, Haynes and Russell Sage Foundations.

In surveying 4,387 workers in various low-wage industries, including apparel manufacturing, child care and discount retailing, the researchers found that the typical worker had lost $51 the previous week through wage violations, out of average weekly earnings of $339. That translates into a 15 percent loss in pay. link to complete NYT article

Hatred Against Latinos Growing - Report by Southern Poverty Law Center

Report Cites an Atmosphere of Ethnic Hatred in Suffolk County

Published: September 2, 2009
New York Times

An environment of racial intolerance and ethnic hatred, fostered by anti-immigrant groups and some public officials, has helped fuel dozens of attacks on Latinos in Suffolk County during the past decade, says a report issued Wednesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that tracks hate groups around the country.

Click here for the report:

“Latino immigrants in Suffolk County live in fear,” the report said. “Political leaders in the county have done little to discourage the hatred, and some have actively fanned the flames.” link to complete NYT article