Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pediatric group issues new flu shot guidelines

According to an article in Bloomberg Businessweek, the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending that all adolescents and children 6 months of age and older should receive the annual trivalent influenza vaccine this flu season. Two influenza vaccines were recommended last year but only one trivalent vaccine is being recommended for this flu season.

CNN Article: A teacher shares his opinions on how to fix public schools

Bryon Ernest, an award-winning teacher, was interviewed by CNN for his opinions of how the public school system should be fixed. His nine ideas include:
1. Quality teachers should be in the classroom
2. Stop the testing obsession
3. Promote digital literacy
4. More teacher collaboration
5. Find alternative sources of funding
6. Improve parent-teacher relationships
7. Year-round schooling
8. Embrace creativity and risks
9. Meet basic needs

Friday, August 27, 2010

This is a listing of articles of interest that has appeared within the last 7-10 days.

1. Health care gap may raise rates of colorectal cancer death in Blacks, Health Daily, August 27,2010
Brief Intro: "Unequal health care may explain why black colorectal cancer patients have a much higher death rate than white patients, a new U.S. study suggests."

2. Calorie counts are coming to the menu, NPR.com, August 25, 2010
Brief Intro: "The Food and Drug Administration unveiled some ideas Tuesday on how it plans to implement requirements under the new federal law overhauling health care for better nutritional labeling on the menus of restaurant chains with 20 or more locations."

3. Drug prices climb faster than inflation again, NPR.com, August 25, 2010
Brief Intro: "Last year, the average retail price for brand-name medicines popular with Medicare patients rose 8.3 percent, according to the latest analysis performed for the AARP."

Race and Society
1. Hundreds of millions in Katrina funds remain unspent, MSNBC.com, August 20, 2010
Brief Intro: "Five years after Hurricane Katrina destroyed more than 200,000 Louisiana homes, the state program established to help families rebuild still hasn’t paid out more than three-quarters of a billion dollars and has come under fire from a federal judge for discriminating against black homeowners."

2. State Island grapples with attacks against Mexicans, NPR.com, August 20, 2010
Brief Intro: "Police are investigating a string of at least 10 alleged hate crimes in the borough's Port Richmond area since April — all violent, and all perpetrated against Mexicans."

3. School drops race-based rules for student elections, MSNBC.com, August 27, 2010
Brief Intro:"Following an uproar over a policy it said was designed 30 years ago to achieve racial equality, a school district in a Mississippi town on Friday scrapped a system of student elections where race determined whether a candidate could run for some class positions, including president."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Frontline Documentary: The Vaccine War

The Vaccine War takes a look at vaccines and the groups both for and against child vaccination. With parents deciding to opt out of vaccinating their children against many diseases that have not been seen in a generation or more. With many parents fearing that vaccine additives may cause autism in their children, some parents are believing that it is a better bet to hold off on some vaccines rather than run the risk of autism. When this happens the question becomes whether or not these parents are putting other children at risk for diseases their own children may catch due to not being vaccinated.

This documentary is recommended for those who are interested in hearing both sides of the inoculation debate.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Documentary of Interest: Prison Lullabies

This documentary takes a look at four women who are being held at the Taconic Correctional Facility in New York. These women, who have been charged with dealing, prostitution and struggling with drug addiction, have found themselves arrested while pregnant. At Taconic, the facility allows pregnant women to keep their babies for the first 18 months while attending classes to help with anger management, basic child care and drug counseling.

Participating in a work release program, all of the women face challenges while making the adjustment to life after prison. Some are successful and others wind up back in the correctional facility. The toll it takes on the children is very visible, with some not even remembering who their mothers were.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Documentary of Interest: Paradise Regained

This documentary is a story about Milton Reed, an artist who was hired by Chicago project residents to paint murals within their apartment walls. The artwork made the residents feel happy even while being surrounded by poverty and violence.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Documentary of Interest: Exiled in America

This nine minute short documentary details how a legal resident who is the mother of five children was deported to Mexico. The mother, who had resided in the U.S. for 25 years was a driver in a car accident with some of her friends. After being taken to the hospital, she was told that she was being charged with transporting illegal immigrants. She served 4 months in federal prison and was deported to her hometown in Mexico. Leaving behind 5 children who ranged in age from 24 years to 14 years old.

Due to an immigration law in 1996, immigration judges no longer had the power of discretion when it came to decisions on deportation. The result was the deportation of even legal residents for minor infractions.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Roundup

Here are some articles of interest published within the last 7-10 days.

ADHD risk may be tied to pesticide exposure before birth, MSNBC, Aug 19,2010
Brief intro: "Children whose mothers were exposed to widely-used pesticides such as malathion during pregnancy may be at increased risk of developing an attention disorder by age 5, a new study shows."

CDC: More U.S. teens getting vaccinated, MSNBC, Aug 19, 2010
Brief intro: "More U.S. teens are getting recommended vaccines against certain cancers, meningitis and infectious diseases, government researchers reported on Thursday."

State sued over prenatal services, Omaha World-Herald, Aug 19, 2010
Brief into: "Eight months pregnant and with a history of gestational diabetes, an Adams County woman faces birth complications and brain and heart defects in her baby.

She went to court Thursday seeking to reverse the state’s decision to end government-paid, prenatal services for illegal immigrants and some other low-income women."

Race and Society

Three of Four Americans Say Race Relations Are Same or Worse, Investor's Business Daily, August 18, 2019

Brief Intro: "Americans hoped that race relations in the U.S. would improve with Barack Obama in the White House. But a majority of those surveyed in the latest IBD/TIPP poll see no difference, and more of those who do see a change think it’s been for the worse."

Reconciliation After Accusation of Bias, New York Times, August 17, 2010

Brief Into: "Shirley Sherrod, who lost her Agriculture Department job over misconstrued comments she made about race, is publicly making amends with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People after its president condemned her for the remarks."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

ColorLines: Race and Economic Recovery

This 28 minute documentary reviews how the economic recovery has helped some and left others in the dust. Those left behind in the recovery include those who are lacking either in education or skills and are finding it hard to find employment that will allow them to adequately support their families. The role of race is reviewed in the hardships that many of these people are experiencing.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

HBO Documentary: Hard Times at Douglass High

This documentary takes a look at Douglass High School, a school where 50% of students fail to graduate. The school's staff struggle to raise achievement scores of students who are regularly at 4-5 years below grade level. The school eventually fails to meet adequate yearly standards and the city and state wrestle for control. This documentary is recommended for those who are interested in learning more about education inequalities.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Documentary of Interest: Prom Night in Mississippi

For those of you interested in documentaries on race, I would like to suggest Morgan Freeman's documentary "Prom Night in Mississippi". Mr. Freeman along with Paul Saltzman worked together to document a small town's high school prom. The thing that makes this year's prom unique is the fact that Mr Freeman volunteered to pay for it if the school agreed to hold a prom for both the white and black students to attend. Previously, both white and black students attended proms separately. Its interesting to see that it is the parents and not the students who seem to have the biggest issue with the racially integrated prom.

Monday, August 16, 2010

HBO Documentary: If God is willing and da creek don't rise

On August 23rd at 9PM, HBO will be showing a documentary entitled "If God Is Willing And Da Creek Don't Rise". The movie is a follow-up to Spike Lee's, When the Levees Broke". In this new work, Lee documents the successes and failures of trying to restore housing, education, economic growth and law & order in New Orleans.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Weekly Roundup

Here is a roundup of articles of interest published within the last 7-10 days:


San Francisco proposal would limit toys in kids meals, USA Today, August 13, 2010
Brief Intro: "In San Francisco, newly proposed legislation would ban toys from most kids meals sold at McDonald's, Burger King and other chains unless the meals meet more stringent calorie and sodium limits. The legislation also would require fruit or veggies in each meal."

US Typhoid cases linked to tropical fruit, San Francisco Chronicle, August 14, 2010
Brief Intro: "A San Francisco woman stricken with typhoid fever may be part of a rare outbreak of the disease linked to a frozen tropical fruit product used to make milkshakes and smoothies, San Francisco public health officials said Friday."

Eat an Apple (Doctor's orders), New York Times, August 12, 2010
Brief Intro: "Doctors at three health centers in Massachusetts have begun advising patients to eat “prescription produce” from local farmers’ markets, in an effort to fight obesity in children of low-income families. Now they will give coupons amounting to $1 a day for each member of a patient’s family to promote healthy meals."

Schools are given grade on how students do
, New York Times, August 9, 2010
Brief Intro: "In most school systems, what happens to students like Ms. Croslen after they obtain their diplomas is of little concern. But the New York City Department of Education acknowledges that despite rising graduation rates, many graduates lack basic skills, and it is trying to do something about it.

This year, for the first time, it has sent detailed reports to all of its high schools, telling them just how many of their students who arrived at the city’s public colleges needed remedial courses, as well as how many stayed enrolled after their first semester. The reports go beyond the basic measure of a school’s success — the percentage of students who earn a diploma — to let educators know whether they have been preparing those students for college or simply churning them out."

House OKs emergency bill to halt teacher layoffs, USNWR, August 10, 2010

Brief Intro: "Summoned back from summer break, the House on Tuesday pushed through an emergency $26 billion jobs bill to protect 300,000 teachers, police and others from election-year layoffs. President Barack Obama was to sign the measure by day's end"

Research shows a good kindergarten education makes dollars and sense, USNWR, August 12, 2010

Brief Intro: "Harvard University economist John Friedman says he and a group of colleagues found that students who progress during their kindergarten year from attaining an average score on the Stanford Achievement Test to attaining a score in the 60th percentile can expect to make about $1,000 more a year at age 27 than students whose scores remain average."

Race and Society

Dr Laura Schlessinger apologizes for use of N word, Seattle Post Intelligencer, August 13, 2010

Brief Intro: "On Tuesday, Schlessinger received a call from a black woman asking how to handle racist comments from her white husband's friends. The caller also asked if the N-word is offensive.

Schlessinger said "black guys use it all the time," and repeated the word a few times, but she never directed it at the caller. When the caller objected, Schlessinger said, "Oh, then I guess you don't watch HBO or listen to any black comedians."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Saving money with school and service cuts

Faced with some of the lowest tax collections on record, many state, county and city governments are looking to make tough choices to deal with tight budgets. Examples of these choices include student furloughs in Hawaii, cutting of a county bus service in Georgia, and the shutting off of street lights in Colorado. Cuts of police forces and darkened streets provide citizens with the perception that they will no longer enjoy the safety they had once come to expect.

You can read more by clicking on this link.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

An additional benefit of breast feeding

Three researchers at the University of California have found that while a large part of human milk cannot be digested by babies, one of the major benefits of breast milk is providing the baby with beneficial bacteria to coat their intestine. This coating protects the baby's gut from noxious bacteria.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Should citizenship be granted automatically at birth?

According to a recent New York Times article, Senator Lindsay Graham has proposed the idea of altering the 14th amendment to make sure that unauthorized immigration is discouraged. In an interview with Fox News, Graham said, " We can’t just have people swimming across the river having children here — that’s chaos." But, according to a Pew Hispanic Center study released last year, children of illegal immigrants are usually members of families that have resided in the U.S. for a number of years. The study also found that about four million American citizen children have at least one parent that is an illegal immigrant.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Removal of the "D"grade

In the Mount Olive school district in New Jersey has done away with the letter grade "D". Students are now only allowed to earn an A, B, C or F. Superintendent, Larrie Reynolds, who worked to remove the D's did so in order to raise the bar and ensure his students work harder. Some teachers have expressed concern over the new plan as they believe more students will wind up failing.

To read more, click on this link to get to the article.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday Roundup - Current Awareness

Here is a listing of articles of interest published within the last 7-10 days:

Parents of autistic kids at risk for divorce, WebMD, August 6, 2010
Brief Intro: "Parents of children with autism may be more likely to divorce when their children reach adolescence or young adulthood than parents of children without this or other developmental disabilities, finds a new study in the August issue of the Journal of Family Psychology."

Rotavirus vaccines save poorest children, Reuters, August 6, 2010
Brief Intro: "The vaccines prevented between 39 percent and 48 percent of infections in some of the poorest countries in the world, where more than 400,000 children die from rotavirus every year."

Florida confirms 24 cases of dengue fever in Key West, CNN, August 3, 2010
Brief Intro: "
The Florida Department of Health confirmed an increase in the number of cases of dengue fever acquired in the Key West area."

Districts seek lucrative naming rights deals for facilities, MSNBC.com, August 6, 2010
Brief Intro: "The Hempfield School District made the deal to help pay for the campus facility, which opened in 2008. It’s just one of many such arrangements that have been struck at Hempfield and at dozens of other schools across the country — including a handful of elementary schools — as education budgets fall further behind in the stagnant economy."

Sales tax holiday helpful to more than just parents, according to the Illinois Education Association
, MSNBC.com, August 6, 2010
Brief Intro: "Statistics from the National Education Association show that teachers spend an average of nearly $1,400 a year out of their own pockets on school supplies for their classrooms. A new teacher spends even more. On average, a new teacher will spend $770 on classroom supplies. A veteran teacher will spend $395. And, that doesn't count the additional $962 average per year teachers spend on materials for their classrooms."

Diversity debate convulses elite high school, New York Times, August 4, 2010

Brief Intro: "But instead, the school is in turmoil, with much of the faculty in an uproar over the resignation of a popular principal, the third in five years. In her departure speech to teachers in late June, the principal cited several reasons for her decision, including tensions over a lack of diversity at the school, which had been the subject of a controversial graduation address the day before by one of the school’s few African-American students."

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Missouri Voters to Have Say on Health Care Law

According to a recent article in the New York Times, Missouri is at least one of three states who have ballot measures this year aimed at nullifying the federal health care law by attacking one of the key provisions - the requirement that people pay for insurance or pay a tax penalty.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Indigent Refugees and SSI benefits

Thousands of indigent refugees who are severely disabled or over the age of 64 may soon find their SSI cash benefits dry up due to a federal law that limits benefits to seven years for refugees. Read more here.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The affects of unemployment on one's health

Danielle Ofri, M.D., details how one unemployed patient in particular is paying a price with the stress of unemployment. The patient, who had regular check-ups while employed, found herself without insurance when she was laid off. Unemployed and uninsured for six months, the patient finally bit the bullet and saw the doctor for a knee issue that made it too painful to walk. The bill for the visit was $400 only to be told that she had arthritis and to take Tylenol. In addition, the doctor let her know that she now had hypertension and was prediabetic due to the stress and added weight she had gained while being unemployed.

With so many people unemployed right now, what is the best way to ensure their health doesn't take a dive while searching for a new position?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Documentary of Interest - Homeless: The motel kids of Orange County

HBO Documentaries will be showing tonight a movie that takes a look at the homeless children living in a motel in Orange County, CA. According to the documentary website, the project takes a look at families living in discounted motels close to Disneyland. Unfortunately, the parents of these children are hard working, but don't make enough money to own or rent a home. Viewers will get a chance to understand the daily living experience through the eyes of children.