Wednesday, February 07, 2007

You Vipers' Brood

A coworker forwarded the office an article today in the NY Times about early childhood education in Oklahoma. Now, the article was talking about the impact a preschool program for all kids is having on the kids of lower-wage families. Kids in lower-wage families are more likely to not be read to, or paid as much attention to. This winds up leading to the "word gap," the gap between the number of words a child of highly educated/paid parents knows, and a child of lower-income, lower education levels parents. I'm not saying this in any way, shape or form to be critical of these lower-wage parents. Some of them can't read well themselves, and if you are barely able to afford food, how are you going to spend money on a book? I'm not excusing them either. Some parents in that situation find ways to work. They go to the library with their kids, they come home exhausted and read to them. Anyways, I'm just saying it's a complicated issue.

But what made me mad about the whole thing is that apparently churches are lobbying AGAINST the state providing universal pre-k, something that can increase the educational successes of these kids and make them better prepared for life. And why are these churches lobbying against this? Because they don't want to lose the money from their preschool programs. Are you kidding me?! What kind of Christian spirit is that? Here is this program that can help the poor, improve kids' lives, and you are more concerned about making money? No wonder so many people have a negative view of Christianity... Reminds me of the whole money changers thing from the Bible.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Feeling Fruity

So I've been trying to get my company to buy us a fruit bowl in order to encourage health in the workplace. I was just joking; we're tiny, we have the money, but it's not a priority. I also have been trying to get us the little exercise balls for our desks, but that really goes nowhere. Mainly because Pres. would think it is tacky-looking, and we aren't allowed to have anything tacky visible. But yes. So fruit bowl. Our VP came in yesterday and had brought us a kings cake, in honor of Mardi Gras. He was in New Orleans this weekend, so he picked one up. It quickly vanished. I got the baby, which means I should have good luck for the next year, appropriate since I'm the person in the office who needs the most luck. We were teasing VP about the cake, saying he was making us unhealthy. He laughed, but then today announced that he was buying us the fruit of the month club from Harry and Davids. Which is SO nice. I feel like he is partly just a good guy and partly trying to buy us off, but either way, I'm okay with it.

In other exciting, slightly food-related news, only a few more days until SB returns! I was talking to him last night and he was all like, "I miss you..." I, not being in a sappy mood and feeling a bit cranky after he made me call him back (a major effort requiring the dialing like 6 different numbers), was having none of it. "You don't miss me, you miss the food. In fact, I think you're just excited to get back and get Cracker Barrel," I replied. I do this a lot. Let's face it, I love sappiness, but not so much being sappy. This time, however, it backfired. "We don't have to go to Cracker Barrel," he said. "I didn't think we'd go immediately anyways..." Now, people. I have been looking forward to one of their amazing apple dumplings for WEEKS. I have eaten primarily my own food for over a month. And I have had no sweet tea. I want Cracker Barrel, he's flying into Dulles, which means we'll be close to Manassas. I have been planning on this since he first began his list of missed foods (ie week one when he left). I don't care if I have to basically kidnap him, I am getting my dumpling.

Monday, February 05, 2007

The "'Rents" Versus the Real World?

So I was watching The Today Show this morning and they had a report on the newly passed law in Texas requiring all girls of a certain age to get the HPV vaccine. There is a HUGE uproar about this. The two people brought on to be interviewed clearly did not like each other, or respect the other person's viewpoint. Poor Meredith completely lost control. Now the governor of Texas was a bit obnoxious about how he passed the bill, basically ignoring everyone else and just doing it. But I couldn't help but listen to the side against him and wonder what they are so afraid of? They are claiming that the science does not yet support mandatory vaccinations (like six medical groups disagree, including the AMA, the American Pediatric Society, and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists), it infringes on parental rights, and it might encourage riskier sexual behavior.

First of all, I can see the parental rights argument, but I'm not sure I buy it at all. For one, in the Texas case, the parents can easily opt their kids out. But mainly, my problem stems from the thought that a parent wouldn't want to prevent their daughter from getting cancer. Why would you not want to protect your kid from everything possible? I can't help but wonder if this were a vaccine against leukemia or lung cancer if parents would be so upset. Obviously, there would still be some parents who wanted to opt out for religious reasons. I'm torn, though, about whether or not they should be allowed to. How much right do parents have to completely control their children, to the possible detriment of the children's health? I honestly don't know. Then again, do we really want the government to have all control? Because that seems a little screwy, too. I guess all we can do is strongly encourage people to get their kids vaccinated. Those who don't listen, well, those kids will be helped by the decrease in the number of infections anyways.

Now the whole "this will encourage risky behavior" makes me so mad I want to jump up and down, preferably on the people who are saying this. Are you THAT bad of a parent, is your influence over your child so small that you can't guide them towards safer behavior on your own? Why is this the constant back-up argument for the religious right on sex issues? Why is it so necessary to keep teens in the dark? Now, teens might be foolish, they might take unnecessary risks. But they are going to do that anyways. At least tell them how to protect themselves. Why are we as a society so afraid of the increase of teen-age sex? Studies don't back up this fear; the most recent reliable one showed that the age of loss of virginity and the number of pre-marital partners across society has stayed relatively stable. And say more teens do start having more sex. Will the world end? I doubt it. There might be a few more bitter people at younger ages, but no fire and brimstone. I'm not saying teens should be having sex. I don't think they should. I don't think it's wise and I don't think they are emotionally ready for it and I think it'd be great if everyone waited until they got married. But that's not reality.