Sunday Reads

JeanGood Morning!

Minx is stuck in the snow and holed up in a hotel so I’ve got your reads this morning!

I was one of those earth mother types to Doctor Daughter and I tried to do the same with youngest daughter although the cancer thing got in the way and the grandparents had to step in for me.   I still am an earth goddess wannabe. I admit, I’m a hippie at heart.   I breast fed Doctor Daughter until she took her first step on her first birthday and  weaned herself on the same day.  I had to wean my second one to soy formula at 5 months because of the chemotherapy.  Well, that and the shock of the stage 4 diagnosis just dried me up.

I was never away from Doctor Daughter’s side for well over a year.  I actually joined the La Leche League because I wanted to be around other nursing mothers and bought their cookbook.  I love to cook and so we made everything from the garden when possible and always by hand.  The cookbook had a kid’s snack section and we used to make everything together. Making healthy food was part of our together time.

My daughter had really healthy snacks.  I decided to turn to teaching at the college level rather than return to corporate life when she turned 18 months.  She went to Montessori preschool while I taught in the morning. Her dad stayed with her for my one evening class.  Montessori insisted on healthy snacks. It wasn’t until we moved from our condo to a newly built, two story house in a neighborhood with lots of stay-at-home moms that I had folks calling me up about her weird predilections. Did I know my daughter had no idea that kids ate Spaghettios and that pasta could come from a can? How come she’s never seen candy before? Well, she had, it was just my Dad’s homemade fudge that didn’t come in wrappers.  How come she always asked for Apple Juice when offered Koolaid or Cola?  My daughter didn’t eat or drink anything she hadn’t seen before and I guess they were shocked!

I always laughed a lot at this because I worked as a full time college instructor teaching finance and economics so I juggled all kinds of roles. But both my daughters had fresh, soft clean cotton diapers and home made meals. Both were introduced to junk food by stay-at-home moms who should’ve had time to find their inner earth goddesses too.  I later  learned that her friends spent more time in the local spa/salon’s childcare than she spent at Montessori with her pink tower, her sandpaper letters, and her healthy snacks. Maybe that explains why I’m the only one with the doctor, but hey, I really shouldn’t be judgmental, should I?

It wasn’t me that introduced Doctor Daughter to junk food.  It was the local stay-at-home suburban moms who needed me to tell my daughter that what they wanted to feed her wasn’t weird and she should stop giving it the evil eye.  I mean, wouldn’t you shriek if some one tried to serve you Spaghettios?

Youngest daughter went on a jag as a toddler–like toddlers frequently do–and became a vegan for about a year.  She would only eat salads, vegetables, and carbs. It totally freaked my dad out but she loved tossed salads with blue cheese dressing better than anything and I never could figure out why wieners and mac were some how more filling and hence,better.  She was two years old.  That’s why I have no idea why eating healthy is controversial or considered an impossible dream for kids.  My kids never missed this kind of crap and were, well, really wierded out when their friends moms tried to feed them anything we hadn’t prepared ourselves.  They also couldn’t understand why only their Montessori friends didn’t leave their playroom a mess, but that’s another story.  Believe me, kids will eat healthy food if that’s the only thing they are offered from day one.  One of the things Doctor Daughter complains about in her ob/gyn practice these days is the number of moms who are so overweight and have diabetes that many of them are classified as high risk in their prime child bearing years.  Unfortunately, these are also the moms that are on medicare and are least likely to get help.

The Obama administration proposed regulations Friday that would prohibit U.S. schools from selling unhealthy snacks.

The 160-page regulation from the Department of Agriculture (USDA) would enact nutrition standards for “competitive” foods not included in the official school meal.

In practice, the proposed rules would replace traditional potato chips with baked versions and candy with granola. Regular soda is out, though high-schoolers may have access to diet versions.

“Although nutrition standards for foods sold at school alone may not be a determining factor in children’s overall diets, they are critical to providing children with healthy food options throughout the entire school day,” the proposed rule states.

“Thus, these standards will help to ensure that the school nutrition environment does all that it can to promote healthy choice, and help to prevent diet-related health problems.”

The rules are a product of the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which also overhauled the nutritional make-up of regular school meals. They would apply to any school, public or private, that participates in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program.

Those rules saw a backlash from conservative lawmakers who said students were going hungry as a result of calorie limits. A GOP House member famously compared the rules to “The Hunger Games.” The USDA eventually relaxed some guidelines in response.

Believe me, kids that don’t eat junk food aren’t going hungry.  They’re just not getting addicted to stuff that’s not good for them.  My dad was always yelling at me to “give that kid some real food” when she was a few months old and only on breast milk. I dunno.  That’s Dr. Daughter up there as a toddler with Arlo Guthrie Mousehound.  Does she look like she was a neglected and starved child to you? Oh, and she got those glasses because she couldn’t read the music when I was teaching her to play piano.  I caught her early on that too. I have no idea why so many adults underestimate kids but they do.  I tried to get my children interested in everything when they were little.  The deal was to let them find their thing and see what stuck.  Both of them still play piano.  Both of them still eat healthy.  It wasn’t “The Hunger Games” at our house.  Both my girls were off the normal growth charts so, I guess, congress thinks I’m a miserable excuse for a mother but really, I am glad they ate sushi in the high chair and never discovered the golden arches until some one turned the TV away from Sesame Street.  Believe me, it wasn’t me.

I have many friends from Bangladesh including my primary professor. It’s one of the reasons that I watch its economy and my heart breaks when I read how so many young women are dying in its clothing factories.  Factory fires in Bangladesh and Pakistan have killed more than 400 people. These factories
primarily make clothing for WalMart, Sears and other U.S. retailers.   A lot of these deaths might be due to the governments who don’t seem to care about the safety of the factories, but don’t these companies bear some responsibility too?  Economist Mark Thoma debates colleague Jagdish Bhagwati who argues that its the fault of the local governments.

I agree that the Bangladeshi government should “step up to the plate to establish proper regulations and monitoring,” but companies have a role to play too (they may, for example, have political power that can be used to block or encourage regulation and monitoring, and there is the moral obligation to protect workers as well). If we assume the companies can’t do much, and don’t hold them accountable — if we brush it off as an inevitable response to market pressures in an environment with few constraints on this type of behavior — they’ll have no incentive to change.

I continue to despair on what I consider a rise in a neoconfederacy and insurrectionist movement in the country.  Why is the so?  Chris Hedges writes that “as Southern whites sink into economic despair, more and more are retreating into a fictional past”.   Where does this leave our country as a nation divided that cannot not stand?  Why do some people glorify the likes of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest to this day?

Forrest, who is buried in Forrest Park under a statue of himself in his Confederate general’s uniform and mounted on a horse, is one of the most odious figures in American history. A moody, barely literate, violent man—he was not averse to shooting his own troops if he deemed them to be cowards—he became a millionaire before the war as a slave trader. As a Confederate general he was noted for moronic aphorisms such as “War means fighting and fighting means killing.” He was, even by the accounts of those who served under him, a butcher. He led a  massacre at Fort Pillow in Henning, Tenn., of some 300 black Union troops—who had surrendered and put down their weapons—as well as women and children who had sheltered in the fort. Forrest was, after the war, the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. He used his skills as a former cavalry commander to lead armed night raids to terrorize blacks.Forrest, like many other white racists of the antebellum South, is enjoying a disquieting renaissance. The Sons of Confederate Veterans and the West Tennessee Historical Commission last summer put up a 1,000-pound granite marker at the entrance to the park that read “Forrest Park.” The city, saying the groups had not obtained a permit, removed it with a crane. A dispute over the park name, now raging in the Memphis City Council, exposes the deep divide in Memphis and throughout much of the South between those who laud the Confederacy and those who detest it, a split that runs like a wide fault down racial lines.

Another thing that worries me is the current use of drones in our nation’s “war” against terrorist.  Is Obama the “Drone Ranger” as Bill Moyers and guests suggest?  Will any one criticize our policy at John Brennan’s confirmation hearing as proposed CIA director?

A key player in our government’s current drone program is John Brennan, who during the Bush presidency was a senior official at the Central Intelligence Agency and head of the National Counterterrorism Center. Reportedly, Barack Obama considered offering him the top job at the CIA in 2008, but public opposition — in reaction to the charges that the Bush White House had approved torture — caused Brennan to withdraw his name from consideration. Nonetheless, Obama kept him on as an adviser, and now, despite Brennan’s past notoriety, Obama officially has chosen him to head the CIA. This time, there’s been little criticism of the decision.

We hope Brennan’s upcoming confirmation hearings on February 7 will offer Congressional critics the chance to press him on drone attacks and whether the Obama administration in its fight against terror is functioning within the rule of law — or abusing presidential power when there has been no formal declaration of war.

Alright, so what would an electric post of mine be without a reference to my graves and graveyard interests?  One of these days, I will find a place M_Id_352404_old_tombwhere I can plant a tent and dust off the remains of people past whose lives were lived in quiet desperation too.

A 1,300-year-old unidentified cluster of 102 tombs, 40 per cent of which were made for infants, have been unearthed in China’s restive westernmost province.

The tombs, found on the Pamirs Plateau in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, contain wooden caskets with desiccated corpses, as well as stoneware, pottery and copper ware believed to have been buried as sacrificial items, said Ai Tao from the Xinjiang Archaeological Institute.

“The cluster covers an area of 1,500 square meters on a 20-meter-high cliff, an unusual location for tombs,” Ai told state-run Xinhua news agency.

He added that his team was also very surprised to find such a large number of infant corpses.

But further research is needed to determine why so many people from that tribe died young.

Archaeologists said they have also unearthed a large number of well-preserved utensils made from gourds, some of which were placed inside the caskets.

“The burial custom is the first of its kind to be found in Xinjiang,” said Ai.

It is believed that the cluster dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

At that time, economic and cultural exchanges between China and the West flourished via the ancient Silk Road.

“The shape of the felt-covered caskets show that sinic culture had a great influence on the lives of local people’s some 1,300 years ago,” said Yu Zhiyong, head of the Xinjiang Archaeological Institute.

I’m going to close with a quote from Glenn Beck that I propose is the MOST lunatic thing he’s ever said.  I know, that’s a BIG statement, but judge for yourself.  Brace yourself for unisex bathrooms and mothers dying in combat!  Oh, wait, we already have that, yes?

“This is the dumbest idea I ever heard. Women now fight on the front lines? Democrats are hailing the move as another giant leap forward for equality. Progress, you know. Forward! And on the outside looking in it’s one of those feel good stories—oh great, women are great soldiers too, they deserve an equal chance, oh that’s great.

War is the act of killing each other. And to win, you have to kill people faster than the other team. That’s what war is all about. The enemy’s not going to cower in defeat because we have a female Eskimo Hispanic dwarf cross-dresser and some handicapable, transgendered breast cancer survivor as a soldier on the front line, ready to unleash an attack of unparalleled diversity.”

I dunno, I would find a female Eskimo Hispanic dwarf cross-dresser and some handicapable, transgendered breast cancer survivor on my team, woudn’t you?

APTOPIX-Super-Bowl-Football-New-OrleansHave a great Sunday!  Oh, and I will be waving to you when those blimps cross my front porch today.  All the Dakinis!!! Please save my city from these crazy celebrities and billionaires!!  Here’s a primer on this gross interruption to Mardi Gras.  Don’t forget to take a gander at the photo over there because my tax dollars paid for that giant multicolor egg just waiting to be fertilized by a black helicopter sperm.

Q: What is the Super Bowl?
A: It’s a football game! It’s the last one that gets played in the NFL until next season, meaning the winners get to be Best Football Guys for a year, and the losers are only Second Best Football Guys, which is way worse. It’s also a big event where famous musicians play and fireworks shoot off and so on.

Q: Fun! But what’s football?
A: Football is this game where one team tries to move a ball up a field by carrying it or throwing it and the other team tries to stop them by hitting them. Every time the guy carrying the ball falls down or the ball hits the ground play stops for a bit, then the players reorganize themselves and play starts up again. If one team doesn’t do a very good job moving the ball up the field, they give the ball to the other team. This goes on for three hours. The teams also kick the ball through a big yellow Y sometimes.

Q: That sounds terrible and boring. Why do people play this game?
A: Because they love it! Hahahahaha! No, actually many of the men playing in the Super Bowl get paid millions of dollars to do football.

Q: Whoooooaaaa! How did that happen?
A: Well, it turns out that people really, really like watching men play football on television. So many people watch football that companies pay the television folks a lot of money to show their commercials during the games, and that money trickles down to the NFL’s owners and then their players.

Yeah, and something tells me that we probably could’ve made more money off of not disturbing Mardi Gras had our Mayor not wanted to be on National TV so very much.  What’s on your reading and blogging list this morning?

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31 Comments on “Sunday Reads”

  1. Sweet Sue says:

    What an adorable little girl.
    I’ll bet she’s a really good doctor; she looks kind.
    Good job!

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Thanks for a wonderful post, Dak. That photo of your daughter is so cute. What a little angel she was, and she has grown up to be a beautiful, accomplished woman.

    You know, to this day I’ve never tasted Spaghettios. I only know about them because of TV ads. We weren’t allowed to have stuff like that in our family, and forget about soda pop (that’s what we called it then) storebought candy, cookies, or Hostess snacks. My mom made everything from scratch, including bread. I don’t know how she did it.

    I still don’t eat that stuff, but that didn’t keep me from being overweight as an adult. I know people don’t want to hear this, but there’s a definite genetic aspect to weight too. I’ve known skinny people who eat nothing but junk food. Speaking of diversity, there is diversity in body size too, and I’m so tired of society’s criminalization of larger bodies.

    I won’t go on about it anymore, but it does get old being one of the last groups it’s acceptable to hate and discriminate against in our culture.

    • Greywolf says:

      I agree about the weight bias. I’m so tired of people assuming I eat nothing but junk food because I’m overweight. I was going to state the cause for me being my size, but it’s really no one’s business. Just accept me for who I am.

      • Food and weight are really messed up societal issues, especially in the US. I try not to judge food choices and figure most people just try to do the best they can in their circumstances with what they know. As for weight, as an anorexia survivor–I just say let people be. The emphasis should be on total being, about being active to feel good, alive, feeling healthy, not being on the verge of a heart attack or a diabetic coma. People use ostensible concern about health though to bully and judge other people based on wt/looks. There really is a lot of fat bias and overall body/appearace bias. It’s the last social stratification beyond gender, race, class, and sexual orientation/identity.

        It’s all extremes in the US–obesity epidemics alongside eating disorder epidemics. Meanwhile all the advertising world tells ya is if ya change this or that, pop this diet pill, that boner pill, your life will be set. No one is interested in authentic living anymore. It’s all synthetic. Reality tv is a symptom of this, actually, I think, but that’s for another rant.

      • janicen says:

        It made a lot of sense to me Mona. Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts.

    • NW Luna says:

      Heh. I remember trying to drink soda pop out of a bottle in high school — I had trouble because I’d never had it before (my parents did not allow it). Somehow I could not figure out how to swallow the bubbles. I never did acquire a taste for it, fortunately.

      • janicen says:

        :-) My daughter went on a trip with her Latin Club as a junior in high school. Her roommate showed up at the hotel room with a six-pack of Coke. My daughter said, “Uh, I’ve never had Coke…”. Her shocked roommate said, “Well that’s gonna change!” My daughter was thrilled at the chance to be naughty, but said she didn’t like it at all.

  3. roofingbird says:

    I don’t think french fries qualify as a starchy vegetable either, especially when they are a made from a potato product rather than cut up potatoes. However, as a gluten intolerant person I note that there are other kinds of nutritious starchy vegetables. Restricting them to consumption of once a week, while allowing whole grains daily, would starve me. (Those grains will be wheat or oats; I doubt many schools will be serving millet or quinoa, and rice will be infrequent.)

    I point this out not because of my condition, but to show how entrenched the idea of wheat, oats, rye, barley, and triticale, is as a insidious, ubiquitous factor of our daily diet. Nowadays we easily consume a quarter the of our diet in grains. Wheat is in everything; artificial vanilla, Beano, candy bars, root beer, vitamins, gasoline.

    What does it say about the results of our “Green Revolution” and supply side economics when they make kitty litter out of it? (And what decided that wheat was useful for litter? Is there something wrong with it-overspray, ergot, etc.? Do I want my cats scratching around in it?)

    During WWII, when the USDA first came out with the seven food groups chart, grains were 1/7 of the foods that you should eat some of every day. The groups were generally: proteins, dairy, grains, green leafy and yellow vegetables, fruits, starchy or other vegetables and fruits and fats. I’m not saying food guidelines like this are perfect, but I do think it’s a closer fit then the our current emphasis.

    Though I applaud the USDA’s attempts to improve our diet, I think there has been a gradual shift from our early war effort. Most of us then still grew or knew someone who grew things. Now we buy most of our food. The USDA looks at not only what we need to stay healthy, but also how to supply and distribute what is available in our food chain. What is available is a lot more wheat and corn than was imaginable in the forties.

    I grew my kids pretty much the same as you Dak. I retrospect, however, I probably shouldn’t have baked so much bread, even though we all thought we were fine with it until my youngest daughter turned 40, found out she was intolerant, and a lot of family mysteries were unmasked.

    • janicen says:

      There was a guy on one of the morning news shows who said that grains should not have a prominent place in the food pyramid (or whatever they are using now). He said we shouldn’t be eating wheat at all and that the only reason the government includes it in its recommendations is because of pressure from agri-business.

      • roofingbird says:

        There is room for a lot of speculation about wheat. In addition to over-production, there is the whole issue of GMO’s, ever higher protein content (gluten), and the fact that bread doesn’t mold anymore.

        I do think that the USDA is concerned about health, but it has always responded to farmers, whether modern agribusiness or the family operation. There were some good reasons for paying farmers to fallow their land, but additional farm subsidies have become something worth arguing over in Congress.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agricultural_subsidy

        • janicen says:

          That is very interesting,rb. I never realized that wheat could be bred to not mold. I remember when my daughter was in middle school and she had a project to grow bread mold and record her progress and observations. Since it was just going to go to waste, I bought the cheapest bread they had in the supermarket. Two weeks later that dampened bread that she kept in a dark place still wasn’t moldy! With only a week left before the project was due, I was in a panic and went to the local bakery where they baked preservative free bread. The lady there gave me some day-old bread that they were going to use to make croutons. After only a couple days that bread was covered in mold!

      • NW Luna says:

        My home-made wheat bread grows mold very easily — given a few days! No preservatives added. I figure if it’s around long enough to mold, it’s already stale.

      • roofingbird says:

        I don’t know if they have accomplished the actual breeding of mold free bread janicen. I do know that when my husband buys various, what is presumably preservative free breads, at the store, it can sit on our shelf for months unscathed. It leads me to wonder about the GMO’s and whether there is some intrinsic value in them that doesn’t support life the same way.

      • Luna, my professor in college said he felt the combination of moldy bread and mead caused the vikings to go “beserk” like some form of drug reaction making them “superhuman” like the way present day drug takers get sometimes…

  4. janicen says:

    Your daughter is beautiful. I’m glad you were free to make the choice to breastfeed your baby. I have to add that I find most of the breast feeding advocates insufferable. Not every woman can or even wants to breastfeed her baby. That is each woman’s choice and she should not have to explain her reasons to anyone. Many breastfeeding advocates are not only smug and condescending but insistent that others do what they do. Freaking lunatics practically harassed me after I brought my baby home from the hospital with phone calls checking on my breastfeeding progress. I didn’t give them my number, they got it from the hospital. They were all over the place there. I was having a dreadful experience with major problems breastfeeding and the fanatics kept telling me I had to keep at it, laying down a generous supply of guilt. Thank goddess for my daughter’s pediatrician who told me it was okay for me to stop breastfeeding and that it didn’t make me a bad mother. I love that woman to this day.

    • dakinikat says:

      I got a lot of pressure from people to not breastfeed and to stop it early so I was glad to be surrounded by supportive people. Every body kept wanting to give my babies bottles. The little one turned out be colicky like I was and had trouble with formula, even at 5 months. I think every one needs to be supportive of the mother’s choice, regardless.

    • Janicen, I agree with you and also experienced the same thing. My sister-in-law was a La Leche Nazi (what I called her) when my son was born. She was telling me to ignore the pediatrician….and not give the formula, even though my milk did not come in. My son was 6 weeks premature and loosing weight…and my sister-in-law was pulling that smug, condescending crap on me.

    • hyperjoy says:

      Sounds like people on both sides of the issue can be a bit “nazi.”

  5. RalphB says:

    WFAA: Elite Navy SEAL slain in Erath County; suspect arrested

    ERATH COUNTY — Chris Kyle, a former Navy SEAL who became known as the deadliest U.S. sniper, was one of two men murdered on Saturday afternoon at a gun range in Erath County.
    [...]
    Three sources confirmed to News 8 that Kyle — who served in every major battle during Operation Iraqi Freedom — was shot dead at a gun range at Rough Creek Lodge, 53 miles southwest of Fort Worth.

    The second victim was identified early Sunday morning as 35-year-old Chad Littlefield of Midlothian.

    Eddie Routh, 25, is in custody in connection with the shootings.

    Investigators said Routh, a former Marine and expert marksman who is said to suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome, is believed to have turned his weapon on Kyle and the second victim, killing them both at point-blank range about 3:30 p.m.

    One of today’s senseless episodes of gun violence.

  6. janicen says:

    Now about the diet thing. Here’s a cautionary tale for all of us middle and upper-middle agers. My oldest brother never ever smoked a thing in his life. Not one cigarette or joint or anything. He absolutely hated it even when it was trendy. He was one of those lucky people who could eat anything and not gain weight. He was always a healthy weight and always on-the-go. He had that nervous kind of energy in that he was always doing something. Always organizing games for us to play, softball, volleyball, horseshoes, etc. As a matter of fact, when one of his kids had the assignment to draw his back yard, his teacher questioned him because she thought he was making up the fact that he had a swimming pool, volley ball net, play set, horseshoe pits and basketball net in his back yard, but that was the truth.

    The thing about my brother though, since he never had a weight problem and could eat anything he wanted, he did. Loved fast foods and prepared foods. Often, when we would visit when my daughter was younger, we would bring food for her to eat because there was little available there that you would ever feed your kid. Anyway, last week, at age 69 (which to me is pretty darned young for this to happen) he was hospitalized with chest pain and shortness of breath. The cardiac catheterization revealed that he had a 90% blockage of one artery and a range of 40% to 70% blockage in all the others. To be honest, I am in shock over this. That’s some major blockage for his age, the fact that he wasn’t overweight, never smoked, and was fairly active all his life. It was all a result of his diet. And probably some genetics too, but the diet almost killed him at way too young an age.

    I always envied those people who could eat anything and never gain an ounce, but now I think maybe those of us who have been forced to think about it might be better off. Watch what you eat! I’ve just had a sobering reminder that it does catch up with you.

  7. NW Luna says:

    Rush continues to be a stupendously idiotic buffoon.

    Women already die in wars. At least on the front lines they’d be armed. Why is it so terrible for women to fight in war but not terrible when men do?

    Men can and do get breast cancer, though in much lower numbers than women.

    • ecocatwoman says:

      I’m confused – women have fought in the Israeli army for a long time & the same men who are shocked & dismayed that little American women will be fighting alongside American men are the same ones who practically pledge allegiance to the Israeli government. Oh, that’s right, logic is anathema to Republicans.

    • roofingbird says:

      I confess, I thought his line “….ready to unleash an attack of unparalleled diversity.” was good. There must be some way to throw that back at him. Ignoring that flapping scrotum is probably better though.