MK 354 Spring 2010

April 26, 2010

A Dancer’s Dream

Filed under: blog #10, Uncategorized — Jackies blah-g @ 12:28 pm

               Across the nation, people with cerebral palsy are trying to live normal lifestyles. United Cerebral Palsy is an organization that provides services and support for people with disabilities in order to live a life without limits.

                Recently in Dubuque, Iowa, the Telegraph Herald published a story about a girl named Challes Reese who has set out to change her situation. Parade Magazine published an article about Reese on March 21 about how she overcame cerebral palsy to join her high school’s dance team.  Since that article was released, Reese has received phone calls, e-mails, and gifts congratulating her on her achievements from people all over the nation.

                Cards arrived at her home thanking Reese for her inspirational story and showing others that it is possible to follow a dream.  Reese’s favorite gifts thus far have been a fleece blanket with images of ballerinas on it. Her story has touched many hearts.

                For the next year, Reese isn’t sure about continuing dance because there may not be a coach. She has set her eyes on joining the cheerleading team at the high school instead.  Stories like these affirm UCP and their mission to help people help themselves.

http://www.thonline.com/article.cfm?id=279590

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Nike’s Problem with Women

Filed under: blog #10, Uncategorized — carolinerichov @ 12:14 pm

Nike seems to be having troubles with their ethical priorities.  In 2007 Nike showed they had zero-tolerance for animal-cruelty when they dropped out of their contract with Michael Vick during his dog-fighting scandal.  Nike has sponsored other athletes including Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant and Ben Roethlisberger. These all-stars have more in common than Nike… they all have shared the spotlight in regard to indecent and insulting behavior towards women.

Most recently, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, was suspended for six games without pay and ordered to receive counseling after a 20-year-old woman accused him of sexual assault. This is Roethlisberger’s second sexual assault allegation in the past year.  A number of blogs and articles have discussed the disturbing charges against Roethlisberger in greater detail. Roethlisberger’s local sponsors “Big Ben’s Beef Jerky” and local newspaper dropped Roethlisberger immediately.  Nike, however, is holding on to Roethlisberger’s contract.  New York Times opinon writer, Timothy Egan, could not have said it better,

“Is there anything creepier than a big, beer-breathed celebrity athlete exposing himself in a night club and hitting on underage girls, all the while protected by an entourage of off-duty cops? Well, yes. It’s the big, corporate sponsor — Nike, in this case — that continues trying to sell product with the creep as their role model.”

Nike took immediate action when cruelty to animals became an issue with one of their spokespersons.  Unfortunately, when Woods, Bryant and Roethlisberger showed disrespect towards women, Nike continued to support them.

Women, Action & the Media is concerned with the representation of women in media.  Nike’s choice to continue contracts with these athletes desensitizes the severity of sexual assault, violence and infidelity.  Nike needs to prioritize what they consider to be unacceptable. Cruelty to animals is unacceptable, yes, but so is cruelty to women.  Nike’s continued support of these sponsored athletes is a clear example of why WAM! advocates gender justice in the media. WAM! organizes conferences and discussion groups to address issues such as this in order to formulate a response and take action. 

It certainly will be interesting to see how Nike will respond to all of this. ..

Canada’s Environment-Saving Machine

Filed under: blog #10 — morganhowell @ 10:33 am

Canada is the largest supplier of crude oil to the U.S., and has been for some time. It’s an industry that makes big bucks for our neighbor to the north, and that industry is about to get a little bigger. In addition to being an oil superpower, Canada is also an environmental superpower. For the past few years the Canadian government and the private sector have been developing methods to capture and store carbon dioxide (CO2), a chemical that is responsible for large amounts of global warming. Last Monday, the first mobile CO2 capture and compressor unit was completed.

So what does this mean for us? We don’t want CO2 in the atmosphere, but we also don’t want a buildup of it taking up room on the ground either. Well Canadian scientists have been thinking about that too, and they’ve developed at least one use for it so far. CO2 can be used to enhance oil recovery. And while I’m not entirely sure what that means, it seems like an environmental solution to our cycle of oil use.

Our cars emit CO2, which can then be captured by these newfangled Canadian machines, put into barrels, and used to get more oil for us to put in our cars. The Canadian’s consider this a potential goldmine, and I’m sure we’ll all be hearing more about it.

blog 10: health insurance taken from breast cancer patients?

Filed under: blog #10, Uncategorized — marissagkelley @ 10:18 am

Recently, a significant amount of celebration and controversy has surrounded the passing of the new universal health care bill. But in an April 22 Reuters report, a new controversy has come to light. According to Reuters, WellPoint, the largest U.S. health insurer by enrollment, had targeted women with breast cancer for aggressive investigation with intent to cancel their policies. The process involved using a computer algorithm that automatically targeted patients recently diagnosed with breast cancer, among other conditions.

In response to these allegations, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote a letter to the CEO of WellPoint saying, “I urge you to immediately cease these practices and abandon your efforts to rescind health insurance coverage from patients who need it most.” Sebelius goes on to refer to WellPoint’s practices as “deplorable” and “unconscionable”.

So what did WellPoint have to say for itself? CEO Angela Braly claims that the Reuters report grossly misrepresented the company’s efforts to help patients with life threatening illnesses such as breast cancer. She claims that the company uses software to scan diagnostic codes for conditions that patients would likely have known about when they applied for insurance, but insisted it does not single out women with breast cancer. Whether or not this explanation is true, Reuters stood by their original story and WellPoint shares dropped .7 percent on Friday after the story was released.

In this case, the blurred line between the human condition and politics repulses me. Isn’t it true that a nation of people should be able to trust their government with, at the very least, their lives? I compare the insurance giant WellPoint to government because it is in a position of great power that has control over the lives of thousands of people. This position should not be taken lightly, and if WellPoint is responsible for using breast cancer against their customers, then it should be publicly punished.

Although the universal health insurance bill will render this argument unnecessary (the bill makes rescinding insurance illegal), as a matter of principle it is worth bringing WellPoint to justice. As a collective people, we have a responsibility to uphold certain principles that defend our basic rights. Therefore, as a people, we should hold WellPoint accountable for their actions.

The Science of Teaching, Perceiving and Learning

Filed under: blog #10 — ElizabethOstebo @ 10:12 am

Last semester, I took a science class to fulfill my general education requirements. I chose a course about meteorology and global climate even though I was a bit skeptical about how well I would do in the class.  My skepticism stemmed from the science classes I took in high school; I thought the topics were interesting, but I struggled with understanding the material.

In his articles for the Huffington Post, Dr. Larry Dossey, author and former Chief of Staff of Medical City Dallas Hospital, presents the idea of how the way science is taught in schools affects how well students perform and learn. Dossey cites Jeremy Rifkin, founder and president of the Foundation on Economic Trends in Washington, D.C., who writes about “the scientific method,” which is an approach to learning in a scientific environment. Rifkin says:

The scientific method is at odds with virtually everything we know about our own nature and the nature of the world. It denies the relational aspect of reality, prohibits participation and makes no room for empathic imagination. Students in effect are asked to become aliens in the world.

Rifkin seems to believe that the way students are taught to do science contradicts with how the students view the world. In a world of constant online social interaction, Dossey says kids tend perceive science as “an individual, solitary endeavor,” which is not a completely accurate representation of science. This distorted image of science, in combination with how the subject matter is taught and how students prefer to learn, is problematic.

Dossey also cites Jacquelynne Eccles, a senior research professor at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research and the University of Michigan Institute for Research on Women and Gender. Eccles claims that “Girls steer away from careers in math, science and engineering because they view science as a solitary rather than a social occupation.” In addition, Eccles describes how there is a need to alter the stereotypical and often inaccurate image of what scientists are like and what they do.

In essence, Dossey, Rifkin and Eccles recognize the need for science to be more appealing and relevant to students. I ended up enjoying the science class I took last semester just for that reason. Not only did I get good grades in the class, but I found the material relevant and useful to my everyday life.

Dr. Larry Dossey’s articles in the Huffington Post:

The Scientific Method: An Education Train Wreck?

Is Technology Making Children More Empathic?

Why Are Children Rejecting Science

Are we really still talking about tenure?

Filed under: blog #10 — Tags: — marringoodall @ 9:12 am

A recent article written by Kara Miller of the Culture Club questions the quality of teaching in public schools and how teachers should be rewarded and punished for the work they do.

The primary concern in this article is how teachers should be fired. Should the newbies be thrown to the dogs because they lack the experience of their older colleagues? Teachers’ unions find that the tenure system, which provides a job safety net to experienced faculty, is a matter of respecting seniority. When cutbacks are made under this system, it is the newer and younger teachers who are the first to be handed the unfortunate pink slips. Especially now in this time of financial crisis, cutbacks are being made frequently and educational leaders are beginning to question whether or not this system is fair and ensures the best education for students.

Washington D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee suggests a program where teachers forgo the security of tenure in order to be appropriated a salary reflecting the level of quality of their work. Salaries could potentially raise from $62,000 to $100,000 a year if a teachers go above and beyond to improve the education of their students. This performance pay may be the solution to get teachers to be more enthusiastic and engaged in their students’ education and schooling experience.

If a program like the one Rhee suggests were to go into effect, teachers may seek non-traditional opportunities outside of the classroom that could benefit student experience and improve learning enthusiasm. After-school and supplementary programs like those offered by Press Pass TV would likely see an increase in interest, participation, and funding. When most professional positions are given and maintained on the basis of merit, our country’s education system should be reevaluated to reflect this, especially if changes in incentives could positively affect student learning.

Social media to the rescue

Filed under: blog #10 — kathrynflynn @ 7:53 am

Justin Herman is a retired first lieutenant and public affairs officer in the U.S. Air Force. He, like every person who is honorably discharged, was promised a stipend to pay for his continuing education from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, or the VA, as part of the recently past G.I. Bill. Therefore, when he returned to his hometown of Seacoast after his final tour, he promptly enrolled in classes at the University of New Hampshire, under the impression that he would be receiving his benefits directly deposited into his bank account. However, after the first few weeks of the semester, Herman realized that his stipend was not coming.

He attempted to contact someone at the VA to inquire about the missing funds, afraid that any payment delay would result in termination of his studies.  “Herman repeatedly called the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, but could only reach a recording instructing him to call back another time” (Kanner). He quickly realized that the VA hotline for dealing with such issues was unstaffed. Shortly after, Herman realized that the money that he thought would be deposited directly into his account was actually being sent in check-form to his parent’s address. Then, upon complaint, the attempt to fix this problem resulted in his stipend being directly deposited into a bank account… just not Herman’s.

Desperately in need of the money, and getting nowhere trying to contact the VA directly, Herman made a bold move. “On April 5, Herman decided to begin posting about each of his VA conversations to his followers on Twitter, also posting them to the Veteran’s Affairs Twitter page…Before long, dozens of veterans and families from all over the country were re-tweeting his messages and tweeting about their own similar problems, creating thousands upon thousands of imprints. Herman vowed not to stop tweeting about the situation until his questions were answered” (Kanner).

Did it work? Absolutely! The power of his Twitter conversation was enough for him not only to receive a phone call back, but an invitation to Washington D.C. to discuss his grievances with the U.S. Senate staff, and of course his promised educational stipend. And on top of all of that, he gave veterans in similar positions a voice; he gave them a method of communication that is slowly but surely allowing all the hundreds of thousands of ailing veterans to be taken care of, and receive what they are owed. It is phenomenal that today we have tools, like social media sites that can so directly influence the world around us.

The other, equally, if not more, phenomenal part of the story is how negligent the VA is when it comes to adequately caring for veterans. It is constantly preaching about all the good things it is doing, and while I recognize that no organization can be perfect, I want this post to be my contribution to the social media ‘attack’ on the VA.  Realistically however, this is not intended to do anything more than continue the current conversation.

Kenner, Matt. “Seacoast soldier turns to Twitter trying to get G.I. benefits.” The Wire. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2010. <http://www.wirenh.com/News/News_-_general/Seacoast_soldier_turns_to_Twitt

Jazz Fest ’10

Filed under: blog #10, Uncategorized — katehefler @ 7:41 am

This weekend, Jazz Fest took place in New Orleans, LA. As USA Today mentioned “Indulging one niche may be the modern festival formula, but it doesn’t apply to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which expects huge crowds this year with a bill that accommodates Simon & Garfunkel, Drake, My Morning Jacket, Ledisi, Terence Blanchard, Smokie Norful, Better Than Ezra, Grandpa Elliott and Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. & the Zydeco Twisters.” The 41st edition of Jazz Fest will take place Friday-Sunday (April 29-May 2), and will open its gates to what Quint Davis, the show’s producer and director, calls their “wheels-to-wheels” demographic, “everyone from strollers to wheelchairs.”

The Boston Children’s Chorus prides itself on having a diverse lineup of music ranging from cultural to modern. This would be a perfect format for a new concert because it would reach a wide variety of listeners and create a learning atmosphere for the singers. The chorus prides itself on One of The Boston Children’s Chorus’ goals is to increase their concert attendance. By creating a concert similar to Jazz Fest would increase attendance because the songs would create a more diverse line up and from that create a more diverse interest in the concert.

The End of the Bully

Filed under: blog #10, Uncategorized — pmitch1 @ 4:41 am

Following up on a the recent news story in which a South Hadley teen committed suicide after being continually bullied at school, Massachusetts has passed legislation designed to prevent bullying altogether.  The bill received bipartisan support, passing unanimously, 148-0.  The law bans bullying completely and calls for schools to create bullying prevention programs.  There is an opportunity here for the Cooperative Artists Institute to create a program specifically designed to help schools follow this legislature.  The CAI’s unique style of using art to form interpersonal connections between students is an ideal way to educate students about the dangers of bullying in a way that will stick with them better than a teacher simply lecturing them.  This government mandated education creates a need that the CAI fills very aptly and can certainly lead to more business for the organization if played correctly.  The CAI should be actively contacting local schools offering its services.

In conjunction with a new program, why not start an anti-bullying day?  The CAI already works within schools to prevent bullying so the idea fits in perfectly with the organization’s mission of creating a unified community.  Plus, it would be a great way to gain free publicity.  The CAI could even hold an event honoring the occasion.  An anti-bullying day would call awareness to both the increasingly prominent issue of bullying and also to the CAI itself.  The CAI can, like the state of Massachusetts, send a very clear message; bullying is wrong and has no place in civilized society.

http://wbztv.com/local/bully.bill.antibullying.2.1573704.html

Bullying 2.0

Filed under: blog #10 — michaelryan89 @ 1:39 am

Has bullying been made easier through the use of social media? I would definitely say yes. Cases such as Phoebe Prince’s show the severe effects that cyber bullying can have on youth. Prince ended up committing suicide after nearly three months of apparently routine torment by students at the school, via text messages and social networking site Facebook.  The 15-year-old’s mother made a point to talk to school staff members about the treatment of her daughter, yet nothing was done. In a news report titled “Some Parents Outraged No School Officials Charged in Teen Cyberbullying Case ” seen on Good Morning America, Massachusetts state representative John Scibak voiced his opinion saying, “I think if people knew about it and did not report it, this is a very serious allegation and one that really needs to be investigated.”

Phoebe Prince

 

Out of this anger has come legislation to fight back against cyberbullying. Scibak says that it would “require that schools provide training to parents, to teachers, to students, that incidents of bullying must be reported [and] the principal, upon hearing that determines whether this should go to law enforcement officials. The parents of the bully as well as the victim must be called in [and] it needs to be addressed.”

I am in complete support of this legislation. It is unfathomable that nothing was done even when Prince’s mother went to staff members. However, it also shows the lack of social media education in schools. In addition to this legislation I think that there should be mandatory workshops dedicated to informing school faculty about cyberbullying and how to handle it in real life situations. It is obvious that staff had no idea how to handle Prince’s situation and thought it was out their hands because the bullying didn’t occur on school property. It is time that social media experts make a change and teach others that any kind of bullying will not be tolerated in the new millennium.

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