Friday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Tonight I plan to take my children to see the Cesar Chavez movie. It isn’t every day that a Latino-themed movie highlighting a role model hits the big screen. So I will make sure that my family supports it.

Here is the trailer, by the way:

A sad story of hunger in our communities: The Huffington Post ran a compelling story of families in North Carolina who have gone hungry due to a computer glitch. They did not receive the food stamps — and not enough food from food pantries — to be able to feed their families for the month. Working at MomsRising, I am aware of the numbers of “food insecure” families, but I still found this story shocking.

On a lighter note, what are you up to this weekend? What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Friday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Good news: the House Education and Labor committee passed a bipartisan Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill by a 32-13 vote. The bill would improve on school lunches. Jill Richardson over at La Vida Locavore is not confident it will receive all the necessary funding though.

Washington D.C. has the most educated people of any major city, according to a study covered by the Washington Post.

Back-to-school shopping is the biggest season for retailers after Christmas, and so far, things are not looking good. Sales are expected to fall short that retailers like Wal-Mart, Target and others, plan to offer specials and contests to lure parents, according to the Dallas Morning News.

From my Texas newsletter (just so you all don’t think I watch FOX News!): Texas Gov. Rick Perry is proposing denying driver’s licenses to high school dropouts, as well as a $1,500 tax break for employers who aid a worker in earning a diploma, according to Houston’s FOX affliliate. What do you all think of this proposal?

And ain’t this the truth:

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Midday Coffee Break

What’s up?

Vaccines for AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, genital herpes and other diseases are five years away, according to the Associated Press.

I know some of you mentioned this in Gloria’s open thread this morning, but due to flooding at one of its bakeries, Kellogg’s is facing a Leggo waffle shortage that will last until the middle of 2010, according to MSN Money. The latest Washington Post e-mail newsletter reported that some people were attempting to profit from the shortage by auctioning off a box of Leggo waffles for $65. Also in MSN Money: Costco will no longer carry Coca Cola products because of a pricing dispute.

Texas is No. 2 in impoverished people with inadequate food, according to the Dallas Morning News. The state is also experiencing a backlog in the food stamps program, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

From the Washington Post: a University of Pennsylvania professor put to rest the American notion that owning a home is always better than renting.

Mary Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, just gave birth to a baby girl, Sarah Lynne Cheney, according to Salon. This would be the second child for Cheney and her partner of more than 17 years, Heather Poe.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Tuesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Thanksgiving is coming up, which for many families means hanging out with family members you don’t get along with or even rarely know. My friend Peggy over at the Berkeley Community Examiner succinctly captured this.

In somewhat related, but depressing news: 49 million Americans do not have dependable access to adequate food, the largest number since the government started tracking it in 1995, according to the Washington Post.

The Love Isn’t Enough blog is covering research by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute on how to “promote healthy identity formation in adoption.” Also, Love Isn’t Enough ran a fascinating column about the lack of African-American mommy memoirs and blogs on the Internet — as well as the absence of black mothers in the media-concocted mommy wars.

Consumer Reports just put out a list of the most reliable cars.

The Washington Post had an article on how smoking marijuana has gained public acceptance, even among straight-laced baby boomers. What do you think? Do you smoke??

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


“Hunger can be a positive motivator”

So says a Republican state representative in Missouri who doesn’t want to expand a lunch program to feed kids when they’re out of school.

   Why have meals at home with your loved ones if you can go to the government soup kitchen and get one for free? This could have the effect of breaking apart more families.

   Anyone under 18 can be eligible? Can’t they get a job during the summer by the time they are 16? Hunger can be a positive motivator. What is wrong with the idea of getting a job so you can get better meals?

   Tip: If you work for McDonald’s, they will feed you for free during your break.

   Families may economize by choosing to not waste hard earned dollars on potato chips, ice cream, or Twinkies. Perhaps some families will buy more beans and chicken and less sweets.

   They are using a “crisis” to create an expansion of a government program. Parents naturally love their children and enjoy caring for their children just as much as ever during an economic downturn…Laid off parents could adapt by preparing more home cooked meals rather than going out to eat.

Yeah, nothing says fake “crisis” like rising child hunger during an economic recession. Come on, kids, get a job!

P.S. This devoid-of-compassion woman, Cynthia Davis, chairs the Missouri House Special Standing Committee on Children and Families.

P.P.S. She’s wrong about McDonald’s–they don’t feed their employees for free.

P.P.S.S. Even if she were right, a daily diet of McDonald’s wouldn’t be advisable for malnourished teens.


Free Rice

A friend encouraged me to check out Free Rice and I had to pass it on to you. It’s an internet vocabulary-building game. Apparently, a father (and computer programmer) in PA was trying to help his son with vocabulary before taking the SATs. He developed this program but now it has come to serve 2 worthwhile purposes.

  1. Provide English vocabulary to everyone for free.
  1. Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

Advertisers on the site will donate 20 grains of rice to the UN World Food Program for every correct answer. I am not a gamer but this is addictive, educational and socially-conscious.

178,464,760 grains of rice donated yesterday.
Over 26 billion grains donated to date

I haven’t found a down side and have already learned some new words.

I hope you enjoy!