Friday, January 28, 2005

Update from our Leader

In the NYT today, there was an interesting article where our president addressed several issues. Click here to read the entire article.
But here are just a few highlights and my comments. The first part of the story is about international affairs, and I'm just nto going to comment because I'm still not completely sure how I feel. But I know how I feel about the domestic issues.

On domestic policy, Mr. Bush sidestepped a question on whether he agreed with a Florida law barring gay men and women from adopting children, saying he was not aware of it. But he said that while "children can receive love from gay couples," he believed that "studies have shown that the ideal is where a child is raised in a married family with a man and a woman."
So being the product of a 'non-traditional' family, and having turned out pretty well adjusted, at least in my oppinion a married family isn't always the best situation. And for many different reasons, for many families, whether the parents are gay, strait, transgendered, or anything else that just isn't reality of this country or society. That's not even getting into the whole discrimination against someone because of their sexuality.

He also suggested, three days after telling a March for Life rally that he could see the "glimmerings" of a nation in which every child is "welcomed in life and protected in law," that he was resigned for now to the continued availability of abortion and that his role would be to show moral leadership rather than advance specific anti-abortion initiatives.
This was actually encouraging to me. This is the best statement from him that I could hope for. I can only hope that it continues in this way for the rest of his term.

"He brushed aside questions about his relationship with the Congressional Black Caucus, which he met with on Wednesday and invited to the White House once in his first term. Asked why the group, now composed of 43 Democratic African-American members of Congress, had received only the single first-term invitation, he responded, "That's just the way it worked out."
For comments on this, I refer you to this entry of Chris Wheat's blog to say it all.

He laughed when asked about his admission on Wednesday, during a news conference, that he had not read the article in the periodical Foreign Affairs written in 2000 by Condoleezza Rice, his new secretary of state, laying out his foreign policy.
"I don't know what you think the world is like, but a lot of people don't just sit around reading Foreign Affairs," he said, chuckling. "I know this is shocking to you."

Maybe he shouldn't have to sit around reading Foreign Affairs, but perhaps he should know about articles his secretary of state has published.

Then there was more discussion about Iraq, and discussion about stem cell research, etc. But these were just some of the highlights.
All of the included quotes come from the NYT article:
Bush Says Iraqi Leaders Will Want U.S. Forces to Stay to Help
By ELISABETH BUMILLER, DAVID E. SANGER and RICHARD W. STEVENSON Published: January 28, 2005

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Weight Loss

So, I thought it had been determined long ago that people that expended more energy throughout the day were leaner than sedentary people who ate the same amount of calories. I didn't really think we needed a study to prove it. Study Ties Weight Loss to Restlessness and Fidgeting. The funny thing to me is I am most certainly not a restless or fidgety person and am relatively small, and I know plenty of people who are extremely fidgety and aren't. I guess its nice to understand obesity and all, but I'm not sure I really find this study so helpful. But still, the take home lesson remains, if you want to loose weight, expend more calories than you take in.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Hot Button Issues

In case anyone couldn't already tell, I am one of the most liberal people. I am liberal on just about every spectrum that one could find. I think that is important to keep in mind for this post. Once again, here are a couple of NYT articles that have sparked my interest.

Score 1 for the democrats! I am extremely pleased about
Hillary Clinton's latest statement on abortion. This is the first time that I feel that an appropriate stance was taken. For all of the voters who are concerned that Democrats aren't moral enough, I feel this was a step in the right direction to win back trust. I have always felt that abortion is such a hot topic issue because people who are pro-choice are often represented as pro-abortion and the choice part just gets glossed over. No one says that it isn't a hard choice, or that it is a particularly wonderful choice, but it is a CHOICE. But I digress, in an effort to establish a wider base within the party, I feel that this was most certainly a step in the right direction. Especially coming from someone as liberal as Senator Clinton. I am somewhat concerned on how the pro-life groups reacted. I don't think its wrong to find common ground and try to prevent pregnancy before it reaches that stage. I feel that is something that we can all come to a common ground on. And though some people might believe it to be so, being very committed to being pro-choice does not mean that you really want a high incidence of abortion. It just means that you feel that women should have a choice.

Let's just pit one really bad law against another really bad law!
Backers of Gay Marriage Ban Use Social Security as Cudgel. The best response I have hear is GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! I really don't believe that either of these are really in the best interest of the country. In fact, I think they are both to the detriment of society. I don't quite understand why the Arlington Group feel that a federal ban against same sex marriage is a good thing, or an immediate need. Until someone can convince me that it is completely unnatural or wrong, (which is highly unlikely if not impossible), then they can simply keep this law to themselves. I understand laws that might not make people happy because the acts are unsafe to the individual or to others, but really what harm does same-sex marriage have? If you don't believe it in, fine, don't believe it. Choose not accept your friends or family that enter into same-sex marriages and teach your children that you don't believe in it. But I really don't believe that history tells us that is wrong or unnatural, seeing as same-sex relationships have been going on for years. In fact, many people who have been admired have entered in same-sex relationships. One example is Cole Porter. (If you like musicals, see DeLovely with Ashley Judd and Kevin Kline for the story.) I realize that many states have already passed this law, and it should remain a state issue, but actually, I don't think it should be a government issue at all. We should just do away with marriage in the state and all enter civil unions. Marriage should only be the ceremony performed by the church, then it is up to each individual religious group to make up their minds about it. Why should a heterosexual couple entering a committed relationship in the eyes of the law be attributed to any special privledges over a same-sex couple. I don't believe that the government has the right to define marriage. Really, I only feel that religious groups do, and to be honest, I don't think that many of them are doing such a good job right now. So once again GRRRR.

Perhaps I will be able to have a more calm response in the near future, but both of these articles concern some of the few issues that I get really heated over.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Medicare Changes

This article was in the NYT today. New Medicare Rules on Drugs Balance Access Against Costs I think I have mixed feelings on this one. It looks like everyone made compromises. It looks like it will be adequate coverage, I guess I am just concerned about the complexity of it all. I am just worried that patients are going to be so confused that they aren't going to get all of the benefits they deserve. Hopefully my concerns are just overworrying, but I highly doubt it. But, I have to say, at least there is prescription coverage.

Catching Up

Yesterday, in order to go to the opening of a women's health art exhibit at Wash U and to visit a friend, I ended up running into a bunch of people that I hadn't seen in a long time.
First I went to the opening of Inside Out Loud and saw Jen, who was in my pledge class and I find to be a wonderful person. It is always good to see her. Then Shelly, who I haven't seen if forever. Shelly is one of those friends that I love to hang around with, go out with, talk to, just about anything. Our schedules just never seem to work out.
Then, Lauren and I went to dinner and ran into:
Sara and Ali, who I haven't seen since before they went abroad and
Shikha, who I haven't seen since summer, and is one of my friends much like Shelly.
Then at Lauren's, I saw Katie someone I haven't seen since I graduated.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised that when I start going to Wash U events and go to restaurants near the university that I am bound to run into people I haven't seen in a while. Most of the time I think that seeing people is a good thing. But there have definitely been days when I have run into people I definitely don't like to be around and wondered why they felt the need to continue small talk when I am obviously trying to enjoy quality time with someone else.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Fufilling the Dream

On Wednesday, the discussion group reading "Fufilling the Dream" began. This is a book meant for discussion groups which is a use for the journey of dismantling racism from a Christian point of view. I am happy that people at Holy Communion began the discussion and are using a tool that was provided by the Dismantling Racism comittee. There ae some other people that I would have liked to have seen there, but I am sure that scheduling has much to do with it. There aren't many of us, but for such a serious discussion, I think that a small group is best. I think that it is a great group of people and I am looking forward to the continuing discussion.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Interesting Articles

It is not very often that two completely unrelated articles in the New York Times are able to completely and utterly frustrate me in the same day.

First is "Harvard Cheif Defends His Talk on Women." It is ideas like this that still cause women to run into men who don't think we belong in math or science. I have to say, I am personally a complete contradiction to all of the theories that Laurence Summers has. This is a good reason why I might not want to attend medical school there.

Second is "Cut in Medicare Payments to Hospitals Is Advised." I would be nice if President Bush and his panel didn't think the best way to decrease our national deficit was to give less money to health care providers. This is an incentive for hospitals to run even more like a business than they already do. It will make it harder for our elderly and underinsured to receive quality healthcare. Perhaps for once politicians should think of the people that really need them instead of finding ways so that their cronies don't have to pay higher taxes.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Tsunami Relief

I am troubled by many issues surrounding the tsunami relief. Here are just a few.

1) The lack of money that our president has pledged. This bothers me for several reasons, one being the cost in comparison to the amount of money being spent on the celebrations for his second inauguration. Is it really that necessary? This
New York Times article addresses my quams with it pretty well. Additionally, I am not sure how accurate these figures are, but at my interview yesterday, my interviewer suggested that had $10 of tax dollars from each tax payer been donated, more money would have been pledged to aid the victims. Kind of startling to me. Finally, when I think about how much money is being spent in Iraq, a place in which I am not convinced we are doing any good, it simply devastates me that so much money is going to war and not aid. (As a side note, I do fully support our troops, I just don't believe they should be there) If we are truly doing the right thing, the moral thing, the Christian thing, or whatever spin you would like to put on it, does any of this really make sense? Perhaps someone can explain it to me.

2) The attack of celebrities who are supposedly gaining publicity by holding fundraisers. This
MSNBC story gives a bit of the background. Although O'Reilly has now 'jumped on the bandwagon,' was all of that nonsense really necessary. People use their various influences all of the time for things that I wouldn't consider admirable. I don't feel there is anything wrong with a celebrity using their popularity for a good cause.

3) Why is it that a following story for the tsunami relief effort is the "Brad and Jennifer Break Up." I know that they are a cute couple and all, but is that really as important as a major disaster? I don't think so, but I guess I don't share the same perspective as many people.

4) Why does it take a disaster for people to install warning systems? From my understanding, part of the reason that there was so much devastation is that there weren't any warning systems to inform the people that there was danger. Now it has been realized that warning systems need to be put in place for the protection of the people. This seems to be a trend, not the rule. It takes a fire for some people to realize that they need to check, or even install a fire alarm. It takes a robbery for people to install a security system. I realize that I am oversimplifying the issue, but I just think that if we prepared for the worst, but hoped for the best that things would be much easier in the long run. Things like: making a plan with your children in case there is an emergency, having code words, knowing where fire routes are,
learning how to change a tire before you start driving, having smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in our homes, etc. The list just goes on. Having grown up in the Midwest, I am use to monthly testing of tornado sirens. Would a siren to warn of danger of oncoming hurricanes or tsunamis be bad for coastal places. Maybe this isn't a solution, but with all of the available technology, something should work. And yes I realize that some of these countries might not have had very much money available money, but that brings me to my final point.

5) It shouldn't take a tragedy for people to become giving. Perhaps my mother brought me up differently than many people are raised, but I was taught that giving should be year round. Even if you are on a student budget, or don't feel that you have anything to give, there is so much more than money that can be given. Since I was a little girl, my mother used to make me go through all of my toys and clothes to see what I didn't use anymore, or what I didn't need anymore to give to those who could use them. Many of the things went to students at her school or to charities, but I always knew that they would go to those who needed it more than I did. I understand the whole I work hard for my money and I should be able to do with it as I please argument, but there are some people that work three times as hard and for varying reasons can't even make ends meat. There are easy ways to give year round: donating to the church, donating to the
Salvation Army, UNICEF, Red Cross, donating blood, becoming an organ donor, and volunteering time just to name a few. All of these things don't require a whole lot, but could mean the world to others. Once again, I am oversimplifying the issue but I just don't understand why people get so much attention for donating when there is a natural disaster, but not for being a giving person year round. I don't by any means feel that I am perfect, or the most giving person out there, I just think that many people don't always realize that they can do so much more than just give money, and that aid is needed even when there isn't a natural disaster.

Sorry about the tirade, just need to get it off my chest.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Deciding not to go

So recently, I was offered an opportunity to travel to Africa with my church, and was extremely excited about it. However, I came to the unfortunate realization that if I went, I was being selfish. By going, I would have been going for my own personal experience and not truly acknowledging the concern of others for my well-being...........mental, physical, financial, etc. I do think that the trip is one of those once in a lifetime opportunities, but I can only hope that in the line of work that I am planning to go into that other trips, perhaps ones in which I can be more helpful to the people that I am visiting, will present themselves or will be able to be sought out. I was really looking forward to going on this trip and becoming closer with the others who would have been traveling, but logistics are just not in my favor.
The trip is the first week and a half in April meaning that I would have to move two weeks after I returned. In addition, it is possible that I won't know for sure which Medical School I will be attending until the week before the trip, or even the week of because of financial aid packages. My personal deadline for deciding which school to go to in currently the first week in April because I have to know where I will be moving. Seeing as I have narrowed it down to an out of state move since I have decided that SLU isn't for me. Also, I would have to come up with the money for the trip, through both fundraising and personal funds, but I would also loose two complete weeks of work and have to find extra money to pay for my rent. and other bills. Also, any saved money that I had that I used towards the trip would be that much less money that I had saved in order to move, start paying for school supplies, and make a down-payment on wherever I will live. Although I think this trip would be an amazing experience, I have just realized that this isn't the time for it.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Happy New Year

So I am still somewhat recovering from my weekend with Chris. He drove in on Thursday and I had made him a belated birthday dinner. My new recipe that I made was baklava. I think good cooking genes must run in my family because it didn't turn out half bad. Either that, or I can read well because I am just pretty good at following directions. So dinner was a success and we went to bed with happy tummies. We also exchanged presents.......always a fun thing. Apparently I am a really hard person to buy for, but Chris did a good job.
The next day Chris and I got ready to bring in the New Year. We went to Wasabi for dinner and I had my first true experience with sushi. Prior to Friday night, I had only had calafornia rolls. I think I would have liked it much better if I didn't have to scrape the wasabi off of each piece. Wasabi and I definitely don't mix so well. I think sushi is more of a lunch food for me because its hard for me to feel full with a bunch of small things. However, since I wasn't provided with a fork, Chris taught me how to use chopsticks. And if I do say so myself, I did pretty well for my first time. Then we went back to our hotel room, relaxed then went out to Bucca. Having prepaid, I would have thought we would have gotten right in, but no, it took about an hour. And the people who paid cash got in in less than 15 minutes in the back. I was definitely cold and cranky until we got in. However, we paid for all the drinks we could drink, so we pretty much took advantage of it. The think that sucked was that girls were dancing on the bar, so it was hard to get a drink. They were dancing to win a trip to Vegas, and Chris and I were just trying to get a drink. Was not thriled. We had fun, but it wasn't the best club ever.
On Saturday, we both weren't feeling the best. We weren't hung over, but I don't think either of us had really drank that hard in a while. I defintely haven't drank that much since my 21st in August. But it was nice just spending the day together. I'm looking forward to the day when its no longer a once in a while occurance. Relaxing basically accounts for the rest of Chris's visit and I have spent most of today still relaxing, a bit of laundry and a bit of cleaning.
I have also been doing a bit of knitting. Knitting has become my hobby lately. It is added to my list of so called womanly things that I find totally relaxing. I do also believe though, that if I was told that I had to do it to keep my family clothed that I might not like it so much. So now, my list is cooking, sewing, crocheting, and knitting. I may be stuck to my guns about feminist issues, but aparently I am pretty girly at heart. Well there is a Strong Medicine Marathon on so it is time to watch that.

Chris and I on New Year's Eve