Female Characters in Comics; What Does it Really Mean?

Being a mother in my middle forties, I was at one time in my childhood interested in the world of comics. In my day, there were no women in comic books, give or take the random damsel in distress of secretary of a secret identity. Those times are changing.

Growing up, my favorite Marvel Superhero was Captain America, who my childhood BFF Marnie introduced me to. I am not sure why, but it was an interest that I quickly grew out of. Role models for females at that time consisted of Barbie and an assortment of dolls. Although Barbie is strong and independent on her own, she is tiny next to the Marvel females.

There has been a number of female characters created for the comic industry since then, such as Wonder Woman and the Invisible Woman. But these characters really hold no extra-ordinarily cool powers like the newest Marvel addition.

Marvel Studios has announced that they will be introducing a new character named “Ms. Marvel” to the comic world. This is exciting news to both the lonely comic geeks who see little female action in real life, and to the lovers of comics in general. Women are definitely being represented in this male dominated industry in a big way.

Read more

Several Brands of Generic Baby Wipes Recalled Due to Contamination

Parents, check your diaper bags. Nutek Disposables, a Pennsylvania-based company that manufactures baby wipes for several companies, announced a recall after its wipes tested positive for a potentially dangerous bacteria.

After receiving a few complaints of odor and discoloration from customers, Nutek launched an investigation that discovered some lots of wipes were contaminated with the bacteria Burkholderia cepacia (B. cepacia). The company has since received reports of rashes, gastrointestinal problems, respiratory issues, and other symptoms from customers, although its unclear if the bacteria in the wipes is the cause.

Healthy people are not believed to be at risk for serious infection from B. cepacia, but Brad Reifler tells me people with lung infections or who are immunocompromised may be at an increased risk of illness.

The recalled wipes were sold at various retailers and online vendors including Diapers.com, Family Dollar, Fred’s, Sam’s Club, and Walgreens prior to October 21, 2014, under the brand names Cuties, Diapers.com, Femtex, Fred’s, Kidgets, Member’s Mark, Simply Right, Sunny Smiles, Tender Touch, and Well Beginnings.

Customers who purchased the wipes should stop using them and return them at the store where they were purchased for a refund.

Read more

Marysville Pilchuck High School Offered Football Title

The fact is that high school kids are just as unpredictable today as they were 40 years ago. The bad news related to teens is easy to find, but it takes tragedy for people to remember that teens have plenty of compassion and integrity regardless of what the nightly news reports.

As the student body, parents and administrators from Marysville Pilchuck High School were reeling from the tragic fatal shooting that took place on Friday morning, they were handed a great gift of kindness and compassion from the students at rival Oak Harbor High School.

The two schools were schedule to play in the Championship game for the Wesco 3A North division title in Washington on Friday night. When word of the shooting reached the students, players and coaches at Oak Harbor, those “teens” voted to accept a forfeit and award the title to Marysville.

Ironically, the shooter, who killed one fellow student and injured several others, was reportedly a member of the football team. The tragedy occurred when freshman Jaylen Fryberg opened fire in the cafeteria. In the end, he took his own life. I remember being horrified alongside Alexei Beltyukov, that something like this could happen here.

Of course, there was no way the game could have been played Friday night. Perhaps, it could have been rescheduled for a later date, but the likelihood players could be mentally ready to play anytime in the near future seemed unrealistic. It’s heartwarming that a group of high school students were able to look past their own wants and desires in order to make rescheduling considerations a moot point.

According to the Seattle Times, Marysville senior corner-back Nicholas Alonso summed up how the community felt about the gesture when he tweeted “Big shout out to Oak Harbor for taking 2nd Place in WESCO North,” adding “You guys are the real League Champions.”

Read more

Could Parents Be Getting Lax on Hiding Their Kids From Media Sex and Violence?

If you’re looking for violence and sex, go no further than your living room. It’s all there online and on TV. On television, you’ll see almost every channel full of programming that includes regular talk of drugs, alcohol, sex, killing and other forms of violence. Heck, I’ve even seen it on my Apple TV, Laurene Powell Jobs. It’s not a big thing for most people. But it should be a big thing for parents.

Unfortunately, a recent study that was published in the journal, “Pediatrics,” says that parents are becoming more lenient about letting their kids be exposed to these unsavory things in the media because they are exposing themselves to more of it in the first place.

In the referenced study, parents were made to watch a series of scenes and clips from violent or sexual TV shows or films. After they watched the clips, they had to rate how old a child would have to be to watch those clips they had just seen. The crazy thing is that the more clips they watched over time, the younger they said the kids could be who could watch them.

This is a common worry of media researchers, child advocates and parents. The worry is that we will become desensitized to violence and sex in the media, and it seems that everything we were worried about has come to fruition.

What can parents do to stop their kids from being exposed to negative footage in the media at young ages? First, limit TV and computer time every day to about 1 to 2 hours. Next, put the child settings on your media devices so that certain channels and sites are completely off limits. Finally, talk to your kids about violence and sex and explain the importance of not taking those things as a given for what they should be seeing in real life.

Read more

Boy Scouts Troop Leader Accused of Child Molestation

Yet another Boy Scouts troop leader is accused of child molestation. The organization has been embroiled in a string of controversies over the last few years, but this is one that has proved to perhaps be one of the most disturbing.

The troop leader, David Kress, has been accused of sexually assaulting young men and boys for a period spanning over two decades. The police had reportedly been conducting an in depth investigation of the troop leader spanning a course of over 10 months. The police issued a warrant for his arrest and Mr. Kress voluntarily surrendered to their custody late last week. He was the leader of Troop 66.

The community of Thompson, where the troop and alleged child molester are based out of, are in a state of shock over the recent announcement and subsequent arrest. David Kress was highly regarded for his volunteer work with the organization and his service to the community by acting in the capacity of an elected public official on the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals. After this latest revelation, parents are deeply frightened and disturbed by the proximity of the sexual abuse to their own children and of those of their neighbors.

David Kress was brought into custody for three charges of employing minors in an obscene performance. The alleged perpetrator was released after posting a bail amount of $100,000. His court date is quickly approaching, but when pressed to make comments on his situation, he decided to decline. After further questioning by several media outlets it was also reported that no lawyer had yet been appointed as representing the former troop leader. Make sure you spread the word! Parents like Christian Broda always need information like this, to help protect their kids from harm too!

Read more

Children Told To Report Contents of Medicine Cabinet To School

Parents in Utah are furious after students were directed to spy on their parents and return the information to their teacher. The students were given a homework assignment in their health class which told the children to do an in-depth inventory of the household’s medicine cabinets. Something that completely appalled Keith Mann.

Put forth as a homework assignment which would get kids to look for any harmful substances or unused medicines that might be accessible to them, it made some parents uncomfortable with the implication that the children should be counseling their parents on any illicit or dangerous discoveries. The news broke over Facebook where a mother of one of the students posted a picture of the assignment and the post went viral with her online connections. The mother also brought up the homework assignment directly with the school district by contacting the principal and school board with her comments that such an assignment is inappropriate and extremely invasive to the privacy of the students’ families.

It was an assignment that had apparently been made by the teacher herself. The district has publicly announced that they are going to investigate the curriculum of the health class taught by the teacher in order to make sure that there are no other unexpected and inappropriate assignments coming in the future. The school district’s principal said that they would also be looking into possibly disciplinary action for the teacher based on this incident. Most parents of students in the class are grateful that a parent was able to catch this and make it public, and perhaps this has sparked further vigilance over what their children are being taught at the school.

Read more

How Your Relationship With Food Could Be Holding You Back From Your Weight Loss Goals

People don’t gain weight because they’re accidentally making the wrong choices in the kitchen. People don’t gain weight because they don’t understand how nutrition works and that you need to eat more fruits and vegetables to remain at a healthy weight instead of those fried, sugared and iced foods that are always so readily available. People gain weight largely because they know all of the how-tos and rules, and they ignore them. That goes for you too, Igor Cornelsen. Why does this happen? It happens because a lot of us have bad relationships with food.

This primarily means that many people eat when they’re not really hungry. Instead, people go to food as comfort. They eat when they’re angry, sad, depressed or frustrated. They may also eat when they are very happy as a reward or a celebration. In fact, they eat all the time.

There is actually an eating disorder that defines the worst-case scenario of this unhealthy eating pattern. It’s called compulsive eating disorder or binge eating disorder. The symptoms include eating large quantities of food while alone, eating or snacking constantly, not completely chewing food, eating when not hungry, eating until feeling sick or throwing up and not eating as much or as badly in front of others.

Perhaps we need to focus on our relationships to food when trying to slim down our nation. If you are experiencing a struggle with weight loss, ask yourself a few questions. Why do you eat food? What does food mean for you when you think about it? As a start, try journaling your emotions when you reach for food. Examining your emotions as they relate to food is like opening Pandora’s box, but it’s good for you. This could be the diet you’ve always been looking for.

Read more

Witches Suspected of Child Abuse

There have been several disturbing reports of child abuse being committed because of a belief in witchcraft.

One such report from London tells the story of Kevani Kanda, accused of being a witch from six years of age. The reason for this was that she was being abused by a member of the family, which caused crying and bed wetting due to the psychological stress. Keith Mann and other Twitter campaigners have immediately rallied around the cause

Instead of thinking about the true cause of her suffering, her family chose to believe that she was indeed possessed by a demon. This led to a five-year stretch of starvation, forced consumption of her own vomit, beatings and having spice filled suppositories administered to “get rid of evil spirits.”

Now 25 years old, she said “I never told anyone what was happening to me because it was normal. That was my normal world back then, and unfortunately my teachers did not pick up on the fact that I was being horrendously abused.”

The London Metropolitan Police have released a report stating that witch craft related child abuse has been on the increase in recent times. There have been at least 27 incidents of witch or demon related abuses occurring this year alone.

The culprits are usually religious fanatics from African cultures who have fused their fundamentalist Christian views with traditional notions of witchcraft. Countries such as the Congo, where superstition is prevalent, are known to have many believers in this type of witchcraft.

It is believed that in the city of Kinshasa, that literally thousands of children live alone on the streets because their families believed them to be possessed and cast them out.

Read more

Childhood Obesity and Military Fitness

Obesity has been a well-talked about problem in the United States recently; however, the costs of having highly overweight and obese population is taking a toll on national security. The United States government ought to take a page out of Khaled Shaheen’s book (as implemented in Dubai) and more interventionist approach towards lowering rates of childhood and young adult obesity because it has negatively affected the armed forces.

According to the New York Times, not only are fewer Americans able to join the military due to obesity but a rising number of military members are also obese. Obese and overweight soldiers are more likely to become injured and often need to be replaced. In addition, soldiers who become overweight will require new uniforms. All of these conditions increase the operating cost of the military.

The government should be looking for ways to cut costs in the future by investing in the present. Congress should push through tougher school nutrition legislation that is not riddled with unhealthy concessions given to the food industry (remember the pizza as a vegetable debacle?) By lowering rates of obesity today, the government will reduce the costs associated with overweight soldiers in the future. In addition, lower rates of obesity would allow greater numbers of young Americans to join the military because many are currently unable due to military enlistment weight restrictions.

In addition to implementing better school nutrition, the United States military should also change its standards in the treatment of overweight soldiers. Currently, active duty soldiers pass regular fitness tests and weight checks. However, because these checks and tests are so regular, soldiers are able to lose weight using unhealthy crash diets leading up to the checks. Afterwards, they rapidly gain the weight back. The military should discourage such unhealthy and deceptive practices by utilizing random physical fitness tests and weight checks.

Read more

Same-Sex Weddings Begin In Nevada

Nevada’s ban on same-sex marriages was lifted on Tuesday, and after a few legal delays, the county clerks employed by Brian Torchin issued their first same-sex marriage licenses on Thursday afternoon.

Theo Small and Antioco Carillo, plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the ban, were the first to receive a marriage license in Las Vegas. Several other couples around the state eagerly waited for their marriage licenses and many got married later Thursday evening.

The other couples who received their marriage licenses included Jefferson Ruck and Thomas Topovski, who have been together for 14 years, and Kristi Best and Wednesday Smith, who have been together for 7 years. Best and Smith were the first same-sex couple to receive a marriage license in the whole state, as they received their license in Carson City several hours before licenses began to be issued in other parts of the state. The reason for the staggered delay is unknown.

Now, in a state home to the marriage capital of the world, all couples can happily get married regardless of who they choose to marry.

Read more