Monthly Archives: May 2014

100,000 Americans Die Each Year from Prescription Drugs, While Pharma Companies Get Rich

“The study estimating that 100,000 Americans die each year from their prescriptions looked only at deaths from known side effects.”

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May 30, 2014 · 8:36 pm

The Average Heroin Addict Is Not Who You Think It Is

“…90% of heroin users are white men and women…the current median age for men and women now is around 23 years old. Three-quarters of these current users were first introduced to heroin by way of prescription opiates like Oxycontin. That means that expensive prescription drugs are serving as a gateway drug for young millennials living in suburbia trying to find an inexpensive but dangerous alternative: heroin…”

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May 30, 2014 · 8:31 pm

Financial lessons from the playground: The importance of modeling good money habits for your children

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May 28, 2014 · 7:35 pm

Year later, salmonella outbreak tied to chicken continues

“…In January, USDA inspectors briefly closed the a Foster Farms plant in Livingston, Calif., after finding cockroaches on five separate occasions over four months.”


We get such shit from USDA at work with shipping cars to and from Hawaii, and they’re not worried about contaminated meat?! Shame, shame USDA!

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May 28, 2014 · 7:23 pm

Actor LeVar Burton Raising Funds to Bring ‘Reading Rainbow’ to the Web

Please donate! Anything helps!

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Filed under Spotlights

How To Be a Nonconformist: 22 Irreverent Illustrated Steps to Counterculture Cred from 1968

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May 28, 2014 · 5:50 pm

I work for McDonald’s in Denmark…


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May 20, 2014 · 10:52 pm

The Pro-Gun Invasion Of Chipotle Totally Backfired

One of the scariest sentences I have ever read:

“…Businesses, by contrast, are in some ways more democratic institutions than legislatures…”

American legislature is BY DEFINITION “democratic”. In practice? Not so much.

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May 20, 2014 · 7:02 pm

The Backfire Effect: The Psychology of Why We Have a Hard Time Changing Our Minds


“How the disconnect between information and insight explains our dangerous self-righteousness.

On the internet, a giant filter bubble of our existing beliefs, this can run even more rampant — we see such horrible strains of misinformation as climate change denial and antivaccination activism gather momentum by selectively seeking out “evidence” while dismissing the fact that every reputable scientist in the world disagrees with such beliefs. (In fact, the epidemic of misinformation has reached such height that we’re now facing a resurgence of once-eradicated diseases.)

“In disputes upon moral or scientific points, ever let your aim be to come at truth, not to conquer your opponent. So you never shall be at a loss in losing the argument, and gaining a new discovery.”

McRaney traces the crushing psychological effect of trolling – something that takes an active effort to fight – back to its evolutionary roots:

Have you ever noticed the peculiar tendency you have to let praise pass through you, but to feel crushed by criticism? A thousand positive remarks can slip by unnoticed, but one “you suck” can linger in your head for days. One hypothesis as to why this and the backfire effect happen is that you spend much more time considering information you disagree with than you do information you accept. Information that lines up with what you already believe passes through the mind like a vapor, but when you come across something that threatens your beliefs, something that conflicts with your preconceived notions of how the world works, you seize up and take notice. Some psychologists speculate there is an evolutionary explanation. Your ancestors paid more attention and spent more time thinking about negative stimuli than positive because bad things required a response. Those who failed to address negative stimuli failed to keep breathing….”

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May 20, 2014 · 6:28 pm

There’s been a lot of talk about minimum wage lately and I was encouraged to share my own story, so here it is (feel free to share it) 🙂

I lived on the federal minimum wage (and below) from Aug 2012 to July 2013 and being a single, childless, college-educated, white female I could not pay my own bills. I was on food stamps and still had to pay for my own health insurance since I didn’t qualify for Medicare at that time since I didn’t have children. My rent was $600/mo, my phone $90/mo, my health insurance $80/mo, utilities $30/mo, and I still had to pay for transportation, clothing, household items, etc. I didn’t make enough to cover it all and had to rely on my parents for help, which I hated.

“It is a common misconception that the minimum wage workforce is comprised mostly of teenagers working part-time to make a little extra spending money. This is decidedly not the case; rather, the vast majority – 84.1 percent – of those benefitting from the proposed increase to $9.00 are at least 20 years old. This means that less than 16 percent of the workers impacted by the President’s proposal are teenagers. Additionally, about half (47.3 percent) of the 18 million affected workers are full-time employees, working at least 35 hours per week. Another 35.8 percent work between 20 and 34 hours per week, and only 16.9 percent work less than 20 hours a week. It is clear that the bulk of minimum wage workers are mid- or full-time adult employees, not teenagers or part-timers. (However, the fact that some of these workers are teens and part-timers who are working only to make some additional disposable income is not justification for paying them subpoverty wages.)”

I agree that minimum wage jobs were not meant to be careers, but rather stepping stones. However, the reality of the fact is that the majority of those making minimum wage are over 20 years old and want to work full time. The people working these jobs are stuck in these jobs, with virtually no opportunities for upward mobility. They often do not have the time or money for further training or skill building. I’ve said elsewhere that:

[Further] schooling is often expensive and does not necessarily lead to a “better job.”

For example, there was a recent article on how vocational programs leading to certificates, like CRNs, do not necessarily improve your job options. There is little data on how these credentials enhance income with the median earnings of all certificate holders just under $25,000 (which is barely over the poverty threshold for a family of four). Although RN programs do a decent job of preparing students, “medical assistants don’t make enough money to pay off their loans.”

The proliferation of paralegal certificate programs is also a concern. There is not a lot of growth in the profession right now, so we don’t know who’s going to employ all those people who are getting these certificates. According to the Department of Education, the number of people awarded certificates in the paralegal field grew to 4,061 in 2007-8 from 2,890 in 2003-4. This is unfortunately also the case for JD law degrees at the moment. I personally almost went to law school after undergrad until I realized that getting a JD (and even being at the top of your class or at a “prestigious” school) did not guarantee a job.

And in terms of having children and not being able to support them, there are many reasons why this might happen. Maybe they were more financially stable when they decided to reproduce (think of families who are affected by natural disasters every year and lose everything). Maybe they don’t have access to sex education or birth control (researchers have found that teens who received comprehensive sex education were 60 percent less likely to get pregnant or to get someone pregnant than those who received no sex education). Maybe one parent died and had failed to set up a life insurance account. Maybe the children are a result of sexual assault. There are many reasons why people have kids to later realize they can’t support them.

Please think about the minimum wage debate as not centered around you and your life, that is a very selfish way to look at things. You can use personal anecdotes or personal observations to back up your opinions, but you also must consider the issue as a whole and how it affects the millions of Americans that currently make minimum wage.

I currently make $12/hr at a full time temp office job in Seattle, where the living wage is around $15 (give or take). And I can tell you that I currently have $78 to my name and no savings. And it’s not because I buy and shop and eat out a lot. It’s because I’m paying for things like insurance, tires and repairs for my car, and fixing my computer (which has been broken since 2012 but I haven’t been able to afford repairs until now).

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May 16, 2014 · 6:22 pm