Dan Marino Foundation – WalkAbout Autism

Project LIT is all about keeping the people informed. There are so many issues we try to address on the blog, but sometimes we tend to only stick to certain topics or current events

Currently 1 in 110 children are born with autism. (See more on Autism Spectrum Disorder.)

Here’s a chance to get involved in Project LIT’s first (of many hopefully) philanthropic pursuits. On January 29th the Dan Marino Foundation is hosting a walk in Miami to raise funds for different resources for people with autism to utilize. This includes different services, schools, and programs which will directly benefit those with autism.

Project LIT has a goal to raise $250 before the walk on January 29th. Please donate anything you can to help us help those afflicted with autism.

Visit our team website to learn more about the Dan Marino Foundation and donate: http://support.danmarinofoundation.org/site/TR/Events/General?px=1011478&pg=personal&fr_id=1030

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Peta2 Meatless Mondays

UCF student Madelyn Sovern in chicken costume standing outside of the Student Union to promote Meatless Mondays

As volunteers from Peta2 hit the campus of UCF this past week, many students may be left wondering: what did they aim to do here? A growing demand for vegetarian and vegan options all across campus, including in the Marketplace student dining service and the popular Knightros bar, has led the UCF student group BARC (Body of Animal Rights Campaigners) alongside with Peta2 to actively represent students who seek change in regards to healthy meatless meal options for students. So, what better way to gain support for these changes than to petition for signatures that call for more options in campus-wide food establishments? Peta2’s goal was to get 2,000 signatures from students, of which they received nearly double the amount (3,793 signatures in total). Like Peta2, BARC views animals rights as an essential issue that needs to be addressed more by the general public, as well as the substantial environmental impact that meat-farming and industry has on the environment, including pollution and wasted resources. They have chosen to focus on the topic of food for this campaign as it directly involves many areas that they feel is a vital concern in the present and near future.

In the four days that Peta2 has spent at UCF, they’ve managed to hand out 100 free t-shirts to students that read “I support meatless Mondays at UCF” as well as free literature for those interested. It’s perhaps important to note that Marketplace has taken away the station that previously offered vegetarian food. Also, with the ongoing expansion and boastingly high student population at UCF, it only makes sense to have vegetarian and vegan options open for all who wish to participate in alternative diet, whether it be solely for health reasons, saving money, supporting animal rights or the environment, the choices should not be restricted. BARC is currently looking to present the signatures that Peta2 generously offered to school administration and vendors in hopes of bringing back the vegetarian station in Marketplace and to offer more meatless food options at Knightros and various other establishments around campus. They’re even looking to have the fish sandwich item on Burger King’s menu removed as a “meatless option” that is currently being offered at a discount, a challenge that will undoubtedly prove to be difficult.

Peta2 has been making stops at many other college campuses across the nation and was visiting the University of South Florida prior to UCF. They also plan on visiting schools in South Florida in order to gain support for similar initiatives.

If interested in learning more about Peta2, please visit their website at http://www.peta2.com/ or if interested in learning a little bit of information regarding vegetarianism and veganism, visithttps://projectlit.wordpress.com/vegetarianism-and-veganism-why-should-you-care/. We also encourage anyone who may be interested to come on out to Tent City from February 6th-12th on Memory Mall. BARC will be cooking the meals and it should be a lot of fun!

Also, feel free to stop by at any of our many BARC meetings. You can find us underneath the gazebo, directly west of the Barnes and Noble student bookstore on Wednesdays at 5:00PM. If anyone is perhaps interested in learning more about BARC, our website iswww.barcdontbite.org. Feel free to check us out there.

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Google – Larry Page Takes Over

As it has grown in Silicon Valley, Google has lost some of its entrepreneurial culture and become a slower-moving company. Today, January 20, 2011, Google announced that they are handing the reins of the company to one of its co-founders, Larry Page. Larry Page is the co-founder of Google and will be taking on the position as chief executive from Eric E. Schmidt. This sudden replacement is due to multiple factors including the sudden rise of social networking sites which threaten Google’s online advertising market.

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FDA System Approves Nonexistent Product from Nonexistent Company for Human Testing (via COTO Report)

FDA System Approves Nonexistent Product from Nonexistent Company for Human Testing by Heidi Stevenson 10 January 2011          gaia-health A sting nailed a company the HHS authorized to oversee human drug trials. The absurdities in the application are belly laugh funny, but in their rush to keep the money coming, they approved it. The FDA farms out drug and medical device testing. It’s in the hands of the companies hoping to gain approval for their products, but they must first get approval before doing tests on humans. Even he … Read More

via COTO Report

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The circus is coming

As a parent it may be hard to deny your children anything at all; especially, when all they want is to see some elephants do tricks.

However, before you go, you and your children should be aware of how the circus comes to be.

1. Remember when you trained your dog to give you paw? All it took was patience and a few dog treats. Well in order to get bears, elephants, and tigers to ride bicycles it takes more than food. The animals are severely tortured to perform these ridiculous acts.

2. Keep in mind that dogs and cats are domesticated animals; meaning, they are fit to live with humans. Animals in the circus are wild animals, they are not made to be in close contact with people; so when the animals freak out because they are forcibly being taught to stand on their heads they are then beaten, put in solitary confinement (which would be too small for a person, never mind one of these animals) and possibly left behind to starve and rot when the circus leaves town.

Don’t contribute more evil to the world by supporting the circus. Visit: http://www.ringlingbeatsanimals.com/default.asp

Fortunately, parents can always take their children to see animal-friendly circuses, including Cirque du Soleil.

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Social Security in America

“Social Security is a simple concept: those employed are forced to contribute to a government managed fund. This fund provides for a subsistence living at retirement. In the U.S., retirees past the age of 67 receive Social Security.

However, there is a catch. The money we invest today is paid to those already retired.  This colossal endeavor can only work if the money deposited into the fund is more or, at a minimum, equal to the money distributed to qualified retirees. Unfortunately, that has not been the case for several years. As a result, a deficit has been in the making.  For starters, it is predicted that the Social Security fund will only last until 2037. That is only 26 years away, long before many current contributors are classified as retirees.

The Social Security trust fund is inadequately sourced. In order to salvage the almost demolished plan, we need to revamp the system. The government needs to either increase Social Security withholding, reduce the distribution of Social Security or possibly take action on both fronts.”

To read the rest of this article, please follow the link below:

http://fiusm.com/2011/01/10/econ-with-neda-social-security-source-is-quickly-depleting/

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Vegetarianism and Veganism: Why should you care?

Vegetarians and vegans of all backgrounds often face scrutiny in regards to their views and choice in eating. “Why are you vegetarian/vegan? What’s the point? You know you need your protein, right?” So many questions, so many answers. As a vegetarian, I wanted to try and dissolve some of the ambiguity and misconceptions about vegetarianism/veganism, as well as to try and supply some facts to the reader about the potential benefits of going vegetarian or vegan.

Like most Americans, I grew up eating meat (e.g. pork, beef, chicken, fish, you name it) and was told that it was a necessary part of a person’s diet. “You need the protein,” my mom would always tell me. “You’re a growing boy, eat your meat.” Not that I had any problem eating the food that was served on my plate, and in fact my mother was an excellent cook (most likely owing to the fact that my grandfather was a chef), but there came a point even at that early stage of my life when I started to question what was on my plate. I grew up in a family with a lot of animals that I cared for and to me they were no different from any other animal encountered in nature. It didn’t take me long to realize that I was eating a once living creature. I didn’t stop eating my meat because of it, though. I did what any other young kid would do in the same situation where the food is “convenient” and “good-tasting.” In other words, the guilt was still there but it was repressed to preserve my sense of righteousness and to continue to finish what was on my plate as I was taught to do. The reason I bring this up is because I suspect that most other people were brought up in this way and at some point or another likely had the same kind of thoughts running through their mind. It wasn’t until later that I learned that these ideas and beliefs about meat and protein were highly exaggerated and fallacious. I believe that the only reason that so many people still eat meat is because it’s convenient, it tastes good to them and most people don’t know the true facts because it isn’t talked about because, well, most people eat meat themselves and see no issue in the first place. In fact, when I found out about all of the real facts about meat, it were as if a huge veil had been lifted from my head. All in all, it was pretty shocking to tell you the truth.

Here are some basic facts:

Most Americans eat more protein than their bodies need (I’ve heard as much as two to as high as seven times the amount that we should normally be getting per day).

Eating animal foods packed with high protein as well as high saturated fat significantly increases the risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke and several types of cancer. Those who cannot use excess protein effectively may be at higher risk of kidney and liver disorders, and osteoporosis.

High-carbohydrate, high fiber plant-foods actually help lower cholesterol when eaten as part of a nutritionally-balanced diet.

There are plenty of vegetarian/vegan protein sources available, including: tempeh, tofu, seitan, lentils, black beans, chickpeas, pinto beans, quinoa, TVP, sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds, rice, lima beans, veggie burgers, veggie dogs, black eyed peas, peanut butter, almond butter, soy milk, vegan protein powders, hummus, soy yogurt, fortified foods like some breakfast cereals, amaranth, spirulina, chorella, split peas, etc.

According to the National Cancer Institute, red meat consumption is directly related to heightened cancer risk, particularly colorectal cancer.

Overall, researchers found elevated risks for colorectal and lung cancer with high consumption of both meat types (i.e. both red and lean meats) along with borderline higher risks for advanced prostate cancer. High red meat intake was also associated with increased risk of esophageal and liver and a borderline increased risk for laryngeal cancer. And high processed meat consumption also was associated with borderline increased risk for bladder cancer and myeloma, a kind of bone cancer. In addition, both red meat and processed meat consumption were associated with increased pancreatic cancer risk in men, but not women.

In addition to the health benefits, a major reduction in the eating of red meat would probably have a host of other benefits to society which includes: reducing water shortages and pollution, cutting energy consumption, and tamping down greenhouse gas emissions — all of which are associated with large-scale livestock production.

You’ll live a lot longer by cutting out meat from your diet. Vegetarians live about seven years longer, and vegans (who eat no animal products) about 15 years longer than meat eaters, according to a study from Loma Linda University. These findings are backed up by the China Health Project (the largest population study on diet and health to date), which found that Chinese people who eat the least amount of fat and animal products have the lowest risks of cancer, heart attack and other chronic degenerative diseases. And a British study that tracked 6,000 vegetarians and 5,000 meat eaters for 12 years found that vegetarians were 40 percent less likely to die from cancer during that time and 20 percent less likely to die from other diseases.

You’ll save your heart by cutting out meat from your diet. Cardiovascular disease is still the number one killer in the United States, and the standard American diet (SAD) that’s laden with saturated fat and cholesterol from meat and dairy is largely to blame. Children as young as age 3 who are raised on fast food and junk food show early signs of heart disease, according to the Bogalusa Heart Study done at the Louisiana State University. Cardiovascular disease is found in one in nine women aged 45 to 64 and in one in three women over 65. Heart attacks are also deadlier to the fairer sex: 53 percent of women who have heart attacks die from them, compared with 47 percent of men. Today, the average American male eating a meat-based diet has a 50 percent chance of dying from heart disease. His risk drops to 15 percent if he cuts out meat; it goes to 4 percent if he cuts out meat, dairy and eggs. Partly responsible is the fact that fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidant nutrients that protect the heart and its arteries. Plus, produce contains no saturated fat or cholesterol. Incidentally, cholesterol levels for vegetarians are 14 percent lower than meat eaters.

You can put more money in your mutual fund. Replacing meat, chicken and fish with vegetables and fruits is estimated to cut food bills by an average of $4,000 a year.

You’ll give your body a spring cleaning. Giving up meat helps purge the body of toxins (pesticides, environmental pollutants, preservatives) that overload our systems and cause illness. When people begin formal detoxification programs, their first step is to replace meats and dairy products with fruits and vegetables and juices. “These contain phytochemicals that help us detox naturally,” says Chris Clark, M.D., medical director of The Raj, an Ayurvedic healing center in Fairfield, Iowa, which specializes in detox programs.

Aside from reduced cancer risk and other more general health benefits, many report that upon switching to vegetarianism or veganism, they seem to have a lot more energy during the day and feel less tired. Mike Tyson on becoming vegan: “it’s been eight months with this vegan stuff, but I get these explosions of energy. I don’t know how long they last, but they’re like explosions. So powerful.” Also, in the last year of his life, Einstein said: “So I am living without fats, without meat, without fish, but am feeling quite well this way. It always seems to me that man was not born to be a carnivore.” Since becoming vegetarian about a year ago, I myself can profess to feeling more energetic and in a more general state of well-being than when I incorporated meat into my diet. A lot of vegetarians and vegans chose their diets because of moral reasons (i.e. objecting to eating meat in the hopes of saving animals), but I wanted to give some objective rather than subjective reasons as to why being vegetarian and vegan is so beneficial.

If you might be considering vegetarianism or veganism, I would suggest trying to limit red meats to once every few days, then doing the same for leaner meats like chicken and fish. After that, try eating meat only a few times a week and see how you fare. Then go an entire week without meat. It’s my opinion that if you can go one to two weeks without eating any meat, becoming vegetarian will be virtually effortless (the true challenge is to become vegan if you choose to do so, hehe). Limiting meat or cutting it completely out of your diet is a challenge, but its effects are nothing short of amazing, and trust me, you won’t be missing it after long. There are so many alternatives made from soy protein that taste just like meat and are no where near as unhealthy for you long-term that you will never consider regular meat…. ever. No lie. As hard as I tried to not make this post seem as if I were trying to convert you to vegetarianism or veganism and were just supplying you the facts, the truth is that I am. I wish many people better health and well-being and I see this as a crucial first-step towards just that. Another reason is that I care a lot for animals and believe that their well-being is an important part of preserving nature and preventing further degradation and destruction of the planet’s environment. Well…. that’s all I have to say for now. I hope you’ve found this post to be helpful and/or informative. Thanks for reading.

Sources:

http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=11234

http://health.usnews.com/usnews/health/healthday/071211/high-meat-consumption-linked-to-heightened-cancer-risk.htm

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/23/AR2009032301626.html

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0820/is_1999_April/ai_54232138/

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It’s Time to Vent: Congress and its failures

Capitol Hill - Washington, DC
Capitol Hill – Washington, DC

During the last election I was admittedly upset with the American people. I didn’t understand how Americans could vote the Democrats out of the house because they felt the Obama Administration has failed these past two years.

But, I have to tell you…I too am disgusted now. Yesterday, I came across an upsetting article.

What’s more shocking is the fact that the House spent a grand total of $190,000 on bottled water last year.

via Buy Your Congressperson a Water Bottle – Politics – GOOD.

Now, not only does this report bother me as an environmental activist, but as an American I’m appalled. The country has  officially surpassed a 14 trillion dollar deficit, and it is expected that early this year we will go over the 14.3 trillion dollar debt we agreed not to exceed.

So rather than switch to reusable water bottles, Congress is going to raise the deficit! It’s too late to prevent the increasing debt, but Congress needs to act more responsibly and get its act together!

Instead of reading the Constitution aloud (which you would hope they would already have a in-depth understanding of), they need to get some actual work done! I understand the symbolism and significane of this, but we don’t have time for this fufu democracy right now. They are embarrassing themselves and we will be the ones to suffer!

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More than a Checkup

The mental health field has grown tremendously within the last century, but now it is taking a sharp turn. Rather than seek therapy, which can be a lengthy process never bringing complete happiness, people want drugs and they want them now.

I understand why the pharmaceuticals are glorified. It saves time, money, and energy. The effects of the drugs are almost immediate (a month at most). Unfortunately, a lot of people, particularly those on antidepressants, don’t have pervasive chronic depression.

The mental health field is continuing to grow, particularly because of our loyal veterans. These men and women come back from overseas suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which may or may not include depression among other abnormal psychological issues. Unfortunately, many of these veterans are going to need therapy and rehabilitation for the rest of their lives.

With all the economic pressures the government faces, these vital programs are going to be severely limited. I believe that mental health is equally as important to physical health. If our soldiers are coming back to the US and they aren’t able to function in society, it is just as important for them to have access to rehabilitation services as it is for them to see an internist.There are ongoing investigations regarding the efficacy of Continue reading

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…Never Quite Good Enough.

“I think it’s a lousy deal and we can do better for the American people,” said the 2012 presidential hopeful Sarah Palin Friday on the “new” tax package, the same day that President Obama had signed off on it, thereby pushing it forward as a bill. The new bill includes a two-year extension of Bush-era tax cuts, the continuation of employment benefits for the long-term unemployed for 13 months, as well as a two percentage point cut in payroll tax and the revival of the estate tax at a lower level.  The signing of the bill concluded months of heated battle between Congress and the White House, all of which Sarah Palin dubbed as “flip flop” instead of compromise. Palin goes on further, commenting that her biggest criticism of Obama is that “he promised to and he’s trying to fulfill his promise of fundamentally trying to transform America.” She goes on to say that “We don’t need a fundamental transformation, we need a renewal and a restoration of what is good about America.”

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. These renegade warriors, better known as the “Tea Party,” look to distance themselves from anything… well… sensible, or at least it seems. And don’t make the mistake of calling them plain conservatives. I’m sure they hate that. They see themselves as new-age political revolutionaries and refuse to associate with any one political ideology. In fact, Palin’s criticism of Obama’s administration can be construed as ultra-conservative, but make no mistake that even the most staunch conservatives believe that swift change is necessary to place the US back on track toward economic recovery and renewed prosperity. After all, desperate times call for desperate measures. Palin and the “Tea Partiers” think that cutting taxes beyond what was sanctioned in the Bush era will give Americans the break they need while at the same time solve the nation’s budget deficit problems. Are they nuts? Oh wait, yes, they are.

Source: http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/12/17/palin-calls-tax-deal-lousy/

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