Monday, November 29, 2004

Bike Path Initiative an Opportunity for Owensboro

We haven't seen a shortage of discussion and awareness of the problems our community has in terms of health status. It has become a vernacular that many of us has become too accustomed to understanding: cancer, obesity, overweight, heart disease, and the litany of terms and terminology goes on. Our community and our state are particularly very very unhealthy.

We have done a good job of documenting it locally, from the All is Not Well research report commissioned by the Public Life Foundation to the GRADD Health Report Card completed by the GRADD Health Council, we know we are unhealthy. Contrary to people's wishes, we are not unhealthy by chance. It has a whole lot to do with what we choose to do, or not to do that makes us healthy or unhealthy.

At the same time, we have made strides in affecting this crisis situation in our community. American Council for Fitness and Nutrition Chairperson Susan Finn's comments echo the successes that we have had. We also continue to see some degree of movement on the state front, as is indicated by how elected officials were cited in the Messenger Inquirer of the need for healthy lifestyles.

At the beginning of 2005, we will have yet another opportunity to change our community for the better. Stay tuned for more from the City Connections bikepaths initiative that soon will pick up steam.

Want to be part of the solution? Get up to speed and get an idea of what the City Connections committee has been working on by going here. Then, stay tuned and let the community leaders know where you stand on improving the health status of our citizens with the assistance of a community that provides opportunities for citizens to improve their health and lifestyle.

The difficult, sometimes depressing, or the wonderful, sometimes extra special, "thing" about the holiday season is the coming together of family and friends.  It is that time of year that those that do come together arrive at the occasion or occasions with all that they are.  They bring their up-to-date hearsays, their laden drenched gossip personas from the year before, they bring their baggage of life's trials and tribulations, and they bring their willingness to toss everything up in the air in the family/friend focused deliberation of "the coming together". 

For me what is central to the holiday season being successful is the "feel" or perception of feeling that I take away from each of these events.  Did everyone pitch in their part?  Did everyone sacrifice enough of themselves to benefit the goodwill of the whole?  Did everyone come away with a sense of fulfillment of interacting with others?  Did everyone take away from the occasion that they played an important part in the enrichment in the lives of others present, or at least enough of the others present to "feel" justified in attending?  Certainly family and friends understand that the "coming together" takes on a life of it's own.  Sometimes we as individuals though certainly do not recognize this, and worse still is that we do understand it and do our damndest to brink our link in that chain that strives to hold it together.

Oh what a dilemma…..dare I say, what if instead of coming together, all of the baggage and excess immaterial objects land dead center in the nucleus of coming together?  Uuuuuggghhhhh, that could be icky….

Hmmmm……I'm not taking away a sense of fulfillment of at least the Thanksgiving holiday season, other than the entirely too many pieces of pecan pie that I ate...

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Mexico: Development and Gender Equality

Diego Cevallos

MEXICO CITY, (IPS) - Latin America and the Caribbean have up-to-date statistics on inflation, trade, GDP growth and other economic indicators. But there are few to no hard figures on violence against women, a problem that reportedly affects as many as four or five women out of 10 in the region. Click here to read more...

Sustainable Growth and International Economy: Trinidad Seeks an Alternative Economic Fuel

By Carol J. Williams, Times Staff Writer

POINT LISAS, Trinidad and Tobago — Half a millennium ago, Spanish colonialists put this tiny Caribbean land on the international trade map by putting the indigenous Amerindians to work growing cocoa. Click here to read more...

Population and the Environment: Study Links Smog Increases to Urban U.S. Deaths

By Michael Conlon

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Increases in air pollution caused by cars, power plants and industry can be directly linked to higher death rates in U.S. cities, a study said on Tuesday. Click here to read more...

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Hey everybody (Bret and Jen, we miss you!)! Have a Happy Thanksgiving and holiday season!

Alexis DeTocqueville: Democracy in America

I came across this website as a link in the book homepage of one of my sociology courses. I have worked with colleagues in the community and on various projects related to civic involvement. DeTocqueville provides keen qualitative insight on democracy in the United States on what has been termed the "Bible of Democracy". DeTocqueville has been classified as a political scientist, social philosopher, sociologist, historian, and field researcher. Don't know about DeTocqueville? Maybe you could take a moment to get introduced to him and his work....Click here to visit the site

The Chronicle: Scholars Who Blog

I've decided to post this article specifically for those educators or like-minded individuals who are visiting this blog to consider the notion of blogs, blogging, and bloggers. In short, can we dare not to capture our scholarly, personal, and community histories? Enjoy...

Scholars Who Blog

The soapbox of the digital age draws a crowd of academics


Is this a revolution in academic discourse, or is it CB radio?

In one form or another, that question inevitably arises in conversations with scholars who have taken up the habit of writing Web logs, or "blogs." Some have started blogging in order to muse aloud about their research. Others want to polish their chops at opinion-writing for nonacademic audiences. Still others have more urgent and personal reasons. ("The black dogs of depression are snarling at my feet," reads the first entry of one scholar's blog.) Click here to read more...

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Worldwide effects of sinking US dollar

By David R. Francis | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

The sinking US dollar in recent weeks has raised what is suddenly a top concern from Washington to Berlin and Beijing: Is America's currency undergoing a benign adjustment or a precipitous plunge? Click here to read more...

Monday, November 22, 2004

Philippines: APEC adopts trade plan for growing countries

By Ma. Theresa Torres, Reporter

THE Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) has adopted the Philippines’ proposal to let developed countries assist developing countries in securing favorable trade terms. Click here to read more...

Mexico: Plight of the Migrant

By Anabelle Garay, Associated Press

ALTAR, Mexico -- Migrants make their way through the dusty streets of this northern Mexico town toting backpacks stuffed with a few belongings and carting jugs of water to sustain them on their upcoming treks into the Arizona desert. Click here to read more...

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Economy: Market mergers

By Brad Dorfman

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The planned acquisition of Sears, Roebuck and Co. by Kmart Holding Corp. highlights a changing retail environment that could soon eliminate the department store as we know it, analysts and consultants said on Friday. Read more

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Global Economy: Libya and US trade

For more on this article, click the title of this post

By Adam Entous

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration has asked Congress to quickly lift a ban on U.S. Export-Import Bank loans in Libya and said "timing is critical" to help American companies invest in the oil-rich country, according to a letter released on Tuesday.

Mexico: A Brief History of Chocolate in America

I came across this recently. It's quite interesting, and sheds some like on chocolate. No pun intended....Click the title of this post to read this brief chronology!

Mexico: Sights & Sounds: Maya Underworld

Click on the title to the post to view a recent article from National Geographic. Viewing this multimedia presentation will work best with a high speed internet connection.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

What Wal-Mart Knows About Customers' Habits: Gathering and using data


Published: November 14, 2004

HURRICANE FRANCES was on its way, barreling across the Caribbean, threatening a direct hit on Florida's Atlantic coast. Residents made for higher ground, but far away, in Bentonville, Ark., executives at Wal-Mart Stores decided that the situation offered a great opportunity for one of their newest data-driven weapons, something that the company calls predictive technology.

Read more by clicking the title to this post.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Kentucky "Votes for Marriage", but has 3rd highest divorce rate

Click the title to this post to read the entire article...


Published: November 14, 2004

BOSTON — If blue states care less about moral values, why are divorce rates so low in the bluest of the blue states? It's a question that intrigues conservatives, as much as it emboldens liberals.

As researchers have noted, the areas of the country where divorce rates are highest are also frequently the areas where many conservative Christians live.

Kentucky, Mississippi and Arkansas, for example, voted overwhelmingly for constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage. But they had three of the highest divorce rates in 2003, based on figures from the Census Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics.

Left wing rises to power - the Cold - World

The 2004 election may have shifted America's political agenda to the right, but another November election marked the leftist trends emerging in South America, that of Uruguay's Tabare Vaz-quez. A 64-year-old oncologist, and self pro-claimed socialist, Vazquez beat out rivals in Uruguay's traditional White National and Colorado parties, which have both lost favor during recent economic downturns.

Read more by clicking the title to this post.

Ivory Coast: Mass exodus

By Nick Tattersall and Peter Murphy

ABIDJAN (Reuters) - An exodus of foreigners from Ivory Coast showed no signs of easing on Saturday as West African leaders prepared to meet in Nigeria for emergency talks about a crisis which threatens the entire region.

For more on this article click the title of this post.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

China: Marriage and cultural change

:: Xinhuanet - English ::: "BEIJING, Nov. 11 (Xinhuanet) -- From simply laying the bed rolls of a man and woman together to welcoming a bride home by hot air balloon, weddings in China have undergone great changes, a survey indicates. "

Nepal: Free Trade and Global Economy

The Rising Nepal: "Kathmandu, Nov 10: Only 50 days remains for quota system in readymade garments under the Multifibre Agreement (MFN) of World Trade Organization (WTO) and Nepalese garment entrepreneurs are worried about the future of the industry. "

South Korea: Free Trade

INCHON, South Korea: South Korea began construction on Thursday of a multi-billion dollar free trade zone, hoping to lure global businesses by cutting red tape and providing a site close to the booming China market.

Read more here:Daily Times - Site Edition

Czech Republic: EU Constitution

Read more here:

The Prague Post Online: "Vlastimil Kucera is not a typical Czech in one respect: He's quite familiar with the European constitution. "

Uganda: Human rights issues

Midnight's Children ( "Posted on Thursday, October 7, 2004. The following accounts are included in When the Sun Sets, We Start to Worry . . . , published in November 2003 by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. "

U.S.: Integrity of Voting

To steal elections is human nature. In 1948 a U.S. Senate seat was stolen, by simple ballot-box stuffing, for Lyndon Johnson; without it he would never have reached the presidency. John Kennedy only won the presidency in 1960 with the support of dead voters in Chicago. But now we approach a national election that is susceptible to theft in its very machinery—not just in Florida but almost anywhere.

Read more here:No Appeal (

Uganda: Human rights

International News Article | "UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The kidnapping and torture of children by a Uganda religious sect was high on the list of a new United Nations appeal on Thursday for the world's forgotten tragedies."

U.S.: Immigration

Politics News Article | "WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush appears ready to spend some of his newly gained political capital on immigration reform but could run up against fierce opposition from conservatives in his own Republican Party, analysts said on Thursday. "

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Chile: Torture Commission Report

By Ignacio Badal

SANTIAGO, Chile (Reuters) - Chilean President Ricardo Lagos received a chilling report on Wednesday from a government commission that interviewed more than 30,000 victims to chronicle for the first time the systematic use of torture during Augusto Pinochet's 1973-1990 dictatorship.

Read more at the following link: International News Article |

Colombia and Mexico: International Drug Trade

Despite the recent, much-talked-about captures of drug-trafficking kingpins, their organizations are far from being dismantled in this country. Colombian investigators affirm that their influence is increasing rapidly, to the point that they could be heading up the production, transportation, and distribution process that ends in the sale of drugs on the streets of the United States.

Read more at the following link:Overseas Security Advisory Council

Brazil: Amazon forests to disappear without foreign aid

CUIABA, Brazil (Reuters) -- The forests on Brazil's agricultural frontier will disappear without international financing to provide alternatives to slash-and-burn farming, the farm secretary of Brazil's leading soybean state said.

Read more at the following link:

Global economy

THE CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) will not become reality next year as initially scheduled.

This is according to reports from the Trinidad Express, which quoted Prime Minister Arthur as saying that instead efforts will be made by CARICOM member states to establish a CARICOM Single Market by the end of next year and the Single Economy will be dealt with subsequently.

Read more at the following link:Advocate

China's Health

BEIJING, Nov. 10 (Xinhuanet) -- Sixty percent of China's 1,832 counties, have joined a health education initiative for rural population, said deputy Health minister Gao Qiang here Wednesday.

Gao made the announcement at a 10 year anniversary seminar on the National Health Promotion Project for Chinese Farmers. The project aims to universalize health education among China's 900 million rural population who lack basic hygiene knowledge.

Read more at the following link:

:: Xinhuanet - English ::

Public Life Advocate: The Tracker

Data of Interest

Compiled by Chad M. Gesser

* Finland, Denmark, and Sweden are among the nations perceived to have the most dependable public officials in the world. The United States is tied for 17th.

* 84 percent of Americans believe the Iraqi people will be better off without Saddam Hussein.

* 70 percent of Jordanians believe the Iraqi people will be worse off without Saddam Hussein.

* Holding a favorable image of the United States has plummeted 40 percent from 1999-2004 amongst residents in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland, Russia, and Turkey.

* 58 percent of Americans believe that community problems are too big for individuals to solve alone.

* 90 percent of United States citizens say that working with others to solve problems takes more time but gets better results in the long run.

* 74 percent of United States citizens view the quality of life in their community as excellent or good. However, whites are twice as likely as African-Americans to view their community as offering an excellent quality of life.

* 40 percent of working adults (54 million Americans) say they have gotten together with co-workers to sponsor a food-drive, walk-a-thon, or other type of community activity in the past 12 months.

* 87 percent of Republicans believe George W. Bush is a uniter.

* 81 percent of Democrats believe George W. Bush is a divider.

To read the hard copy of The Tracker, visit the Public Life Foundation and the Public Life Advocate.

Tuesday, November 9, 2004


MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Reform of U.S. immigration laws to let more Mexican migrants work legally is a high priority for President Bush in his second term in office, Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Tuesday.

Read more at the following link:

Politics News Article |

Global economy: Cuban US dollar ban takes effect

Cuba has ended circulation of the US dollar in an attempt to resist a tightening US blockade.

Dollar transactions that have been allowed for the last 11 years were replaced by convertible Cuban pesos, which are worthless outside Cuba.

Read more at the following link:

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Cuban US dollar ban takes effect

Monday, November 8, 2004

Sociocultural evolution: The Oil We Eat

The secret of great wealth with no obvious source is some forgotten crime, forgotten because it was done neatly.—Balzac

The journalist’s rule says: follow the money. This rule, however, is not really axiomatic but derivative, in that money, as even our vice president will tell you, is really a way of tracking energy. We’ll follow the energy.

Read more at the following link: The Oil We Eat (

Saturday, November 6, 2004

War in Iraq: The Intelligence Chain

This is a very interesting piece of investigative journalism that documents the intelligence chain prior to the War in Iraq. Read it at the following link:

The Intelligence Chain

FAIR MEDIA ADVISORY: Defining Bush's "Mandate"

November 5, 2004

Winning 51 percent of the popular vote in Tuesday's election, Bush administration officials were quick to declare that the results constitute a "mandate" for Bush's second term. This interpretation of the election caught hold in the mainstream media-- a sign perhaps that White House spin was triumphing over the actual numbers recorded on Election Day.

Read more at the following link:

FAIR MEDIA ADVISORY: Defining Bush's "Mandate"

Lucky for some - part one: The mixed blessings of a lottery win

Each week we spend £90m on the national lottery and, in the 10 years since it began, 1,600 of us have hit the jackpot and become millionaires. Some winners have had their lives since portrayed as a horror story. What is it really like, Simon Hattenstone asks.

Read more at the following link:

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Lucky for some - part one: The mixed blessings of a lottery win

Friday, November 5, 2004

Culture and Capitalism: Wal-Mart owned store opens in Mexico despite protests

Associated Press

TEOTIHUACAN, Mexico - A Wal-Mart-owned discount store quietly opened its doors Thursday less than a mile from the ancient temples of Teotihuacan, despite months of protests claiming the sprawling complex was an insult to Mexican culture. Read more at this link: Wal-Mart-owned-store opens in Mexico despite protests -


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