June 22

April 29

Media Criticism

The utter most annoying thing about sports news has to be Jason Whitlock.  He absolutely has to bring up the “race card” in almost every story he has.  For example, Jeff Ireland asked NFL draftee Dez Bryant, who was eventually drafted by the Cowboys, if his mother was a prostitute.  Whitlock’s article on the occurrence brought up the subject that some people might think of it as a situation of a white man asking a black kid about his mother’s possibility of being a prostitute.  This is not the case.  There was an allegation rising throughout the draft that Dez Bryant’s mother was a prostitute.  If I was going to invest millions of dollars into a player for my franchise, I would need to know if my player had a stable life with good influences and a stable upbringing.  Now, Whitlock later states this in his article, but the race subject did not need to be brought up and that was his plan.  To bring it up so you would begin to think about it.  Whitlock looks for and feeds off of controversy.  It’s what fills most of his articles.

You might think by just looking at the article that I was wrong and that it was just a coincidence that he brought it up.  No, that is not the case.  He constantly talks about how racism is running rampant through the NFL.  It is in nearly every article he writes. 

Furthermore, if there was ANY racism or racist remarks being allowed in the NFL there would be complaints galore.  The players, coaches, general managers, owners and other positions in this league, of any race, would not stand for it.  No matter what race the derogatory remark was aimed at or who said it.

So, Whitlock, when you have an actual reason to believe that an owner, or anyone else for that matter, is being discriminate or otherwise racist towards a player, let us know.  Otherwise, don’t cry wolf.

April 18

Raj Patel Address

     Raj Patel gave a speech at Missouri State University Thursday, April 15 during the Public Affairs Conference. 

     Raj, an author, journalist and food policy expert, spoke mainly of how we got into this recession.  He also discussed food commons that would help us be more resourceful and less damaging to the environment.

     “We need to worry about how we got into this mess and how to avoid getting into this mess into the future,” says Patel.  “In 2008, 49.2 million Americans went hungry.  Now, it’s more like 60 million.”  Food commons would be a way to solve some of this problem.

     Food commons are local urban agriculture farms.  They provide their surrounding community cheaper, healthier food than what they can get in larger stores such as Wal-Mart.

     “You can see there is a demand for more local access to healthier home grown food,” says Zac McMillan, 27, of Buffalo, Mo.  Zac has a Bachelors degree in economics from Drury University.  “As individuals want to get closer to the source of their food, food commons will likely become more common place.”

     Raj had some people in the audience thinking of supporting more farmers markets and other home grown food sources rather than other sources.  Terry Hill Jr., 24, of Buffalo, Mo. said, “I usually pick up all of my food from supermarkets.  I think that I will probably support local food markets from now on.”

April 17

The New Middle Class: Can We Learn to Live With Less?

The New Middle Class: Can We Learn to Live With Less? panel met at Missouri State University Wednesday, April 14 during its Public Affairs Conference. Linda Wagner, Anusree Mitra, Suzanne Berman, and Tonya Lockyer were the panelists. 

The common topic was that this recession is going to change our attitude towards living with less.  The panel discussed that we are re-evaluating needs and wants.  The panel says the recession has caused Americans to desire a more simple life.

“Less is more,” said Anusree Mitra, associate professor and chair of the marketing department in the Kogod School of Business at American University in Washington, D.C.  “We are becoming more critical consumers.”

“This recession is making us reconsider our values,” said Tonya Lockyer, a dance artist and educator.  Tonya said that this recession could cause us to think more about our community as a whole and help one another.

Studies do prove that giving back in this economy is making people happier.  According to a Nancy Gibbs article in Time Magazine, eight of the 10 happiest states in the country also rank in the top 10 for volunteering.  That study was done by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

This panel left some audience members wanting more.  Krystal Wallace, 19, of Springfield, Mo. wanted the panel to dig a little deeper.  “I really wanted to hear more about how other countries are able to live with less and still be happy.”

April 7

Public Affairs Preview

     Raj Patel, author, journalist and food policy expert will be speaking at the Missouri State University Public Affairs Conference.  He will be giving a speech and be in a panel on Thursday, April 15.

     The Public Affairs conference is being held at Missouri State University from April 13-16.  The topic this year is The New Economy: Peril and Promise.    All events are free and open to the public.

During Patel’s address he will likely be speaking about topics from his book The Value of NothingHis panel Feeding the Hungry: How the New Economy is Impacting International Relief Efforts will meet at 3:30-4:45 p.m. in the PSU Theater.

     Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will be giving an address on Friday, April 16 titled Our Environmental DestinyIt will be held in the JQH Arena from 10-11:30 a.m. An admission ticket required, but it is free.  That ticket must be picked up in advance.  For ticket information visit: http://jqharena.missouristate.edu/kennedy.

     Free parking is available for the event in the Visitor’s lot #13, located off National and Monroe.  Additional parking is available at BearPark North, with entrances off Cherry and Elm, as well as BearPark South, located at Grand and Holland.  Free shuttle service will be provided from the parking garages.  During the April 16 event, parking will also be available in lots 44, 51, and 52.

     All sessions will be held in the Plaster Student Union except for the April 16 event.  It will be held in JQH ArenaAccommodations will be provided to the disabled with adequate notice.  

March 29

Reporting Plan

The Public Affairs conference grows near and I have began to gameplan. 

I plan on attending The New Middle Class: Can We Learn to Live With Less?  with Linda Wagner, Anusree Mitra, Suzanne Berman, and Tonya Lockyer.  The likely subject of this panel will be how many who used to be above middle class, will soon be middle class because of the recession.  There will be a lot of talk of how to make the dollar strectch a little.  I will have to background the panelists to see where their point of view comes from. 

I also plan on attending The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy with Raj Patel.  I already have a background on Raj in an earlier blog.  The likely news here will be how America can have a more fair society and sustainable economy as explained in his book.

I will interview some panelists at the conference and post a blog with the final piece after the conference is over.

March 22

JRN 270: Links

Below, I have reproduced an article from the Springfield Newsleader for the purpose of critiquing it. I am demonstrating how to properly handle a news article on the web by adding links to the story.

Excess stress can hurt memory development in kids

Susan Atteberry Smith • For the News-Leader • March 22, 2010

Adults aren’t the only ones who don’t think as clearly under the wrong kind of stress.

A 2005 Harvard University study found that toxic stress — not positive, everyday stress or even tolerable stress but chronic, uncontrollable stress experienced by young children with no caring adults to rely on — can disrupt the architecture of the developing brain.

If too much of the stress hormone cortisol is released for too long in response to toxic stress, such as the stress of being abused or neglected, it can damage the hippocampus, the area of the brain where learning and memory take place.

In fact, the Parents as Teachers program, which has incorporated the findings from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child into its curriculum, explains that children’s brains become “tuned to danger” even if they aren’t firsthand victims of the high levels of stress and violence around them.

A PAT handout called “Stress and Kids Don’t Mix” tells parents to watch for these signs of stress in young children: complaints about illness; excessive anger or aggression; poor concentration; lack of enthusiasm or motivation; depression; apathy; withdrawal; regressive behaviors; sleep disturbances; extremes in eating; irritability; explosive or frequent crying; boasts of superiority or other attention-seeking behaviors; compulsive behavior; and cruel behavior toward friends or pets.

Memory begins developing in children from “very, very, very early,” said Donnis Grundy — as soon as a baby remembers that a kick to a toy in the crib can cause it to move.

From remembering to associate objects with what happens next — a bottle means it’s time to eat, for example — to beginning to remember Mom’s face in the middle of the night, babies learn through simple memory games like peek-a-boo that what disappears isn’t necessarily gone for good.

"It helps babies learn that something exists even when they can’t see it," Grundy said.

But too much stress can block those memories, even for young children.

"If we’re afraid, it’s hard to recall a memory, hard to bring up something in your mind," she said.

March 19

Public Affairs Panel

The MSU Public Affairs Conference has several panels discussing important topics about the current economic state. One stood out to me that really made me think about Missouri. Surviving the Economic Tsunami: Strategies for Business in the New Economy is one of the panels that will be meeting during the Conference. It made me think of Missouri because there are a lot of small businesses in Missouri as well as big. If big businesses are having troubles in this new economy, what are the smaller ones going to do? They don’t have the luxury of being able to slash prices and take small losses. They don’t have as large of pockets. This panel is supposed to talk about defensive strategies to avoid the pitfalls of this disappointing economy. If small business owners can learn how to avoid the disasters of this economy and flourish now, maybe they can earn the respect and trust of customers. That will carry them for a long while.

Public Affairs Conference Speakers

Raj Patel, author, journalist and food policy expert, is an upcoming speaker at MSU’s Public Affair Conference. 

Patel has a couple of highly acclaimed books: Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System and The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy.  The conference at MSU is all about the economy this year so he will likely be talking about topics from the latter book, The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy. In this book Patel talks about the economy’s downfall, and how we could achieve a fairer society and sustainable economy.

Patel is a London native who has degrees Oxford and from London School of Economics and went to Cornell University to pursue his Ph.D.  These accomplishments led him to work at the World Bank, holding an internship at the World Trade Organization and consulting for the United Nations.  After a stint of work at these establishments, he began to protest them around the world.

Patel is avid in international relations.  Patel recently returned from in the Centre for Civil Society at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.  To further demonstrate his efforts, he is involved with many organizations with the same ambitions of international relations including: Land Research Action Network (LRAN) and Southern and Eastern African Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATANI).

Another speaker at the conference is Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is a defender for the environment.  Kennedy is a graduate of Harvard University. He studied at the London School of Economics and received his law degree from the University of Virginia Law School. Following graduation, he attended Pace University School of Law, where he was awarded a master’s degree in environmental law.  He has been named one of Time magazine’s “Heroes for the Planet” and one of Rolling Stone’s “100 Agents of Change.” 

Kennedy is the senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, chief prosecuting attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper, president of Waterkeeper Alliance, partner in the clean tech work of Silicon Valley’s VantagePoint Ventures and is the environmental adviser to Napo Pharmaceuticals.  Kennedy’s Waterkeeper Alliance has helped spawn more than 130 Waterkeeper organizations across the globe.

Kennedy’s main concern is the environment as you can see.  He has assisted several indigenous tribes in Latin America and Canada in successfully negotiating treaties protecting traditional homelands.  He is really concerned with the New York water supply.  He negotiated, on behalf of environmentalists and New York City watershed consumers, The New York City watershed agreement.

February 25

Random Interview

Craig Nelson, 23, of Harrisonville, Mo. was sitting alone in the Plaster student union today.  He caught my eye from a seperate table.  He had an awful lot of papers sitting on his table and his phone was vibrating every few seconds.  At first it was annoying, but then it appeared like he was doing a lot of work.  So, I decided to bug him.  Turns out, he was an interesting person.

Craig Nelson is double majoring in Global Studies and Spanish at Missouri State University.  He plans to travel around the world when he graduates.  He loves traveling.  An ideal job for him would have him in different countries for several days.  He might take other language classes so he can understand a lot of languages to make it easier to do business with others.

Craig studied abroad when he was younger.  He went to Argentina and to Chile.  While in South America he skied in the Alps.  He remembers the days he spent in on the mountains vividly, “It snowed so hard one day, I could barely see the guy right in front of me.”  He hopes to return some day.  “South America is a fun place,” says Craig.

When he graduates, he’s not exactly sure what job he wants to get into.  All he is certain of is that it will take him around the world.  He might visit South America quite a bit.  He really misses the times he spent studying abroad.  He made a lot of friends down there.

His interests of traveling got me interested in him.  I’ve only been outside of the country once, when I was younger, and out of Missouri three times.  I’ve wanted to travel more, but never have the time.  So, hearing his stories really got me interested.  His take on traveling inspired me to make time to travel.