Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Another Form of Child Abuse-

This past week a mother in London was able to keep custody of her 8 year old, 218 pound, son. Hopefully she will take the court's orders seriously and help her son to eat a healthy diet and exercise.

In my opinion, parents who allow their children to eat whatever they want, whenever they want, are committing another form of child abuse. This poor boy's health will be impacted for his entire life by his weight if something isn't done about it. Even if he loses weight, it is unknown what the effects of his weight have already had on his internal organs.

The other day while riding on public transportation, I saw a family of four-mother, father, son, daughter. All of them were severely overweight. The mother and father were far over 200lbs, and the children, who seemed to be 8-10 years old, were each at least 130 pounds despite the fact that they were only around 4'6. I think that doctors should be more aggressive in telling parents of overweight children that they are to blame, that they need to toughen up, and that they (in my opinion) committing a form of passive child abuse. I know this sounds extreme, but if a person allows their child to become obese, is that not abuse? I believe it is Passive Abuse--the result of a parent unable to say no. If the child has a genetic disorder, that is a different matter, however the majority of children who are obese ARE NOT suffering from genetic disorders.

See the article below from the Canadian Press:

Overweight 8-year-old sets off child obesity debate in Britain

Published: Tuesday, February 27, 2007 | 5:35 PM ET
Canadian Press: THOMAS WAGNER

LONDON (AP) - A mother who feared she might lose custody of her obese eight-year-old son unless he lost weight was allowed to keep the boy after striking a deal Tuesday with social workers to safeguard his welfare.

The case has set off a debate over child obesity and raised questions about whether genetics, junk food or bad parenting is to blame. Connor McCreaddie, of Wallsend in northeastern England, weighs 218 pounds, four times the weight of a healthy child his age. Connor and his mother, Nicola McKeown, 35, both attended a child protection meeting Tuesday with North Tyneside Council officials.

Before it began, McKeown, a single mother of two, said she hoped she would not lose custody of her son.

Afterward, the Local Safeguarding Children Board issued a statement saying it "was able to confirm that its hope and ambition is to enable this child to remain with his family. In order to move this matter forward, we have made a formal agreement with the family to safeguard and promote the child's welfare."

The agency provided no details about what Connor or his mother would have to do to fight his obesity.

The hearing was held under the Children Act, which places a duty on the local authority to conduct an inquiry if it has "reasonable cause to suspect that a child . . . in their area is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm."

The boy's case attracted national attention after his mother allowed an ITV News crew to film his day-to-day life for a month.

When he was 2½, Connor was too heavy for his mother to pick him up, and at age five, he weighed more than 126 pounds, said The Journal, a regional newspaper. Now the boy, who is tall for his age at five feet, wears adult clothes, the newspaper said.

Sky TV showed footage of Connor's mother serving him meals of french fries, meat and buttered bread. "He'll hover around the kitchen for food. He'll continually go in the fridge," McKeown said of her son. "I just keep telling him to get out of the fridge, wait until meal times and stuff. But . . . he was born hungry. He has always been hungry."

"Bacon. Mmmm. . . . That's my favourite. Um . . . chicken , steak, sausage," the boy told the camera.

Obesity is essentially caused by eating more calories than you burn. Obese people are sometimes thought to have lower metabolic rates than normal, meaning they need less food to maintain their weight. Childhood obesity is of particular concern because it greatly increases the risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, skeletal disorders and strokes. Certain cancers are also associated with obesity, and obese children have a higher chance of premature death.

Read the remainder of the article at CBC.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Raid in Greely, Colorado Will Leave Deep Scars

Once again our Administration has effectively sent a message that if you (1) look like an alien or (2) are an alien, you will be terrorized, disrespected and stripped of your civil rights.

What many may not know is that if you have entered the United States, even illegally, you have constitutional rights. Only those who have not yet entered and are seeking admission are denied Constitutional Rights. Even those seeking admission may not be detained for an unreasonable amount of time. Certainly the raids of several companies, Swift & Co was that raided in Greely, were far beyond reasonable.

ICE has become an agency aimed at terrorizing both documented US residents and undocumented aliens.

See the excerpt of "Lockdown in Greely" from THE NATION magazine's February 26th, 2007 issue.

Lockdown in Greeley

Greeley, Colorado
On the northern edge of this frozen-over city of 90,000 halfway between Denver and Cheyenne, Swift & Co.'s beef processing plant squats like a windowless concrete bunker alongside the snow-covered railroad tracks. The winter air hangs heavy with the stench of animal waste. And the three strings of barbed wire atop the chain-link fence that girdles the facility give the hulking complex all the appeal of some forsaken, remote prison. Nevertheless, the steam snaking high and gently from the plant's smokestacks has for several decades served as a beacon of hope and promise for thousands of immigrants, mostly Mexican, who have come north looking for a better life.


At least until December 12, the holiday celebrating the appearance of the Virgin of Guadalupe. What materialized in front of the Swift gates that morning was more like a vision of hell. Shortly after 7 am a half-dozen buses rolled up with a small fleet of government vans, which unloaded dozens of heavily armed federal agents backed by riot-clad local police. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents sealed off all entrances and exits and formed a perimeter around the factory. Then others barged inside and started rounding up the whole workforce.

Some of the frightened workers jumped into cattle pens; others hid behind machinery or in closets. Those who tried to run were wrestled to the ground. Sworn statements by some workers allege that the ICE agents used chemical sprays to subdue those who didn't understand the orders barked at them in English. The plant's entire workforce was herded into the cafeteria and separated into two groups: those who claimed to be US citizens or legal residents and those who didn't.

While the Greeley plant was being locked down, more than 1,000 ICE agents simultaneously raided five other Swift factories in Texas, Iowa, Nebraska, Utah and Minnesota. By the end of the day, nearly 1,300 immigrant workers had been taken into custody--about 265 of them from Greeley. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff boasted that the combined raids amounted to the largest workplace enforcement action in history. ICE Assistant Secretary Julie Myers would later claim that Operation Wagon Train, as the raids were dubbed, dealt a major blow in the "war against illegal immigration."

Now critics of the raids--workers, union reps, clergy, community leaders, policy analysts and lawyers--wonder what the high-profile sweep accomplished other than to traumatize a few hundred Latino families and to cost Swift an estimated $30 million in lost production. If anything, it starkly reveals, once again, a federal immigration policy completely detached from economic and social realities and a Bush White House incapable of moving ahead with much-promised reform. "What has changed because of all this?" rhetorically asks Francisco Granados, a Greeley businessman and volunteer providing relief services to the affected families. "Nothing. Nada. The whole system is set up to make you lie."

Read the remainder of the article online.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Federal Judge Tells the Dept. of Agriculture to Do Its Job!

The Center For Food Safety Press Release (portion of article)


February 14, 2007

Precedent-setting Decision May Block Planting, Sales of Monsanto Alfalfa

Washington, DC (February 14, 2007) - In a decision handed down yesterday, a Federal Court has ruled, for the first time ever, that the U.S. Department of Agriculture failed to abide by federal environmental laws when it approved a genetically engineered crop without conducting a full Environment Impact Statement (EIS).

In what will likely be a precedent-setting ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Charles R. Breyer of the Northern District of California decided in favor of farmers, consumers, and environmentalists who filed a suit calling the USDA's approval of genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa a threat to farmers livelihoods and a risk to the environment. Judge Breyer ordered that a full Environmental Impact Statement must be carried out on "Roundup Ready" alfalfa, the GE variety developed by Monsanto and Forage Genetics. The decision may prevent this seasons sales and planting of Monsantos GE alfalfa and future submissions of other GE crops for commercial deregulation.

Read the Remainder of the Article:

Read the District Court Opinion by Judge Breyer (brother of Supreme Court Justice Breyer):