Monday, December 26, 2005


Today’s Rant is going to talk about my second favorite topic…pornography. Heeeeyyyyy, how you doin’?!

If you believe in the Bible, you accept the fact that Eve enticed Adam to bite the apple from the Tree of Knowledge. And with this bite, came the realization of sexuality. If you believe in a more scientific standpoint, then you agree that animals, including humans, have a natural instinct to procreate. So what is wrong with pornography and the incentive of its actions?

Religious faiths would say it encourages pre-marital and extra-marital sex. I say, if they stop making sex taboo and secretive and accept this knowledge bestowed upon us from the beginning of humankind, than maybe less people will cheat on their spouses. (Maybe not, but it was worth mentioning) Think about this, if Adam had not taken a bite of that apple, then we wouldn’t be here to discuss it. Unless of course we were all blessed with the Holy Spirit’s divine intervention and had our mother’s bear us through ‘immaculate conception’.

Another argument against pornography comes from a mostly lesbian and asexual female collaboration. Their viewpoint is that pornography encourages violence against women as well as rape. “Pornography does not simply create a climate in which sex and violence are interchangeable; it widens the range of behavior considered acceptable from men in heterosexual intercourse-behavior which reiteratively strips women of their autonomy, dignity and sexual potential, including the potential of loving and being loved by women in mutuality and integrity.” (Adrienne Rich, Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence, 1980)*

And who partakes in this climate? Women! If this is true, then women need to point the fingers at themselves. If a female porn star lets someone else degrade them for money, for others to view, shouldn’t they take any responsibility? Well you could pull a ‘Linda Lovelace’ and say how you were ‘forced’ to partake in these actions.

“The most pernicious message relayed by pornography is that women are natural sexual prey to men and love it, that sexuality and violence are congruent, and that for women sex is essentially masochistic, humiliation pleasurable, physical abuse erotic.” (Rich) I agree that there is pornography that is all these things…and even worse, but is it right to categorize all pornography? What about soft pornography or scenes in a movie where the two performers are ‘making love’? Where is the line between so called ‘normal’ sexual interaction between a man and a woman ok and where does it turn into a power struggle?

For some, there is not ‘normal’ sexual interaction between a man and a woman. “All sex, even consensual sex between a married couple, is an act of violence perpetrated against a women.” (Catherine MacKinnon, author of Professing Feminism: Cautionary Tales from the Strange World of Women’s Studies) Yet ironically, most porn stars, both male and female will tell you that their roles are powerful by creating a sexual desire. But feminist writers like Marilyn Frye, suggest a double bind in how society actual views women’s sexuality. “If she is heterosexually active, a woman is open to censure and punishment for being loose, unprincipled or a whore…On the other hand, if she refrains from heterosexual activity, she is fairly constantly harassed by men who try to persuade her into it and pressure her to “relax”…threatened with labels like “frigid”.” (Frye, “Oppression” The Politics of Reality) While I do agree with Frye that this mentality does still exist in our society it is not a universal viewpoint by all men. For many modern men, pleasuring a woman is the goal in their sexual exploits. The power is no longer solely about his orgasism but about hers.

“…All heterosexual intercourse is rape because women, as a group, are not strong enough to give meaningful consent.” (MacKinnon, p.129) To label all pornography as vial and insulting to women would be a misnomer. To label all heterosexual intercourse as an act of violence IS vial and insulting. For example, I do not find anything insulting to women about Chippendales and I have been there a few times to aptly state from experience. The women there seem to feel very “strongly” about giving “meaningful consent.”

*If you are wondering how I knew about Rich’s work, this was actually part of the syllabus for an introductory course in Philosophy. Some introduction!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Separation of Church and State Part 3

Today we look into part three of the Separation of Church and State debate by asking the question…do current standards impose on one’s religious practice?

A press release sent by Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue’s office on the afternoon of December 2nd, announced plans for a “holiday tree” lighting ceremony at the governor’s mansion. Thirty minutes later, a second release went out reading: “It is, in fact, a Christmas tree.” Religious conservatives have objected to the use of the term “holiday tree,” saying it seeks to minimize the Christian origins of Christmas. (The Daytona Beach News-Journal, 12/4/2005) I am not religious, nor conservative, and yet I agree that changing a “Christmas Tree” to a “Holiday Tree” is politically INcorrect. Christmas is a religious holiday, not an American holiday like Thanksgiving. Unfortunately it has become such a commercialized holiday that many non-Christians celebrate Christmas in one form or another.

The next point this brings to fruition is the question of company’s giving everyone off for a religious holiday. I will probably kick myself for saying this, but I do not think any company should give off for a religious holiday, including Christmas. However, company’s should give more available days off that people can use as floating holidays so whatever their religion, they can take those days off without penalty. Although a company’s employee base may be predominantly one religion, and therefore most people will not be working there on a particular day, employees who do not observe that day should not be penalized by having to take that day off and not a day that they do observe or having to use their personal/vacation time in its place.

Being conscience and considerate of all people’s views and beliefs is key. “If you want to be free, there is but one way; it is to guarantee an equally full measure of liberty to all your neighbors. There is no other”-Carl Schurz (1829-1906)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Separation of Church and argument!

Continuing off of the last rant about Separation of Church and State...Today’s Rant will focus on the debate between historical preservation and current standards. With numerous lawsuits arguing the validity of the word “God” in our government, let us look at the history of this addition.

The motto ‘In God We Trust’ was placed on certain United States coins largely because of the increased religious sentiment existing during the Civil War. Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase received many appeals from devout persons throughout the country, urging that the United States recognize the ‘Deity’ on United States coins. From Treasury Department records, it appears that the first such appeal came in a letter dated November 13, 1861. As a result, Secretary Chase instructed James Pollock, Director of the Mint at Philadelphia, to prepare a motto, in a letter dated November 20, 1861:

Dear Sir: No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins.
But the motto disappeared from the five-cent coin in 1883, and did not reappear until production of the Jefferson nickel began in 1938. Since 1938, all United States coins bear the inscription.

It wasn’t until July 11, 1955 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed Public Law 140 making it mandatory that all coinage and paper currency display the motto "In God We Trust." The following year, Public Law 851 was enacted and signed, which officially replaced the national motto "E Pluribus Unum" with "In God We Trust’. All of this occurred at the height of cold war tension, when political divisions between the Soviet and western block was simplistically portrayed as a confrontation between Judeo-Christian civilization and the "godless" menace of communism. On June 14, 1954, Congress unanimously ordered the inclusion of the words "Under God" into the nation's Pledge of Allegiance. By this time, other laws mandating public religiosity had also been enacted, including a statute for all federal justices and judges to swear an oath concluding with "So help me God." All paper currency issued after October 1, 1957 included the ‘In God We Trust’ motto. ( So “God” was not always on US Currency and NOT the national motto!

Even if you agree that America was founded on Christian beliefs, that doesn’t mean our laws and ideals should still follow those beliefs but rather change and progress into a more universal standard to encompass the current diversity, should items like money, and government buildings with religious statements on them change? Shockingly enough, I say no. The idea is not to take down what is already part of history (even if that history does not tread as far back as we thought), but to build up new history around us…a history that reflects 2005. Unfortunately, my ‘2005 Utopia’ is not my ideal society. With ‘our’ President recently saying, “You are either with us or against us,”(commenting on the war in Iraq) being a prime example of the limited and one-track mindset our nation still follows. I choose rather to embrace those lovely shades of gray where diversity lies.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Church and Homosexuality

Opening the newspaper has always been a depressing task for me each morning. This morning's (11/1/05) The News-Journal (a local Florida paper) has a small article on page 3, reading "Panel pulls lesbian minister's credentials."

Rev. Irene "Beth" Stroud was defrocked on Monday by the highest court within the United Methodist Church. The court found that she violated the denomination's ban on "self-avowed, practicing homosexual" clergy. Accordingly, this "lifestyle" is incompatible with Christian teachings.

I find it ironic that a religion based on a man who was excepting of a prostitute and was trying to teach people to love one another without prejudice, now condemns those who do not conform to their standards.

Hypocrisy runs rampant here and in most religions. People go to church on Sundays to pray for their sins, which are supposedly forgiven, and come Monday morning, they are beating their kids, cheating on their spouses and 'coveting thy neighbors' possessions (i.e., "Keeping up with the Jones'"). People shroud themselves in the protection a religion claims to offer but forget the basic fundamentals of being a good, moral person each day of their life.

Discriminating against anyone for their "lifestyle" choices cuts at the very heart of the basic teachings of Jesus and I would imagine he would be ashamed of the state of the world today. Here is a woman who has faith in a religion that does not have faith in her. Religion is supposed to bring people together, not shun them.

Note: Religion has many positive aspects but no one person is better than another. People should know that our differences are what define us.

Food and Immunity

Today's rant focuses partially on one my favorite topics…food. With the flu season on our heels, I would like to offer some parallels between what we ingest and the consistent transformation of the flu virus.

With the latest dietary guidelines calling for three servings of low-fat or nonfat dairy a day, the average family with two kids now consumes more than 85 gallons of milk a year. (Organic Style, October 2005) What the government does not tell you, nor enforces the removal of, is that most milk is filled with carcinogens and antibodies.

Dioxins, an industrial by-product and a known carcinogen, are ingested by cows when they eat contaminated grass. Milk that is conventionally produced often comes from cows that are raised under disturbing farm conditions: They may graze on pastures that have been treated with pesticides, herbicides and sewage sludge. When the cattle are not let outside, they feed on dried grass and hay, grains (which may be genetically modified), and fish meal (which may contain PCBs and mercury). Cows on conventional farms are often given antibiotics-even when they are healthy-to prevent them from getting sick. (Organic Style, October 2005)

In some "factory farm," thousands of cows are crammed inside barns to allow easy access for milking. Their milk production can be forced beyond normal capacity through injections of a synthetic growth hormone called rbST. Studies show that these cows are more susceptible to diseases because their natural life cycle is being distorted. (Organic Style, October 2005)

Sounds like our natural life cycle is also being distorted. When you eat something, anything, which comes from a plant or animal that has been tampered with by the superior intelligence of humans, that item you consumed becomes a part of you on a molecular level. If cows ingest hormones, antibodies and carcinogens, and you eat or drink anything from that cow; you are ingesting those same hormones, antibodies and carcinogens.

On top of this, look in almost anyone's medicine cabinet and you will find a stash of brownish-orange prescription bottles lining the shelves (I know I am not the only one who does this). Time after time we self-medicate and in many instances, over-medicate. Rather than let your immune system do its job, you do it for it and pop a pill. There are certain instances when you do need to seek external medicine. An example is an allergic reaction, which happens due to an irritant that sends your system into overdrive and you need a histamine blocker to prevent your immune system from causing you harm.

The Flu virus, however, is not one of these incidents. Each year millions of people line up at local flu vaccine clinics to receive their annual shot of...(drum roll, please)...the flu virus. That shot you take is actually a strand or strands of either dead or weakened flu virus(es). With this in mind, your immune system sends out antibodies in response, and the belief is that that will keep you safe from the flu till next year.

What most do not take into account is during this time, and prior to it, we have been filling our bodies with antibiotics through our food. "Although the milk supply is tested before it reaches consumers to make sure it does not contain antibiotics, the overuse of these medications might contribute to a rise of drug-resistant bacteria, making some disease more difficult to treat." (Organic Style, October 2005) Exactly and that is one of the main reasons the flu virus mutates year after year. It certainly would appear that the flu virus is more intelligent than humans. We keep trying to vaccinate and ward off all these viruses and bacteria, but this forces them to mutate over and over.

Let's look at this from a basic mathematical standpoint: if you have a virus, for example, you treat it by taking antibiotics (which is similar to a vaccine only one does the actual work for your immune system) to try to kill it. In the process, some of the virus may not be eradicated and those antibodies have now forced the virus to mutate (sounds like a very Darwinian theory). Now you might have some of the original virus and the mutated form to try and kill next time around. So what do we do, create another medication or vaccine against the two, and in turn, the second mutates again and maybe even the original strand creates another new strand, and now you have three or more. Seeing a pattern? Yes, in many cases we are fighting a losing battle. Bacteria as been around since the birth of the earth (from whatever theory you believe) and they will be around long after us.

Please note that the reason there is only one source referenced is from reading an article in the magazine that began the wheels in my brain to churn. There is certainly a wealth of information available to both support and refute these statements. All I ever ask is for people to read, consider and try to become more informed.


Almost everyone knows or has heard of deforestation. Many times we blame the destruction of the rain forests on logging, which becomes lumber used in home construction. If we personally did not just have a house built, many of us feel immune towards the systematic clearing of our precious forests. "It is not us"...."We are not part of this". But all too often as we zoom down the aisles of our local supermarket, we take on an active role as consumer of many products produced from a precious natural resource.

We take for granted where our paper-goods like tissues, paper towels and toilet paper come from. We might glance over and see a comforting recycle logo on a box and feel satisfied in our purchase. The truth is you cannot stop asking questions and demanding answers.

The Boreal Forest is located in Canada...yes, our neighbor, a country that many consider our "backyard". In this backyard we hide a secret...that we are destroying this area with no substantial re-growth from certain companies. "The Boreal has evolved for over 10,000 years and is the largest tract of ancient forest left in North America, making the protection of the Boreal forest absolutely critical. Representing 25 per cent of the world's remaining ancient forests, North America's Boreal forest truly is a global treasure." (

Pulled from the website, please read these FAQ's and ask yourself some important questions about their responses:

I see a paper-recycling symbol on my KLEENEX® Tissue box. Is KLEENEX® Facial Tissue made out of recycled fiber?
This symbol refers only to the content of the carton itself. The KLEENEX® Facial Tissue inside is made from nearly 100 percent virgin fiber. Virgin fiber is used in our tissue because it provides the superior softness consumers expect from a premium facial tissue product such as KLEENEX® Facial Tissue.

(So the carton is made from recyclable paper but not the numerous tissues inside the box...that's helpful. Sounds like progress to me!)

Is KLEENEX® Facial Tissue biodegradable® Flushable?
KLEENEX® Tissue is made with biodegradable cellulose fibers. Because the tissue is made with an additive to make it strong, it will not break down as rapidly as bathroom tissue. Therefore, we suggest you discard KLEENEX® Facial Tissue in the trash.

(Discard the tissue in the trash...again, progress. So we add more chemicals to products that take millions of years for them to finally break the meantime, they sit in our landfills. Great job!)

What types of trees are used to manufacture KLEENEX® Facial Tissue?
Selected tree species, including spruce, fir, aspen, maple and eucalyptus contain thin wood fibers which contribute to the desirable characteristics of softness, absorbency and strength in KLEENEX® Tissue.

(Hmmm, sounds like many of the trees in the Boreal Forest)

Can KLEENEX® Facial Tissue boxes be recycled?
Our cartons are fully recyclable with the poly insert attached. They are accepted at recycling facilities across the country.

(Great to the box CAN BE recycled but the 50 or so tissues inside the box end up in the landfill, again, waiting a few million years for there demise. Is anyone noticing a pattern here? Anyone figure out yet the exponential equation from this?)

Where do we get our pulp?
High-quality KLEENEX® Tissue requires high-quality cellulose fibers. Pulp is purchased from a number of different sources. Approximately one-third of the pulp used is supplied by Kimberly-Clark's own pulp mills. Kimberly-Clark conducts a well-planned forest management and reforestation program that ensures a supply of pulpwood for present and future needs.

(Yes, a reforestation plan would be wise considering if you use up all the trees, then I guess you cannot make your product anymore. However by that time, we have relocated and destroyed our fellow animals that live in those areas...while we all wait patiently for Mother Earth to once again refresh herself of our malfeasance.)

Select wood is either transported to the pulp mill in the form of chips from lumber processing or as logs. The logs are washed, debarked and cut into small, uniform chips. Individual cellulose fibers are separated by "cooking" the wood. The pulp is then processed and dried into sheets on a pulp-drying machine. These sheets are baled for ease of handling and shipping, ready for manufacture into the final product.

Describe the manufacturing process for KLEENEX® Facial Tissue.
Pulp manufacturing mills are usually near the wood source, while tissue manufacturing mills are located close to major markets. At the tissue manufacturing mills, the bales of pulp are put into a hydrapulper, which resembles a giant electric mixer. The pulp is mixed with water to form a pulp slurry of individual fibers in water known as stock or furnish.

As the stock moves to the machine, more water is added to make a thinner mixture, which is more than 99 percent water. The cellulose fibers are then thoroughly separated in refiners before being formed into a web, or sheet, on the forming section of the creped wadding machine. When the sheet comes off the machine a few seconds later, it is 95 percent fiber and only 5 percent water. Typically, much of the water used in the process is recycled. Water not reused is treated to remove contaminants prior to discharge. Careful controls and monitoring ensure that the water leaving the mill meets or exceeds water quality standards. (Let's hope so...but since they give no information as to where I can find their recorded results, I have to take their word for it, right?)

A felt belt carries the sheet from the forming section to the drying section. In the drying section, the sheet is pressed onto the steam-heated drying cylinder and then scraped off the cylinder after it has been dried. The sheet is then wound into large rolls.

The large rolls are transferred to a rewinder, where two sheets of wadding (three sheets for KLEENEX® Ultra Soft and Lotion Facial Tissue products) are plied together before being further processed by calendar rollers for additional softness and smoothness. After being cut and rewound, the finished rolls are tested and transferred to storage, ready for converting into KLEENEX® Facial Tissue.

In the converting department, numerous rolls are put on the multi-folder, where in one continuous process, the tissue is interfolded, cut and put into KLEENEX® Tissue cartons which are inserted into shipping containers. The interfolding causes a fresh tissue to pop out of the box as each tissue is removed.

Throughout the manufacturing process, Kimberly-Clark continuously looks for ways to reduce the amount of energy used per unit of production. Each of the company's mills in the United States has energy conservation programs and receives technical support and advice from the corporate energy staff. Kimberly-Clark is also committed to the reduction of waste going to the landfill. Active waste reduction and recycling efforts are in place at each mill. Some mills have virtually eliminated all waste to landfills! (Yeah but you just told us that the landfills are exactly where are used tissues should and do, end up. So your mills don't produce landfill waste, just the actual product you are producing. Genius!)

There are many questions that need to be addressed but I hope you take from this email, the idea that we should not take things for granted. That every individual needs to take an active part in being an informed consumer. Not to assume that if it is on your grocery shelf, that nothing and no one was hurt in order to get the item to you. That most (not all) companies just want your money and do not look to long-term consequences. That the government will do very little to nothing to help protect the environment and in turn, PROTECT YOU!

Here is a list of recommended alternative products:

Ancient Forest Friendly Tissue Products - USA
Toilet Paper: CVS Bathroom Tissue 1000, Cascades, Marcal, Natural Value, Earth First, Seventh Generation, Trader Joe's, 365 Everyday Value
Facial Tissue: Marcal Fluff Out, Seventh Generation, Trader Joe's
Paper Towels: Marcal Bella, Natural Value, Seventh Generation, Trader Joe's, 365 Everyday Value

Friday, December 02, 2005


Let's talk MONEY!!!! Today's Rant focuses on the endless pursuit of the "green monster." Some say it can buy you happiness, some even say it can buy you love, but is it actually the root of most of today's evils?

One such example for the argument that money has caused more harm than good is the recent quarter earnings reported by the 5 major oil companies. While millions of Americans are struggling to keep their "head above water" while earning minimum wage and have no health insurance, these companies reported earning more than $32.8 billion during the July-September quarter.

Consumers saw gasoline prices soar beyond $3 a gallon in the aftermath of supply disruptions caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Lee Raymond, chairman of Exxon Mobil Corp., acknowledged the high gasoline and home heating prices "have put a strain on Americans' household budgets," but he defended his company's profits. Petroleum earnings "go up and down" from year to year and are in line with other industries when compared with the industry's enormous revenues. (The New York Times, 11/10/05) (What The New York Times didn't report, is that Mr. Raymond probably made these statements from his yacht.)* "...Strain..." that is putting it mildly considering minimum wage does not take into account inflation each year. It would certainly be a correct assumption that, at least, the poor keep getting poorer.

Raymond said his company had issued guidelines "to minimize the increase in price" but added, "if we kept the price too low we would quickly run out (of fuel) at the service stations. It was a tough balancing act." (The New York Times, 11/10/05) I am sure he was thinking of the people who would not be able to afford heating their homes/apartments/cardboard boxes, this winter when it is -10 degrees in many places, when he was doing his "balancing".

Some Republican and Democratic lawmakers have suggested that the oil companies should funnel some of their earnings to supplement a federal program that help low-income households pay heating bills. "As an industry we feel it is not a good precedent to fund a government program," said James Mulva, chairman of ConocoPhillips. Yeah, your wife might have to go without another diamond necklace.

The chairperson of the Federal Trade Commission, Deborah Platt Majoras said, ''Price gouging laws that have the effect of controlling prices likely will do consumers more harm than good...In fact, price increases lower demand and help make the shortage shorter-lived than it otherwise would have been.'' Deborah Platt Majoras, explaining her opposition to enactment of a federal price gouging law. I was not an economics major in college but does any one else see a flawed logic here? "Lower demand"...yeah I am sure the person making $50 million a year will be sure not to drive their supped-up Hummer through the low-income projects. After all, they will take their gas bills off as a tax deduction and/or company expense.

The recent earnings report would not be as inciting if the CEO's and top executives were passing these earnings on to their workers. Because they do not and our laws do not force them to, we are seeing a greater divide between the rich and the poor. Come on, how many private jets does someone really need?

Have we learned nothing from Enron? Do we really need to see again, the workers of that multi-billion dollar company, many of whom spent their hard working careers making the it the success it once was and are just ready to retire, when the axe drops and they have nothing to show for all their years of dedication? Head in hands, sitting on the steps of the company's Texas office, tears in their eyes, while the executives scurry off past them in their limousines.

...Money being a root of evil? Now, tell me what you think?

*This is a fictitious and sarcastic statement...well maybe.

Body Image in Society

Marie Claire, Glamour, Vogue, Stuff, any popular magazine and you'll find physical images, which for many, are impossible to obtain. The question more is, why?

Centuries ago, bodies shapes were much different then they are today. Women were voluptuous. Hips, bellies, name it, every body part was fleshy. Men were not "shredded" muscle with veins popping-out from their negative 1% body fat*. Body image is ever changing and involves our perception, imagination, emotions, and physical sensations of and about our bodies. However, these perceptions are learned by family and peers, and what is expected culturally.

In present-day American culture, we have two extreme sides to body includes 'skeletal' women and testosterone-filled 36" 'bicep' men, the other is the obese. There seems to be a loss of moderation and in this new societal image of extremes, lies a serious health danger on both sides of the spectrum.

Research indicates that exposure to images of thin, young, air-brushed female bodies is linked to depression, loss of self-esteem and the development of unhealthy eating habits in women and girls. The Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute warns that weight control measures are being taken by girls as young as nine. American statistics are similar. In 2003, Teen magazine reported that 35 per cent of girls 6 to 12 years old have been on at least one diet, and that 50 to 70 per cent of normal weight girls believe they are overweight.

Participants of a study included 158 male college students who were required to view television ads flooded with very tone, muscle-defined men, often without their shirts. Results of the study showed that the men watching these commercials felt more unhappiness and depression, compared to the students who took part in watching the "neutral" commercials. The study also suggested that the "ideal male body" portrayed in the media was linked to negative feelings toward body image in men.

The American research group Anorexia Nervosa & Related Eating Disorders, Inc. says that one out of every four college-aged women uses unhealthy methods of weight control-including fasting, skipping meals, excessive exercise, laxative abuse, and self-induced vomiting. Steroid use is still common among young men and now studies show, also among young get that edge, competitively and to decrease body fat. Many turn to "quick" fix over-the-counter pills and powders to help. GNC reported $322.6 million in revenue so far this year (Pittsburgh 11/4/2005).

Why are standards of beauty being imposed on women and men? The roots, some analysts say, are economic. By presenting an ideal difficult to achieve and maintain, the cosmetic and diet product industries are assured of growth and profits. It is estimated that the diet industry alone is worth $100 billion (U.S.) a year. This does not include various pharmaceutical medications to treat obesity and depression.

Billboards, commercials, movies, magazines.everywhere you look, you are surrounded by a socially accepted body image on display. Ever been to Times Square in New York City? If you are feeling full of self-esteem, go there, you will feel completely inadequate within seconds. Huge ads plaster the buildings of "beautiful" people scantily dressed. Some are not even dressed! And we wonder why there is such an enormous increase in emotional and physiological disorders.treating the collage of conditions with various medications.

SSRI's are now the most commonly prescribed type of antidepressant drugs. This group includes: Wellbutrin, Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox, Celexa, Lexapro, Effexor, Serzone, Remeron, Elavil, Norpramin, Tofranil, Aventyl, and Pamelor...did I miss any? According to recent estimates, family physicians now write 60-70 percent of the prescriptions for antidepressants, even though most are not specifically trained to diagnose and treat mental health illnesses. This gives pharmaceutical companies even more avenues to get you to take their so-called "miracle drugs" so you can feel better about yourself.

Don't even get me started on the fast food industry...I love McDonald's new commercials and ads. They feature slender young women all happy to eat their McDonald's salad. Sure, go to McDonald's and buy one, then pour the high calorie and fatty salad dressing on it and drink it down with either a milkshake or high-sugar soda. That will work! You will look like them in no time!

Whether we fill our bodies with quick-fix supplements the size of horse pills or high fat and caloric processed and fast foods, we are seriously damaging our bodies not just physically, but emotionally. And big business is reaping the benefits.

* I realize this is impossible...just being sarcastic...again!

Note: This rant is not stating that body image is soley determined by society nor does is say that it is the sole factor that causes depression. There are many external factors that affect both. The idea is the society's perception is a very plausible influence and that influence, in many ways, can affect people both physically and emotionally.

Separation of Church and State

Today's Rant is about Separation of Church and State. What exactly was the intent of this concept and how big is the gray area that divides this issue?

First off, Separation of Church and State is not found in the Constitution. Supposedly, the earliest person in North America to advocate the separation of church and state appears to have been Roger Williams, a religious reformer who founded not only the first Baptist Church on this continent, but also the colony of Rhode Island, where he hoped to find greater religious freedom than among the Puritans he left behind in Boston. Contrary to what many believe, we even owe to him the words "wall of separation," rather than to Thomas Jefferson (

When they [the Church] have opened a gap in the hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world, God hath ever broke down the wall itself, removed the Candlestick, etc., and made His Garden a wilderness as it is this day. And that therefore if He will ever please to restore His garden and Paradise again, it must of necessity be walled in peculiarly unto Himself from the world, and all that be saved out of the world are to be transplanted out of the wilderness of the World. ("Mr. Cotton's Letter Lately Printed, Examined and Answered," The Complete Writings of Roger Williams, Volume 1, page 108 (1644))

This statement (whoever said it.some say Jefferson, others say Williams) speaks about the "wall" not necessarily in both directions. Many argue that it was put this way to be one-directional; its purpose was to protect the church from the state. With this, they argue that the church, however, was free to teach the people Biblical values. ( I disagree with this statement because it does not speak of changing the wilderness or expanding, in essence, the garden of the church.

The American people knew what would happen if the State established the Church like in England. Even though it was not recent history to them, they knew that England went so far as forbidding worship in private homes and sponsoring all church activities and keeping people under strict dictates. They were forced to go to the state established church and do things that were contrary to their conscience. No other churches were allowed, and mandatory attendance of the established church was compelled under the Conventicle Act of 1665. Failure to comply would result in imprisonment and torture.

While those that argue that the people did not want freedom from religion, but freedom of religion are those people who state that, "The only real reason to separate the church from the state would be to instill a new morality and establish a new system of beliefs. Our founding fathers were God-fearing men who understood that for a country to stand it must have a solid foundation; the Bible was the source of this foundation. They believed that God's ways were much higher than Man's ways and held firmly that the Bible was the absolute standard of truth and used the Bible as a source to form our government." ( Well if that is true, then what about Muslims, Buddhists, etc. that are Americans? What about those who believe the 'holy book' is the Koran, The Analects, Veda, etc.? How can you truly have freedom of religion if the religion that embeds our government in based on one particular faith?

Without a doubt, the religious undertones found in our government today are Christian-based. Considering the founders of the Constitution were mainly Christian, it is reasonable to understand why we see this in our government. However, times have changed significantly over the centuries. America has become an amazing 'melting pot' of cultures and religion. Should we not take it upon ourselves to respect everyone's beliefs and conform to a universal standard? And what about atheists? Do we not respect their beliefs? Some would say we'll they are not a religion and therefore dismiss them, but nonetheless, that is discrimination and hypocracy at its 'ugliest.'

Note: No matter your beliefs, we as a society should learn to be excepting of other beliefs. If we still thought like our "Founding Fathers" then blacks would still be sitting at the back of the bus and women would still be home barefoot and pregnant. I live in Florida so I still see a lot of this.

There is so much more to this topic that I plan to touch upon in the next rant so stay tuned...