PBS fights back – Americans love PBS and we have the stats to prove it

Don’t anger PBS or they will come at you…with numbers and facts. Here is the PBS response to Mitt Romney’s threat to cut their funding during the Denver Presidential Debate:

We are very disappointed that PBS became a political target in the Presidential debate last night. Governor Romney does not understand the value the American people place on public broadcasting and the outstanding return on investment the system delivers to our nation.

  • Two-thirds of voters oppose cuts to funding.
  • 91% of American households watch PBS.
  • 81% of children aged 2-8 watch PBS.
  • A poll shows Americans think PBS is second most important use of public funds, after national defense.

They also say PBS cost each taxpayer $1.35/year, and for every federal dollar they raise another $6 from private sources. Could that be why Mitt thinks they can do without public funds?

All in all, I think Mitt would likely take back his PBS threat, if given the chance. Public Broadcasting is like the national parks, overwhelmingly supported by the public.

But don’t stop there, PBS has an entire website dedicated to this issue – ValuePBS.org – with more facts:

  • PBS has a larger audience than HBO, Discovery, Bravo.
  • 91% higher rating than CNN for news, public affairs.
  • 236 million Americans watch PBS every year.
  • 145 million stream PBS content on the web.


Continue reading PBS fights back – Americans love PBS and we have the stats to prove it

Believing in a cure for ADD, ADHD, and depression

This isn’t a post to deny that depression, ADD, and ADHD exist. They do and many people have a terrible time dealing with them, but that doesn’t mean they are permanently debilitating. It is possible to live with them, indeed thrive with them, and not need drugs or any special treatments.

Now, before, I pontificate any further let me say I am not a doctor, nor an expert. I’m just a person with a decent amount of experience with both.

I want to talk about this because I’ve noticed a trend over the last decade to marginalize any cure for either problem. The majority of help is focused on how to cope in the moment. To fix the issue for a day or get through the week. Everything has become about those moments of panic.

Which is very strange. The moments of panic do offer the most acute pain and suffering, but they don’t offer any solution. It is the moments after and before where the learning occurs. Those off-days when you can focus on the cure, overcoming any problems the conditions create for you.

There is no specific solution for this, rather it is a building process. It starts with being aware when the condition manifests itself. Am I starting to feel down? Has this problem troubled me in the past? Am I feeling distracted or unable to stay seated?

I used to be a public school teacher with tons of restless students. Without knowing if they were ADD or ADHD, I would ask them to try to stay focused for an extra minute each time it happened.  Also, to let me know when they were done. This was extremely effective because it taught them to become aware of when it was happening.

It also created an idea in their minds that this can be controlled. When I noticed they were starting to understand that I would approach them with the next step. I called it strengths and weaknesses. This involves pairing the problem with something the person likes, usually a hobby. The hobby serves as the strength and place of safety to rely upon during the moments of panic. It also frames the problem as a weakness to improve upon, instead of a permanent problem to accept.

For an attention example, one student loved reading skateboarding magazines. While every other teacher banned them in the classroom, I told the  student to keep one handy at all times. Whenever the symptoms came on (weakness) he was to pull out the magazine and read (strength). At first, he struggled a bit with it, often getting this dazed look in his eye. He continued to make progress and eventually was able to master his focus. He even became adept at reading the magazine while paying attention. I wasn’t sure this was possible until he answered questions correctly, completed homework, and all that. I think it even turned his weakness into a strength.

For a depression example, I knew someone who would feel slightly down before major episodes. He was aware that these slightly down moments were happening (weakness) and so I asked him to write down (strength) whatever was on his mind. He liked the idea of a diary, though, at first, was a little ashamed to write down his depressed thoughts. Then the depression would hit, he would recover, and be left with those writings. He soon became aware that a lot of what was troubling him in those writings were real issues. He then had a pre-written set of issues to work through on the good days. Nothing happened overnight, but gradually his depression has been lessening and maybe, one day, he will turn it into normal sad/down days.

The one thing you will notice in each of these examples is something I call a “trusted friend”. This is the last step, finding someone to help you through these issues. The strange thing is that most people with ADD, ADHD, and depression aren’t aware they have these problems. This is just the way they are and when it happens there is no alarm sounded. The role of the trusted friend is to identify for the person when it is happening. Sometimes they can give advice, like in the examples above, but most of the time all they have to do is alert the person.

One thing to be aware of with depression, there is something about the down attitude that hates being told it is down. There is also a high level of shame attached to it. This doesn’t mean the person should not be aware of what’s happening, it just means to be much more cautious and patient when dealing with it. Give them some time to get used to it.

There you have my theory (non-expert, non-medical) on how to help people work toward a cure for ADD, ADHD, and depression. I understand that many, more qualified than I, consider these to be lifelong problems and offering a cure is just false hope. It may be true, but these experiences I pass along have worked in every situation. Perhaps, becoming self-aware, building on one’s strengths and weaknesses, and having a trusted friend are just great ways to build character. If so, I am still happy to pass them along as one quiet voice for a cure in a sea of  “survive the panic” writings.


Continue reading Believing in a cure for ADD, ADHD, and depression

How nonpartisan are national parks? 95% of voters want them protected

New Poll of Likely Voters Finds Unity in Public Support for National Parks

According to a new public opinion poll commissioned by (two nonpartisan groups), national parks are cherished by Americans and an overwhelming 95 percent of voters want the federal government to ensure they are protected for the future and available for their enjoyment.

The new poll finds that more than 80 percent of voters have visited a national park at some point in their lives, and nearly nine in 10 say they are interested in visiting a park in the future.


via @NPCA


You can count me in on that – our next trip is to Yosemite Valley in September.


Continue reading How nonpartisan are national parks? 95% of voters want them protected

Healthcare reform for women – beginning today no co-pay for preventive care like mammograms, contraception

Under the Affordable Care Act, for the first time ever, women will now have access to life-saving preventive care, such as mammograms and contraception, without paying any more out of their own pockets.



Today, we move yet another step closer to giving women control over their health care. In addition to the benefits for women already included in the Affordable Care Act, beginning the first plan year after August 1, 2012, most private health insurance plans will cover additional women’s preventive services without requiring women to pay an extra penny out of their pockets. These services include:

  • Well-woman visits
  • Screening for gestational diabetes, which help protect the mother and her child from one of the most serious pregnancy-related diseases
  • Breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling
  • Screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence
  • Contraception and contraceptive counseling
  • HPV DNA testing
  • STI counseling
  • HIV screening and counseling

These services are based on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, which relied on advice from independent physicians, nurses, scientists, and other experts, as well as evidence-based research, to develop its recommendations. And insurance companies know these services help prevent disease and illness, which can save them money in the long run.

By eliminating barriers like copays, co-insurance, and deductibles, secure, affordable coverage is quickly becoming a reality for millions of American women and families.

President Obama recalled his mother telling him, “You can tell how far a society is going to go by how it treats its women and girls.  And if they’re doing well, then the society is going to do well; and if they’re not, then they won’t be.”


Source: Facebook – White House, The White House Blog

Obama campaign launches iPhone app, Obama for America – 100 days till the election

With the 2012 election less than 100 days away — 98 days, to be exact — Team Obama is giving its supporters, volunteers and voters a digital push. The president’s campaign and the Democratic Party have launched Obama for America, a mobile app that packs election information, grassroots organizational tools, campaign news and more into a single package.

Instead of developing another photo-sharing app with ready-made templates, the Obama campaign has opted to create a much more focused get-out-the-vote tool.

Keep in mind, however, that the app is tailored toward people who already support the 44th U.S. president. This is most decidedly not a non-partisan effort.

“As we push through the last 100 days of this election, our focus remains on helping make grassroots organizing as easy and accessible as possible for the volunteers and supporters that are the heart and soul of this campaign,” Stephanie Cutter, Deputy Campaign Manager for Obama for America, told Wired in an email. “That’s why we designed our new app to help break down the distinction between online and offline organizing, giving every supporter the same opportunities to get involved that they would find in a field office.”

Toward this goal, the app includes sections called…


Keep reading: Wired – Obama Campaign Launches iOS App to Support Re-Election Effort



Continue reading Obama campaign launches iPhone app, Obama for America – 100 days till the election

President, Congress pass bill to allow venture capital funding via crowd sourcing

Earlier this month, President Obama sign the JOBS bill into law with strong bipartisan support, and no this isn’t the one you’re thinking of. This one is designed specifically for funding start-ups with a particular focus on crowd funding (i.e. Kickstarter).

Explained by author and professor, Jeff Jarvis:

The JOBS bill being signed by President Obama today is critical to the emergence and growth of the next generation of industries as ecosystems.

Those ecosystems are made up of three layers: platforms, entrepreneurial ventures, and networks.

Platforms (Google, Amazon, Salesforce, Facebook, Kickstarter, Federal Express, Foxconn), which make it possible for entrepreneurial ventures to be built at lower cost with less capital and reduced risk at greater speed. To provide the critical mass that large corporations used to provide — to, for example, sell advertising at scale or acquire distribution or acquire goods or services at volume — sometimes these ventures need to band together in networks (Glam, YouTube, Etsy, eBay).

The bill supports this flourishing start-up trend by updating some outdated laws, from the 1930s, and correcting some from the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.

Of interest to us, the regular people:

  • Entrepreneurs can raise up to $1 million per year through those approved crowd funding channels.
  • Investors with incomes of less than $100K will be limited to 5 percent, or $2K, investments.
  • Those who make over $100K/year will be limited at 10 percent, or $10K.

Previously, one could not sell equity through crowd funding and only registered investors with $100,000 could fund a company. Now, with the crowd sourcing provision anyone can get in on the action.

This is great for the industry and those with a nose for investing, but do be wary. Internet scammers and unskilled entrepreneurs will soon be asking for your money to fund the next Google.


Learn more about the billJumpstart Our Business Start-ups (JOBS) Act


// Photo – Guano

Life on Mars is possible – for cave dwellers

A study of the biology and geology of Mars, from the Australian National University, shows there is plenty of room for life on Mars.

Granted, much of that room is in caves just below the planet’s surface, and much of that life will likely be microbes rather than little green men. But here’s the kicker — fully 3% of Mars has the right conditions to support life, the researchers say.

…if you run the same numbers on Earth, just 1% of the planet’s volume can support life.

The average surface temperature on Mars is minus 63 degrees Celsius (AFP/HO/File)

Mars’ surface is too cold and too low-pressure to support liquid water…But Lineweaver’s study looked at geological data from decades of Mars missions — and concluded that it would be warm and pressurized enough for life to live just below the surface. Warmth from the planet’s core provides the heat, and soil packed in from above creates the necessary air pressure.

So are there vast empires of microbes — or even something bigger — lurking just below that dusty red surface? We should know more next August when NASA’s Curiosity Rover arrives on Mars. This next-generation space robot comes equipped with a laser beam that can blast rocks, and a robotic arm that can examine the results.

via Mashable


More about Mars:


// Photo via AFP & thx to Amelia S.

Today is International Women’s Day – celebrate and show your support

Today is International Women’s Day. Celebrate all the wonderful women in your life!

Also, take some time to help support an issue:

Women in the U.S. make 81 cents to the dollar men earn doing the same job. 

Nearly 50 years after President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, on average women are still paid less than their male counterparts for doing comparable jobs in the U.S. — that’s called the pay gap. It means that each time the average woman starts a new job, she’s likely to start from a lower base salary than her male counterparts.

Just as interest compounds, so does the pay gap. As a woman moves from job to job during her career, the pay gap between her and her male colleagues is likely to become wider and wider.

Personal financial advisors and legal occupations suffer the largest gender pay gaps. Personal and home care aides and special education teachers have the smallest pay gaps.

Unequal pay isn’t just unfair, it’s illegal. But unless men and women who have the same job discuss what they’re getting paid, unequal pay can go unaddressed indefinitely.

via Narrow the Gap


Learn more and join in:


Google Doodle for International Women's Day