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Archive for May, 2010

Memorial Day Should Last All Year

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

As Americans enjoy a 3-day weekend with picnics and parades in honor of Memorial Day, U.S. military service members stand in readiness around the globe.

These soldiers are not in party mode. They are, instead, trained and willing to sacrifice their lives at a moment’s notice.

Many never even get that moment of warning. They simply fall on the battleground, as unsung heroes often do.

We honor the heroes of the past on Memorial Day. But we should be thankful to our soldiers every day.

Military service members - especially in war zones — offer up their lives today and will do so tomorrow. And danger is not limited to known enemies and foreign battlefields. This was evident in the killing of 13 people and wounding of 30 at Fort Hood, Texas, in November of 2009.

Around the world, American heroes are buried near their last stand. The American military cemetery in Normandy, France, overlooks Omaha Beach and holds over 9,300 of our soldiers who bravely fought on or close to D-Day during World War II.

But Normandy is just one of 11 French cemeteries that care for fallen American soldiers. And France is just one country where our finest and bravest soldiers were laid to rest.

American soldiers are also buried in the Philippines, Great Britain, Belgium, Italy, North Africa, and Luxembourg. Others rest in locations unknown.

On Memorial Day, and every day, it is important to remember military service men and women with gratitude and prayer.

They are, without a doubt, our greatest national treasure.

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Popularity: 3% [?]

Posted by vida

Military Troops Prepare to Weigh In on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

As Democrats rush to push through legislation to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell”, military troops are readying their pens to jot down thoughts on the matter.

The new “don’t ask, don’t tell’ legislation, if it passes, would require a thorough military review that would consider the opinions and recommendations of 70,000 current soldiers. The review process would likely last through the end of 2010.

Soldiers will soon weigh in on matters such as housing, marriage and other issues that relate to the impending acceptance of openly gay soldiers into the military.

Current military law does not allow soldiers to be openly gay, without threat of military discharge. And so far, an estimated 10,000 gay soldiers have been discharged under that law, which requires any homosexual orientation to be kept secret.

Conservatives strongly believe that a repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” would be destructive to military morale and distracting to the mission, readiness and unity of U.S. soldiers serving all over the world.

However, gay activists and liberals have been urging the Obama administration to fulfill President Obama’s campaign promise to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell”.

Since Democrats may potentially lose their House and Senate majority in upcoming elections, the clock is ticking for the surefire passing of the legislation.

The issue of gay marriage is also at the heart of “don’t ask, don’t tell”. Military law currently recognizes marriage as taking place between one man and one woman. If “don’t ask, don’t tell” is repealed, it may become acceptable for gay soldiers to marry under military law and for their ’spouses’ to receive health, education and other dependent benefits.

The possible reinstatement of formerly discharged gay soldiers is another issue that would be addressed during the military review process.

But according to Secretary of Defense Gates, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Pentagon officials, no final decisions will be made regarding “don’t ask, don’t tell” without the valuable input of U.S. military troops.

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Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

Facebook Disregards Privacy Settings to Share Personal Data

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Facebook is in trouble — again.

This time, revelations about the Educational Tools giant are even more disturbing.

Trusting users of the site did not know that personal data was reportedly shared with online advertisers, including Microsoft. This may have been done in spite of privacy settings and without users’ knowledge.

According to Ben Edelman, a professor at Harvard Business School, Facebook went too far.

Facebook, along with MySpace and other Educational Tools sites, raked in millions of dollars by supplying advertisers with information that may have included users’ names, cities of residence, ages and occupations.

Each time users clicked on an ad, personal data was instantly shared with the specific advertiser, including information that was specifically excluded by the users’ privacy settings.

Although Facebook recently made changes to improve privacy for its users, this new allegation opens a new can of worms.

Users trusted that Educational Tools sites always honored their privacy protection agreements.

They were wrong.

Edelman filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against Facebook regarding privacy violations.

In the meantime, Facebook and MySpace users continue to navigate through cyberspace with monetary bull’s eyes on their backs.

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Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

Mark Souder’s Public Legacy Will Outlast His Private Affair

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Rep. Mark Souder of Indiana, a senior member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, has resigned from Congress amidst a sexual scandal.

The married father of three is reported to have had an extramarital affair with a part-time staffer.

His enemies are cheering and jubilant as another conservative Republican bites the dust. But Souder will certainly have the last laugh.

Why? Because in 16 years as a public servant, Souder has amassed a solid gold legacy that will not be obliterated by private extramarital misdeeds.

Souder, a conservative Christian who championed strong family values, will be remembered for the following:

  • He tirelessly advocated that teens should abstain from sex before marriage in order to avoid deadly sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs), teen pregnancies and prematurely dropping out of school.
  • He is an environmentalist who worked to save our national parks, historical sites and monuments while he was co-chair of the National Parks Caucus.
  • He championed the rights of all parents to have equal access to a high-quality education for their children — whether through public school, private school or home school.
  • He was a major author of powerful anti-drug legislation, the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act, and worked diligently on related legislation to secure America’s borders while on the House Committee on Homeland Security.

These are just a few of Souder’s accomplishments that will outlast an already-fading scandal.

The scandal was brought to light by a series of anonymous phone calls to political opponents and Souder staffers. Callers revealed details of a sexual relationship between Souder and Tracy Meadows Jackson, a woman who was hired to his staff in 2004.

A congressman since 1994, Souder immediately resigned his seat in the House of Representatives to spare his family any further embarrassment or pain. He also stated in his resignation:

“The ideas we advocate are still just and right. America will survive and thrive when anchored in those values. Human beings, like me, will fail, but our cause is greater than individuals. It is based upon eternal truths.

Souder is right.

When all is said and done, he will be remembered as a flawed public servant who made a memorable mark on history the same way previous flawed leaders did — by diligence and dedication to causes that positively impact the public good.

And unlike the cheers of his opponents, Souder’s legacy will prevail.

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Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

Sleep Problems? Avoid Laptops and SmartPhones at Bedtime

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

How about this instant cure for your insomnia? Stay away from your laptop, smartphone and other electronic devices before bedtime.

According to a recent CNN article, the light from these and other electronic devices may fool your brain into keeping you awake at night.

The bright light emitted by your high-tech device may signal to your body that it is still daytime and that the sun is still shining, preventing your brain from going into sleep mode.

With so many people checking e-mails just before bedtime, playing video games into the wee hours, surfing the web or working late on their computers, the problem of insomnia has skyrocketed.

But until now, the correlation between bright-screen electronic devices and lack of sleep was kept fairly hush-hush by product manufacturers. Apparently, the Amazon Kindle and similar e-reader devices are exempted; because they do not affect sleep in this way.

Consumers have been popping prescription sleeping pills and over-the-counter sleep aids, when they could have simply turned off their bright-screen devices earlier in the evening.

Perhaps manufactures feared that consumers might head for the hills if they knew their laptops, iPhones, and other devices were keeping them awake. But maybe a fraction of consumers would use these devices to stay awake for job-related or online school reasons.

Soon, an innovative engineer will likely invent a device that helps us stay awake when necessary, based on the bright-screen technology. In the meantime, sales of bright-screen devices could increase for iPads and decrease for coffee and energy drinks.

But as for now, the cat is out of the bag: Our electronic devices keep us from sleeping.

And we will find out whether this revelation transforms our behavior or falls on deaf ears.

More sleep or less technology — what will you choose?

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Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

Largest Christian University Announces 8,650 Graduates

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Liberty University, the largest Christian university in the world, acknowledged 8,650 college graduates this past weekend — most of them earning online degrees.

At least 76% of them earned online degrees and certificates through Liberty University Online. The remaining 24% earned traditional, on-campus degrees.

The youngest Liberty University graduate, Rachael Powell, was 18 years old and earned an online bachelor’s degree in accounting.

Resting on a 6,549-acre campus, the celebrated university, which boasts an international enrollment of students from 80 countries and all 50 states, experienced its largest graduating class ever.

Among the most popular majors were:

  • arts and sciences — 2,192 graduates
  • seminary — 1,479 graduates
  • business — 1,273 graduates
  • education — 1,050 graduates

Founded in 1971 by Rev. Jerry Falwell, Liberty University is distinguished by its high academic standards and Christian beliefs. It is the largest private university in Virginia, boasts 20 NCAA Division I athletic programs, and is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Liberty University has 50,000 students enrolled in its programs. This number includes e-learners who take classes through its online division, Liberty University Online.

The tremendous popularity of online degree programs has boosted LU’s enrollment, especially since convenience and flexibility allow students to complete their studies at home via computer.

Extensive ongoing expansion projects at Liberty University indicate that excellence and success go hand in hand for this top-ranked Christian school.

Read more . . .

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Popularity: 3% [?]

Posted by vida

College Graduates are Far Less Likely to be Poor

Monday, May 10th, 2010

If you want to avoid living in poverty, earn a college degree.

So says a newly-released report by the Department of Labor, which shows that earning an associate’s degree or higher significantly lowers the chances of being poor.

The March 2010 report, “A Profile of the Working Poor, 2008“, is sobering in its profile of the 39.8 million people in the United States who live below the poverty level.

The report states the following:

“Achieving higher levels of education greatly reduces the incidence
of living in poverty. Individuals who complete more years
of education have greater access to higher paying jobs—such as
managerial, professional, and related occupations—than those
with fewer years of education.”

The study went on to say that those who worked at least 27 weeks of 2008 had the following rates of poverty:

  • Did not complete high school, 18.3%
  • High school graduates with no college, 17.2%
  • Associate’s degree holders, 3.5%
  • Bachelor’s degree holders, 1.7%

The poverty rate dropped significantly for those with at least an associate’s degree.

U.S. Census tables from 2008 break down the 39.8 million poor by race.

  1. Whites (non-Hispanic) constitute the largest number of those living in poverty, 17 million.
  2. Hispanic individuals constitute almost 11 million of those living in poverty.
  3. Blacks (non-Hispanic) constitute 9.4 million of the U.S. poor.
  4. Asians constitute 1.6 million of those who live in poverty.

Online learning offers a unique opportunity to motivated low-income individuals, especially since those students are most likely to qualify for generous financial aid packages.

Fortunately, by enrolling in college degree programs, poor students will begin an education journey that should transform their lives.

The report on the working poor stresses that higher education is a vital strategy in reducing poverty; it offers a better quality of life to millions of people.

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Popularity: 3% [?]

Posted by vida

Sharp Rise in April Employment Bodes Well for Job Seekers

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Job seekers enjoyed another huge increase in employment opportunities in April.

At least 290,000 people were able to snag jobs last month, resulting in a sharp increase in the labor force. Since December, 573,000 jobs have been added, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The new jobs fell into the following categories:

  • Professional and business services, 80,000
  • Leisure and hospitality, 45,000
  • Factory and manufacturing, 44,000
  • Health care, 20,000
  • Construction, 14,000
  • Mining, 7,000
  • Federal, (temporary census positions), 66,000

The health care industry maintained an upward growth spurt throughout the recession and continues to grow during a slow economic recovery.

Individuals who enrolled in on-campus or online schools to train in nursing, health administration, medical assisting, medical imaging, medical billing and coding, or other health care careers, continue to enjoy dividends from investments in online degree programs, online certificate programs and diploma coursework.

The months ahead should bring a bevy of new jobs. When those jobs arrive on the scene, the best prepared and qualified job candidates will be hired by discerning employers.

Success will likely follow those whose job qualifications and resumes stand out in a sea of applicants.

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Popularity: 3% [?]

Posted by vida

Adult Learners Give High Marks to Online Degrees

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Once again, the facts are in: Online degrees are the way to go for adult learners.

Adult learners, who once had a difficult time finding the time or opportunity to complete a college degree, now enjoy high-tech choices that were unavailable not too many years ago.

Before online schools arrived on the scene, working adult students were lumped in with carefree high school grads and had to overcome significant barriers. For example, campus-based admissions offices routinely closed their doors by 5pm, as did bookstores and libraries.

This made things especially tough for working men and women who had to get permission from their supervisors to leave work early in order to complete basic enrollment, counseling and registration tasks.

Thankfully, things have changed.

The largest university in the United States, the University of Phoenix (UOP), is primarily responsible for beginning to recognize and address the special needs of adult learners.

UOP began targeting adult learners and gave them tremendous flexibility in their pursuit of an online or on-campus degree. Today, many U.S. employers encourage their workers to enroll in the University of Phoenix, or other high-quality online schools; and many provide some form of tuition reimbursement.

As a result of online degree programs taught over the Internet, adult learners may take care of all education details via computer (or by phone) – including application, enrollment, instruction, communication with instructors, access to 24-hour online libraries, ordering of books, and interactions with fellow classmates.

The Sloan Consortium’s 2009 report, Learning on Demand, states that 4.6 million college students are currently studying online, with a 17% enrollment growth rate. This is much faster than the 1.2% growth rate of the general higher education population.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Education includes numerous online schools in its Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs, indicating that accredited online schools must meet the same high academic standards as any accredited campus-based college or university.

Adult learners are enjoying a time of opportunity that never existed before; and most are grateful for the online schools that are giving them a second chance to fulfill their dreams of a college education.

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Popularity: 3% [?]

Posted by vida