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  A few years ago I read a book that predicted that Recommender Communities were the future of the Internet. Most people do not make purchases based on traditional advertising anymore, but on what others recommend. I know this is certainly true for me. When I want to buy something, I research it online either in Consumer Reports, on other review sites or by looking at the reviews on Amazon. When I travel, I pick hotels and restaurants based on online recommendations. The idea of Recommender Communities delights me because I’m all for more power to the people, but also... read more

A Family Center in Santa Fe

For years, I dreamed of a family center in Santa Fe. I realized long ago that it wasn’t enough to print inspiring articles in Mothering magazine. People also needed to see each other. We need the confirmation and reassurance of others who share our values. We need this especially in today’s world where there is so much diversity of opinion. I wanted to have a family center in our Mothering office in Santa Fe but we never had the resources to fully develop it. I often talked with Abby Bordner of the Birthing Tree Cooperative about doing something together and she has... read more

Help for ADHD

When I was in my twenties, I taught at a special education school and one of my young students was on Ritalin. As her teacher, I was responsible for reminding her to take the drug during the day. It bothered me to give her the drug as I am a supporter of the natural way and I presumed, in my youthful arrogance, that she didn’t really need the Ritalin, that I knew better than my student’s parents what was best for her. Today we are still debating the ethics of prescribing drugs like Ritalin to children. On Sunday, October 16th, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued... read more

Occupy Wall Street

When we demonstrated for civil rights and against the Vietnam War in the sixties, the demonstrations made a difference. They helped lead to the Civil Rights Act (1964) and ultimately to bring down the presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson. When we demonstrated against the invasion of Iraq on February 15, 2003, 8000 people turned out in Santa Fe, the largest demonstration ever in our town. Millions of people around the world simultaneously demonstrated and it was said to have been the largest worldwide demonstration in history.  But, nothing happened. It was hardly... read more

World Food Day

I listened to a radio show recently about hungry children in New Mexico while I was cleaning out the refrigerator in order to put away groceries. I started to cry because I was throwing out food. I rationalized that at least the food was going to the compost pile where it would be eaten by squirrels, chipmunks, coyotes, deer and beer, but I feel helpless at this inequity. What can I do to help hungry people? The reality of hunger can be hard to bear and it’s good news that there’s a new muppet on Sesame Street, Lily, a seven-year-old girl, whose family often struggles... read more

Big Words

Christine, one of our ad reps, sent me an email this week in which she used the word perspicuity. She was telling me that my previous email to her had been clear. Her big word gave me a thrill and got me to thinking about how much I rely on little words. When I recently saw my friend (and Mothering’s former Art Director), Laura Egley Taylor, playing Margaret in Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing, I also remembered how much I love big words. Big, delightful words are Shakespeare’s forte’. During the first scene of the play, my daughter leaned over to say, “This must... read more

Applaud the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance (BCIA)

In celebration of International Babywearing Week (October 10 to 16th) I want to spotlight the efforts of the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance (BCIA). I recently attended the All Baby and Child (ABC) Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky where Jose Madrigal of Beco invited me to the first formal BCIA meeting on Sunday evening, September 25th. The purpose of the alliance is to “advance the well-being, growth, and interests of baby carrier manufacturers, importers, distributors, retailers and educators.” The story of the birth of BCIA is nothing short of heroic. On March... read more

One Day of Peace

The Vietnam War shaped my life in powerful ways. I was politically conservative when I entered college in the fall of 1965. As the daughter of an Air Force pilot I was unaccustomed to questioning authority. I believed what I was told. I was sitting in front of the mirror in my dorm room one evening in 1966, listening to the radio as I cut my hair. I had just finished sealing an envelope I was sending to my dad in Udorn, Thailand; he was flying rescue helicopters in Vietnam. As I listened to the radio, I heard a member of Congress angrily and loudly reply to a... read more

Bachmann, Perry and the HPV

At first, it seems surprising that a vaccination is central to recent presidential “debates” until one realizes how potently this important public health issue illustrates the erosion of public trust in authority. Rick Perry took significant campaign donations from Merck & Co, the manufacturer of the HPV vaccines, and then signed an executive order to mandate the HPV vaccine in Texas. In an attempt to discredit Perry, Michelle Bachmann claimed that a girl was made retarded by the HPV vaccine. She has been ridiculed for making this statement, and while it may be the... read more

The New Health Journalism: Challenging the Status Quo

By Peggy O'Mara This article was the opening speech delivered by Peggy O'Mara for the 4th International Public Conference on Vaccination put on by the National Vaccine Information Center in Washington DC on October 2, 2009. Visit Peggy's blog for more information about the conference events. Ever since Barbara asked me to talk on “The New Health Journalism: Challenging the Status Quo” I have been struck by the irony of this title. What we call “new” journalism is actually a return to the old, to the very roots of journalism. This return to the roots of journalism is... read more

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