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The Virtues of Bikes, Bourbon and Rock N Roll PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Saturday, 26 January 2013 09:30

Blurring Gender Roles are Fine, Writer/Rocker Says, But Men Still Need to be Men

Does a real man stay at home with the kids while his wife goes to work? Is he OK if she earns more than him? Will he do the cooking – and like it?

Yes, yes and yes, says contemporary philosopher Eli Just, author of the popular supernatural adventure series that begins with “Manny Jones and the Place” (

“The ‘new masculinity’ – the new manly man – understands the value of blurring those old gender lines. And he’s also found the satisfaction and real pleasure that comes with some of those things,” Just says.

“But he balances that with some of the old old-school ideas about what it is to be a man. There’s still a lot to be said for the freedom of roaring along a highway on a motorcycle,  sipping  bourbon, and playing rock ‘n roll with your buddies in the garage.”

Just points to a poll of more than 87,000 men in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. AskMen’s Great Male Survey found that:

94 percent would feel fine about their wife earning more than they do. (“That may just indicate we’re evolving,” Just says. “It doesn’t seem kind of stupid to be upset about a better lifestyle just because you’re not the one providing it!)

78 percent say marriage potential is “very” or “somewhat” important in evaluating how they feel about the woman they’re dating. (“It’s nice to see we’re raising our standards,” Just says.)

64 percent cook at home and like it – only 5 percent called cooking “woman’s work.” (“It stands to reason that if you’re wife is out making the big bucks, you better learn to cook or go hungry,” Just says.)

50 percent say the ultimate manly man is a good husband and father. That beat out traditional “manly” virtues such as being good at fixing things (13 percent) and being a great lover (4 percent).

This new appreciation of men’s roles and responsibilities is great, Just says, but if guys want to remain attractive to the opposite sex, they need to retain some of their guy-liness.

“Men need to be open to adventure. They need to be courageous. And they need to lose those little skinny jeans and dress like men,” he says. “We’re already slipping on achievement – more women are getting college degrees than men. More women than men are breadwinners.

“There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a woman. I love women. But men are not women and we shouldn’t try to be!”

What does he recommend for putting some muscle back into manhood?

• Find your sparkplugs. If you don’t know how to change your engine oil, you need to fix that. Take a class in basic automotive maintenance and repairs – they’re often offered at adult schools and community colleges. “There is nothing less appealing to a woman than a man who has no clue about what’s under the hood – especially when she’s broken down on the side of the highway,” Just says.

• Do a chin-up. A basic difference between men and women is upper body strength. If you’ve let yours go, you need to get it back. “Men should be strong,” Just says. “They should be able to punch the bad guy or open the pickle jar. Too many of us have let ourselves go. Believe me, your wife-to-be doesn’t want to be carrying YOU over the threshold!”

• Get over the video games. Men have gotten far too preoccupied with video games, Just says. “They’re playing in some fantasy world for hours at a time, getting pale, flabby and weird.” He suggests watching football. While many a wife and girlfriend complains about the time her guy spends watching sports, at least he talks to her during commercials, Just points out. They might even get out and throw a ball around. “You can’t do that with virtual cyber swords,” he says.

About Eli Just

Eli Just is the author of several books including the popular “Manny Jones” series and “The Eddy.” He has a master’s in history from Southeastern Louisiana University and is a self-taught student of physics, which he taught at the high school level. As a Christian, Just enjoys exploring themes involving physics and its relationship to religion. He lives in northern Georgia.

Governor Quinn Signs Major Law to Keep Illinois Children Safe PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Erin Wilson   
Friday, 25 January 2013 15:41

“Erin’s Law” Helps Prevent Child Sexual Assault and Abuse, Empowers Victims

CHICAGO – January 24, 2013. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a new law requiring schools to implement an age-appropriate sexual assault and abuse awareness and prevention curriculum for grades pre-K through 12. Known as Erin’s Law, House Bill 6913 will help give victims a voice and prevent future incidents of sexual assault and abuse. Today’s action is the latest by Governor Quinn to ensure Illinois children are as protected from harm as possible.

“My most important duty as governor is to make sure every child in Illinois is safe and healthy,” Governor Quinn said. “Sexual assault and abuse steals a child’s innocence and can be extremely psychologically and physically damaging. Erin’s Law empowers young victims and teaches children what kind of behavior is and isn’t ok, which will prevent abuse and protect the children of Illinois.”

Sponsored by Rep. Jerry Mitchell (R-Rock Falls) and Sen. Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago), HB 6913 – Erin’s Law – was an initiative of Schaumburg, Illinois native Erin Merryn. A victim of sexual assault and abuse as a child, Merryn quit her job three years ago to dedicate her life to helping victims break their silence, educating children about sexual assault and abuse, and preventing them from becoming future victims. She is an author and activist currently working to get Erin’s Law passed in all 50 states.

"My innocence was killed as a child, my trust was taken and my voice was silenced for many years,” said Merryn. “I have reclaimed my voice and I am determined to make sure every child in America has a voice and won't be silenced by a perpetrator the way I was. After testifying four times at the capital on Erin's Law, I am overcome with joy to know my voice was heard and Illinois children will now be educated and empowered every year with their voice to protect them from sexual abuse. I've turned pain into a purpose to end the silence and to educate and preserve the innocence of children. Thank you Illinois legislators and Governor Quinn for doing right by the children of Illinois."

Five states have implemented earlier versions of Erin’s Law. Illinois is the first state to take the next step and pass legislation that more comprehensively addresses the need for child sexual assault and abuse education in schools statewide.

Previously in Illinois, only secondary schools were required to include sexual assault and abuse awareness education. House Bill 6193 expands this requirement to include elementary and middle schools. The law also requires that teachers participate in professional development and training classes that cover sexual assault and abuse.

In 2011, Governor Quinn signed the first step of Erin’s Law, which created a task force to examine child sexual assault and abuse research, and release recommendations on how Illinois schools can better inform students about these issues. The Erin’s Law Task Force published their recommendations in May 2012. These specific recommendations became House Bill 6913.

The law is effective immediately.


Loebsack Introduces Bill to Cut Member Pay PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Vonnie Hampel   
Friday, 25 January 2013 15:27

Legislation also repeals automatic pay increases

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack announced today that he has introduced legislation that would cut Members of Congress’ pay by 10 percent.  The bill, the Congressional Halt in Pay Increases (CHIP IN) and Cut Congressional Pay Act, would also repeal the automatic pay increases that currently take place.  This legislation builds on the bill Loebsack cosponsored with former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords in the previous Congress.

“In a time when our economy continues to struggle and we face an unsustainable debt, it is more important than ever to hold Members of Congress accountable to the citizens that they represent,” said Loebsack “This bill is a simple way to show that Congress is serious about restoring fiscal discipline to reform the pay system that has prevented any cut in Congressional pay since 1933 – eight decades ago.”

Loebsack has consistently called for Members of Congress to have a personal stake in our nation’s recovery.  In addition to authoring the CHIP IN and Cut Congressional Pay Act, he has previously cosponsored legislation that would tie the eligibility for Members of Congress to draw their pension benefits to their Social Security retirement age.  He has also voted multiple times to cut Congressional office budgets.


“The Biggest Shedder” Pet Weight Loss Contest Launched PDF Print E-mail
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Written by James P. Judge   
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 14:07

National competition helps growing population of obese pets shed pounds and be healthy

TAMPA, Fla. – BluePearl Veterinary Partners announced Wednesday the start of The Biggest Shedder, a nationwide pet weight-loss competition  to encourage and motivate pet owners to help their furry companions get to a healthy weight. Open to any pet owner with an overweight cat or dog, the first weigh-in deadline is February 13.

“Pets are part of the family and share problems maintaining a healthy weight, just like people do,” said Dr. Neil Shaw, chief medical officer of BluePearl Veterinary Partners. “Incorporating a healthy diet and exercise into your pet’s life are paramount to helping your pet live a long and healthy life while preventing avoidable ailments.”

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 54 percent of cats and dogs in the U.S. are considered overweight or obese. Animals who are overweight are at risk for shortened life spans due to knee and joint injuries, heart and respiratory disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and other serious disorders.


Step 1) Pet owners are encouraged to take their pet to their family veterinarian to see if their pets are indeed overweight, determine how much they may need to lose, come up with a plan to lose the weight and figure out a realistic goal to reach by the contest end date of June 14.
Step 2) Pet owners take their cat or dog to their family veterinarian for a quick weigh-in every couple of weeks and post their pet’s progress. Prizes are given away at each weigh-in and those who reach their goal by contest end are entered to win the grand prize.


The grand prize for the contest will be one-year worth of Hill’s pet food for the winning pet and an iPad provided by Trupanion Pet Insurance for the owner. Additional prizes for progress weigh-ins will be provided by Pfizer Animal Health.
(Note:  Winners information will be verified by the pet’s veterinarian.)

For more information and to participate visit:

About BluePearl Veterinary Partners

Formed in 2008, BluePearl Veterinary Partners is headquartered in Tampa, Fla., and employs more than 1,200 people including approximately 250 veterinarians. BluePearl hospitals are referral-only and don’t provide primary care. Most BluePearl hospitals offer 24-hour emergency care services. BluePearl is one of the world’s principal providers of approved veterinary residency and internship educational programs. BluePearl also participates in and conducts clinical trials to study the effectiveness of new drugs and treatments, which give clients access to cutting-edge medicine not yet commercially available and improves the quality of care delivered to our patients.


Immigrant youth shares his dreams PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Hector Salamanca   
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 13:39
We stand at the brink of a new America, one that stands up for those millions like me who are American in all but legal status.  As an undocumented immigrant, I cannot just sit and hope that a knight in shining armor will rise and fight for my cause.  Too many of us undocumented people sit in the shadows and do not stand to fight for what is fair.

I understand that some of us don’t act because we are afraid: Afraid that our mother or father will not be there to pick us up from school. Afraid of an immigration officer knocking on our doors. Afraid of letting others know of our situation and afraid how they will respond once we tell them.

I am here to tell you, do not be afraid. I am also here to tell our friends and neighbors, classmates and coworkers, “Do not be afraid” of me and the millions like me who want only to live the American Dream, to work hard, build better lives for our families and a brighter future for our communities and our country.

I, too, was once afraid. When my father broke the news to me in 2010 that my undocumented status meant that my chances for a driver’s license, a college education and a good job were slim, I felt stuck and alone. The DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors), which would help people like me, has stalled in Congress since 2001.

But I persevered. I began volunteering with the American Friends Service Committee, a non-profit group providing legal services to immigrants. I finished high school and began study at a community college, where I’m an honors student.

So now I am motivated by a dream, a dream similar to the civil rights activists and the community organizers who have fought for immigration reform before you and I were born. I dream of one day having comprehensive, fair immigration policies that set a path to allow me -- now a Deferred Action participant with my Social Security number and work permit -- to affordably attend college, receive a driver’s license, drive my girlfriend around for a change, and to eventually become a citizen, among other things. I dream that one day, I will see Dreamers and our allies organize in all 50 states to make that path a reality. In order for my dream to come true, my generation needs to take the lead and move our country forward.

This plea does not apply to just the country’s estimated 1.9 million Dreamers, but to all members of our generation. We cannot allow ourselves to grow content with the way things are, for when we are old, the next generation will ask us why we stood by as the rights of others were trampled.

I, too, have faith in the American Dream, because I am living it. Through hard work, I have been given opportunities for success, which is the American Dream. As a child, I read history books filled with great men and women who all struggled to keep that dream alive for all those who called the United States home.

I and many others strive to continue the fight for the American Dream, but we need help. To continue building upon the legacy of those before us, we need to stand up and fight for the rights of the oppressed. For we are the generation of hope and change. We cannot allow the flame that is the American Dream to be extinguished.

We the Dreamers, in fact, represent the American Dream for the 21st century because many of us have risen out of the abyss of despair to achieve success. We are honor students, graduates from universities and hardworking; above all else, we long to contribute to the country we call home.

The American Dream has always been to rise from nothing and become successful through hard work. For me, I want to continue my education and be the first in my family to graduate from college and to continue to contribute back to my community. I want to prove to our opponents that they can try and deny us opportunities, but we shall overcome our obstacles and surpass our goals.

If you are a Dreamer reading this, I urge you to go and start volunteering. Every time you  volunteer, you are making a positive impact on someone’s life and taking down misconceptions as well. Take courage in knowing you are not alone, for I and many others are right beside you, fighting for our opportunity to contribute and move our country forward.

I also ask those who are not Dreamers to help out in any way you can. We need a coalition of friends, neighbors, Democrats, Republicans, young and old, black, brown, yellow and white, to pass not just the Dream Act, but comprehensive immigration reform. Stand in solidarity with us, and together we can keep the American Dream alive for all those who just want an opportunity to give back to this great nation we call home.

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