Saturday, May 20, 2006

This Week's Recommended Reading

From Ash:

New Study on Domestic Violence:

The Reuters story that probably needed the most attention this week but lost out to endless coverage of the things like release of The DaVinci Code: a study of Seattle women, aged 18-64, found that over 40% of the women had suffered physical or psychological abuse by their husbands, boyfriends or dates. And it's not just the Seattle coffee -- the researchers consider the data to be a representative snapshot of how widespread domestic violence is, nationally.

Immigration Issues Outside the US:

Two interesting points of comparison on the immigration front:

I have just started reading the full report, by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development -- but its executive summary and AP's article on it make it seem like this should be a fascinating read. Key facts: immigrant children in the US are a full year-behind in school, while the children of immigrants close the gap -- but are still behind by about a half-year. And US immigrants are doing worse in school that those in some countries (e.g. Germany and France) but not as well as those in others (Australia and Canada).

Another interesting piece from the BBC: after the recent rioting by largely immigrant-second generation youths, and other tensions, the French parliament is working on changing its immigration rules. So far, its Assembly has passed a new law that dramatically limits migrant workers ability to enter France -- to only those with "skills and talents -- and ends the ability for migrants to get citizenship after 10 years. The migrants also have to learn to speak French and sign a contract that they respect the principles of the French Republic / way of life.

Russia Struggles with its Failing Birth Rate:

From the Christian Science Monitor, here's a quick but worthwhile read. Russian President Vladmir Putin has said that Russia's falling birth rate is the nation's single greatest problem. It's gotten to the point that experts envision empty factories, and worried pols see empty barracks for its military. In order to spur births, Putin has proposed doubling national child support payments, and a cash bonus of over $9000 to a woman who has a second child. (And $9000 equals over 2 years of income for the average woman.) But with the economy what it is, and women in school and at work until well-into their childbearing years, the initial reception to his plans seems to be dubious at best.

Poway Clears Its Calendar

Po and I aren't persuaded by the publicity that claims kids are overscheduled -- but we're more persuaded that parents might be. And we're always interested in what people are doing to solve problems so we were both intrigued by this piece in USA Today. Residents of Poway, California, a small town outside of San Diego, have declared Monday, May 22 as "Family Focus Night," a night when everyone is supposed to do nothing but stay home with their families. Organizers have spent a year trying to get events such as meetings canceled, so that people are free to not go anywhere. They've had mixed success. One of the organizers herself has a scheduling conflict: her son's Little League game is Monday night.

And from news of the odd . . . .

If you're one of those ultra-busy parents: outsourced tutoring. It was just a matter of time, right? The Washington Post reports on a company that allows students to get $20-hour over-the-phone tutoring, from a pool of 50 tutors in India.

The Des Moines Register reported (via AP) that -- in order to tell medical physicians not to revive her if she's dying -- an 80-year-old woman has had the words "Do Not Resuscitate" tattooed on her chest. While her DNR order is winning points for originality, most legal and medical experts think that the tattoo isn't actually legally enforceable. So the woman's not taking any chances: she's got a living will as well. Can I just say -- I really hope this doesn't start a granny-tattooing trend. (And I'm guessing tattoo parlours are with me on this.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding Domestic Violence, it is not news.

There is an organization called Deaf Hope. It helps deaf women who are victims of Domestic Violence.

For further information, the website is

I have some ideas about why domestic violence happens. I suspect some of it has to do with "real boys do not cry".

I want to be crystal clear that violence is WRONG. Let's figure out WHY it happens! How can we prevent that???

A perfect example would be the two boys who murdered other students and some teachers at Columbine High in 1999. It seems to me that when boys are young, if they cry, they are given a hard time for crying.

Is there something wrong with a society where a group of people are not allowed to express their feelings?

If someone is not allowed to express their feelings like "I am feeling sad or I am upset", then they find other outlets to express their feelings. So I think everyone needs to know that it is OK that they have feelings instead of holding them inside until they erupt!

Another example:

A friend went to this horrid boarding school where they gave her a hard time for crying. She was bullied on a daily basis. She left that school after two years but there were aftershocks from those experiences for many years. For the next 10 years of her life, she could NOT cry but expressed her anger frequently because at that boarding school, the only emotion allowed was expression of anger and violence.

That friend is OK now because she learned how to set boundaries and can finally cry now if she needs to. And her faith helped.

7:26 PM  
Blogger Ashley Merryman said...

The existence of domestic violence isn't news -- but I do think it is more widespread than we are generally aware. Therefore, I would like to see more coverage of it in popular media.

12:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Seems to me there is far more coverage about alcohol and drug abuse in the popular media than domestic violence.

7:56 AM  

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