Tag Archives: children

Read Dasani’s Story

10 Dec

Dickensian Squalor in Contemporary New York

There was a lot of jokey-snark Sunday night as Twitter was trying to guess what the New York Times’ big blockbuster story was going to be on Monday morning. A Times editor had Tweeted that a game-changing story was coming, but offered no hints. 

The story itself is a heartbreaking one about a bright and energetic 11 year-old girl who lives in poverty and squalor with her family in a dilapidated, uninhabitable city shelter.  We follow her to school, we examine her home, we look at her parents and their obvious problems in such a way that eschews cheap judgment and instead gives us a window into the crushing poverty, desperate need for help, jobs, and education that families like this need. 

It also describes the insane class divide where homes within spitting distance of the shelter and adjacent projects now go for a million dollars; where a fancy new wine shop offers tastings across the street from a liquor store where the clerk sits behind bullet-proof plexiglass. 

Please read all five parts of the story, which will take you on an emotional roller coaster, and consider whether, in our zeal for austerity, we’re causing more problems than we’re solving. 

Some “richest country in the world” superpower we are. 

Informing The Present, Part 2

8 Mar

Picture chosen because after re-reading this article, it seems sanctimonious and douchey.

Lately, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how my readers perceive the arguments, theories and opinions I put forth on this website.  The lens through which each of you views the individual articles I write about journalism, government, economic development, corporations and general current events.  I always feel the need to link heavily to other sources because I want you to understand not just the subject matter, but how I’ve come to my established position on the issue.  It’s also a way for me to keep track of my thoughts and a running journal of my own positional development.

Each day, I update a segment of my sidebar with articles I read or sites I find interesting, which inform much of what I write here.  It’s on the right and it’s labeled “Your Daily Homework”.   I suppose the title is a bit condescending, but I intend for it to be a general supplement to your daily news consumption at WNYM.  You can either check that sidebar for current links or you can simply subscribe to my Delicious feed by clicking here.  It’s a daily compendium of what I read and leads to a lot of posts not just on my personal corner of WNYM, but on others as well.

Aside from that, each weekend, I’m going to post some videos or links to longer form content which provides a bit of a backstory on how I see the world.  Do I think there is a thirsty bunch of readers out there longing to be quenched with the dew of my intelligence or experience?  Umm, no.  However, if you come here frequently (and a couple thousand of you do each day), I thought you might be interested in the content which informs my opinion and what tweaks my Id and Ego.

This week, I’d like to present a series of videos culled from a documentary titled, Consuming Kids.

Consuming Kids throws desperately needed light on the practices of a relentless multi-billion dollar marketing machine that now sells kids and their parents everything from junk food and violent video games to bogus educational products and the family car. Drawing on the insights of health care professionals, children’s advocates, and industry insiders, the film focuses on the explosive growth of child marketing in the wake of deregulation, showing how youth marketers have used the latest advances in psychology, anthropology, and neuroscience to transform American children into one of the most powerful and profitable consumer demographics in the world.

Consuming Kids pushes back against the wholesale commercialization of childhood, raising urgent questions about the ethics of children’s marketing and its impact on the health and well-being of kids.

Here’s the trailer:


As a parent of two toddlers, I see the pervasive marketing and advertising that is intended to influence my children and ultimately, my buying decisions.  It’s everywhere, it’s immersive and it’s intended to insinuate brand awareness into every aspect of our lives.  It’s the ultimate manifestation of a corporatist culture which demands that new consumers be introduced into the market at the earliest possible stage.  While we all ultimately have the final decision-making power with our dollars, the marketing stream stacks the deck against those of us who wish to delay our child’s entrance into the consumer culture.

Think Baby Einstein videos are helping your child learn?  Think again.

Think a barrage of sexualized messages about the market’s interpretation of beauty are having a negative effect on your daughter’s body image?  You’re right.

We are the only industrialized nation with no standards or statutory guidelines on advertising to children.  We used to have guidelines on this, but in 1980, the toy companies led a lobbying effort to repeal any limitations or standards which resulted into the bible of childhood marketing, the FTC Improvement Act of 1980.  The documentary does a thorough job of demonstrating that “consumerizing” our children at such a young age results in serious financial and health risks for them.   Click through to watch the film…

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Obama Speaks to the Children

7 Sep

I’m stealing this wholesale from a Facebook friend of mine:

Despite the warnings of right-wing radio hosts, and fully cognizant that my children risk learning a lesson in civics, I, nonetheless, grant them permission to watch a televised address by the duly-elected leader of these United States, President Barack Obama, on the controversial subject of the importance of school.

It’s a great speech that any kid should hear from the funny-named President of the US.  A little inspiration never hurt anyone, and neither did an exhortation to study and work hard.

The speech itself has already been posted to teh internets.  You can read it after the jump if you’re too lazy to click your mouse, like Leonard Stokes walking from his car to a supermarket entrance Continue reading