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Gene Interacts with Stress and Leads to Heart Disease in Some People

Gene Interacts with Stress and Leads to Heart Disease in Some People

Research Duke Medicine

  DURHAM, N.C. – A new genetic finding from Duke Medicine suggests that some people who are prone to hostility, anxiety and depression might also be hard-wired to gain weight when exposed to chronic stress.

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Voter Suppression:  One More Round The Ground Game - Getting Out the Vote

Voter Suppression: One More Round The Ground Game - Getting Out the Vote

By Peter Grear

Educate, organize and mobilize -- Around 30 days and counting, this election season is in the home stretch.  The highest profile race is for US Senate between Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis.  

Voter Suppression: JUDGES MATTER Mobilize! Mobilize! Mobilize!

Voter Suppression: JUDGES MATTER Mobilize! Mobilize! Mobilize!

by Peter Grear

As we draw nearer to D-day, November 4, 2014, the political parties, candidates and pressure groups are identifying their issues, slates and strategies to win.  My title to this week’s commentary makes a gross understatement, judges matter. 

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The Trouble with Women’s History Month

Written by Maureen Costello on 05 March 2010.

women in U.S. historyThe trouble with Women’s History Month - with all these special months - is that they encourage people to think that problems have been solved. The female heroes of yesterday are acknowledged, the debt paid and the slate wiped clean.

Women have been written back into history, we’re told.  And we get an entire month to learn about all the women in U.S. history, from Abigail Adams to Sojourner Truth to Sandra Day O’Connor and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

But history is more than biography. Highlighting a few noteworthy women in March (or Blacks in February or Latinos in October) can lead students to think that the exception proves the rule: These dozen or so ladies really stood out, but the rest?  Forgettable.

Were I still in the classroom, I would teach about how women lived, and why their contribut - whether as a crucial member of the household economy in the pre-industrial era, or as a Lowell mill girl, or as a secretary during the Mad Men years - were consistently undervalued.

And then I would bring up the present. Despite appearing on television in nearly equal proportion with men as high-powered lawyers, renowned medical examiners or high-ranking police officers (while wearing heels, perfect make-up and sexy clothes), women in fact have not achieved parity with men in terms of either occupation or equal pay.

Try a simple project in your class. Have students cut out paper dolls of boy and girl stick figures and ask them to choose one for each of the following occupations:  secretary, nurse, teacher, cashier, firefighter, doctor, engineer. If they choose the boy doll for any of the first four, congratulatio - you’ve got some serious counter-culturalists there.

In fact, the top four occupations for U.S. women in 2008 were: secretary (or administrative assistant), k-8 schoolteacher, registered nurse and cashier.

And even when women get jobs in male-dominated occupations, they still earn less.

I know. Elementary students learn from stories, and heroes matter as role models.  Then tell the story of Lilly Ledbetter, who found out she was underpaid only after years of working as an area manager in an automobile tire plant alongside 15 men who had the same job and earned up to 40 percent more. She sued, but lost when the Supreme Court ruled that she waited too long - even though she didn’t know about the injustice while it was happening.

There’s a semi-happy ending to the Lilly Ledbetter story. The first bill President Barack Obama signed into law, in January 2009, was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which allows women to sue even years after discrimination begins.

How should we teach Women’s History Month? With the truth: That we’ve made progress, but injustice still exists. Let’s teach students to hunger for justice, know how to recognize its absence and fight for it in the imperfect world they inherit.

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