Thursday, December 13, 2007

U.s. House Salutes Christmas and Christianity, But 9 Vote -No

Religion Desk - 651-631-5000
CAPITOL HILL (AP) _ The U.S. House has passed a resolution ``Recognizing the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith''
-- but it wasn't unanimous.
The measure was approved by a vote of 372-to-9, with all of the ``no'' votes cast by Democrats.
A similar resolution recognizing the importance of Ramadan and the Islamic faith was passed unanimously in October.
The 9 votes against the Christmas resolution were cast by Gary Ackerman and Yvette Clarke of New York; Diana Degette of Colorado; Alcee Hastings of Florida; Jim McDermott of Washington; Bobby Scott of Virginia; and Barbara Lee, Pete Stark and Lynn Woolsey of California.
This press release was published on 13 Dec 2007. For more information, please contact Religion Desk - 651-631-5000

I think it is interesting that the resolution recognizing the importance of the Muslim faith passed unanimously while there were 9 people who voted against the importance of the Christian Faith. I also think it is interesting that it doesn't mention any resolution recognizing the importance of Hannakah and the Judaic Faith. I also wonder why they did this? Was it a Public Relations thing? Or...??? With the war, and housing crisis and Disaster areas and underfunded things, why are they passing resolutions commending religions at all? I know the separation of CHurch and state is NOT in the constitution - it is in a letter Jefferson wrote to a Baptist church but still. If that is what there practice is then shouldn't it be consistent? I don't know. Maybe I am reading too much into this? What do you think?

Friday, November 02, 2007

Girls' Halloween costumes are looking more like they were designed by Victoria's Secret every year. Are we prudes or is this practically kiddie porn?
By Matthew Philips

Apparently, witches aren't ugly anymore; they're sexy. So are pirates and pumpkins and princesses--traditional little girl Halloween costumes that used to say, Isn't she cute? now scream, That's hot! with an increasing array of halter tops, bare midriffs and miniskirts. Costume catalogs and Websites, filled with images of pouty preteens modeling the latest in Halloween fashion, seem almost to verge on child pornography, and ooze with attitude.
Witches are "wayward" and grammar-school pirates are "wenches." A girl isn't an Army cadet, she's a "Major Flirt," and who knew female firefighters wore fishnet stockings? Even Little Bo Peep comes with a corset, short skirt and lacy petticoat.
And while complaints about "slutty" kids' costumes may seem like a yearly parents' lament, the industry has been ramping up the sex appeal to ever younger groups of girls. It's not just 10- and 12-year-olds who have gone Halloween trampy. Now 6- and 7-year-old models are featured in catalogs wearing child-sized versions of skimpy costumes that used to be reserved for adult boudoirs. If you think we're exaggerating, note that they're actually selling something called a "Child's Chamber Maid Costume." And, many of the tween girls in the photographs are wearing more make-up than Christina Aguilera on awards night. More disturbing may be their expressions--they look as if they've been told to give the camera their best "sexy" gaze. Tack on all the licensed outfits from popular TV shows and toy lines like
Cheetah Girls, Bratz and Hannah Montana, and parents are having to search farther a field for something that won't make their little trick-or-treater look like a lady of the night. But with adolescent girls parading around in short-shorts that say JUICY across the bottom, and every younger girls aspiring to be a diva of some sort, is it any wonder that their Halloween costumes have gotten racier? "No, but it is distressing," says Joe Kelly, founder of the advocacy group Dads and Daughters. He sees the trend as symptomatic of a deeper issue. "The hypersexualization of younger and younger girls only serves to reinforce gender roles. When an 8-year-old girl
can't find a doctor costume because all they have are nurse outfits, that's a problem." Celia Rivenbark, author of the 2006 parental manifesto "Stop Dressing your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank," has noticed it too, and says that Halloween has become "just another excuse for little girls to dress like sluts."

This year Americans will spend close to $2 billion on Halloween costumes, nearly double what they spent in 2003, according to the National Retail Federation. With so much money up for grabs, more and more retailers have elbowed their way into the costume market, increasing the pressure to offer a unique take on old favorites. "The idea of vamping up the appeal of the costume is something we've seen a lot of," says NRF spokesperson Kathy Grannis. So while the variety of costumes has certainly increased, they all look more and more alike. Whether it's a "Midnight Fairy Rock Girl," a "Scar-let Pirate" or "Miss-Behaved," chances are if you buy your daughter
the costume she really wants, the one all the other little girls are wearing, she'll show up at the neighbor's doorstep in a choker collar, high-heels and baring enough skin to give you a real fright.
These new "edgier" costumes are simply reflections of pop culture, says Jackie MacDonald, a costume buyer for catalog giant Lillian Vernon. "Girls today seem to like a little pizzazz. The same old princesses aren't where it's at anymore," she says, before carefully noting, "We don't want to say they're sexier, just more confident."
Not that there's anything patently wrong with young girls wanting to look pretty. Child psychologists agree that embracing and understanding their attractiveness is a key part of early-adolescent development for girls. But when sexiness and body image become the sole criteria by which they judge themselves and each other, "That's when we start to see problems," says Dr. Eileen Zurbriggen, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who last year chaired the American Psychological Association's (APA) Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. Their report, issued in February, declared that, "Throughout U.S. culture, and particularly in mainstream media, women and girls are depicted in a sexualized manner." That shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone who's watched TV or thumbed through a magazine in the last 50 years. But what might be news is the increasing evidence of the negative impact an overemphasis on body image has on girls' lives. The APA task force's team of psychologists linked oversexualization with three of the most common mental health problems for women 18 and older: eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression. And there is evidence that the effect is trickling down the age brackets.
"Clinicians are reporting that younger and younger girls are presenting with eating disorders and are on diets," says Zurbriggen. Dr. Sharon Lamb, also on the APA task force, has recently coauthored a book, "Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters From Marketing Schemes," which includes a chapter devoted solely to sexy Halloween costumes. Lamb points out that most Web sites selling kids Halloween costumes divide merchandise along gender lines, and typically offer more choices for boys than girls (boys get to be doctors, police officers as well as gory monsters and "Star Wars" characters). Of the 22 girl costumes featured on one Web site Lamb looked at, 15 were cheerleaders, divas and rock stars. "That really limits girls' imaginations," says Lamb, who surveyed 600 young girls for the book, many of whom admitted to dressing up as something sexy for Halloween in order to get attention. Of course this not the kind of attention most parents want for their pre-teen daughters. But how do you compromise with a kid who's begging to be a saucy witch when all you want to do is go back to the days when she wanted to be a lion cub or a Teletubby? There's no easy answer for that question.
But even if you can't talk her into a Hillary Clinton pantsuit, you might be able to convince her that real pirates wear pants.

So, TVbyGIRLS gals and viewers, what do you think? All of these below outfits come in sizes as small as 4 - 6 yrs.
Outfits labeled with titles like: Miss Behaved Child Costume, Devil Grrrl Child Costume, Sweetheart Bat Costume, Major Flirt and others.....

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Quick Q - Have any of you participated in the Future Cities Competition for National Engineering Week? I am just curious what you thought of it. I am doing this with my school and IT ROCKS! The focus of the competition and future city design is addressing how nanotechnology and sensor systems can be used to address and prevent deficiencies in infrastructure. I am developing my own opinion regarding the infrastructure but ... I was curious if any of you have ever thought about the implications of nanotechnology to society and also what it could do for the film industry if anyone applied it.

Have a great day!


Tuesday, September 04, 2007


My Grandpa has been in intensive care at Mercy hospital this past week (Yup 6 days in ICU.) They thought he may have had a stroke but it turns out he has Encaphalitis - a virus that infects and attacks your brain. Crazy, huh. Apparently the same virus that causes cold sores attacks the brains of 1 -2 people out of a million in the US each year. And, this form of Encaphalitis is the deadliest form. It kills 35% of the people who get it and seems that half the people who survive have permanent brain damage and half who survive are just fine. He is doing pretty well right now - considering (He was moved out of ICU and into a normal room in neurology) but if anybody feels inclined to say a prayer I would appreciate it.

The link to the website we set up to keep people updated on how he is is


Monday, September 03, 2007

Hey everyone! I've been feeling really out of the loop since I missed the last meeting...what's going on with Undercover now??

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I want to apologize for getting on here so late and to attempt to make up for that, I have a podcast that I wish to share with you. So it's not "mine" or anything but a friend introduced it to me, and it has since become a source of inspiration and free entertainment.  Head to iTunes and search "IndieFeed."  There are several different IndieFeed Podcasts including Hip Hop, Indie Pop, Blues, etc.  But the one that I subscribe to is "Performance Poetry."  This stuff is lyrical, it is is brilliant, it is deep, it is true, it is hilarious, it is heartbreaking and most of all it is mindblowing. Even if you don't consider yourself a poet or interested in poetry, I strongly urge you to step out of the box and listen to a few.  They will change your life.  No joke.  I can recommend some of my favourites if you're interested.

And yes, it is EXPLICIT so be aware, there is no skimping on F-bombs or thematic material.  But this is one of the few instances where I think the language is completely necessary and appropriate...well not appropriate...but you know what I mean.

Anyway, check it out.

Monday, August 20, 2007

I think we had a really great meeting yesterday. I want to thank everyone who was there for being so open and willing to discuss their feelings on some touchy issues. I think that that is a big part of what we are about, and it's very brave. It's also something that not many people do very often.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

In doing research for Behind Bullies, I found a group called Bullying Prevention is Crime Prevention and they say that kids who are bullied are 5 times more likely to suffer from depression. Bullied boys are 4 times as likely to be suicidal and bullied girls are 8 times as likely to be suicidal. The Centers for Disease Control say suicide numbers have tripled since 1960 and that around 2,000 kids in the USA commit suicide each year. Suicide caused by bullying is so common they are now calling it Bullycide. A study done by the US Secret Service and the Dept of Education in 2002 that said interviews with 41 school shooters in 37 incidents showed that more than 2/3 of the shooters had been bullied and that their attacks were planned to get revenge. Yet, a study done by the National Mental Health and Education Center found that of teachers 25% see nothing wrong with bullying or putdowns and that these teachers intervened in less than 4% of the bullying incidents they witnessed.

Why are people satisfied shaking their heads and yapping about how awful it is? Why aren't people working to stop this?
Check out the article in today's Star Tribune at (Or, read it below)

3 Wisconsin teens plead no contest in bomb plot

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Three teens accused of helping to plan a Columbine-like attack on a high school pleaded no contest today in separate plea agreements.
William Cornell, 18, pleaded no contest to conspiracy to commit homicide, possession of explosives for unlawful purposes and possession of a short-barreled shotgun.
Shawn Sturtz, 18, pleaded no contest to conspiracy to commit homicide, while Bradley Netwal, 19, pleaded no contest to conspiracy to damage property with explosives.
The three were accused of making bombs and collecting guns to carry out the attack at the northeastern Wisconsin school. They were arrested last fall after a fourth teen, who was not charged, told an associate principal at East High School about the plot.
Prosecutors say the three teens wanted revenge for bullying and other problems they had at school. Cornell and Sturtz had long been fascinated by the April 1999 Columbine massacre in Littleton, Colo., in which two students armed with guns, knives and bombs killed 12 classmates and a teacher before killing themselves, police said.
Each had charges dropped against them as part of plea deals. Brown County District Attorney John Zakowski dropped a charge of conspiracy to damage property with explosives against Cornell; a charge of conspiracy to commit homicide against Netwal and a charge of conspiracy to damage property with explosives against Sturtz.
He recommended eight years in prison and 12 years of supervision for Cornell, two years in prison and three years of supervision for Netwal and four and a half years in prison and five and a half years of supervision for Sturtz. Sentencing dates were set for October.
The three teens began planning the assault on their school two to three years before they were arrested, prosecutors said. Netwal, a 2006 graduate, and Cornell told detectives they made jellied gasoline for a fire bomb.
Police said they found nine rifles and shotguns, a handgun, about 20 "crudely made" explosive devices, camouflage clothing, gas masks, two-way radios and hundreds of rounds of ammunition at Cornell's house. At Sturtz's home, they found knives and ammunition.
The plot included setting off bombs by school toilets and throwing jars of burning homemade napalm at doors so students couldn't get out and more people would be hurt, Sturtz told investigators. Netwal told police he went along with the plan because he didn't want his friends to think he was a coward.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

My uncle Keith drove over the bridge 15 minutes or so before it collapsed. My aunt Stephanie worked late and missed it otherwise she would have been on it. A family friend was there about 5 minutes after it happened. Most of you live closer to this tragedy than I do. Are all of you and your families and friends okay?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

I just saw an article from Newsweek, and it made me think a lot about undercover. I also saw Saida down at the U when I was wating for my bus, and I sent her the link. We were both so excited that such mainstream media was doing a positive-themed story about Islamic people. The cover story and special focus of this week's issue is about Islam in the US. It profiled some really interesting Islamic people. Here is the link on the Newsweek website:

Friday, July 27, 2007


You all missed an interesting evening last night at the Walker Art Center's TCYMN screening. (Siblings screened and the audience thought performances by Hannah and Jonah were especially awesome. They got huge laughs and sighs and chattering as people said things like "I remember doing that" or "That is just like my brother!") The films were visually interesting (although the drug addicted suicidal animated pig and the entire film Lyndale & Lake were a little violent for me) and the audience was not business as usual. Apparently the Alliance for Community Media was having a national conference and all these community station owners and producers and stuff were there. As a result the Q & A had really different and rather thought provoking questions. They were a little less interested in personal experiences and more interested in larger issues. One question that stands out was "Do you feel there are enough adequate avenues for local youth media?" I think that as a panel, we agreed that in terms of numbers there was an adequate number of supportive groups but that they all needed more/better funding, technology etc and that instead of starting new groups/programs etc, we would encourage people to become invested in existing organizations and in developing opportunities to screen work. I was the only female filmmaker - and the youngest so it was a little weird for me. In a way, although there were a lot of women in the audience, I felt a little on the spot - like they were taking my answers as being on behalf of all female teen filmakers. So, what do you think about places for youth interested in media to go? How would you have answered if you were there? Are there enough? Are they adequate? And, here's a question of my own that I did not bring up last night ... do we want to settle for adequate?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Sorry guys - these will be the last photos from my trip. I just had to share them, though because they are some of my favorites.
This photo my brother and I have dubbed "Bunker Cars." There aren't very many gas stations or autobody shops on the Rez. When cars break down or run out of gas, they are abandonned. Gangs are a HUGE problem on the Rez (along with a life expectany of 47, an unemployment rate of 85%, obesity, poverty, diabetes, inadequate housing and health care, etc etc etc. Studies show that Pine Ridge - in South Dakota!!! - has worse conditions than anywhere in the western hemisphere. Yup. That's right, worse than Venezuala and Guatamala and Colombia and stuff.) and they shot out this car.
The one at the PowWow was underexposed but I love the effect because it captures the feeling of the PowWow without singling out any one dancer. It was like this radiant being who simply rose out of the grass to play on the earth.

I am not going to tell you this boys name or situation on the internet because of privacy but I will say he was amazing and needs lots of thoughts and prayers for his health, safety and sanity. I played with him every morning I was there and loved this photo of him personalizing his T-shirt.

I worked with kids from 3 to 10. All of them are really visual and LOVED cameras and taking pictures and video. Their school just got a grant to put a film developing lab in this summer so it will be fun to see what happens with that.

This is the entry at Wounded Knee. If you don't know about Wounded Knee, you should read about it. It is unbelieveable what happened here. The weird thing is, when you just walk onto the property and get out of the van, you feel heavy. You feel the weight of the sadness and pain. It is a very physical thing there that even people who don't know about the history talk about feeling. Last year, my brother and I rode bareback around Wounded Knee. This year we just explored the individual and mass graves and looked for those people we had read about.

This is the sky and the bell tower of the old church we stayed in. What you can't tell from the photo is that the clouds were like popcorn in the sky. Pine Ridge might be stark but it is beautiful. I have never seen such amazing sky as in Pine RIdge.

Anyway, there is a lot of hope on the Rez, too. There are a lot of outside groups wanting to help. There are a lot of inside groups working to try to ensure the help we give is really helpful, not just a handout. (Teach a man to fish kind of thing.) So, we go and we ask how to help and we do it because it is important. When I talk to people about it, they don't even know that this happens in the US. They don't even know what our Government did and is still doing. Not really. Not the truth of it. And the even sadder thing is, a lot of people don't care. But they should because if you aren't working on fixing the problem, you are part of it and it becomes a problem for all of us. Also, those of you who went to Washington, the group that won the extra grant who were from Deadwood live on this Rez. (or thereabouts.)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

I took this picture in South Dakota this summer. I was there with a group from my church. The day this was taken the weather turned from blue skys to a downpoor in seconds. When I took this the clouds were finaly clearing up and our rental vans were stuck in 6 inch deep mud and clay.
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Friday, July 20, 2007

Here is a snack that Stasia made for me while I was interviewing her. It has the suggested portions of the different food groups. Does it look palatable? Tasty?

Here are a couple of clips from my first interview with Stasia, one of my nutrition experts. She has something called the "fist method", a suggestion of how to have a healthy and balanced diet. What I want to know is whether this sounds like something you feel that you could try to do -- or is it too demanding? Is having a healthier diet something you want to do? What do you think of the fist method?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

So, the other day as Annie, Maddy, Kirsten, the mentors and myself were looking on the web and discussing the new t-shirt style we would like to get for TVbyGIRLS, the group stumbled onto one of my favorite hot topics as of late-- American Apparel. This LA-based clothing company is sweat-shop free and has managed to make cotton t-shirts sexy and cool. Who wouldn't want guilt free trendy clothing like that?

There is one down side (or maybe it's a positive? i can't decide yet!) to American Apparel, though. Their advertising and website is quite honestly, some of the most blatantly sexualized out there. See, the issue at hand is that their clothing is basic, and they put it on regular people. okay, fairly regular people. and then these regular people are photographed being extremely sexy. Now, should we be applauding AA for using real people as models and not size zero stick figures, or should we be screaming our heads off for them over sexualizing and objectifying women (and men!)?

i am seriously torn.

all images (and my new shirts) from

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Monday, July 16, 2007

I look at this and it is really remarkable. teenage girls, senior women--strangers before and now connected. What does that mean. Connected. Isn't it what we are all looking for--to connect--with people who are like us, people who we are curious about, people who can teach us things, people who make us laugh and feel the best of ourselves.

what images mean connections?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

What a great meeting we had today.... Amalia, Annie, Kirsten and Maddy. We covered a lot and also just got to be present in each others lives! So much is ahead, many exciting projects and times together.

So now I ask that you keep this going with insights, visions, quotes, updates and more. More, more, more.
And those of you that did not make it to the meeting or are just reading this to see what we are up to... send us your thoughts, inspirations and ideas!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I would like to put a request out to see how many people are viewing this blog and are interested in participating... So, here is an assignment or mission if you will...
I found this ad on Stephan Spencer's Scatterings blog. He spotted it in the print brochure for the Italian Film Festival a couple years ago.I just can't believe someone said, yeah, okay, let's print this. But tell me, what do you think? How does it make you feel?

And in case you were wondering: "Virtus Communications is a boutique agency providing communications solutions for fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands." Their goal? "To get you noticed. Influence behaviour. Lead the way."

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Set your VCR’s for Tuesday, 5/15 at 5:00 am. or Saturday, 5/19 at 5:00 am.

Barbara, TVbyGIRLS Executive Director, was interviewed for a piece on TVbyGIRLS by KPXM - TV 41 - Minneapolis/St. Paul (An Affiliate of ION Media Networks) and it will be screening at those times.
TVbyGIRLS girls have been busy. Right now 4 girls (Annie, Casey, Maddy and Molly) are in Washington, D.C. with mentor Barbara.

TVbyGIRLS for the Greatest Girls project in collaboration with the Minnesota Historical Society has been chosen as 1 of 11 finalists for a national honors award through the History Channel’s SAVE OUR HISTORY project. The Save our History is a program which encourages historic preservation and research through student involvement. The Save Our History program flew 4 girls and 2 adults from each of the 11 groups to DC. They will be there from Monday, May 14 thru May 16. Two groups will be awarded top honors and receive an grant of $10,000 to apply to the project.

What will we do there?
We will participate in a Youth Summitt to :
1. share a 3 minute presentation to the group about our project
2. work with other students to brainstorm ideas about how to make history education more interesting and generate more involvement by students in historic preservation
3. develop a student report of those ideas that will be read into the Congressional record

AND we will attend The History Channel Save Our History National Honors Breakfast.

It is exciting so check back for a discussion on the event.

Also, we are excited to say... we received notification that the two
pieces we submitted to the Telly Awards BOTH received awards.

"What's with the Hijab" received a silver (less than 10% of the 13,000
entries receive that) is the highest honor
"Siblings or Why I wish I were an only child " received a bronze award (less
than 25% of the entries receive that).

So, it's a big deal and we are very proud that the work is being recognized
in such prestigious adult settings.