Sunday, December 30, 2007

Benazir Bhutto: A Legacy of Hope For Women

I won’t pretend I understand the political implications of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. In death she is being remembered mostly for her positive attributes, but I’ve read enough to know that her reign as Prime Minister of Pakistan was flawed with accusations of corruption, which is why she fled the country and lived in exile for several years. As much as as I read for and against her, however, I find as much for and against the current president she opposed; so it’s really difficult to get a clear picture of who the good guys are in Pakistan.

An Associated Press report about the Benazir Bhutto’s family legacy offers this historical recap: Her father, Pakistan's president and then prime minister, was hanged; one brother died mysteriously, the other in a shootout. She spent five years imprisoned by her father's tormentors, mostly in solitary confinement, before rising twice to the office of prime minister. She fled before her conviction on corruption charges, living abroad for eight years. She could have lived there comfortably forever, but chose not to do so. She returned in October to oppose President Pervez Musharraf, and a suicide attacker targeted her homecoming parade in Karachi and more than 140 people died; and has been under the threat of death every day since.

For whatever flaws she may have had, I believe that Benazir Bhutto is a courageous feminist hero; because she represented hope for women in a part of the world known for its often brutal repression of women. The first woman to lead a Muslim nation in modern times, Bhutto was the leader of “The Peoples Party, “ and to many Pakistani’s, especially women, she was a voice for their needs, their hopes and their dreams for a better life. She had the good fortune to have a father who must have been a bit of a feminist himself. He sent her to America to study politics and government at Harvard and then at Oxford. I’m sure the fact that she was educated in the West, and returned to her home country a beautiful, articulate young woman didn’t endear her to the Muslim clerics who have been condemning her since.

With the Taliban re-gaining power in Afghanistan and beyond, I hope that the legacy of Benazir Bhutto will be that of a brave woman who risked her life every day for what she believed; and that in death she will continue to further the cause of women’s rights in the Middle East.

It would be the ultimate vindication that her martyrdom became the beacon of hope and change for women...which is exactly the opposite of what her assasins had planned.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Holiday Reality Check

Every so often, God taps me on the shoulder and in His own gentle way says, "Snap out of it!" That's what has happened to me (twice) in the past few weeks.

Like many people this time of year, I've been feeling a little down this holiday season.

Since I was a little girl, I've always loved Christmas time. In my selective memory, I recall lots of laughter, good food, and outdoor fun in the snow and of course, many wonderful presents under the tree in what seemed like, in hindsight, the perfect family. I had a mom and dad who had a loving 64-year marriage, and 6 siblings who, for the most part, all got along. At 25, I met a man who had a similar healthy upbringing. When Phil told me his favorite movie was White Christmas with Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney, I knew that Christmas would be very Merry...and so were the 19 others we shared as we formed our own family and our own holiday traditions.

I still love the holidays, but I have to work a little harder at capturing and holding the Christmas spirit since my husband's death 5 Christmases ago. And so do my 2 daughters.

In television specials, holiday movies, and even jewelry commercials, perfect relationships in the form of happy families and romantic couples abound. Like that's the norm in everyday America when in fact, so many people today are in less than what Hallmark might define as the norm. Now, families come in all shapes and sizes. And sometimes, a a family of one. Whether through death, divorce, financial distress, or illness, Christmas time can be downright difficult, and lonely for many.

Back to the reality check.

This past Thursday through Saturday, I had the privilege of being one of the co-hosts of the Children's Miracle Network radiothon to raise money for the Sparrow Regional Children's Center in Lansing, Michigan. WVIC is one of our sister stations, also owned by the Rubber City Radio Group that operates 3 stations in Akron and 4 in Lansing. Throughout the broadcast, we met, interviewed and had life-changing exchanges with families who had the benefit of experiencing the Sparrow Children's hosptial team in the past, or others who were currently under their care. There were many inspiring stories of children and their parents who had faced the most traumatic of circumstances and lived to tell about it. And many other stories of children who didn't make it, but inspiring were their stories nonetheless.

I am still processing the many amazing and moving stories I heard over these pat 2 days; but was especially moved by one told by Natalie, a mom who lost her 6-year-old son Max to a terminal illness 2 years ago. Natalie came in to tell her family's story, and how the amazing staff at this hospital helped them get through this nightmare. Max was an amazing child, who left his mark on many (including us) who never met him. Since Max's death, Natalie, her husband and their friends put together a 5-K run/walk in his honor to raise money for Sparrow. After she talked to us on the air and encouraged people to call and donate, she went over to the phone bank and volunteered several hours on the phone lines. What an amazing woman.

Two weeks before my trip to Lansing, our radio station in Akron hosted a Tree Of Lights radiothon to raise money and awareness for the Haven Of Rest mission for Akron's homeless and needy.

It's a funny thing about what we perceive to be our challenges and problems in life. We often think no one could possibly understand our pain and grief, or have it tougher than we do. We'd like to be in another's shoes.

Be careful what you wish for.

I believe that if you were to walk into a room with 10 other people, and each person were told to stand in a circle and toss their bag of burdens into the center of that circle and then walk out with whatever problems from that you could handle.... I'll bet you'd pick up your own burdens and walk home feeling like they weren't so heavy after all.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Mortgage Bailout: Rewarding Irresponsibility

I normally don't get too political in my writings, but I'm really upset by our President's proposed plan to bail out strapped homeowners facing foreclosure.

I thought that the Republican Party was suppose to be the party that believed in corporate and personal decision making as a means for fostering economic growth. I thought they favored policies that limited government regulation and intrusion into our personal lives and advocated minimal interference in the economy. I guess I was wrong. The head of our country (and the Republican party) seems to think that bailing out mortgage holders who borrowed more than they could afford, and gambled with risky Adjustable Rate Mortgages is the right thing to do to keep our economy from plummeting into a full scale recession. I think it's the wrong thing to do on both a moral and economic level; and it's probably too late even if it weren't wrong.

I am far from a genius when it comes to economic matters. I squeaked through math in high school and college barely making a passing grade. But I do have some common sense. With the help of a calculator…I can figure out the basics; like how much money I have coming in, and how much goes out, and what if anything is left over. Then, I live within those means. Do I want a bigger house? Sure. A cool new car? You bet! But I'm a single mom with a mortgage, one kid in college and the second going next year. There are things I can't afford, and that's life.

But there are others who don't play by the rules of common sense. Whether it's a sense of entitlement, greed or ignorance, they took advantage of the cheap credit that was available and they bought more house than they could afford. And probably, more car, furniture, clothes and other luxury items to go along with it. They find themselves drowning in debt, and their homes are being foreclosed.

Jon Markman, a writer for MSN Money says "The Bush administration intends to fix the subprime credit mess by keeping people who weren't creditworthy in debt longer and rendering signed contracts meaningless."

That totally sums it up.

CNN reported a story about a woman who bought a home in Florida. Instead of going for an adjustable rate mortgage with low initial rates, she opted for the security of a 30-year fixed at 7.10 percent in December, 2005. But many delinquent subprime borrowers who went for low teaser rates that shot up to unaffordable levels are now paying lower rates than she is as part of a new round of foreclosure bailout packages. For example, one borrower had a riskier adjustable rate mortgage with a rate of just under 7 percent that was going to reset in December to 10.5 percent. But last month, as part of a new bailout plan from Countrywide Financial, the lender gave him a rate reduction to 5 percent on his loan, saving him hundreds of dollars a month. Hardly fair for the woman who now feels cheated because she paid more up front, and will pay more over the life of the loan than he. Hard to blame her.

Bailing out people who have gotten themselves into this kind of debt is only enabling them and putting a band-aid on a more severe problem. Extending these loan terms is like giving an alcoholic a drink to ease their symptoms, when the reasons behind the behavior and personal responsibility for solving the problem so it doesn't happen again are ignored. And, what does it teach our younger generation about personal responsibility? Buy what you want, but don't pay for it?

I know that bad things can happen to even the most responsible person. Job loss, illness, an accident or even a death or divorce, can affect a family's income quickly. For those unique and extreme circumstances, I fully support the government programs that offer assistance to protect a family from losing their home. But I don't believe most of the people involved in this mortgage crisis fall into this category.

Despite the Fed's attempts to stave off a recession with interest cuts, it looks like our nation is heading into a recession, and maybe it's just what we need to teach people to live within their means.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

50 Ways To Live Longer

From Men's Health Magazine: author By Denny Watkins

We've been told that the only sure things are death and taxes. But just as creative accountants have helped many men triumph over their 1040s, we can help you outrun the reaper. Maybe it's a game you can't ultimately win. But by following these 50 tips, you sure as hell can send it into overtime.

1. Drink at Least Five 8-ounce Glasses of Water a Day

Scientists at Loma Linda University found that men who drank this amount of H2O were 54 percent less likely to suffer a fatal heart attack than those who drank two glasses or less every day.

2. Take a Laugh Break

Watching 15 minutes of funny video can improve bloodflow to your heart by 50 percent, report researchers at the University of Maryland. "This may reduce blood-clot formation, cholesterol deposition, and inflammation," says study author Michael Miller, M.D. For your daily dose, click on the "hilarious" video link at

3. Don't Go to Work Sick

Over a 3-year period, men who clocked in despite feeling under the weather had double the heart-attack risk of guys who stayed in bed, according to a U.K. study.

4. Put Out the Fire in Your Chest

Untreated heartburn can lead to a heart attack, according to a study in the International Journal of Cardiology. Scientists discovered that as acid levels in the esophagus rise, the incidence of blocked bloodflow to the heart also rises by 20 percent. A natural remedy: Analyze your diet. Don't make a habit of drinking wine, juice, or carbonated beverages, all of which are highly acidic and may trigger heartburn, say South Carolina researchers.

5. Indulge Your Chocolate Craving

In a 15-year study, Dutch scientists determined that men who ate just 4 grams of cocoa a day had half the risk of dying from heart disease than those who ate less. That's the equivalent of two 25-calorie Hershey's Kisses — an amount that can fit into any diet.

6. Say No to Froot Loops

In a review of 53 studies, Australian researchers found that regularly eating cereal made from refined grains raises insulin and C-reactive protein, and lowers good cholesterol — all factors that boost your odds of developing heart disease. A better choice for your morning bowl: Post Shredded Wheat cereal, which is made from 100 percent whole grains and contains no sugar.

7. Take a Magnesium Supplement

Over an 18-year period, French researchers determined that men with the highest blood levels of magnesium are 40 percent less likely to die of any cause than those with the lowest levels. Magnesium can make multivitamins too bulky, so add a 250 milligram (mg) pill from or GNC to your daily regimen.

8. Burn 1,100 Calories a Week

Duke University scientists discovered that this amount of exercise prevents the accumulation of visceral adipose tissue — the dangerous belly fat that causes arterial inflammation and hypertension. Falling short? Join a league: A recent British Medical Journal study reported that people who exercised in groups boosted their average calorie burn by 500 a week.

9. Take a Daily Multivitamin

Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley discovered that this helps prevent the DNA damage that causes cancer. We like Centrum Silver.

10. Hit the Weights

University of Michigan scientists found that men who completed three total-body workouts a week for 2 months lowered their diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by an average of eight points. That's enough to reduce the risk of stroke by 40 percent and heart attack by 15 percent.

11. Set a Three-Drink Limit

Harvard researchers determined that downing more than three drinks in a 24-hour period increases your risk of atrial fibrillation, a condition that may boost your odds of a stroke fivefold during that time. An important note: When the average man pours himself a glass of wine, it's typically twice the size of a standard drink (4 ounces), report researchers at Duke University.


12. Plop an Alka-Seltzer...

It contains 325 milligrams of aspirin, the same as a regular aspirin, and begins fighting blood clots almost 3 minutes faster than a pill, according to a study in Thrombosis Research.

13. ...and Call a Ride

Walk-in patients wait almost twice as long in the E.R. as those who arrive by ambulance, according to a University of New Mexico study.

14. Treat a Killer Bee Sting

You may not know if you're allergic to the venom of a bee, wasp, or hornet until you've already been stung. But if you start to experience the symptoms of a life-threatening reaction — hives, wheezing, abdominal cramping — you can save yourself in 3 steps:

Step 1. Call 911.

Step 2. Take a Benadryl.

Step 3. Lie on your back and elevate your legs while you wait for help, says Steven Kernerman, D.O., an allergist at the Spokane Allergy and Asthma Clinic. An allergic reaction can constrict your blood vessels, and our three-step strategy counteracts that by improving bloodflow to your heart.

15. Eat Produce at Every Meal

If you consume more than five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, you have a 26 percent lower risk of stroke than people who eat fewer than three servings, according to a recent U.K. study.

16. Monitor Your Blood Sugar

Johns Hopkins University researchers recently determined that people with the highest blood-sugar levels have twice the risk of heart disease as those with the lowest. A warning sign: fasting blood sugar that's greater than 100 mg per deciliter.

17. Think Positive

Purdue scientists discovered that constant worrying shortens your life span by 16 years.

18. Keep Your Cool

Men who frequently express anger outwardly are more than twice as likely to have a stroke than guys who control their tempers, according to the journal Stroke. If you have anger-management issues, try fish oil. National Institutes of Health scientists found that hostile, aggressive men often have low blood levels of DHA — one of the main omega-3 fats found in the oil. We like Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega ($27 for 60 1,000-milligram (mg) softgels; Take 1,000 to 2,000 mg every day.


Most shark attacks occur at dawn and dusk, when sharks feed, says Alan Henningsen, a marine biologist and shark researcher at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. You can watch the sky for clues to their location: Seabirds eat the same fish as sharks. Here are three more ways to avoid a grisly death.

19. Dive with a Partner

This cuts the chance of a shark attack by 50 percent, say Australian scientists.

20. If You're Attacked, Hit the Shark in Its Eyes or Gills

These are its most sensitive areas. The snout might work as a target, but this tactic often results in a bitten arm, according to a University of Maryland study.

21. For God's Sake, Don't Pee in the Ocean

Bodily fluids attract sharks.

22. Try a Natural Remedy

According to Israeli scientists, eating one red grapefruit a day lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol by 20 percent, even in people who don't respond to statins.

23. Have Breakfast within 90 Minutes of Waking

A University of Massachusetts study found that men who waited longer than that were 50 percent more likely to become obese. And U.K. researchers determined that increases in body mass were directly proportionate to the likelihood of dying of gut cancers — specifically rectal, bladder, colon, and liver.

24. Vacuum for 30 Minutes

Doing 150 calories' worth of chores a day can lower high blood pressure by 13 points, according to Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. The reduction lasts only 8 hours, but make it a daily habit and you can lower your BP in the long term. (Helping out more with housework may improve your sex life, too.)

25. Eat Berries

The antioxidants in cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries have been shown to offer protection from a stroke, keep you mentally sharp as you age, and ward off cancer.

26. Drownproof Yourself

If you're dumped in the water without a life preserver, the key to survival is staying warm and conserving energy. Use the method taught to U.S. Navy pilots: Float facedown in the water with your knees tucked against your chest in the fetal position. (This slows the drop in body temperature.) Exhale bubbles slowly, turning your head to one side only to inhale deeply. Repeat until help arrives.

27. Sleep on Your Side

This can halve the number of sleep-apnea-related wakeups you experience during the night. Such interruptions make you up to six times more likely to be involved in an auto accident, due to residual fatigue, according to researchers at University Hospital in Bern, Switzerland. To keep from rolling over onto your back as you sleep, stuff a small, firm neck pillow down the back of your T-shirt before dozing off.

28. Light a Jasmine-Scented Candle

Men who did this for just 1 minute before bed fell asleep faster, tossed and turned less, and felt more refreshed in the morning than those who didn't inhale the aroma, report scientists at Wheeling Jesuit University. That's important, because insufficient sleep boosts your risk of diabetes, and restless sleep increases your odds of a stroke.

29. Live Life in a Smoke-Free Zone

Secondhand smoke, besides boosting your risk of lung cancer, raises your diabetes risk by 40 percent — nearly the same as smoking does.

30. Dodge a Deadly Lightning Bolt

Stay off the toilet during severe thunderstorms. If lightning hits within even 60 feet of your house, it can not only jump through phone and electrical lines but also run through plumbing, according to the National Weather Service.

31. Put Your iPod on a Mount

Reaching for an unsecured object as you drive makes you eight times more likely to swerve into a road barrier, according to the Mayo Clinic.

32. Check Your Smoke Alarms

The most likely reason a house fire ends in a fatality: no early warning. While just about every U.S. residence has smoke alarms, a Morehouse School of Medicine study revealed that the devices were nonfunctioning in one-third of homes due to dead or absent batteries. If you've ever let the juice in any of your detectors dwindle — or removed the battery simply to disable the low-power beep — consider installing at least one DuPont self-charging smoke alarm ($26; It screws into a ceiling light socket and feeds off your home's electricity.

33. Sip on Mint Tea

It contains the powerful antioxidant hesperidin, which reduces the inflammation and oxidative stress associated with diabetes by 52 percent, according to a study at the University of Buffalo. And despite its lack of caffeine, mint tea also increases alertness.

34. Don't Jaywalk

This is particularly good advice if you've had too much to drink, because 77 percent of pedestrians killed while crossing the road aren't at intersections. And 53 percent of those killed at night had blood-alcohol concentrations at or above .08 percent, the legal limit in all 50 states.

35. Don't Get Blown to Bits

Keep bleach, paint stripper, fabric softener, glue, and sidewalk salt away from gas appliances. The chlorine or fluorine in these products breaks down into ionized gas, which can eat holes in the pipes that deliver the fuel for your furnace, range, or dryer. Think you smell fumes? Don't call for help from inside your house; using your phone could create an electric spark and set off an explosion.


Scandinavian researchers have observed that deep depression (and its spinoff, suicide) is often caused by job stress. Here's how to lower stress, boost your mood, and simultaneously improve your overall health.

36. Find Time to Exercise...

People who exercise at any intensity for 2 hours a week — an average of about 17 minutes a day — are 61 percent less likely to feel highly stressed than their sedentary counterparts, according to researchers in Denmark.

37. ...Then Take it Outside

British researchers found that people who exercised outdoors reduced their depression by 71 percent, while indoor exercisers' depression decreased by only 45 percent after their workouts.

38. Cut Out the Sweet Stuff

Tufts University researchers found that men on low-sugar diets had lower levels of depression and anxiety than those who consumed all types of carbs. The happier people also limited their total carb intake to 40 percent of total calories.

39. Douse Your Salad with Oil and Vinegar

European scientists determined that unheated olive oil reduces cancer risk. As for vinegar, eating it prior to a high-carbohydrate meal (like pasta) slows the absorption of carbs into your bloodstream. This prevents the spikes in blood sugar and insulin that signal your body to store fat.

40. Add Curry to Vegetables

Rutgers University scientists discovered that a combination of turmeric (found in curry powder) and phenethyl isothiocyanate (a compound in broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower) helps fight prostate cancer. The researchers believe that dusting your vegetables just once a week will provide protection.

41. Be a Career Coach

A man married to a woman who is upset by her work is 2.7 times more likely to develop heart disease. If your wife won't find a new job, help her practice her negotiating skills. A Harvard study found that due to anxiety, women don't initiate money talks at work as often as men do, especially when the boss is male.

42. Stash a Cinnamon Air Freshener in your car

The strong, spicy smell can help you stay alert as you drive. Researchers at Wheeling Jesuit University found that a whiff increases alertness by 25 percent. Sucking on an Altoid may work, too.

43. Test Yourself for HIV

A recent British study confirms that early detection is the key to extending your life. You can order a take-home HIV test online ($44,, mail in your blood sample, and receive your results in the mail just 7 days later.

44. Fall on Your Butt

If you feel yourself losing balance on the stairs, crouch so that your butt hits first, says Robert Nirschl, M.D., a spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Don't be afraid to bounce down a few steps — it'll make a fatal blow less likely.

45. Design a Colorful Menu

Colorado State University scientists discovered that men who eat the widest variety of fruits and vegetables gain greater cancer-fighting benefits than those who eat more total servings but choose from a smaller assortment. That's because the plant chemicals that protect against disease vary between botanical families. Mix it up by choosing one serving from five different color groups: blues and purples, greens, whites, reds, and yellows and oranges.

46. Take a Noontime Nap

Breaking up your day with a 30-minute snooze can reduce coronary mortality by 37 percent, report Greek researchers. Why? It reduces stress that can damage your heart. Even a short nap once or twice a week was found to decrease the risk of early death.

47. Steep Your Tea for at Least 3 Minutes

Any less than that lowers the number of disease-fighting antioxidants.

48. Use Watercress in Your Salad

A study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that eating 3 ounces of watercress every day increases levels of the cancer-fighting anti-oxidants lutein and beta-carotene by 100 and 33 percent, respectively.

49. Enjoy Your Joe

Brooklyn College researchers recently discovered that drinking 4 cups of coffee a day lowers your risk of dying of heart disease by 53 percent. If you like Starbucks, choose a Caffè Americano: A grande counts as 4 cups and contains just 15 calories.

50. Ask for the Heel

Bread crust has up to eight times more pronyl lysine — an antioxidant that fights cancer — than what's in the center. Similarly, the skin of produce is loaded with healthy nutrients, too.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Tree Of Lights

If you live, have worked or driven through the West Market Street corrider in Akron, Ohio, between West Point Market and Acme over the years, you've probably noticed the long strands of twinkling lights that adorn the Akron Radio Center every holiday season.

Those 5,000 bulbs strung diagonally 3 stories high in the shape of a tree, with the beautiful star on top is more than just a festive annual holiday display. Each and every bulb represents a $5 donation, and every penny benefits Haven Of Rest Ministries here in Akron.

This Friday November 30th through Sunday December 2nd, members of the WQMX staff are holding their annual Tree Of Lights Radiothon. It's our goal to light every bulb on the tree and the star on top to beat last year's goal of $30,000 raised for Haven Of Rest Ministries.

Haven Of Rest provides food, clothing, shelter and educational programs to needy and homeless men, women and children. The Haven gets no money from the government, and relies soley on donations from generous business owners, corporations and individuals like you and me.

The Akron Radio center is the home of 3 great Akron radio stations 94.9 FM WQMX. 97.5 FM WONE, and 1590 AM WAKR, as well as the online news source for Akron: It is very important to the owner of these radio stations, Thom Mandel, that his stations support worthy causes in the community all year long. At this time of year, especially, when the weather turns cold, and thoughts are focused on giving, Thom's country station 94.9 WQMX presents the this extra special fund-raiser in the hopes hearts will be touched to give to this worthy organization.

A side note on the Tree Of Lights: country music fans may remember the legendary Akron country radio station, WSLR. Years ago, then program director Nick Anthony started the first Tree Of Lights campaign with disc jockeys Jaybird Drennan, Rick Carderelli and my late husband Phil Cordle; broadcasting from the O'Neil's department store window in downtown Akron. Years later Nick brought the concept back to life as the Senior VP of Programming here at WQMX. For me, personally, it is wonderful to be a part of the Akron tradition that my husband was also a part of...while raising money for such a great cause.

If you'd like to help, you can donate to the Haven Of Rest by phone at 877-428-3655 or you can stop by the station from 11:00 AM until 9:00 PM both Saturday and Sunday and make your donation in person. We're at 1795 West Market Street in West Akron.

Happy Holidays!