“Maggie Eats Healthier”: Second Opinions on “Maggie Goes on a Diet”

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Maggie Eats Healthier

Not too long ago I wrote an article on a recently released children’s book called “Maggie Goes on a Diet“. I criticized the book for sending the wrong message to young, impressionable girls and claimed that the book promoted the idea that in order to be successful, happy and popular you had to be skinny. Regrettably, I said all these things without ever reading the book. I was influenced by the large amount of media attention and negative press the book was harboring and, unfortunately, I jumped on the bandwagon without looking at the book from a neutral standpoint.

Well, my “burn him at the stake” attitude about both the author and the book caught up with me as Paul M. Kramer, the author of the book, contacted me. Naturally Mr. Kramer was displeased with my interpretation of his book and felt like I unjustly “judged the book by its cover”, which I can confirm that I did. Mr. Kramer sent me a copy of the book to read personally so that I could do what I should have done in the first place, read it, and give my personal opinion about it instead of following the crowd. And that’s exactly what I did.

I should start off by saying that the version of the book I received was slightly modified from the original. The book I received was titled “Maggie Eats Healthier”. Aside from dropping the word “diet” from the title altogether, the book also changed one line of the book from “The very next morning Maggie’s diet had begun” to “The very next morning Maggie’s lifestyle change had begun”. To many, as well as myself, dropping the word diet from the book seemed to make a huge difference in my perception.

The book was no longer about putting a young girl on a diet and instead was about a young girl, unhappy with herself and how others treated her, who wanted to do something about it. In general, the story centers around 14 year-old Maggie who is overweight, has low self-esteem and is constantly bullied by her peers for being fat. In response to all of this, Maggie decides to start exercising, eating healthier and generally trying to better her own, personal lifestyle.

After reading the book myself, I agree that I was initially too harsh on the content. I honestly do believe, however, that the word “diet” has such a negative undertone to it that using it in a children’s book seems a little wrong. However, Mr. Kramer’s revision to “eating healthier” is a far better way to get his message across and, in my opinion, a much easier pill for the public to swallow. Healthy eating habits should be learned at a young age and diets, I feel, are a very adult thing.

Getting into the content of the book, I feel that it serves multiple purposes. For one, it brings to light the cruelty of children. I believe that the book can teach children that just because somebody is a little bigger than them doesn’t mean that they are any less of a person and that they too have feelings that can be just as easily hurt as their own. The book also shows just how much this bullying can influence children. As a result of the bullying, Maggie turns to food for comfort but it only numbs the pain, it doesn’t make it go away.

The book also brings to the table the issue of self-esteem. Self-esteem is very important, especially with children. Low self-esteem can have devastating effects on a child’s physical and mental health, as well as their performance in school. When Maggie begins to eat healthier, her self-esteem increases, she feels better about herself, she is happier and her performance in school even increases. I think that this book sends the right message to children about having confidence in themselves and being able to accomplish anything if they just put their minds to it.

I will say that I felt some of the lines in the book would be a little inappropriate for very young girls. When the book was first listed on Amazon, it was listed a book for children ages 4 to 8. Mr. Kramer personally told me that this is incorrect and I agree. I personally feel like the book is appropriate for children ages 10 to 13. Around this time children (girls especially) start maturing and this is one of the most important phases in their development.

This book can teach children many things. It can teach them that eating healthy and exercising is important and that it is extremely important to have self-esteem and self-confidence. It can also teach kids that picking on other kids and bullying them, especially because of their weight, is never okay and is not something that they should ever do.

The fact that Maggie never really goes on a diet is the main thing in this book. All she really does is cut out junk food (though she does allow herself one normal-sized treat a week), eat healthier foods and exercise. By doing so, Maggie feels better about herself and actually betters herself as well. I will say that the book does lightly imply that she becomes popular as a result of becoming fit. I would not go as far as to say that the flat out message is “you have to be skinny to be popular” but I could see some people interpreting it that way. I would suggest a page or two of the book could have been devoted to telling about the people that were mean apologizing to Maggie after she becomes healthy.

Overall, my initial judgment of the book was wrong. I think that this book could help decrease the growing threat of childhood obesity, which has tripled in the last 20 years, or at least shed some light on the issue. I do believe that the revisions to the title and the few lines in the book were necessary. The word “diet” sends the wrong message to people everywhere and can cause some pretty vicious attacks. It makes me very sad when I see a little girl who is overweight or obese, especially at such a young age. If this book can help even one girl, it will all have been worth it.

I would like to express my apologies to Mr. Kramer for my unjust criticism of his book and applaud him on writing about something that most authors probably wouldn’t ever consider writing.

Short-throw projectors only require half the projection distance of traditional projectors. The projector can be placed just a foot or so from the screen. This is nice because it keeps the projector and screen near each other instead of having a long throw projector that people can accidentally block.

Military Dumps Remains of Fallen Soldiers in Landfill

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King George County landfillWe all know how painful it is when a friend or loved one is deployed to defend our country. Seeing someone you care about willingly go to risk their lives to ensure that you remain safe is never easy. What is even harder is when that loved one doesn’t come back. Only able to ease the pain slightly, the “no man left behind” policy of our nation’s armed forces has allowed thousands of departed soldiers to be properly honored for their ultimate sacrifice.

However, it has recently been discovered that not every fallen soldier receives the respect owed to them for laying down their life for their country. In what has come to be known, in my opinion, as the most disgusting, disrespectful and appalling thing to be done in recent memory, the Air Force has admitted to dumping the incinerated partial remains of no less than 274 American troops in a Virginia landfill, a number far less than the military previously acknowledged before halting the secretive process nearly three years ago.

What makes this practice so infuriating to me is not the location of these solders’ final resting place but the fact that the landfill dumping was concealed from families who had authorized the military to dispose of the remains in a dignified and respectful manner. In addition to that, there are currently no plans to alert those families, even now, about what happened to their loved ones.

This disgusting and dishonorable practice was uncovered by The Washington Post last month, which was able to document a single case of a soldier whose partial remains were sent to the King George County landfill in Virginia. The new data uncovered shows the actual scope of this crime for the first time, which has become an extremely embarrassing episode for the Dover Air Base, the main port of entry for our fallen heroes.

What’s more is that this practice was never formally authorized under military policies or regulations and was also not disclosed to senior Pentagon officials who conducted a high-level review of cremation policies at the Dover mortuary back in 2008.

Officials from both the Pentagon and the Air Force stated last month that the only way to determine how many remains went to the landfill would require searching through the records of over 6,300 fallen troops whose remains have passed through the mortuary since 2001.

Right now it is believed that 976 fragments from 274 military personnel were cremated, incinerated and taken to the landfill between 2004 and 2008. According to the Air Force, an additional 1,762 unidentified remains were collected from the battlefield and disposed of in a similar manner. This makes the total number of incinerated fragments dumped in the landfill in excess of 2,700.

To say that this infuriates me is an understatement. These extremely brave men and women gave their lives so that we could stay safe at night. They died protecting a country they believed in and loved and this is how we treat them? This is how we show them respect? By dumping their ashes with a bunch of garbage? Absolutely not! This cannot stand and immediate action against the Dover Air Force Base and all those knowingly involved is required.

This is not only a disgrace and a dishonor to these fallen heroes but also to their friends, family, loved ones and all of us in this country that can sleep a little safer as a result of these terrible sacrifices. My condolences go out to the families of these soldiers and I pray that their spirits can find peace.

Source: Yahoo! – Far more troops’ ashes in landfill than acknowledged


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