Nicspicks's Blog

Are Our Kids Too Fat to Protect Our Country?

April 20, 2010
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‘Nicspicks’ for today surround an article in which retired military officers are discussing what they call a ‘new national security threat’, also known as school lunches.

According to the Associated Press, the retired officers are saying that school lunches have helped make the nation’s young people so fat that fewer of them can meet the military’s physical fitness standards, and recruitment is in jeopardy. Now we’ve all heard the first lady, Michelle Obama address obesity on a national scale but are school lunches really to blame for the rise in childhood obesity?

The article continued to state that a new report being released Tuesday says more than 9 million young adults, or 27 percent of all Americans ages 17 to 24, are too overweight to join the military. Now, the officers are advocating for passage of a wide-ranging nutrition bill that aims to make the nation’s school lunches healthier. The military group known as Mission: Readiness acknowledges that other things keep young adults out of the armed services, such as a criminal record or the lack of a high school diploma. But weight problems that have worsened over the past 15 years are now the leading medical reason that recruits are rejected.

Retired Navy Rear Adm. James Barnett Jr., a member of the officers group, says the obesity trend could affect that. “When over a quarter of young adults are too fat to fight, we need to take notice,” Barnett said. He noted that national security in the year 2030 is “absolutely dependent” on reversing child obesity rates.

I honestly would like to see some studies that support that poor school lunches play a large role in weight gain in children and not poor decision-making not only in school but also at home. I understand that many children get their only meal for the day at school but I find it hard to believe that it is the sole factor for large childhood obesity numbers.

Do you think that poor school lunches are to blame to childhood obesity and plays the sole role in people not being able to pass the fitness requirements to join the military? Do you think that this group of officials will really be able to make a different? Do you even care?? Let me know what you think!

School lunches called a national security threat


Stay Healthy–Get Married?

April 19, 2010
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‘Nicspicks’ or today is an interesting study conducted about your relationship status and how that correlates  to your health. Have you ever considered that your relationship status could have an effect on your health?

According to the New York Times, in 1858, a British epidemiologist named William Farr set out to study what he called the “conjugal condition” of the people of France. He divided the adult population into three distinct categories: the “married,” consisting of husbands and wives; the “celibate,” defined as the bachelors and spinsters who had never married; and finally the “widowed,” those who had experienced the death of a spouse. Using birth, death and marriage records, Farr analyzed the relative mortality rates of the three groups at various ages. That part of the study sounds pretty normal to collect information. But the results that he found are quite shocking.

The work, a groundbreaking study that helped establish the field of medical statistics, showed that the unmarried died from disease “in undue proportion” to their married counterparts. And the widowed, Farr found, fared worst of all. But in the 150 years since Farr’s work, scientists have continued to document the “marriage advantage”: the fact that married people, on average, appear to be healthier and live longer than unmarried people.

Now you may be asking how married couples live longer than unmarried people but here’s my reasoning for that. I don’t know about the emotional and physical side but I took it from a practical sense. I just thought that when you are married you have someone looking after you and someone there to remind you to take care of yourself. So that was my reasoning for his findings.

The article was pretty long so I’ll attached the link for you all to read it. But do you think it’s possible that your relationship status has a big impact on your health? Do you think that the study is ridiculous? Let me know what you think!

Is marriage good for your health?

Posted in Random Topics

Toyota in Hot Water Again

April 15, 2010
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‘Nicspicks’ for today involve Toyota getting caught up in hot water again. They just can’t seem to catch a break..

If you’ve heard the name Toyota in the past few months, you’ve probably heard negative criticism. Toyota has been in the news after reports came in left and right of possible brake problems with certain RAV4, Corolla, Matrix, Avalon, Camry, Highlander, Tundra and Sequoia models. Well now Totoya’s other Lexus has encountered questionable safety consumer reports.

According to the Associated Press, Toyota is testing all its sport utility vehicles to reassure buyers of their safety after Consumer Reports warned a large Lexus SUV is susceptible to rolling over. Toyota is not limiting their testing to just the Lexus SUV brands but also Toyota’s own SUV brands.

The article continued to state that earlier this week, Consumer Reports gave the GX 460 a rare “Don’t Buy” rating because its rear slid out too far during sharp turns designed to test the vehicle’s handling–that puts the back end at risk of hitting a curb and rolling over. Toyota has recalled more than 8 million vehicles worldwide since October, mostly due to flaws in the automaker’s pedal design. The recalls have mostly been confined to Toyota-branded vehicles and the Lexus GX 460 is not covered by them.

Now I’m curious to see what Toyota’s plan will be to bounce back from this one. Toyota has always been a trusted brand and in the wake of controversy, I’m interested to see if they will be able to recover their former ‘good’ name.

Has all this controversy made you reconsider every buying a Toyota? Do you believe that they will bounce back from this? Let me know what you think!

Toyota to retest all its SUVs for rollover risk

Frequently Asked Questions For Sticking Accelerator Pedal Recall and Suspension of Sales

Plantiff Awarded $1.4M in Boy Scouts Sex Abuse Case

April 15, 2010
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‘Nicspicks’ for today is an article that sheds a sad light of one of our country’s oldest organizations. The Boy Scouts of America celebrated their centennial this year and have been in the news lately over possible discrimination and sexual abuse allegations.

According to, jurors on Tuesday found the Boys Scouts of America negligent and awarded $1.4 million to a former Portland man who was abused by an assistant Scoutmaster in the early 1980s, following a three-week trial in which secret Scout “perversion files” were used as evidence. The jury also decided the Irving, Texas-based Scouts organization was liable for punitive damages that will be decided in a separate phase of the trial. That would be in addition to the $1.4 million.

Now here’s what actually happened. The article continued to state that lawyers for Kerry Lewis, the victim who filed the lawsuit, argued the Boy Scouts organization was reckless for allowing former assistant Scoutmaster Timur Dykes to continue to associate with the victim’s Scout troop after Dykes admitted to a bishop for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints early in 1983 that he had molested 17 Boy Scouts. Dykes was later convicted three times of various abuse charges involving boys and served time in prison. Shortly before trial, he admitted in a deposition to abusing Lewis.

This is the part that I found to be most disturbing about the article and I’m sure many parents are unaware of this. Kelly Clark, an attorney for Lewis, introduced the confidential files to argue that the Boy Scouts was negligent because the files were not used to protect boys from alleged sex abusers but instead were kept secret.

Although the existence of “perversion files” kept by the Boy Scouts at its national headquarters has been known for awhile, the Portland case is believed to be only the second time any of the documents have been seen by a jury. The Boy Scouts has fought to keep those files confidential. But the Oregon Supreme Court in February approved the release of more than 1,000 files the Scouts kept on alleged pedophiles from 1965 to mid-1984 to be used in the Portland trial.

Why are the Boy Scouts of America keeping this files confidential? If anything they should be addressing every pedophile case as soon as it comes up. I understand that they are trying to maintain a squeaky clean image, but there are certain issues that need to come to light.

$1.4 Million verdict in Boy Scouts abuse case

Nebraska Passes Bill That Bans Abortions at 20 Weeks

April 13, 2010
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‘Nicspicks’ for today is an article that concerns Nebraska lawmakers passing a bill that will ban abortions at 20 weeks. The bill was signed into law yesterday afternoon.

According to, Nebraska lawmakers passed the bill due to assertions that fetuses feel pain at 20 weeks and if upheld by the courts, the bill could change the foundation of abortion laws across the United States. Current restrictions in Nebraska and elsewhere are based on a fetus’s ability to survive outside the womb, or viability. Viability is determined case by case but is generally considered to occur at 22 to 24 weeks.

The article continued to state that the Nebraska bill, passed by the state’s officially nonpartisan Legislature, is partially meant to shut down one of the few late-term abortion providers in the country, Dr. LeRoy Carhart. He attracted attention after his friend and fellow late-term abortion provider Dr. George Tiller was shot to death by an abortion foe in Kansas last year. Nebraska’s bill is sure to be challenged in court. One national abortion-rights group called it “flatly unconstitutional.”

I found this article very interesting due to the fact that many people are curious about how the new health care reform bill will address abortions. According to, the bill segregates private insurance premium funds from taxpayer funds. Individuals would have to pay for abortion coverage by making two separate payments, private funds would have to be kept in a separate account from federal and taxpayer funds. No health care plan would be required to offer abortion coverage. States could pass legislation choosing to opt out of offering abortion coverage through the exchange.

Another interesting piece of the bill stated, Separately, anti-abortion Democrats worked out language with the White House on an executive order that would state that no federal funds can be used to pay for abortions except in the case of rape, incest or health of the mother.

So will this new law in Nebraska influence other states to get in board? Will the new law possibly prevent future abortions due the 20 week timeline? Do you even care?? Let me know what you think!

Nebraska to limit abortions over fetal pain

Health Care Reform Bill Summary: A Look at What’s in the Bill

Missing Fla. Girl Found in Swamp

April 13, 2010
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‘Nicspicks’ for today is a fishy story that I found on about an 11-year-old girl who was reported missing and was found my one of her church members in a swamp.

According to, Nadia Bloom, who has a mild form of autism,  was missing for five days and found alive by search crews overnight in an alligator-infested Florida swamp and carried out Tuesday morning, police announced. She was said to be in good shape, but was tired, hungry and covered in mosquito bites. Her sister has said Bloom, who has an autism-related disorder called Asperger syndrome, may have gone into the dense woods hoping to make a nature video. The Metro Church, which is attended by Nadia’s family, said one of its members found the child.

Okay now.. For some reason I’m a little suspicious about this story. I just find it hard to believe that a 11-year-old girl can wander off in the swamp by herself and miraculously be found by a fellow member of her church. That just seems like an unbelievable coincidence. I’m interested to see the following details that will come out of this story once she is stable enough to talk about her ordeal.

Am I the only one is believes that the whole story hasn’t come out yet? Was it fate that one of her fellow church members just happened to be in the right place at the right time?? Let me know what you think!

Girl found alive after 5 days in swamp

Confederate History Month?

April 7, 2010
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‘Nicspicks’ for today is an interesting proclamation that Virginia Governor, Robert McDonnell has reinstated.

According to the The Washington Post, McDonnell issued a proclamation in April 2010 declaring it Confederate History Month in the commonwealth. The declaration, which had been refused under Democratic governors, was not well received by many Virginia residents, including Sheila Johson, a prominent African American backer from 2008. She described the proclamation as “academically flawed and personally offensive.”

Now since I am African-American I can understand  why she would find it personally offensive. I’m also just curious the message that this may be teaching to the children in Virginia and all across the country.

The article continued to state, McDonnell later issued a strongly worded apology and inserted a new paragraph into the original proclamation referring to the horrors and pains of slavery in the commonwealth.

I included a link to the article proclamation so you say read it for yourself and make up your own opinion. Do you think this was a smart move by McDonnell? Do you think it was insensitive? Let me know what you think!

Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s original Confederate History Month Proclamation

Confederate History Month

Dead Man Didn’t Make Flight

April 6, 2010
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‘Nicspicks’ for today is a crazy story from London about two women trying to get their dead relatives.

According to, Gitta Jarant and her step-daughter Anke Anusic had successfully convinced a taxi driver that 91-year-old Curt Willi Jarant was well enough for the 45-minute drive to the airport from their home in Oldham, Greater Manchester. However, horrified staff at the airport soon noticed that something was seriously wrong with Mr Jarant.

Andrew Millea, an airport worker who greeted the group with a wheelchair, said Mrs Anusic asked for help lifting her elderly father from the car. “I did my best to help by carefully lifting the man from his seat,” he said. “To my horror his face fell sideways against mine, it was ice cold. I knew straight away that the man was dead, but they reassured me that he ‘always sleeps like that.”

When officials established that the man was dead, she asked if she could still board the flight. Mrs Jarant, wife of the dead man, insisted they had done nothing wrong: “[He was] the best man of the world – a good man. I [did not] kill my Willi. My Willi is my god. I [have loved] my Willi for 22 years.” Her daughter-in-law added: “They think that for 24 hours we would carry a dead person? This is ridiculous. He was moving, he was breathing. Eight people saw him. “The police were called and arrested both women, aged 44 and 66, on suspicion of failing to give notification of death. They have since been released on bail until June 1.

Now my question is, the taxi driver didn’t realize something was weird when they had to lift an elderly man into his/her taxi and he never moved or said a word?? Sorry, I’m just surprised they even made it to the airport before someone noticed something wasn’t right. Let me know what  you think?

Women ‘take dead relative to the airport to catch a flight’

Can I see some ID? Dead man kept off plane.

Posted in Random Topics

Where Did the Easter Bunny Come From?

April 4, 2010
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‘Nicspicks’ today are focused on Easter. Most children look forward toward finding a basket full of goodies today or possibly painting eggs. It seems like every holiday has some kind of animal “mascot” and the bunny rabbit is closely tied to Easter. But how did this animal get associate with this holiday.

According to, First and foremost real rabbits don’t lay eggs. Bunnies, eggs, Easter gifts and fluffy, yellow chicks in gardening hats all stem from pagan roots. They were incorporated into the celebration of Easter separately from the Christian tradition of honoring the day Jesus Christ rose from the dead. According to University of Florida’s Center for Children’s Literature and Culture, the origin of the celebration — and the Easter bunny — can be traced back to 13th century, pre-Christian Germany, when people worshiped several gods and goddesses. The Teutonic deity Eostra was the goddess of spring and fertility, and feasts were held in her honor on the Vernal Equinox. Her symbol was the rabbit because of the animal’s high reproduction rate.

The first Easter bunny legends were documented in the 1500s. By 1680, the first story about a rabbit laying eggs and hiding them in a garden was published. These legends were brought to the United States in the 1700s when German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania Dutch country, according to the University of Florida’s Center for Children. The tradition of making nests for the rabbit to lay its eggs soon followed. Eventually, nests became decorated baskets and colorful eggs were swapped for candy, treats and other small gifts.

How’s the bunny connected to Easter?

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Unusual Animal Being Killed Due to Superstition

March 30, 2010
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‘Nicspicks’ for today is an all about an animal I’m sure most of you have never heard of or seen before.

Discovery News reports that although the aye-aye weighs a mere 4 pounds in the wild, this tiny animal is viewed as the harbinger of death by locals in Madagascar, the only place on Earth where you’ll find these creatures in nature.

Here are a couple of facts on the Aye Aye (according to National Geographic)
-They are related to chimpanzees, apes, and humans
-They are dark brown or black and are distinguished by a bushy tail that is larger than their body. They also feature big eyes, slender fingers, and large, sensitive ears; they have pointed claws on all their fingers and toes except for their opposable big toes, which enable them to dangle from branches
-They are nocturnal, and spend the day curled up in a ball-like nest of leaves and branches

Well these harmless little guys are becoming endangered because of their supposed ‘bad luck’. The article continued to state that according to legend, the aye-aye, with its dark eyes, long fingers and ghoulish appearance, is thought to sneak into the dwellings of nearby villagers and use its middle finger — considerably longer than its other fingers — to pierce the hearts of sleeping humans. Superstitions around the aye-aye may have developed because it is apparently unafraid of humans. It will even walk right up to human passersby to take a closer look. The aye-aye’s reputation is, of course, entirely unfounded. However, because of the way the aye-aye is perceived, this perfectly harmless creature is often killed on sight.

According to National Geographic, Such hunting, coupled with habitat destruction, have made the aye-aye critically endangered. Today they are protected by law.

Spooky creature endangered by superstition

Aye Aye Facts, Pictures

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About author

My name is Nicole and I'm a 24 year-old advertising professional. I love to find interesting topics to discuss/debate/comment on so all views and opinions are welcomed.