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Steffanie Rivers

The Journal of Steffanie Rivers: The Value of A Woman (Kim Kardashian)

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*At a time when entertainers and A-list actresses are trying to retrieve their nude photos from the internet, Kim Kardashian has allowed her full frontal nude and booty shots to be posted for all to see. Does she realize that means baby Nori one day will be looking at her momma’s naked ass all over the internet too. Or is it that Kim K just doesn’t care?

Most parents have done things they don’t want their children to know about. But they don’t have pictorial evidence of their bad behavior. That makes it easier to speak with parental authority when their children ask them why they shouldn’t engage in the same. But if there’s video of your mother starring in a homemade porn movie with a man who’s not your father, a music video of your mother simulating sex on a motorcycle and pictures of your mother’s naked body on every social media site as proof of how she actively tried to break the internet, it will be hard to picture her in an authoritative capacity when it counts most.

What sound objection will Kim and Kanye West give to their daughter that’s going to keep her off the stripper pole or keep her from experimenting with drugs or prostitution or from being America’s next top porn star? Ask actor Lawrence Fishburne what he’s going through right now. Obviously they haven’t thought that far ahead. I did, and I don’t even have children.

I’m not sure when it happened for me, if my mother instilled it in me or if I came to the realization myself; but at some point early in my cognitive development I decided – regardless of how much attention I get because of my physical assets – my breasts and my behind are not my best attributes and I never will treat them as if they are. In the words of Tavis Smiley: You might know some of me, but that’s not the sum of me.

I guess Kris Jenner is too busy with her new man that’s young enough to be her oldest son to be dispensing motherly advice. Or maybe her mom is the person who told Kim a fat ass is the best she has to offer to the world.

Regardless of how it happened, Kim K’s self-worth and body image are one in the same. The happy couple wedding photos, the family pictures and those candid shots of her with baby Nori on her hip are plentiful. But the image of Kim Kardashian, the wife and mother, isn’t her thing. Kim K, the sexy vixen: That’s her sweet spot! That’s her brand. As long as her breasts and booty hold up, as long as her Instagram likes are plentiful and Twitter followers and Facebook friends keep growing her relevance is validated.

Let’s tell Kim K what her mother obviously failed to convey: Women are worth more than the sum of their parts. And let’s require more from her than 140 characters and a booty shot. Parents are supposed to act in the best interest of their children. So we’ll be helping ourselves in the process. When looking at Kim K’s pictures our boys will learn the wrong way to value a woman. And our girls will learn that self-exploitation is the norm. Since children are going to look at the pictures anyway, parents might as well look at them with their children and have a meaningful conversation about them. This is our collective chance to keep our daughters and little Nori off the pole. Kim and Kanye can thank us later.

Steffanie Rivers

Steffanie Rivers

Steffanie is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas, Texas metroplex. Email her at [email protected] to send comments, questions or speaking inquiries.

Steffanie Rivers

The Journal of Steffanie Rivers: Ebola: More Questions Than Answers

Steffanie Rivers

Steffanie Rivers

*I’m no alarmist, but it should be evident to anyone who’s been paying attention that the Center for Disease Control is behind the curve when it comes to having all the information needed to effectively fight the Ebola virus in the United States.

There’s conflicting information about how Ebola is transmitted from one person to the next, the CDC isn’t sure how long it takes for an infected person to show signs of the virus in their system or what symptoms are clear indicators of an Ebola infection.

And once you get it, there’s no known cure. Whether you live through it or die from it is a toss-up.

For an agency with more questions than answers about Ebola, the CDC is too quick to give quarantined people a clean bill of health.

And those who contracted the virus – including the pet dog – are being allowed back home too soon without knowing the possible long-term effects on a person’s (or pet’s) internal organs or immune system.

And these are only a few observations from my non medically trained, common sense point of view.

Ever since two of the nurses caring for Thomas Eric Duncan in Dallas during his final days contracted the deadly strain, there is growing concern about who can get it and who can’t. It seems Nina Pham, the nurse who was part of Duncan’s ICU team after his diagnosis, never was exposed to any of his bodily fluids, which the CDC insists is the only way to contract the virus. Pham’s primary contact with Duncan was to transport him from one area of the hospital to another. So how did she get it? Yet other nurses who helped comfort Duncan in his last days and were exposed to his sweat, vomit and bloody diarrhea (as a result of dehydration and organ failure) have shown no signs of contracting the infection.

And that’s where the 21-day quarantine comes in. Those who were in physical contact with Duncan before and after he was diagnosed with Ebola during his stay in Dallas have had to be quarantined. So far everybody has passed the 21-day quarantine. But some healthcare officials say 21 days might not be long enough. Depending on the strength of their immune system, someone could take as long as 42 days to contract Ebola. And that temperature screening everybody must pass in order to leave west Africa or before being allowed into the United States…, some say that’s a waste of time and money. For one thing everybody doesn’t come down with a fever before getting sick. And if they do, by the time the fever is linked to Ebola it’s possible that sick person already could have infected other people. That’s how Duncan was able to leave Liberia and how Dallas nurse Amber Vinson was allowed (by the CDC) on a commercial airliner from Cleveland back to Dallas despite having Ebola in their systems. Neither of them showed signs of having a fever, according to CDC standards.

I just did a Google search of Ebola symptoms. On the list are red eyes, raised rash, stomach pain and bleeding from all orifices. A fever isn’t on this particular list. The list of symptoms are every-changing.

While the CDC information says Ebola is contracted only through direct contact with body fluids of an infected person, that is in direct conflict with how Pham contracted Ebola, as she never was in contact with Duncan’s body fluids. At least that’s how it was reported. Maybe the virus is transmitted through the air much like the flu. Or perhaps, like a germ, the virus can live on commonly used surfaces for an extended amount of time. Maybe the CDC knows this and is hesitant to confirm it. Maybe the agency isn’t connecting the common sense dots.

That’s why it’s important for the Dallas nurses who were in close contact with Duncan but haven’t been diagnosed yet and Kaci Hickox, the Maine nurse who returned from West Africa last week, to be quarantined or under observation at the very least for an extended amount of time beyond 21 days. Yes, we appreciate their work and sacrifice as healthcare professionals. Sure it’s inconvenient to put their lives on hold. But they should err on the side of caution, if not for the sake of everyone they unknowingly could infect, for the sake of their own health and that of their loved ones.

If Ebola is as dangerous as international and national healthcare officials declare it to be, there’s no way it would affect a cluster of people as it has and then poof, disappear without a trace. But that’s what the federal government would have us believe by not proving adequate followup information.

Until the CDC comes up with a better plan of attack the United States should consider a moratorium on all flights leaving west Africa. Ghana stopped allowing flights into its airports from other west African countries three months ago. That government knows what the United States has yet to realize: Preparedness is not an event, but a process.

Steffanie is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas, Texas metroplex. Email her at [email protected] to send comments, questions or for speaking inquiries.

steffanie rivers

The Journal of Steffanie Rivers: Early Voting is A Privilege, Not A Right

Steffanie Rivers

Steffanie Rivers

*When an unarmed Michael Brown was shot multiple times and killed by Ferguson, MO police officer Darren Wilson last August, residents in that area said they were determined to make a change first by civil protests then by electing new leadership in November.

Yet all the talk about showing up in full force to the polls in Ferguson so far has been just that – talk. St. Louis County Board of Elections reported only 128 new people registered to vote between Aug. 9 and Oct.6, the two months between when Brown was killed and the cut off date to register for the November election.

In July 2013 when Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law helped George Zimmerman get away with murdering Trayvon Martin, it wasn’t too long before people in more than twenty other states realized they too, had a version of Stand Your Ground. And incidents with racial overtones were being defended by that same law. Those people vowed to fight the law at the polls come election day.

More than 886,000 Floridians registered to vote in 2012 the year Zimmerman shot and killed Martin, the interest in the political process most likely was fueled by Stand Your Ground. Between 2013 and September of 2014 only half as many new voters registered, an indication that – despite pervasive racial incidents there – the desire to force change might have been short lived.

Even I promised to do my part. I took a class to become a Texas assistant registrar, able to register voters in my county by going door-to-door and setting up registration booths at events. It was my way of doing what I could to inform more people and get them registered for the November general election.

Early voting has begun in the District of Columbia and only 32 states. I cast my early vote last week in Texas. Early voting is the process whereby registered voters can show up to the polls days in advance of the official Election Day and cast their vote. Unlike absentee ballots that are collected via mail, you don’t have to have an excuse to participate in early voting. Why are there some states that don’t have early voting? Or why Florida (of all places) has shortened its early voting from 14 to 8 days should be under investigation. Allowing every registered person the chance to vote should be a fundamental goal of every board of elections. Early voting seems like a no-brainer to me. The twelve hours set aside to vote on Election Day can be a challenge that keeps some away from the polls.

It was early voting in 2008 that helped then Sen. Barack Obama capture a majority of the popular and electoral vote to become America’s first black president. Republicans know this too. Now they claim early voting is too long, too expensive and opens the process to fraud. Never mind the probable millions of voters illegally turned away on Election Day for decades. And what about the hanging chad fiasco and stolen election of 2000? Republicans weren’t concerned enough about the voting process then. At least with early voting, if there’s a legitimate issue with a voter there’s time to address it and still be allowed to participate in the process.

But if people don’t take advantage of early voting, it’s just another reason some states will use to shorten it, end it or never start it. It’s evident some people don’t want you to vote to begin with. Keep the odds in your favor: Take advantage of early voting and tell your friends and family to do the same.

Steffanie is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas, Texas metroplex. Email her at [email protected] to send comments, questions or for speaking inquiries.

steffanie rivers

EUR Columnist Steffanie Rivers Featured on TLC’s ‘Extreme Cheapskates’

steffanie rivers

*When it comes to making a dollar out of fifteen cents some people could learn a few tips from Steffanie Rivers.

Rivers, a self-described cheap skate, says she has become an expert at using other people’s money and resources to pay for her expenses.

And it’s all legal. She’s done such a good job at it, Rivers will be featured in the third season of TLC’s Extreme Cheapskates tonight, Wednesday, Oct. 8 at 9pm Eastern/Pacific.

At a time when social networks such as Face Book, Instagram and Twitter are in the business of putting everybody’s business in cyberspace, Rivers said featuring her cheap skate ways on national television was not at the top of her things to do list when the opportunity presented itself.

“I saw a Craigslist ad in search of cheapskates who were willing to tell their story,” said Rivers. “So I answered the ad, did a video interview with show producers and a few months later they were standing in my living room videotaping me,” she added. Rivers said producers told her it was the best episode of cheapskates in the history of cheapskates!

What cheap skate habits got Rivers the national spotlight? For starters she’s a flight attendant who spends at least four nights a week away from home. All the sample shampoos, lotions and other toiletries she collects from hotels keeps her from having to spend her own money. Those samples also make great gifts, she added. She collects newspapers and magazines that are left behind by passengers on the airplane which saves her from having to pay for those items. And the perfume pages in those popular magazines, she tears out the pages and uses the fragrances to smell expensive without having to pay the expensive prices.

“I believe in phantom power,” so when I leave town I turn off all the power at the circuit breaker to help save money,” Rivers said. And when she’s not working Rivers uses the free wi-fi service at local retail establishments in her neighborhood. So she saves the cost of monthly ISP fees.

Most people think the life of a flight attendant is glamorous, flying to exotic locations and different countries. Rivers said she loves her job and earns a good living, but she said the key is saving what she earns to make her money go even further, and she’s not embarrassed one bit when co-workers and neighbors notice her cheap skate ways. Overall Rivers saves at least $500 a month as a penny-pincher.

“Most people waste money and resources everyday on things that could save them tons of money,” said Rivers, adding that “I choose to keep my money and still live a comfortable lifestyle.”

Producers liked the episode featuring Rivers so much there are talks about doing a followup show or other show opportunities in the future. In the meantime Rivers will reveal more of her cheap skate ways on Extreme Cheapskates on TLC tonight (10-08-14). Check your local listings for viewing time(s) in your area. You can comment on the episode #ExtremeCheapskates and @tcbstef on Twitter during the show.

By the way, if you’ve never seen “Extreme Cheapskates,” all we’ll say is that you are in for a very interesting experience. Just check out the trailer for an upcoming episode:

 

(EUR’s Steffanie Rivers On TLC’s Extreme Cheapskates)
Steffanie Rivers

The Journal of Steffanie Rivers: The Best Defense is Soap and Water

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*A mysterious virus has entered the United States via a commercial airline flight.

Passengers on the international flight unknowingly carried the virus to their friends, family and anybody else who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The virus turns people into vampires (yes, vampires) who sleep during the day and prey on victims at night. A few employees who work at the Center for Disease Control and some other people in the know are the last line of defense against this plague.

I’m not talking about the Ebola virus of west Africa. I’m talking about The Strain, a television show on the FX Channel. Yet when I learned about the Liberian man who is the first confirmed case of Ebola in the United States and how he might have spread the deadly disease to more than 100 people in Dallas, I couldn’t help but recognize the parallel between fiction and real life – except the part about vampires. Add to that the fact that I’m a flight attendant who lives in Dallas and my science-fiction imagination has been working overtime. But enough about my imagination.

American health officials say even though Ebola has found its way into the United States it’s not an airborne virus. So even if I happened to be one of the flight attendant’s on Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan’s flight into Dallas – which I wasn’t – it doesn’t mean I should be quarantined. Especially since Duncan didn’t show signs of the illness until after he arrived in my city. But just like on The Strain, government officials oftentimes are the last to know the truth and sometimes when they find out the truth they’re not inclined to share.

As much as I like a good sci-fi mystery, the facts are that more people die every year from common illnesses such as the flu than have died from Ebola. Precautions against the flu virus are easy to take. But as with most things that are easy to do, its also easy not to do.

Simple precaution number one: Wash your hands often, especially before eating, after using the bathroom and in between sneezing or putting your fingers to your eyes and mouth. I grew up in a family where it was mandatory that we wash our hands before going into the refrigerator, let alone preparing food. I wish you would go into my grandmother’s refrigerator touching on stuff without washing your hands. Adrian Peterson ain’t got nothing on my grandmother and her switches. And washing your hands after using the bathroom was non-negotiable.

So imagine my surprise when, while on vacation, I headed to the bathroom at a restaurant to wash my hands after ordering my food and I was told the bathroom was out of order.

Now I’m no restauranteur, but even I know having a functioning bathroom with running water in a restaurant is a health code mandatory rule. So there I was sliding out of my booth with my finger on the keypad about to sound the alarm. But when I pressed the staff about it, the manager allowed me to wash my hands in a sink accessible to employees only. It turned out there was running water, but the commode had stopped working a few hours earlier so they closed down the bathroom. And the manager already had called maintenance.

Okay, my hands were clean and those of the staff (so they claimed). But why wasn’t there a line of patrons at the sink? Apparently nobody else cared enough about simple precaution number one to inquire. Or maybe everybody else used hand sanitizer. Or maybe their hands were a petri dish of germs and they were okay with that.

Simple precaution number two: Avoid direct contact with commonly-used surfaces. A recent study published in the Wall Street Journal revealed that coffee pot handles, bathroom door knobs and light switches were full of germs at one office complex. The non-lethal germ intentionally was left on the keypad used to enter the front door of the secured office complex. Within four hours the germ had been spread to more than fifty percent of the common areas of that office, including on the hands of employees who had not come in direct contact with each other that day.

Using paper towels to open doors, using knuckles and elbows instead of fingers to punch keypads or elevator buttons are ways to get around direct contact with common areas that might be full of germs. And when it comes to shaking hands in the workplace this study suggests bumping fists instead. It’s times such as these when I appreciate the janitorial staff even more.

Since it’s next to impossible to deflect all germs, simple precaution number three is to strengthen your immune system and lower the chance that a virus will reek havoc on your body. Drinking lots of water, eating leafy, green vegetables and making exercise a part of your life will give your body a fighting chance against the most common viruses.

Simple precaution number four is to provide your lungs with plenty of fresh air. It’s been proven that germs, viruses and even cancer can’t survive in a body that’s full of oxygen. Go walking, swimming or do activities that cause you to take deep breathes every day.

Simple precaution number five is to get a flu shot before the flu season. But just because you get a flu shot – a small dose of the virus that is introduced into your body to allow your immune system to create its own antibodies against it – doesn’t mean you should ignore standard hygiene practices, which include the aforementioned.

If we spend more time practicing healthy behaviors every day and teach them to our children there’s a smaller chance that our health will be compromised by the next virus to be discovered.

Steffanie is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas, Texas metro area. Email her at [email protected] for comments, questions or speaking inquiries.

Steffanie Rivers

The Journal of Steffanie Rivers: Reversal of Fortune

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Being a celebrity is a double-edged sword that comes with popularity and privilege. But to whom much is given much is required.

Some professional athletes are finding out the hard way they can’t expect to get the glory without the scrutiny.

The video of running back Ray Rice punching out his fiance in an elevator last February got him cut from the Baltimore Ravens and an indefinite NFL suspension.

Defensive end Greg Hardy has been deactivated by the Carolina Panthers because he was convicted last July of domestic violence against his girlfriend.

The girlfriend said Hardy choked her, dragged her by her hair and threatened to kill her.

Ray McDonald was charged with domestic violence against his pregnant girlfriend Labor Day weekend. So far he’s still in uniform, but pressure is mounting for the NFL to take action against him. Last week running back Adrian Peterson was indicted on felony child abuse charges in Texas. Now he’s on the Minnesota Vikings inactive list. And even though he’s not in the NFL, let’s not forget about Oscar Pistorius, the South African track star, known as the blade runner, who shot his girlfriend four times and killed her on Valentine’s Day 2013. Pistorius, who claimed he thought she was a burglar in the bathroom so he shot through the door, was found not guilty of murder but (the lesser crime of) manslaughter instead.

With billions of dollars in profits from season tickets to jersey sales and advertising fees every year, the NFL is responsible for paying athletes the million dollar paychecks that allow them to live their elite lifestyles. It helped create these ego maniacs, and therefore should take a more active role in appropriate discipline for off-the-field bad behavior as soon as it happens – not after a video is leaked and there’s a backlash.

Still it’s not just about back-end discipline. Already, the NFL councils rookies during training camp about watching out for people who try to take advantage of their privilege, people who are there just to ride the gravy train that is their million dollar paychecks including groupie girls, hangers-on friends and family. But the NFL should include a lesson about accountability – being a responsible team player even when he thinks nobody is watching.

Most people learn life lessons in accountability through everyday experiences. But if you’re blessed to become one of the 1,696 players who make it in the NFL every year I’m certain some of those lessons get overlooked on the way to becoming an elite athlete. Still it doesn’t excuse those people be they athletes, entertainers or others of privilege and popularity from living by the rules that apply to everybody else. At some point we all get away with something because we are better-looking, smarter, richer than most or have unique skills that others don’t. But when you live your life as if you are an exception to all the rules your reckless behavior is bound to lead to a public fall.

Most bad behavior doesn’t start in adulthood, but is carried over from lessons learned – or the lack thereof – in the formative years. Teaching humility isn’t at the top of the list at Pop Warner little league. And some say humility is counterproductive to having a winner’s mentality. By the time he gets to the NFL a player realizes he is exempt from the rules most people must live by. Regardless, most players have no problem being leaders on and off the field. It’s only a few who give the league a bad name.

As for Janay Rice, Ray’s wife, obviously she knew what she was getting into. The infamous elevator incident happened before they were married. And judging from their NFL pre-season news conference where she apologized for her “role” in the altercation, it seemed to me getting physical with each other wasn’t new for the newlyweds. That doesn’t make it right, but if they choose to stick and stay with each other that’s their business.

The lesson for us, as sports enthusiasts, is to realize no matter how great somebody is on any given Sunday after the game is over he still is an imperfect man.

Steffanie is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas, Texas metroplex. Email her at [email protected] for comments, questions and speaking inquiries.