Monthly Archives: May 2008

How ‘Bout Buying Your Kids Some “Blow?”

Just when I thought it was safe to go on to another subject, we have yet another attempt to draw our kids down the wrong alley.  Picture this: a white powder that comes in a clear vial.  It’s sold with a mirror and fake credit card.  The product is called “Blow,” one of the street names for cocaine.  It’s a powdered energy drink, and the obvious comparison to cocaine is alarming.

The advertising is very pro drug culture, designed to entice and to look at drugs and drug behavior as cool and glamorous.  Not only that, but each drink is like having almost 7 cans of Coca Cola, with 240 milligrams of caffeine – downright dangerous!

When the company’s owner was challenged, he said: “Parents that think it’s despicable are typically the parents that don’t want to take personal responsibility for educating their children about drugs and addiction in general.”

That is a load of garbage.  How can parents deal with their children’s constant brainwashing with the Disney girl behaviors and power drinks that mimic drugs?  How can families insulate themselves from the forces attempting to make a profit as well as have access to ever new markets for sexual exploitation and drug sales – legal or otherwise?

Personal Responsibility – Cosby Style

Fulton Superior Court Judge Marvin Arrington got in hot water when he cleared his courtroom of white people so he could speak frankly to a group of more than 50 young, black defendants, because he didn’t want to air the community’s dirty laundry in front of whites.

After being publicly attacked, he is now defended by Bill Cosby and Chris Tucker, both of whom showed up at Benjamin E. Mays High School, packed with mostly at-risk high school students and their parents. Cosby has been tireless in his attempts to reach out to the African-American community with his message of tough love: “The man from Nigeria comes here, he’s here two months, and what does he do? He goes to the community college. He’s learning a second language while he drives a cab. What are our children doing? Practicing a first language only they can understand.” Chris Tucker has vowed to assist Cosby and Arrington in setting up a mentoring program for the approximately 600 students who attended the forum.

Bill Cosby denounced “petty criminals, low-income black who choose athletic shoes over education, and rappers who dwell on ignorance and vulgarity.” He demanded that people start taking personal responsibility or their lives.

Cosby said: “Our people climbed and did stuff they said we couldn’t do,” listing Joe Louis, Althea Gibson and Marian Anderson, to name only a few greats.

Disney Girls Vamp It Up

When I was a kid, I was desperate to become a Mouseketeer – wearing those mouse ears, dancing, singing, and acting in one of the weekly Disney specials.  Alas, telling them of my dream in a postcard sent to them at the age of 12 got no response.

At that time in Disney’s history, children’s “things” were innocent and sweet.  No more.  We are now in the era of Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Vanessa Hudgens and now, Miley Cyrus posing for Vanity Fair topless, beneath a draped sheet, and sporting a seductive look.

It’s no surprise that little girls and boys look up to young celebrities with enthusiasm and yearning, and it’s obvious that these celebrities become instant role-models as well.  My Disney role-models were talented and squeaky clean, because that was Mr. Disney’s vision.  That was a good thing – or at least most families with children believed so.

Most parents of 15-year-olds are pretty upset about this inappropriate display of an adolescent in Vanity Fair, where Cyrus is exposing her body in a vulgar way and giving their own children the wrong idea of feminine modesty and self-respect.

Vanity Fair defends this travesty as beautiful, natural, and artistic.  How ’bout saying the truth:  they did this to sell magazines, and the best way to sell magazines is to sensationally exploit somebody or something.  When it comes to exploiting children and vulgarizing their innocence, somebody ought to pull the plug on the photographer’s lights. 

Apparently, former teen star Hilary Duff professed (according to Fox News) that she would never have made the mistake that Miley did by posing topless beneath a sheet.  When I first heard of Duff’s statement, I got excited that someone of her celebrity would take on the elites of Manhattan and Hollywood.  Well, that dimmed immediately upon reading her entire statement, which included the following:

“Everyone goes through things and takes their own path; who am I to judge decisions that she made?  People are pushing you to do something, and if you want to do it, that’s your choice.  It’s not what I would choose to do, but if she did, then that’s fine.  That’s her choice.”

In 2008, I am shocked to read the same lame, amoral, immature and gutless rhetoric of the 1960′s.  Anything one chooses to do is fine simply because it is their choice?  So, there is not right and wrong?  There are no obligations to standards for the sake of others and the community?  All things we choose to do have value simply because we choose to them?

Take that philosophy to your standard innocent and naïve youth, and what do you get?  You get the blasé determination that the best thing for little girls is an injection for a sexually transmitted disease (venereal warts) almost as soon as she reaches double digits in age!  You also get Planned Parenthood aborting babies for these little girls and not reporting to the police that the fathers are adult men.   You get young women so scarred and corrupted by all the “choices” they’ve made, that they can barely imagine, much less trust, the yearning for a safe, committed, happy marriage and family.

That one look of Miley over her shoulder, with her chest barely covered with a sheet is an assault on the innocence of even more young girls…just when we thought they got the idea that becoming another Britney Spears was not such a good thing.

Midwest Drunk Drivers

The upper Midwest has the worst drunken-driving rates in the country, according to a government report that says “15% of adult drivers nationally report driving under the influence of alcohol in the previous year.”  Really!  They admitted to it?  Wow.

This report on drunken driving relies on data obtained from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, and is based on a scientific random sample of households, asking about 128,000 adults between 2004 and 2006 whether they had driven under the influence in the past year. 

Wisconsin leads the way, with government estimates of more than a quarter of the state’s adult drivers having driven drunk.  Rounding out the “worst” five are:  North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

Utah had the lowest national incidence of drunken driving – likely because of the cultural religious influence.  A majority of Utah residents are Mormon, and their religion bars the use of alcohol.  Utah was the only state where fewer than 10% of adult motorists reported driving under the influence.   West Virginia, Arkansas, Kentucky and North Carolina all had drunken-driving rates for the previous year of less than 11%.

Interestingly, blacks drink at substantially lower rates and at less hazardous rates than whites, according to the report.

In the past decade, the number of drunken drivers involved in alcohol-related crashes has remained relatively stable at a little under 12,400 per year; it’s illegal to drive with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher.

The federal government has also released estimates of driving under the influence of illicit drugs.  The rates for this were highest in Washington D.C., Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, with the lowest rates in New Jersey, Alabama, and North and South Dakota.

 

Quote of the Week

Even as kids reach adolescence, they need more than ever for us to watch over them. Adolescence is not about letting go. It’s about hanging on during a very bumpy ride.
               – Ron Taffe;
                 Author

Teen “Idle”

Andrew Sum of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston predicts that teen summer employment is going to fall to the lowest rate in the 60 year history of government jobs data. That’s down from 45% in 2000, and a high of 48.5% in 1989.

The reasons for this tightening of the teen summer job market are varied. Because of weakness in the economy, more adults (including unemployed college graduates, older workers, former welfare recipients, illegal immigrants, and working adults seeking second jobs) are competing for low-skilled, hourly posts. The proportion of jobless teens actively looking and available for paying jobs last summer, at 17.1% was nearly four times that of adults (Wall St. Journal, 4/23/08).

Idle children are not in the best interests of family, neighborhoods, or society. That amount of non-focused adolescent energy needs a constructive outlet. Individuals as well as businesses all should take on the responsibility of providing at least some sort of hourly work during the summertime for teens; this would provide them structured time, financial compensation, skill building, exercise of the mind and body or both, increased self-esteem, and experiences of a more positive nature than they’d probably have without the work.

Another outlet for teens is to come up with some business concept of their own, wherein they provide a service for a business or homeowner. Once concept, described by the founder of Teens4Hire.org, an employment website, was her suggestion to a panhandling skateboarded to start his own business collecting household hazardous waste for recycling. He made $700 hauling paint cans, oil, and other items to a recycling center at $3 per item. Teens can also do grocery shopping or other chores for the elderly or housebound or just darn busy folks – there are lots of ideas just waiting to be brought to life.