Monthly Archives: October 2008

Planned Un-Parenthood and YouTube Naughty Bedfellows

SFLA, Students for Life of America, are furious because of video of one of their undercover investigations has been pulled from YouTube.  Evidently, according to Kristin Hawkins who heads the organization, “Last week SFLA posted a video on YouTube exposing Planned Parenthood in Charlotte, North Carolina, covering up statutory rape of a 15-year-old girl.”

Here’s the story: a college woman volunteering for SFLA entered a Planned Parenthood clinic in Charlotte, posing as a 15-year-old girl who had unprotected sex with the mother’s adult, shack-up boyfriend.  She told that staff that the stud had suggested she come to Planned Un-Parenthood and get the “morning-after” pill. 
    
Planned Un-Parenthood gave her the pills, and made an appointment for her to start taking birth control pills without parental knowledge or consent.  SFLA also proved that the crime was not reported by PP to local police, which is a violation of North Carolina Law.

According to Ms. Hawkins, YouTube said the tape had inappropriate content – damn right it did: it showed PP breaking laws…that’s pretty inappropriate.  As it turns out, YouTube has also yanked previous pro-life organization videos while it does, according to Ms. Hawkins, continue to play videos which show, for example, a young man desecrating the Eucharist.

To watch SF’s video visit studentsforlife.org

I’m always impressed with the star-studded and blinged out locals who attend the yearly Santa Barbara Planned Un-Parenthood fund raising events even with the ongoing  stream of information demonstrating their cavalier attitude towards minor women pregnant by adult men, their disrespect for parental rights, as well as their resistance to diving full force into the adoption realm.

Breast Cancer Awareness

October is “Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”  It seems that some women would benefit more than others by becoming more “aware” about this disfiguring and potentially deadly disease.

Jessica Queller is a supervising producer and one of the head writers of the successful CW series “Gossip Girls.”  She has revealed publicly that she had a double mastectomy, even though she doesn’t have breast cancer, and in two years, plans to have her ovaries removed, even though she doesn’t have ovarian cancer.

Ms. Queller, 38, made these decisions after her mother battled breast cancer and then died from ovarian cancer at the age of 60.  Paranoia?  Nope.  It seems that Ms. Queller tested positive for the breast cancer mutation (BRCA1), so she had the mastectomy, followed up by reconstructive surgery.

The facts are that women who test positive for mutations in BRCA1 genes have up to an 87% chance of developing breast cancer, and a 44% risk of ovarian cancer by the age of 70.

Everyone has BRCA genes (both 1 and 2), but only a small percentage of people have the mutated genes:  about 1 in 800 have the mutated BRCA1, and fewer have the mutated BRCA2.  Mutated BRCA genes account for 5-10% of all breast cancers diagnosed in America.

If one parent carries the BRCA mutation, his or her offspring have a 50% chance of inheriting it.  Prophylactic mastectomy (i.e., removing the breasts as a preventative measure) reduces the risk of breast cancer by 90%.

As with other genetic mutation diseases (like Huntington’s), when there is a test for the mutation, do you want to know your fate?  Many vote “No,” and I find that amazing.  I understand the fear that goes along with realizing you are at significantly higher risk or actually have a potentially devastating disease, but knowledge is power and prophylaxis and treatment lower your risk of having the worst come to bear.

Breast cancer is extremely rare in men, but BRCA2 gene changes have been linked to male breast cancer and possibly prostate, pancreatic and colon cancer.  So it’s a good idea for men with family cancer histories also to consider taking the test.

To find doctors who do gene tests, and the counseling that is beneficial, call the cancer information service at the National Cancer Institute at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).  To find a genetic counselor near you, contact the National Society of Genetic Counselors at 312-321-6834 or visit their website at www.nsgc.org.

Certain people have an increased chance of inheriting BRCA1 or 2 gene changes:

* Jewish women whose ancestors came from Eastern Europe, especially if they have parents or siblings with breast or ovarian cancer, or two incidences of such in aunts, uncles, and grandparents.
* If you’re not Jewish, but have significant instances of breast and/or ovarian cancer in your family, you are also at a higher risk of inheriting BRCA1 or BRCA2 changes.

As my dad was descended from Ashkenazi Jews (from Eastern Europe), and my maternal grandmother died of breast cancer, and my sister reported early pre-cancerous signs, I’m getting the genetic test.  I also do yearly mammograms, sonograms, and regular manual checkups.  At each yearly pelvic exam, we include a sonogram assessment of my ovaries, and each year for my regular checkup, I have various cancer marker blood tests done.

I’d rather know if and what I have to fight.

Put Your Kids First, Madonna, Not Yourself

Everybody wants to know what I think about Madonna’s public comments during her  very public and rancorous divorce.  I think they pretty much match her general public image, demeanor, and behavior.  I have always found her incredibly objectionable, offensive and intentionally vulgar – all under the rubric of free-speech and free-spirit.

To start, I’m not convinced that most current celebrity marriages are indeed commitments of mind, body, and soul as they are intended to be (think Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward).  For the most part, very ‘out there’ performers are exceedingly centered on themselves and want someone to adore them, serve them, be a reflection of their perceived wonderfulness or importance, fulfill a fantasy or simply put…the sex was great and the public relations aspect boosts their visibility.

When the so-called object of their affections becomes tiresome, more or less important or successful, demanding, and no longer reflects a narcissistic boost…they are dispensed with.

When a divorcing spouse makes public vulgar, insulting, and humiliating comments about the other spouse, children are devastated and tend to either compulsively go towards the attacked party to protect and defend them, or compulsively go towards the attacking parent so they won’t also be victimized by that parent.  Either way, children become emotionally fragmented, confused, and distrustful – and that will likely be an issue for their whole lives, especially when they are ready to establish relationships.

Celebrities with the usual chaos in their personal lives are the fodder of media sales and ratings.  Celebrities with quality relationships are ignored (Tom Selleck, for example).

These celebrity musical chair relationships are obviously not a great image for our impressionable youth.  Quite frankly, most divorces don’t need to happen at all.  Weathering lousy times is a sign of character and commitment.  Most of the time when folks call me all angry and convinced they need to divorce, they are simplifying the situation because they haven’t taken the responsibility needed to help maintain a quality comradeship.  I tell them short of abuse, addictions, and repetitive affairs, they should treat the one they want so much to leave as though they loved them with their last breath – for a month – and then watch and feel what happens.

If one parent decides to leave for selfish or foolish reasons, the truth of the situation can be spoken to the children without the nasty parts.  For example, “Your mother, sadly, has decided to leave to be with a man she met on the internet.  I’m hoping that she will find that she misses us all so much that she wants her life with us back.  Until then, let’s pray and stay as positive as possible.”

This approach states the truth, which I believe children in this situation need, but opens the possibility for hope.  Children will over time form their own conclusions when mama never calls, visits, or comes home.  That parent will have destroyed the relationship with their children all by themselves.

I try to remind folks considering leaving for less than important reasons to stick around and create the kind of homelife that will best send their children into their adulthood with optimism and an open heart.  I tell them that this is their moral obligation…to put themselves second.

Is Personal Responsibility Passe?

When marriages get difficult, people “bail out” by divorcing, and flippantly propose that the kids will be fine.  When school children are failing classes, the tendency in American education is to drop standards on performance examinations, drop the tests altogether, or punish the hard-working children by eliminating valedictorian status.  When folks decide that their business or financial situation isn’t paying off, they declare bankruptcy and ultimately give the bird to those who trusted them enough to do business with them.  When the auto industry makes cars that aren’t popular, Congress votes to bail them out financially.  When mortgage companies and banks loan trillions of dollars to people who can’t possibly pay their monthly bills, we have a world-wide financial crisis requiring the average, hard-working citizen to give up his or her compensation to save the day.  When people do stupid things, like put hot coffee between their legs while driving a car, a company has to pay out from its profits to compensate for a customer’s irresponsibility.

This is not really about finances.  As many have pointed out, during the Great Depression, unemployment was higher than 20%, and people found themselves unable to pay their bills through no fault of their own.  This is 2008, and unemployment is about 5%, and people find themselves unable to pay their bills totally by their own fault!  Why?  Because they want to live a lifestyle they have not yet earned.

This is about character and honor as well as the philosophy of earning your blessings.  I have told many a parent not to buy a home for their newlywed children, because they would be robbing them of something to work towards together, in addition to the thrill of the accomplishment.

Dozens of CEOs are walking away from disasters they helped create with hundreds of millions of dollars of “reward.”  Millions of Americans are walking away from the disasters they greedily and irresponsibly signed up for by putting their names to a promise they could not keep.

This is not the American spirit of old, and it’s certainly not the way to bring up our young people.  I hope they have learned from this.   Instead, I worry they’re just blaming the Wall Street fat cats or the Federal government.  To quote Shakespeare:  “the fault lies not in our stars…but in ourselves.”

I’m Mad…and YOU Shouldn’t Take It Anymore

When was the last time you took your kids to the airport and bought some candy and magazines?  Did you notice what your kids see at their “short-eye-level” when you pay for your items?  They see what they can also notice at many grocery store check-out lines and magazine racks:  they see soft porn – half-naked, provocative photos of well-endowed men and women.

Now, I’m no prude.  I wear jeans below my waist, and I have some belly-button “bling.”  But I do believe that there ought to be such a thing as a free society maintaining its First Amendment rights, while at the same time jealously protecting the innocence of children.

A recent female caller complained that her boyfriend occasionally looked at some photos or videos of naked women on the Internet.  It is unbelievable to me that, lately,  there is such hysteria about men viewing naked women or male/female sexual encounters.  Did somebody just discover that men are very interested in sex and are visually stimulated by viewing women’s bodies?

Of course, Internet porn can be a problem, particularly when it becomes compulsive and a substitute for real-life intimacy, or self-medication for emotional problems.  However, much of the time, it is just a curious male having a stimulating moment.

I brought up to that caller that I thought the guys who do the workout ads for some of those exercise machines are “hunks,” and exciting to see.  She agreed.  If all I did was play a continuous loop of these ads, I’d be having a serious emotional problem.  There is a huge difference between “casual,” and “compulsive.”

That said, our society has a big problem making “crass” more casual in the public square.  The fashion police should arrest most of those young women with big bellies and big butts hanging over those ridiculously low-cut, tight jeans, and short, too-tight tops, as well as young men with no tops, and with their pants falling just at or below their pubic hair line.  Their parents either don’t care, or have given up attempting to be leaders, or have joined the ranks of the “crass” themselves.

This society should shun malls that harbor Victoria’s Secret, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Frederick’s of Hollywood, as these are establishments which use provocative photos and displays to promote their products within clear view of families and children walking through the malls.  I mean, there you are with your adolescent sons and daughters, looking up at practically naked women and men in their underwear, with seductive looks in their eyes.  What are you supposed to say to your children about that?

These images tell your children that sexuality, nudity, their bodies, and intimacy are just “everyday stuff” – no big deal, certainly not private, and definitely not special.  Is that the lesson you want them to learn?

One mother of a 12 year old boy wrote to me that after they came home from their town’s mall in which they personally experienced all of the stuff I’ve just mentioned, he suggested that they should do their shopping online from now on.

Not a bad idea.

Older Brains Helped By An Internet Workout

According to a study being released in November’s American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, Internet web searching may just enhance brain activity and keep your elderly (55-75 years of age) brain working at top function.

The study compared 24 subjects between the ages of 55 and 75, and discovered using MRI scans that reading a book helped stimulate certain areas of the brain that had to do with language, memory, and visuals.  They also found that searching the Internet created these same stimulations, but activated more of the frontal, temporal, and cingulated areas of the brain – areas that have a lot to do with decision-making skills.