Monthly Archives: June 2009

Standing Up for People, Values and Ideals

An all-too-typical issue that comes up on my radio program is cowardice, because someone didn’t stand up for others, for values and/or for ideals.  The standard excuses range from not wanting to escalate a situation, being afraid of other people getting mad, fear of being marginalized or left out, being afraid of being “judged,” not “liking” confrontation, not wanting to lose the image as a nice person, and so on.

I disrespect the actions of not standing up for friends, fairness (even when a friend is not involved), and values.  Some of my callers are parents whose adult children are behaving recklessly, thoughtlessly, and in total opposition to how they were brought up.  Too many of these parents are more concerned with “peace at all costs” instead of continuing their parental leadership by clarifying their position and drawing the line.

I remember a long time ago, there was a talk show host coming on right after my program.  We were polar opposites in our political views, and she would use her three hours on the air to critique my program.  This, of course, annoyed the heck out of me, but I never spoke about it on the air – not even once – because I don’t use my air time to do anything but help people do and be better in their lives.

Fast forward several years later, and a feminist group went after her with venomous attacks, attempting to destroy her career.  Mind you, she was a feminist activist leader herself, but she dared to have her own opinion about something that went against the grain of the activist group’s position.  It turns out that I was the first person who called her the next morning – with a call of support.  It galled me that there was a concerted effort to unfairly destroy her career.  I just don’t like life’s unfair qualities, and I have generally stood up to them no matter what.

Fast forward again years later, and I was being unfairly attacked by a different activist group that she had once been part of.  She went into numerous public venues to defend and support me. 

We both took hits for doing these things, but we both turned out to like each other very much, and we both still maintained the bulk of our differing opinions.  We did, however, agree on one point of ethics, morals, and values:  you defend who or what is being attacked unfairly, and consequently, we both defended responsible free speech.

We both lost to the power of the activist groups, however, but we won each other’s respect and support, all while keeping the high ground.  We each went on growing in success and the respect of our peers as well. 

That’s one very personal experience for me.  I hope the next time you see rudeness or cruelty, you will stand up.

Racial comments coming from Don Imus are as ugly and unnecessary (except for ratings) as the joke about Sarah Palin’s daughter getting “knocked up” by a baseball player.  It isn’t the term “knocked up” that’s the issue – I use it all the time for out-of-wedlock pregnancies, because they usually end up with the child being aborted or growing up with the chaos of a life with one parent gone.  David Letterman wanted to shoot insults at Palin simply because she’s Republican, and he aimed his gun at her child.  That’s disgusting.  How many of you would stand for that happening to your child? 

Imus lost his job…temporarily…and Letterman’s ratings are higher.  And I’m left wondering if you’ll stand up for others (or values, morals, ethics and principles) when most others around you will turn their gaze away.

Calorie Police or Helpful Nutrition Information?

Beware “The Calorie Police!”  At least, that’s how some look at the newly proposed Federal legislation which would require chain restaurants with 20 or more establishments to post the calories of everything they serve, right on the menu.  The National Restaurant Association, which originally fought calorie posting, now says it supports it.

Dr. Lynn Silver, Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention & Control at New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene says “We hope this law will have a significant impact on both the frequency of obesity and diabetes in our city [which already has the law, by the way].  We estimate that in our city there will be 150,000 fewer people obese because of this.”

Well, I don’t know if that’s true, since every time I go out to eat, I see relatively fit people eating fish and vegetables and fat people eating lasagna with extra cheese.

I’ve only encountered the calorie menu one time so far, and it was in New York.  There were dishes I thought were healthy, but I was totally wrong about them.  I definitely ordered my meals completely based on calorie content, leaving out foods I knew were yummy but which were calorie-laden.  Nonetheless, I was shocked to see how many relatively innocent-looking dishes had enough calories for the entire day and the next morning too.

I know people who have worked in a number of restaurants, and they tell me that to make food “delicious,” extra sugar, fat and salt are added by the bucketful.  Butter, butter, and more butter; sugar to make the food sweeter, and salt to give more flavor.  This is especially true when the meat, poultry or fish is not of the highest quality or if it’s a bit old.

I’ve gotten to the point that no matter what I order (even fish), I ask for whatever sauce they are serving to be put on the side.  I never have salad with dressing – again, I order any dressing on the side.  If I use any sauce or dressing at all, it’s a micro drizzle for a little taste. 

Do I think this will diminish obesity?  No.  I do think, however, that it will help people with self discipline as well as the motivation to be healthy to make the right choices and not be undermined right under their noses.  I think that, generally, folks with limited motivation and self-discipline will ignore or rationalize the calorie facts and add unwanted pressure to our health system, where the health-conscious have to financially support the health-unconscious behavior of others. 

I do believe that the calorie count posting laws might serve to have restaurants cut fewer corners when it comes to the quality of their cooking and their menu planning.  And that I am looking forward to!

Expelled for Wearing Jeans

The most important part of having “rights” is taking “responsibility” for those rights.  This is a concept many activist groups don’t “get,” as evidenced by their angry utterances and actions.  For these people (feminists, for example), their actions are irrelevant – they believe they should be able to say and do whatever they please.  It’s the other people who have to toe the line.

Here’s an example:  colleges in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh said that female students would be banned from wearing jeans and other “western” clothes in order to halt sexual harassment by male classmates.  “Girls who choose to wear jeans will be expelled from the college,” Meeta Jamal, principal of the Dayanand girls’ college in Kanpur city told Agence France-Presse (AFP).  “This will be the only way to stop crime against women.”

Okay – so, jeans, shorts, tight blouses and mini-skirts on campus are being banned in a growing number of their colleges in an attempt to crack down on “EVE-teasing” (as sexual harassment is known in India).  But, of course, these “oh so mature” and wise girls between the ages of 17 and 20 say that these rules punish innocent females rather than tackling the men who talk “smack” to them..

Let’s look at this in a very pragmatic way.  Two girls are walking down the street, passing a group of young men.  Each girl is on the opposite side of the street.  One girl has on a tight-cropped top and low-cut jeans.  The girl on the other side of the street is wearing a pretty, but modest, dress.  Which side of the street are the guys going to pay attention to?  Which girl are they going to approach?  Which girl are they going to “tease” to see if they can “hook up?”  The answer is easy.

Which girl is showing off her “wares?”  Which girl is acting in a provocative manner?  Which girl is using clothing and body language to possibly advertise her, ahem, “social” availability?  Which girl looks as though sex is on her mind?  The answer is easy.

It is completely unreasonable for a provocatively-dressed woman to get any when guys hoot and whistle.  If clothing is just another form of “self-expression,” well, we all know what sexy clothes are expressing.  Modest clothes are expressing nothing close to a “come-hither” attitude.

A female at work has her boobs popping out of her top and a fellow worker says “nice boobs.”  He’s considered “bad,” but she isn’t?  Isn’t foisting your sexuality on someone else harassment?  Women can provoke men, but men can’t react?  That is the silly thinking of most feminists.

Young men in a classroom can’t pay attention to the blackboard and the teacher’s words when he has in front of him the sight of a girl’s lower back and upper butt, because she’s wearing very low cut jeans.  Young men on a campus can’t even remember which building to go into when a young woman walks by with her soft belly jutting out beneath her short top over her low-cut jeans.

This is where responsibility comes in.  If you don’t want that kind of attention, don’t invite it!

When I read the many of the comments posted in response to this story on Breitbart.com, I was not surprised at the naive and utterly stupid remarks about women having their rights to dress and behave any way they want (i.e., no responsibility), and men should control their verbal and emotional reactions (i.e., responsibility all on the men).

And then I got to this comment…a nugget of gold in the compost heap:

When I entered high school, it was the first year when girls were allowed to wear pants.  Since then, of course, clothing standards have dropped to the point where girls are wearing next to nothing on top of low-cut, tight jeans, or short-shorts. In high school, I would have screamed my head off that it was unfair to tell us what to wear.  Now that we’ve had 30 years of half-dressed high fashion, and I’ve become older and wiser, I understand why modesty makes sense.  Our schools, especially here in California, are a complete disaster.  There are many reasons for it, but requiring that girls dress modestly and that boys dress respectfully is a good start.  Considering that hormones are bubbling like volcanoes, particularly in teenage boys, simple steps like this would make a difference.  I remember the days when people dressed up nicely just to go to the movies!  I’m not advocating this, but I would even be for school kids wearing uniforms.  It puts them in a different frame of mind.  Trying to get kids to sit still, pay attention and get an education is not only difficult, but as we see from our dismal failure in the last 20 to 30 years, is imperative for the future of this country.  Looking back, it does amaze me how much my opinion has changed.  It is said that the devil is in the details, and I must concur.  The small things that I thought didn’t matter at all turn out to be very important, not only in and of themselves, but they are the blocks on which other decisions/behavior are built.  It’s really hard to see this when you’re 15 or even 25, but as have accumulated experience in life, it has become very clear.

Quote of the Week

Sunday, June 14th, is Flag Day, and the following lyrics are a great reminder of what the stars and stripes mean:

You’re a grand old flag
You’re a high flying flag
And forever in peace may you wave.
You’re the emblem of
The land I love
The home of the free and the brave.
               “You’re a Grand Old Flag,”
                By George M. Cohan

American Flag

Readin’, ‘Riting, and ….Bribing?

As I was walking through my kitchen to my office, my husband was having his morning cereal, watching Fox News.  They were in the midst of a perky promo for “what’s coming up next,” concerning a school district that was using financial rewards to motivate students to get good grades.  I kept walking… and only heard one bit more about the subject:  “It’s working.”

That promo stuck in my mind because of those last words:  “It’s working.” 

If tantalizing children with money, money, money actually makes them get good grades, because they pay more attention in class, put more effort into their homework, are more invested in studying for exams and working on reports and projects, well, that means that a lot of kids aren’t living up to their potential.

Why would MONEY make the difference, and not the appreciation of their parents, the respect of their peers, the approval from their teachers, or the mere burst of pride in doing well?  The answer is simple:  kids these days are not raised to care about appreciation, respect, approval and pride…period!  They are brought up to care about celebrity, extravagance, notoriety, freakish attention (think reality shows), infamy as a positive experience, and extreme non-conformity to traditional values.

What happens to these kids when the money isn’t there, but there is still the expectation of profound effort and commitment?  Certainly teachers, police, firefighters, those in the military, and small shop owners (to name just a few) aren’t putting out their best efforts for the financial reward.  A police officer who “collars” a serious bad guy gets a lot of thumps on the back, a night of some beers with fellow colleagues, and a notch toward an eventual promotion in rank.  Mostly, he has pride in doing his job well. 

These children are not being moved in that direction at all by this “money reward for grades” idea (except, maybe, for the beer).

Schools have been eliminating accolades such as high honors at graduation (e.g., valedictorian) so as not to hurt the self-esteem of those who won’t or can’t rise to that occasion.  Yet, they want to give money, money, money to those who do.  What is THAT message?  No one’s feelings are going to be hurt because they didn’t get the money, money, money.  Ugh.

I think we should go back to showing respect for the children who do perform well: for example, point systems that offer monthly “perks” like not having to take a few quizzes because their grades are above a B+, or earning a class trip to the zoo, aquarium, or museum or something else that acknowledges their efforts without minimizing the meaning by throwing coins at them.

Knowing Your Baby’s Gender…Too Early

Over the years, I’ve learned of many reasons to have babies:

1. a loving, married couple decide to begin or grow their family.
2. an unloving couple figure a baby will save the day and their marriage
 (how do no sleep and ’round the clock feedings do that?)
3. some girls think that having a baby will make the boy love them.
4. some boys think getting a girl or girls pregnant is a sign of manhood.
5. some loving couples get surprised.
6. some folks make a baby in order to use the new baby’s blood or bone
 marrow to save an existing child with a serious illness.
7. some unmarried women make babies in order to feel “fulfilled”

 ….and the list goes on.

What’s more worrisome than numbers 2-7 above is a new test to reveal the gender of a fetus in early pregnancy.  The American-designed IntelliGender test kit (which can be used from 8 weeks after conception – that’s two months) went on sale in Australia last month.  They’ll sell for about $125.

Since the kits do not test pregnancy, they don’t require state approval under the New Zealand Medicines Act.  To use the new kit, the company says that a pregnant woman needs to mix her urine with the kit’s chemicals in the supplied container.  If it turns green or black, the fetus is a boy; if it turns orange or yellow, it’s a girl.  It’s purported to be 90% accurate, but no one has revealed the science of how this test works.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and I are worried about what the test might lead to.  “The concern we would have is that people would then terminate pregnancies on the grounds of sex selection,” said college president Dr. Ted Weaver.  A spokesperson for the company suggests that it is unlikely that abortions would follow a test with only 90% accuracy.  In fact, he said he’d be “amazed.”  Then what is the test for?

Gee, he pointed out, for hundreds of dollars more, the woman intent on sex-selection abortions could pay for amniocentesis, or she could wait until she’s 5 months pregnant and have a state-funded ultrasound. 

Is he kidding?  Pay more money?  Wait till more than half the pregnancy is under way?

This kit is FOR the purpose of sex-selection abortions.  Just remember:  ten percent of the time, you’ll abort – kill – the wrong (at least according to your desires) baby, and there is no guarantee that the next 10 times you try to get pregnant that the same thing won’t happen.

But don’t worry…be happy.  Eventually, you could probably get the gender of baby you desire.  I just hope your baby is understanding (once he or she grows up), and grateful that you terminated so many of his or her siblings to get to him.  And I hope he lives up to your expectations.  I wouldn’t want you to be disappointed that he or she just doesn’t have the personality, looks or smarts to justify what you did.

And The Stinky Award Goes To…

We always see awards given out for outstanding achievement – in performance (like the Tony Awards this past Sunday), in writing (like the Pulitzers) or a variety of humanitarian endeavors.  Well, I’ve decided to give out my own version of an award, which I’m calling “The Stinky.”  To find out exactly what and who prompted my decision to do this, you’ll have to watch the video below:

And the Stinky Goes To

Or watch other videos at youtube.com/DrLaura.

Read transcript here.