Monthly Archives: September 2009

Quote of the Week

We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker.  It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.
               – Ronald Reagan
                  40th President of the United States

Courts Aren’t Supporting the Concept of Personal Responsibility

When President Obama spoke to school children last week, he gave the kind of speech I would have given:  he emphasized that personal responsibility is the ticket to a life of success and a strong country.  He mentioned that all the equipment, books, and desks were all well and good, but useful only if students took the responsibility to work hard at their studies.

I wish our courts (and the rest of the President’s agenda) followed that concept of personal responsibility.  Not so.

An Indiana court has ruled that a pizza shop must pay for a 340 pound employee’s weight loss surgery in order to ensure the success of another operation for a back injury he suffered at work when he was accidentally struck in the back by a freezer door.  I wonder how much his girth was responsible for the accident.  I don’t wonder how much his girth is responsible for the fact that the surgery for his back won’t be undertaken until he reduces his weight first – no kidding!  But making the pizza shop employer responsible for paying for that weight loss surgery is not in keeping with the President’s message of personal responsibility.

The man was obese before he was hired.  If he hadn’t been hired because of his weight, that would have been discrimination, and would have been illegal.  Employers are screwed no matter what they do to run a business and make a reasonable profit.

This is not the only such case.  The most recent was in Oregon, where the state’s Supreme Court ruled on August 27 that the state workers’ compensation insurance must pay for gastric bypass surgery to ensure that a man’s knee replacement surgery was effective.

Businesses will definitely and understandably be much more careful about whom they hire.  While they can’t not hire a fat person because he or she is fat, they are not obligated to hire the first person who shows up for the job, and they can and should come up with some other reason to protect themselves from unreasonable financial demands because they hired a person who eats more and moves less. 

Obviously, this situation is anti-personal responsibility and anti-business.  This ruling will have repercussions beyond obesity and weight-loss surgery.  Employers will be wary of hiring people who have other conditions that expose them to workplace injury.  Developmental and physical limitations of some applicants will likely keep potential employers from being as compassionate as they’ve been in the past. 

This is really sad, because ultimately, it’s the individual with some challenges who will suffer.

Serena Williams’ Foul Play

I’m a female and a Jew.  I personally know something about bias, bigotry, prejudice, and discrimination.  There is no doubt in my mind that I have experienced some (shall we say) “bad luck” in my life because I fall into these two categories, but there is probably not a person on the face of the earth who doesn’t have a similar (and probably worse) story to tell with respect to the natural tendency of people to band together based on commonality, from ethnicity to gender to nationalism.  Nonetheless, we have a black President with a Jewish chief-of-staff, and a female Secretary of State.

I’m seriously tired of people pulling the race or gender card to explain away their bad behavior.  Ultimately, we are responsible for our own actions.  This brings me to Serena Williams in the U.S. Open.  Serena was losing badly in the semi-finals to unseeded, unranked Kim Clijsters, and Clijsters had just beaten Serena’s sister, Venus.  The match was at the point where Clijsters was but one point from victory, and it was Serena’s serve.  She faulted on her first serve.  Instead of just going back to the baseline to serve again, she menacingly walked toward the judge, shouting and cursing her, pointing the ball and then the racket at her, as though she were going to strike the woman.  Allegedly, she said,“If I could, I would take this [expletive deleted] ball and shove it down your [expletive deleted] throat.”

The line judge went over to the chair umpire and tournament referee as the crowd was booing.  According to news reports, Serena said,“Sorry, but there’re a lot of people who’ve said worse.  I didn’t say I would kill you.  Are you serious?  I didn’t say that.”  But the line judge said she did say that, and that with the crowd noise, it was difficult for others to hear the specifics. 

I saw that video, and having someone with that venomous rage coming at me, screaming and cursing, shaking a racket in my face (especially since Serena had already smashed a racket earlier in the game when she committed an unforced error) would have scared me too.

Serena was only penalized a point, which, by destiny of timing, turned out to be the match point.  Clijsters would have won anyway – she was playing an amazing game, and she did go on to win the U.S. Open.

So, here’s a young woman, used to success, who couldn’t handle being humbled, and she robbed Clijsters of the good feeling of trumping a tennis goddess.  This is obviously bad behavior – very bad.  The bad boys of tennis games past were also known to behave badly, but, according to news sources, they never threatened the life or well-being of a judge.  This was scary and horrendous behavior. 

The first reaction of some was to scream “racism!”  Oh puleeze.  Was anyone saying she behaved badly because she was black?  NO.  Was anyone saying she was penalized for her behavior because she was black?  YES, and that is downright annoying and dumb. 

Online, someone posted a comment after the news item, which I think is “right on.”  Here’s an excerpt:

There are reasons for rules in competitive sports or banking or finance or education or society.  The reasons [for the rules] always have to do with participants being unwilling or unable to manage or discipline their emotions when under duress of any kind.  This duress…almost always manifests poorly, but often successfully.  Serena…lost her composure in the early stages of this match, played poorly, got behind, and faced almost certain defeat.  The foot fault (which many say was correct, many say “iffy,” and some say false) was critical, but not pivotal for Serena.  She could have played through it.  She had the serve.

But she had first-serve faulted many times, and had lost every second serve point to her opponent.  So, she gave in to panic, which led her to say some astoundingly aggressive things to the line judge, who, to her credit, stayed calm, objective, and within the rules.  The referee made the proper call, and Serena lost, and then lost again by backpedaling after the match, with cover-up comments and lame excuses. 

But this is an era when elites in all walks of life take the liberty of exposing their true selves without much consequence.  It’s called “privilege,” and it is, in my mind, the downfall of the American personality, and with it, the downfall of the nation – a little microcosm on a big stage.  Pride comes before a fall.

Truth is, she knew she had lost this match, even if that one linesman’s call was bad.  Instead of letting her opponent savor the victory point, she surrendered early.  Clijster swamped her and her sister, and Williams acted like a classless brat.  And classless brats come in all colors, genders and religions.  Point…game…match.

Russell Crowe is Not A Role Model for Healthy Living

An Australian newspaper columnist mocked actor Russell Crowe for smoking and chowing down on three tacos and a soft drink during a recent bike ride.  Specifically, her piece was entitled:  “Smokes and Fatty Foods – The Fitness Regime for Rusty.”

No, he didn’t throw a bike at her (like he threw a phone at a hotel employee several years ago).  Instead, he challenged her to a bike ride.  She went on the 12 mile ride through the city, struggling to keep up, and then she fell off her bike.  She persevered and finished the ride, and had compliments for “Rusty.”  Instead of gloating (she revealed), the actor was gracious and concerned about her:  “…the perfect gentleman as he rolled up my trousers to check on my knee.”

Well, the actor has trimmed down of late, and bike riding is probably a part of his new health regimen, but, c’mon, biking with your trainer and scarfing down tacos, sugary sodas and dragging on a cigarette earned him that headline.  That he could outride a non-rider doesn’t change the truth:  what he did was very unhealthy.  And considering that two thirds of Americans (Crowe is Australian) are fat or obese because they move less and eat more, it would have been better if he had owned up to the error of his gastronomical ways.

Quote of the Week

America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time.  None of us will ever forget this day.  Yet, we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.
               – George W. Bush
                  43rd President of the United States
                  September 11, 2001

Spitzer’s Call Girl Complains

I have some comments to make about Ashley Dupre, the highly-paid prostitute who notoriously humped disgraced ex-New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer.

Angry about the negative perception of her, Ms. Dupre wrote on a blog post:  “Let me say this:  most girls, to varying degrees, of course, want to be pampered and have nice shoes, designer handbags and gorgeous clothes.  I know many women who target guys with money and use them to get these things.  They toy with them, flirt, go on dates, have sex and then drop hints about that new dress…or being short on rent money – and the guys deliver it.”

Whoa, missy!  Trying to make yourself look better by making comparisons to other devious skanks just doesn’t work that well.  Everyone in the universe would like “nice things,” but some people are satisfied with richer things in life – like love and family – while others simply work hard at a legitimate job that doesn’t exploit or damage other people’s families to get those things.

One comment listed on the New York Post website in response to this story was quite interesting:

“She’s a cheap trick trying to cover the fact that she sold her body for a few thousand bucks.  There IS a BIG difference.  Implying that a relationship is like prostitution is like implying that hunting and killing game is no [different from] hunting and killing people.  She’s trying to spin the simple fact that relationships are give-and-take to say that all that are give-and-take in any way are the same, but giving and taking in a long-term social and intimate relationship is NOT the same as a business transaction for sex. She would have done better to say that a piece of ham in a supermarket is ‘no better’ than she is being the more closer comparison to buying a piece of meat for consumption.”

I have a simple question to ask women who are defensive about their behaviors:  would you teach your daughters to do this?  It is amazing how the answer to this will definitely be a quick and disgusted “NO,” but then, these women are quick to rationalize.

Ashley Dupre is a disgusting creature, not only for being a “paid-for” sex machine, but mostly for being an unrepentant destroyer of some other woman’s family.  It is the unrepentant part that really gets me, and should get you, too.  As a foolish young woman with warped values, we could all “get” (i.e., understand) her behavior, but here she is, older and after the fact, and she still has no conscience about her actions.

It is the lack of conscience in this woman that ultimately judges her.

Staying Home for Older Kids

Not long ago, I posted a video on my YouTube Channel addressing whether it was ever too late to be a stay-at-home mom. I got the following response to that video from a listener, and she’s my “guest blogger” for today, especially because this is the week a lot of parents send their kids back to school:

Dear Dr. Laura:
I have always been at home with my kids, who are now 11, 14, and 16. I am so thankful that I am still home with them, and feel it’s just as important now as it was when they were little.

Since I am home, all the kids come over here. I have the benefit of knowing my kids’ friends and their parents well, and knowing where my kids are and who they are with. This has been especially important during the summer, when many kids spend long hours unsupervised. I knew my 16 year old was not out drinking or getting in trouble, because he was right here. We went swimming together one day, and talked about his plans for college and how he felt about the upcoming school year-another one of those precious and important conversations I would have missed if I wasn’t here.

During the school year, it’s during the first 15 minutes after they get home that I hear all about their day, their troubles and their triumphs. I would miss that if I were at work. I am the mom who can pick up friends, work in the classroom, bake last minute cookies, and make a costume for drama, because I am home.

The older they get, the more I realize how short our time is with them, and the more thankful I am for every minute. I enjoy my teens much more now than I did when they were little, and I am grateful every day that I will not miss their last year as children. And yes, you better believe that both I and the kids thank my wonderful husband that Mom is able to be at home during this critical time.

Thanks for standing up for those of us who are at home doing “nothing” all day with our older kids.