Monthly Archives: December 2010

With Gratitude for You, My Listeners

A new year is often a time of reflection and looking back as well as planning for the coming year. Since I’m making a major change by moving to SiriusXM satellite radio, I wanted to look back on my 30+ years of being on the air, and especially to thank you for all you’ve given me during that time:

With Gratitude for You, My Listeners

Or watch other videos at youtube.com/DrLaura.

Read the transcript.

I Made the AP List for 2010 News Events

The Associated Press just recently released its “Chronology of News Events in 2010.”  It includes such momentous occasions as the Obama administration filing a lawsuit in Phoenix to block Arizona’s toughest-in-the-nation immigration law (leaving out that it is an anti-illegal immigration law), actress Lindsay Lohan beginning a 14 day jail sentence (reduced from 90 days due to overcrowding) for violating probation in a 2007 drug case, Wikileaks posting 90,000 leaked U.S. military records from the war in Afghanistan, and…..

August 10
Talk radio host Laura Schlessinger uses N-word 11 times on-air while discussing interracial marriage, later apologizing.

  • What the AP does not mention:
  • That I used the word to discuss its meaning and appropriateness in our society.
  • That I questioned why our society allows blacks to call each other that name but does not allow whites to discuss the issues raised by that word.
  • That I realized immediately the mere use of the word offended many of my listeners.
  • That I “self-policed” myself, pulled myself off the air, and apologized the very next morning.
  • That it wasn’t until 48 hours later that the liberal so-called news media at CNN teamed up with Media Matters, the Urban League and the NAACP to demand that I be silenced and taken off the air.
  • That I NEVER called ANYONE that word.  Instead, I was pointing out how that word is used ubiquitously in the black culture and community.

 
I am not a victim.  We choose to be victims, and I do not choose that label for me.  This event in my life – which I am responsible for – has led me to realize how precious free speech is in our country, and that there are forces gathering to restrict that fundamental First Amendment right.

In the few months since August 10, we’ve seen Rick Sanchez fired by CNN for expressing his opinion about Jon Stewart.  We’ve seen NPR fire Juan Williams for expressing his opinion on Muslims and airport security.  We’ve heard Al Sharpton (who called for me to be silenced from radio) call for the censorship of Rush Limbaugh and other talk show hosts who whom he disagrees. 

We’ve heard a U.S. Senator – Jay Rockefeller – on the floor of the U.S. Senate ask that the FCC shut down Fox News.  We’ve heard an FCC commissioner – one of 5 men who decide what can air on our radio and television stations – call for the monitoring and regulation of news.  All of this to support an alleged right that is NOT in the Constitution – the right not to be offended.

So, I am committing myself to supporting free speech in any way I can, beginning with moving my program to a venue which reveres free speech.  Check my website at www.drlaura.com to learn more about my move.  I will use my new format to continue to help people be and do better in their lives as well as provide a forum of open discussion on such controversial topics as racism, abortion, religion, the destructive influence of feminism, and on and on.

I am energized by all that has happened to me, not only recently but over the three decades of my career.

In January, my new book Surviving a Shark Attack (On Land), deals with betrayals and revenge.  I have some surprising things to say and to reveal. 

 

Quote of the Week

It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.
               – Charles Dickens
                  1812-1870

Make the Holidays Meaningful

Before and after the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, I get calls from folks who are agonizing over whether or not to invite someone who has been terrible to them and/or others – whether it’s a friend, parent, or child.  Generally, the explanations about the problems with that friend, parent or child are horrendous!  Ferocious drug abuse, violence, severe betrayals….they call because they want the “pretty picture” for the holidays regardless of the dramatically ugly issues that would have to be ignored.

I tell them all – each and every one – to make the holidays meaningful and not fantasy recreations.  I tell them to go to orphanages or senior citizen homes, children’s hospitals, cancer wards, and make someone smile, instead of agonizing over fantasies unmet that frankly, should stay unmet.

Here’s an example of what I mean:  Kansas City, Missouri has a Secret Santa, Part 2.  Secret Santa Part 1, Larry Stewart, gave away more than $1 million to strangers each December, mostly in $100 bills.  He died in 2007 at the age of 58, and another (still anonymous) Secret Santa has taken up the reins.

The new Secret Santa walks about with an elf – another tall man in a red cap – who asks people questions, and then provides them with the gift.  The recipients?  A police officer with terminal cancer, a homeless man pushing a rickety old shopping cart, an 81 year old woman who had recently told her 27 grandchildren that she wouldn’t be able to afford Christmas gifts, a 32 year old mother of two who lost her job because of the recession, and a woman whose husband and children died, and who has been having a tough time paying for the funerals.

Charitable donations have dropped off drastically, because people are watching every penny due to the sorry economic situation of the nation with 10% unemployment and taxes, taxes, taxes.  When Secret Santa was asked about continuing his gifts during these tough economic times, he said “The recession, unemployment….this is the time you don’t want to stop.  You don’t want to back off.”

Giving to the needy and less fortunate is always in season, especially when it is more difficult to do.  That is what gives it meaning.

So, fuhgeddabout your disappointment that your family isn’t all sweet and adorable.  Kindness in giving creates love.

Quote of the Week

Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe
Help to make the season bright….
               – from The Christmas Song
                 Written by Robert Wells and Mel Torme

Internet Privacy is Still A Problem

I’ve been nagging you and nagging you some more about the Internet and how it isn’t the safest place in the universe if you value your privacy. Many of you insist on putting private thoughts and experiences on MySpace and Facebook and then are horrified when there is some negative blowback in your lives, like from a boss or friend or family member reading some stuff you wish they hadn’t.

Well, it gets worse.  Dozens of websites have been secretly harvesting lists of places their users previously visited online.  That includes everything from news articles to bank sites to pornography.

The information, according to the Associated Press, is valuable for con artists to learn more about their targets and send them personalized attacks.  It also allows e-commerce companies to adjust ads or prices, for instance, if the site knows you’ve just come from a competitor who is offering a lower price.

This technique is called “history sniffing,” and is a result of the way browsers interact with websites and record where they’ve been.  It only takes a few lines of programming code to pull it off.

Current versions of Firefox and Internet Explorer browsers still allow this, as do older versions of Chrome and Safari. 

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego found 46 sites, ranging from smutty to staid, that tried to pry loose their visitors browsing histories using this technique.  Nearly half of the 46 sites, including financial research site Morningstar.com and news site Newsmax.com used an ad-targeting company Interclick which says its code was responsible for the tracking.

Again, according to the Associated Press, the source for this whole announcement, Morningstar, said it ended its relationship with Interclick when it found out about the program and Newsmax said it didn’t know history sniffing had been used on its users until the AP called.

Internet companies are obsessed with tracking users’ behavior so they can target their ads better.  The Federal Trade Commission is proposing rules that would limit an advertiser’s ability to track Internet users to show them advertisements.

History sniffing is essentially a side-by-side comparison of Web pages you’ve already visited with Web pages that a particular site wants to see if you’ve visited.  If there is a match, users would never know but the site administrators would learn a lot about you.

For instance, according to AP, a popular porn site was checking its visitors’ history to see if they’d visited 23 other pornography sites, and the code used on the Morningstar and Newsmax.com sites looked for matches against 48 specific Web pages, all related to Ford automobiles.

Sites can carry on this kind of inspection at the rate of 20,000 Internet addresses per second.

Remember all this when you next sign on to the Net.

 

No Ifs, Ands, or Butts

The city of Opa-locka, Florida voted unanimously to fine people $250 if they don’t pull their pants up.  Opa-locka city leaders decided to expand the current ban on saggy pants to include the fine or  ten hours of community service to those who refuse to keep their pants up.  The City Commissioner, Timothy Holmes, led the charge against the “sagging” crowd, saying that the low-pants practice intimidates the public, provides a distraction in schools, and is a blight on the community. 

“Dress like somebody.  Be somebody,” Holmes is quoted as saying.  “It’s time for us now to try to teach our people how to dress.”

The ACLU, of course, got into this:  “Policymakers acting as fashion police is a ridiculous waste of public resources.  Laws like this disproportionately penalize African-American youth and law enforcement and will impose overly harsh penalties for victimless behavior.”

The Commissioner fired back with: “That might get some crime off the street.”

Ohhhhhh.  This sounds on the surface like racial profiling/racism/discrimination, right?  And who has the right to dictate proper decorum in the streets and self-respectful behavior??

Well, I’ll tell you who:  Myra Taylor, the Mayor of Opa-locka, is black.  The Vice Mayor, Dorothy Johnson, is black.  The three commissioners, Rose Tydus, Timothy Holmes, and Gail Miller, are all black.  Poor Timothy is the token male!
According to US Census information, the total population of Opa-locka is just short of 15,000:  22.8% are white; 69.6% are black.

They have great posters up around the town, showing male youths from [ahem] behind, with baggy pants and the words:  “No ifs, ands, or butts.”

Huzzahs to Opa-locka for making the effort to elevate their youth from within.