Monthly Archives: May 2011

California Goes After Social Network Privacy Policies

California State bill SB 242  was recently introduced (and amended last week) which would make social networking sites, like Facebook, take down personal information and photos for account users under age 18 and require more privacy settings (I think this should be a national law). 

SB-242, introduced by California State Senator Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro) would require all security setting to default to “private” and charge up to $10,000 per violation, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. 

I have to applaud Sen. Corbett – up one side and down the other.

These sites are not set up for privacy, and they’re complicated to negotiate. People who use Facebook and sites like it to engage in social/political activities are not necessarily posting information they want to share with the whole world. Even if information is private to other users, it’s not private to Facebook, and can still be used for marketing and advertising purposes.

As I see it, the main problem is you give all your private information before you then determine thelevel of privacy. It’s not well structured. And yes, parents also ought to have the power to remove information or photos from their children’s pages or accounts (one of the provisions of the bill). The bill would require “removal of that information regarding a user under 18 years of age upon request by the user’s parent, within 48 hours of his or her request.”

Facebook is not happy about this bill. I guess it’s a little more work for them, but it’s good PR for them to say they’ll put in the work to protect kids. When you’re not an adult, you lack the foresight to see a picture of yourself drinking beer, along with the message that “I’m so wasted,” could be problematic when interviewing for a job. It’s true 30-year-olds can also post the same nonsense, so everything can’t be blamed on youth.

The 48-hour deadline might be tight, but I don’t care – they’ll just have to figure out a way to set up programs to make that work. If a parent is calling up every day, however, then the site probably should just terminate that account, because that means the parents aren’t really “parenting.”

In fact, a lot of parents are ignorant, unresponsive, uninvolved, unaware, and “unsupervisory” when it comes to their children:

  • 81% of parents with children who go online say kids aren’t careful enough when giving out information (which is why I don’t think kids should be online at all without parental supervision)

  • 44% of teens online with social networking profiles say they have been contacted by a stranger, compared with 16% of those without social networking profiles.

  • 14% of kids have actually met face-to-face with a person they first met on the Internet.

  • When asked how they responded when contacted online by a stranger, only THREE percent of online kids said they told an adult or authority figure. Most kids said they didn’t report the contact because they were afraid of losing Internet privileges.

  • Between 2007 and 2009, MySpace deleted 90,000 accounts because they were created by registered sex offenders.

Parents are always the first line of defense. Check up on everything. Never, never worry about losing your kid’s trust. They don’t trust you anyway.

Think about it. Most of the time they don’t want to tell you the truth, because they’ll get punished or they’ll lose some privilege. They’re not going to tell you something bad happened on the Internet. They’re afraid you won’t let them use the Internet if they mention it. And kids will lie to do what they want to do or do what their friends are doing or what they think they should be allowed to do. 

So don’t be naïve. Don’t think “My kids wouldn’t do that. My kids are wonderful.” They’re kids! I’m not saying they’re criminals, but I am saying they’re kids, and kids can make very unwise choices.

UPDATE on bill SB242: Unfortunately, it has stalled in the Calfornia legislature after aggressive lobbying by Facebook, Google, Twitter and other firms. The bill failed to pass in the California State Senate just this past Friday, May 27. The measure was deadlocked with a 16-16 vote. State Sen. Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro) said the bill had been “fiercely” lobbied against by opponents, but she plans to bring the bill back for another vote later this week.

Quote of the Week

“Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of a free and undivided Republic.”
               - John A. Logan
                 1826 – 1886
                 American soldier and United States Senator
                 Regarded as the founder of Memorial Day
Monday, May 30 is Memorial Day.  Please remember our fallen men and women who served our country.


What Makes A True Friend

Friendship is very important. That’s one of the reasons why emotional desolation sets in when people move a lot – they don’t keep up the friendships they’ve had. 

We need family, not therapy. We need a nice family and friends. We don’t do well alone. Every time you hear about some “nut” doing something horrible to people, you always hear “he was a loner.” That’s a symptom and a disease rolled into one situation.

Life is not meant to be lived alone. We are very social beings and we need people to care about us, understand us, share the same mentality as us, and preferably, be reasonably close in age (but that’s not always necessary). The word “friendship” is very special, and I think people throw it around to include people they know and do stuff with. A good friend, however, is someone we can rely on, someone who is faithful and who is not trying to change us, dictate to us and/or manipulate us. If you have a good friend, you know they know your warts and you know theirs, but in the greater scheme, it doesn’t matter, because the essence of that person’s character is beautiful and that’s what really counts.

Finding someone who will watch your back and stand up for you, and who is loyal is one of the hardest things in the universe. There is no real friendship if there is no loyalty. You know you have a true friend when the “stuff” hits the fan and they are still standing by you.

Good friends are always supportive. When you’re in a time of sincere and reasonable need, a friend will be there wanting to help. Friends need to be reliable and keep the things you discuss private. You know you don’t have a friend if he or she has carried a tale to others of something you said or something you did. It’s truly splendid if you can carry friends throughout your lifetime, because that isn’t always possible.

Here are six ways to maintain a good friendship:

  1. Work at staying connected. Call, write, and/or visit.
  2. Root for one another, and drop the envy. Celebrate each other’s successes. Friendship is not a competition, and a real friend takes pleasure in your success.
  3. Don’t gloat, and don’t boast about things that make you feel superior.
  4. Show up for “cornerstone” events. Share in them.
  5.  Be flexible and understanding.
  6.  And finally, protect confidences.

The System Fails Another Child

I’ve been reading too many stories like the one I’m about to share, and I think it’s about time these people were put on trial and then put in jail for the rest of their lives with no possibility of parole. I believe any social worker, welfare worker, or child services worker who does not adequately follow through on a case and it results in the death of a child should get life in prison without parole.

Here’s the story that is making my blood boil:

A former New York City child welfare worker and his supervisor were indicted on charges of criminally negligent homicide, because their failures had contributed to the death of four year old Marchella Pierce, who had been repeatedly beaten and tied to a bed. She weighed 18 pounds at the end of her life. Her grandmother who witnessed this poor child being tied to the bed was also indicted on manslaughter and other charges, and the girl’s mother faces a murder charge.

Apparently, this is the first time in New York City history a child welfare worker has been charged with homicide in a child’s death. The district attorney in the case said this was likely not an isolated case and that there was “evidence of alleged systemic failures” at the child welfare agency. 

The caseworker in this instance was also charged with tampering with public records and falsifying records. What seems to happen is caseworkers don’t bother to show up and they follow it up by lying on reports. Kids are dead and they go back and look at the reports that say “oh, everything is fine.”

The prosecutors said agency workers had indicated “significant concerns” a year prior to the death of the child, but the caseworker had made entries indicating there had been no changes to the child from previous visits, even though signs of malnourishment would have been obvious by then. The caseworker’s lawyer said his client had been directed to make post-death computer entries by his superiors. Then all the lawyers blamed the agency!

Everyone has been spending time pointing fingers everywhere except at the guy who was supposed to go to the house and monitor that child.

So what happened to this kid is her own mother tied her to a bed, beat her with a belt, deprived her of food and water, and force-fed her drugs. The kid died from being beaten, starved and drug-poisoned. The grandmother witnessed the girl being bound to her bed, beaten and starved and did nothing.

So, when I tell people to call Child Protective Services (CPS), maybe I should just smack my head on the desk. Yet, a lot of people are freaking out at this story, saying “Oh my God, if you put these people on trial, you’re not going to get anybody to do the job.” Don’t you love it when people say “don’t hamper the bad guys, because then we won’t even have them!” 

I think it’s very important for every caseworker to know if a kid dies and it can be demonstrated you were negligent, you are toast – you are seriously toast.

Why Men Are Failing

I read in an article in Slate by a professor in the Sociology Department at the University of Texas at Austin. I had some problems with some of his explanations, but the main point is so right on! Women and girls today are, by and large, really stupid about love and sex. As I have said so many times to women who have called my radio show:“Why are you acting like an unpaid whore? Whatever happened to wanting to be on a pedestal?”

Women in America are the freest of any women in the world and they make stupid choices without thinking about the consequences to their lives and the out-of-wedlock kids or the wedlock kids, and then the divorce.

The article is called “Sex is Cheap: Why Young Men Have the Upper Hand in Bed, Even When They’re Failing in Life.” I’ve always said it’s the women who decide the level of morality in a society. What women will and won’t do is the line in the sand.

Women used to take some pride in deciding with whom and when they would have sex. In the animal kingdom, males have to fight and dance in order to qualify to have sex with the females – they either have to fight other males for access, or they have to enthrall the female somehow, which is one of the reasons males of the species are usually prettier than the females. Male birds are usually more colorful, because they need to impress to get the girl. There are species in which males have to make an entire nest or the female won’t be bothered! Critters whose brains are a microscopic percentage of human brains, with little or no gray matter, seem to have better sense when it’s instinctive, as opposed to when there is freedom of choice.

As women have gotten weaker and stupider, more kids are born out-of-wedlock, and there’s more chaos, violence, and drug use so more kids are ADHD because their lives are total chaos. 

Yes, I blame it on the women, and I am a woman. We are the ones who determine everything when it comes to relationships. A guy used to have to get down on one knee, convince your parents he was worthy and could support a family, had to court you for at least a year and a half, then maybeyou’d say “yes” if you thought he’d make a quality husband and father. Now, women just drop their pants if it’s Tuesday….or Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

So this article is pretty interesting, because it says young men are failing to adapt to contemporary life, but the author thinks it’s all supply and demand. He has good arguments, but I don’t agree with them. I think we’ve just had a generalized destruction of the fabric of society. You can hardly find a commercial on TV that doesn’t use blatant, meaningless sexuality to sell a product. Children are brought up to think this is normal.

Any woman who volunteers to NOT be on a pedestal is stupid. She is missing out on something adorable and sweet – a man wooing, wanting, and working to earn her. Now, women have a date and a half and are on their backs or on their knees. Women are putting perfectly good prostitutes out of business. At least the commitment those “working girls” get is money. Now “good girls” will do it for nothing, just to be there.

What makes all this horrible is the number of girls who get knocked up, and either have the baby sucked into a sink or believe they can handle it themselves. The kids have no dad and no extended family structure. It’s all very sad, and it’s overwhelmingly the fault of the woman, because we’re the ones making these decisions. Unless it is assaultive criminal rape, we make these decisions. We get drunk, we get naked, we do whatever, and then we generalize it and justify it in some stupid way, but basically speaking, that’s it.

So young men aren’t working hard anymore, and their failures in life aren’t penalizing them in the bedroom. Ironically (and I’ve pointed this out many times), being so sexually successful hinders a man’s drive to achieve in life. It used to be a well-known statistic men who are married, have children, and work hard to support their families are more successful than single dudes, because they have something to live for and to work for. Guys don’t have that anymore. They have women who aren’t expecting them to be more or to do more.

Cheap sex is what women settle for, and that’s what they get. When they are not respected, they’re not adored, they’re not revered, they’re not loved, they’re not really wanted, and they’re not on a pedestal. Then do you know what they do?

They bitch.

Quote of the Week

“…Word to the Nation: Guard zealously your right to serve in the Armed Forces, for without them, there will be no other rights to guard.”
               - John F. Kennedy
                 35th President of the United States

Saturday, May 21 is Armed Forces Day.

Birth Control Affects Your Personal Chemistry

Science has poked its nose into how men and women are attracted to each other, as outlined in an article in the Wall Street Journal, entitled “The Tricky Chemistry of Attraction:” 

As it turns out, taking birth control pills can really screw up your attraction to the right kind of guy! The attraction is only for those days you should have been ovulating. So when you choose a life mate, and take a year and a half to do this, be aware real chemistry certainly is involved in the initial attraction:

The type of man a woman is drawn to is known to change during her monthly cycle – when a woman is fertile, for instance, she might look for a man with more masculine features. Taking the pill or another type of hormonal contraceptive upends this natural dynamic, making less masculine men seem more attractive….The findings have led researchers to wonder about the implications for partner choice, relationship quality, and even the health of the children produced by these partnerships….The study also showed that women seemed to prefer the scents of men whose immune systems were most different from the women’s own immune-system genes….

Having two different immune systems would give the children better protection against bad germs. Supposedly, we ferret this out by using our sense of smell!

In the movie Species, a gorgeous female alien gets loose from a research laboratory and goes searching for a male. She picks up this one guy, he takes her home, and she starts kissing him ferociously. Then suddenly, she stops, sniffs him, and then kills him! She sniffed he had diabetes! She kills rather than mates with a man who is not going to pass on healthy chromosomes. It looks like some of this biology is built into us (short of the homicide part, that is).

When women ovulate, they give off subtle cues, and men tend to find them more attractive at this time. But when she’s using hormonal birth control, she’s no longer interested in masculine men, and masculine men are no longer interested in her:

Researchers speculate that women with less-masculine partners may become less interested in their partner when they come off birth control, contributing to relationship dissatisfaction….[and] and increased attraction for other men during their fertile phase. Women partnered with traditionally masculine partners didn’t have such urges….

So the message is don’t pick a guy when you’re on the pill, ‘cuz you’re going to pick a wuss. And when you get off the pill and you’re married with three kids, you’ll look at him and think “I married a wuss,” and the next time you’re fertile, you’ll get turned on to some macho dude. 

I cannot argue that in attraction, there probably is a lot of biology and chemistry involved, because we’re biological creatures. Human beings with their incredible gray matter, however, are complex and decisions are made for many different reasons having nothing to do with health or picking a good partner.

Empty Nesters

Sociologists popularized the term “empty nest syndrome” in the 1970s. The media, of course, helped make its existence part of conventional wisdom. Everybody gets empty nest syndrome. But more recently, a number of psychologists who are doing research have begun taking a more nuanced look at this transition, some of them because they were not experiencing the distress that the popular literature says is “typical” when children leave home. Truth is – it’s not typical. 

Most people go through a transition and come out of it just fine, no matter what the transition is… menopause, retirement, even the death of somebody important. And, what is clear, most people (perhaps after some period of time of going “whoa, my routine is off here”) have increased satisfaction, improved relationships, and less stress. Most parents enjoy a sense of greater freedom, a reconnection with their spouses, and more time to pursue their goals and interests once their kids leave home because most parents sacrifice. They put their interests aside to take care of family.

One of the most important factors in a parental concern and inability to slide into the next chapter of life is when the kids screw up. When the kids leave and do well, most parents do fine. When the kids leave and screw up, parents’ ability to enjoy their empty nest is messed with and they spend a lot of their time suffering and rescuing, perhaps, yet again. 

There are typical qualities which lead some people to make a transition better or less well. If you’re a person for whom change is stressful period, then change is going to be stressful. A lot of people look at change as challenging, refreshing or a little “nervous-making,” but pretty exciting. Some people have to have rigorous constancy to feel okay. So, for them, change is very stressful — any change is stressful. Moving is stressful. So kids’ leaving is stressful. That’s not empty nest syndrome. That’s someone with anxiety disorder from ground zero. 

If a person’s marriage is unstable, unsatisfactory and on the verge of imploding, then when the kids leave home, the buffer (i.e., the other thing to pay attention to) is gone and that’s upsetting. People who have few friends, few interests, few hobbies, few dreams and put all their focus on their kids obviously are going to have a tough time when the kids leave. For some people who make their whole identity being somebody’s mother and usually ignore their husbands, friends and other activities, while solely focusing on being the CIA over their kids will discover a big hole when the kids leave.

For most people, the transition is really comforting and comfortable and pretty exciting…in which they establish a new kind of relationship with their kids, where they’re mentors and not supreme deities. It’s a time where husband and wife can frolic and go away, and their schedules are their own. People who have had dreams and desires like skydiving (I remember one lady mentioned that)…can go back to start doing some of those wacky things. I would say, in general, it is atypical to greatly suffer. Most people consider the kids moving out be a normal, healthy event — even a positive one. So it’s hard to get sympathy. And, oftentimes, we have a doubling or quadrupling up: kids leave, you’re also retiring or somebody’s going through menopause, death or divorce…wow. So it’s not so much even that the kids are leaving, it’s just we have a million things happening at one time, and that’s really upsetting. The best thing to do in these predicaments is to get some help. If you’re at the end of your tether, get some help.

Consider volunteer work, join a hobby group, network with friends, find some employment opportunities; set achievable goals. The empty nest can be just what it says: a dreadful event filled with emptiness and boredom, or an exciting time with new beginnings, renewing old friendships, hobbies, interests, creating new directions for a creative life. It’s your choice.