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Politics
05/13/2010
IconThe Pew Research Center tested the public's political knowledge earlier this year by asking 1) which party had the majority in the House of Representatives; 2) the name of the United States Secretary of State; and 3) who is the Prime Minister of Great Britain.The survey found that about half of Americans knew that the Democrats have a majority in the House of Representatives, but only 42% could identify Condoleeza Rice as Secretary of State.' Only a little over 25% of Americans could name Gordon Brown as the Prime Minister of Great Britain, and only 18% of the public answered all three questions correctly.' Got that? Fewer than 1 in 5 Americans could answer all three questions correctly! This is why candidates for leader of the free world go on television comedy shows like Saturday Night Live , The Tonight Show , and the David Letterman Show to reach the public.' Dignified presentations obviously don't make much of an impression on the electorate.It was interesting to note which groups scored the best on this survey.' In terms of getting all three questions correct, regular readers of The New Yorker and Atlantic magazines scored the highest, at 48%.' Listeners to NPR were next at 44%, followed by viewers of Hardball (43%) and Hannity & Colmes (42%).Rush Limbaugh's audience was next at 36%, followed by viewers of The O'Reilly Factor (28%), and the audiences for Larry King, CNN, and Fox News all came in at 19%.' Now here's a surprise - out of all those who got the three questions correct, 9% of them were regular readers of The National Enquirer ! More >>

Tags: PoliticsValues
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05/13/2010
IconWhen I was a child, I looked up with admiration, respect and even awe at the people who were in public office.' I never heard much about illegal financial activities or illicit sexual relations.' News anchors always spoke with respect about our governmental officials, and debates and opinions were offered with dignity.Here I am, at 61, hearing that if you don't vote for a black candidate that you are a racist (but you're not if you're voting for a candidate specifically because they are black).' I'm hearing feminists attack a woman Vice Presidential candidate simply because she's pro-life. I'm watching television political ads which outright lie and offend basic sensibilities, with both parties presenting people who don't really have the true knowledge and experience to be the most powerful representative of the free world.' I'm seeing a candidate with child-care issues and an out-of-wedlock teen pregnancy in her family, candidates appearing on undignified mass entertainment comedy programs to win votes, and a cacophony of television and radio commentators saying the most outrageously mean things about people they don't know personally. I'm also hearing about mass cheating in voter registrations, and a populace which seems to be relatively disinterested in facts...just emotions, looks and personality.The years of vulgar reality programs and'media free speech, unfettered by responsiblity, have dumbed us down and made us crass.' According to a recent Pew Research Center poll, only 18% of Americans know which party holds the House majority, can name the American Secretary of State, or the Prime Minister of Britain.' I find this a bit scary - and very sad. More >>

Tags: PoliticsValues
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Tags: HumorPoliticsValues
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05/13/2010
IconEnough already with the over-reaction to the Sarah Palin cover picture on Newsweek .I first learned of this so-called serious issue watching Fox News in the morning.' One of their hosts, a gorgeous blonde, was holding up the magazine and the camera zoomed in on the cover, and I thought it was...fine.' It shows Mrs. Palin close up, with about 60% of her face exposed.' Frankly, I think it's a nice shot.'The complaints from the news hosts were that it wasn't retouched to take away the deepness of the marionette lines between nose and mouth and the slight creping around her eyes.My first reaction was, "Give me a break...that's what she looks like at her age with her facial contours.' It's real and she doesn't look bad at all - she happens to be a pretty woman."The hosts then flashed a prior Newsweek cover with Obama...at more of a distance without one obvious facial flaw and a light diffusing from the top of his head, which made him look like a moment in the movie The Ten Commandments -- the halo effect told a lot about the "messiah-like" impression that this publication was attempting to create to influence the readership.While I am not supportive of Mrs. Palin for the Vice-Presidency, as I have made clear in a previous blog , I am also not supportive of media manipulation to subliminally impact the populace to vote for the party of the media's choice.' That said, it is the Obama cover that should be criticized, not Palin's...hers is at least a real rendition of a real human being.I recently took a new set of head shots and publicity photos for an upcoming book (" In Praise of At-Home Moms ") and other promotional purposes.' When I first saw them, I just about cried.' Where did all those crow's feet, laugh lines, and creping of neck skin come from?' I work out hard most days of the week so my muscles and flexibility are amazing.' Working out and eating correctly are under my control.' Getting weekly facials to keep my skin clear and hydrated is under my control.' The changes one has through maturation (aka "aging") are not under my control.' I'm embarrassed to tell you that seeing those photos ruined my afternoon as I have never in my life before felt so womanly, sexy, and feminine!' The photos did not seem to match my inner image.The next day I looked at the photos again and - after sleeping on it and talking about it with my dearest friends - I just absolutely love them and told my business partner to make sure they were not air-brushed.' I never liked my current photos because they touched them up to remove all lines...making me, in my opinion, look absolutely bionic.' I love my new ones now because they are real and show me mature, attractive, happy, and, untouched, and make a statement about pride in oneself even with imperfections.So, to summarize, I like the Palin Newsweek photo. I disdain the liberal media's manipulations of Obama photos to further their political agenda.' And I love my new photos...you'll see 'em soon! More >>

Tags: PoliticsValues
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05/13/2010
IconI am watching TV news early this morning and hear that Senator McCain is suspending his campaign for President of the United States to stay in Washington, D.C. to actually do the job he's been elected to and getting a salary for.' I also hear that whether or not a plan is agreed upon to deal with the financial crisis of the United States, that Senator Obama will leave Washington D.C. early this morning to continue his campaign for President.After talking to one of my friends who quipped: "McCain is using this opportunity as a campaign maneuver." I said, "Hey, he's actually doing the job he's being paid for." I am always impressed when a politician takes personal responsibility to actually do their job.Unfortunately, by noontime, Senator McCain apparently had decided that he had completed the job and decided to call it a day and head off to join Senator Obama for a long weekend of campaigning.What other job is there in the known universe where you can get elected, have a nice title, get paid a really good salary, have fabulous job security for two to six years, and then spend most of your time working towards another job?' Only the job in Congress!' We have Senators from Arizona and Illinois who are spending just about every waking hour vying for the Oval Office, and a Governor from Alaska together with a Senator from Delaware who are trying to get second dibs on Air Force One.I, for one, believe that they all should have resigned to run for further office, and left the support of their constituents to someone who's doing the job full time. More >>

Tags: Personal ResponsibilityPoliticsValues
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05/13/2010
IconBarack Obama and Joseph Biden are both fishing for the women's vote - especially disenchanted Hillary Clinton feminists.' Biden has insisted that Republicans, including Sarah Palin, represent a step backwards for women.'But when you look at the labor market data from the Census Bureau (as Professor Casey Mulligan of the University of Chicago has in a new study), to figure out " the amount and reasons for women's progress in the labor market since the 1960s" something very interesting is revealed. (Wall Street Journal 9/12/08). In 1988, the last full year of Republican Ronald Reagan's administration, wage growth for women working full-time throughout the year improved by 8.3% from the end of the Democratic administration of Jimmy Carter. "Johnson, Carter, and Clinton were all Democrats, yet none of them witnessed much labor-market progress for women during their administrations:' eight years of Reagan, four years of George H.W. Bush, and six years of George W. Bush." The Nixon-Ford administrations were the only Republican administrations that didn't make it to this list of forward momentum for women.'In the Quarterly Journal of Economics , August, 2008, Professor Mulligan and Yona Rubenstein (from Brown University) calculated the statistics that showed women's annual wage growth relative to men's:'Under Republican administrations, women's annual wage growth relative to men was .0.87% under George W. Bush, 1.4% under George H.W. Bush, and 1.6% under Ronald Reagon.' Under Democratic administrations, women fared less well.' Their annual wage growth relative to men was 0.21% under Bill Clinton, 0.04% under Jimmy Carter, and minus 1% under Lyndon Johnson.'I like that color lipstick, especially if the kids are grown or Daddy is home with the kidlets. More >>

Tags: BudgetFeminismFinancesPoliticsSocial Issues
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05/13/2010
IconI am extremely disappointed in the choice of Sarah Palin as the Vice Presidential candidate of the Republican Party.' I will still vote for Senator McCain, because I am very concerned about having a fundamental leftist, especially one who is a marvelous orator, as President.At first, I thought it amusing that McCain picked a pretty, smart, and tough female to counter the racist/sexist accusations going back and forth between parties.' I remember how Oprah Winfrey got caught in the cross-fire as she stepped up to the political table to support Obama with pride that a black man could rise to such heights in the USA, only to get slammed by feminists who told her it was gender, not race, that she should back.' Understandably, Ms. Winfrey pulled back from it all.Forget gender and race.' I'm frankly and sadly caught in the dilemma of having to balance policy versus example in touting a candidate for the office of the First Family.' I was ferociously attacked (what's new?) when I spoke out strongly against Bill Clinton's dalliances in the Oval Office.' That situation quickly turned into a debate whether "private has anything to do with public."' Nonsense.' Role models are very important.' Children and young adults look to those who are visible and successful as a road map of what is acceptable behavior and emulate those actions over the morals and values their parents and churches have taught and tried to reinforce.' It's a tough go these days, when the "bad that men or women do" is used for entertainment purposes without judgment, or is excused because of political or financial considerations.I'm stunned - couldn't the Republican Party find one competent female with adult children to run for Vice President with McCain?'' I realize his advisors probably didn't want a "mature" woman, as the Democrats keep harping on his age.' But really, what kind of role model is a woman whose fifth child was recently born with a serious issue, Down Syndrome, and then goes back to the job of Governor within days of the birth?I am haunted by the family pictures of the Palins during political photo-ops, showing the eldest daughter, now pregnant with her own child, cuddling the family's newborn.' When Mom and Dad both work full-time (no matter how many folks get involved with the children), it becomes a somewhat chaotic situation.' Certainly, if a child becomes ill and is rushed to the hospital, and you're on the hotline with both Israel and Iran as nuclear tempers are flaring, where's your attention going to be?' Where should your attention be?' Well, once you put your hand on the Bible and make that oath, your attention has to be with the government of the United States of America.I am positively moved that neither Sarah nor her daughter were willing to terminate the lives of their unborn children.' This is in sharp contrast to Obama's statement that "When it comes specifically to HIV/AIDS, the most important prevention is education, which should include...which should include abstinence education and teaching children...teaching children, you know, that sex is not something casual.' But it should also include - it should also include other, you know, information about contraception, because, look, I've got two daughters, 9 years old and 6 years old.' I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals.' But if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby." (March, 2008) So, one Vice Presidential candidate and her daughter demonstrate, under conditions of great stress, that babies are valued human beings, not punishment.' However, that same VP candidate came forth in April of 2008 with a proclamation for "Family Child Care Week," in which she wrote: "These professionals are positive role models for the children they care for and the communities they serve." Clearly, Palin sees the need for positive role models.' I suggest that they be Mommy and Daddy, and not the hired help.Child-care facilities are a necessity when mothers and fathers (when they exist at all) are unwilling or incapable of caring for their offspring.' Unfortunately, they have become a mainstay of the feminista mentality that nothing should stand in the way of a woman's ambition - nothing, including her family.Any full-time working wife and mother knows that the family takes the short end of the stick.' Marriages and the welfare of children suffer when a stressed-out mother doesn't have time to be a woman, a wife, and a hands-on Mommy. More >>

Tags: Family/Relationships - ChildrenMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingPoliticsSocial Issues
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05/13/2010
IconWhile the terrorist groups Hamas and Fatah fight for dominance in the Palestinian regions, one of their means of demoralizing each other actually concerns the issue of facial hair. The Jerusalem Post reports that Hamas has resumed its policy of shaving the mustaches of rival Fatah members to humiliate them as a form of punishment in its struggle to assert dominance over Palestinian politics.In response, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades issued a statement strongly condemning the use of shaving as punishment.'I can only imagine the uproar and the blogosphere going crazy if it had been American military who shaved a jihadist's mustache in order to get valued information. More >>

Tags: MilitaryPoliticsValues
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05/13/2010
Icon"Beijing officials have distributed 4.3 million copies of an etiquette book, outlining rules on good manners and foreign customs, including rules about what not to wear," according to The Wall Street Journal (8/1/08)' "Among the no-nos:' more than three color shades in an outfit, white socks with black shoes, and pajamas and slippers in public." It should be interesting for the Chinese citizens who obey these rules to see the foreigners in sweat pants, jeans and flip-flops.Another issue for the Chinese government is the crackdown on any protesting during the Olympics.' China just doesn't want to look bad to the almost half-million tourists who are there for the festivities.' According to the Associated Press, probably several thousand Chinese protestors have already been locked up for the duration so they don't behave "inappropriately."' Also, protestors had to apply for permission to demonstrate some five days in advance and had to acknowledge that they would not harm national interests.' They were supposed to be relegated to one of three parks which are several miles from the main Olympic stadium, but in a report on Saturday, August 8 in the Los Angeles Times , the three parks where demonstrators were to be allowed were totally quiet.' There were no signs of protest areas or of protesters, and, according to the Times ,' there were more security personnel than visitors at the parks.' Foreigners who protested over the past week were deported, and the heavy security measures have forced most of the demonstrations to be held in other countries, including Tibet, India, Hong Kong, England, France, and Germany. More >>

Tags: CharacterCharacter-Courage-ConsciencePoliticsSocial IssuesValues
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05/13/2010
IconBeing able to breathe seems to be a high priority for Olympic athletes - and in Beijing, that's going to be a bit of a challenge.' However, according to Associated Press sources, China is working hard at it....cough...cough.Last week, Beijing's air pollution index dropped to 44 from its more typical number which is double that.' A reading below 50 is considered "good," and between 51 and 100 is "moderate," but "moderate" is still above the World Heath Organization's guidelines for healthy air.Their polluted air has prompted the government to begin drastic measures, including the halting of most construction, the closing of machinery, chemical and construction factories, and the imposition of restrictions on half the city's 3.3 million vehicles.'Many of the 10,500 Olympic athletes are heading to South Korea, Japan and other places to avoid Beijing's air for as long as possible.' This is a kind of "reverse doping," as the impact of the city's pollution on the health and performance of these athletes is in question.Yet another risk is that of Islamic terrorism.' Some of you have been led to believe that jihadism is a reaction or reasonable payback to America and her friends for being bad, bad places.' So it might seem strange to you to find out that a Muslim group, claiming responsibility for a series of explosions in Chinese cities, is allegedly planning to attack the Beijing Olympic Games. According to the AP, "earlier this year, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security said it had disrupted two plots to attack the Olympics.' It claimed one group had been planning to kidnap athletes, foreign journalists, and other visitors, while a second had been manufacturing explosives and was plotting to attack hotels, government offices, and military targets in Shanghai, Beijing, and other cities...." Just yesterday we heard about sixteen Chinese policemen who were killed in an attack on a border post in the Muslim region of Xinjiang.As if that were not enough, the Chinese government was planning to censor the' Internet during the games.' Reporters already in Beijing have been unable to access scores of web pages - particularly politically sensitive ones that discuss Tibetan succession and Taiwanese independence, as well as the sites of Amnesty International, Radio Free Asia and several Hong Kong newspapers.Oh, you should know that the International Olympic Committee quietly agreed to the Internet limitations...that is, the blocking of sites that were not Games-related.' There was such an uproarfrom other countries, however, that China has backed off on this deal, and on Friday, the Chinese government announced that it will not censor the Internet during the competition.In 2001, when China won the right to host the Games, it made the commitment that it would improve its record on human rights and provide athletes with clean air.' Without Friday's announcement (made only because of outside pressure), that would have made the score zero for two. More >>

Tags: PoliticsSocial IssuesValues
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