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05/13/2010
IconA short time into her pregnancy, a married woman in Ohio was told by her husband that he had just received a call from the fertility clinic which helped them attain this pregnancy.' The clinic "goofed," and the baby in her belly was the product of the embryo of some other couple, who now expected her to go through childbirth and hand over the baby.This couple is quite religious and they don't believe in abortion, so in spite of their immense personal pain, they planned to hand over the baby after it was born (they did so at the end of September, when the woman delivered a healthy baby boy).Their only request was to see and hold the baby first, as they had already formed a bond.Shame on the clinic for making that phone call!' You may be shocked at that response, but since strangers meet, fall in love, marry and spend their lives together, it's obvious that genetics is not the prime criterion for love, or no one would be able to adopt a child.Having been pregnant, I'll tell you that at the absolute instant of fertilization, an intense relationship starts (and continues, in spite of morning sickness, and inevitable heartburn and constipation).' This actual "birth mother" is traumatized, as is her whole family.' And for what?' Ownership of an embryo?I remember a Law and Order episode where the "punch line" was that the father who raised the now-teenage boy was revealed NOT to be the biological father, and he lost custody.' Shameful and cruel, I thought.Some people think that because something is "the truth," that it should be revealed.' Not necessarily, and especially not when terrible human suffering ensues.The "embryo" family simply could have kept trying, and there is no proof that this particular embryo would have thrived until birth in the genetic mother.'I think everyone was better off with this truth not being spoken. More >>

Tags: ChildrenMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingPregnancySocial Issues
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05/13/2010
IconI think it's outrageous that a married couple is suing WalMart for calling the cops over what they called "bath time photos."A year ago in Peoria, Arizona, mommy and daddy sent 144 family photos to be developed to WalMart.' The developer spotted eight photos of children in provocative positions, with their genitals exposed.' Apparently, the parents say that they "have told our girls that they have freedom to be in their home and feel okay about their bodies and their nudity, but that there is a time and a place for it." I couldn't agree more....and a store photo development establishment is probably NOT the place for it.' You know how cheap it is to download your own photos?' Sheesh!Obviously, these folks are big into nudity and the carefree expression of such, so their getting angry that the police and child protective services were brought in to investigate should have been an expected consequence of their beliefs. It is the intent of a civilized society to protect the old, infirm, and the young from exploitation and abuse.' The police and child protective services and the WalMart photo developer did the right thing.After psychiatric exams and a full investigation, it was determined by a judge that these parents didn't intend any abuse, nor were they revving up for child porn.' Fine.' Happy ending.But they should have been sensitive and non-defensive enough to understand the idea of protecting children always comes first . More >>

Tags: ChildrenFamily/Relationships - ChildrenParentingSexSexualitySocial IssuesValues
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05/13/2010
IconY'know, I really don't know why I am so upset about Roman Polanski.' I mean, he's the director of such notable films as Rosemary's Baby, Chinatown , and The Pianist .' When one is a "respected" artist, shouldn't we allow for certain...shall we say..."proclivities" that maybe aren't what the average schmo should get away with?' After all...he's a movie director!What's the big deal about telling a very pretty little 13 year old girl that he could make her a star - i.e., a model for the French Edition of Vogue magazine?' How narrow-minded can you be to imagine that taking pictures of the naked 13 year old girl in a hot tub, plying her with glass after glass of champagne and popping her a few Quaaludes (ostensibly, he said, to cure her asthma), and then showing her what a real man can do without Viagra is a problem?' And what's wrong with the fact that he cautioned her to never tell her mother about their "little secret?"' It just makes the whole scenario more...intimate.Go figure...the Los Angeles District Attorney's office filed charges against Roman Polanski for this "innocuous" behavior - gee, it must have been a slow legal day.' After pleading guilty to having sex with a 13 year old child, working out a plea bargain, and then paying off the girl's family, Roman Polanski fled the United States in 1977.' The American authorities (just stubborn, I guess) issued an international search request in 2005.' Swiss authorities arrested him Saturday at the Zurich airport.How terribly inconvenient for the film world.' Polanski had traveled to Switzerland to collect a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Zurich Film Festival, and by going to Switzerland, he finally got arrested for his "lifetime guilt."' Actress Debra Winger, President of the film festival's jury, was terribly upset, poor thing: "The festival has been unfairly exploited to secure Polanski's arrest over a case that is all but dead.' Despite the philistine nature of the collusion that has now occurred, we came to honor Roman Polanski as a great artist.' We hope today this latest order will be dropped; it is based on a three decade old case that is all but dead except for a minor technicality." There are so many people around the world who were equally as astonished as I was that such an important film director should be treated so disrespectfully.' Jack Lang, a former French culture minister said, "While Mr. Polanski had committed a 'grave crime,' he is a great creator and artist, and there's a sentiment here that pursuing someone for a crime committed 30 years ago...is unreasonable...a kind of judicial lynching." I'm not sure what Mr. Lang's notion of what consequences a "great creator and artist" should have had, had he not eluded sentencing three decades ago.' And it certainly isn't the fault of the American judicial system that a country such as France would give him sanctuary.Apparently, 100 or so entertainment industry professionals created a petition for Mr. Polanski's release, saying "Filmmakers in France, in Europe, in the United States and around the world are dismayed by this decision." It seems inadmissible to them that an international cultural event, paying homage to one of the greatest contemporary filmmakers, is used by the police to apprehend him.After all, with all the stress of hiding in France to avoid criminal punishment for what is ultimately the drugging and raping of a little girl, he still managed to get the Best Director Oscar in 2003 for "The Pianist." In spite of the clarity of his "wrongdoings," the Zurich festival director is experiencing " great consternation and shock," adding, "We are unable to judge the legal background surrounding the arrest." Let's go through this again:' the man drugged and raped a child. The man drugged and raped a child, and then fled the United States to avoid jail time.' The man drugged and raped a child, and the fled the United States to avoid jail time, and has been for 30 years treated like the patron saint for the arts by a world that is growing more and more morally corrupt by the moment. There is hardly a more sympathetic creature on the face of the earth than Roman Polanski.' He was born in Paris, moved to Poland with his Jewish family when still a toddler (shortly before World War II).' His mother died in a Nazi concentration camp, but Polanski avoided capture and spent his youth in Poland before moving to the United States.' His wife, Sharon Tate, was 8 months' pregnant with their child when she was brutally murdered by the Manson family.' When you look at his ability to make movies, after these grossly horrendous experiences, it seems logical that you should forgive a little drugging and a little raping of a young girl.' NOT.In my opinion, all those who have participated in any way in the making or distributing of Polanski's movies for the last 30 years should be considered accessories after the fact, and part of a conspiracy to protect a child rapist.' Polanski's movies should be boycotted by every decent American, as well as the movies of those who acted in or contributed to any of Polanski's movies in the last 30 years.The man is an animal and a coward.' He's an animal because of what he did to a child; he's a coward because he didn't take his punishment like a man with character.I am thoroughly disgusted by the world's film community for supporting him just because he makes good movies.' I understand that Hitler was a good painter...Maybe we shouldn't have closed in on and bombed his bunker because good painters are a treasure.There's word that both the Polish and French governments are going to try to get Obama to "pardon" him.' I can't believe Obama would agree to such a request while looking into the eyes of his two little girls.' Can you?Amoral is the word of the day - it means no moral compass whatsoever.' And that's what we are seeing around the world in those who have come out to sympathize with and support Roman Polanski, child rapist.' His heinous act and three decades of freedom avoiding an appropriate sentence don't mean anything to amoral people.' It's all about the game of movies.' God bless the Swiss arrest and the intent of the Los Angeles District Attorney's office to bring him back to face justice.'Someone in Hollywood is already, I am sure, scripting up for the movie of Polanski's life, and to be sure, he will be presented to the Vatican for consideration of sainthood, because he is big box office. More >>

Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceChildrenFamily/Relationships - ChildrenMoralsMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingSocial IssuesValues
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Tags: BullyingCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceChildrenFamily/Relationships - ChildrenMilitaryParenting
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05/13/2010
IconWhen I was in grade school one year, I got a few "D's" on my report card.' With a pen of contrasting color to the D, I made a line halfway across the letter from left to right, and turned the two D's into weird looking B's.' Much to my astonishment, my father noticed the alteration!' And, boy oh boy, I got punished.The following story ups the ante on my little escapade:' An 11 year old boy from Alabama didn't want to bring home his bad report card either.' So, he said that a man with a pistol snatched him after he left middle school, forced him into a beat-up car, and threatened to kill him.' He then explained that he escaped by jumping out of the car, but that he wasn't able to grab his book bag in which was (no surprise here)....the report card.' The police investigators were a bit suspicious when the boy was able to "escape" with his cumbersome band instrument, but not his soft, smaller book bag.'The boy ran to his grandfather's house, and admitted to lying.' The grandfather called the police to apologize.I mention this story because the issue of grades is important.' Grade inflation definitely exists -- and it's like telling a kid he's special just because he breathes regularly. It builds a false sense of competency and value which condemns a kid to fail in the future and be frustrated that his unconditional perfection hasn't quite panned out.'In addition, there's a lack of willingness to respect children who are able and willing to work hard and attain high grades and become valedictorians.' In fact, the acknowledgment of a valedictorian has been banned in some schools so the feelings of those less accomplished won't be hurt.'Then there are parents who want to see A's, even if their child is capable only of a C+.' I always tell parents that the teacher should let them know at their regular meetings whether or not their child is doing his or her best - that's the best -accomplishment.It's sad when parents don't know what's happening with their children's school work until report card day, and then the yelling starts.' Yes, this Alabama boy did the wrong thing, but he must have been (as I was) VERY scared about the consequences.' He's 11....11!!' If he's that scared,' then let's look at that first, and then help him to do his best.' Punishment for bad grades is not the way to go in this case.'Punishment for editing the D's or for lying to police?' Now that makes more sense. More >>

Tags: appreciateAttitudeEducationFamily/Relationships - ChildrenParentingPersonal ResponsibilitySchoolStressValues
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Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceChildrenParentingPersonal ResponsibilityValues
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05/13/2010
IconI watched the most horrendous (but telling) video on Fox News last week.The video was taken from one of America's finest military airplanes, which was getting ready to send a missile to kill terrorists while they were working on planting a roadside bomb.' You can hear the pilots talking about the target and informing the base as to what they were about to do.All of a sudden, one of them aborts the shoot because a young boy has come on the scene, delivering something, it appears, to the bombers.' Our guys halt their attack, and then watch as the boy moves away.' You hear one of the pilots kind of "cheering" the kid to leave the site, so they can then destroy the terrorists and their bomb.'Suddenly, there's a huge explosion.' It appears that the bombers have accidentally blown themselves up, saving us some ordnance.' I don't know if the casualties included the boy.' I do know that the terrorists' religious and political commitments to murder include killing their own women and children as part of their world vision.I was proud for the whole world to see (assuming other news outlets played it) that our commitment was to protect the innocent whenever possible.'It made me proud to be an American. More >>

Tags: KidsMilitaryParentingSocial IssuesValues
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05/13/2010
IconI'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. More >>

Tags: BehaviorCharacterCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceChildrenCivilityMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingValues
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05/13/2010
IconI 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. More >>

Tags: AdulteryBullyingCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceEthicsInfidelityInternet-MediaInternet/MediaMoralsMorals, Ethics, ValuesParenting
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