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Morals, Ethics, Values
05/13/2010
IconAwwww...give me a break.' I'm actually supposed to feel sorry for this Oregon woman who is out $400,000 because of...well, GREED!' I feel as sorry for her as I feel for the folks who took out home loans they couldn't pay back or the CEOs of bankrupt companies who get to lose their jobs with tens of millions in severance pay.This woman mortgaged her house, took a lien out on the family car and ran through her husband's retirement account.' How and why?' Well, here it comes: she received an e-mail promising her $20.5 million if she would only help out a long-lost relative with a little money up front.' Her family and bank officials told her it was a scam and begged her to stop, but she was obsessed with the thought of becoming a multi-millionaire.This whole affair was a scheme called the "Nigerian scam" and it's familiar to many people with e-mail accounts.' Over the last several years, one of these has come to my email address.' They promise you zillions of dollars for just thousands of dollars necessary to jump-start some transfer of money or some business.I remember long ago seeing a Donohue TV program with six women all complaining that some guy scammed them by "wining and dining" them...on their own money!' The guys would say they were coming into lots of money, but they needed a place to live and money to spend until their golden ship came in....oh please....this was a study in denial: "I'm getting attention so I'll deep-six my brain."Back to this woman in Oregon.'' She's gotten herself and her husband into horrific debt and who knows if, how, or when they'll be able to get out of it.As a psychotherapist, I'm frankly happy with some aspects of America's economic crisis.' While stores are worried that people don't impulse buy any more, or that the purchase of frivolous, unnecessary, redundant or "show-off" things is dropping, I'm glad that so many adults, and hopefully their children, are learning an important lesson in the difference between want and need, and the potential devastation of leveraging yourself with debt for possessions that ultimately don't matter much.'During the recent California fires, people didn't run out of their homes with their cars, iPods or fancy clothes.' They left with photos of the family as their number one concern.'I don't feel sorry for that Oregonian - I feel sorry for the family she devastated financially with her greed. More >>

Tags: AbortionBudgetFinancesMoneyMorals, Ethics, ValuesValues
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05/13/2010
IconIn 2005, Britain changed the law protecting anonymous sperm donors and allowed children to learn the identity of donor fathers (which is bad news) and limited the number of women who can use sperm from one donor (which is good news).In 1991, Britain registered some 500 sperm donors; since the change in the law, the numbers have dropped by 40%.' Obviously, the men were anonymously donating sperm for the financial compensation, and not for the purpose of fatherhood.' Once the anonymity factor was gone, motivation declined as these men likely felt threatened by potential future responsibilities to a child they had no intention of taking any responsibility for; either financially or emotionally.Another concern about anonymity is the sanctity of the family.' I have always advised married, infertile folks who have called my program to keep their plans a complete secret.' I don't believe it is in the best interest of children to have a sense that the wonderful man protecting, providing, and loving them is not their daddy.' Anything which interferes with that child/father bond should be avoided whenever possible.' And, I never thought the origin of the haploid DNA contribution was as significant as the ultimate parent/child relationship.Britain capped the number of babies which can be created from one donor.' Sperm from one man can now be used to produce only 10 babies (in Holland the number is 25).' The United States does not cap sperm donations at all...and I think that is ridiculous.' You certainly don't want anonymous sperm in one geographical location to be used to make scores of babies who are unaware of their genetic relationship.' The statistical probability of them meeting, falling in love, marrying (aw, I'm such a romantic) and then having children is not insignificant.' This is a factor that could lead to obvious medical problems for their offspring. More >>

Tags: FamilyMarriageMorals, Ethics, ValuesRelationshipsRelativesSocial Issues
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05/13/2010
IconThis is one of those times when one of your emails says it all.' The following email puts every parent on notice with respect to the proper protection of their children from influences which hurt their souls: "Hi Dr. Laura!' I type reports for some youth programs and typed a report a few weeks ago that has been on my mind. This report said that this particular teenager had been using very offensive swear words since the age of 5 when this person saw an R-rated movie. My first question was "What is a 5-year-old doing watching an R-rated movie?" Where is the parent? Another report indicated that one teenager had started inhaling cocaine after seeing it done in a movie. I see kids being influenced by the media all over. As a teenager many years ago, I was taught that our minds are like a camera - i.e., taking a picture that you can't get out--so be careful about what you put in it. Many people are concerned about the effects of violent video games and truly believe that these games will affect kids, but why don't they use the same standard about movies that have sex (especially explicit sex) and vulgar language in them? That sticks every bit as much as violence. Once something has entered your mind, it is changed. Today, I read in a local paper about a study that was done regarding teens and media (television and movies) containing sexual content. The teens who watched media with sexual content were more likely to engage in such behaviors than those who did not. We would never invite a stranger into our home without knowing their purpose. Yet, every day we invite strangers into our homes when we turn on television or put a movie on. We think we know these people--they're on the front cover of every magazine at the checkout. These people often, don't have our best interests at heart or the best interests of our kids at heart. They are there to make money, and generally, that is their only purpose. I'm amazed at some of the talk show hosts and authors that have shared their infidelities, whether on TV or in books, like it is a badge of honor. They will certainly take credit for lending their influence in the [recent] presidential campaigns, but they certainly would not take credit for their influence in the lives of today's teens in the terms of drugs and sex. We have choices! We as parents need to be more judicious as to what we will allow in our homes and what we will allow our kids to be exposed to within our realm. We need to love our kids and ourselves enough to turn "that program" off and spend our time with our kids or developing ourselves. Our kids are influenced by a lot of other people away from the home, but when they return to the home, we do have the influence to reinforce the difference between good and bad, right and wrong. Thank you so much for all that you do to fight the negative effects on the family!" When you're so busy, busy, or have long given up on taking the leadership role in raising your children, or you're way too easily dissuaded by popular culture from having moral standards and values by which you wish to raise your family, your children become prey and the predators are many.' Like vampires, they wait to suck the blood out of your children's souls and psyches, leaving them to the forces of their immaturity and the allure of their impulses.Your children need you to take stands...their futures depend on it! More >>

Tags: EducationInternet-MediaMorals, Ethics, ValuesMovie ReviewParenting
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05/13/2010
IconNewark, New Jersey's Roman Catholic archbishop, John Myers,' is upset that part of Bill Maher's movie, Religulous (a combination of the words "religion" and "ridiculous"), was filmed at a Bergen County parish under false pretenses.' Maher told the parish's Very Reverend Charles Grandstrand that he wanted to film his Jewish mother there, because the church was such a big part of her life.' His father was a Catholic.' Maher told the parish folks that the movie he was making would be called A Spiritual Journey .Recently, during his appearance on Larry King's CNN program to promote his activities, Maher said: "This is funny.' Religion accusing me of deception.'' Religion, the greatest scam in the history of the world...selling the invisible product for thousands of years, accusing us of deception? [he laughs] We don't lie to people.'' What we didn't tell people [i.e., when he was producing the movie] was that it was me doing the interview.' They didn't ask, and we didn't feel an obligation to tell them." This is such hypocrisy that I can hardly type.' Hypocrisy, for those who use it as a daily epithet towards somebody whose point of view they simply don't like, is a behavior of espousing and living in counterpoint.' He accuses religious folks of lying about the divine and about faith, while he lies to people to use and embarrass them.' And this, my friends, gets you a television show, after losing another one for calling the September 11 terrorists braver than Americans. More >>

Tags: ChildrenMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingReligionValues
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Tags: DepressionEthicsHealthMental HealthMorals, Ethics, ValuesQuote of the Week
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05/13/2010
IconSFLA, Students for Life of America, are furious because of video of one of their undercover investigations has been pulled from YouTube.' Evidently, according to Kristin Hawkins who heads the organization, "Last week SFLA posted a video on YouTube exposing Planned Parenthood in Charlotte, North Carolina, covering up statutory rape of a 15-year-old girl." Here's the story: a college woman volunteering for SFLA entered a Planned Parenthood clinic in Charlotte, posing as a 15-year-old girl who had unprotected sex with the mother's adult, shack-up boyfriend.' She told that staff that the stud had suggested she come to Planned Un-Parenthood and get the "morning-after" pill.'''''Planned Un-Parenthood gave her the pills, and made an appointment for her to start taking birth control pills without parental knowledge or consent.' SFLA also proved that the crime was not reported by PP to local police, which is a violation of North Carolina Law.According to Ms. Hawkins, YouTube said the tape had inappropriate content - damn right it did: it showed PP breaking laws...that's pretty inappropriate.' As it turns out, YouTube has also yanked previous pro-life organization videos while it does, according to Ms. Hawkins, continue to play videos which show, for example, a young man desecrating the Eucharist.To watch SF's video visit studentsforlife.org I'm always impressed with the star-studded and blinged out locals who attend the yearly Santa Barbara Planned Un-Parenthood fund raising events even with the ongoing' stream of information demonstrating their cavalier attitude towards minor women pregnant by adult men, their disrespect for parental rights, as well as their resistance to diving full force into the adoption realm. More >>

Tags: abortionAdoptionFamily/Relationships - TeensMorals, Ethics, ValuesMotherhood-FatherhoodPlanned ParenthoodPregnancyResponse To A CommentSocial IssuesTeensValues
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05/13/2010
IconWhen was the last time you took your kids to the airport and bought some candy and magazines?' Did you notice what your kids see at their "short-eye-level" when you pay for your items?' They see what they can also notice at many grocery store check-out lines and magazine racks:' they see soft porn - half-naked, provocative photos of well-endowed men and women.Now, I'm no prude.' I wear jeans below my waist, and I have some belly-button "bling."' But I do believe that there ought to be such a thing as a free society maintaining its First Amendment rights, while at the same time jealously protecting the innocence of children.A recent female caller complained that her boyfriend occasionally looked at some photos or videos of naked women on the Internet.' It is unbelievable to me that, lately,' there is such hysteria about men viewing naked women or male/female sexual encounters.' Did somebody just discover that men are very interested in sex and are visually stimulated by viewing women's bodies?Of course, Internet porn can be a problem, particularly when it becomes compulsive and a substitute for real-life intimacy, or self-medication for emotional problems.' However, much of the time, it is just a curious male having a stimulating moment.I brought up to that caller that I thought the guys who do the workout ads for some of those exercise machines are "hunks," and exciting to see.' She agreed.' If all I did was play a continuous loop of these ads, I'd be having a serious emotional problem.' There is a huge difference between "casual," and "compulsive."That said, our society has a big problem making "crass" more casual in the public square.' The fashion police should arrest most of those young women with big bellies and big butts hanging over those ridiculously low-cut, tight jeans, and short, too-tight tops, as well as young men with no tops, and with their pants falling just at or below their pubic hair line.' Their parents either don't care, or have given up attempting to be leaders, or have joined the ranks of the "crass" themselves.This society should shun malls that harbor Victoria's Secret, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Frederick's of Hollywood, as these are establishments which use provocative photos and displays to promote their products within clear view of families and children walking through the malls.' I mean, there you are with your adolescent sons and daughters, looking up at practically naked women and men in their underwear, with seductive looks in their eyes.' What are you supposed to say to your children about that?These images tell your children that sexuality, nudity, their bodies, and intimacy are just "everyday stuff" - no big deal, certainly not private, and definitely not special.' Is that the lesson you want them to learn?One mother of a 12 year old boy wrote to me that after they came home from their town's mall in which they personally experienced all of the stuff I've just mentioned, he suggested that they should do their shopping online from now on.Not a bad idea. More >>

Tags: ChildrenFamily/Relationships - ChildrenInternet-MediaInternet/MediaMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingSexSexualitySocial IssuesValues
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05/13/2010
IconOne television show I'm both intrigued by and ambivalent about is called House .' It's a medical drama in which the main character, a physician, is a diagnostic genius...except that he almost kills his patients a number of times until he brilliantly deduces the correct problem.One problem he and his associates always have in diagnosing these strange presenting disorders is that, as Dr. House says, "everybody lies."' It would seem that patients will withhold information essential to their proper treatment because of shame, guilt, embarrassment or to get out of some potential problem -- even if it threatens their lives!' Sometime during the one-hour drama, for better or worse, the truth comes out.' Moral debates sometimes arise about the value of truth and honesty.During my radio program, I have often cautioned people about being too flippant with honesty...it is, in fact, not always the best policy.' For example, "Your child is ugly and below average in intelligence!" or "Aging is sure being mean to you...look at all the wrinkles between your chin and your chest!"' Now, they may be honest assessments, but must all truths be spoken if they are going to hurt someone with no reasonable or positive motivation or intent?' My answer is, "no."' My answer is to find something sweet and kind to say...there always are those aspects of a person or a situation.However, there are circumstances where the truth is essential; and sadly, so few of our young people believe that is so.' Every school age child in America knows that a sitting, married President looked right into the television news cameras and lied about having had a sexual relationship with a young, single intern.' What was astonishing was how quickly his supporters and political party members were to dismiss this kind of lying since it was "personal."'It's funny how "personal" impacts the world.' ABC News produced a story about college cheating using the most advanced devices our technology has to offer.' The piece centered on a Texas college freshman, Kiko Kho, who had used a see-through plastic pen, opened up the back and slipped in a strip of paper with vocabulary words on it so that she would pass her French exam.' If you think it is remarkable that she admitted all this to a reporter...hang on to something...she posted a video on YouTube detailing how she'd pulled off her cheat that received more than 120,000 hits.' Did she show remorse and argue against cheating?' Nope.' She did admit "it's not a good thing to cheat," followed up quickly by "everybody has done it."'''''Our young people watch television political talk and debates and hear time and time again..."that's not true,"' "that's false," or "that's a lie."' When I was a child all I heard about was that President George Washington didn't lie about that cherry tree...that was something to aspire to!In Jasper, Indiana, two of three challengers for a congressional seat have agreed to be hooked up to lie detectors during an October 21 debate, but an official with the incumbent's party dismissed the idea.' The Republican Party Chairman made this proposal to Democratic Incumbent and the GOP and Libertarian challengers.' The only one who declined to comment was the Democratic Incumbent...now that just looks bad.I think all political debaters, product promoters, attorneys, teachers, scientists, and students in exams should take advantage of lie detection technology...and that's the truth! More >>

Tags: Internet-MediaInternet/MediaMorals, Ethics, ValuesPersonal ResponsibilityTelevisionValues
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Tags: CharityEthicsMorals, Ethics, ValuesPersonal ResponsibilitySexSexualityValues
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05/13/2010
IconI have been a big fan of the television show The Closer , starring Kyra Sedgwick.' It has a great ensemble cast, and it's fun to watch the (generally implausible) twists and turns as she has those "aha!" moments, based on some innocuous comment made by someone totally unrelated to the situation at hand.One recent episode, however, ended on an entirely amoral note.' Frankly, the plots are often too complicated to summarize, but here goes: an illegal alien takes sanctuary in a church to avoid deportation and to avoid becoming a murder victim at the hands of international drug-dealing "bad guys." The bad guys are "setting up" the illegal so that he will end up in prison, where they can kill him for his lack of loyalty.' Apparently, if you're the target of a "hit," being in prison makes you quite accessible, because you're surrounded by bad guys who'll contract out the job in exchange for cigarettes, comic books, or whatever.A policeman from the drug-providing country comes to "help," but turns out to be one of the bad guys.' Kyra, the "closer" of the title, upon discovering his true mission, threatens to put him in jail under the name of the illegal in order to 1) scare him into talking, and 2) possibly give the illegal good guy a new identity.I thought that the threat was a clever ploy.' However, the "bad guy" foreign policeman didn't collapse under the threat.' Kyra followed through with her threat, and he was subsequently misidentified as the illegal alien "good guy" and murdered while in custody.' Now the illegal alien had his own special type of witness protection program.The program actually ended that way - with no one questioning the immorality or illegality of Kyra setting up the foreign cop for murder by his fellow bad guys.' It just ended up with everyone being content with the outcome.While it is particularly satisfying to me when bad guys get their just deserts, it is not satisfying to watch role-models misuse the system to exact their own vengeance.' I was tremendously disappointed with the writers and producers, and with Kyra for agreeing to leave the story line intact. More >>

Tags: Internet-MediaInternet/MediaMorals, Ethics, ValuesTelevisionValues
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