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Values
05/13/2010
IconIn a recent radio interview, I discussed the issue of "webtribution," a term coined by Elizabeth Bernstein in The Wall Street Journal to describe people who use the Internet to get revenge - i.e., publicly to hurt another human being with whom they are not happy.The Internet is anonymous, immediate, and gratifying in the moment.' In human history, vengeance is not unfamiliar - people haven't changed that much.' Their means of delivering pain has evolved from poison, duels, clever rumors, and Machiavellian manipulation to the world wide web.' In some ways, damaging someone's reputation is akin to murdering them, as their reputation is devastated world-wide and forever, making it difficult for them to function in private relationships as well as in the community and at work.To quote The Wall Street Journal: "Most of us have heard of someone posting naked photos of an 'ex' online.' Or writing nasty reviews for a restaurant or book, not because they dislike the product, but because they dislike the person who created it.' Or signing up an acquaintance for [unwanted] e-mail advertising lists." My opinion is that it should be illegal, as it is immoral, to post information or opinion about people without identifying yourself.' Obviously, it is also cowardly.' Google and all other such carriers should not permit anonymity.' That would immediately change the complexion of what is posted, and I don't think they'd lose business, except from those who use the Internet for evil (terrorists of the international and interpersonal kind). More >>

Tags: BehaviorCharacterCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCivilityEthicsInternetInternet-MediaInternet/MediaJill CooperMoralsMorals, Ethics, ValuesSimple SavingsSocial IssuesSocial NetworkingStay-at-Home MomValues
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05/13/2010
IconI remember when the Unabomber was caught.' There was an uproar of indignation concerning the fact that it was his brother who "ratted" him out.' When his brother saw the published ramblings of the serial murderer known as the "Unabomber," he recognized the sentiments, mentality, and writing style of his brother, and informed the police.' If memory serves me right, The Los Angeles Times had either an editorial or an op-ed piece castigating the brother for essentially "turning on blood."That was a morally repugnant point of view.' Protecting the innocent against evil is the responsibility of every human being, regardless of the "job description" of the evildoer - in this case, a sibling.Fortunately, in England, a wife of twenty years understood her responsibility to others (in this case, children), and set aside emotional pain and potential embarrassment.' She set out to trap her husband, whom she suspected of being a pedophile.' Apparently, her husband chatted with teenagers as he groomed them for sex.The wife pretended to be a 14 year old girl, and caught him in the act.' She was in the neighboring living room while he was in his study sweating over a hot computer, setting "her" up for a meeting to have sex.' He also used a webcam to carry out sex acts and send the videos over the Internet.' Our plucky wife watched this in absolute disgust and horror.She then contacted police who seized his computer.' She didn't march into his study to confront him, cry, or threaten.' Like a good citizen, she just turned it all over to the authorities. GOOD FOR HER! He only received three years of community service and was banned indefinitely from having access in person or online to children under the age of 18.' He also had to register as a sex offender, and, oh yes, she divorced him. "I did the right thing, and I don't regret it.' Now I just need some time to think and put this all behind me," she said to a reporter.She should have gotten a medal. More >>

Tags: AbuseCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceChild AbuseCourageFamily/Relationships - ChildrenInternetInternet-MediaInternet/MediaMarriageMoralsMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingSocial IssuesValues
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05/13/2010
IconMy husband and I were very disappointed when we learned that we could not be with our military son on Thanksgiving.' We casually mentioned to some friends that we were just going to have scrambled eggs and bagels for Thanksgiving dinner, because without him there, it just wasn't going to be worth the effort.' Well, they kindly invited us to spend Thanksgiving with their family, and we accepted.'I wanted to do something nice for them to really show them thanks for such a lovely gesture, so I knitted a seven-foot runner for their table.' When it was finished, it seemed so "plain," that I spent four hours crocheting around the entire runner twice and added a fringe to the ends.' When I gave it to her, she held it close to her chest near her heart, and her eyes teared up as she expressed her emotion for my putting in that amount of effort for her.' I have to tell you that I've never felt so moved by a reaction to a gift in my life.She and her husband were doing something "personal" for me, and I wanted to return the favor.' Having Thanksgiving with their adult children and a couple who were mutual friends made for a fabulous evening, with lots of laughs and a yummy turkey....mmmm.So, I've stopped buying bottles of wine and chocolate-filled baskets.' I've been working around the clock for weeks either knitting, weaving, or sewing Christmas presents.' I finished my last project for my "peeps" on Sunday (our office holiday party was on Tuesday), so I had a bit of a crunch for time.' While it was exhausting and sometimes frustrating when equipment has a mind of its own, I feel giddy about giving gifts that are so much of myself.' Clearly, it means more to the receiver AND the giver.To top it off, a few of my dearest friends sent me "Thanksgiving" e-mails, enumerating the reasons they felt grateful for having me in their lives.' It blew my mind.' It is incredibly touching to know that you matter to someone.I'm writing these stories to urge you all to do the same this Christmas.' Don't buy a card - write to that person and let them know why they matter to you and what you appreciate about them and how you feel grateful for them.' Instead of purchasing something generally useless that they might never use and will not cause them to reflect on your relationship, make something or do something.' For example:' plant some flowers on either side of their front door; make a rocking chair for the back porch; fix something on their property; take their kids for the night so they can have a romantic time to themselves....the list of possibilities is endless. Make it personal , and that doesn't require ridiculous expenditures for gifts that ultimately don't matter.'Oh, and one more thing.' We will see our kidlet for Christmas.' The tree is already up. More >>

Tags: AbortionCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCharityFamily/Relationships - FamilyFriendshipsHolidaysMorals, Ethics, ValuesRelativesThanksgivingValues
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05/13/2010
IconFacebook and MySpace and other social networking sites have become a means of not only communicating with so-called "friends," but they also allow for showing off and "going wild" in ways that often come back to bite...even when you think your site is private.According to the Arizona Daily Star , Ashley Payne, a teacher in an Arizona school said that she was forced to resign after photos and a comment posted on her Facebook page were forwarded to the superintendent of schools in her county.' And she said she had the highest level of privacy controls on her site.' The photos in question showed her in pubs and beer gardens while on summer vacation.' In a comment on her Facebook page, she announced that she was headed to play a game called "Crazy Bitch Bingo."According to the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, the bottom line is that "the state code addresses on and off-campus behavior, including inappropriate relationships with students and anything that violates the mores of the community."I'm good with that, because teachers have a profound influence on young minds, and being role models seems an obvious obligation.' Not enough teachers think about the consequences of their conduct, not just in terms of their own employment, but in terms of the well-being of the children for whom they are responsible.' Posting extremely inappropriate sexual content and nudity on the web as well as posting photos of teachers yucking it up with booze is a breach of professional conduct.For teachers, this is obvious.' However, each and every one of you must understand that anybody with knowledge can hack into your private site and edit as well as download and reproduce material elsewhere.' Don't write or post pictures you would not want to see on the front page of The New York Times , unless, of course, you're into being infamous.' The word "friend" is simply a term for someone with access to your site.' Don't imagine that they necessarily have the honor of a real-life friend.' Anything you write or post might be used against you.Now that this is all said, how about your just inviting real friends over for dinner and meaningful conversation? More >>

Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceChildrenCommon SenseInternet-MediaInternet/MediaMorals, Ethics, ValuesMySpaceParentingSocial IssuesSocial NetworkingValues
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05/13/2010
IconI bet there were long lines to get the newest issuance of a video game series called " Call of Duty:' Modern Warfare 2 ."' Ordinarily, I would ignore this "news," because I think spending more than 30 minutes a day playing any video game is a monumental waste of time, and the fast lane to psycho-social problems.That said, I hope everyone buys one of these games as soon as possible.' If you care, the reviews for this latest title in the series are glowing, and in particular praise the "realism."But from "realism," we get to reality .' Activision Blizzard, the company behind the game, is using the proceeds from the sale of Modern Warfare 2 to fund organizations that provide veterans with job training and placement.'There are more than a half million unemployed veterans living in the United States.' For soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines making the transition back into civilian life, funding job training and placement are important and earned considerations. Call of Duty Endowment (or CODE ), Activision Blizzard's non-profit benefit corporation's first grant is $125,000 to the Paralyzed Veterans of America, to help build a new vocational services center in Boston.' CODE's directors say they hope to raise millions more for such projects.I look at this as a video game company doing the right thing by servicing those glorified on their highly profitable videos:' we glorify fighting men and women; we honor them when they fall; now, one video company exploiting those realities to make a huge profit is honoring them in their need. More >>

Tags: backboneCharacter-Courage-ConscienceInternet-MediaInternet/MediaMilitaryValuesVeterans
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05/13/2010
IconElizabeth Ann Lambert has been suspended indefinitely from playing college women's soccer.' And that is a good thing.During the Mountain West Conference Women's Soccer semi-final recently between Brigham Young University and the University of New Mexico, BYU scored the only goal during the first half.' BYU's outstanding player, Kassidy Shumway and the BYU scorer, Carlee Payne paid the price for that.According to the New York Times and what you can see on YouTube (in case you missed the news reports at the time) was a level of violence that escalated horrendously.Payne gave a slight "dig" with her elbow to Lambert, who retaliated with a punch between Payne's shoulder blades.' What followed were tackles, kicks up to waist high, face punches and cleats aimed into the inner thigh, and Lambert's final violent jerk on Shumway's pony tail, which sent the six foot girl to the ground.' It was frightening.' I worried that the girl's neck could have been broken.' While Shumway was on the ground, not moving, one of Lambert's teammates kicked a ball into Payne's face.That's what I call feminist good sportsmanship:' if you can't beat 'em....beat 'em up!!What was stunning was Lambert's coach didn't pull her out while her behavior was escalating.' Equally stunning was the fact that the referee took no action outside of a yellow card for a "trip" move on Payne.' It's interesting that these officials did not see the punches, slaps, high tackles and that ferocious pony tail jerk.The coach revved up her girls and then stood back while one of them went out of control.' That's a sad state of affairs.' Of course, Lambert gave the usual mea culpa/ "my bad" apology, which was orchestrated in order to stay in the game.' I'm glad it didn't work.Call me cynical, but the look on her face and the deliberateness of her violent yank had the aura of entitlement and rage.' I don't believe she's sorry she did it.' My guess is that she's sorry she's gotten heat over it.She should never be allowed to play again... never ... and that would send a message.' Now, we've got to figure out how to deal with the coach and the referee. More >>

Tags: AbuseCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceChildrenParentingResponse To A CallValuesViolence
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05/13/2010
IconDuring my college years in the Sixties, "empowerment" and "consciousness-raising" were the main focus of existence, even though these concepts were largely used to insist that you were a victim of something or someone just for being female.Well, fast forward to now, and one young, married woman in her twenties has decided that giving birth live on the Internet is empowering to women!' The use of that term in this circumstance cracks me up.' I remember, during my loooong labor, my husband saying that he was going to leave to get a cup of coffee.' I threatened him with "if you leave...never come back!!"' I guess that threat was "empowerment," but giving birth in public or private is one of our least powerful times.' We are completely at the mercy of a baby who is usually saying "Hell, no, I won't go."Nonetheless, this woman has decided that taking something personal and making it public is empowering and educational and spreading joy.' Oh, puleeze!' In our sadly growing exhibitionist, voyeuristic, reality show mentality of a society, this is how people become "important," known, and "famous."The point of "personal" is that something is perfected by its modesty, and sharing is not an issue of public promotion, but an opportunity for a few people to embrace a meaningful moment of experience.' Experiences and moments that are universal (like child-bearing) are not educational.' The childbirth is going to be posted on a mom website, which means that they've all been there and done that.Her husband is marginalized.' She admits that he was "hesitant" at first, but I'm sure he ultimately had no say.' There aren't too many decent men who want to share the birth of their first child with a camera crew and a blog audience - that makes Daddy less special and less involved.It's all just sad to me.' And what happens after the event, when the thrill, the attention and adrenaline of being in the spotlight goes away?' What is she going to do with this kid to keep the flow going?' Think Jon and Kate.' Think "sad" for the children who become the means of their parents' moment in the light, in ways other than simply enjoying their first smiles and first steps. More >>

Tags: Common SenseFamilyFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - FamilyFeminismInternetInternet-MediaInternet/MediaMarriageMorals, Ethics, ValuesMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingPregnancyRelationshipsRelativesSocial IssuesValues
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05/13/2010
IconIt's bad enough when people drive and talk on the phone - they don't have the use of their phone hand for maneuvering the car (and in many states, talking without a hands-free headset is illegal), and they are totally absorbed in a conversation, meaning they're not looking alertly for pedestrians, bicyclists, a herd of buffalo or other cars.' What's even more egregious is the texting craze which has the driver looking down and reading or dialing or writing and not even looking ahead at the road for several seconds, which could mark the difference between life and death.For Victoria McBryde, 24, those few precious seconds meant her death.' 22 year old Phillipa Curtis has been convicted of the death of Ms McBryde - caused by texting while driving.' The victim's car had broken down and was by the side of the road with all its lights on and emergency lights blinking - a bit hard NOT to notice.' Nonetheless, she was killed instantly when her car was rear-ended by the texting Ms. Curtis, who will spend only two years in prison for this crime.This all took place in Britain, which has added jail time to a conviction for killing by texting and driving.' Ms. Curtis' phone records indicated that she had exchanged nearly two dozen messages with at least five friends, mostly concerning her encounter with a celebrity singer she had served at a restaurant where she worked. That's what was so important?' For that, someone had to die?? Death due to dangerous driving (e.g., texting) is on the level of drinking while driving, and can earn four to seven years in jail.' Apparently, the perp was a pretty, seemingly sweet young thing, and so her jail time was minimized by the judge - a sentence that was met with anger by the victim's family as well as the by the prosecutor...and by me.Ironically, it was also discovered that the victim herself had sent a text message and talked on her cell phone using the speaker function while driving before her car broke down.'Please don't think you are invincible, and the laws and recommendations about driving safely apply to everyone else, while you are "special."' The lives of these two young women are forever changed.' One life was forfeited; the other woman is jailed and living with the guilt of having killed another human being because she just had to gossip to five friends about seeing a rock star.' Sad. More >>

Tags: Common SenseHealthInternet-MediaInternet/MediaMorals, Ethics, ValuesPoliticssexless marriageSocial IssuesValues
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Tags: MarriageSexSexualitySocial IssuesValues
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05/13/2010
IconI never thought I'd see this headline, but it is real:' "Planned Parenthood Director Quits After Watching Abortion on Ultrasound."Abby Johnson, 29, worked at a southeast Texas Planned Parenthood clinic for 8 years, the last two as its director.' She was, in her own words, extremely "pro-choice."' What changed her was watching a video of an ultrasound of an actual abortion.' She watched a fetus "crumple" as it was vacuumed out of a patient's uterus in September.' That was the turning point for her.' She has since stayed home to raise her 3 year old daughter.Here's a very important point:' all activist groups change the wording of their identity or actions in order to temper the emotional response of others, and in so doing, gain acceptance.' "Abortion" became "CHOICE."' Well, everyone likes to have choices - that was a brilliant technique to obscure the facts that a human being is dismembered, crumpled, and sucked with a vacuum out of her mother's body into a container or sink and ultimately eliminated as an issue in the life of the mother-who-was (versus mother-to-be).But this was not the only problem for Abby Johnson.' She says that since revenues were down, she was ordered several times by her bosses to increase profits by performing more and more abortions, which cost patients between $500 and $700. "It's a very lucrative business, and that's why they want to increase numbers," she is quoted as saying.Planned Parenthood likes to talk about abortions being only a small part of Planned Parenthood's activities.' Planned Parenthood likes to say that its focus is on prevention.' Johnson's reply? "For them, there's not a lot of money in education.' There's not as much money in family planning as there is in abortion." Johnson also said, "Ideally, my goal as the facility's director is that your abortion numbers don't increase, because you're providing so much family planning and so much education that there is not a demand for abortion services.' But that was not their goal." Can you say "whistleblower?"Planned Parenthood's response?' Guess!' You're wrong.' They got a temporary restraining order against Ms. Johnson and the Coalition for Life (an anti-abortion group with which Johnson is now affiliated, and which is located just down the block from this Planned Parenthood clinic).'Why a restraining order?' Simple....they don't want the truth to be spoken, and isn't that "telling." More >>

Tags: Planned ParenthoodQuote of the WeekSocial IssuesValues
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