Saturday, August 05, 2006

Katrina Fatigue

It appears that communities are growing weary of supporting Katrina victims. I bet this church wishes deep down that they had never watched the Oprah show--thanks to reader Bruce Small for sending me this article:

Moved by the plight of a single mother who appeared on Oprah Winfrey's show last year to tell of losing her home to Hurricane Katrina, members of a Palatine church invited her to live rent-free in their parsonage.

St. Paul United Church of Christ has hosted Keisha Moran, 23, and her children since last September, providing them with the means for starting a new life--including donations of clothing, furniture, food and even a car. But the church now says it is time for Moran and her three children--ages 5, 1 1/2 and 4 months--to leave and get on with life on their own.

"Our commitment was to provide housing for you and to give you an opportunity to become self-sufficient after the losses you experienced from Hurricane Katrina," the church's Executive Council told Moran in a letter. The council said that it is time for Moran to take "the next step" by herself.

One problem: Moran doesn't want to go. She said she is being kicked out prematurely and for no good reason.

The church community has offered Moran job opportunites and daycare--but apparently, this woman does not subscribe to the sayings, "God helps those who help themselves" or "don't bite the hand that feeds you". Luckily for Moran though, a women's group is coming to her rescue:

Other agencies are willing to help Moran immediately, McNamara said. The not-for-profit Women in Need Growing Stronger, or WINGS, has offered Moran and her children housing for at least six months.

"My heart is breaking because we have loved this woman and her children for an entire year and have given everything we have," McNamara said. "We've put our needs second in order to put her needs first."

I can't help but think that the church group who supported this user--I mean victim--for a year will think twice before allowing someone else to take advantage of their generosity. In personal relationships, as in relationships between countries, there will always be people who push the limits of other people's good nature.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Selfish or just Realistic?

Reader Jeff sent me this article about the new generation of British women who want the easy life:

A new survey has revealed that a generation of young women are rejecting high-flying careers in favour of a life of ease and luxury. The so-called 'Easy Life Generation' have seen their mothers struggle with demanding jobs while trying to raise families and have no desire to follow in their footsteps.

New Woman magazine discovered they desire wealth and status without the demands of long hours in the workplace, and many hope to marry wealthy partners. Celebrities such as Victoria Beckham, Kate Moss and Big Brother's Chantelle Houghton are their role models. So are the Easy Lifers being naive and selfish, or just realistic? FEMAIL finds out . . .

Wow, I guess this is why women need to keep men working. If the shoe is on the other foot and men decide to opt out, how is this new generation of golddigging leeches--I mean--"easy life generation" of ladies going to make it in the style they have become accustomed to? Afterall, they have their role models (Posh Spice, Kate Moss, etc.) to live up to. What could be more important?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Summer Reading

Well, as summer nears to an end, I am catching up on my summer reading before all hell breaks loose in the fall (mainly, dealing with the start-up of school, work etc.). I am a lover of non-fiction and rarely read fiction, perhaps because I find reality so much more fascinating. As a kid, I loved reading biographies of famous people who made their mark in the world--as a future psychologist, I wondered what traits those who made a difference had that helped them produce and live up to their potential. I still wonder about this and am always fascinated by the resilience of some people and the victimhood and excuses of others.

Anyway, back to summer reading. I am currently engrossed in Walter Laqueur's book, The Changing Face of Anti-Semitism: From Ancient Times to the Present Day. With all that is going on right now with Israel, this is a great read and is a terrific review of antisemitism throughout history up until the present day. My favorite chapter so far in the book is chapter nine on "Antisemitism and the Left" in which the author discusses how antisemitism has moved from a preoccupation of Christian and right-wing movements to one of Muslims and left-wing groups.

If the prior book isn't enough light reading for you, then perhaps you should take a look at some solutions to healthcare in Arnold Kling's book, Crisis of Abundance: Rethinking How We Pay for Health Care. Like a true dork, I read this on my vacation at the beach while other less dorky (or maybe better at taking it easy) women were reading lighter fare such as Scandal in Spring. Seriously, why do women read romance novels--does anyone out there know? I have never read one and have zero interest in them but apparently women love them. If you know why, drop me the reason in the comment section.

Finally, I just ordered a book from Amazon that I have been meaning to read for years, Whores of the Court: The Fraud of Psychiatric Testimony and the Rape of American Justice. The book details how mental health experts use excuses and junk science in court to clear criminals and sway juries. I may post a review of the book after I get a chance to read it.

Anyone got any other suggestions for good non-fiction books to read before summer ends? Or do you have any advice for me as to why so many women love romance novels or is this just a stereotype?

Update: Bitter at The Bitch Girls' blog has an interesting take on chick lit--I guess this would include romance novels.

Is Mel Insane?

Sorry Mel, the psychodrama only seems to work as an excuse if you are a woman.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Just Tell it Like it is

Old Doc at Maggie's Farm blog replies to my post about whether or not doctors should address their patients as fat:

Final word: If you are too fat, I will say that. And, if you care, I will tell you how to deal with it. But your life choices are not my problem, beyond that: your doctor is not your Momma, nor is he/she responsible for your health. Your health is in your hands, and God's, and nature's. My only responsibility is to give you advice as your friend, and to try to help you when you get sick.

Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Warning: Men Not Working

The New York Times had an interesting article yesterday on the large number of men who are no longer working (Hat tip: Instapundit):

Millions of men like Mr. Beggerow — men in the prime of their lives, between 30 and 55 — have dropped out of regular work. They are turning down jobs they think beneath them or are unable to find work for which they are qualified, even as an expanding economy offers opportunities to work.

About 13 percent of American men in this age group are not working, up from 5 percent in the late 1960’s. The difference represents 4 million men who would be working today if the employment rate had remained where it was in the 1950’s and 60’s.

The article gives a number of reasons for men's apathy about holding a job: increasing Social Security Disability payments, living alone with no household to support, being fresh out of prison, and a popular culture that shows guys like Cosmo Kramer as role models for the non-working life style. Perhaps men are using some of these reasons to stay unemployed, but admit it, who is having more fun--Cosmo Kramer or the dutiful dads and husbands who bought into the idea that a man had to make the money, help with the kids and housework, and not complain? Why should we be surprised that men are opting out of their masculine role as provider when "experts" and feminists have been trashing this role for years?

And now, finally, men are taking their advice to heart and are discovering themselves, relaxing, and giving up their masculine "roles" and people are concerned that they are jobless? Can we really have it both ways?

Take for example, the advice of Ronald Levant, the 2005 President of the American Psychological Association:

For the past several decades, men have had the experience of attempting to fulfill the requirements of the masculine mandate in the midst of criticism that has risen to a crescendo. Men feel that they are being told that what they have been trying to accomplish is irrelevant to the world of today. Since women now work and can earn their own living, there is no longer any need for The Good Provider. Furthermore, society no longer seems to value, or even recognize the traditional male way of demonstrating care, through taking care of his family and friends, by looking out for them, solving their problems, and being one who can be counted on to be there when needed. In its place, men are being asked to take on roles and show care in ways that violate the traditional male code and require skills that they do not have, such as revealing weakness, expressing their most intimate feelings, and nurturing children. The net result of this for many men is a loss of self-esteem and an unnerving sense of uncertainty about what it means to be a man.

Men are caught in a trap both because they do not have the incentives and because they are ill-equipped to address the loss of the good provider role in a collaborative and equitable fashion with the women in their lives, and as a result react with anger and defensiveness. They do not have the incentives to address the loss of the good provider role in collaboration with their wives because of the power, prerogatives, and entitlements that accrue to them in a patriarchal society. And they are not equipped to address it in this way because to do so would require a degree of comfort and fluency with emotions (particularly those emotions that make one feel vulnerable, such as sadness, fear, or shame) that is rare among men, due to the effects of the male gender role socialization process.

Now, instead of being angry and defensive, some men are taking Levant's advice and taking it easy. The NYT's article indicates that men who no longer work are able to sleep in until 11, read their favorite books, pursue their interests such as studying to be a pianist, and explore their lives in ways they never could have in the past. Perhaps this is good for their emotions. Society has been harping on men taking more care in their emotional lives for decades. Men have gotten the message. Why is anyone complaining?

Monday, July 31, 2006

No Wonder those Little Dogs Never Stop Barking

Okay, this post about what one of those yippy little dogs would say to it's female owner (Paris Hilton, perhaps) is just hilarious (Hat Tip to Professor Brannon Denning who is guest blogging at Instapundit).

Update: I wonder what in the hell that little yippy dog would have to say if it's owner bought it this? I can't believe that this gadget uses nanotechnology--aren't there more useful areas than little dog barks to develope this powerful technology? On the other hand, after listening to one of these little dogs for awhile--maybe not.