Saturday, December 01, 2007

Would L. Ron Hubbard Endorse Domestic Violence?

I was watching tv the other day and saw a "public service announcement" that shocked me. I looked up the website at the end of the commercial at and found the site was built around the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard in some type of pamphlet entitled, "The Way to Happiness." The commercial is entitled, "Don't be Promiscuous" but looks more like an endorsement of extreme domestic violence against men. You would never have a commercial where men were smacking women and breaking things over their head for cheating. Why is this okay? Do Scientologists believe in men being abused?

Take a look at this sick commercial and let me know what you think.


Friday, November 30, 2007

Use it or Lose it?

Those who have sex later, particularly men, seem to experience more sexual dysfunction, according to a new study (Hat tip: Larry):

While past research has linked early sexual activity to health problems, a new study suggests that waiting too long to start having sex carries risks of its own.

Those who lose their virginity at a later age -- around 21 to 23 years of age -- tend to be more likely to experience sexual dysfunction problems later, say researchers at Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute's HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies.

The article points out that psychological factors are likely to play a part in this sexual dsyfunction:

From a clinical standpoint, there are often dynamics other than the desire to be abstinent until marriage, such as fear of intimacy, body image problems, alcohol and drug abuse, and sexual dysfunction," he said. He adds that these factors "might influence the delay of sexual debut as a means of avoiding sexual issues."

Okay, so if you want to know the real reason for this study, it seems to be apparent by the end of the article:

The researchers say this preliminary evidence may point up detrimental effects of abstinence-only education.

The authors write that the study "lends credence to research showing that abstinence-only education may actually increase health risks," adding that other approaches may better equip young people to avoid both short- and long-term sexual health consequences.

I am not a fan of abstinence-only education, but I wonder how much of this particular research is driven by a desire to find fault with providing these programs in schools?

PJM Political

If you missed the PJM Political show last night on XM, you can now listen to it here.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Amy Alkon has a column at PJM about rich people having too many kids. Okay, maybe adopting kids around the world like a fashion accessory like Angelina Jolie is a bit much but in general, I'm glad those with money are having kids. Would it be better if they were poor?

A Bound Man

Last night, I read the insightful new book by Shelby Steele entitled, A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win. Steele's book offers an in-depth analysis of race relations in this country and he uses Obama's iconic success as a jumping off point to discuss the conundrum of how blacks are bound by racial constraints:

In Shelby Steele's beautifully wrought and thought provoking new book, A Bound Man, the award-winning and bestselling author of The Content of Our Character attests that Senator Barack Obama's groundbreaking quest for the highest office in the land is fast becoming a galvanizing occasion beyond mere presidential politics, one that is forcing a national dialogue on the current state of race relations in America. Says Steele, poverty and inequality usually are the focus of such dialogues, but Obama's bid for so high an office pushes the conversation to a more abstract level where race is a politics of guilt and innocence generated by our painful racial history -- a kind of morality play between (and within) the races in which innocence is power and guilt is impotence.

Steele writes of how Obama is caught between the two classic postures that blacks have always used to make their way in the white American mainstream: bargaining and challenging. Bargainers strike a "bargain" with white America in which they say, I will not rub America's ugly history of racism in your face if you will not hold my race against me. Challengers do the opposite of bargainers. They charge whites with inherent racism and then demand that they prove themselves innocent by supporting black-friendly policies like affirmative action and diversity.

The problem with this bargain/challenger paradigm for Obama is that as a Democrat, he must please blacks who seem to respect challengers such as Al Sharpton more, but whites want "the iconic Negro, the bargainer in whom they see their own innocence and the nation's redemption." Obama needs both the black and white vote to do well in the primaries so, according to Steele, in essence, he is a "Bound Man."

Steele gives his prescription for blacks on how to break the chains of being a bound man, and that is black responsibility. He states:

And here is the pathos of American race relations. Obviously, black responsibility is the greatest -- if not the only -- transformative power available to blacks. How could it be otherwise? Just because we were oppressed, it does not follow that there is a force other than our own assumption of responsibility -- our own agency -- that will lift us up. Where in all of human history has one group been lifted up by the guilt or goodwill or need for innocence of another group? Where have former oppressors transformed their former victims?

Where, indeed? Read the whole book if you get a chance: Steele's last chapter is simply poetic and serves as a wake-up call for all of us who wish to transcend identity politics and move into a new era of interacting with each other in more humanitarian ways. Bargaining and challenging may be great ways to manipulate, but they are not great maneuvers for achieving freedom--which should be the goal of all democratic societies.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Office Mate or Bad Date?

So the mistletoe is going up and the office Christmas parties are starting to organize. You've had your eye on the cute man or woman down the hall and you figure what better way to get to know them than over the office copy machine--uh, make that at the boss's house during the holiday party--hopefully, you are single while considering this. Office romance, good idea or bad? That depends, according to a new book entitled Office Mate: The Employee Handbook for Finding--and Managing--Romance on the Job.

The authors of the book, Helaine Olen and Stephanie Losee, are experienced office daters, having met their husbands on the job, and they offer numerous tips for those considering a relationship at the office. Many people are appalled by office dating to which Ms. Losee responds:

...You can surf the Internet and hook up with complete strangers. You can let some dude in a bar pick you up. But you can't turn to that cute man in the cubicle next to yours--the guy you know really well, the guy you've been working with for months, the guy who's been vetted by Human Resources--and let him know you're interested because it's appalling?

Uhh, maybe it's because you're afraid of being charged with sexual harassment or creating a hostile work environment, particularly if you are a guy--but even women have that problem. So the book addresses that concern with a recommendation: "Don't violate sexual harassment law." Then they proceed to tell you how--sort of.

They explain the types of behavior that qualify as sexual harassment under federal law and state that repeated requests for romance are no-nos. They also note that the law defines sexual harassment by the way the victim perceives it, not the way that the harasser does. Okay, but this seems quite unfair, what if we decided that people could just be found guilty because someone "felt" that they had been robbed? Why is it that due process seems to fly out the window where sexual harassment or domestic violence issues are concerned. I'll give you three guesses but if you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know the answer.

Anyway, after reading all this, if you are still considering an office romance, this book is definitely worth a read if you want some excellent tips on how to woo an office mate. You can also learn why it is a mistake to reject someone by email, what to do if your ex breaks your heart and you have to slink into the office anyway, and what to do when your workplace is a romantic wasteland.

Just as an aside, has anyone out there had an office romance? If so, how did it work out? Or if you haven't, did a sexual harassment charge play a part in your decision not to date at the office?

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Should Spouses Who Kill their Children be Awarded Alimony?

This court case of a mother who killed her 14-year-old son is troubling (Hat Tip: reader_iam):

Linda Calbi was originally charged with murder, but the charges were later downgraded to aggravated assault, based on expert reports that medical error contributed significantly to the boy's death. She was sentenced last year to three years in prison and won't be eligible for parole until November 2008.

The Calbis were divorced in 2001 after 15 years of marriage. A few months after Matt's death, Chris Calbi fell behind his alimony payments and filed papers in court seeking a reduction or termination of his payment obligations.

"She took the life of her oldest son, scarred her younger son for the rest of his life, and tore the fabric of my soul from me," Chris Calbi wrote in papers filed in Superior Court in Hackensack. "To reward this evil and violent woman by allowing her ... to derive a financial benefit from the family she destroyed ... can only be described as a perversion of our justice system."

A judge ordered him to continue making payments, then later interrupted alimony for the period that Linda Calbi is incarcerated.

But Chris Calbi's arrears had risen to more $40,000 by then, and the judge ordered him to pay $400 a month to his ex-wife's prison account.

I would have to agree with the father's analysis; to be forced to pay this killer (the beating she gave her son caused internal injuries) alimony is truly a perversion of our justice system. No one who kills their child should be rewarded with monetary support from a spouse. More and more, it seems our society rewards horrible acts with money, prestige and sympathy. There has to be a line drawn somewhere. The law should be changed.