Sunday, January 29, 2006

Tip of the iceberg

Do you ever feel that people notice really crucial things that warrant action and yet shrug their shoulders and do nothing at all? Like, are you one of those who have noted that in countries where intensive promotion of condom use has been carried out (such as Thailand and some African nations; I apologize for not taking note which nations in that continent, but I shall research), there was a remarkable increase in AIDS cases after the promotion was launched? Condom use in those areas was heavily marketed by the local government and agencies such as the United Nations as the key to AIDS prevention. Ironic huh? Here's why:

The Death Peddlers would have you believe that if we raise enough money for AIDS research, AIDS patients will be cured and AIDS will go away if only everyone uses the condom and enough people come out to WALK FOR THE CURE! In fact, the AIDS virus is over 450 times smaller than a single sperm, so if the condom fails 15% percent of the time in preventing pregnancy when used correctly, how successful do you expect the condom to be in preventing AIDS, as small as it is? No genius needed to figure that one out!

And if you've been coming across Planned Parenthood in some news articles the past year about their being in hot water over their excuses for providing "reproductive health care services" even to minors and the victims of Hurricane Katrina, here's some food for thought:

The Death Peddlers would have you believe Planned Parenthood is a benevolent organization, seeking only to protect a woman's "right to choose." In fact, it is the very organization originally named The American Birth Control League whose publications in the late 1930's espousing Eugenics by its founder Margaret Sanger were read and inserted into Nazi propaganda. The name was changed to disassociate the organization from that fact. Her eugenic movement to produce, as she put it, "more children from the fit - less from the unfit - is the chief aim of birth control." Her aim was to increase the numbers of the elite in society and to decrease the numbers of society's lower echelons, in order to "create a race of thoroughbreds." It fits well with the mold of Planned Parenthood today that targets minorities (especially blacks, who today make up roughly 11% of the population and undergo nearly 40% of all abortions). Planned Parenthood's "Negro Project" developed in the 1950's is alive and well, in spirit and in practice, and not only amongst the lower classes; even the "elite" have bought into it.

Even though some people and entire organizations are bent on establishing a culture of death right under our noses, our children and our children's children deserve nothing less than a culture of life. But it all starts with us. Here. Now.

More of the truth here

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Restoring homes & hope -- and learning outside the classroom

Life lessons in the Gulf's living lab
| Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

They were strangers here a few days ago, volunteering to knock on doors for a community-organizing group. Now Liz Henderson and Kristen Kuriga are greeted as friends. Mary Solomon, a lifelong New Orleanian, welcomes them into her cheerful white house - an anchor in a neighborhood where the decay started long before the storm.

They are here to listen to her story. To record it. To connect. To help. To learn.

The service trip in early January was only eight days long, but for Ms. Henderson, a junior at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y., it wasn't too brief to be "completely life-altering." Her experiences - ranging from gutting flooded houses to picketing a hotel trying to evict Katrina evacuees - put her on an emotional rollercoaster. But in the end, it confirmed her career aspirations: "Going door-to-door really showed me ... I'd like to do [a certain] kind of journalism - talking to people who normally don't have their stories told," she says.

Thousands of college students from across America have not only been moved by the magnitude of the Gulf Coast disaster - they've also been mobilized. Break Away, a group that coordinates alternative vacation trips, reports at least half of its 80 chapter schools are organizing hurricane-relief trips. More than 200 collegians have already traveled to the region for Break Away winter trips.

With guidance from nonprofit groups and professors devoted to the idea of service learning, young people are putting their talents to use in courtrooms and health clinics, at construction sites and elementary schools. As New Orleans and other Gulf coast towns reinvent themselves, many find it an irresistible living laboratory in which to hone their skills.

Full story here

Pro-Life: The Choice of a New Generation

I'd like to take credit for coining that slogan on the title, but I merely saw it in a blog entry about the recent March for Life. It was one of the many signs Jewels of the Jungle saw held up by pro-lifers who turned up for the annual and biggest pro-life event held in Washington D.C. on Jan. 23.

Still a few blocks away, our first view of the march was of some tight lipped, grim looking media standing around waiting… for something. What, I don’t know.

When I came home that night I was so disappointed in the lack of coverage of the march by the media. The day was huge. Beyond anything that I ever could ever have imagined, or hoped for. I can’t even describe the incredible, awesome feeling of seeing so many people at one place at one time. It was shoulder to shoulder- spilling over the sidewalks, from the Supreme Court to the Monument and beyond that. I am not a stars-in-your-eyes optimist. I admit it. But the day of the march I dared to entertain the idea that the world was going to actually see us. That we would, for once be heard. I thought there is no way they can ignore this many people. They’ll have to take notice

And then I came home and all of my grand ideas crashed down to earth again. CSPAN covered it. (CSPAN! What sane, everyday American watches CSPAN??) Fox never mentioned it. The other stations gave it a brief, 30 second spot at least twenty minutes into their broadcasts and didn’t bring them up again. (After Abortion did a great job of covering the rally and the media coverage. Make sure you go there and then click through their stuff)

Other cool (or otherwise attention-getting) signs Jewels spotted:

Love them both! Choose life!

Justice for all: born and preborn

Abortion hurts women

I regret my abortion

Doesn't everyone deserve a birthday?

Abortion: A child can live without it

Besides this blog entry at Jewels of the Jungle, there's lots more about the March at ProLifeBlogs.

Zombie Time contains mostly photos of the Jan. 21 Walk for Life and the counter-demonstration of abortion advocates, anarchists and others opposed to the pro-life event.

At Daily Inklings you'll find more links to sources of info about the event.

Then just now, this portion of a blog entry titled "Blowing 32 Candles for Roe v. Wade" at Mommy Life grabbed my attention:

I've been on both sides of the abortion debate. As a 60's Washington radical leftist/antiwar activist, I was actually one of the founding mothers of the second wave of feminism, and a spokesperson for abortion rights. In 1976 in San Francisco, I had an abortion myself and considered it only an inconvenience.

When I became a believer, that changed, as once I truly felt God's love for me as an individual, I began to understand that if my life is sacred, so is everyone else's. No one talked me into being pro-life -- it was one of those things that changed instantaneously when I first believed.

Still, so many things have happened to show the error of the early feminists, and it has become increasingly difficult to respect women who never modified their views as things spun out of control: a million and a half abortions per year, babies dismembered/aborted who were old enough to live on their own, babies aborted for Down syndrome and cleft palate and even gender selection.

You'll find more in an article I published last year, Slippery Slopes Revisited

'When they force us to kill for them'

As I checked the Internet for photos and information about the recent March for Life in the US, I came across this. It's a good thing that some people, especially those in the medical and allied medical professions, remain true to the essence of health care. They care about caring for the health of human beings.

Heather Williams worked for 5 years at this particular Target store in Missouri and they didn't have a problem with hiring her even after she let them know about her views.

"In fact, when she was hired, she told them, 'I have this religious belief and conscience concern,"' Martin said. "They said, 'Hey, we have no problem. It's totally OK."'

Paula Gianino, chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood's St. Louis office, said Planned Parenthood has no problem with a pharmacist's refusal to dispense the morning-after pill, a high dose of hormones that women can take up to five days after sex to prevent pregnancy. But, she said, some pharmacists are taking it too far.

"What we have is a growing extreme movement of pharmacists who don't want to dispense, but who even refuse to give back the prescription and refuse to tell the patient where they can get the prescription filled," Gianino said.

"Growing extreme movement"?

Abortifacients kill people and we're the ones who are extreme?

Someday soon they will want us to give out suicide pills prescribed by "doctors", and we will be fired for refusing to do that too.

Continue reading here

Friday, January 27, 2006

Freedom & license

To some people, what ought to be kept behind closed doors, what deserves to be kept intimate, what such words as "discretion," "prudence," "license," "tact," "freedom" and "common respect" mean, remain clear. To others, however, the boundaries have become blurry in this age of tell-all talk shows, "reality" TV, "open relationships," instant anything (think instant noodles, instant messenger) and a general culture where the pleasure-seeking, comfort-loving climate is more pronounced.

Earlier this week, I saw the following at Feminine Genius. On the way home today, I was reminded of it when my eyes rested on a piece of bond paper taped behind the front seat of the jeepney I boarded. On it was an announcement of auditions being held for a forthcoming performance on campus. The title was in English and in the Filipino translation. I can imagine now the feeling of "courage," "liberation" and "freedom" the audition winners would experience when they deliver their lines come performance night.

Read on.

Some people feel passionately that the college ought to sponsor a V-Day production of The Vagina Monologues, and I have often been queried about my position on this matter. To prepare a response, I have carefully read and studied the play. I have met with some of the student leaders of Women’s Will, the main sponsoring group, to listen to their perspective and share some of my concerns. I have pondered their position, discussed the matter with many people, educated myself about what other Catholic schools have done, and prayed to God for guidance. I have come to the conclusion that a V-Day presentation of The Vagina Monologues is not appropriate for a school with our mission. Let me explain why.

The back cover of my paperback edition of The Vagina Monologues asserts (1) that its principal aim is to be “a celebration of female sexuality in all its complexity and mystery” and (2) that it has been “hailed as a bible for a new generation of women.” I would argue that both of these claims are false. First, far from celebrating the complexity and mystery of female sexuality, The Vagina Monologues simplifies and demystifies it by reducing it to the vagina. In contrast, Roman Catholic teaching sees female sexuality as ordered toward a loving giving of self to another in a union of body, mind, and soul that is ordered to the procreation of new life. The deeper complexity and mystery lies in the capacity of human sexuality, both male and female, to sacramentalize the love of God in marriage. Any depiction of female sexuality that neglects its unitive and procreative dimensions diminishes its complexity, its mystery, and its dignity. Moreover, to explore fully the dignity of woman requires not only a consideration of female sexuality, but also of the capacity of women for intellectual, artistic, moral, and spiritual activity; none of these dimensions are featured in The Vagina Monologues.

Read more here

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Sniffer dogs have always caught my fancy, and when some structure collapsed along the hillside of a community somewhere in Manila years ago and a dog was used to locate and rescue survivors, I was even more thankful that canines have those unique qualities they have, such as that remarkable sense of smell.

Yorkshire Terriers are not that popular in the Philippines, and for those who haven't really noticed this breed, the trio in the photo are just that. In the list of most popular dog breeds of last year, drawn up by the American Kennel Club, Yorkies came up to number 3. Not suprisingly, topping the list was the Labrador Retriever, followed by the Golden Retriever.

More about it from this email I got:

Obviously, serious dog people love retrievers, which explains why
Labrador has been named the nation's most popular breed for
the 16th
consecutive year by the American Kennel Club (AKC),
while the Golden
checks in at No. 2. The AKC, which keeps such
statistics, registered
137,867 Labs last year and 48,509 Goldens.
"The Lab may still reign
supreme," says AKC spokeswoman Gail
Miller, "but the petite and
often-pampered Yorkshire Terrier has
taken the coveted No. 3 spot for
the first time." The Yorkie
accounted for 47,238 registrations, putting
it in position to perhaps
overtake the Golden Retriever when the 2006
figures are compiled.
The popularity of Yorkies is consistent with the
growing interest in
smaller dogs generally, Miller says, but also may
be attributable to
their exposure as a companion to celebrities,
especially those in
the entertainment industry. The most popular canine
breeds of 2005,
based on AKC data:

1. Labrador Retriever
2. Golden Retriever
3. Yorkshire Terrier
4. German Shepherd (males)
5. Beagle
6. Dachshund
7. Boxer
8. Poodle
9. Shih Tzu
10. Miniature Schnauzer

March for Life

Today, January 22, is the anniversary of the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision at the US Supreme Court. This decision decriminalized the intentional killing of a pre-born human being.

Don't forget tomorrow's 33rd March for Life, the biggest annual pro-life event in the United States!

"On the 33rd anniversary of the Supreme Court's infamous Roe v. Wade decision, the 33rd annual March for Life begins at Noon, Monday, January, 23, 2006," announced Nellie Gray, president, March for Life Fund. Gray said that thousands of pro-life Americans will rally at the Mall and 7th Street for a program, and then March for Life along Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court and Congress.

"The March for Life is a peaceful demonstration -- an annual reminder to all of Washington officialdom that it must overturn Roe v. Wade which decriminalized the intentional killing of a pre-born human.

The Supreme Court cannot, and did not, legalize the killing of pre-borns. But Roe v. Wade did unleash on our beloved country the feminists/abortionist' evil agenda of 'choice' to kill pre-born humans, and did begin the slippery slope to decriminalize infanticide, euthanasia, assisted suicide, fetal research and more evil. History records our own lamentable experience with slavery and our seeing the Nazi slippery slope from so-called 1935 Nuremberg laws, through years of 'final solution' horrors, to reality of accountable at Nuremberg Trials," Gray said.

"President Bush is invited," Gray said. "We pledge support to stop this home-grown terrorism of persons and public and private officials participating in the intentional killing of an estimated 4,000 preborn humans each day."

It is expected that some Members of Congress and others will speak at the rally, including: Sen. Sam Brownback, and Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.), Jeff Fortenbury, (R-Neb.), W. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), Todd Tiahart (R-Kan.), Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Melissa Hart (R-Pa.), Mike Pence (R-Ind.), Steve King (R-Iowa), Mike Fergerson (R-N.J.), Scott Garrett (R- N.J.), and Jeanne Schmidt (R-Ohio).

The theme of this 33rd annual March for Life is: Roe v. Wade Violates the American Way.

Read the rest at

** Photo: Lennart Nilsson, from A Child is Born
4 months old, 16 cm (about 6 1/2 inches) long. When the feet and toes are partially developed, it is the legs' turn to grow. The spiral shape of the umbilical cord is caused by the fact that the two arteries and the vein are longer than the sheath in which they are contained -- an ingenious safety device for lively fetuses!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

It's not a Barbie doll

The veil may not be to your liking, but then who's stopping you from sewing twin sets and capri pants to expand Fulla's wardrobe, if you decide to get one for your daughter? Just please ditch the Britney look, if you know what's good for your child (osmosis is a whole different topic so let's not get into that for now).

Now, all we have to do is wait for some manufacturer to come up with dolls whose figure actually looks like that of the girls who play with them.

Mideast Barbie dolls don Islamic veil
Wed Jan 11, 1:02 PM ET

CAIRO (AFP) - Move over Barbie, veiled is beautiful. The physical ideal of Muslim girls increasingly includes the hijab, as evidenced by toy shops' best-selling doll "Fulla" and the string of showbiz stars opting to cover up.

The dark-eyed and olive-skinned Fulla has replaced her American rival's skimpy skirts with more modest "outdoor fashion" and Barbie's luxuriant blonde mane with an Islamic veil.

"Fulla sells better because it is closer to our Arab values: she never reveals a leg or an arm," says Tarek Mohammed, chief salesman at a Toys'R'Us branch in Mohandessin, one of Cairo's more upmarket neighbourhoods.

The Arab answer to Barbie has been selling like hot cakes for Eid Al-Adha, the most important holiday in the Muslim calendar, not least because it is cheaper than its American rival, although both are made in China.

Full story at Yahoo News

'Perfection' on a page

It's amazing how unrealistic the contents of women's magazines can be and yet have readers unwittingly believe the veracity of the articles and authenticity of the images presented. I say "unwittingly" because many times, the woman poring over the pages may be quite level-headed in general and yet unconsciously subscribe to the subtle standard that, say, "slim" equals "beauty" or a woman without stick-straight hair is "not good enough," or sexual attraction is the determinant for a potential relationship's success, or that being over a certain age means diminished worth as a person.

These standards, mind you, aren't necessarily stated flat-out; they could be effectively implied by way of photos and illustrations, whether it's an ad for some new line of lip color or an upbeat illustration accompanying an essay on the "absurdity of monogamy." Or a publicity photo showing the totally with-it and carefree-looking Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha with a brazen caption like "The world still can't get enough of New York's ultra-chic fab four." Never mind if the captions, stories and images are slightly inaccurate or downright erroneous; what matters in the end is that readers believe them.

Well, not everyone is taken for a ride, fortunately. Here's a short and entertaining blog entry called My Wrinkles that'll make you go "yeah, she's right!" (if you're a woman) or "huh? do women think that way?" (if you're a man). A chunk of it:

When I close the magazine, instead of feeling empowered, I feel diminished. I stare in the mirror (another meaningful use of my time) and count the flaws. Then I'm usually overwhelmed by an urge to go shopping. But I'm confused: which product do I use when? Can I use them all simultaneously? Should I stick with one brand or be a savvy shopper and buy only the recommended products from each company?

And Modestly Yours' take on the matter of women's magazines and the misleading material they dish out is in this blog entry called Are You Normal? A preview:

Whenever I look at one of these magazines I have to remind myself that magazine makers are not in the business of selling happiness: they are, in a sense, in the business of selling unhappiness. If they can make you feel dissatisfied with your lover or your lipstick (or yourself), then they can hook you on their own prescriptions -- or subscriptions, as the case may be.

You can leaf through the next magazine you get your hands on and again end up feeling too fat, too curly-haired, hopeless, clueless about your love life, confused and basically inadequate in every little thing you can think of.

Or click on the two links I gave you and be wiser.

Or, you can check out a third link (this one) and see a sample of how a model's photo is retouched and transformed to look "perfect" when she appears on the magazine pages. Talk about the partnership between digital magic and fixation on appearance.

Monday, January 16, 2006

From here to maternity (or not)

What Women Want

By Judie Brown

It is always fascinating to read news reports about women and pregnancy. There seems to be a concerted effort to present women as superior beings who can exercise their choices in a way that glorifies some perceived power possessed by women. You will read reports of women who went to extraordinary lengths to bear a child, including the use of repeated reproductive technology therapies such as in vitro fertilization. Or you might encounter the popular theme of those women who have aborted “problem pregnancies” and how relieved they were to be able to exercise that “choice.”

At either end of the spectrum resides a common but rarely noted theme: motherhood.

There is the woman in New Jersey, for example, who at the age of 56, after repeated attempts through in vitro fertilization, finally conceived – if that is the proper word – a set of twins. It is said that her story created an international buzz due to her age and the extent to which she pursued her goal of having a child.

You can read the full commentary here

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Puppy power

'Don't let the cuteness fool you. I'm not called a Boxer for nothing.'

*Saw this image in a free-photos website and couldn't resist posting it here!

Emerging from the 9/11 rubble

This new upscale eatery is a dream come true of the surviving staff of the renowned Windows on the World, the restaurant that once commanded a view of all New York before it was destroyed on 9/11. And Ms. Lindor, a single mother who works as a cleaner here just as she did at Windows, is filled with emotions as tender and complex as the flavors on the plates she helps clear away and wash. That's in part because she and the other 50 or so staff also own this elegant place.

From the grief and fear that rose with the smoke from the rubble of the World Trade Center, the surviving Windows workers decided to build a better future. Seventy-three of their co-workers were killed. And the 350 that survived all lost their secure, good-paying union jobs. With the economy also in disarray, more than half were still unemployed more than a year after the attacks. Many found solace, and one another, at the Restaurant Opportunity Center (ROC-NY), which was set up by a local union and foundations to help unemployed restaurant workers in the aftermath of the attacks.

From 9/11 ruins, a restaurant's new spirits
The Christian Science Monitor

What in the world is going on?

News from around the world... can't say that any of it is positive. There's the official admission of the harmful -- and fatal in several cases -- effects of the chemical abortion drug RU-486 (Mifepristone); the possible imposition of a 2-child policy in the Philippines along with easy access to abortifacient drugs; and a judge's decision on a 2-month jail sentence for 4 years of child rape. Those are just some of the headlines.

Why showcase such grim happenings here? With knowledge can come action -- and with action, the continued hope that we can always do something to make decency prevail in our world.

FDA Reveals 607 Adverse Events Related to RU-486 Abortion , Including Five Deaths

Swiss Hospital Agrees to Help Kill Patients as of January 1, 2006

Testing Drugs on India's Poor

UK Cloning Doctor Wants to Create Human/Rabbit Hybrid Clones

Filipinos Face Potential Two-Child per Family Policy – Legislature Votes within 2 Weeks

Spain Continues Cultural Tailspin—Abortion Rates Soar 72%

Canadian Government Study Suggests Legalizing Polygamy

60 Days for Four Years of Raping Vermont Child

Change of thought led to a life of love

A short account of how one generous family -- by reaching out to the kids in the neighboring homes -- transformed the whole neighborhood...

The organized fun those kids experienced revolved around the couple's efforts to offer them the opportunity to develop what Martin Luther King Jr. once called "the content of their character," and to understand that this is the real purpose in life. Helping kids do this meant devoting their home to these activities every summer and offering scaled-down versions after school and during school vacations. It also meant being available at all hours and gradually assisting many of the children's parents, who came to trust them as family.

Change of thought led to a life of love
By Phyllis Ring

Friday, January 13, 2006

When TV teaches peacemaking

Can you program peace?

| Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Before arriving in this African nation, I'd heard about how boisterous and aggressive its people are. But, after 11 days here, I'd put it a bit more pointedly: Folks here relish few things more than a good brawl.

OK, maybe that's a rash generalization given there are 130 million Nigerians. But I've just seen so many altercations.

There was the skinny 8-year-old girl walloping a bigger boy outside a cyber cafe.

There was the traffic cop bashing his fists on the hoods of the stream of cars crowding into his intersection, heaving himself against their grilles, shouting at drivers, in a mostly-vain attempt at traffic control.

There was the linebacker-sized guy in a powder-blue get-up at baggage claim bellowing, "What do you mean you lost my five bags?!" at the cowering desk clerk.

After these and other encounters, when I heard about an American nonprofit group gearing up to teach conflict resolution in Nigeria - by infusing peacemaking techniques and story lines into a TV show - I just had to investigate. I mean, preaching conflict resolution here seems like singing Kumbaya with a gang of Hell's Angels.

Anyway, they had my attention.

I arrived for Day 1 of "Common Ground Week," in which 60 cast- and crew-members of the TV show were being introduced to conflict-resolution basics.

You can read the full story here

Here's how you put some life into it

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Delightfully counter-cultural

Modestly Yours has become one of my favorite stopovers in the blogosphere since discovering it late last year. The materials are well-written, interesting and, above all, counter-cultural (particularly if you grew up and live in the west -- or in a heavily "westernized" culture). Definitely not the kind of material that fills the mainstream media.

The girl in the photo is Taylor Moore, who's part of the blog team (the youngest, I believe) and whose posts I always look forward to reading. Here's a short bio:

Taylor Moore is a 16-year-old student at Kenwood Academy High School in Hyde Park. Many people know her as an inspirational speaker who travels across the country spreading a message of excellence, non-violence and abstinence for young people. But Taylor is also a certified cable television producer, a gifted percussionist, rapper, and recording artist. She has also been honored by the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and the Governor of Illinois, among others.

Her posts at Modestly Yours: "My Peers' Reaction (you're gonna be surprised)," "Keeping Busy," and "Beyond Beyonce")

And while we're on the subject, I'm giving you links to other interesting posts from the same blog written by others on the team. Modestly Yours came about only two months ago, but having 20 authors, it's always got fresh posts daily. Topics are diverse, comments are aplenty.

Take your pick from some of my favorites:

Thrill me and then go away?

Has Jenn learned her own lesson?

Carrie Bradshaw vs. the Suburban Mother

Let's help the youngest generation out!

Modesty and Maternity

Poor Selma

Gossip Folks?

There's another one I wanted to put here. It's titled "Cookie Monster" and it's a funny piece that relates the cookie-loving author's experience with a date who's apparently less-than-genteel in his behavior. I got lost in the archives that I had trouble finding the post to include here. Needless to say, it's worth the read.

We've come a long way, baby?

I like being a woman.

But not when other members of the fairer sex dress as if fabric were nearing extinction, or make like creatures that have only one thing in mind (clue: it's not food, clothing or shelter, or even shopping). Okay, maybe they don't have that exactly in mind, but the way they cavort in front of the cameras, they put only one thing in the minds of the guys around them (and it's not cars, sports or food, or even gadgets).

One thing's for sure: if we don't want to bring out the best in men, these are the girls to imitate. And if we want to see just how much the original women's movement has regressed over the past decades, this is the way to do it.

We’re a long winter away from spring break, but the infomercials promoting “Girls Gone Wild” (GGW) have already begun. The newest rage for the week-long spring-break beach party for high school and college students is soft-core-porn videos showing girls at vacation destinations flashing the cameras or making out with each other.

The wild girls get nothing out of the exposure except, perhaps, a GGW hat, while the mostly male film crew, production staff and management are living well at the resorts and getting rich off the profits from the low-rent productions. Yet, ironically, the crews don’t have to search for girls; they have girls begging to be on-camera. The girls claim that they are having fun, that it is sexy to show off their cute little clothes and tan, buff bodies.

So this is where feminism has taken women? This type of “sexual liberation” replaces objectification? These girls grab the chance to engage in sexual games where they are just “a piece of meat”?

Sadly, guys are the ones selling the “wild girls” idea. Justin Timberlake sports one of the GGW ball caps. Brad Pitt distributed DVDs about GGW as gifts to fellow actors in a recent movie. Rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg hosted one of the GGW videos. But the girls (most of whom are drunk) are piling on (often, literally begging for the opportunity to pile onto the floor to gyrate with each other for the cameras).

In other instances, crowds at the beach apply merciless pressure as guys taunt the girls into a teasing, simulated bedroom romp. Gangs surround girls like they are a tourist attraction –– begging them to strip off their tops . . . or bottoms … or both! Ultimately, the girls who refuse are accused of being “too uptight” and encouraged to “just let go.”

Christie Hefner, daughter of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and Chairman/CEO of Playboy Enterprises, talks about today’s women feeling a “bit rebellious” and “in-your-face” about their sexuality. She thinks that contemporary women view sex “more in line” with the guys, “but in a fun way, frisky is a good word.” So, the Playboy philosophy continues its indoctrination –– women have to behave like the bad guys; otherwise, they are uptight prudes. The girls are fed the myth that impersonal promiscuity is “fun” and being “frisky” is expected and acceptable behavior (in contrast to the horror of being considered uptight or prudish).

The real story, though, is what happens to those girls who give in.

Read the rest.

Girls gone wild
By Janice Shaw Crouse

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Of manga mania, Wikipedia and Hitler associations

MercatorNet, launched only in May of last year, has come up with a remarkable range of reading fare (and I'm not even referring to the section containing features from other sites yet).

The editors released a list of a dozen of readers' favorites from 2005, and to show you the variety of articles to pick from, here are titles of some of those that made it to the list --

It's a Wiki world
A defamatory entry in the on-line encyclopaedia Wikipedia has put one of the internet’s great success stories under the spotlight.

The incredible reappearing family dinner
Don't sell the dinner table — family meals are making a comeback. There is even a book about their surprising power.

Is intelligent design really science?
Is intelligent design really science? Or is it a kind of disguised creationism? MercatorNet interviews Santiago Collado, a philosopher who has been tracking the debate.

Manga mania
The Japanese have invented a unique genre of comic books for all ages and tastes -- and they are flying off the shelves even in the US.

The Myth of Hitler’s Pope
A fresh look at the evidence has convinced a Jewish rabbi that the controversial Pius XII should be honoured as a “righteous Gentile”

MercatorNet's pick of 2005

Smile for the patients, Doctor!

A smile makes up for doctors' lack of dress sense, a New Zealand study has found. Most patients prefer smiling doctors in semi-formal attire to po-faced doctors in the same garb. The next most popular options are white coat, formal suit, jeans and casual dress. Patients tended to be more comfortable, researchers found, with relatively conservative styles, such as long sleeves, covered shoes and dress trousers and skirts. Facial piercings, short tops and men wearing earrings are not popular.

As for forms of address, the New Zealand study found that most patients prefer to be addressed by their first name -- although New Zealanders are not known for their formality in any case. But they do want doctors to introduce themselves by their title and first and last names. The breast pocket was the most favoured location for a name badge.

From BioEdge newsletter

Men in white who are 'freebie-free'

Those are Boston University medical students Chen Kenyon (right) and Dustin Petersen in the photo, who are among the thousands who oppose accepting personal gifts from pharmaceutical companies. And their movement is quietly touching off discussions on ethics in the industry and making other medical professionals think.

Kenyon and Petersen are among a growing band of stethoscope-wearing students who believe the medical profession needs more detachment from big pharmaceutical firms.

Consequently, they're turning down everything from free catered meals to notepads, provoking debates among fellow students and quizzical looks from doctors.

"People will often ask, 'why didn't you take the pen? Or, why didn't you eat the lunch?'," says Kenyon, a Boston University medical student who packs a sandwich, apple, and granola bar almost every day so he won't have to eat meals sponsored by drugmakers.

Behind the modest rebellion is the belief that taking gifts from drug companies creates a conflict of interest for doctors. The argument: To accept handouts is to feel indebted, and doctors indebted to drug firms may not be prescribing medicines based solely on what's best for their patients. The 60,000-member American Medical Student Association (AMSA) urges students and doctors alike to just say "no" to all personal gifts from drugmakers.

Against this backdrop, students are still convinced their cause is worth fighting, even if it means giving up a hot meal every day. "I don't think patients can trust us anymore," says Kristin Rising, a medical student at the University of California, San Francisco. "By accepting gifts, we're taking in biases that are going to affect patient care."

A pill they won't swallow
| Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Hodgepodge post

You know how it is to come across so many good reads and then you bookmark them and don't want to delete them later even though the loooong list of bookmarked sites is getting you confused already everytime you try to locate something? That's been my dilemma for the past couple of weeks. I've been postponing putting them here on account of the Christmas season (I wanted to do my part in putting the focus on the significance of the season). But even though Christmas officially ends in a few days yet (Feast of the Epiphany which is always on the 2nd Sunday of January and which, this year, falls on Jan. 8th), I think now is a good time to post these thought-provoking pieces on the blog.

But first, believe me when I tell you that all of the following are worthwhile reading fare, no matter what persuasions guide you. You may yawn at the thought of watching Peter Jackson's take on King Kong, but this review from hardly dwells on special effects and movie trivia. Actually, it evaluates the film while exploring the "feminine virtue and masculine heroism" dimension that Kong and Naomi Watts' character bring to the fore.

And then here's a piece by Gaby Friedman titled "Deconstructing Dowd" which I like reading every once in a while. A chunk of it:

When a woman behaves modestly, she finds it much easier to find the good guys—the ones who aren't interested in bimbos, the ones who won't discard them for younger models after a few years of marriage. These are the kind of men who value a woman for their intelligence, who will be looking for a real relationship, not a flash-in-the-pan good time.

Another of those entertaining reads that I stumbled on last year (and which got me thinking more deeply about masculinity and femininity) is a piece titled Confessions of a Former Hoochi Mama. This article, if I remember correctly, is the one that had me checking back at the site again and again for other interesting and "counter-culture" pieces.

More not-your-usual reads lurked in the Web, to my delight! Now the "Marx" being referred to in My grandma would trash this Marxist rubbish is not by any means the German fellow whose analysis of society revolved around class struggle. It springs from a book authored by Eve Marx and discusses the topic of romantic relationships, albeit humorously.

Finally, are you one to think of prostitution as the world's oldest profession? Or, do you rabidly oppose the mere notion of women making a living out of selling their bodies? Do you hardly give the matter altogether any thought? Well, Prostitution is Not a Profession would be worth checking out wherever your principles lie. It could open your eyes about a thing or two.

An attraction of the problematic kind

Imagine living in a house full of women.

If you're a woman, no big deal.

If you're a man, that makes all the difference.

You're a man, and your female housemates trust you completely, feel perfectly at home with you.

You're a man, and some of your female housemates pour their heart out to you and ask for advice. Would it be a shock if someone (either you or among them) developed feelings of attachment or intimacy toward another?

Imagine being a man, surrounded by women -- many of them attractive inside and out and striving to remain so -- sharing a home with them. Would that not be a struggle?

There would not be much of a struggle if the man were homosexual. Now imagine if the man experiencing same-sex attraction (or who has had deep-seated struggles with homosexuality) were surrounded by men -- many of them attractive inside and out and striving to remain so and shared a home with them.

This is the situation that any seminarian or priest with homosexual tendencies deals with.

Though Pope Benedict XVI has formally released a document containing guidelines on the matter of homosexuality and the priesthood, some still seem to insist on what they want rather than face the problem squarely, try to understand the principles explained, and heed the indications given.

Why I thank God I couldn't be a priest is not the document released by the Vatican, but it sure tackles the matter head-on -- and quite clearly, too.
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