OPINIONATRIX…because my opinions dominate











While fans across the country were busy debating who wore what to the Oscars on Sunday, the real “best dressed couple,” were busy entertaining the United States Governors in D.C.

Obamas at the Governors Ball

Could the President and First Lady be any more attractive, elegant and stylish?  I don’t think so.



{February 20, 2009}   Has the Media No Shame?!

rihanna

We have truly hit new lows as a society.  I suppose I’m not surprised that TMZ.com posted a photo of a battered Rihanna on its homepage, but I am utterly shocked that so many legitimate news networks and papers picked it up and ran with it.  Have we no sense of decency?  Isn’t Rihanna, or any abuse victim, entitled to some sense of privacy and dignity? 

The alleged events surrounding the Chris Brown and Rihanna altercation are fuzzy at best.  Any instance of abuse is horrific, but living out such a situation in public must be doubly difficult.  You would think that we, as a society, would be able to put aside our own need for information and allow this woman some time and privacy to deal with this trauma.  I do not purport to know what she is going through, but I am sure this isn’t an easy time for her.  Surely, publishing pictures of her battered face is just one more blow she now has to endure.



{February 20, 2009}   “Sexting,” It’s All The Rage

Text

It’s slightly worrisome that the new teen trend involves sending naked pictures of yourself to all your friends, but it’s even more unsettling that this lapse in judgement could be criminally prosecuted as a sex crime.  Lets face it, teenagers have never been known for their brilliant decision making skills.  Lack of impulse control is a rite of passage, and current technology has just thrust old behaviors into a new arena. 

I don’t condone ‘sexting.’ Like many reckless teen behaviors, it’s a dumb decision that could have unforeseen consequences.  That being said, prosecuting teens criminally as sex offenders does absolutely nothing for anybody.  If adults want to curb this behavior there are various ways of doing so without impeding a teens life in dire ways.  Being convicted of a sex crime follows you everywhere.  There are rules about where you can live, work and who you can spend time with.  Furthermore, why waste the courts time to fix a problem that can be handled in so many other more appropriate and effective ways.

Many may argue that distributing nude pictures is the definition of child pornography, but that misses the point.  These kids aren’t trying to market or sell these photos, they are simply showing off and acting out.  Yes, technically I suppose this fits the definition of child pornography, but any logical person looking at the majority of these cases will deduce that trafficking pornography was not the intent of these ‘sexts.’

If the courts are really looking for a way to prosecute teens for online and digital transgressions, perhaps a better place to start would be online bullying.  This is an area that we could benefit from looking at as a society.  Research has shown that many more teens are affected by vicious online bullying than harmless nude text messages.  Sure, circulating naked pictures is never a positive (unless of course you’re Hugh Heffner or Larry Flynt) but there are some cases where the punishment (being declared a sex offender) just doesn’t fit the crime (teenage stupidity).

 



I have never been able to jump on the Michael Phelps bandwagon, and after this weeks past events I finally feel justified.   It isn’t that I don’t recognize Phelps’ phenomenal abilities in the pool, I just never wavered from the belief that he was, in fact, human.  Not much good ever comes from putting anyone high up on a pedestal (especially if said person is as young as Phelps), because as an adoring public we will inevitably suffer a let down.

So, it has come to pass, Michael Phelps was caught – on camera – smoking pot and has since been suffering the fallout: a 3 month suspension by USA Swimming, and a release from his  endorsement contracts with both Kellogs and Subway.  Many of his other endorsement deals are still on track, but this is an undeniable blow to the Michael Phelps fan-base.

Many (including some of his sponsors) have come to his defense.  It’s true, Phelps is hardly the first 23 year old to get high, but he does deserve the criticism garnered for his actions.  By signing on to various endorsement deals and positioning himself as a role model and “all-American hero” to millions of children he needs to accept the responsibility that goes along with that.  Phelps could have receded into society after the Beijing games, and gone back to being an average citizen.  Instead, he decided on a different path, and thus agreed to the unspoken terms that his actions would have to live up to a higher standard.

Furthermore, this is not Phelps’ first transgression.  He has slipped up before; obtaining a DUI in 2004 and being photographed with strippers earlier this year.  String the 3 together and Phelps looks more like a frat boy and less like a fish.  Michael Phelps may be king of the pool, but on land – he’s just an average guy.



{February 2, 2009}   What Ever Happened to Healthcare?

Washington has been abuzz with talk of stimulus, bipartisanship and Wall Street accountability.   Make no mistake, these are all very important issues and the economy needs to be attended to, but I can’t help but wonder why the only health-care related story we hear about these days is the tax problems of Tom Daschle (Obama’s Health and Human Services Secretary nominee).   Health-care reform NEEDS to be at the forefront of the national conversation.  With so many workers facing unemployment our already precarious health-care situation has become even more dire. 

Americans have needed to reform our system for a long time.  There is a reason that every other “first-world” country has some sort of socialized medicine policy in place: it is the only system that has a chance at success.  How can a country based on equality stand behind a health-care system in which profits are the end goal and medical insurance is tied to the workplace??  This isn’t to say that Canada, the UK and the various other countries subscribing to some form of socialized medicine are perfect – they’re not – but all the citizens of said countries have equal access to care. 

There are caveats to any system, but there is no denying that our system is broken.  The average person without health-care has to undertake great risk just to live their day to day lives.  Even those who are insured often face extensive out of pocket costs and co-pays, and I know from personal experience that ‘approval’ for access to proper care is often hard to come by.

It’s great that we are so focused on rehabilitating our economy and securing more jobs for Americans.  The billions we are investing into the country will hopefully bring forth ample returns.  At this point, if we are going to sink so much money into the resurrection of the nation, why not spend the extra so that once and for all we get the ball rolling on a health-care system that works.



{January 26, 2009}   Yeah, And My Name is Mickey Mouse

Malia and Sasha Dolls

Earlier this week our nation celebrated as Barack Obama was inaugurated as our 44th president.  Liberal or conservative, the country has come together and few would argue that we are all still basking in the glow of an Obama-nation!  Unfortunately some people can’t help but exploit the little people.

I’m not talking about another big company pulling a fast one on the common man (although lord knows that’s a frequent occurrence these days).  I am talking about the Ty company actually exploiting  “little People, as in Sasha and Malia Obama!  Apparently, Ty (famous for manufacturing beanie babies) thought no one would notice if they fashioned Sasha and Malia dolls and marketed them to young girls who crave a piece of the famous first daughters.

When pressed, a spokeswoman for the company said:

“There’s nothing on the dolls that refers to the Obama girls, It would not be fair to say they are exact replications of these girls. They are not.”

Is anyone buying this explanation?! Do they really think I am going to believe that they just happened to manufacture two African American dolls named Sasha and Malia at the same time Sasha and Malia Obama stepped onto the national stage?  I don’t think so.  Apparently, Michelle Obama doesn’t buy it either, stating “it is inappropriate to use young private citizens for marketing purposes.”

Nice try Ty company, but next time… grow a conscience!



{January 26, 2009}   I’m Back from Hiatus…

I apologize for my noticeable absence over the past month or so, but with all the holiday hubbub, inauguration mania and other general life issues I have been rather busy.  However I am now back and ready to espouse my opinions on all matters both substantial and trivial.  I hope you continue to join me!



MIDEAST ISRAEL PALESTINIANS

Peace in the Middle East has always been illusive.  For years, the US and the UN have tried to proctor peace treaties between Israel and her surrounding neighbors, and while  the best of intentions are had, so far we have failed.

With the falling economy, the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the current situation in Gaza is particularly worrisome.  The situation is tense and complicated, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better.  The Israeli’s and the Palestinians see the current predicament so differently that if one didn’t know better they could be speaking about different situations entirely.

The Israeli’s pulled out of Gaza over a year ago, however they maintained control of the borders.  The Palestinians claim that Israeli border control effectively sealed off the area, denying Gaza inhabitants necessities such as food, medicine, etc.  Thus Hamas (who controls Gaza) broke the cease fire and began firing rockets into Israel.  Israel retaliated first with air-strikes and most recently with a ground assault.

Anyone watching the coverage has to be questioning Israel.  The death toll on the Palestinian side is mounting quickly and the images of a desiccated and war torn Gaza juxtaposed against those of a green and intact Israel are stark – to say the least.  As a Jew, I feel a special tie to Israel.  I have family and friends who live there, and I think it extremely important that Israel remain safe and intact.  The country is a symbol and a haven to Jews all over the world, and I fully support its right to protect itself.  However, there must be a middle ground. Israel must be diplomatic in dealing with her surrounding neighbors.  The hold on the land and the feelings around who it belongs to run so deep (on both sides) that I often wonder if peace can ever be reached.

What is the end goal here? The demolition of Hamas? The reoccupation of Gaza? A re-instatement of the cease fire?  I would feel better about supporting Israel if I knew what their end goal was.  I think that both sides need to take a step back and come to the table.  If they are truly concerned about their citizens and their country’s safety they will sit down and try to negotiate an agreement that is acceptable to them both.  Neither side can have all their demands met, but the fighting must stop.  The world and the region cannot take another war right now.



Poor George Bush.  At this point, he is pathetic.  So much so, that I cannot help but feel badly for him.  His approval rating is dismal, he will undoubtedly go down as one of the worst presidents in history, and now it turns out all those folks in Iraq to whom he tried so hard to bring democracy aren’t all that appreciative.

I guess they aren’t fans of near civil war, constant bombs and civilian deaths over there in the Middle East… whouda thunk?  Well today Bush surprised the Iraqi’s by bestowing them with a visit – I’m sure they were thrilled! One Iraqi reporter decided to show his love and appreciation by screaming:

“This is a gift from the Iraqis; this is the farewell kiss, you dog” — and threw one of his shoes at the president, who ducked and narrowly avoided being struck. As chaos ensued, he threw his other shoe, shouting, “This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq.” The second shoe also narrowly missed Mr. Bush as Prime Minister Nuri Kamal Al-Malaki stuck out a hand in front of the president’s face to help shield him.  NYTIMES

Hmmm… I guess the USA and Iraq have more in common than I previously thought.  The same idiot has driven both countries and its’ citizens into a state of anger and despair.



{December 10, 2008}   Oh, Oprah…

oprah

When it comes to Oprah Winfrey, there are usually two camps of people: those who adore her and those who think she is totally overrated and can’t stand her.  Whatever group you’re in (and for the record, I adore her) she probably stands for a lot of things in your mind.

For me, Oprah is a powerful, warm and inspirational woman.  She epitomizes success.  She came from nothing and is now one of the highest paid TV celebrities with an entire media empire unto herself.  Couple that with the fact that she is undoubtedly one of the most philanthropic Americans, and she really comes out a winner in my book.

It is for these reasons that the recent publicity around the fact that Oprah has gained weight upsets me.  Oprah’s weight has been a 20 year battle, covered by the media, and stems from the big O herself.  In an upcoming article in January’s O magazine, Oprah states,

“I’m embarrassed, I can’t believe that after all these years, all the things I know how to do, I’m still talking about my weight. I look at my thinner self and think, ‘How did I let this happen again?”

While it may be comforting to some to realize that Oprah is just like the rest of us – battling her own insecurities in spite of all she has achieved, it saddens me.  I want to reach out to Oprah and let her know that most of us rarely, if ever, give a second thought to her weight. Oprah has achieved so much, and tends to look great no matter what she weighs.  Oprah’s fans could care less what the scale says.

Oprah has a unique gift.  She is able to play the best friend and confidant, while serving as role model and inspiration at the same time.  It is hard sometimes to realize that no matter how phenomenally talented, successful and adored one may be, loving oneself can be a never ending battle.



et cetera
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