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.



et cetera