15
Aug
08

Talking Points 15 August

Goodmorning, it’s Karnie…sorry about the delay..my computer’s been playing up!!

Thanks Mike, Brett, Steve and Will for stepping in at the last minute to moderate the blog..

By 2042 whites in the United States will be outnumbered by other racial groups due to significantly higher birth rates among immigrants. Several states, including California and Texas, have already reached the point where members of minorities are in the majority. The change will have far-reaching consequences for politics in the United States, pushing immigration and social reform to the top of the agenda.

In a very “white” dominated country where racism and the civil rights movement have played a huge part in it’s history, can America adapt to a new cultural identity? Will America still be America if whites are outnumbered? How will this change the face of the United States? Are places like the south where racism still prevails, able to deal with these changes? What would Americans need to do to ensure it’s growing multi cultural society can live together as Americans and not as separate races?

***
Six camps in South Africa housing thousands of people displaced by a wave of violence against immigrants (mainly Zimbabweans) in May are due to be closed shortly. The camps were established in May after more than sixty people were killed in attacks against foreigners. But a legal challenge by a group of human rights groups could delay the closures. People living in the camps do not believe it is safe for them to go back and live amongst South Africans. They live in fear and insist it would be dangerous to return to the townships.

Last week, the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres criticised the South African authorities for not communicating any places for the reintegration of the displaced and not properly engaging in a dialogue with camp residents about their immediate future. Are South Africans ready to re-intergrate with it’s refugee population? Has the government done enough to ensure this happens?

***
World Champion swimmer and the face of the United States Olympic team in Athens, Michael Phelps, has won 12 career gold medals, more than any Olympic athlete in any sport. He’s been called a “Superhero whose powers are real“. But does that make him the greatest Olympian ever?


158 Responses to “Talking Points 15 August”


  1. 1 nelsoni
    August 14, 2008 at 19:51

    Hello everyone, , Terror victims compensation: US-Libya compensation deal sealed. Other victims else where don’t deserve compensation too?

  2. August 14, 2008 at 19:55

    The idea of drinking age was brought up by Meg in the rape thread if I’m not mistaken. Meg, care to fill in? 🙂

  3. 3 Dennis
    August 14, 2008 at 19:56

    Hi, Mike, Brett, Steve and Will…..

    US-Libya compensation deal sealed: interest of full disclosure, were i am returning on 31 august 2008, to syracuse, new york…people who went to school @ syracuse university….were also victims of this incident!!

  4. 4 Dennis
    August 14, 2008 at 19:58

    What will be the consequences for the Russians’ for their behaviour over the Georgia situation….

    1]Kick them out of G-8
    2]Imposed massive sanctions on the country
    3]take away the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia…………….

    Dennis
    [enjoying my time at home]…………

  5. 5 Julie P
    August 14, 2008 at 20:05

    Well, isn’t this interesting? US and Poland sign defense deal. A deal that Russia has been opposed to.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7561926.stm

  6. 6 Colleen
    August 14, 2008 at 20:17

    @ Julie P

    the new cold war… but maybe not as cold — you know, with global warming and all….

  7. August 14, 2008 at 20:20

    Musharraf Is Expected to Resign in Next Few Days
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/15/world/asia/15pstan.html?hp

    I’m always concerned about Pakistan. The U.S. has poured billions of dollars into Musharraf’s pockets over the years, and recieved nothing. What an amazing character. Remember when he was over here pushing his book?

  8. 8 Julie P
    August 14, 2008 at 20:20

    @Colleen,

    I didn’t want to say those two words. I grew up in the Cold War and I do not want to return.

  9. 9 Jessica in NYC
    August 14, 2008 at 20:37

    @ Dennis: I second that request for a discussion.

    @ Colleen: LOL

  10. 10 Robert
    August 14, 2008 at 20:40

    @Julie

    I don’t think Russia is stupid enough to openly attack Poland over this. However its not beyond belief that the Russian lawyers will find some clause that Gazprom had forgotten about and find cause to cut the gas supply to Poland this winter. Or perhaps an environmental clause in the PSA for ExxonMobil’s Sakhalin development will suddenly appear putting pressure on the American company?

  11. 11 Colleen
    August 14, 2008 at 20:46

    @ Jessica

    🙂 and thanks for providing some stats on the rape string. statistics never tell the whole story, but a lot of conventional thought about rape has been disproven by a lot of research… not trying to start of that whole convo again though!

  12. 12 Meg in Canada
    August 14, 2008 at 20:47

    Hi Brett,

    Sorry for joining late – I had a meeting I just got home from!

    I think we should discuss the drinking age. The USA has the highest drinking age in the world – 21. Canada has a drinking age of 19 except in Quebec, Alberta and Manitoba where the age is 18. There has been talk of reducing the drinking age in Ontario to 18, and talk of increasing it to 21. See arguments in the links below:

    http://www.safety-council.org/info/traffic/impaired/age.html

    http://www.apolnet.ca/news/ITW/ITW-Apr08.html

    http://www.scrippsnews.com/node/25194

    My main point is that there should be consistency. In Canada you can drive, vote, buy fireworks, gamble and are subject to full prosecution under the law as an adult when you turn 18 years old. But you can’t drink or buy cigarettes until you’re 19? That seems a little strange.

    With the US drinking age being 21, do you think that this creates too much hype, as people have to wait longer to be able to drink? Does this encourage more underage drinking because the age is so high?

    Who has responsibility here? Parents to educate their kids about how to drink responsibly? The government? Schools? Or is this a matter of maturity? How old do you have to be before you’re considered mature enough to drink? And what about those people that are just immature regardless?

    I’ll be interested to see what kind of discussion this provokes 🙂

  13. 13 Julie P
    August 14, 2008 at 20:49

    @Robert,

    The last I checked, Russia was crying foul over the missile defense system. I don’t think Russia would attack Poland over this, the thought never entered my mind. I can easily picture a lot of drum and chest beating over this. Russia could make Poland’s life miserable concerning gas supplies. Or, if Russia’s smart, they’ll wait to see how the outcome of the US elections go, then make further comment, then I could be completely drunk on the last suggestion.

  14. August 14, 2008 at 20:55

    @ The drinking age:

    At 18 you are old enough to have a gun thrown in your hands and shipped off to go fight someones war, kill others and potentially die yourself. But when you return home to the country you are supposedly defending, you can’t even sit back and have a beer…
    I’m more nervous about kids with guns killing other kids and dying themselves than 18 year olds with access to alcohol (Like they don’t have it already).

  15. 15 Colleen
    August 14, 2008 at 20:59

    @ Brett

    i agree! i think the drinking age should be 18 in the US … assuming there is a drinking age at all…

  16. 16 Meg in Canada
    August 14, 2008 at 21:00

    @ Brett,

    Exactly. If you are old enough to go off and fight for your country, you should be old enough to enjoy a (well deserved) drink when you get back. I think it’s a much bigger problem that 18 is the age when you can have a gun. I also think that it’s a question of responsibility. If someone is supposedly responsible enough to safely drive a car, potentially own a gun, and if they want to, go to war, surely they can also be responsible enough to drink as well.

  17. 17 Meg in Canada
    August 14, 2008 at 21:01

    I also haven’t found there to be any more problems with the drinking age in Ontario being as it is. By the time everyone turns 21 they have everything out of their system. And most first time drinking takes place in university or college which is a more controlled setting and has more systems in place to control rowdy behaviour.

  18. 18 Nick in USA
    August 14, 2008 at 21:08

    As I noted in today’s thread, the drinking age is a funny thing. In countries like Taiwan, where young people have easy access to alcohol, drinking seems far less frequent. I’m not sure of the causality for this though. Taiwan has a lot for young people to do. They have night markets until 3 am, and lots of other activities. I think excessive drinking in the midwest is mainly due to a lack of alternatives, but there may be an element of kids feeling like they are grown up.

    Does the age limit cause kids to want to drink more? As Brett noted, kids who want to drink, will find a way to get alchohol.

  19. 19 Robert
    August 14, 2008 at 21:12

    Drinking

    I was lucky in that my first drinking occurred within the family setting. I was 8 and my parents allowed me a few sips of some horrible cider. Their plan worked, I hated the taste of it so much that I refused to touch the stuff for another 9 years. When I did start to drink at 17 they made sure I got very very drunk in a controlled situation so I could experience my first hangover during which I was kicked out of bed and made to do chores at 7am. As a result alcohol has never had a big appeal as a way of life to me and I have a healthy respect for what alcohol can do. I enjoy the odd drink but its not the be all and end all of my life.

  20. 20 Meg in Canada
    August 14, 2008 at 21:16

    I think part of the problem with having a specific age to drink is that it creates a mystique around it. It’s like a forbidden fruit. In countries that have no drinking age, everyone has access to alcohol so it’s not a big deal. By the time they are old enough to drive they’ve learned very well what their limits are and are probably less likely to drive while impaired.

  21. 21 Meg in Canada
    August 14, 2008 at 21:22

    @ Robert,

    I agree with that tactic. Everyone has a night where they drink too much. So why not have that in a controlled place when you are surrounded by people who will take care of you? I think because your parents introduced you to alcohol at such a young age it took away some of the hype that surrounds it.

  22. 22 Jessica in NYC
    August 14, 2008 at 21:30

    In the U.S., Louisiana legal drinking age is 18, because New Orleans brings in more revenue through alcohol than the federal government would subsidize by having the legal age raised to 21.

  23. 23 Lubna
    August 14, 2008 at 21:32

    Hi gang ! :-)… I do have a question to all of you guys… “Psychiatry For Students” by David Stafford Clark and Andrew C. Smith is a textbook for 5th year medical students in our college-Baghdad medical school… Unfortunately I don’t know the eddition’s number… In chapter 12 “Sexual Problems”, homosexuality is included as a psychiatric sexual problem or abnormality… I am quoting from P.171 here : “The chromosomes and endocrine function of homosexuals are normal, although there is just a possibility that androgen failure during a crucial period of intrauterine life could be invoked as a cause in males, by preventing the formation of masculine pattern of behaviour”… I am asking for the sake of gaining knowledge here, this textbook is British… What is homosexuality considered to be like in your country ?! A life choice ?! Or a biological condition that has got something to do with the genes ?! Or a psychological sexual illness that can be treated and cured ?! Although, and I am quoting here from the textbook P.172 : “but the results even in the hands of specialists have been poor”… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  24. 24 Justin from Iowa
    August 14, 2008 at 21:36

    Man, my state makes it onto the BBC, and its depressing. A town 20 miles from where I live, Postville, was featured on the BBC regarding the Immigration issue. If you listen to the segment, what is your response to the question it poses? Is prosecution and deportation the answer? Or is legalization? Its a fact that immigrants often take jobs that nobody else wants but which are needed… If we don’t use immigrants, we have to be prepared to greatly increase wages in those jobs to make them attractive enough for mainstream Americans – Are you prepared to put your money where your mouth is, if you are for prosecution and deportation?

    (In brief, 450 illegal immigrants were picked up in a raid in May, they were working at a local meat packing plant. Now they are serving 5 months in prison before being deported. Some of them were allowed home so they could care for childeren – they are on house arrest with radio bracelets to keep them from leaving. Interviews with town residents gave the majority opinion that nobody really knew what the solution should be, but that the raid hadn’t helped the town. There were dissenting opinions falling on both sides of that statement.)

  25. 25 Jessica in NYC
    August 14, 2008 at 21:43

    @ Colleen

    You’re definitely right. Stats never provide a whole picture only facts based on small group of people polled/studies randomly. On such emotional issues I find they can be helpful to a discussion, especially when opinions are used as absolutes and try to be passed off as factual data. A story is much more powerful than boring numbers.

  26. 26 Meg in Canada
    August 14, 2008 at 21:48

    @ Lubna,

    In Canada, homosexuality is a lifestyle choice. It’s not something to be cured at all. I’m surprised by the attitude given by your textbook, but I guess that’s understandable given the way homosexuality is received in Canada.

  27. 27 Nick in USA
    August 14, 2008 at 21:49

    @ Lubna

    Sorry, I can’t answer that question because opinions differ greatly. Nobody understands where homosexuality comes from, although certain groups will argue their own viewpoint to the death. There is no known cure for homosexuality, and to suggest that it needs to or can be cured in the USA will open you up to a lot of criticism. From what I’ve seen, a lot of homosexuals claim that it’s genetic, and a lot of religious conservatives claim that it results from some sort of childhood trauma. Basically, nobody knows.

  28. 28 Nick in USA
    August 14, 2008 at 21:52

    Wait a minute, somebody on today’s show claimed that me saying “ghetto” was racist? Since when is the word Ghetto racist?

  29. 29 Meg in Canada
    August 14, 2008 at 21:59

    @ Jessica,

    Do you think the legal drinking age of 18 is appropriate for Louisiana?

  30. 30 Justin from Iowa
    August 14, 2008 at 22:07

    When you don’t live in a ghetto, saying ghetto is racist. Just as if you aren’t black, saying N____ is racist, and if you don’t live in Louisiana saying Inbred is racist…

    Get with the politically correct program man!!

  31. 31 Lubna
    August 14, 2008 at 22:10

    Hi again gang ! :-)… And thanks alot Meg darling and my dearest Nick for your response… Here I am quoting from the same textbook, P.171 : “The enviromental factors in males are probably concerned with the relationship with the parents. Many studies suggest that the male homosexual typically had difficulty in establishing a good relationship with the father, who was often absent from the home either physically, or at least as a dominant figure. The weak fathers are dominated by their wives, who as mothers are close and overwhelmingly emotional and intimate with their sons.. It could be that in such a family the son can’t mature emotionally to the stage of heterosexual desire for the female “.. Your comnents guys please ?! With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  32. 32 Justin from Iowa
    August 14, 2008 at 22:12

    @Lubna:

    All of your answers to the question are correct, in that we don’t know, though life choice seems to be a leading opinion around here in the states I think (not that it comes up much around here, not saying anything negative against homosexuals just that I live in a rural place, and their isn’t a large enough concentration of people to have many homosexuals around to interact with). There is no solid biological evidence to suggest it is biologic in cause, and we don’t know enough about the human brain to say that it is or is not a psychological problem. So people can claim those but they can’t prove them.

    I have personal opinions, but everyone knows the saying about opinions, so I won’t voice mine 😛

  33. 33 Robert
    August 14, 2008 at 22:12

    @Lubna

    In the UK homosexuality is general accepted as who you are. Its not a “psychiatric sexual problem or abnormality” or a lifestyle choice. It is just who you are nothing more. There are far more pressing problems in the world to deal with than who two consenting adults are going to bed with.

  34. August 14, 2008 at 22:20

    First of all, ours and many communities use arbitrary age numbers to assign different responsibilities. With each passing year the distance between the smartest and most self aware and the dumbest and the most self destructive grows more vast. There really should be benchmarks that have to be reached in order to do certain activities instead of ages. To drink for instance, you must hold a job for two years and have one at the time of your purchase. You have 6 months after applying for unemployment benefits before you can drink. If you are in school, you must hold a “B” average or better to keep your license. I don’t care what age you are, if you can show responsibility like an adult, then you should be aloud the choices of one.

    I know plenty of people who are over 30 and should not be allowed to drink, drive, or view porn because they are too self absorbed and inconsiderate to have any adult privileges. In the same light, I have met 12 and 13 yr olds who have steped up for their family needs due to some tragic situations that have lead them to be more of an adult then I would hope to ever be.

  35. August 14, 2008 at 22:20

    What is homosexuality considered to be like in your country ?! A life choice ?! Or a biological condition that has got something to do with the genes ?! Or a psychological sexual illness that can be treated and cured ?!

    Like the movie “Saved”, LOL!

  36. 36 Justin from Iowa
    August 14, 2008 at 22:27

    Um, my father was absent a lot through my childhood, and I have a healthy appreciation for the females of our species. So from my perspective, that shuts down that hypothesis.

  37. 37 Meg in Canada
    August 14, 2008 at 22:27

    @ Lubna,

    While we are on the topic of homosexuality, do you think that homosexual couples should be allowed to have children? Or what are other people’s views on this?

  38. August 14, 2008 at 22:27

    ~Homosexuality,

    Hi Lubna. I hope all is well in Baghdad today.

    Wikipedia has pages of information about homosexuality. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality

    As does Science Daily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/search/?keyword=homosexuality

    Homosexuality was considered a psychiatric problem here in the U.S. for decades. But in the 90’s they had a big convention of psychiatrists and they decided that it isn’t a disorder. Homosexuals don’t change. And no straight person can just choose to be homosexual. Just like you can’t choose to to be the attracted to something sexually that doesn’t really turn you on.

  39. August 14, 2008 at 22:38

    @ Cold war,

    There never really was a “cold war”. We fought in Vietnam and Korea with money, weapons, and lives. The Russians just sent weapons and money. In Afghanistan, the Russians sent the lives and the US just sent the money and weapons. Lives were lost, nothing cold about that. The Irony is that in lack of a counterbalance the US has become its own worst enemy. Turns out we are back in Afghanistan fighting the people we trained to fight the Russians. If Russia has still been an influential power, we would never have went into Iraq with the flimsy excuses that we did. Finally, the “War on Terror” is the first war where we are funding both sides of the fight.

    15 of the 19 9-11 hijackers were Saudi nationals. All of them come from the OPEC nations. Make no bones about it, whether directly or indirectly, these extremist get their money from those oil sales. The “Cold War” doesn’t scare me as much as our “self war”.

  40. 40 Sheikh Kafumba Dukuly
    August 14, 2008 at 22:43

    @ Drinking, the age does not matter to me because i don’t drink. Homosexuality! I have a moral beef with this. I guess for ethical and religious reason i have nothing to contribute to this topic. I will join in later.

  41. 41 Pangolin- California
    August 14, 2008 at 22:44

    @ Lubna~
    It’s fairly well established that homosexuality is a funtion of brain structure and chemistry. You might do well to review this: Symmetry Of Homosexual Brain Resembles That Of Opposite Sex, Swedish Study Finds
    – Science Daily. For those that can’t access the link there are structural differences visible on MRI’s that indicate for sexual orientation. To hear that the kind of superstition that you quoted is still taught in medical school anywhere doesn’t reflect well on your education.

    Since you are studying psych. and you’re in Iraq you might do well to review the use of the herb syrian rue along with admixtures in the treatment of depression. Unlike homosexuality there is are treatments and actual and vast need for treatment.

  42. 42 Shirley
    August 14, 2008 at 22:44

    For those continuing the rape discussion, might it be possible to request a descriptive header to posts? Please? Thank you.

  43. 43 Sheikh Kafumba Dukuly
    August 14, 2008 at 22:52

    Russian tanks heading towards the Georgian Capital. Is Russia intending to take over georgia. Neoimperialism is taking root.

  44. 44 Pangolin- California
    August 14, 2008 at 22:55

    @ Justin~
    All the gay people in San Francisco, New Orleans and Ausitn didn’t grow up there and they didn’t immigrate form homoslavia. They leave places like Iowa because it’s been made clear to them that they are not wanted where they grew up. I’ve met homosexuals who were raised Mormon, Catholic, Baptists and Adventist. Not any more they’re not.

    So much for Christian understanding and forgiveness eh?

  45. August 14, 2008 at 22:57

    My dearest Justin in Iowa : Hello,and thanks alot for your response… Actually as a practicing Muslim I do have some pretty strong opinions about homosexuality but those opinions do apply only to me and not to others because after all, who am I to judge other people’s behaviour ?! And my dearest Robert in the UK : Hi… And thanks alot for your response as well… I am a knowledge seeker Robert, and I am totally aware that ”there are far more pressing problems in the world to deal with than two consenting adults going to bed together”… Ask me, after all I do live in Iraq don’t I ?! ;-)… I was just totally surprised to see that in a classy British medical reference, homosexuality is included in the chapter of ”sexual problems”, alongside with fetishism, sadism, masochism, and transvestism… And that’s why I wanted to ask all of you guys about the subject inorder to get some information from you guys about the general perception of homosexuality and it’s potential origins in your countries… And BTW my dearest Brett, I haven’t watched that movie before,
    ”Saved” ! ;-)… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  46. 46 Shirley
    August 14, 2008 at 22:58

    Homosexuality
    Those of you who have access to psychology textbooks, it might be helpful to Lubna if you could provide some quotes from them and cite whatever references possible. If it gets too lengthy for the blog, perhaps we could compile references and email them to her? There is likely to be some divergence between the offically accepted position there and what is taught in our universities.

  47. 47 Robert
    August 14, 2008 at 23:12

    Lubna

    Unfortunately homosexuality was a taboo in the UK until probably the 80’s. Even then it wasn’t until the mid 90’s until it was fully accepted by the mainstream. If your text book come from before this period then it may be likely that some outdated views (by British standards) of homosexuality are presented as fact.

  48. 48 steve
    August 14, 2008 at 23:15

    I think talk about homosexuality is now infiltrated by PC views. The vast majority of people aren’t homosexual (though there are apparently lots of bisexuals), hence homosexuality deviates from the norm. But if you say it’s deviant, you are a bigot, despite the word just meaning “differs”. There obviously is something “wrong” with homosexuals, but it doesn’t mean they are bad people. The norm, probably the only reason humans, and all life exists, is to procreate. I find it odd that we can say that homosexuality is normal, not a mental problem, but then say that pedophelia is a mental problem. Clearly, there’s something VERY wrong with pedophiles. And we rightfully jail them for it. But, when you think about it, it’s “natural”. They didn’t choose to be pedophiles, so why can’t we admit that when something is abnormal, and not by choice, that there’s something wrong with the person? Think of Albinos, they deviate from the norm, they lack the pigments that most people have, making them abnormal. It says nothing about their character, but they are abnormal. The PC brigades go nuts over accurate descriptions.

    Anyone following the suggested protests of the Tropic Thunder movie because of the use of the word “retard” in it? Mentally retarded is the most accurrate description, and when you use PC terms like “mentally challenged” it is vague. Are you referring to them being retarded, having schizophrenia, depression, etc? These PC terms replace accurate terms (retarded means slow) with vague terms. Imagine if I described someone as deranged. All that means is disturbed. In fact, if you ever stay in a french hotel, the do not disturb thing will say something like ne pas derange…. That’s what the word means, sorry if something accurate is disturbing to you, but the PC people really need to develop a backbone.

  49. 49 gary
    August 14, 2008 at 23:20

    @Lubna
    As I’ve written here in past, two of my cousins, who exhibited homosexual behavior beyond the age of puberty, also clearly exhibited odd (for their gender) behavior before the age of five years. There are eight siblings in total, all the rest are heterosexual. I don’i believe a family member was subjecting them to “sexual pressure,” or was abusing them, as I lived very closely to them and I experienced their homelife from a very early age. Of course, little children are not very experienced; but they’re as intelligent as they every will be as adults, and are very observant! I’m not a researcher in this area, or an MD; but I’ve a belief the answer to homosexuality lies in epigenetics, and likely not in genetics or in psychiatrics. I guess, I don’t believe it’s a fault (sin) or a choice, it just is.
    g

  50. 50 Shirley
    August 14, 2008 at 23:20

    Georgia on My Mind
    Dennis
    I think that removing Russia’s Olympic privileges would be apropos. They chose violence over diplomatic methods of conflict resolution.

    I agree with those who have pointed out GW’s ironically conflicting statements regarding the situation.

    Pakistan
    Mike, after all of the last-minute changes of mind tht Msharraf has had, I won’t believe that he has actually resigned until some fat lady starts singing.

  51. August 14, 2008 at 23:21

    ~homosexuality~

    It seems to me that sexuality is spread out along a bell-curve. No one is normal.”

  52. 52 Nick in USA
    August 14, 2008 at 23:23

    @ Justin

    “When you don’t live in a ghetto, saying ghetto is racist. Just as if you aren’t black, saying N____ is racist, and if you don’t live in Louisiana saying Inbred is racist…”

    Which race does the term ghetto imply?

  53. August 14, 2008 at 23:31

    Hi My dearest Mike in Portland… And thanks alot for your response and very lovely greetings my good friend ! ;-)… Well my dearest Justin in Iowa, the theory talks about a father who’s either actually physically absent from the home, or not being the dominant parent i.e. the mother in this situation would be controlling the father or intimidating him by any means, and at the same time the mother would be having a super intimacy and emotional closeness with her male child, so that the mother would be loving her male child a love of possession or a love for the sake of total control…As for your question Meg darling, actually regulars on this blog do know that when it comes to issues related to children, then I am totally biased and completely lack objectivity, so my answer to your question is surely a very big NO by all means… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  54. 54 Jessica in NYC
    August 14, 2008 at 23:33

    @ Robert

    I had similar experiences with alcohol. My father allowed me a few sips of beer when I was 8 or 9 and also allow me to taste tequila (one sip). Then talked me about it’s effect and the dangers when too much is consumed. When I got a little bit dizzy he asked me to imagine crossing a street then a car comes from around the corner. I think as kids it’s easier to understand the seriousness such examples and it’s consequences. As adults we get jaded and think, this would never happen to me.

    @ Justin from Iowa
    I’m always up for a discussion immigration. However, I’d like for the topic to be focused. Using your hometown (bbc article) as an example of how immigrants effect the economy here and in other counties; vs another rant on whether the undocumented immigrants living in the US should get legal status.

  55. 55 Jessica in NYC
    August 14, 2008 at 23:36

    Bret bring up a good point on how we trust 18 year olds with gun, but not with being responsible drinkers.

  56. August 14, 2008 at 23:39

    ~homosexuality,

    My sister-in-law had a son two years after she had a daughter. The boy insisted that he wanted to wear girl’s cloths before he could talk. They moved to a big city and he got psychiatric counseling for several years, and this trait disappeared. When he was eighteen he declared his homosexuality, and now is living as a happy gay man.

  57. 57 Robert
    August 14, 2008 at 23:40

    Steve

    I agree that the PC terms are causing some problems with the debate. I can understand the use of the phrase not normal in certain situations but to define not fitting within the majority can easily be interpreted as offensive. The athletes at the Olympics obviously don’t fit in with the majority of the population, that’s why they are world class athletes, but would you call them wrong?

    Continuing your example it might be natural (due to genetics perhaps) for pedophiles to like young children but they don’t go to jail because because of that. They go to jail because they take advantage of the trust that children put in them and for abusing them. Homosexuals who take part in consenting relationships aren’t violating anybodies rights so why should they be viewed as wrong. They don’t fit with the majority and you might even suggest that they are not normal (but even that is a clumsy phrase given that we all have unique qualities about us so normal is difficult to define), but to call them wrong is taking it too far. There is nothing negative (which is what the word wrong implies) about homosexuality.

  58. 58 Julie P
    August 14, 2008 at 23:48

    Why the drinking age is 21 in the US

    “The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 required all states to raise their minimum purchase and public possession of alcohol age to 21. States that did not comply faced a reduction in highway funds under the Federal Highway Aid Act…. ”

    I remember this happening as I was at an age where it was possible for me to loose the legal right to drink. I didn’t as I turned 21 before this was enacted in the state I was living in.

    http://www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/LegalDrinkingAge.html

  59. 59 Jessica in NYC
    August 14, 2008 at 23:49

    @ Meg in Canada

    Well, for New Orleans I can tell you the young people drinking during Mari Gras are not trying to exercise good judgment and drink in moderation. They are there to drink, drink and drink some more while collecting beeds, of course. One ritual that happens during Mari Gras that I fail to understand is the flashing. Men and women expose themselves (breast and penis) in order to be given beeds. For this purpose it doesn’t seem right to have the age limit set to 18, but given a vote I wouldn’t change it. I think people need to be responsible not have the government step in and impose another law that will be ignored.

    I don’t think parents talk to their kids about sex, alcohol or drugs.

  60. 60 Meg in Canada
    August 15, 2008 at 00:02

    @ Jessica,

    Agreed!

  61. 61 Shirley
    August 15, 2008 at 00:15

    Georgia on My Mind
    “If America can take Baghdad, then Russia can take Tiblisi.” a Russian military official said this to an ITN reporter, as in a story on PBS Newshour.

  62. August 15, 2008 at 00:33

    Hi all, sorry I can’t contribute much for there few days cuz I’m very engage. @drinking age, in Liberia kids with age as low as 10 years can be seen in the streets drinking alcohol excessively on holidays. On ordinary days, they sneak into clubs and drink.

  63. August 15, 2008 at 00:41

    I’m heading out for a couple of hours. Very hot in Portland today… for around here anyway 99* http://www.accuweather.com/us/or/portland/97211/city-weather-forecast.asp?partner=accuweather&traveler=0

  64. 64 steve
    August 15, 2008 at 00:43

    Looks like the Bush administration wants to classify birth control pills as a form of abortion….

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/5935532.html

  65. August 15, 2008 at 00:43

    @missile defend shield, the US is now well under way of building a missile right next door to Russia and we all are happy about it. I wonder how the US would have reacted if any of those South American or carribean countries agree for Russia to build similar defend shield on their soil? Would it have been seen as an act of aggression?

  66. 66 Shirley
    August 15, 2008 at 01:01

    Contraceptive Freedom
    Steve, that is so scary. We are not a theocracy. GW should stop ruling us as if we were one.

  67. 67 steve
    August 15, 2008 at 01:02

    @ Shirley

    He’s gone on January 20th, 2009 and the next president can rescind whatever he did.

  68. 68 Shirley
    August 15, 2008 at 01:53

    Another Great Olympic Moment
    In another fine moment of sportsmanship, the NBC commentators for men’s volleyball declared that if we want something messed up, we should just leave it to the Hungarian volleyball team. PBS has some excellent do-it-yourself home improvement shows on right now.

  69. 69 Shirley
    August 15, 2008 at 01:58

    correction: the US played the Bulgarians in men’s volleyball
    my bad

  70. August 15, 2008 at 02:06

    @ Mohammed

    I wonder how the US would view it if Russia tried to put a nuclear missle in Cuba?

  71. 71 Bob in Queensland
    August 15, 2008 at 02:14

    G’day all from a sunny Queensland!

    Re: Drinking Age

    I said last night that I’d weigh into the drinking age debate but both my main points have been made already. However, to summarise my two main thoughts:

    First, the immature use of alcohol mentioned by Steve in the “Rape” topic is, I think, totally due to the attitude that makes it a “forbidden fruit”. I have two grown children. Both were allowed to sip parent’s drinks from whatever age they showed an interest…and generally lost interest after a taste. A bit older (around eight) and they were allowed to have a heavily-watered glass of wine with a meal if we were having some. Again, after a few grown up attempts they learned to ask for what they wanted, not wine to be “grown up”. This sort of treatment continued as they grew up and the result was two offspring in their 20s, both who use alcohol responsibly and don’t binge drink. Prohibition didn’t work in the USA in the 1920s and selective prohibition doesn’t work now.

    Briefly, my second point is that, if a person is old enough to vote, sign contracts, join the military, get married or suffer the death penalty, then it is ludicrous to say they can’t have a beer at the end of the day. Any law that appears ludicrous or unfair will be ignored. If lowering the age to 18 or whatever sets up a wave of binge drinking, see my point one.

    Nuff said.

    (Edited–because I just found out the hard way that a numeric eight followed by a bracket makes a 8) smiley)

  72. 72 Bob in Queensland
    August 15, 2008 at 02:25

    @ Steve

    Re: Homosexuality/Paedophilia

    You make an interesting point. I suppose both homosexuality and paedophilia are both “normal” in that they occur (in my opinion) naturally throughout the human race, though, fortunately paedophilia is less common. Also, I don’t believe there’s a “cure”.

    However, the big difference is that homosexuals can express their sexuality between consenting adults. Paedophiles, by definition, must exploit minors who can never give any form of consent. For that reason, I’ve long thought that we should stop treating paedophiles as normal criminals–but that their movements should be tightly monitored and controlled for life to give them no access to children.

  73. 74 Jamily5
    August 15, 2008 at 02:52

    Lubna,
    The reason that not many people are gving many links is because the “cause” of homosexuality is hotly debated.
    Some say genetics and nature and others say environment&nourture.
    Some say that it is a choice and some say “no.”
    Then, there is bisexuals and this third category confuses most.
    When speaking of treatment, some do want to “cure” the person.
    But, this rarely works: statistics show this.
    No matter our personal views on this,
    as a psychologist, we must help the family adjust to the person’s orientation.
    While it might be something that the family might be personally offended with:
    it is not criminal and causes no offense to other people. As a psych, you might be having to help the said homosexual adapt without theirfamily or at the least help them decide how far they are willing to go in talking with their family.
    Suicide is prevalent among teens who feel that theirfamilies will reject them if they admit that they have homosexual thoughts.
    I clarify this because many teens have not had homosexual sex, but just the thoughts can get them into hot water with their families.
    Even though people don’t want to admit it,
    there are a number of teens or young people who have professed to be homosexual, and then, somewhere during their 20s or 30s have confessed that it was a “phase” and have “returned” (if you will) to hetrosexuality.
    Treatment: whether it is trying to “cure” them socially (through different social interactions), emotionally (reviewing their childhood for any “abnormalities”), or biologically has, by in large been unsuccessful.
    Choice or not,
    the best thing that we, as clinitions can do is to accept their orientation and help them live happy lives.
    I don’t mean to be talking about homosexuals in the third person, as if they are this “abnormal strange group.”
    I am just saying that no matter your personal views, research has shown that it is not helpful to try and “cure.”
    It is more effective to help them and their family accept their orientation.

  74. 75 Count Iblis
    August 15, 2008 at 03:03

    Paedophilia is perhaps not very uncommon. Because of the taboo, no paedophile will be open about his sexual preference. Most paedophiles do also have sexual feelings for adults, so they don’t “need” to exploit children.

    So, I don’t think paedohiles are a threat to society just because they have sexual feelings for children. You could just as well say that old unattractive heterosexual men are a threat to young attractive women, just because they may prefer to have sex with such women but would never be able to have consensual sex with them.

    The reverse is true, of course. If you look at people who rape children, then most of them are paedophiles. In countries were homosexuals are outlaws, it is often argued that they are boy rapists, just because most boys who are raped are raped by homosexual men.

    We should not treat people like this

  75. 76 Roberto
    August 15, 2008 at 03:10

    Re the small Iowa town in the news for the illegal immigrant round up.

    Again, Americans have helped to create a massive human smuggling operation, a scale of which has never existed in history. They have created 20 mil subclass noncitizens who are functionately illiterate and easily exploited. Americans won’t be debating the issue of rape of Mexican women or wages extorted, ect of these poor souls.

    I doubt many citizens of Iowa and the little town feel responsible, but they are if they have been voting for republicans or democrats. Everyone has knowingly allowed these things to occur.

    I don’t have a solution because the issue is complex and what little dialogue that exists is typically self serving and rife with hysteria and impossibities.

    I’d like to know if the situation exists in Canada? As far as I know it doesn’t, again, pointing the finger to American complicity.

    I do know is that the pols and the voters who put them in office continue to raise my taxes and degrade my part of the country with “progress” and you can bet yer boots that if a “solution” is ever agreed on, they’ll increase my taxes some more to pay for it.

  76. 77 Jennifer
    August 15, 2008 at 03:21

    @Robert

    Since you are located in the UK I would like to ask you a question about homosexuality if it’s ok…….Is it something that is discussed or not? Is it seen as offensive to talk about sexuality there?

    Thank you!

  77. 78 Bob in Queensland
    August 15, 2008 at 03:51

    Re: Immigration/Postville

    I also heard the story on the World Service this morning and commend listening to it as five minutes well spent. The thrust of the story (LINK HERE) is that Postville is a microcosm of the USA-wide problem. There is actually some useful and sensitive debate, with the town split on it’s attitudes to the illegal immigrants.

    If nothing else, it shows that there are no simple answers to the existing situation…only simplistic ones.

  78. 79 Dennis
    August 15, 2008 at 04:14

    Hi, everyone:

    Sorry for not being around! My computer is having problems ….Our internet provider is having troubles…..

    @ Lubna: How r u doing!

    @ Shirley and the others: I think it was a good idea…..

    Dennis :8

  79. 80 anonymous
    August 15, 2008 at 04:20

    Count Iblis (August 15, 2008 at 3:03 am)
    They used to send girls to institutions that resembled insane assylums meshed with finishing school. So sad. Folks should see “Boys Don’t Cry” with Hilary Swank. Not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. See the article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brandon_Teena too.

    Young girls often go through a phase of their lives where they have puppy crushes on some major male figure in their lives and want to marry him. If a young girl announced that she had a crush on a female figure instead and remained disinterested in boys as she entered adolescence, how could anyone try to claim that this was acquired and could be got rid of with conditioning and chemical treaments? If a young men is so uninclined towards women that the sight of a naked woman causes him physical distress, why should anyone force him towards what feels so unnatural to him?

  80. August 15, 2008 at 04:24

    @ Illegal immigrants

    The country is made up of laws and consequences. There are many laws I would like to not obey. Labor is a product. If somebody is allowed to offer their product for a cheaper rate then you are even legally aloud to, never mind that you couldn’t survive in a way you have grown accustomed to, that will drive the price of labor down across the region. The disappearing middle class is the root cause of most of our current economic woes.

    If we need to bring in labor, it must come through legal channels. there can be no further argument for it. Politicians are “hired” to be mechanics and guardians of “the system”. They are not to be social workers. The system is adversely affected with the addition of poor and uneducated citizens. Like a life raft that is rated for 20 people, holding 30 people, that 31st person might sink the whole raft. Here in the US we have seen the raft sitting pretty low in the water as it is.

  81. 82 Suresh
    August 15, 2008 at 04:33

    Talk about Pakistan – especially post-Musharraf. This is the worst nightmare come true i.e a bearded fundoo mullah succeeding the General, now with his finger on the nuclear trigger.

  82. 83 Bob in Queensland
    August 15, 2008 at 04:47

    @ Dwight in Cleveland

    Re: Illegal immigrants

    Most of what you say is true in theory but the problem is that America today has something like 20 million illegal immigrants in the country working. This means that the distortion of the labour market has already happened and there is no easy fix.

    So many industries are so dependent on the cheap labour provided by the illegal immigrants that a hard line on expulsions would have disasterous consequences for the American economy. On the other hand, a blanket amnesty would send entirely the wrong signals and probably encourage further illegal immigration.

    To paraphrase the punchline of a bad old Irish joke, “if you want to solve the illegal immigrant problem, I wouldn’t start from here”.

  83. August 15, 2008 at 04:49

    ~Roberto

    I agree with your trenchant post about illegal aliens in America.

    Personally, I think they are slaves of capitalism. Just like third world labors who are making all the stuff we buy at the malls and Walmarts; they are toiling away everyday, but getting paid a tenth of what it would cost to manufacture the same in the U.S. For over fifty years, America’s undocumented workers have done nine-tenths of the heavy lifting, plus cleaning up after.

  84. 85 Shirley
    August 15, 2008 at 05:01

    Eating Rats
    Julie, he cannot possibly be serious. I know people whose family had to do that during the Depression. It left emotional scars that were transferred to succeeding generations. What a ruthless idiot.

  85. 86 Bob in Queensland
    August 15, 2008 at 05:18

    Dunno about rats but guinea pigs taste a lot like chicken. Yum!

  86. 87 Virginia Davis
    August 15, 2008 at 05:38

    @homosexuality:

    My opinion is that gay people are born gay. And straight, straight. Around the fringes are people who make choices, including being bi-sexual.

    You will find, Lubna, that the diagnostic code for mental illnesses (at least the US)
    has removed homosexuality from being coded as a psychiatric illness – some 20 years ago.

    In the blog, the anecdote I liked best was the young boy who liked to dress in girls’ clothes, got psychiatric counseling in his teens, and at 18 became a happy homosexual.

    I describe myself as a latent bi-sexual. Was often pressured by gay women I knew to “come out.” However, made a decision not to.

    Virginia in Oregon

  87. 88 Shirley
    August 15, 2008 at 06:01

    Olympic Authenticity
    fromAFP: Children from China’s dominant Han population were used in a key part of the Olympics opening ceremony, not youngsters from all 56 ethnic groups as claimed, an official said in comment published Friday.

  88. 89 Shirley
    August 15, 2008 at 06:24

    Wiladat wa Mawt
    Birth and Death

    Another female suicide bomber. Another attack against Shia Muslims. Women were cooking dinner, men were praying, and children were playing nearby when the attacker struck. The pilgrims were marching to the Shiite holy city of Karbala, 50 miles south of Baghdad, to celebrate the birth of Mohammed al-Mahdi, the 12th Shiite imam, who disappeared in the ninth century.

  89. 90 parth guragain
    August 15, 2008 at 07:17

    prachanda as prime minister of NEPAL WHAT DOES IT MEans for insurgency movement going on around the world.should the insurgents talk with the government or they should fight on till their objectives are fulfilled.what is the best way to resolve the conflict.

  90. 91 Robert
    August 15, 2008 at 08:36

    @Jennifer

    It is not really thought about as offensive to discuss sex. If people choose not to discuss it, it will be more because sex is considered private (similar to discussions about salaries).

    Amongst the younger generations there isn’t really a problem with whatever sexual preferences you have. There are still a few older people to whom it is an issue but we now have protection in law to prevent discrimination of the grounds of sexuality.

    PS, I left the UK a few years ago. Now I live in Africa. It’s opened my eyes has to how open and accepting a society Britain and America really are and what a good thing that is.

  91. 92 Shirley
    August 15, 2008 at 09:00

    Robert, can you explain some of the differences bewteen Europe/America and Africa? Do those differences extend beyond sexual expression? In what ways do you see the West as doing it better?

  92. 93 Robert
    August 15, 2008 at 10:03

    Shirly

    Sorry for the short note, I’m in a break at the moment. The one that springs to mind is that in the US and UK authority and respect in general comes from ability and demonstrating that you can do the job.

    In Africa the authority still seems to depend on age and position within a family. The older members of the team are looked up to simply because of they are older, not because they are any better at doing the job.

    Secondly the US and UK will tolerate challenges from the younger people, it is seen as development and learning. Sometimes you win the argument sometimes you lose. Here the young don’t challenge the old, they just accept what they are told even if they know it to be wrong.

  93. 94 Jamily5
    August 15, 2008 at 10:16

    You guys are talking about alcohol like it is not harmful to the brain.
    Alcohol (admit it or not) inhibits certain neurotransmitters in the brain.
    Now, take a brain that is not fully developed, the consequences are worse.
    And, honestly, “great experience” or not,
    contributing to a minor is illegal for a reason.
    I have heard the logic:
    “I’d rather drink with them at home than have them drink out.”
    What parents in these situations don’t realize is that the child is probably doing both.
    If the child is going to disobey the “don’t drink,” rule,
    then they will disobey the “only drink at home,” rule.
    With the logic that I have read in earlier posts,
    I should allow my child a joint or two, as long as it is smoked in my presence.
    And, if I allow my child to get really high, just once, when they are young, they will know how to control it when they are older.
    Does that really make sense???
    The stats don’t back this up — at least not here in the USA.
    Hey, we could apply the same logic to tobacco, porn, and anything that might be potentially harmful either physically, psychologically, etc.

    Did you know that children who start drinking at an earlier age are more likely to be alcoholics later in life?

    when you look at other societies, you might find that in more permissive societies and cultures that they do not have an alcohol problem,
    But, neither does some of the more strict societies.
    If the cure was just “be more permissive about alcohol and take out the rules and taboo of drinking,” then countries like Iran (which are much more strict with their policies about alcohol) would have a monopoly on under-age drinking etc.

    If I knew how to paste links (no point&click instructions: I need the keyboard commands) I would post an article that talks about scientists who have found that certain parts of the brain are not completely formed until the person is 23-25. While we are at it, let’s increase the age that one can own a weapon.
    I agree, we should have the same age for both.

  94. 95 Jamily5
    August 15, 2008 at 10:19

    And, while we are talking about genetics:
    some say that alcoholism is more genetic than environment.
    So, your mom or dad has passed to you the “alcohol gene.”
    It is not that simple, some say that environment plays a role as well.
    But, it is interesting that alcoholism is now viewed as a genetic disease.

  95. 96 Jamily5
    August 15, 2008 at 10:35

    Lubna,
    homosexuality use to be in psyche books on the axis II. of the diagnostic manual.
    This meant that psychologists saw it as a personality disorder and yes, probably genetic.
    The fact that they saw it as a personality disorder means that they did not have a cure for such a disease.
    this is probably why your book is saying such things.
    I don’t know about Bagdad, but you might have a difficult time.
    I mean,
    A. how many people in Bagdad accept mental health professionals?
    B. How many would come to amental health prfessional if their son or daughter was homosexual?
    C. If they came, would they want you to “fix” them?
    D. Would they be open to “accepting the person – sexual orientation in all – and helping them live a productive life?

    Lubna, as part of your internship, do you have to do a rotation where you will work with a psychologist or psychiatrist for a time?
    If so, I would be intrested in knowing what they say about homosexuality.
    for that matter, throw in the treatment of alcoholics, as well.

  96. 97 Bryan
    August 15, 2008 at 10:55

    Robert August 14, 2008 at 9:12 pm,

    Great story about effective parental control. But there are PC-paralysed people on this blog and elsewhere who will throw up their hands in horror and tell you that you have suffered irreparable damage as a result of your parents’ actions and that they should have been charged with child abuse.

    Justin from Iowa August 14, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    “When you don’t live in a ghetto, saying ghetto is racist. Just as if you aren’t black, saying N____ is racist, and if you don’t live in Louisiana saying Inbred is racist…

    Get with the politically correct program man!!”

    Thanks for the laugh.

    Meg in Canada August 14, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    “While we are on the topic of homosexuality, do you think that homosexual couples should be allowed to have children?”

    How are they going to produce them?

    steve August 14, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    “….sorry if something accurate is disturbing to you, but the PC people really need to develop a backbone.”

    Agreed.

  97. 98 Bryan
    August 15, 2008 at 11:33

    Jamily5 August 15, 2008 at 10:16 am,

    I don’t know how to direct you towards keyboard posting of links, or even if it is possible for you to do it, but a good alternative is simply to give enough information to enable people to find the article through Googling. Often just the title of the article will be sufficient, but the title and the author will certainly be enough info.

  98. 99 Bob in Queensland
    August 15, 2008 at 12:07

    @ Jamily5

    ….except that neither of us who mentioned teaching their children responsible drinking said ANYTHING about getting them drunk. Both of us mentioned a small, watered-down glass of wine with a meal.

    As for “knowing” that my children were more likely to become alcoholics because I let them sip drinks when young, all I can say is that both have grown up well and both drink responsibly–not at all like the binge-drinking riots we see when young people encounter alcohol for the first time at age 21 with no knowledge.

    Like so many, your post makes the mistake of thinking all drinking is drinking to excess. For anyone responsible, this is not the case.

  99. 100 Bryan
    August 15, 2008 at 12:17

    Can someone please rescue my response to Jamily5 that’s been hanging since 11:33? Unless, of course there’s something wrong with it.

  100. 101 Melanie Chassen
    August 15, 2008 at 12:57

    @ Jamily5

    I think maybe there is more value to exposing your child to alcohol than maybe you realize. No one here has said they are repeatedly going to get their kid hammered. But if kids are determined to drink out of the house (as you agreed they probably will, regardless of house rules) parents are probably worried that they will have their first experience of drinking too much when they are surrounded by people that aren’t looking out for them. As Steve mentioned yesterday, when you go out to a bar to drink and you have too much, no one there is going to take care of you. Everyone has a first time where they drink too much and as a result do something stupid/are sick. Why not let a young person have that experience at home where they are in a controlled environment? Then they will be able to take care of themselves more when they are drinking out of the house. I should mention that when I say “child” I am talking about someone who is either at or just below the drinking age. When I was 18 (the drinking age in my province is 19) my older cousins said they wanted me to learn my limits before going to university. So we all got together one night and had some drinks. I didn’t last long, I got a little sick, and I was glad that I had learned my drinking limit before going off to a strange place with strange people around.

  101. 102 Melanie Chassen
    August 15, 2008 at 13:19

    Here’s a thought of how to rephrase the drinking question:

    Is there something to be said to exposing your child to alcohol in a controlled environment before they reach legal age? Will this reduce the “mystery” around alcohol? Or is this just asking for trouble?

  102. 103 steve
    August 15, 2008 at 13:29

    @ Melanie

    My dad would offer me a sip of his beer, I would wind up chugging the entire beer, and my dad was impressed. At synogogue on friday nights, they would have wine (horrible stuff, manischewitz) in little plastic shot glasses, and I would have a bunch, and get buzzed. So by the time I was 15, the novelty had worn out. My parents sent me to europe for 3 weeks at 16, where I really got the rest of my system, and didn’t even drink again (I had been in belgium, so the stuff we have in the US, especially in 1991) was quite horrible in comparison, so I didn’t drink or anything in high school, did well, got into a good university. There (and at other schools, though less so at mine, since it was a pretty serious school, not notable for being a party school) the kids whose parents had introduced them to alcohol knew how to handle it, and the ones who didn’t went all out crazy, and pretty much did horribly in school or failed out.

    As I said yesterday, and what you also noted, you can’t expect other people to be responsible. I personally have never seen a woman pass out at a bar before, but I hear about it in the UK. I’ve seen women get crazy and act stupid. In Kansas City I would see women brawling with each other in the streets. Though just because you don’t pass out doesn’t mean you are not volunerable. You can be conscious, but have blacked out. I’ve seen women basically carried out by their friends before. If a girl is with friends, and she’s that bad, I can’t imagine her friends allowing her to go home with some guy, if they allow that, they’re obviously not much of friends. But some of the commentary on here that I’ve been reading is “I should be able to do whatever I want” and that’s simply not an attitude you can or should have. There’s many things I would like to be able to do, but I know I shouldn’t do it. Responsibility is in your own hands, if you put responsibility on other people, you’re opening up the door to being taken advantage. Like it or not, women have to be MORE careful than men, that means drinking more responsibly. You can only rely on yourself, not on anyone else if you want to be the safest you can possibly be.

  103. 104 Meg in Canada
    August 15, 2008 at 13:39

    @ Steve,

    I agree. Anyone can say “it’s not fair” and that’s true – it’s not. But women do have to be more responsible than men. I don’t see anything wrong with parents exposing their children to alcohol at a young age like your parents did with you, especially if it teaches them to be responsible and look out for themselves. When I was underage, I was always the girl at the parties who held everyone else’s hair back while they puked…

  104. 105 Jonathan
    August 15, 2008 at 13:44

    @Lubna~

    Sounds like a very old textbook. Some years ago, the psychiatric community officially removed homosexuality from the “disorder” status. No serious, ethical professional now considers it a disorder. Conversions rarely succeed, and ethical professionals don’t attempt them. A “choice” to join a universally despised group is implausible. Recent findings of tiny differences in brains of gay vs. straight people; meaning not clear. That “androgen failure” theory is pretty thin and I’m sure long abandoned. Current consensus: Cause unknown, not inherently a disease/disorder, leave conversion to the charlatans. The primary health problem for homosexuals other than AIDS is assault and murder by heterosexuals. The locus of pathology is thus in the straight community, and the “cure” will be social rather than medical.

    Hope I’ve helped.

  105. 106 steve
    August 15, 2008 at 13:48

    What do the current books state about transsexuals? Do they consider that a mental illness or was that removed if it were in there? My particular issue with that is that it seems to be pretty clear that if you want to take drugs to make yourself become the gender you aren’t and have surgery to remove and replace your sexual organs, there’s something very wrong with you. But it seems in society, we actually enable this. There’s a whole acceptance movement, there are doctors that perform the surgery and give hormones to the people. But would you give a feather or laxatives or to an anorexic or bulemic? Why do we enable some mental problems but not others?

  106. 107 Meg in Canada
    August 15, 2008 at 13:53

    @ Steve,

    I’m curious. So you think a person being transsexual is a mental problem? What are your views on homosexuality or bisexuality?

  107. 108 steve
    August 15, 2008 at 13:58

    @ Meg

    I think 100% homosexuality is a mental problem, I am less convinced in bisexuals, and surely think that transsexuality is a mental problem. It’s not a character judgment at all, but there’s something wrong with them mentally. Do you not think there’s something wrong with someone mentally who has their penis removed?

    Do you think anorexia/bulemia is not a mental problem?

    Again political correctness is getting in the way of reason. Sure, can anything be done to cure homosexuality or transexuality? Probably not. In fact, we can’t cure many mental problems, the best we can do is treat them, but there really is no cure for many things. We cannot even cure the cold. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that” but at least we should call something what it is.

  108. 110 steve
    August 15, 2008 at 14:05

    I promise this is it, but one last article on alcohol. Apparently “beer goggles” are real, though I’ve never found this to be the case for me.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26205250/

  109. 111 Meg in Canada
    August 15, 2008 at 14:06

    @ Steve,

    I guess I make an important distinction between a mental “problem” and a disease. Bulimia and anorexia are what I would classify as diseases. I do not think homosexuality is a mental problem, nor do I think bisexuality is a mental problem. Nor are either of them diseases. I think the only reason that idea persists is because the majority of people are heterosexual. But does that make heterosexuals normal and homo/bisexuals abnormal? I guess I don’t really believe that there is such a thing as normal. It’s a simple as I grew up feeling sexually attracted to men, and my friend grew up feeling sexually attracted to women. I don’t think that means there is something wrong with her and something right with me. But that is my personal opinion, and you are definitely entitled to yours.:)

    Transsexuality I can’t really comment on, as I do not know anyone who is transsexual and have limited knowledge on the subject in general. I can’t imagine someone wanting to change genders, but I am extremely open minded and wouldn’t necessarily conclude that there is something mentally wrong with someone who does.

  110. 112 steve
    August 15, 2008 at 14:10

    @ Meg

    That’s what happens when one has subjective definitions of words. What does disease vs. problem mean to you?

    It’s a sign of mental problems (diseases) if you pluck out your eyebrows (i’m refering to yanking out clumps, not tweezing). If you talk to any shrink, they will say you have a mental problem. But if you want your penis remove and you want to take hormones to grow breasts, that’s normal and fine?

    Even biting finger nails is symptom of mental problems (ie anxiety)..

    Again, this is just coming down to politically correct labels.

    Also, doesn’t homosexuality produce a certain problem, especially if a homosexual wants children? They can’t do it without the help of science. It’s really no different than me wanting wings. I probably could have surgery to put wings on me, but it wouldn’t be normal or natural. A homosexual cannot have homosexual sex and produce offspring.

  111. 113 Meg in Canada
    August 15, 2008 at 14:14

    @ Steve

    Haha, I see your point. According to that analysis I have tons of problems – I pluck my eyebrows AND bite my nails. But there is nothing mentally wrong with me. How about this for a middle ground:

    We can label things as we like (and I DO see your point about PC labels getting in the way of calling things what they really are) as long as we don’t pass judgement on people who make those decisions. As long as we explain that these “labels” are merely descriptors but don’t necessarily denote a negative attitude/judgement/connotation about the person they describe.

  112. 114 Bob in Queensland
    August 15, 2008 at 14:19

    @ Meg and Steve

    I suspect the thing is to note the difference between “normal” and “natural”. I guess there would be little debate that the conditions Steve mentions aren’t “normal” even if the norm is just the majority–or maybe determined by the ability to reproduce.

    However, it is “natural” for a certain percentage of mammals to vary from the “norm”. This doesn’t mean homosexuality is a disease, or even a problem….just that it’s a natural variation from the accepted norm.

    Where there IS a difference from many of the things Steve mentions is that homesexuality is not in itself harmful or dangerous. This sets it apart from things like bullemia, anorexia….or the paedophilia mentioned earlier.

  113. 115 steve
    August 15, 2008 at 14:21

    @ Meg

    I had updated my post, so you might want to take another look at it. Anxiety actually is something wrong, but it’s not a character flaw. I completely agree with you, these are just labels and not judgments.

    Before I had lasik, I had horrible eyesight. Something was wrong with me, but it didn’t reflect on who I am. I bite my nails as well. I have some nasty anxiety at times, there’s something wrong, it’s a mental issue, which anxiety is, but it doesn’t reflect on my character.

    I flew to Denver once and was sitting near a transexual surgeon who was featured on a TV show about transexuals. I never spoke to him/her, but I recognized her from the TV show (she has an office in some place called Trinidad, CO). Used to be a guy, a doctor, had a wife and kids, decided to have a sex change, and went into the business of it. The weird thing is that he goes through a complete sex change and gets involved with a woman. That’s a bit bizarre to have a sex change to become a woman, and then enter a lesbian relationship. But according to the TV show, that’s pretty common.

  114. 116 steve
    August 15, 2008 at 14:24

    Oh one last point, with transsexuals, I don’t think there’s a character flaw, they aren’t bad people, but they DEFINETLY are very ill people. It’s a serious case of self loathing and not accepting one’s self. You don’t say someone with low or zero self esteem doesn’t have a problem. They do, and have a SERIOUS problem. But society enables transsexuals. We don’t do that for any other problem like anorexia or bulemia. There are people who hate the race they are, and have surgery to make themselves look another race, they bleach their skin. That’s a serious problem. When someone is a self esteem problem, we shouldn’t enable people, we need to get them to accept themselves for what they are. If you were born with a penis, and you aren’t a hermaphrodite, you are a male. You have to accept it. It’s no different than a person being born black wanting to be white. Would you tell that person to have plastic surgery and bleach their skin? Think michael jackson.

  115. 117 Jennifer
    August 15, 2008 at 14:29

    @Robert

    Thanks for your explanation! I think there will always be those instances where some will have issues with anyone who is perceived as different but it’s good that there are also societies out there that are accepting…

  116. 118 Meg in Canada
    August 15, 2008 at 14:33

    @ Steve, Bob

    Very good points. I think Bob said it perfectly when he wrote

    “Where there IS a difference from many of the things Steve mentions is that homesexuality is not in itself harmful or dangerous. This sets it apart from things like bullemia, anorexia….or the paedophilia mentioned earlier.”

    I think it’s very important, as Steve mentioned, to emphasize that just because a person has a problem, doesn’t mean that this is anyone passing a personal judgement on them, nor is it a reflection of who they are as a person (their character).

  117. 119 Bryan
    August 15, 2008 at 14:34

    Meg, I don’t think you have to be open-minded to the extent of doubting that heterosexuals are normal. Soon people will be apologising for being attracted to the opposite sex. They’ll walk around saying, “I don’t know how I became a heterosexual,” and wondering whether they should see someone about it.

    (With apologies to Jackie Mason.)

    On the South Africa Talking Point:

    “Are South Africans ready to re-intergrate with it’s refugee population? Has the government done enough to ensure this happens?”

    I’m not sure that there was ever successful integration in the first place so the question is probably based on a false premise. Tribal conflict is rife in Africa and these people are not only from a different tribe, but a different country.

    Once Apartheid had been overthrown, black illegals from elsewhere in Africa flooded into South Africa through its porous borders. This has contributed greatly to the horrendous crime problem. For example, last time I looked Nigerian illegals were in control of the drug trade in the inner suburbs of Johannesburg. Of course many of the immigrants are stable, hard-working people who contribute to the country while many native South Africans are of course criminals, so the situation is not that clear cut.

    As far as the South African government “doing enough” about the problem, or even doing anything about it, I think we are in for a rather long wait.

  118. 120 Meg in Canada
    August 15, 2008 at 14:39

    @ Bryan,

    I wasn’t doubting that heterosexuals are normal. I am just not sure I believe that there is a normal. Normal is only defined by what the majority of people do. As a result, it can be quite a fluid concept. As Bob said, there is a difference between “normal” and “natural”.

  119. 121 Bryan
    August 15, 2008 at 14:43

    I wouldn’t agree with the notion of homosexuality not being dangerous. Think STDs.

  120. 122 Meg in Canada
    August 15, 2008 at 14:46

    @ Bryan,

    Everyone can get STDs… by that argument, anyone of any sexual orientation is in danger.

  121. 123 Bryan
    August 15, 2008 at 14:49

    Meg in Canada August 15, 2008 at 2:39 pm,

    Well, I read you wrong then. Sorry.

  122. August 15, 2008 at 14:51

    @ Bob,

    The “we are dependant on them” is the same excuse Wal-Mart uses. The reason many people can’t afford to pay $1 for an apple is because many don’t make enough. If the labor was coming from inside the economic system the market prices will settle at a healthy price. Having labor forces act upon the economy from outside is kind of like having a leak in your tire that you fix by stopping every other day at the gas station. Eventually you accept that you must stop every other day instead of fixing it and you somehow don’t justify the cost of replacing the tire. Somehow you overlook that the $4 a week you are spending to keep your tire full is more costly then going out to get the tire fixed.

    I think i figured out once that 20 million is about 4.5% of the total population. It is also about the percentage of unemployment. I have an idea of where we could get people to fill the positions if they were vacated.

  123. 125 Roberto
    August 15, 2008 at 14:58

    Where there IS a difference from many of the things Steve mentions is that homesexuality is not in itself harmful or dangerous. This sets it apart from things like bullemia, anorexia….or the paedophilia mentioned earlier.
    ——————————————————————————————————-

    —— I don’t see any valid comparison to the above other than all are expressed through behaviors.

    Don’t claim to know the roots of the above, but in America it was the gay homosexual/bisexual community that spread the AIDS virus to the general population in the beginning. With an assist from the incompetent medical community which accepted blood donations with no screening. Gay men still represents the highest morbidity/mortality rates of disease in America with the possible exception of drug injection addicts.

    At any rate, engaging in criminal activities, driving a car, playing at high risk sports, working in a hazardous job, or being suicide bomber represent the most dangerous things a person can do, so it’s all relative I guess.

    Reported on NPR an African national from Canada found dead in an apartment in Denver close to where the Democratic Convention to be held. He died of cyanide poisoning and was in possesion of a pound of cyanide. Not established if he was engaged in terroristic activities, but playing with cyanide ain’t natural or healthy.

  124. August 15, 2008 at 15:02

    @ homosexuality

    I read through some of the post. I can’t help to think that I just don’t care what two other humans are doing. As a guy that is “none too pretty”, I have to take two things into consideration. The fact that a) women are a semi-finite resource and b) visually appealing and smart ones are even less in abundance. I know almost every gay guy that I have met is more attractive then myself. Therefore I am happy that i do not have to compete with them in the “smart and pretty” woman hunt. I really wish all men would become gay except for me. That would make my job a lot easier.

  125. 127 steve
    August 15, 2008 at 15:24

    @ Meg

    “Everyone can get STDs… by that argument, anyone of any sexual orientation is in danger.”

    While that’s very true, anyone can get STDs, the homosexual community has a much higher HIV infection rate than the heterosexual community. It’s just the simple physics of what, err, happens. If you don’t use condoms, which seems to be an issue in that community, odds are pretty bad.

  126. 128 Bob in Queensland
    August 15, 2008 at 15:26

    @ Dwight

    Re: Illegal aliens, I’m not saying the present situation is desirable or good. However, it has built up over a period of years and has so far distorted the American economic structure that there is no quick fix. If you eliminated the illegal 4.5% overnight, the existing unemployed wouldn’t/couldn’t step in instantly and replace them. There WOULD be labour shortages and prices of many staple food items in particular would rise sharply.

    This isn’t to say that steps shouldn’t be taken to regularise things…but it’s not a simple fix and it won’t be easy.

  127. 129 Bryan
    August 15, 2008 at 15:29

    Yes, Roberto and steve have said it for me.

  128. 130 Jonathan
    August 15, 2008 at 15:38

    So Steve, because you think transsexuals have low self-esteem, you think that society should ostracize them instead of accepting them? Is that to help them, or to make the rest of us feel better?

  129. 131 steve
    August 15, 2008 at 15:42

    @ Jonathan

    When did I say society should ostracize them? I said they should be treated for their problems rather than enabled. There is NO difference between a transexual and a bulemic. Do you give diet pills to an anorexic? Would you give laxatives to a bulemic? Would you give a bulemic a feather?

    Do you know what self esteem is? If so, how can you possible even suggest that transexuals do not have low self esteem? “Self-esteem is “how much a person likes, accepts, and respects himself overall as a person”.

    Because it’s not politically correct to say the truth? TRANSEXUALS HAVE INCREDIBLY LOW SELF ESTEEM. THEY DON’T ACCEPT WHO THEY ARE. Sorry if the truth hurts.

    We should no more “accept” them than we should accept bulemics sticking their fingers down their throats or people like Michael Jackson have multiple surgeries to make himself look white. Again, stop the political correctness, it causes SERIOUS harm to people.

  130. August 15, 2008 at 15:48

    @Steve

    I have treated many people with low and I mean low self-esteem none of them turned to cross dressing or were transexuals.

    Don’t you think that there could be more to it than just a personality issue, or a mental problem as you outlined earlier?

    Anxiety can be treated if it is a matter of perception, anxiety can be developed but it can also be an endemic problem due to brain chemistry. Homosexuality is not about faulty or over active recpetors in the brain and while some people may develop an interest in it, the overwhelming majority are born this way.

  131. 133 Jonathan
    August 15, 2008 at 15:50

    @Bob–

    Why isn’t the current situation desirable and good? We have the jobs, they want to work. It’s a perfect “win-win” situation, to use a cliche I loathe. The matter of what the immigration laws say at any given moment is of no interest; the law is supposed to serve us, not us to serve it. Immigration law changes all the time over our history, usually for unsavory, arbitrary reasons, racist ones actually. It gets tought, loose, tough again. One group or another is favored or barred, and then not. All quite irrelevant to anything except popular prejudice and political hacks who indulge it.

    The only difference between a “legal” immigrant and an “illegal” one is a matter of a year, a whim, or luck of the draw. Each arrives ready to work harder than we do, so we live better and they live better. If a law doesn’t make sense in real life, change the law, not the life.

  132. 134 steve
    August 15, 2008 at 15:52

    @ Andrew

    I take it that you are a psychiatrist or psychologist. Are you suggesting that its possible to not have a mental problem yet want to have your penis surgically removed and replaced with a vagina and take hormones so you can grow breasts and have your choice change?

    Are you suggesting that transsexuals don’t have low self esteem?

    Have you ever suggested to an anorexic diet pills she could take? But you would tell a person who wants to be female the names of doctors who would prescribe hormones?

  133. 135 Justin Hall
    August 15, 2008 at 15:54

    subject: US and Russia relations, and the Georgia conflict:

    There’s a very good reason why Russia is shrugging off the US’s demands for a solution in the Georgia conflict. That reason is Iraq. Russia is merely following our lead in some respects.
    President Bush needs to be aware that the rest of the world is not fooled over the US’s reasons in Iraq. The rest of the world isn’t as naive as the American people. President Bush is a hypocrite, and needs to be mindful of his administration’s actions, when chastizing the actions of Russia.

  134. 136 Jonathan
    August 15, 2008 at 15:58

    8/15/08 7:53 AM

    Oh, Steve, settle down.

    I didn’t “possible even suggest that transsexuals do not have low self esteem.” I do know what low self esteem means. I don’t prescribe diet pills, laxatives, or feathers to anyone.

    You said society shouldn’t “enable” transsexuals. By “enable” you mean accept, do you not? The opposite of accepting someone is ostracizing him/her. Q.E.D.

    (Feathers?)

  135. 137 steve
    August 15, 2008 at 16:05

    @ Jonathan

    Enable is a specific term used to describe when someone does something that allows a person with a problem to continue having the problem. Ie, if someone has a drug problem, if you gave them $100, you would be enabling their drug habit because they will use the money for drugs. Same with buying a beer for an alcoholic. The same goes with providing surgery and drugs to people who don’t accept the sex they were born as.

    There are websites out there where anorexics give each other tips for losing weight. That website enables anorexics.

  136. 138 jamily5
    August 15, 2008 at 16:29

    @Steve, Melanie and others:
    How do you know that the children who binge drink at college are experiencing their first alcoholic drink? Most likely, they are not. The likelihood that a child has actually waited until college is minimal. Most teens have experienced alcohol before the age of 18 or before they went to University. Many won’t tell that their parents gave them their first drink because it would be getting their parents into trouble. furthermore, I can find an equal amount of parents who have “wanted their children to experience their first drink at home under a controlled environment,” and the result is far from a healthy self-control of alcoholic beverages. I did not drink in High school and even when I went to Sweden, as a teen, where alcohol was readily available, I did not get drunk or partake. It was not because my family had introduced me to alcohol. It was because I knew about the effects of drinking and I did not need to get sloshed to know them. All of those small beers that accompanied my lunch packs were given to people who were allowed to drink at home and felt a surge of independence by being allowed to drink in public. I grI grew up in a boarding school type of environment most of the time. My sisters, who did not, benged lots. And, it was not because my parents did not let them have alcohol. My father was a believer in letting his children experience alcohol. My sisters would drink moderately around my parents, but benge around their friends. My father and my mother did Foster a “healthy drinking policy”
    So, it is a 50-50, at best that exposing your child to alcohol is actually helpful.
    And, since there are health and legal risks, I opt not to.
    1. Again, where does this philosoph end:
    2. What about a healthy use of marijuana, other substances?
    3. Again, alcohol effects the neurons in the brain.
    4. If, I as an adult want to drink, that is my choice. But, I don’t believe that children can and should make such decisions.
    But, I think that this is also in how I view alcohol. I don’t see it as a healthy choice. I have never had the “do as I say and not as I do,” policy.
    Maybe those children whom you have mentioned who get into trouble in college have parents who drink but forbid their children.
    Welcome to the dry house!

  137. 139 Jonathan
    August 15, 2008 at 16:31

    @Steve with the yellow avatar–

    Are you the same Steve as the one with the photo avatar and the hyperventilation? I’m well aware of what “enable” means. I’m also aware that you, or the excitable Steve, used the word because it implies pathology, but used it as a synonym for “accept,” which is not thus freighted and which is more revelatory of his/your real intentions.

    Nobody is demanding Steve’s indulgence, or that he “enable” them, so it’s not really “enabling” that he’s refusing because it wasn’t asked. They just want acceptance, as human beings, by their fellow human beings, and that’s what he would deny them, under the ironic pretext of concern for their self-esteem. They have their problems to deal with and ask for neither enabling nor torment. Would any of us trade places with someone so troubled? I don’t think a little compassion would pose a danger of “enabling” some unfortunate person to feel a little better for a short time.

  138. August 15, 2008 at 16:31

    @ Steve

    I take it that you are a psychiatrist or psychologist.

    Yep

    Are you suggesting that its possible to not have a mental problem yet want to have your penis surgically removed and replaced with a vagina and take hormones so you can grow breasts and have your choice change?

    Yep

    Are you suggesting that transsexuals don’t have low self esteem?

    Yep

    Have you ever suggested to an anorexic diet pills she could take?

    Nope

    But you would tell a person who wants to be female the names of doctors who would prescribe hormones?

    Nope

  139. 141 steve
    August 15, 2008 at 16:39

    @ Andrew

    Do me a favor, can you give me any other scenario where you would say it’s not a mental problem or self esteem problem if a person didn’t accept something about themselves? I’m sure you’ve heard of body dysmorphic disorder before..

    If someone didn’t accept they were short, what would you suggest as a course of treatment? For them to get to accept their head, or have leg lengthening surgery?

    If someone were balding and were obsessed about it, that it made their lives very hard to live, would you suggest that they do something to accept themselve for who they are, or would you suggest they get a hair transplant or take some hair regrowth drugs? So if a person who had body dismorphic and was losing their hair, and was absolutely obsessed with it, and it impacted their life greatly (like how gender confusion issues impact the lives of people who want a sex change) would you suggest this person doesn’t have low self esteem or a mental problem?

    How can you suggest that someone who wants a sex change doesn’t have a mental problem?

    Please give me an example of someone not accepting who they are (other than perhaps a cleft lip) and it not being some kind of self esteem/mental problem and them wanting to do something drastic to accomplish what they want.

  140. 142 Meg in Canada
    August 15, 2008 at 16:43

    @ Jamily5

    If, I as an adult want to drink, that is my choice. But, I don’t believe that children can and should make such decisions.

    Yes, but children DO make such decisions. I think a lot of parents worry about peer pressures, and a lot of kids succumb to them, regardless of how well they were brought up by their parents. But you’re right – a persons individual personality has a lot to do with how they are going to behave in terms of drinking responsibility. I never found there to be a hype around drinking, and frankly, don’t see the big deal around it. Maybe this is because it was never a taboo in my house, or maybe I’m just predisposed to not really care about it. I can’t answer that. I am not advocating that all parents introduce their children to alcohol, not at all.. but if your child has the right personality and is easily influenced, then maybe it’s not such a bad idea to show them what they’re getting into.

    Yes, alcohol does affect neurotransmitters in the brain. No one argues that. And in terms of the marijuana issue, many would argue that it’s on the same level as alcohol, except that alcohol is more socially accepted… but that is another argument. See the page for “should marijuana be legalized?”.

    In the end, it all comes down to making responsible choices. From the parenting side, understand your children well enough to know how to teach them to make good choices. Some methods work for some people and not others. After that, teh kid is on their own.

  141. 143 Jonathan
    August 15, 2008 at 16:52

    @Steve–

    Gosh, now losing hair is part of “who we are,” and we must accept it rather than treat it? Um, why? You seriously think it’s somehow immoral to treat baldness, and that a course of psychotherapy is the only proper approach, to “accept your inner baldness?” You are one tough demanding dude!

    And the same goes for other treatable conditions–what needs to be treated is the mind, to accept the disease, instead of curing it? OK. It’s pretty Old Testament, but OK.

    Why the generous exception for cleft palate though? Why do they get to get fixed up instead of having to accept themselves for who they are?

  142. 144 Donna
    August 15, 2008 at 16:54

    Hi All,

    I’ve been reading with interest your comments on the legal drinking age, i live in the UK where our drinking age is 18 yet we are known to have one of the worst drinking cultures in the world. The legal ages seems to make no difference over here and you regularly see children as young as 10 drinking on a street corner.
    I think that the legal age can sometimes be irrelevant, it all depends on the culture the children grow up in. (And of course the enforcement of the legal age!)

    Here in the UK we have a serious problem with binge drinking but in other european countries like Spain and France they dont have the same problems even though their legal age is the same as ours.
    Perhaps before we start looking at raising or lowering the legal age limit (as has also been discussed over here – raising it to 21) we need to look more at how the children are brought up, whether it is ok to teach them about alcohol and allow it in controlled settings? Or decide once and for all that anyone under the legal age shouldnt be allowed to drink and clamp down on anyone supplying them.
    Personally i am for the option of growing up with moderate amounts of alcohol, i did and now i am quite sensible when it comes to alcohol. I think that we need to educate parents and children so that they grow up understanding what alcohol is, its effects and also the risks.

    Then again, in the UK this doesnt seem likely as our current government seems to be going down the “tax it, then ban it” route!

  143. 145 steve
    August 15, 2008 at 16:57

    @ Jonathan

    It’s called making a comparison or an anology. I’m curious why we have one standard for transexuals and another standard for everything else other than obviously transexuality is a politically correct issue. Nobody has stated one reason why we treat that differently than other problems.

    My except for cleft palate was not only is a cleft palate abnormal looking, but it also leads to problems with teeth, with speech, and ear infections. Sorry, but wanting to be a woman when you are a man isn’t going to cause you physical harm.

    Again, would someone PLEASE give me a reason why we treat transsexuals differently other than it’s PC/trendy/topic of the day sort of thing?

    When will doctors prescribe diet pills to known anorexics?

  144. 146 Jonathan
    August 15, 2008 at 17:00

    Well, much as I enjoy putting time and energy into thoughtful comments only to watch them disappear like the first snow, I’m late for the center ring, “Darker Races, Threat or Menace?” or whatever it’s called. If anyone cares, and assuming this post survives, there’s lots of studies showing that children have much less trouble with alcohol, both as kids and when they grow up, in societies where wine and beer are integrated into daily life in moderation, rather than treated as a dark and dirty secret.

  145. 147 Meg in Canada
    August 15, 2008 at 17:02

    @ Donna re: drinking age

    I think you’ve touched on something very important here. I think everything depends on how drinking is related to the culture of the country. In Italy, for example, there is a huge number of vineyards, and it is considered a part of their culture. Italy is known around the world for good food and fine wine.

    Whereas in Canada, everyone drinks a few too many beer, to get all riled up and do something silly. It doesn’t have the distinction of class and elegance as it seems to have in Italy. But I also strongly agree that children need to be brought up to drink responsibly. That has to come from parents, schools, and law enforcement. I thin that if these three pillars can work together, the actual age where drinking is legal will become irrelevant, as most of the problems caused by binge drinking will be avoided.

  146. 148 Meg in Canada
    August 15, 2008 at 17:09

    @ Jonathan,

    Well said! 😀

  147. August 15, 2008 at 17:15

    @Steve

    Please give me an example of someone not accepting who they are and it not being some kind of self esteem/mental problem and them wanting to do something drastic to accomplish what they want.

    You might disagree but let me try this on for size.

    If a man becomes grey and he liked having his natural hair colour back and coloured it that doesn’t necessarily mean he has a self-esteem issue. Some cases yes but he just wants to have his hair a certain colour. Or if I want my hair to be blue, it’s not because I am demented but maybe I just want to see how it will look, maybe I want to shock and really annoy my mother, perhaps show society I don’t need to follow their rules on appearance.

    Thing is you are blending many issues into one on that last post and that clouds the main context. There are horses for courses. If you are born short you are short no two ways about it. But wanting to be taller might be a self-perception issue or it might be a practical issue because being abnormally short is difficult. If you are born a man who is attracted to men and want to be attractive to them, you might consider a sex change, there is that point to consider.

    Now I’m the least pc person I know, but you got to think what are people’s motivations for this. If it is about self-perception then I would hope that that person would not take such a drastic step because it would be obvious it is for the wrong reason. In this day and age one might not agree with what people do, but they do it none the less. If they end up making a mistake then it is on them.

  148. 150 steve
    August 15, 2008 at 17:22

    @ Andrew

    Though it’s possible given surgery, it probably is hard to undo the mistake of having a sex change operation. You’ll never be able to be returned to what you were born.

    Do you accept that someone like MIchael jackson had a mental problem to do what he did. How is that different from having a sex change?

    The coloring one’s hair. It could be a self esteem thing, or it could be someone justr tying to look their best. Then again, it could be self esteem. I fyou ever go to a drug store, you’ll see 50% of the store is dedicated to women looking younger than they actually are, so they can get attention or whatever it is that they want. You wouldn’t disagree with me that women in general have catastrophically low self esteem, right?

  149. 151 Meg in Canada
    August 15, 2008 at 17:29

    @ Steve

    There is a difference between wanting to look as best as you can, and experimenting with a different hair color and having low self esteem. Do I colour my hair because I have low self esteem? No. I do it because I like the way it looks. But I wouldn’t like myself any less if I didn’t colour it. Do I wear makeup on special occasions because I think I look ugly without it? Of course not. I wear it because I think it makes me look better with it. Someone wanting to look their best does not necessarily translate into a self esteem issue.

    But I think the self esteem issue you perceive women to have is coming from the media – issues about body image, the toothpick-thin models that we see, the airbrushed perfect bodies. But that is another issue all together, that brings up society’s perception of what beauty is.

  150. 152 steve
    August 15, 2008 at 17:33

    @ Jonathan

    Please stop the personal attacks.

  151. August 15, 2008 at 17:35

    @Steve

    Oh God yeah.. MJ is a total nutter. He doesn’t have self-esteem problems what is wrong with him is so far past that you’re looking at a whole new category there.

    As for the drug store example, yeah… those companies trade on the insecurities of women wanting to stay young and society’s conditioning of women into ‘having’ to stay young and therefore buy their product (which doesn’t work, but don’t tell anyone).

    You mentioned wanting to look good. That doesn’t automatically imply insecurity. When I go grey I would colour my hair cos I always had brown hair.

    “You wouldn’t disagree with me that women in general have catastrophically low self esteem, right?”

    At the risk of being flamed, yes you are right there.

  152. 154 jamily5
    August 15, 2008 at 18:09

    Steve has some valid points about transexuals.
    What do we say about women who can’t accept their age and submit themselves to numerous bouts of plastic surgery.
    Yes, we say that they are having a hard time accepting their age.
    And, Steve, I do want to tell you that before a person has a sex change, they do have lots of counseling by a psychiatrist. I don’t know what the psychiatrists are telling them.
    And I believe that it was christine Jorgonson, (well known transexual) was not happy with his/her sex change and went back to her/his original gender.

  153. 155 steve
    August 15, 2008 at 18:26

    @jamily5

    “And, Steve, I do want to tell you that before a person has a sex change, they do have lots of counseling by a psychiatrist. I don’t know what the psychiatrists are telling them.”

    All I know is that a shrink who recommended diet pills to an anorexic would have their medical license taken away. A doctor who didn’t object to it, the same result. So God know’s what these shrinks are doing. But in no other case, do we as a society, and specifically doctors enable mentally ill people such as in the case of transsexuals.

  154. 156 Syed Hasan Turab
    August 16, 2008 at 22:51

    Portlandmike,
    I notice your base less comments about Pakistan & Musharaff, you sound like a corrupt Indian by product.
    Fact is this Pakistan poured trillians of dollors in US economy by way of awarding him super power status, look at the US share market & investment’s over flow before sept 11.
    Fact is this US ungreatfullness & carelessness during Mr. Bill Clinton time lead US along with economy towards Sept 11 & downfall, though eronacley victom appears to us Mr.Bush which is incorrect.
    If US Govt follow the USSR post war Pakistani strategy & Pakistani Intellegance reports never face the tragedies & sad backs.
    As far as Mr. Musharaff’s efforts to pull out USA from dishonour & disgracefull situation may please be verified as Pakistan itself is a victom of Terrorisam as the issue been delayed too much & Mr. Clinton’s fundimental mistake may be considered proven desaster for USA & Pakistan.
    To fix the post war sitution & sept 11 Pakistani Govt spendings are way more then US aid, as Pakistan was & is front line fighter & Pakistani Economy is under serious pressure because of defence & intellegance expenditures.
    Pakistan Army is a great instution with a dignity, respect & trust among Pakistani community compairing to politician’s & there personal characters.
    No doubt Mr. Zardari is popular with the name of 10%.
    Mr. Shariff is a most popular man with a ” ALI BABA KING OF THE THIEFS CHARACTER” because of Pakistan Railways Scrap Metal steeling & payment of overtime to the poor workers in 25, to 50 pennies ratio during ITTAFAQ FOUNDRY time, because of steeling & misappropriences Pakistan People party Nationalise ITTAFAQ FOUNDRY & latter on been operated with the name of LEFO by Govt. To verify my statement Rahim Jan & Co (Chartered Accountants) investigation’s are part of Security & Exchage dept record.
    USA is in urgent need to buildup trust in relationship with true friends & Allies which will encourage political & Armed forces to correct US fundimental mistakes, no doubt without resolving root cause of the trouble peace may not be achieved & living under terror thred is not good for USA in any way.

  155. August 17, 2008 at 01:05

    ~Syed Hasan Turab
    ,U.S. Officials See Waste in Billions Sent to Pakistan

    Aid to Pakistan in Tribal Areas Raises Concerns

    Aid for Pakistan, Not Its Army

    Aid Effectiveness in Pakistan: Case Study of the Health and Population Sector (1950 – 1999)

    I believe Musharraf is a dictator… and, the Bush administration has supported him with billions of dollars. Dollars that have gone to support his meglomania, and aggrivated the danger for the whole world. He’s the only contact the Bush administration has there.

  156. 158 Syed Hasan Turab
    August 17, 2008 at 02:54

    Portlandmile,
    The websites you are recommanding are full with cookie threat, any way US Govt owe lot of money on a/c of war head, army disability, army supplies & beloved Private security along with NATO, as every one is makeing money beside US army & there families suffering’s, no doubt after physical injury a soldier is useless for Army.
    If US do unconditional financial & Militry support to Pakistan they can achieve the object better then US & NATO army, because they have technical know how of the region & Militry education & cost may be less then 1/8 of the prevailing spending.
    Neather downfall of USSR & nore war against terror object may be achieved by civilian’s Govt any way freedom of Justice & Press been introduced to the Pakistani Nation during Musharaf time.
    Why publically elected Govt accepted the Election results as the election’s been conducted by Musharaf, if he is a dictator he dont conduct the election & allow them to form a civilian’s Govt.
    As empeachment was not there election mandate this is why a reelction is requirement of time to empeach a institunal leader.
    By the way US billion dollors spending’s are 1% of economic achievement’s after USSR war & Pakistan deserve more then that being an stratigic partner.


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