Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A quick look at the news from Cadaques, Spain...by Sybil Sage

I interrupt this news black-out to report that even in this remote, fishing village, there are rumors in the local cafe that the rulers in Myanmar have been asking Bush for the Mission Accomplished banner.

It's also being reported that the Phoenix Mars lander is confirming NASA's suspicion that there is ice beneath the dirt surface that has been repeatedly expanding and contracting, but perhaps most surprising was the camera picking up shots of Hillary Clinton, wearing an earth tone pantsuit, trying to garner support from older, white Martian women earning under $50,000 a year. Her husband can be heard to say that the Martian press is not being respectful to the candidate.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hasta la vista from las bicoastal broads, who are on vacation

As the Broads are leaving for vacation (returning June 10th), we'd like to thank you for your loyalty and have a virtual celebration to mark the one year anniversary of the blog - on June 2, 2008.

We have several suggestions as to how we can all join together for a Bicoastal Broads Day:

1) Pick your favorite postings - the Best of the Broads - print them out and take them to the nearest park, where you will read them aloud to women with strollers and drug dealers.

2) Think of this vacation time as Bicoastal Broads On Demand and scroll back through the last year, remembering when there were more than 243 days left of Bush/Cheney.

3) Donate to a charity (Bicoastalbroads.org - not yet established) but this can be our annual fund-raising drive.

4) E-mail us (sybilny@aol.com and jsadowsky@earthlink.net) to let us know how you feel about the blog. We've heard that commenting on the blog is difficult but this would be a way we can hear from our readers. This would be The Bicoastal Broads Listening Tour.

We will be in Spain and Portugal so...hasta la vista until June 10th.

hola amigos. it is i, the other half of of the broads. i, too, am off to spain but unlike sybil, i require nothing of you while i am gone but your prayers, to keep my plane in the air, and prehaps a few novenas in the hopes that the husband will be satisfied with the hotels, and that the restaurants, he has spent four months choosing, will not disappoint.

when we return it will be the beginning of the second year of the bi-coastal broads. we are planning all new surprises to keep our you, our loyal readers engaged. we are thinking of photos, clever cartoons and perhaps, for my part, upper and lower case letters.

until our return, may you all be well, be careful not to read anyone else and we will see you in june!

Drugs now have better names than ice cream...by Sybil Sage

It may be that all the major ice creams have already been named and there are fewer car models to occupy the people who come up with product names, which has clearly worked to the advantage of drug companies, now advertising medications with seductive names like Abilify and Wellbutrin, both of which sound like a direct route to ecstasy and euphoria.

Okay, so you can't operate heavy machinery, but that's a small price to pay. And you may experience drowsiness, So what? I'd also put up with dry mouth and whatever other side effects they list as possibilities. The only glitch is I'm not bipolar. The drugs for my conditions have unsexy names: Enbrel, lipitor and vesicare. The trade-off is they don't interfere with my driving a trailer.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Open letter to MoveOn.org

I received an e-mail from you telling me to, "Call John McCain and ask him to fire Charlie Black." Why would you think a presidential candidate I've never met and am not supporting would listen to me if I can't get my husband to pick up his gym clothes from the floor or persuade my son to wear sunscreen?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Political junkiness test...by Sybil Sage

How closely have you been keeping up on the campaign news? A test to measure how you stack up--

1. To demonstrate she's no elitist, Hillary:

A) Is publishing, "My favorite road kill recipes"
B) Bought an RV
C) Drunk Crown Royal
D) Is getting pant suits off the rack

2. Besides being Barack Obama's pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright was also:

A) On Fox's payroll
B) One of Bill Clinton's spiritual advisors
C) Condi Rice's trainer
D) In the bronco with O.J. Simpson

Who is being attacked as having referred to the U.S.A. as "mean" (conveniently taken out of context)?

A) A prisoner in Guantanamo
B) Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
C) John Stewart
D) Michelle Obama

4. By the year 2013:

A) John Edwards will have thinning hair
B) Mc Cain hopes we will be out of Iran
C) Chelsea Clinton will run for office
D) There will, according to Al Gore, be no polar bears

5. Meeting with enemies of the U.S.A.:

A) Jimmy Carter's strategy for accumulating mileage
B) According to John Mc Cain "naive"
C) A campaign stop for Barack Obama
D) Only advisable if it helps get us oil

6. Not being disclosed:

A) Bill Clinton's library records
B) Cindy Mc Cain's tax returns
C) Barack Obama's bedroom habits
D) What else has been covered up by the Bush administration under the heading of "national security"

7. Whose hair is colored?

A) Chris Matthews
B) Pat Buchanan
C) Anderson Cooper
D) Howard Fineman
E) Keith Olbermann

Answers: 1-C; 2-B; 3-D; 4-B; 5-B; 6-A,B,D 7-A,B,D

Friday, May 16, 2008

Involved vs. insane moms...by Sybil Sage

The MySpace mom, 49-year-old Lori Drew, has served as a tragic role model for her kid by creating an online account purporting to be a 16-year-old boy in order to communicate with and humiliate a teenage girl, first pretending to "romance" and later to "break up" with her, which resulted in the girl hanging herself.

This harkens back to the cheerleader mom, who'd hoped to promote her daughter's "sis-boom-bahing" by hiring a hit man to kill the mother of her kid's cheerleading rival, anticipating the girl would be too upset to do a cartwheel and would drop out of the competition.

Within the realm of normal, involved parenting is volunteering to serve as class mom, turning up for parent/teacher conferences, saying, "good job" and hiring tutors. These moms are insane. Psychiatrists and pharmacologists, take note: we are desperately in need of a new diagnosis (obsessed mom syndrome?) and effective meds. Hurry!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

"Bottled or tap?" Changes in eating out...by Sybil Sage

"Bottled or tap?" is the first thing we're asked in restaurants, a practice I find most irritating. The bottled water option seemed to coincide with the "paper or plastic" choice at the supermarket. Both questions force us to reveal our values to people we don't really know. Tap=cheap just as plastic=not ecologically aware. To be seen as people of valor requires ordering pricey bottled water (except in vegan restaurants that recognize transporting water is environmentally unfriendly) and producing our own reusable shopping bags.

Because of rising food costs and the weakened economy, restaurants are in trouble (except those with star chefs that can't give you a table the same year you call). Customers are eating out less frequently, ordering cheaper items and sharing. Restaurants are, therefore, reducing portion sizes, switching to cheaper ingredients, buying smaller plates. Ground chuck is the new kobe beef; liver is the new foie gras. Watered down drinks are the new drinks.

A restaurant that uses a professional menu designer will place its most profitable dish third on the list as that's proven to be the most frequently ordered item. My hunch is it'll be bottled water.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hillary: The Blue Collar Farewell Tour...by Sybil Sage

Ya gotta give it to Hillary for her tenacity. "The White House is won in the swing states, and I am winning the swing states," she announced after her predictable victory in West Virginia, pledging to persevere. Neither her smile, wave nor pant suits are showing the strain of this grueling and endless campaign. Energetic, upbeat and indefatigable, she could refill what she's lent to her campaign by doing commercials for the vitamins or power bars that are keeping her so pumped up.

Hillary, chugging beer and trying to sound like a high school drop-out, is providing fodder for late night comics at the price of her personal dignity. There is serious concern that her determination and fierce competitive drive will hurt her opponent, undermine the party and give this election to the Republicans.

It's being reported that even those closest to her won't dare say what she needs to hear: "Hillary, the country is just not that into you."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Covering all Bases When Raising Children...by Sybil Sage

In this age of political correctness, there's a child's book designed to help our youngsters feel that however unusual their circumstances, they're not unique or abnormal. If these books don't already exist, we'll soon come across:

When Daddy Becomes Mommy: new dress up clothes for me
How To Play With Your Chinese Little Sister
Daddy May Be Different When He Comes Back From Iraq

In a league of its own is a pad that was popular in Los Angeles when our son was young, "Tell a Maid Child Care, Spanish/English" (Cuidar De Los Ninos) so that parents and Spanish-speaking caregivers could communicate, with each filling in instructions such as:

Bathe, bane (name of child) before (antes de las ) time.

No les permita mirar la television esta noche (no TV tonight).

Employees would report back by filling in things such as:

(Name of child) se negaron a banarse to rat on a child who'd refused to take a bath.

Linda Wolf, author of this pad, needed help with English as she translated "Si hay algo que no comprende, pregunteme" to "If their is something that you don't understand, ask me."

How confident would a parent feel having a caretaker who didn't know enough English to say, "We're out of detergent?" How could that person handle a call to 911? By now it's conceivable there's a computerized phone that's replaced this primitive pad so you press 1 for English and 2 for Spanish.

Monday, May 12, 2008

nothing is forever...by judi sadowsky

today they raised the price of stamps to forty-one cents. it never fails. as soon as i get super organized, steel myself for a forty-five minute wait, in line, at the post office and purchase a roll of one hundred stamps, they raise the rates. then i am doomed to months of sticking that extra one cent stamp on every letter and bill i send out. but not this time. oh no! this time i have "forever" stamps. "forever" stamps are, well, forever. i can use them until they run out and i never have to add another penny of postage. but, alas, nothing is forever. as soon as i run out of them i will be forced to buy all new "forever" stamps, at a heftier rate.

i can't keep up with the price of milk, eggs or gasoline. how in the world am i going to keep track of stamps? my son, the computer genius (and our very own blog master) tells me that this is yet another reason to pay my bills on line. easy for him to say. i have less faith in my computer skills than i do in the post office's hollow promises of forever.

Myanmar letting in one American aid plane today...by Sybil Sage

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma (sounded too Jewish?) has finally agreed to admit the first U.S. airlift today, which is bringing 28,000 pounds of supplies to the seriously ravaged country, estimated to have as many as two million of its people victimized by last week's cyclone.

There is little good news related to this event, but we can be grateful that American Airlines is not bringing the aid as they have the worst on-time arrival record of any American airline and mishandle 7.34 bags per 1,000.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

m is for mother....by judi sadowsky

today is mother's day. my two darlings are dutifully coming over, giving up a sunday in bed with the new york times and assorted girlfriends, in order to schlep over here, gifts in hand, to pay homage to their mother and her stretch marks. i don't know anyone who is really comfortable with mother's day. as a concept it's probably not a bad idea - to set aside one day a year to recognize mothers - but in reality it never seems to work out as well as one would hope.

it would be nice to think that children let their mother's know that they are loved and appreciated every day of the year. unfortunately, that is not usually the case, so it has been left to hallmark to manufacture a day where not only mother's get to be adored, but greeting card companies, florists and candy manufacturers get to rake in the big bucks.

i remember a day, years ago, when my mother told me that she didn't believe in mother's day. it was a sham and we should just ignore it. i believed her. she didn't speak to me for a week. i am too insecure to ever tell my children to ignore mother's day, they just might do it. without mother's day i would never have had a suitcase full of popsicle stick trivets and macrame potholders, not to mention the forever keepsakes of tiny little hand prints set in clay. maybe it was, when the children were young, that the trivets and potholders were what really made us feel like mothers. today it will be enough that my grown children will come home and let me, for a few hours, mother them again.

With friends like this...by Sybil Sage

"How I Helped O.J. Get Away With Murder" by O.J. Simpson's former crony, Mike Gilbert, tells of Gilbert's role in Simpson's acquittal. He suggested how to bloat his hands so the bloody glove wouldn't fit. Gilbert claims that weeks after the trial, after smoking pot, taking a sleeping pill and drinking beer, Simpson revealed to him that he'd gone to Nicole's condo and committed the murders with the knife she'd had in her hand when she opened the door, which was never found.

Simpson's lawyer is denying the account and claiming that Gilbert is "a delusional drug addict who needs money," while Gilbert is equally critical of the attorney.


If convicted felons aren't allowed to profit by writing about their crimes, shouldn't that law apply to accomplices?

What happened that Gilbert, once loyal enough to protect a murderer, has had such a reversal?

How many talk shows will the author be on this week?

Can we all refrain from buying the book?

But, more important, would Gilbert know how I can squeeze into my size 4 jeans?

Friday, May 9, 2008

Demanding Divas...by Sybil Sage

Metallica won't perform unless bacon is available at every meal, so it's only fair that Cher's wigs get their own dressing room and Diana Krall be provided with a separate yoga room. Stars are shameless when making demands, as we see when reading their contracts on The Smoking Gun, a website that reveals almost everything except Cindy McCain's tax return.

It's critical to Van Halen that there be no brown M & M's backstage. Guns N' Roses needs dry fruit along with an assortment of adult magazines (something to keep both hands busy?) while police K-9 teams sweep all arenas before Barbra Streisand sings on stage. All items in Prince's dressing room are to be covered with plastic wrap to be uncovered by him. Queen Latifah stipulates that KFC is not considered dinner and that meals be African-American vegetarian or Jamaican seafood style. Never mind that she's performing at a charity concert, Jennifer Lopez insists that everything in the dressing room be white, including French candles costing $50 apiece. Gnarls Barkley gets a box of Magnum condoms, which are 15% larger than normal condoms, but that could be a reflection of his conceit or the genius of a press agent who realizes this information will be on public record.

From The Smoking Gun, you get a sense of which stars won't be rushing to stretch limo-less Myanmar to do a fund raiser.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

dr. scholl where are you?...by judi sadowsky

i know i live in los angeles and i know los angelenos can be crazy, but i must admit i never knew how crazy until yesterday. driving in beverly hills, i saw a line of about five hundred women weaving their way out the doors of barney's and down wilshire boulevard. all the women were wearing six inch heels and most of them seemed to be holding one or more shoe boxes in their arms. my curiosity got the best of me. i parked my car and got out - eager to solve the mystery of the high heeled masses.

it seems that the shoe designer, christian louboutin, he of the spiked heels and shiny red soles, was making a live, in store appearance, and was signing the soles of any and all his shoes brought before him. i had so many questions i didn't even know where to begin.

first of all, who were these women? most of them were young and obviously rich because the average price of these shoes hovers around $800. doesn't anybody work anymore? secondly, why would you want to have the soles of your shoes signed - by anyone? does the signing of these shoes, by the designer make them any more comfortable to wear? i think not. and lastly and most importantly, how could anyone, even young, rich women stand for hours in six inch stilettos, holding boxes of shoes in their arms? it looked like some weird reality show. whoever drops to the pavement first, unconscious, loses? the woman in the lowest heels gets voted off the line? is there a podiatrist on staff at barney's in case of emergency?

i keep reading that my generation, the baby boomers, drive our economy yet, when was the last time you saw a three block line of middle aged women waiting to get their mephisto's signed. i don't know if dr. scholl is still alive, but if he is, he should come out of hiding, grab a pen and climb on the band wagon.

Conservatives are happier than liberals...by Sybil Sage

A new NYU study shows that conservatives are happier than liberals, the explanation being that conservatives rationalize social and economic inequalities. Irrespective of marital status, income or church attendance, right wingers report greater satisfaction and well-being. Their ability to rationalize life's inequities as "not really that big a problem" affords them the luxury of indifference.

Sounds good. I'd be more upbeat if I weren't upset that the Myanmar government is creating obstacles for aid to reach those in need while people are hanging onto trees and floating around until they die. I'd surely be more lighthearted if instead of forgetting names of movies and people, I could forget about the genocide in Darfur, AIDS in Africa, that over 40,000 of our troops are ill-equipped to fight, that too many homeless are mentally disturbed and should be hospitalized, that we're in a pointless war, that Cambodian children can no longer get free rice breakfasts at schools, that women are being trafficked, that there's no reason to be optimistic about the situation in the Middle East, that too many Americans don't have health care and that we can't be sure we won't get another Bush as president.

But those of us who are blessed/cursed with Liberal Caring Syndrome will be looking for ways to get aid to Burma while mean Ann Coulter flips her hair around, untroubled by these disasters.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

What about the breast-fed baby vote? by Sybil Sage

"Thank you, West Virginia...thank you, Indiana", we heard, but what about, "Thank you, Mom?" A new study by a team of international researchers supports that breast-feeding appears to make children smarter. I breast-fed for a year, never cheating by mixing in baby formula, happily having opted for what they've now found is the winning formula.

I had no expectation that having my son attached to me for as many as eight hours a day would ultimately save money on an SAT tutor. I'd been told that breast-fed babies were likely to be healthier, motivation enough for me, though I was surprised to find that a nursing mother has less free time than the president of the United States. And that was before Bush!

This study is unique in that it was designed to eliminate differences that may exist between women who choose to breast feed and those who don't. To create random groups, half of the 14,000 mothers involved were encouraged to breast-feed while the rest were not. The message was effective, and at 6 months, 50% of the "encouraged moms" were still nursing versus 36% of others.

Previous studies have shown that mothers who favor breast-feeding or those who do it longer tend to be smarter and more invested in their babies. These researchers were trying to measure only the effects of breast-feeding. They concluded that it significantly raises the intelligence levels though it's not clear how. Funding for this project clearly did not come from formula or baby bottle manufacturers.

We woke this morning to hear how blue collar workers and older white women voted, but no exit polls reported on the breast-fed baby vote.

Wondering what's for Dinner Tonight? Get new twists on family favorites at AOL Food.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Who gets treated first during a pandemic? ...by Sybil Sage

Individual doctors are to be given specific guidelines drafted by an influential group of physicians as to how they should prioritize which patients to treat first in the event of a pandemic or health crisis.

Doctors will no longer be expected to make these critical decisions independently. Heading the "don't bother with" list are the very elderly, seriously hurt trauma victims, severely burned patients and those with dementia, essentially people at high risk of death and low odds of long-term survival. Just how simple is it during a pandemic to distinguish between dementia and disturbed?

I'm not convinced doctors will adhere to the rules. I don't see a Klingenstein, however hopeless the prognosis, being turned away at the Mt. Sinai pavilion with that name.

In Hollywood you can be sure an award-winning director will get the pain medication ahead of a stagehand, forget who's in worse shape.

In Massachusetts an extemely sick Kennedy will not be pushed aside in favor of a less sick, not-so much a Kennedy.

In Northern California vegans and environmentalists will be put on the good gurneys. I'm not clear how it would break down between Google and Microsoft people.

In Vermont they'll play "rock, scissors, paper, match" if forced to figure out whom to treat first: Ben or Jerry.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Should we expect a Nobu-Baghdad? ...by Sybil Sage

If the U.S. Military planners get their way, which has been known to occur, there will be a Marriott Hotel in Baghdad's Green Zone, home to key Iraqi government offices and the U.S. and British embassies, as there is a five-year, $5 billion vision of a modern shopping center to rival The Grove in L.A. Can Nobu-Baghdad and Starbucks be far behind? It's reported that a deal has been completed for Marriott International Inc. to build a hotel though nothing has been said about an Army/Navy store, whose selection of khaki and camouflage weekend wear seems appropriate.

Word from Baghdad is there is no sewer system, no working power system and no road repair work, making it sound alarmingly like New York. But despite that and the rising violence, developers are optimistic that Baghdad, like the former war zones of Sarajevo and Beirut, will be reshaped, and early investments will return a handsome profit. American officials say that land which went for $60 a square meter is now being sold for up to $1,000 a square meter, all while American real estate is tanking.

Last week, a Los Angeles-based company confirmed it's creating an amusement park on the outskirts of the Green Zone in the area encompassing the Baghdad Zoo with a skateboard park, scheduled to open this summer. It's not clear if the Iraqi government wants U.S. involvement in developing this area, and there's the added glitch of sorting out the true owners of property in the Green Zone.

Look for the name, Halliburton to emerge.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

His wife speaking of Josef Fritzl: "Everyone makes a mistake"...by Sybil Sage

"You can pick your friends, but you can't pick your relatives," might well have been the mantra of the sister-in-law of Josef Fritzl, the 73-year-old Austrian accused of imprisoning his daughter, Elisabeth, for 24 years in a soundproofed, windowless cellar and fathering seven children with her directly below the home he shared with his 68-year-old wife, Rosemarie.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Rosemarie's sister, asking to be identified only as "Christine R," called Joseph "a tyrant," who dominated and controlled. She described her sister as having been striving to hold together a troubled family, never suspecting what was going on, choosing to forgive him for this and other atrocities with the premise, "everyone makes a mistake." That takes turning the other cheek to a new level.

On Saturday the Oberoesterreichische Nachrichten Daily printed an excerpt of what is purportedly a 1967 court record in which a Josef F. was accused of raping a young nurse. Despite this, Christine R. said, "We were all taken in by him. Every person that looked in his eyes was fooled by him." Recent photos being shown on TV and a tape of him getting a massage on a Thai beach did nothing to inspire my trust.

Police report there is no evidence that Rosemarie was complicit in her husband's alleged atrocities, but this raises the issue of the responsibility of others who may have speculated about possible aberrant behavior. Christine R. explains, "If I was scared of him at a family party and I did not feel confident to say anything in any form that could possibly offend him, then you can imagine how it must have been for a woman that spent so many years with him."

Even if Rosemarie was in shock, which her sister maintains, was there no one who could speak up? If I'd been around, either as a family member, neighbor, local merchant or maybe just an aware Austrian, I like to think I'd have intervened. If I was unable to elicit the help of someone involved, I hope I would have gone to the authorities.

Many of us struggle with the distinction between what's being a buddinski vs. when it's appropriate to step in. This story clarifies that. The buddinski is someone who gives unsolicited advice about an unflattering skirt or how to deal with a rowdy child. But when there's reason to suspect abuse, taking serious measures becomes our responsibility.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Barbara Walters confesses to her affair. Who's next? ...by Sybil Sage

Every day someone else comes out or is discovered to have been having an illicit affair. This week it's Barbara Walters, promoting her memoir and telling Oprah about her involvement with the married U.S. Senator Edward Brooke.

Making no effort to go after this sort of information, I'm aware that San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom romanced the wife of his campaign manager, Rudy Giuliani was said to be messing with his communications director while married to Donna Hanover before hooking up with Judith Nathan, New York's new Governor David Patterson and his wife had both had affairs and that added a bit of irony to his replacing Governor Spitzer after his call girl scandal forced him to step down, New Jersey Governor Jim Mc Greevy fooled around on his wife with a male employee, Gary Hart was doing monkey business with Donna Rice, Gary Condit had been seeing Shandra Levy before she was killed, John Mc Cain is on record as having been unfaithful to his former wife, and both Newt Gingrich and Rep. Henry Hyde were involved in Bill Clinton's impeachment process though they'd also had affairs. And that's just what I know...and those are just the politicians.

Clinton explained his Monica Lewinsky mishap by saying, "Because I can." Many people can...and do. A conservative estimate is that 30-60% of all American married men are unfaithful, which means in some states more men cheat than vote. We can also assume more men cheat than do their share around the house.

When you include coverage about the personal indiscretions among sports figures and entertainment personalities, there's little space left for real news. I think we should follow the model of President's Weekend and combine all infidelity admissions to one day a year, which will free up our air time and unclutter the crawl space.

By making Infidelity Admissions Day a national holiday, kids who may be facing the instability of a marital break-up as a result of the disclosure will get a school holiday and postal workers, too, will be rewarded with a break. This new holiday should get the enthusiastic support of greeting card companies.

Friday, May 2, 2008

New Stereotyped Barbies to Conform more accurately? ...by Sybil Sage

Concerned about preserving Islamic culture, Iran's Prosecutor General is striving to control the importation of Western toys, including Barbie, objecting that her dress is not conservative enough. This may lead to more young kids in China being sold to sweatshops to sew tiny Burkas to cover Iranian Barbie. Look for Ken to be costumed in a tan jacket in the tradition of the president of Iran.

In addition to adapting Barbie to conform to Islamic standards, it may be that Mattel will introduce a new line of Stereotyped Barbies that will represent a wider range of women, such as:

Thai Barbie - young, petite, straight black hair in traditional dress, accompanied by a massage table, while Ken is a bloated, older Western guy with credit cards;

French Barbie - topless bathing suit, cigarette dangling from her mouth, comes with her own glass of red wine and a permanent scoff at sight of Americans;

Korean Barbie- straight dark hair, complete with professional manicure set;

Israeli Barbie - wig over her blonde hair, modest dress, opaque stockings, with six kids and a stroller;

Mormon Barbie - long, pastel prairie dress, mounds of hair piled atop head, face expressionless and dazed, comes with set of identical other wives she shares with one Ken;

Cambodian Barbie - malnourished, boxed with limbless Ken, but prosthetics are available for purchase;

Trafficked Barbie - represents many countries, provocative wardrobe, no passport, is confined to a brothel along with other unfortunate victims.

If this leaves you uneasy, instead of buying Barbie dolls, contribute to appropriate organizations!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

More reasons war is bad...by Sybil Sage

Susan LeFevre, aided by family members, escaped from a Michigan prison in 1976, where she'd been serving time on heroin charges. For 32 years she's lived under an assumed identity in a suburb of San Diego, raising three children with her husband, who was never aware of her past.

An anonymous call tipping off Michigan authorities led to her capture, and she's now back in jail pending extradition from California to Michigan on an escape warrant. She told The Associated Press that she was 19 when arrested, had gotten into drugs after graduating from a Catholic high school, despondent that her teenage sweetheart had been killed in the Vietnam War. To avoid the embarrassment of a court trial, her parents urged her to plead guilty, leading to her getting a much stiffer sentence than the probation she'd anticipated.

This week -- with more grim death statistics coming out of Iraq -- we should consider the collateral damage of war. It goes beyond the obvious loss and trauma suffered by those who serve, their families and loved ones. If her story is true, shouldn't this woman be entitled to clemency?

I came across an episode of "Dateline," the series that pounces on predators they've lured online to a home of someone they expect will be an underage girl only to be interrogated by Chris Hansen and a camera crew, after which they're arrested. There's much about the show that's disturbing, but there was an added discomfort when two young guys they'd caught on camera said they served in Iraq. It's not impossible that their military service played a role in their abhorrent behavior. If so, shouldn't they be entitled, if not to leniency, to the dignity of privacy?

The White House finally admitted the Mission Accomplished flag was a mistake, but there's much more about this war that's a mistake.