Sunday, October 22, 2006

Achromic on the Run: I am talking to your kids and so is everyone else

Fellow blogger, Achromic on the Run, wrote about her concern with kids unsupervised on the internet. While the internet can be an educational tool and a source of entertainment for children, dangers also lurk on the internet in the form of child predators and child exploitation.
This is one area where I actually agree with Achromic. In order to keep kids safe, it takes parents being involved/interested in what their chld is doing on the computer/internet, IN ADDITION to electronic filters and monitering programs. I can't emphasize enough that computers and filters can't replace parental invovlment in keeping kids safe on the internet.  Also, the parent/guardians need to be understand why and become interested in keeping their kids safe. In this  And Namaan made a good point in the comments at Achromic's blog, many parents I agree are intimidated by the challenge of trying to supervise internet access or just don't know where to start. You see, this is an issue our library (where I work) has been tackling. Recently our library sponsored a seminar, for parents and children in the community on internet safety based on the NetSmartz website.  The seminar took a multi-pronged approach 1) We had a speaker from the state police, whom gave statistics on missing and endangered children and the NCMEC website (awareness). 2)A detective specializing in child exploitation and internet safety concerns, gave information on the risks and how to be safer on various websites (i.e Myspace, Yahoo, Facebook, etc.) And he emphasized the importance of parents being involved and aware of what thier children are doing on the computer. (education) 3)A technical support specialist gave information on how to check a child's internet activities (via standard Windows features): history folder, internet cookies, and temporary internet files. But he also noted that many teens are quite savvy at computers and may know how to erase their tracks. So he also discussed parental controls, and various filtering and monitering software(which can be password protected), parents may also wish to utilitize. I think there's no one easy answer as to how to go about monitering a child on the computer, but rather we need to take a multi-demential approach.
Here's a couple more websites recommended at our library:

Also you can find a list of kid friendly sites at "The Librarian's Guide to Great Websites for Kids"

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Center of Contraversy - Stop My Abortion blog

This blog has in recent months become the center of attention and contraversy. Stop My Abortion is the blog of a rather cynical and crass 20 yrs old woman whom just found herself unexpectedly pregnant. The woman in question, is low income and works as a bartender. In her first post April 18, she said, "Either click on the paypal link on the side of this page and give what you can, or I'm going to get this fetus scraped and sucked out of me in six month's time." The premise behind the blog was that if pro-lifers really do care about and want to save all unwanted babies, then they should pay the money to care for such children and if the pro-lifers didn't come up with the prescribed amount (and showed themselves to be hypocrits), she was going to have a late-term abortion at six month gestation. And as another blogger pointed out, as if any unwillingness to provide financial assistance (read hypocrisy) on pro-lifers' part validates the need for Roe vs. Wade. Now to me, this blog seems to be a satiracle strike at pro-lifers, in addition, there are a few things wrong with it I see.
1) The author is posing the age-old pro-choice rhetorical question: "If you're against abortion, are you going to pay for the care of all all the unwanted children in the world?" S/he is merely trying to point out flaws in the pro-life argument with logical fallacies and stereotyping.
2) If you do donate money, there's no guarantee this story is real or that your hard money will go to a a true charity cause. Instead I'd donate to an established local charity, to be sure the money will be used as you intend, such as the United Way or American Red Cross. I don't think an individual's unwillingness to donate always reflects the state of political beliefs or charitability as much as worthwhile caution in donating to a cause we have no certainty is true.
3) That kind of attention-getting rubs me all the wrong way, whether serious or satire. Experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and making the decision to have an abortion is not a decision to be taken lightly, like going to the beauty salon. The abortion jokes lead me to conclusions about the maturity of (or complete lack there of) the one making such jokes.
4) If this story were true and not satire, there are better ways than online solicitation (which is questionable at best) to going about to getting support and assistance. There are a number of established non-political pro-life organizations which can provide pregnancy and parenting assistance or even just financial assistance and help with basic needs. There are over 4,000 woman helping centers (comprised of pregnancy resource centers, maternity housing, adoption agencies, social services agencies, and participating church parishes) in the U.S. and 36 other countries. On the other hand, when someone genuinely wants help and I am capable of offering such help, I do so. I've helped a number of pregnant, parenting, and post-abortion young women in finding/applying for help when they otherwise had nowhere to turn.
5) Even if she was able to raise the $40,000 from pro-lifers, I don't think that alone would be enough to change her perception of pro-lifers and her political stance. The damned if you do, damned if you don't mentality. If you're a pro-lifer and you donate to this so-called woman's cause, you're accused of spending your money on caring for fetuses and not caring about the needs of born children. If you don't donate, you're accused of being a hypocrit and not caring about the unborn or caring about the women who carry an unwanted pregnancy to term. Basically it's a no-win situation, I wouldn't waste your time in discussion there.
Well, October 19 came and she had not received all of the prescribed amount ($40,000) and so she supposidly had the late-term abortion, posting questionable images of the result of the abortion. The blog has received mixed reactions from both pro-choice and pro-lifers alike. Support from pro-choicers congradulating her on "showing the hypocricy of anti-choicers" and criticism from both sides. Now I don't agree with the slander she's received from pro-life individuals, regardless of the blog being satire, such behavior does not show good will on pro-lifers part.
Update: Jivin' J brings it to our attention that , "Help My Baby Live," a website with a very similar premise to the "Stop my Abortion" blog has appeared.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Welcome to the Sunset End of Life Center...How Do You Want to Die?

This is a satire of what may occur if end of life rights advocates got their way and physician-assistated suicide were to become legal, using a parody to Allegancy Reproductive Health Center's "How do you want your abortion?" and Debi Jackson's "The World As I Would Create It" as well as guidelines from an actual existing euthanasia group, "Final Exit Network"

Let's imagine a world where physcian assisted suicide is considered a private matter to be decided by the indvidual and their physician, along with their partner, family, and/or clergy if they so choose.
Welcome to the Sunset End of Life Center. My name is Jane and I'm here to assist and support you through your end of life journey. As you drive towards our center, you will probably noticed the enclosed and gated parking lot. I apologize for any inconvience this may cause. We provide this for you and your family's safety. As you enter the building, the first room you will come across is the waiting room. This is where you will check in with the secretary and a staff member will be right with you. On the first floor, are our patient service offices. First, you will meet with one of our Sunset Guides. Your individual needs and timetable will be evaluated and coordinated with your Sunset Guide who will interview you about your physical and spiritual preferences and provide you with information on all alternatives for care at the end of life, including all legal methods of self-deliverance that will produce a peaceful, quick, certain and painless termination of life. Full emotional support is available to you and those close to you, tailored to your needs.We have an on-staff pyschologist as part of our support staff. And for those who seek spiritual resoluation and comfort, we offer various spiritual services and also have an in-house chapel, which is also located on the first floor. You will also be encouraged to seek consultations with others such as your spiritual advisor, oncologist, and/or other medical specialists. The procedure itself will be preformed in either a shared medical suite or one of our private medical suites on the second floor. We will work with you to tailor your experience to your individual needs and desires. This may include involving your family, items of comfort, a relaxing enviroment, a spiritual ceremony, pain relief options, etc. And each medical suite contains a bed, a comfortable recliner, a couch, and a closet (for your personal belongings) and each medical suite looks out onto either our floral garden or our reflection pond. Your final resting place will be determined according to the prior arangements made by yourself and/or family members, whether you wish to be creamated on site or wish to be sent to a funeral home, place of worship, or private burial site.

Economy -- A basic "no frills" package is available for those individuals who don't need ambiance or additional support.  The procedure will be performed by an experienced and kind physician with your choice of pain relievers and sedatives. You will be roomed in a group medical suite with 3 other individuals, each bed partitioned and each individual's privacy respected. Yourself and other patients have chosen not to involve support persons and so the only persons in your medical suite will be be other patients and medical personel.

Spiritual Journey --The end of life journey is not just a physical experience but also a spiritual process. We offer a chaplaincy program and an in-house chapel. You can choose to  meet with one of our chaplains/spirit healers and guide a week in advance to plan the ritual journey that will meet your spiritual needs. Native American (Taino clan tradition), Eastern philosophy, nature-inspired (pagan), or custom designed ceremonies are available to you and to the support people who will accompany you on your spirit quest. Or, design your own rituals with the help of our experienced guides. The procedure will be performed by an experienced and kind physician in privacy with your choice of pain relievers and sedatives.

Full Emotional Support--The decision to end your life may well be the most difficult emotional decisions  an individual, couple, or family may face. Our experienced counselor will spend 2 hours with you and support person of your choice, and your appointment will be scheduled 2-7 days after that. The counselor will explore various issues, religious and spiritual concerns and offer grief coping skills to your loved ones. A choice of 3 self help books are included with additional suggestions for grief work and emotional aftercare for your loved ones. The procedure will be performed by an experienced and kind physician in privacy with your choice of pain relievers and sedatives.

The Family Package--This is an important decision in your life and of course you want your loved ones around you!! You can be accompanied through every phase of this process by the person(s) of your choosing. Counseling is available for all family members and includes training and suggestions for them to participate in your care prior to the procedure.

We thank you for choosing the Sunset End of Life Center and hope we can meet your family's needs now and for generations to come.