Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Tim Tebow Super Bowl Ad Controversy

Women’s groups urge CBS to cancel the “Tebow Family Ad,” yet CBS and Tim Tebow stand firm: NFL takes no issue with CBS decision.

Next weekend millions of viewers will tune into Super Bowl XLIV featuring the New Orleans Saints versus the Indianapolis Colts. The Super Bowl is a huge event featuring our football champions and over the years it has become the place where the most unique, expensive, and much anticipated commercials are launched. TV Super Bowl ads have become such a phenomenon that sales for 30-second commercial slots sell for $2.5 million to $3 million, and each year it reaches an estimate of over 100 million viewers. These Super Bowl commercials have taken on a life their own by becoming themselves a competition, with ratings, winners and losers including the best of 2009 and my favorite, the "Budweiser: Horse in Training Ad."

However, with popularity comes controversy, and TV Super Bowl ads are no different. Last year, PETA was under fire for their "sexual" commercial promoting vegetarianism, NBC deemed it too explicit for the Super Bowl and it was banned. The reason: the "PETA spot submitted to Advertising Standards depicts a level of sexuality exceeding our standards," stated Victoria Morgan, NBC advertising spokesperson. Over the years other TV Super Bowl ads that were considered too “racy for the masses" have been banned. This year, women’s groups are riled up over an ad scheduled to air before and during the CBS broadcast of the 44th Super Bowl game, celebrating the story about the 2007 Heisman Trophy-winning American football quarterback for the Florida Gators, Tim Tebow.

So, why are "women's groups" creating such a fuss over the Tebow ad? Tebow is a talented, successful football player: he's young and hot "to boot." But wait, Tebow is a Christian whose mother suffered a life-threatening infection while she was pregnant. Doctors expected a "stillbirth and recommended an abortion to protect her life." But Pam Tebow, despite the odds, chose life for her son. Focus on the Family, a conservative Christian ministry, of which the 30-second spot will feature college football star Tim Tebow and his mother, Pam, purchased the ad. They will share a personal story centered on the theme of "Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life."

In spite of the fact that no one has seen the "Tebow Family Ad," women are crying foul before the game even begins, calling it an anti-abortion promotion. According to Reuters, the Women's Media Center and over 30 other liberal and women's advocacy groups sent a letter to CBS urging them to "cancel the ad" and "refuse" Focus on the Family or any other advertisement promoting their agenda. Jehmu Greene, the president of the Women's Media Center, told Reuters, "We are calling on CBS to stick to their policy of not airing controversial advocacy ads... and this is clearly a controversial ad."

This past week, in an interview with Bill O'Reilly on Fox News, Greene was questioned about her "beef" with the Tebow Family Ad and she responded by claiming the ad was an "attempt to undermine a woman's right to make decisions about her reproductive decisions" and that the ad would somehow "take away a women's right to choose."

Apparently CBS has reversed their stance on airing "advocacy" commercials during the Super Bowl, providing they are "responsibly produced," and an NFL spokesman weighed in: "CBS standards and practices department approved the content of the ad as appropriate for the audience. We take no issue with CBS' decision." Focus on the Family's Gary Schneeberger has come out stating, "There's nothing political and controversial about it. [...] When the day arrives, and you sit down to watch the game on TV, those who oppose it will be quite surprised at what the ad is all about."

Still sports enthusiasts and columnists like's Gregg Doyel, are uncomfortable with the Tebow Family Ad because it interferes with what Doyel calls "the holiest day of the year." What is quite interesting is that our society is okay with sexually charged commercials like the Carl's Jr. Paris Hilton ad. And when commercials include the constant pimping of pharmaceutical drugs like Viagra, we don't protest. We don’t even cringe at the fact that fast food commercials continually sell us poor health and obesity, of which most Americans turn a blind eye to what PETA does prove: widespread animal cruelty in our food industry (a heartbreaking and angering reality). Although TV Super Bowl ads adhere to a higher standard, they do promote a lot of beer, so it is refreshing that CBS will air a wholesome, positive advertisement and women's groups can then take their "pom poms" somewhere else.

Early on when Tim Tebow met with reporters last Sunday in Mobile, Alabama before beginning preparations for the Senior Bowl, he made an effort to tackle the controversy by standing up for what he believes. Then with admiration and gratitude he pointed out, "My mom is a very courageous woman..."

By many people's standards, Pam Tebow is a role model and the Tebow Family Ad just might go all the way to the end zone, scoring a touchdown on February 7, 2009, uplifting hearts and minds, marking it a victory for free speech and dare I say, us pro-lifers –– possibly catapulting it to my new favorite TV Super Bowl ad!

My First BlogCritics Sports Article
The Tim Tebow Super Bowl Ad Controversy
Author: Christine Lakatos — Published: Jan 29, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dems Like Howard Dean Just Don’t Get It

Why are the people of America angry and frustrated?

The aftermath of Scott Brown’s historical win last week, when he was voted to fill "The People’s Seat" in Massachusetts, is quite fascinating. Pundits and politicians have been scrambling and speculating about why a predominately liberal state would elect a Republican to the Senate. Those on the right are taking a victory lap and may be seeking advice from Brown, while a handful of Democrats are doing some soul searching. Senator Evan Bayh sees it as a wake-up call and Senator Joe Lieberman urges the Democratic party to move more toward the center. Then there is Governor Howard Dean.

As the news broke over this election, Rachel Maddow interviewed Dean. His analysis included blaming Bush for the Democrat's loss and, a few breaths later, affirming, "People who blame others are losers." In an awkward and spirited exchange between, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and Dean over Brown's victory and the future of the Democrats' health care reform bill, Dean came up with some interesting conclusions. "Yesterday, the problem was that people wanted more," stated Dean. Matthews pointed out the differences between the two candidates: Martha Coakley, who is very progressive and in favor of a public option versus Brown, who said that he would "kill the bill." Asked Matthews, "Why didn't they vote for the candidate for the public option?" Dean's response? "They want real change"!

Let me see if I have this straight. In essence, what Dean is saying is that the Independents and Democrats who voted for Brown wanted the public option in the health care bill, so they voted for the candidate who campaigned as "Mr. Forty-One; the vote to filibuster." Were the voters sending smoke signals or is Brown secretly a progressive, masquerading as a conservative?

While Dean continues his delusional interpretation of the Massachusetts Senate election outcome, many have turned to second-guessing the mood of the country, including President Obama. Why are the people "angry" and "frustrated?"

Let's take a look at what transpired during the past year: bank bailouts, the GM takeover, and the passing of the February 2009 $787 billion stimulus package, which was marketed with the assurance of economic recovery and the creation of jobs, yet our economy is still in the dumps and unemployment has risen to 10%. Okay, so Obama inherited an economic mess, but what about tone and direction?

Elitism and Arrogance

The elitist mentality of the White House staff and amongst the Democrats is palpable; they think that their skills, abilities or wisdom render them fit to govern, without full consideration of what the people want, their arrogance has been demonstrated time and time again. All criticism has been met with attempts to dismiss, discredit, and demonize, and an entire news network was rebuked. Democrats and the left-wing media have talked down to the people, labeling us with everything from stupid to angry mobs and Astroturf, from un-American to racists, and our own president has mocked us.

Broken Political Promises

Every political campaign comes with promises of a better, cleaner, and more noble government, with the declaration that they will represent "the will of the people." Obama arrived on the political stage with his speeches about "hope and change," and most likely, good intentions. He was clear and confident that he was going to be the one to usher in bipartisanship and government transparency –– a message that resonated with the majority of American voters.

Candidate Obama promised to veto any bill with earmarks, yet the amount of pork in the bills passed by Congress last year would give the healthiest American athlete an immediate heart attack. The Democrats' widely unpopular and massive health care bill is a key example of how a multitude of promises were broken. Starting with the fact that Republicans were shut out of the process and despite C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb's letters to leaders in Congress, urging them to open up the last leg of health care reform negotiations to the public––access thus far has been denied and the people left in the dark.

The most angering aspect is in the process: it reeks of corruption. What is transparent is that, instead of taking a bipartisan approach and listening to the American people, President Obama, Senator Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have chosen to deliberate behind closed doors, using bribes such as the $300 million "Louisiana Purchase," the "Cornhusker Kickback" ($45 billion for the first decade), and more. To add insult to injury, last week Obama made a back-room deal with the unions. According to The Washington Post, this deal "would exempt union members from a proposed surtax on expensive insurance plans (so-called Cadillac plans) until 2018, five years after the legislation would take effect." It seems that Obama's resolve to take on special-interest groups and their perverting influence on the entire legislative process only applies to the ones he is not connected to. Nevertheless, Governor Dean may be right from one perspective: the legislative process under this administration may be politics as usual, and Americans want real change –– we need more than health care reform, we need "sausage making reform."

Expansion of Government

President Obama came out fast and furiously, expanding his executive power by appointing a record number of "czars" and filling other key positions of influence in the White House with a coterie of radicals, socialists and socialist sympathizers.

I am not ready to echo Glenn Beck's accusations of conspiracy in this area. However, I will say that since Obama's agenda is a moving target and remains a mystery, it does lead many Americans to pause and wonder. What we do know is that this administration is comfortable with demonizing success, yet they want to use the rich to pay for all of their government programs and have been quoted as saying that "redistribution of wealth," is a good thing.

Out of Control Debt

When President George Bush took office, the national debt was $5.73 trillion. When he left, it was $10.7 trillion. That is a difference of $4.97 trillion in eight years. A year ago our national debt was $10.7 trillion and now it is at $12.3 trillion and rising. So what is driving Obama’s unprecedented massive deficits? The answer lies in analyzing the nonpartisan details.

Back in December, Congress raised the debt ceiling by $290 billion and this past week the Democrats opened a debate to push for the ceiling to be raised by $1.9 trillion, so they can borrow and spend more money.

Many Americans are disturbed and frightened by the fact that legislation like ObamaCare, cap-and-trade, and many others coming down the political pike are destined to raise taxes even for the middle class (broken promise), will expand all aspects of government, and jeopardize many of the freedoms we, the people enjoy today. It looks like hope and change is morphing into government control and debt.

Lawyers for Terrorists

With recent cases like the White House party crashers, the Fort Hood shootings, and the Christmas underwear bomber, it seems that we have an administration that has trouble keeping the White House secure and connecting the intelligence dots. What is frustrating to many Americans is their attitude toward terrorists and how they are handled. I am personally against any type of torture, including water boarding, because our respect for humanity is what separates us from the evil we are fighting. However, treating terrorists like common criminals and giving them a lawyer, doesn't make sense. Part of the rationalization floating around for this decision is "Bush did it." If Bush jumped off a building would they follow? Speaking of Bush, that brings me to my final point.

Blame Bush

The blame Bush game, which President Obama and the Democrats, with the support of the left-wing media, have used to escape or deflect culpability, has gone on long enough, tiring even non-Bush supporters. Did they get the memo that Bush is not the president anymore? Even a day after Brown won the Senate seat in Massachusetts and in an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, President Obama gave his assessment of the vote and the mood around the county, "People are angry and they're frustrated, not just because of what's happened in the last year or two years, but what's happened over the last eight years."

Why are the people angry and frustrated? Only time will reveal why and what it really means in the political arena, but for now it looks as if some just don’t get it. And as one voice of the people, an average American voting citizen, may I remind those at the White House and on Capital Hill that, "pride goeth before a fall."

Dems Like Howard Dean Just Don’t Get It
Opinion in Politics — by Christine Lakatos — on Jan 24, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

For Orphans in Haiti, Cut the Damn Red Tape Already

The “letter” vs. the “spirit” of the law; the Haitian orphan crisis deserves the latter.

Prior to the devastating 7.3 magnitude earthquake that devastated Haiti last Tuesday, according to the United Nations Children's Fund there were about 380,000 orphans, a number that is expected to grow in the wake of the quake. What is most maddening is many of these orphans were already in the process of being adopted, but the paperwork got “lost in the rubble” — putting this process in limbo and leaving the families involved in adopting Haitian children feeling helpless and distraught.

A few days ago, CNN's Gary Tuchman broke the story about two young American sisters from Pittsburgh, Jamie McMutrie, 30 and her sister Ali McMutrie, 21, who run the BRESMA orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. With the collapse of this orphanage and food, water, and other supplies running low, these two young girls continued their dedication to care for the children with the hopes of getting them out.

This story has a great ending because this morning a "mission" formulated by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), with the assistance of Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and others, succeeded in bringing 53 of the 150 BRESMA orphans back to the United States. Officials are saying, "The other children are being cared for by people from the countries where they are being adopted, such as France and Holland."

Yesterday, Jonathan Hunt, who is on the ground in Haiti, and Shepard Smith in the Fox News studios, brought another compelling Haitian orphanage story to the forefront. The "House of the God" orphanage, run by a Texas-based outreach organization, was in dire straits for aid and the Salvation Army and Red Cross responded. According to Hunt and others, the urgent need now is "to get these children out of Port-au-Prince.” Hunt also informed Smith that the Dutch government decided to “fly a plane there today and pick up 100 children to be adopted by Dutch families."

With much frustration, Hunt pointed out the "ridiculousness of the situation" occurring at the "House of the God" orphanage that he was positioned at, stating that the majority (120 of the 135) of the children "had already been legally adopted by American families.” Despite the fact that "For His Glory Outreach" had sent an airplane and it was sitting in the Dominican Republic, waiting for permission to pick up the children, the orphans still sit in Haiti. "The problem is the State Department; they will not act to allow these children to come into the United States now," Hunt said.

Sitting with the children, Hunt began to introduce Smith to the orphans by name and said, "these kids... are the very best of Haiti." "The families who have adopted [these orphans] in the United States are the very best of America and what is keeping the best of these two countries apart is the worst of America: bureaucratic red tape," Hunt stated with what seemed to be pure disgust.

The stories in Haiti move rapidly, making it difficult to track, and as I write this article, Hunt and Smith announced that Texas governor Rick Perry is lobbying heavily to move these orphans out of Haiti as soon as possible. It turns out Hunt was right, The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs chartered a plane to pick up about 100 children on Monday and from the same CNN report, “300 children have pending adoption cases with American families and six children arrived in Florida Sunday night and were met by their adoptive parents with hugs and tears of happiness.”

As many organizations and government officials are making efforts to protect and provide care for the Haitian orphans and are scrambling to move them to a safe and secure place, I can't help but share the same irritation and outrage Hunt displayed in his reporting. It is sad that the fate of these children lie in the hands of politicians. Furthermore, anyone with half a brain (actually heart) knows that there is a difference between the “letter of the law” and the “spirit of the law,” and this particular crisis calls for action. The Haitian government and any other country, including ours, need to get off their butts, cut the damn bureaucratic red tape, and let the "already adopted" children go home to their new families.

Since my mother died when I was three and my father abandoned me, the orphan issue in Haiti has pulled on my heartstrings. Due to the kindness of distant relatives, I was only an orphan for a short period of time and by no stretch of the imagination can I compare my childhood situation with what is going on with the Haitian orphans, yet, I can care. Because I am not in a position to adopt and will have to settle with my adopted pets, I can only hope that those who have it in their heart to adopt consider the Haitian orphans. Lastly, I can pray that when the reporters go home, the orphans in Haiti are not forgotten or forsaken — all the orphans around the world for that matter.

First on BlogCritics in Politics
For Orphans in Haiti, Cut the Damn Red Tape Already
Author: Christine Lakatos — Published: Jan 19, 2010 at 4:59 pm
National BroadSide

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti’s Catastrophic Earthquake: "Where’s God"?

When natural disasters cause so much death, destruction, and devastation; we ask why.

In the wake of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti on Tuesday, January 12th, and crushed most buildings in Port-au-Prince, including churches, hospitals and schools, and severely damaged the presidential palace, it's like time stood still and words cannot express what was about to come next.

Within 24 hours of this massive earthquake, I watched the human drama unfold. Knowing that immediately after this catastrophe struck thousands lie dead under the rubble, what is still most chilling is that there continue to be reports of people trapped beneath the collapsed structures crying for help. Where is the search and rescue; I keep asking?

Observing some of the live coverage by CNN's Anderson Cooper, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and other newscasters, who arrived in Haiti yesterday, their stories are chilling and the look on their faces haunting.

What about the children and helpless, the wounded and weary, the thirsty and hungry? Where are the medicine, doctors, water and food? I realize that there are tons of logistical problems in getting the Haitians the aid they desperately need, but where is it? The Red Cross, Salvation Army, and other charitable organizations have been part of the early responders and from what I know so far, rescuers from around the world poured into Haiti today. Many nations, including ours, are sending more resources to help the Haitian people and donations are pouring in. Help is on its way, but will it be soon enough?

Early reports have estimated more than 100,000 have perished in this devastation –– a number that could increase substantially –– and dead bodies lie in the streets. Observing the death, suffering, trauma, anguish, and chaos, I have rarely been able to contain my emotions and have wept bitterly. I struggle from within and keep asking, why? Why does this happen?

From my own personal faith, I have learned that trials and tribulations are used to build Christ-like character and over the years, have had my share of character building. Yet I've never understood the reasons behind calamities such as this one –– it just doesn’t make sense and it shakes the foundation of my faith.

Every time a natural disaster hits that causes so much death, destruction, and devastation, I stand dumbfounded and I always have that daunting question in my heart, why God? Now I ask, "where’s God in the midst of Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake and its aftermath"? And my answer is: "I don’t know." But I can only hope and pray that He arrives soon.

Author: Christine Lakatos — Published: Jan 14, 2010 at 8:00 pm
Haiti’s Catastrophic Earthquake: "Where’s God"?
Blog Critics Culture Section

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Governor Schwarzenegger Slams ObamaCare

California's governor sees the light and in his final address, speaks up against ObamaCare's “health care to nowhere.”

California Governor Schwarzenegger is one of only a few Republican officials to publicly come out in favor of ObamaCare. In October of 2009 he even submitted a statement of support.

Now, he's back...

Yesterday, Governor Schwarzenegger gave his final State of the State address in Sacramento and along with his famous accent and charm, mixed in with occasional humor, he had much to say about California issues, especially our economy and jobs.

Toward the middle of his address, he talked about the "special burden" we face as a border state. He identified the federal government’s role on immigration policy and border security and noted their lack of fairness in sharing the financial responsibility in dealing with "undocumented immigrants".

Schwarzenegger continued, “We no longer can ignore what is owed to us, or what we are forced to spend on federal mandates," and expressed his concern over the billions of dollars already owed, later adding, "And now Congress is about to pile billions more on to California with the new health care bill."

Schwarzenegger expanded further on the current health care legislation being proposed by the Democrats. "While I enthusiastically support health care reform, it is not reform to push more costs onto states that are already struggling while other states are getting sweetheart deals," said the Governor. "Health care reform, which started as a noble and needed legislation, has become a trough of bribes, deals and’ve heard of the bridge to nowhere; this is the health care to nowhere”, Schwarzenegger added.

Schwarzenegger advised California's congressional delegation to either vote against the bill, labeling it "a disaster for California" or to get in there and "fight for the same sweetheart deal that Senator Nelson of Nebraska got for the Cornhusker State". "He [Nelson] got the corn; we got the husk".

It's obvious to anyone paying close attention; Republicans do want health care reform. However, they and most Americans still oppose the current health care bills being proposed by President Obama and the Democrats. And Schwarzennegger, a Republican who once supported ObamaCare, has now publicly and firmly spoke out against it!

Back in the 90's, I ran into Arnold and Maria at Gold's Gym – –terrific people. I vividly remember Schwarzenegger giving me some sound bodybuilding advice, which had an impact on my bodybuilding and fitness career. As a citizen of the United States and a California resident, I wonder if the "2010 words" of Schwarzenegger will resonate with those in Congress or anyone else for that matter? Will they see the light as he did, and come to the conclusion that ObamaCare is “health care to nowhere”?

Thanks for your service to California, Arnold!

First on BlogCritics in Politics
Governor Schwarzenegger Slams ObamaCare
Author: Christine Lakatos — Published: Jan 07, 2010 at 10:46 pm

And on National Broadside