By Luke Ford

Dennis Prager made fun of zero tolerance policies today. He noted the man in Delaware who made a joke about having pipe bombs in his carry on bag. This joke caused the airplane to make an emergency landing. Eight passengers out of the 109 total were injured as everyone rushed out of the plane.

EXCEPT, in this case, the man who made the joke took several pills and fell asleep. He could not be awakened. Then the plane made the emergency landing. The joker was fined $40K, and sentenced to six months in prison.

Prager thought it goofy that Oregon Health Services are giving out free death injections. The right to die is a right in Oregon, and the lethal injection for poor people is paid by the state government. (Assisted suicide)

Oregon is different says Prager, who has lectured there. There is a palpable sense of difference, of going their own way. P. thought California was the weirdo state, but now he thinks it is Oregon. A caller suggested that California's weirdos moved to Oregon. It is a very progressive state. Referendums and initiatives started there. Oregonians have a secular religion - egalitarianism.

"They have a strong value system. They are sincere. But that is irrelevant. I would rather they had a weak value system than have a strong value system… [which perpetuates evil]."

Sincere idealism is not positive says Prager. He quoted from Arthur Miller's play, Incident at Vichy, where a Jewish doctor needs to find a corrupt Nazi he can bribe. Good is not measured by the sincerity of the actor, but by the actions of the actor.

P. says this Oregon decision exemplifies the substitution of health for morality. Sex education classes are subsumed under health education classes.

P. says he loves Los Angeles. It is difficult to admit to an Easterner… Remember Woody Allen's line in Annie Hall: The only cultural advantage of living in Los Angeles is that you can make a right on a red light. The joke is that you can make a right on a red light through New York State, except in NYC. Which shows how insular are residents of NYC, says P.

At 1:40 PM, Prager discussed the front page of the LA Times on Saturday written by the medical writer. "Everything is health." Article said that if you want your marriage to last, do what your wife says. The longest lasting marriages boast men who give in to their wives. Psychologists found that men who failed to meet their wives demands, had no chance for a lasting marriage.

Prager says that guys he's talked to who've been married 20-50 years, say "I've learned to say, yes dear." I agree with that. Women intuit better. Every rule has exceptions. Women have a gift with the micro - about how families should run, what to do with the kids…etc… That is why mothers hear the baby's whimper while the man sleeps soundly, dreaming about the next Dodger game.

But just as women are more gifted with the micro, men are more gifted with the macro. For instance, voting. Men are usually better informed about national and international issues.

Prager advises that one should listen to one's wife about a relationship, and listen to the husband on how to vote.


Los Angeles Times Saturday February 21, 1998

If you want your marriage to last a long time, the newest advice from psychologists is quite simple: Be willing to do what your wife says.

A widely recommended form of marital relationship advice has been active listening, in which one partner paraphrases the other partner's concerns--"So what I hear you saying is . . ." But that is unnatural and requires too much of people who are in the midst of emotional conflict, said psychologist John Gottman of the University of Washington. "Asking that of couples is like requiring emotional gymnastics," he said.

Gottman and his colleagues studied 130 newlywed couples for six years in an effort to find ways to predict marital success and failure.

Couples who used techniques such as active listening were no more likely to stay together than couples who did not, they report today in the Journal of Marriage and the Family, published by the National Council on Family Relations.

"We need to convey how shocked and surprised we were by these results for the active listening model," the team admitted in the article. In fact, Gottman and his colleagues have long recommended active listening to couples seeking counseling and had expected that its use would be a predictor of success in marriages.

That it was not, he said, suggests that its widespread use in marital counseling--a field already beset by sharp philosophical divisions--should be abandoned.

The marriages that did work well all had one thing in common--the husband was willing to give in to the wife.

"We found that only those newlywed men who are accepting of influence from their wives are ending up in happy, stable marriages," Gottman said. The autocrats who failed to listen to their wives' complaints, greeting them with stonewalling, contempt and belligerence, were doomed from the beginning, they found.

In the researchers' observations of couples, they found little evidence of women failing to listen to their husbands. But the study did not let wives completely off the hook. Women who couched their complaints in a gentle, soothing, perhaps even humorous approach to the husband were more likely to have happy marriages than those who were more belligerent.

Dennis Prager: Wouldn't it be nice to believe that men and women are essentially the same? We just listen to each other and compromise like a democracy? Real life doesn't work that way. One reason that Prager believes the study is that he senses the people who commissioned it were unhappy with the results.

A Steve phoned to say that he and his wife had opposite roles: He listened more carefully to his kids and she, a Political Science major, knew more about politics.

And how is your marriage, asked Prager?

"Its ok… We have our problems."

A woman asked why do we need this study? P. said that the well educated have abandoned common sense. They depend on studies. For instance, when he articulates that kids need a mother and a father, he often gets calls asking for studies to prove Prager's point.

Prager talked about the PBS series on Reagen. He said that the educated class ridiculed the US President from 1980-88. Reagen had two simple ideas: Communism is evil and high taxes kill economies. Then he left it up to the experts to implement these beliefs. Mr Carter and Mr Clinton know lots of details. They lack vision.

Prager compared a man listening to his wife to the President listening to his head of the Department of Agriculture. Listening to those who know, is empowering.

A caller said that men listening to wives may be more of a sign of a good marriage, a symptom, than a cause.

P. says no published study will argue that there are areas of life where men are wiser than women. It's not PC. P. says if nearly all men listening to their wives about relationships, we would have a happier society. And if most women listened to their men about politics, we would have a better society.

Prager says that he spends most of his professional life stating the obvious, which is why he is controversial.

P. says that the years he worked with his wife Fran, 1989-92, were very happy. Their lives changed with the arrival of Aaron in 1992. If you love being around your spouse, why would you not want to work together, said Prager.

Women phoned in to boast about how they had trained their men. One woman related how she persuaded her husband to get a dog.

P says his brother Kenny did not want a dog but finally relented. And now Kenny, a thoughtful melancholy lung specialist at Columbia who now lives in New Jersey, loves his dog. All of Prager's family is Orthodox except Dennis, who does not belong to one denomination in Judaism.

Chris Donald wrote on the Prager List:

In a message dated 2/26/98 11:06:51 PM, Luke wrote:

>Yes, if I had God's power, I think that I could've done a helluva better job than God did. I would not have created the human being with such a strong desire to inflict hurt on the >innocent.

Interesting position, from a man who said he relates to God primarily through fear....

>And if I had written the Torah, the Pentateuch, I would've spent far more time discussing >ethics and less time describing how to sacrifice turtle doves.

If you had written the Torah...as many people would have read it as will read your pornograghy history 4,000 years from now.....

Have a good Shabbat. Pray hard.

In a message dated 2/27/98 10:21:22 AM, Luke wrote:

>I'd say the leading moral struggles I face come from my work as a journalist- >how much to delve into people's private lives and how much to reveal painful >though truthful information.

........I am loosing the battle on an hour by hour basis...but I DO struggle.

>I also have to watch my mouth. I am always tempted to release one-liners that>I and a few others find very funny, but many other people don't know how to>deal with.

You see, it is THEY that have the problem, not me. My inability to control my mouth and my daily behavior is often universally repugnant to random people I come into contact with... and yet I am convinced it is THEY (and not I) that have the problem and should make the effort to adjust. I am fine, and I will continue unabated and unflapped.

"March ON, I say. Damn the Torpedoes! Full steam ahead!" Fuck everyone else. Hurray for me!

>"You'll never be like him," she told me. "Dennis loves people. You hate them."

This is also, I suspect, somehow the fault of others....

My moral struggle is- when is it morally justifiable to fight spit with spit?

And when is the target too unstable to make it safe to do so?