While posters about sex scandals take pride of place in this illustrated edition, you’ll find more here than just the sordid state of our nation.
The difference between Roy Moore’s situation and the Hollywood story, the unreliable accuser, and the WaPo’s manifest bias, means I currently believe Moore.
Sorry for the long silence, but it’s been an all family, all the time few days, interspersed with a quick-turnaround legal research project. I’ve been a bit insulated from the news, but have not missed the claim that Judge Roy Moore molested a 14-year-old in 1979. I find myself peculiarly unconvinced that he did something wrong.
The question is whether I’m being a hypocrite, because I was so ready to accept that the Hollywood types have done wrong, while I’m currently still willing to give Roy Moore the benefit of the doubt. Here’s my reasoning, so you can see what I think and tell me if there’s merit to my argument or if I’m lying to myself. First, here are the reasons I believe that some, although perhaps not all, of the allegations about Hollywood types are true:
1. Hollywood has had a reputation as a sinful fleshpot for 100 years.
2. We know with near certainty, based upon decades of memoirs, that the casting couch was a real thing.
3. We know from looking at the Hollywood product in the last couple of decades that Hollywood has no room for conventional middle-class morality.
4. In the case of Harvey Weinstein, he was caught on a wire admitting that he’d sexually assaulted a woman — only to have the case dropped when he donated a nice sum of money to the prosecutor’s campaign fund.
5. Hollywood circled the wagons around Roman Polanski, who had pleaded guilty to drugging and sodomizing a 13-year-old. [Read more…]
A post in which I opine about Hollywood sex scandals, pedophilia, dirty old men, and the many choices people make that enable truly bad behaviors.
Looking at the bloodletting that’s spreading from Hollywood, to the mainstream media, to Leftist hi-tech corporations (e.g., Amazon) led someone, and I can’t remember who it was, to note that the people who are being exposed as monsters who prey on women and children have spent decades aggressively pushing laws that disarm women and ensure that children can get easy, “no-fault” abortions without a parent’s knowledge or consent. I think that’s an exceptionally fine observation.
The news that Dan Schneider, a producer at Nickelodeon, is quite possibly a pedophile and quite definitely a pervert, doesn’t surprise me. (Follow this link for the full flavor of Schneider’s perverse conduct.) As I said when the Weinstein scandal first broke, the really dirty secret at the heart of Hollywood is pedophilia.
I learned about this abscess in Hollywood’s core more than 20 years ago when a guy I dated who had worked in Hollywood casually noted that the producer of a film we were seeing was a “known pedophile.” My friend knew this only as hearsay, but he considered it one of Hollywood’s open — and entirely unexceptional — secrets.
After puzzling about that memory for a few days, I suddenly remembered the producer’s name — but I’m not going to say it here. My knowledge is hearsay on hearsay, so anything I write would be slanderous. However, I’m going to keep a close eye out to see if this guy’s name pops up when the Hollywood pedophilia scandal finally breaks (as it inevitably will). What is certain is that this guy, whom I’ll call “R,” is a producer with a reputation for being horrible — really abusive to subordinates. The question will be whether this abuse extended all the way to the kind of pedophilia that Corey Feldman is trying to expose.
The last thing I want to say is that many of the women who put up with the Weinsteins and Schneiders and Halperins had choices. Please note that I say “many of the women.” Those women who were physically assaulted, with the man relying upon his greater strength to commit an act of violence had no choice. I’m also not talking about Sophie’s Choice kind of choices, or “starvation is the only other option” choices, or “do this or die” choices.
Instead, I’m talking about “I really want this role,” “I really want this story,” and “I really want to work in this town again” choices. I’m not trying to say those are easy choices. They’re horrible, unfair choices. Frankly, if you have to choose between losing your dream job versus living with the disgust of having watched your boss masturbate into a plant or the revulsion of having to massage his naked skin, both paths have pros and cons. And they’re still choices. At all times when these women were not being physically overwhelmed, they could have walked away and they could have talked. They chose not to.
The argument I expect in opposition to the above paragraph is that women have never had a choice. Men have always treated them like sexual objects and they’ve always had to put up with with, at worst, being physically assaulted and threatened or, at best, with being demeaned, mentally, physically, and emotionally — and that these suffered this way just to achieve life’s basic necessities: financial security, career success, safety from even more dangerous predators than the one walking around naked in their presence. [Read more…]
The Me Too meme on Facebook encourages a sense of victimhood in women, and is part of the way we deny biological reality and cultural anti-rape bulwarks.
If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too.’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.
As you’ve surely noticed, the meme jumbles together harassment and assault, which are entirely different things. Assault is a criminal act. It involves any unwanted physical touches on the person, from the butt grabbing Ben Affleck apparently enjoys, to the pussy-grabbing that President Trump noted rich guys get away with (without ever saying he’d done it himself), to out-and-out rape. Harassment, on the other hand, doesn’t involve physical contact. It involves mental contact, with the man using words or touch-free motions to impose his power or sexual desires on an unwilling female.
Just about every woman I know who routinely appears on Facebook has put up a “Me too” post. I suspect, though, that few of them have actually been raped, something for which I am grateful. One of the virtues of life in America is that women aren’t raped often, even on college campuses.
In addition to rape, of course, there are other sexualized (not sexy) touches that men visit on unwilling women. I once had a guy twerk on me on a crowded bus, years before twerking was a thing. Technically, this was probably an assault, but I simply ignored it. In my mind, it wasn’t a “guys are animals, I’ve been assaulted” moment. Instead, I took it as a “there are way too many crazy people wandering around San Francisco” thing and got on with my life.
From what I gather reading my female friends’ posts and comments, many of the “Me too” women had that type of interaction — unwanted touches that were fleeting, offensive, and part of life in a world with men — and characterize it as an “assault.”
What most seem to have experienced, though, is some form of non-physical sexual harassment. That’s the kind of contact between men and women that is purely a head game — the man doesn’t lay hands on a woman, but he speaks or behaves in a way that’s purely sexual and can range from scary to offensive to (yes) funny, depending on how pathetic their genitals are when the raincoat opens to how genuinely funny their dirty, or slightly risque, jokes in the workplace are. (Yes, I will laugh at a clever, and not too dirty, dirty joke.) [Read more…]
Talking to young college women about campus sexual assault means encountering either ignorance or hysteria — which bodes ill for both men and women.
I delivered one of my Little Bookworms (henceforth “LB”) to the Obscenely Expensive Liberal Arts College (“OELAC”) the LB attends. Frankly, I could see why LB is so happy there. The campus is beautiful, the historic dorm is charming, and LB has made some delightful, and quite well-mannered, friends. In other words, LB is enjoying the quintessential, all-American college experience. That is, if you ignore the obscene cost that LB’s major will never pay off and the hard-Left politics practiced in the classrooms. But otherwise . . . yeah, I get while LB likes it.
One of the reminders that OELAC is a hard-Left institution is the ubiquity of posters all over reminding the students about campus sexual assault. Wherever one looks, it’s rape . . . rape . . . RAPE!!!! I asked one of LB’s friends, a bright young person who’s data oriented, what the actual statistics are for campus sexual assault. He didn’t know. However, another young person chimed in to explain that the statistics only make sense if you understand that larger colleges than this little OELAC are “under-reporting” their campus sexual assaults.
A quick inquiry revealed that this second young person didn’t actually know OELAC’s campus sexual assault statistics. Although she was rather muddled, it appeared that she just “knew” that they were higher than those at the big public university located nearby.
Her reasoning was as follows: Because little OELAC is such a supportive environment, women are more likely to report assault, rather than more likely to be sexually assaulted. With that as her baseline supposition, the (supposedly) lower number of assaults at the big university could be justified only by assuming under-reporting. I was confused, and only get more confused when it turned out, as I said, that she had no idea what the campus sexual assault statistics were for either campus she was discussing.
Two things struck me as peculiar about the issue of campus sexual assault at little OELAC. First, the OELAC campus population is more than 60% female. Accepting the students’ world view, which is that they are immersed in a rape culture, that means the small cohort of male students (fewer than 40% of the total population) are ravening animals. Indeed, given the number of gay male students, it’s likely that just over 30% of the male population is heterosexual.
I don’t know about you, but it strikes me as unlikely that this tiny population of young men, especially young men in a “supportive” (the young person’s word) environment that obsessively reminds its male students not to rape, is a serious threat to the myriad young women on campus. And frankly, rhetoric aside, the young women gave no indication they were afraid, walking around both the dorms and campus freely at night in a way I never would have when I was at Cal more than 30 years ago.
However, militating against that first point — that is, that it’s hard to believe that a small male population constantly warned against raping is responsible for an epidemic of campus sexual assault — is the second thing that struck me when I joined the young people for dinner in the college’s cafeteria: Despite the Midwestern locale, a surprising number of male students were quite obviously of Middle Eastern or African origin. [Read more…]
Looking at this grab-bag post, I can see the common thread: valuing tight-knit communities, nuclear families, and each individual’s worth.
I know why Utah’s welfare is working. Megan McArdle wrote a much-talked-about article in which she looked at Utah, which has extremely good and affordable social services. The key to Utah’s successful welfare system, although I’m not sure she realizes it, lies in this paragraph:
The volunteering starts in the church wards, where bishops keep a close eye on what’s going on in the congregation, and tap members as needed to help each other. If you’re out of work, they may reach out to small business people to find out who’s hiring. If your marriage is in trouble, they’ll find a couple who went through a hard time themselves to offer advice.
With a system like that, you’re not going to have the type of fraud that occurred in Minnesota. There, none of the bureaucrats who cut $118,000 in checks knew that the woman claiming an absent husband had, in fact, a gainfully employed husband living with her and their children. In Utah, where charity begins at the ward level, everyone would have known the woman’s marital situation and the fraud could not have happened.
Fraud is expensive. Fraud is also easy when far-away governments manage essentially anonymous programs.
All of this made me think of a fascinating talk I heard a few years ago. I learned that, before government welfare, America was not a cold, cruel place in which widows and orphans routinely died. Instead, America had a vast network of fraternal organizations that functioned as welfare organizations. As with the Mormon wards, these “welfare” agencies worked extremely well because they took place at the community level. That meant that those responsible for administering an organization’s funds knew if Joe Shmo was a layabout or a hard worker on hard times.
Utah’s hands-on approach has managed to run counter to the prevailing American system that separates the needy from the check-writers. Until we return to community-based charitable organizations, fraud and waste will be the rule of the day.
I don’t see us making that U-turn. Having passed the baton to the government, Americans are not suddenly going to enlist en masse in the Kiwanis or the Shriners (more’s the pity).
Mike Pence’s “wife” policy shows that he’s a decent and smart man. Progressives are having a field day with the fact that, if Mike Pence is have a dinner tête-à-tête with a woman, that woman will always be his wife. Here’s a tweet perfectly summarizing the hysteria:
I read an interesting exchange on Facebook involving a Progressive woman who is terrified of Trump. The conversation started with a challenge to way in which women living under sharia law are brutally abused. While acknowledging this abuse in faraway places, the woman insisted that those were cultural issues and that here, at home, the real threat to women is Donald Trump. Think about that: she believes that Donald Trump’s presidency is worse for women than sharia law.
Since this involved a conversation between women I know here in my real-world, and was audited by other people I also know, I was disinclined to dig deeper into one Progressive Woman’s statement that Donald Trump is an existential threat to American women. Still, I could not get that statement out of my head: “I believe Donald Trump is a threat to American women.”
Working without that woman’s guidance, and relying instead on what women are saying in the media (new and old), I was able to come up with a few ideas that might explain her fear. Of course, each of those fears can immediately be exposed either as straw men arguments or as morally indefensible positions:
I have a hefty batch of links related to the election and the culture wars raging in America. I’ll try to write just enough to pique your interest so that you follow those links or watch the videos:
The reason the Left opposes photo ID for voting. James O’Keefe, who is Andrew Breitbart’s true heir, has a horrifying video showing a surprisingly honest, indeed decent, New York Democratic election commissioner bemoaning the terrible corruption that plagues New York voting, speaking of van loads of people being driven from precinct to precinct on election day to cast multiple votes, and admitting that it’s pure politics that blocks the reasonable use of voter IDs.
Hillary treats people like dirt. Hillary put on her saintly face during the second debate to talk about treating people well. One of the Deplorables has taken issue with Hillary’s pious, and hypocritical, stance. She reminds Hillary of the reprehensible way Hillary treated our troops way back in 2003 — because their hard work savings lives left them dirty.
The Left constantly manufactures crises. Dennis Prager takes the occasion of Trump’s decade-old crude postings to point out that this is yet another in the Left’s endless series of crises that only it can fix through its leadership, its laws, its taxes, its regulations, and its censorship. This type of headline hysteria, especially before a major election, allows the Left to sell falsehoods to Americans through the vehicle of emotion (and we all know how that works now thanks to Scott Adams’ tutelage).
GOP leadership has Stockholm Syndrome. Ace doesn’t use the phrase Stockholm Syndrome but, as he describes the way in which the GOP has bought into all of the Left’s Social Justice Warrior tropes, it’s hard to think of a better description. Republicans are trapped in Washington, D.C., and if they want to survive, they have to adopt their captors’ mindset — something incomprehensible to those Americans still managing to live relatively free, ordinary lives in an increasingly Orwellian America.
Trump is an amateur compared to the Clintons and their Democrat cohorts. I’m seeing Lefty posters going around on Facebook that talk about the fact that Hillary shouldn’t be held responsible for her husband’s actions (rape, assault, regular and workplace harassment) — which would be fine if Hillary hadn’t come out swinging on Bill’s behalf, lying hard and destroying any women between her and ultimate power.
If you take the time, you can look up awful stories about Kennedy orgies (and the possibility that Bobby ordered a hit on Marilyn), Al Gore’s “sex-crazed poodle” attack on a masseuse, Teddy Kennedy’s cold-blooded murder (not the original car accident, but deliberately leaving Mary Jo to drown), LBJ’s filthy language and penile boasting, Anthony Weiner’s sex texts with teens, and on and on. Given that Democrat history, James T. Harris is not about to let dirty words be compared to dirty acts. (Plus, he makes a nice little point about the inherent racism of calling Bill — poor, Southern, sax-playing sex machine — the “first black president.”)
They say that to a hammer everything is a nail. After a full-bore orientation at an obscenely expensive liberal arts college (“OELAC”) in the Midwest, I can say with some confidence that to OELAC’s administrators every incoming freshman is a bundle of pathologies. Really. During one talk, we were assured that around 30% of incoming freshman have mental health issues. It seems to me that OELAC’s administrators see it as their responsibility to make sure that this number grows to 100% by the end of the academic year.
I wrote the other day about the absurd welcoming ceremony that OELAC held, one that managed to feel much like my children’s graduation from preschool only infinitely more creepy. This drive simultaneously to infantilize and pathologize these young adults continued yesterday when we parents were gathered together for a formal orientation talk.
I foolishly thought the talk would be along the lines of “Welcome to OELAC! Your children will learn and grow here. Now go forth and enjoy the delights of this lovely midwestern city before you kiss your kids goodbye.” I could not have been more wrong.
Before I even get to the content, I want to note that, as was the case for the preschool graduation . . . er, parade of the freshman class, four of the five speakers were women. Incidentally, I know that the other person, that one out of the five, not only looked like a man, but identified as a man, because he proudly announced that his pronouns were “he” and “him.”
Disappointingly, the orientation had nothing to do with “Your child will learn and mature here.” Instead, the assembled administrators announced that they were going to talk about “wellness,” which seems to be academic code for cultivating that special snowflake quality in each young person foolish enough to go to OELAC. (And don’t get me started on how Little Bookworm ended up there. It’s a painful tale, best left untouched.)
Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so surprised at this announcement about “wellness.” I’d already noticed earlier that the freshman’s schedule for the day did not have a mere “break.” Instead, the freshman had “wellness breaks.” Ordinary breaks of the type these kids all had growing up in preschool, elementary school, middle school, and high school, and that we adults still have at work, are inadequate for snowflakes in training.
To my great distress (I think I was actually triggered!), I got to witness a “wellness break” in action later that same afternoon. One couldn’t miss it because at least 20 of these 18- and 19-year-olds, after the rigors of a few hours of orientation, were clustered around — I kid you not — an honest-to-goodness “therapy dog.” The kids weren’t even relating to it like a real dog. They were clustered around it trying to suck in wellness. It was unnerving to watch.
(By the way, did you know that anxious dogs also need therapy? Yes, here in America we have treatment for your Triggly Ruff.)
Back to that orientation. . . .
Some of you may recall that, a couple of years ago, I did one of my periodic posts about romance novels, arguing that the real “porn” part of the novels is the relationship, not the sex. One of my readers, Judith Lown, wrote me to say that there are traditional romances still out there and, in fact, she had written one: A Sensible Lady: A Traditional Regency Romance.
When I went to Amazon to buy A Sensible Lady, I discovered that I had already bought it, read it, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s no insult to Lown that I didn’t quite remember it. I read around 250 books a year (all kinds of genres) and lose track of those I’ve already read. I enjoyed Lown’s other novel, A Match for Lady Constance, just as much.
Although I am a few years removed from having read Lown’s books, I know that what charmed me was the same thing that charms me about Georgette Heyer novels: the lead characters are people you wish you could meet, and the intellectual relationship between the protagonists is witty, fun, and understandable. In other words, Lown is a very good writer in the traditional Regency romance style: elegant, funny, and restrained.
Since I wrote the preceding Bookworm Beat, two things showed up on my computer that I wanted to address.
You’re not brave if there’s no risk
In 2006, as part of Project 2,996, I wrote about New York Fire Fighter Brian Ahearn. I spent a lot of time on the internet looking for the ghosts and traces of Lt. Ahearn, and ended up feeling as if I really knew the man who, despite a lovely and fulfilling life, bravely raced into a burning high rise hoping to rescue people from the destruction. Lt. Ahearn was never seen again. In my post about him, I thought a lot about his raw courage and it was this idea — this courage — that opened my post:
My sister summed me up in a sentence: “For an incredibly neurotic person, you’re very normal and easygoing.” I know what she means. All my neuroses are turned inwards. They drive me crazy, but they don’t interfere with anyone outside of my brain. If you meet me, I’m friendly, good-humored, and well-mannered. I rarely take offense, and I’m always happy to help out.
I’m the living embodiment of the reminder to judge people by their deeds, not their thoughts. Unless of course, you think the deeds and the thoughts reflect on each other, magnifying each . . . which leads to me to:
The Obama latte salute
A military friend of mine had this to say:
What I find comical about this is the outrage. You’re surprised by this man? This is par for the course. And technically, he has no obligation to salute them back. A military officer not in uniform is only obligated to acknowledge a salute with a proper verbal greeting. My understanding is saluting the Marines of HMX-1 started with Reagan.
I think there are more important things to address about him like having absolutely no plan in Syria. This is comical considering the whole “what is our exit strategy?” nonsense during the Bush admin. We don’t even have an entry strategy here.
My friend is quite right, but I couldn’t resist reminding him about that outlook/action connection I mentioned at the start of this post:
I know that Reagan started it (and did you know that Reagan, whom the Left always castigated for not going to war, was in the Army Reserve as of 1937, and was barred from active duty during WWII only because of his vision?), so it’s not deep tradition, and I know that it’s not militarily necessary.
The thing is that, if it was clear that Obama really supported the military, and wanted to fight war in a way that’s not only ethical (which is a good thing), but that also keeps our troops alive and effective (another good thing), no one would have given a flying whatsit even if he’d hollered “Howdy, guys!” and blown soap bubbles at them. The optics mattered only because they were such a perfect visual representation of which we all know he actually thinks: “Blech! Marines again! And now I have to figure out how, and how many, of those baby killers to ship overseas this time….”
And my friend, who is a gentlemen down to the marrow of his bones, shot back:
I agree, we already know how he feels about the military. Saluting is what we call a military courtesy. Failing to simply be courteous says something about character.
I have such interesting friends.
Regarding the worsening mystery virus affecting children, when does correlation equal causation?
We’ve been hearing for a couple of months now about a serious respiratory virus affecting children across America. It’s been so bad that hospitals have been turning them away.
Well, here’s some more news guaranteed to make you unhappy: the virus just got worse. According to AP, children are now showing up with a paralysis that seems to be in the polio family and that may be related to the mystery enterovirus. So far, only nine cases have shown up in Colorado, but there’s no telling where paralysis problem might end up.
The AP’s not the only one paying attention to the virus. The New York Times has a long article about its effects on children across America (emphasis mine):
An outbreak of respiratory illness first observed in the Midwest has spread to 38 states, sending children to hospitals and baffling scientists trying to understand its virulent resurgence.
I love that line about “baffled” scientists. It reminds me of a wonderful Lord Peter Wimsey remark in Busman’s Honeymoon, when he and his new bride find a dead body in their honeymoon cottage. Being famous, the Wimseys are immediately besieged the press, one of whose members, Salcombe Hardy, is an old friend (emphasis mine):
“Can I say you’ve got a theory of the crime?”
“Yes,” said Peter.
“Fine!” said Salcombe Hardy.
“My theory is that you put the corpse there yourself, Sally, to make a good headline.”
“I only wish I’d thought of it. Nothing else?”
“I tell you,” said Peter, “the evidence is destroyed. You can’t have a theory without evidence to go on.”
“The fact is,” said Harriet, “he’s completely baffled.”
“As baffled as a bathroom geyser,” agreed her husband. “My wife’s baffled too. It’s the only point on which we are at one. When we’re tired of heaving crockery about we sit and sneer at one another’s bafflement. The police are baffled too. Or else they confidently expect to make an arrest. One or other . You can take your choice.” (Sayers, Dorothy L., Busman’s Honeymoon, p. 242 (Open Road Media, Kindle Edition)).
I feel a little like sneering at some bafflement too — in this case, the bafflement of those scientists trying to figure out how a rare virus that is connected to polio managed suddenly to enter the United States and infect American children.
I know that correlation is not causation, but I also know that not everything is pure coincidence. Isn’t it at least possible that the headlines about a bizarre virus striking down American children for the past two months might have something to do with the headlines from the end of July informing Americans that tens of thousands of Latin American children, many of them sick with diseases not seen in American children, were crossing the border? And isn’t it also possible that this baffling respiratory and occasionally polio-like illness might have to do with the fact that the Obama administration popped these children on buses and airplanes and then sent them all across the United States?
Again, I’m not saying that there has to be a connection, but I’d at least like to see some scientist say, “We’ve considered the possibility that this virus came with the immigrant children, but rejected it because….”
But they’re not saying that. Instead, the MSM just pretends the children’s crusade from Latin America never happened — so much so that it won’t even assure is that there’s no connection.
The country’s in the very best of hands (a song that’s never been more timely, I think)….
The media keeps its message consistent no matter the subject
The fact is that the American media is well-trained and it follows the Democrat playbook no matter the subject. A case in point involves doggies that have been Trayvon Martinized.
About that poor woman beheaded in Oklahoma
We know a few useful things about poor Colleen Hufford’s horrible death: She was beheaded, her murderer was an ex-con Muslim convert who had just been fired for arguing that women should be stoned, and another woman was saved from a similar fate when a company official with a gun shot him.
The police are trying to play this as just another case of workplace violence, and that may be true. But even ordinary violence reflects a zeitgeist. A former convict (which is what Alton Nolen, aka ‘Keem Yisrael, is), who converts to Islam in prison, will have two seeds planted within him: violence and jihad.
As always in these cases, please remember what my cousin, the retired prison chaplain, said about those prison converts:
It is not a contradiction to be a Muslim and a murderer, even a mass murderer. That is one reason why criminals “convert” to Islam in prison. They don’t convert at all; they similarly [sic] remain the angry judgmental vicious beings they always have been. They simply add “religious” diatribes to their personal invective. Islam does not inspire a crisis of conscience, just inspirations to outrage.
(Roger Simon has more on prison conversions to Islam and Caleb Howe has more on the lifelong anger and violence in Nolen that found its home in Islam) In other words, Nolen’s criminal history made him the kind of person who would commit murder — but his Islamic conversion made him the kind of person who would elevate this murder to the level of a jihad killing, complete with the sharia-compliant death of choice, namely beheading.
So yes, workplace violence or not, his religion mattered.
And what also mattered is that Nolen was stopped short by a gun. Jihad in America would be stopped pretty damn short if all of us were armed.
As for the shooting death of John Crawford in a Ohio Wal-Mart
John Crawford’s death is another one about which we know little, but it does look as if police were trigger-happy. Crawford was in a Wal-Mart aisle, someone called in a 911 because he was holding what looked like a gun, and the cops shot him. The video seems to show the cops firing instantly, without warning and, given how still Crawford was standing and the fact that his pop gun was pointed to the floor, they also shot without provocation. The cops, though, claim that Crawford was being threatening, something that might have been obvious outside of the silent film.
Radley Balko offers a great analysis of the bizarre intersections of so many societal issues in Crawford’s death: race, police malfeasance, societal paranoia about mass shootings, mental illness, etc. Something bad happened in that Wal-Mart, and two children lost their father.
I’m very interested in further facts. If Crawford’s behavior was frightening, so be it. But if trigger-happy cops killed an innocent man, let justice be done.
No, the Obama economy is not thriving
A few weeks ago, I asked for help rebutting a Forbes opinion piece claiming that the Obama economy is thriving, and that it puts the Reagan boom to shame. Just the other day, Forbes itself published an opinion piece rebutting that earlier, pro-Obama effort, and it’s a humdinger:
With the stock market cruising at all-time highs and the unemployment rate sitting at quaint levels, a fashionable new argument is making the rounds. Barack Obama is better at economic recovery than Ronald Reagan ever was.
The numbers make the case. Dow Jones Industrial Average the day President Obama was inaugurated in January 2009 was 7950; today it stands at 17,000. Unemployment in his first full month, that February: 8.3%, versus 6.1% today.
Ronald Reagan could not quite touch this standard. The Dow began his presidency at 950 and chugged to 1800 after five-and-a-half years. A 90% gain is nice, but short of the 115% gain since 2009. Unemployment over that span went from 7.4 to 7.1%—welcome enough, but overmatched by the post-2009 record.
And all the while under Reagan, there was double the consumer price inflation as under the comparable Obama period (26% vs. 13%). Interest rates were higher. Prime was at 7.5% in September 1986, in contrast to today’s 3.3%.
Whatever crisis, whatever “stagflation” Reagan faced as he swept Jimmy Carter from office in 1980, the results that came in well into his presidency pale in comparison to what the nation would put up under the leadership of Barack Obama.
This argument has glaring flaws, the most obvious of which (from a statistical point of view) is that the labor force participation rate has collapsed under Obama, while it surged under Reagan, rendering any kind of comparison of unemployment rates inoperable. The bald economic growth numbers, for their part, are double in the Reagan (20.3%) than in the Obama (9.7%) case.
Read the rest here.
By all means, let’s have over the counter birth control
To me, even the smallest dose of birth control pills acts like poison on my system. For most women, though, today’s low-dose birth control pills have few serious side effects, if one discounts the fact that they’re messing with women’s entire hormonal and reproductive systems.
Given all the other stuff that’s sold over the counter, there’s no reason for the Pill not to become an OTC drug too. This will lower women’s health care costs dramatically, both by increasing competition at the purchase level and by doing away with the perfunctory, but costly, doctor’s visit that precede prescribing the pill.
Obamacare supporters, of course, are incensed that conservatives believe the Pill should be an OTC drug because that would strip away large parts of their argument about imposing costly and ethically troubling Obamacare “women’s health” regulations on every employer and insurance company in America.
Could this be the reason race hustlers do what they do?
The retirement of Eric Holder, Attorney General of the US and race hustler extraordinaire, resulted in one of Roger Simon’s best posts. Simon begins with Holder’s extremely sleazy history: The same man who prosecuted Dinesh D’Souza for a $20,000 act of stupidity was the federal prosecutor who enabled the disgraceful pardon of Marc Rich, an exceptionally corrupt man who dealt with Iran during the hostage crisis and was lined up for 300 years in prison.
From that disgraceful beginning as an unprincipled party hack, Holder went on to become a hatchet man for the racism racket who turned the Justice Department into a purely political office advancing Obama’s hard Left, anti-constitutional, race-based domestic policies. That history leads Simon to this interesting thought:
Now I have a theory about the etiology of Holder’s fixation on race. When you know deep down you’re a dishonest person, when you have had to eat the bitter pill of your own corruption who knows how many times (even Clinton finally admitted that he had gone too far pardoning Rich and damaged his own reputation), you have to invent a narrative for yourself to justify your activities. So over may years Holder developed what I have called elsewhere a “nostalgia for racism.” No matter that racism was diminishing in our culture, he had to keep racism alive, believe it was alive. If racism were going away, he would no longer have a raison d’être, an excuse for his biased behavior, an excuse, as it turned out, to go beyond the law, act unilaterally and punish political enemies.
Why, yes. That sounds just right.
Think of Syria as you read this bumper sticker
It took me a couple of seconds to figure out the message behind this bumper sticker, and then I thought “That’s excellent.”
If you’d like one for your car, you can buy it here.
You can put lipstick on a male pig, but it’s still a male pig
With self-selected sex transmutations dominating headlines lately (“Lift ban on transgender military members“), I keep harking back to what I’ve said since the headline about a “pregnant” man (i.e., a woman who had her breasts surgically removed, and took hormones to grow facial hair). At the end of the day, when the surgically-adjusted, cosmetically-mutated, chemically-altered soft tissue is gone, and the bones are all that is left, what’s left is . . . the original sex.
To hold otherwise — to say that person who made this change is now actually a man or a woman, just because he or she wants to be — is a bizarre cultural delusion we’re fostering. On the great bell curve of biology, men are men and women are women, and that’s true regardless of surgery, make-up, hormones, and magical thinking. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t accord the person the respect, when possible, of treating him or her as s/he wishes to be treated, but it does mean that we have to accept biological reality.
Case in point: Mixed martial arts. There, a man who went through the surgical, chemical, cosmetic process of appearing like a woman insisted that he be allowed to compete as a woman. The outcome was not pretty, as his opponent Tamikka Brents, who was born female, ended up with a massively broken eye socket and a concussion. Brents explained what happened to her:
In a post-fight interview this week, she told Whoa TV that “I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life.”
“I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night. I can’t answer whether it’s because [he] was born a man or not, because I’m not a doctor,” she stated. “I can only say, I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life, and I am an abnormally strong female in my own right. ”
His “grip was different,” she added. “I could usually move around in the clinch against…females but couldn’t move at all in Fox’s clinch.”
I’m not a doctor either, but I’m pretty sure that, men have different bone structure and heavier muscle mass. Even if a man is taken female hormones, if he’s in the world of MMA training, he’s pushing those still-male muscles to the max. He’s going to be a muscle monster, with the weight of a man’s heavy bones behind him. At the end of the day, biology will not be denied.
Views from the climate change gala in New York
Power Line has a wonderful photo gallery from last weekend’s climate change extravaganza in New York. It’s got everything from the mounds of garbage left behind to the hypocritical celebrities to the hard Left people behind the climate change movement. Check it out. Laugh. Cry.
Then, if you want to laugh and cry some more, please enjoy Jeff Dunetz’s 48-item-long list of all the bad things that happen, according to the change-istas, because of climate change. Reading that list, I keep thinking of Monty Python’s Life of Brian, when Brian’s followers see everything he says as a sign of something insanely stupid:
Lies, damn lies, and British crime statistics
Since banning guns, Britain has become the most violent country in the first world. Certainly, the police are conflicted about the whole crime-fighting thing. After all, the God of political correctness tells them that they shouldn’t fight crime if the criminals are blacks or Muslims. The police have therefore figured out creative ways to massage the (non)crime-fighting numbers — they lie:
The culture of fiddling crime statistics is ingrained within the upper echelons of the police service where target-chasing has led to the under-reporting of serious crimes including rape, according to a report by MPs out today.
The MPs said a delay by Scotland Yard in addressing claims that rape figures were skewed was a “damning indictment of police complacency, inertia and lack of leadership”.
In attacking Rush, it appears that the female of the species is deadlier than the male
Rush Limbaugh went on the offensive to smoke out the small group of people trying to destroy his radio show through email and social media attacks against advertisers. What I noticed immediately is that, of the nine people engaged in this conspiracy, six are female. You’ll never have a 50/50 split in a group of nine people, but it’s telling somehow, that the group is heavily weighted on the women’s side.
I can’t decide if this is because women are indeed more vicious, or if it’s because the Sandra Fluke kerfuffle managed to turn Rush into a slayer of women in the deranged feminist mind, or if it’s simply random that in such a small group, there would be twice as many women as men. The fact seemed noteworthy, regardless of the reason.
No wonder women are raping as much as men are
Feminists have insisted that the definition of rape must be expanded far beyond the traditional definition, which pretty much was limited to a man using his penis to penetrate a woman vaginally, orally, or anally. Nowadays, every man’s touch, look, or verbal bullying is included in the definition of sexual assault, at least on college campuses. In this way, women can claim (and the Democrat party can campaign on) the canard that 1/5 of women on campus will be sexually assaulted.
Relying on the feminists’ own definition of sexual assault, Glenn Reynolds makes the compelling and convincing argument — supported by data — that women commit sexual assault every bit as often as men do. I believe this completely. If you read the trashy but informative Daily Mail on a regular basis, as I do, you’ll quickly discover that several times a week, and sometimes every day, there’s a story somewhere in America about a female school teacher forcing a sexual relationship on an underage male (or, sometimes, female) student. One comes away feeling that America’s students are taught by an army of nymphomaniacs.
Step back, puny mortals, and let the wind take over
One of the problems I’ve always had with the whole climate change theory is the centrality it gives humans. Humans have indeed shown themselves perfectly capable of trashing the local environment. From prehistoric man driving mammoths to extinction, to the Aztecs destroying every bit of protein in their region (hence the need for human sacrifices, which were later eaten), to the Soviets turning lakes into acid puddles, to American manufacturers doing their damndest to destroy our own lakes (until capitalism saved them), to the California Gold Rush stripping off sides of mountains, we are a destructive species. But there’s a quantum difference between making a terrible, and too often lasting, mess here and there, and altering the entire climate around the world, all the way until we touch outer space. That simply didn’t (and doesn’t) make sense to me.
What makes a lot more sense is a new theory that says that shifting wind patterns account for the changing climate along the Northwest. I find it especially intriguing giving the close connection between wind and sun (and I’m not just talking Aesop’s fables here).
I’m glad the New York Times had the integrity to report on this new climate theory, but I had to laugh at the opening sentence (emphasis mine):
A new and most likely controversial analysis of Pacific Ocean weather patterns concludes that a century-long trend of rising temperatures in the American Northwest is largely explained by natural shifts in ocean winds, not by human activity.
It must have choked the writer, Michael Wines, to concede in the next paragraph that the theory didn’t arise from the fetid swamps of whacked-out deniers but, instead, appeared in “the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences….” Oh, yeah!
America’s topmost colleges accept robots and turn out morons
Okay, I’m exaggerating for effect in that subtitle. There is no doubt that America’s top colleges get to take in America’s best and brightest students and that they turn out products with a certain sheen. I contend, though, that these new graduates are actually more indoctrinated than educated, but that’s just my opinion. Or maybe it isn’t….
While they do not say that America’s premier colleges are turning out mindless Leftist drones, two Ivy League instructors have come out lately to that in their pursuit of the best and brightest, these institutes of higher education are producing boring, timid robits who will not take any chances, thereby stifling their own brilliance.
At The New Republic, you can read William Deresiewicz’s Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League, which has been shared on Facebook more than 191,300 times.
And at First Things, you can read Michael J. Lewis’s Children Who Never Play, which picks up where Deresiewicz left off.
In bureaucracies, the perfect is the enemy of the good
I credit Philip K. Howard with helping me move from mindless Left-liberalism to thinking conservativism. His book The Death of Common Sense: How Law Is Suffocating America, which I read shortly after it was published in the early 1990s, was an eye-opener because it made me realize that government not only is not the answer but that it can never be the answer. It took me another decade to complete my journey across the Rubicon, but I definitely couldn’t have done it without him.
Just recently, Howard authored a piece for The Atlantic explaining how the Stimulus got wasted, not because of any specific corruption, but because the money vanished into the bureaucratic crevices created by a million rules:
Modern government is organized on “clear law,” the false premise that by making laws detailed enough to take in all possible circumstances, we can avoid human error. And so over the last few decades, law has gotten ever more granular. But all that regulatory detail, like sediment in a harbor, makes it hard to get anywhere. The 1956 Interstate Highway Act was 29 pages and succeeded in getting 41,000 miles of roads built by 1970. The 2012 transportation bill was 584 pages, and years will pass before workers can start fixing many of those same roads. Health-care regulators have devised 140,000 reimbursement categories for Medicare—including 12 categories for bee stings and 21 categories for “spacecraft accidents.” This is the tip of a bureaucratic iceberg—administration consumes 30 percent of health-care costs.
And finally, some marvelous photographs and a joke
Nope, not my usual set of posters but, instead, links to two wonderful sites. The first explains why you won’t see Israeli women in burqas anytime soon, while the second is a panoramic photograph taken shortly after San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake. If you click on the image, you can zoom in to a specific spot; then, click again to zoom out.
Since I try to end on a laugh or uplifting note, here’s a delightful joke that a friend sent me (slight language warning), clearly in honor of Ezekiel Emanuel’s announcement that he, and everyone else, should try to die by or before age 75:
I recently picked a new primary care doctor. After two visits and exhaustive lab tests, she said I was doing fairly well for my age. (I am past seventy-five). A little concerned about that comment, I couldn’t resist asking her, ‘Do you think I’ll live to be 80?’
She asked, ‘Do you smoke tobacco, or drink beer, wine or hard liquor?’
‘Oh no,’ I replied. I’m not doing drugs, either!’
Then she asked, ‘Do you eat rib-eye steaks and barbecued ribs?’ ‘I said, ‘Not much … My former doctor said that all red meat is very unhealthy!’
‘Do you spend a lot of time in the sun, like playing golf, boating, sailing, hiking, or bicycling?’
‘No, I don’t,’ I said.
She asked, ‘Do you gamble, drive fast cars, or have a lot of sex?’
‘No,’ I said.
She looked at me and said, ‘Then, why do you even give a shit?’
On a regular basis, the New York Times launches an attack against the military. Or more accurately, against the men and women (especially the men) who serve in the military. We get stories about their high drug abuse rates, high crime rates, high insanity rates, and high suicide rates. Usually, when you start digging, you discover that the rates are never comparable to a similarly situated civilian population: i.e., one made up primarily of men between 18 and 35. Because these “studies” and “stories” compare apples to oranges, they are lies, damn lies, and statistics.
The New York Times was at it again last week, with an editorial based upon some questionable statistics that purport to show that the military is the scourge of women because it has an unusually high number of sexual assaults. I say questionable because, as with all the other “bad” military stories, we have apples and oranges comparisons between a general population composed of adults and children, male and female, old and young, and a specific population composed mostly of young males. In addition, because many sexual assaults in both the military and the general population can be known only if the women report them, the fact that the military recently made it easier to report assaults (as the editorial acknowledges) may skew the statistics. By being good, the military ends up looking bad.
The worst part of the New York Times editorial, though, isn’t the editorial at all — it’s the comments from readers. America’s First Sergeant looks at some of those comments and reveals the fallacies and biases that underlie them.
In Marin, people boast about being New York Times readers. In their minds, stating that they read the NYT is a short-hand way to say that they’re smart and informed. I have to confess that, when I hear that they read the Times, “smart” and “informed” are not the first words that spring to my mind. If you read Am’s 1st Sgt, you might get some idea of the adjectives my brain generates when I hear the “I read the NYT” boast.